"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34 NIV

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thoughts. Mine or His?

    "I wonder if I would get caught if I keyed every single car in this parking lot," I thought to myself.  Yes, I thought this.  Me. Sweet, trusting, innocent (okay, my husband would disagree strongly with this one), obedient me. Why would a thought like this come into my head in the first place?  Beats me.  Why would I entertain a thought like this?  I didn't.  It left my head as quickly as it came, with a chuckle following it. 
    Where do my thoughts come from?  Are they really mine? Can my thoughts be trusted?  There are three sources for my thoughts: God, the enemy, and me. 
     What kind of thoughts come from God?   Truthful, loving, kind, and honest thoughts come from him.  Thoughts of shame, self doubt, and fear, among others, do not originate with the creator of the world. Those belong to his enemy, the Devil.
     I know the Devil exists.  I have heard that he is trying to stop those who are following God in this life.  I greatly underestimate his power.  I do not acknowledge his influence (or desired influence) on my life, especially my thought life, as much as I should. When I think about keying cars, yelling at my children, or worrying about the future, I know the Devil has influenced  those thoughts more than God has. 
    What about the third source?  Where do my own thoughts fit into the picture?  They are shaped by the information I take in around me.  What I read, what I see, and what I listen to all contribute to shaping the thoughts that I have.
   "Oh, be careful little eyes what you see!  Oh, be careful little feet where you go!" A childish, but truthful song perhaps I need to pay more attention to.

    "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."  (2 Timothy 1:7) NKJV

    "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."  (1 Peter 5:8) NLT

     When random thoughts come into my head, I can quickly assess their origin if I know the truth about each source.  What does God say about me?  What does the Devil want me to believe? What have I been filling my head with lately?  If the thoughts are not Godly in nature, I can choose to send them packing.  Keeping a sense of humor in all of this is a must.  Otherwise, tomorrow's headlines might read, "Dedicated Christian Mom of Three Arrested for Vandalizing 40 Cars Outside of Zumba Class."  Entire story on page B4.

     "Father, please help me to focus on the thoughts that come from you, whatever is good, lovely, and praiseworthy. Give me wisdom in not dwelling on those that originate elsewhere.  I want to trust what you say is true about me and disregard the lies of the enemy.  Amen."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

In His Lap

     A few weeks ago I was at a ladies retreat for some much needed reminders of who I am in Christ.  After each talk we were given half an hour to journal and reflect on what God was speaking to our hearts.  During one of the quiet sessions I went outside to sit in the sunshine with the intention of journaling and praying by myself.  Apparently, God had other plans. 
     As soon as I sat down, a big black and white cat jumped in my lap.  I set the cat down and picked up my notebook.  The cat was not taking no for an answer.  It jumped in my lap again and started purring. I thought, "Okay, I can give you a little attention."  Now, I don't spend much time around cats, but I assumed that when you pet one it would settle down and sit peacefully in your lap.  This cat would not relax.  It walked in circles in my lap, kept its ears alert to any noise around us, and basically fidgeted for fifteen minutes.  I kept thinking, "Just relax and let me pet you!"  After awhile, it saw another cat close by and jumped down to run after it.
    At this point, God whispered to me, "You are just like that cat when you are in my lap.  You want to be loved on so you climb up, but you won't settle down.  You fidget and would rather keep your eye on what is going on around you instead of simply resting in my presence.  After a short time, you jump down and run off". 
     In Isaiah 66:13a God promises, "As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you."  Psalm 46:10a reminds me to "be still, and know that I am God".  I need to spend more time sitting and listening to his whisper and give less attention to all the distractions around me.
    Thank you Father for always having a spot in your lap reserved for me.  I know I tend to rush through life and forget to listen for your whisper.  Help me to rest fully in your presence.  Amen.         

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Savings vs. Savior

     Last week my husband and I were talking about our financial situation, which looks radically different than it did several months ago.  We felt led to take a leap of faith and are still a bit shaky from the landing.  We've had to reassess our budget, needs, and financial goals for the future.  There is no doubt in our minds that we are where God wants us to be.  Our choices are centered around the things that have eternal value.  To those around us though, our decisions seem like foolishness.

    We are relying on our Savior more than our savings. 

    Jesus saves, but we save too. Our temptation is to look at our savings and feel safe, to trust that if it is enough, all will be well later in life.  The truth is that only Jesus' saving will offer any security.  Money is not eternal.

    Jesus had more to say about money when he was among us than any other topic.  He knows the hearts of men and how money becomes the central focus for most people in life.  My family is making the conscious decision to fight our culture, to run from doing things just because those around us are doing them. 

    "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' "  (Hebrews 13:5 NIV) 

    When I meet Jesus face to face, he will not ask me how much money I made or invested.  He will ask how I have used my time and talents to glorify him. 

    Help me to rely on you, my savior, more than on my savings. Guard my heart against greed and the temptation to order my family's priorities the way the world does.  Amen.