Confirmation Comes

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:10-11 NIV

CONFIRM

Confirm: To establish the truth or correctness of something. Verify. Validate. Removal of doubt.

When the apostle tells us to make every effort to confirm our calling and election, what he seems to be saying in my humble opinion, is that we have some work to do.

Where there is doubt, we need to find faith.
Where there is confusion, we need to find clarity.
Where there is a seeming lack of evidence, we need to realize the value inherent in our acts of mercy, help, and sacrificial love given to others.

We need to reestablish and make public our decision to follow Jesus. We need to declare it. We need to stand by it. We need to make sure that we are not hiding our faith away in a “safe” place, so as not to be demeaned, mocked, or singled out as one of those crazy folks that actually believes God is real and working in their lives and this world—even in a time of pandemic.

Let them think we’re crazy. Let them mock us. Let them think our faith in God is ridiculous. We don’t have to prove anything to them, except our love (John 13:35)—when they mock, when they laugh, and most importantly when they are struggling to find something solid to rest their weary fears upon. Then, folks, let your Light shine!!!!!!!!! Confirm that you belong to Jesus!!!!!!

Are you someone who struggles with believing you are right with God?  How do you confirm to others and yourself that you are a disciple of Jesus?  Explain.

Grinding out a Mountain

mole hill

Are you someone who likes to grind it out? I mean by that, someone who doesn’t give up easily, tends to hold a grudge, or has a proclivity for pettifogging?

That last one, it grabbed you didn’t it? Come on, admit it.

Pettifogging: Placing undue emphasis on petty details.

This week I’ve been reminded by God several times that I need to let go of a grudge I’ve been holding onto. I’m miffed. Someone didn’t do what I thought they ought to do, and now I’m upset. It’s not like they did some big, horrible, awful, life-changing-for-me thing.

No, they didn’t.  They just didn’t do what I thought they ought.

It’s funny how when I get stuck in a loop like I’ve been lately, God reaches out to address the area of concern over and over, and over again. Can you say, “As many times as it takes to get your attention”?

Maybe not so funny. After all, He is in the refiner’s business, transforming lives through grace, patience, and consideration for everyone.

Not Just Me!!!!

Pray for me. Maybe I’m alone in this pettifogging business, but maybe I’m not. If you’re there with me (making a mountain out of a mole hill and digging yourself deeper into sin debt with each passing day), hit me up. I’d love to pray for you!

When have you been pettifogging and didn’t realize it?  What do you do when you get caught in a negative thought loop?

Who Cares?!

carefree

If there’s one place I struggle in life, I would say it’s in the area of carefree living.  I worry too much.

I fret.

I’m overly concerned with what I say…

what I do…

my identity…

my being.

I’M LEARNING!

The good news is that I’m learning how to live a more carefree life these days.  I’m learning that God is everything in my life, and not nothing. If He is everything and knows everything, and created me the way I am…and if He’s in charge of my life, and directing my thoughts, and preparing my soul for transport to where he is someday, then I can trust myself to Him today.

I can let go and let God.

I can relax and know I’m in His care.

I can quit trying to be perfect at everything, and instead focus my energies on being in intimate and passionate contact with the One person who knows me inside and out–warts and all–and loves me anyway. He loves me anyway!!

I can trust!!!

The ability to trust is in me; it’s just that the world has whispered for a long, long time that I can’t. But I can. I have the capacity, and when I see the rewards that come from living carefree, oh, how I want them.

I want to not have to be perfect.

I want to be accepted for who I am, faults and all.

I want not to be distracted by imperfections.

I want just to be His!

Simply His.

Wholly His.

Today, I choose to focus my energies on not being perfect, not being careful, not be afraid, and not being intimidated. I know that 95% of the things I fear will never come to pass and I know that 100% of the things that happen to me, my God can handle.

Today, I choose the freedom that comes from living carefree.

How about you, are you afraid to live your best life today? What keeps you in bondage to careful deliberations, instead of carefree living?

 

So, I had a weird dream last night!

I was shopping for furniture in a red nightgown that was ripped under both arms.

In the dream, I’m walking through this long, long store full of showrooms while holding my arms straight at my side, hoping against all hope to hide the fact that my clothing is ripped.  It’s not working very well.

At some point I decide this shopping trip is too much for me.

I’m not clothed appropriately, and there is no furniture in here, although I keep walking and walking and see lots of sales people on the “sales” floors that flow from one to another in rapid succession. There is something I’m able to see, not sure its furniture but it could be, behind thick meant-to-be-transparent plastic sheets that go floor to ceiling in each room.  It’s like the place is a warehouse, but the entrance is like a Costco, and there are salespeople everywhere, all professionally dressed, all eager to sell, but what?

Anyway, I decide at some point I need to leave. I’m self-conscious, and maybe because of that, but maybe not, I decide to put my clear plastic hair barrettes in my mouth.

Why?

Who knows.

I’m now headed out of the store, through voluminous showrooms, trying to keep my ripped armpits from being seen by others…my arms straight down at my sides.  I’m  hustling through salespeople with barrettes in my mouth, when I think of the large piece of pineapple I left at the door when I came into the store. The guy outside said I couldn’t bring it in with me. It was a big slab, so I didn’t want to leave it behind.  I’m worried it will be covered with dust and debris by the time I get back to it.  The door man had said, “Just leave it on the ledge over there. You can pick it up when you come out.” So I did!!!

What??!

benefits-of-pineapple-1296x728-feature

As I’m running with my arms straight down at my sides, monster-like, and thinking of the pineapple slab and what condition it will be in when I retrieve it, I swallow one of my barrettes.

Swallow it!! But just one…and it’s stuck! In my throat.  At the base of my throat; inside, where my throat meets my neck. Stuck! I can feel it there. It hurts.

I try to swallow hard to get it down.
Then I try to cough it up.
Nuts!  It won’t budge!

I can’t get it to go either way.

And then the horrid thought hits me that there will be a surgery in my future, and I decide to leave the pineapple slab and just go home.
Finally, I find the exit.

The dream ends…

I blame the Tylenol PM I took last night for this wacky, crazy dream, but it could be something else going on. Maybe…

All I know is that that big ole juicy pineapple slab was lost to me, and for that reason, I’m sad. LOL

Do you ever have weird dreams? What do you make of them?

BTW: it was the best sleep I’ve had in weeks! Go Figure!!

Somebody said, “I do!”

luke and anna 19

This happened in mid-October 2019!

luke and anna 15This mom and this dad gave away this girl!

luke and anna11This mom (dad not in pic), and these grands gave away their marine.

Luke and anna 17

They prayed first…

…then, they proceeded.

Luke and Anna 1

luke and anna

Can you smile wider than they did on October 12th?!

These two handsome gents were there…

luke and anna 10

As were these two…

luke and anna 7

And these two…

luke and anna 9

And these, who I am just beginning to really love (they are such fun people!!).

luke and anna 20

And last, but certainly not least, this GG who graciously goofed for the camera.

luke and anna 6

They ate…cheesecake that was theirs alone (we are still crying about that!).

luke and anna 13

They danced, and he dipped!

luk and anna 4

There was a little sword play (sans swords, that didn’t make the cut).

luke and anna 5

And then they were swept away by sweet love to their wedding night and a honeymoon trip to see Hamilton on the stage in Chicago and do other things newlyweds do (no pics included).  😉

Anna and Luke

We had a great time celebrating your wedding to each other, Mr. and Mrs. Luke.  We’re remembering to pray for you as you begin your life as husband and wife, and are asking God for a long and happy marriage with Him at the head of your household.  May He watch over you every step of the way to a bright new future. Amen.

We love you! Congratulations!!

 

 

The Wind and Waves

…far be it from me to not believe,
even when my eyes can’t see.

And this mountain that’s in front of me,
will be thrown into the midst of the sea.

So let go my soul and trust in Him,
The waves and wind still know His name.

So let go my soul and trust in Him,
The waves and wind still know His name. 

Lyrics to “It Is Well,” Kristene DiMarco, Bethel Music

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3 NIV

What are you trusting in to keep you, this morning?
On whom do you lean for support?
What is your fortress?
On whom are you depending?

Mankind will fail us in our deepest need, but Jehovah never will!

Today, if you’re trusting in anything or anyone to keep you upright and even keeled, except for Jesus, your faith in on shaky ground.

One day the mountains will quake and the seas will foam out of control. One day the solid ground you stand upon will shift.

Only God remains the same, day after day, year after year and forever. Make sure your trust is firmly fixed on our Lord, our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

When have you depended on human aid, only to be disappointed?  Can you trust Jesus to carry you through the worst of life? Why, or why not?

Relent, Lord!

Relent, Lord! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:13-17 NIV

How many times do we cry out to the Lord for his love, compassion, and mercy to fall on us instead of his firm hand and punishing correction?

I do. A lot!!!

We want things to go well with us and when they don’t, we begin the blame game.

Oh, guilty again!

Sometimes it is God who is making life difficult for us.

Sometimes it is Him who is sending us in a direction we do not want to go.

Sometimes it is Him allowing the hammer to come down, but there are also those times when our difficulties are of our own making.  Let me repeat that for emphasis: Sometimes are grief is of our own making!!!

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, Lord!

We cry out to God for goodness and peace, and we should.

He is the ultimate Decider of our days.

He is the One with all power.

He is the Director of our lives and if we will allow it, the Lover of our souls.

He is the God of Angel Armies; the Alpha and the Omega; the Holy One of Israel; the Amen!

Today, let’s open our hands and let anxiety melt away. 

Let’s be full of the realization that God is in command and in control.

Let’s bow to His direction and His purpose in our lives.

Let’s be constant in our devotion to Papa, and let’s pray only to Him for the love, mercy, compassion, and grace that we need to be helpers to our fellows and worshippers of the Most High King—our everything!

If we will let go, God can direct, but let’s be real–He will not grab the wheel of life out of our hands. He’s not that guy. We have free will; we need to exercise it to our benefit.

Are you someone who has a hard time letting God lead, but not so much when it comes to blaming Him?  Can you set aside everything you think you know about God and His plans, and let Him lead?  

Grace Trumps Imperfection

grace

Are you perfect? I ask, because I’m not.

I grumble.

I complain.

I want others to give me solid answers and when I don’t get them, I beginning slapping labels on my fellows:

Difficult!

Impossible!

Head strong!

Grumpy!

Aggravating!!

Slapping labels on others doesn’t help me feel better, so I’m not sure why I do it.  Maybe because it is something to do. Some way that I can be active.  Maybe because it meets some need in me to compare and contrast. Of course, in the comparison game I always come out a strong opponent, if not an outright winner.  Ugh!

Living Life the Right Way

Is this really how I want to be? How I want to live? Who I want to present to a broken and hurting world? No!  It is not! And yet, I find myself here again and again, and again and again I’m in need of God’s gracious correction.

Trust Me, Lori.

Look to Me, daughter of Eve.

Lean on me, Sister.

Open those magnificent arms I gave you, and love others.  Try to understand their insecurities. Try to tamp down your own. Try to seek tribal unity. Try to be one of many, and encourage everyone you meet to be listening and/or doing right. Try to blend in with them and help them, and if you must stand out, stand out for the fact that you rely on Me alone for your worth, your comfort, your education and your opportunity to teach others.

Be Grace in this world!

Do you ever find yourself labeling others?  What labels do you slap on yourself when you’re making up labels for them?

 

 

 

Work vs Rest: A call to relax!

On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets. Numbers 29:1 NIV

how-many-rest-days-do-I-need-when-exercising

If you’re looking for a reason to rest, look no further than God’s Word.

There are dozens of references to rest in the Bible, and more than a few commands to “quit your work” and make time for reflecting on spiritual things.

We sometimes think our lives will go smoother if only we push harder, work smarter, or keep pressing on to the goal of our vocation with ever increasing intensity, but does that kind of habit really work? Really?

Does keeping your nose to the grind stone make you joyful, happy, free, or does it just change the contour of your nose?

It’s true that hard work is good for a soul, but there comes a time when relying on self-powering methods to get us through our days turns into something other than reliance on our Savior, Jesus Christ, to meet our needs—all our needs!

What if working harder isn’t working?

Maybe today is the day to sound the trumpet in your life.

Maybe today is the day to eek out a little time of rest for you and yours.

Maybe now is the time to hit pause and ask God, “What next, Papa?”

Maybe we should all stop trusting in our own unsteady will power to get us to the next level of comfort in our lives, and start asking God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

Maybe today, we need to deny ourselves the “opportunity” to get ahead by putting 8-10-12-or 16 hours in at the office or on the farm. Maybe it’s time to stop working so hard and more fully focus on the freedom God has provided for us to enjoy.

We’ll never run out of work to do, and that’s a good thing, but we also need to remember to push pause every once in a while in order to recharge and revitalize ourselves.  That’s what I think, anyway. How about you…what do you think?

Do you work too hard?  Where is the balance between working hard and playing hard?