A Time to Throw Away

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A random piano in Budapest!

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


We have moved several times through the years which provides a natural opportunity to get rid of a few things. I remember a few years back when we were moving from Indiana to New York and my husband was not terribly insistent that the younger girls do a lot of purging. I thought it was a perfect time to throw out a few things and he insisted we didn’t push the issue. While my husband and I gave away, donated, and threw away all kinds of things, the girls did not. We agreed that as long as the girls were willing to pack their own boxes, whatever they kept was fine with us.

As we prepared to move from New York last spring, the girls were 4 years older and hadn’t necessarily spent a lot of time with all of the treasures they brought with them to New York. As they sorted through their stuff to pack up and move again, they were shocked at the things they had chosen to bring along from Indiana. These “treasures” they lugged across the country were not so important after all. But it took them some time and perspective to come to that conclusion. Purging when we left New York was so much easier than when we left Indiana. Some of it was age and some of it was perspective. Some of the things tied to memories they held onto had seemed incredibly important at that time but now were not. The girls donated and pitched all kinds of things this time around.

Often we hold onto things so tightly until we are ready to let go. And once we are ready, we are really ready to be done with whatever it is. Sometimes it is physical stuff or negative emotions or bad habits or toxic relationships or a grudge.

Are you holding onto things that really just need to be let go? I know I am. Even though I tend to be the person that holds onto things because I see they have potential future use, I definitely get bogged down trying to manage all the possibilities and potential. And I absolutely hold onto things that are detrimental to my spiritual health. I know God is working on my heart to get rid of some things that are hanging around and do not serve any positive value in my life. Purging some junk is definitely in order!

I love the specific opportunity to reflect during the Lenten season: it’s like boot camp for my heart — it strengthens me in my faith and softens my heart to God all at the same time.  Thanks for joining me on this journey! I would love to hear the ways God is working on your heart.

On the Way,

Liz

A Time for Everything

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

In the scheme of life, we are all run by some sort of clock whether it is internal or external. If we live where there are distinctive seasons our activities are sometimes centered around those transitions. But even if there aren’t definite weather seasons where we are, there are seasons in life, jobs, relationships, growth, faith — you name it!

When our kids were little, we never wished they would move through stages quickly — we knew that each child had to move at their own pace and we had to let them figure it out and trust their own stride. We each have our own unique tempo. Sometimes we are attracted to those who have a similar beat and other times, knowing we need a change in pace, we find ourselves connecting with others who have a very different pulse. Sometimes I have to be very intentional about slowing down my pace because once I get going I struggle with turning my brain off to relax a bit. I am thankful for changes in pace, even though they take some getting used to. Measuring our progress by speed is useful in some ways but not in all. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

I love that God has created us each in a unique way and with a unique pace. I appreciate those around me who share my rhythm as well as those who challenge my stride.

Has your regular rhythm been challenged recently? Are you frustrated with how slowly things may seem to be moving in certain areas of your life? If you allow it, God may use your new pace might bring along a new perspective and a new peace about your circumstance.

On the way,

Liz

Charm is Deceptive

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I have been mulling over the word “charming” lately.

Often Prince Charming is seen as a good guy — he sweeps a gal off her feet and takes care of her for the rest of her life. But being charming isn’t always a good thing. When someone wants something they  might manipulate by “turning on the charm”, batting their eyes, or somehow communicate that they want something from you.

Have you ever been charmed by someone? While I don’t always recognize it immediately, I often am able to sniff out that person who is working the crowd (or a vulnerable person) for their own gain. I can’t stand to watch it but it seems to be one of those things people need to learn how to recognize for themselves. Unfortunately, being burned once or twice by this type of person is the best way to learn. In fact, the sooner one learns the tricks a sycophant plays the better because when someone knows what you long for be it recognition, prestige, devotion, etc. they will be sure to create the opportunity to deliver it to you. And that makes one very vulnerable and compromises discernment.

Some things to think about:

Where are you vulnerable? Have you ever sensed someone trying to take advantage of you?

Have you ever been guilty of exploiting someone else’s vulnerabilities for your own gain?

As you ponder these questions, ask God to open your eyes to where you might be susceptible to be snared as well as when you may have manipulated someone else for your own benefit. And be cautious around those who are exceedingly charming. I suspect they are not up to much good.

On the Road,

Liz

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Take the Time!

burnoutwGod is always working in my life but sometimes I just have to slow down and pay attention. That is a part of why I like cycling, especially on a path. The freedom to ponder situations is so important for me. But it is also important to view things in light of Scripture and that means I have to be in God’s Word to get His perspective. I know that if I am unchecked by Scripture, I can muddle all sorts of things rather quickly.

The very moment I think my life is too complicated for contemplation I know I am desperately in need for some. Reflection always leads me to prayer and God adjusting my attitude towards a person or circumstance.

Feeling bogged down and out of time? Stop and pray for your perspective and the day. Don’t budge out the very thing that will give you precisely what you need to accomplish the task!

On the Road,

Liz

Taking Him at His Word

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He is Risen!

He is Risen, indeed!

Alleluia!

When I struggle to accept someone’s word it is because I have been tricked before. When my trust has been violated it makes it very difficult for the next person to get a fair shake. Even though I have trust issues for good reason, I have always been able to take God at His Word. I am thankful for that faith He planted in me through baptism and nurtured through the years.   I love His work in my life even if it is difficult during the process. Looking at the betrayal of Jesus and all the other painful events of Good Friday, I can see what God has done (and is doing) for me. Right now.

Today.

And He has done it for you, too!

On the Road,

Liz

Here are a few promises to hang onto:

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We are waiting…

He is workingw

There is so much activity while waiting.

  • We fidget.
  • We tap.
  • We wonder.
  • We pace.
  • We pray.
  • We plead.
  • We beg.
  • We stress out.
  • We cry.
  • We implore.
  • We stomp.
  • We question.
  • We contemplate.
  • We plan.
  • We are hope full.
  • We are dread full.
  • We are pessimistic.
  • We are cautiously optimistic.
  • We are waiting….

VioletsseSometimes our waiting is a looming dread and sometimes it is a joyful anticipation of what lies ahead. But God is always working, sometimes behind the scenes where we don’t see the entire layout of the plan. We might just see little bits and pieces of His work poke through like flowers peek through winter debris in early spring.

His work is not fully revealed until the appointed time.

On the Road,

Liz

The Sacrifice that Cancels Guilt

forgivethemwHeavenly Father,

It is only through your mercy that the dark days of this particular Friday can be called good. When I consider myself justified, entitled, and excused from forgiving others, bring Jesus to my mind and His willingness to be stricken, smitten, and afflicted in my stead.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”
by Thomas Kelly, 1769-1854

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted,
See Him dying on the tree!
‘Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He! ’tis He!
‘Tis the long-expected Prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
‘Tis the true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly
Nor suppose the evil great
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed,
See who bears the awful load;
‘Tis the WORD, the LORD’S ANOINTED,
Son of Man and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation;
Here the refuge of the lost;
Christ’s the Rock of our salvation,
His the name of which we boast.
Lamb of God, for sinners wounded,
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

The Lutheran Hymnal
Hymn #153
Text: Is. 53:3-5
Author: Thomas Kelly, 1804
Tune: “O mein Jesu, ich muss sterben”
1st Published in:_Geistliche VolksliederTown: Paderborn, 1850

It is finishedw