Stinkin’ Thinkin’

Have you ever needed an attitude adjustment? Do you have a crazy situation from your past that was a unfair and created a huge life change?

  • Job loss
  • Natural disaster
  • Unexpected pregnancy
  • Cross country move
  • Friendship loss
  • Illness
  • __________________________ (go ahead, fill in that blank!)

I know not everything has a happy ending. This life on Earth is filled with struggles and disappointments. And yet, God can bring about good from difficulties. It doesn’t erase the pain from the situations. Some people are living through some extremely difficult circumstances. Ones that I cannot even imagine walking through. I don’t have any easy or pat answers. But I know time can help. Time and distance can give us a perspective that we cannot possibly have in the moment.

God can take the manure dumps of life and use them to fertilize some other things that need to grow. That tilling and hoeing of our lives can produce new and different fruit. How many ministries have come out of despair? How many incredible hymns and books have been written that show God’s transformative work?

You have surely had an ugly thing or two happen to you. If it happened 5-10 years ago and you realized a truth of God at a deeper level, consider sharing that with someone.

May you see God at work in your past as well as in your today!
Liz

Renewing

Have you ever turned trash into a treasure? Little kids like to repurpose things —

  • a stick becomes a sword
  • acorns become soup
  • paper towel tubes become trumpets
  • a treehouse becomes a castle on a hill
  • a piece of fabric is used as a cape, skirt, or royal robe

The list is only limited by our imagination. Some kids are born to think outside of the box. And maybe we all were born to think outside of the box — but we have forgotten how!

God works outside of the box on a regular basis. He takes things that we consider useless and worthless and can make them invaluable. In His hands, what is considered ugly can actually bring about something beautiful. It doesn’t mean the ugly wasn’t ugly, but God can still work with it and use it to bring about a greater purpose.

Lord, remind me that you are the business of renewing me and my sinful patterns. It’s hard for me to get out of those ruts that seem to entangle me. Help me see that transformational work. And when I can’t see the benefits, help me to trust in You anyway. Throughout history you have proven yourself. Help me to see it in my own life and be willing to share it with others! Amen.

Transforming

I am all about music. Of course, there are times I need silence too, because music can be distracting, but what an amazing way to tuck some great Scriptural Truths into your brain!

Sometimes it is a daily battle to readjust my thinking and perspective. I don’t always have Godly thoughts about the situations I am confronted with and so I try to turn things over to God on a regular basis.

Here is one of my favorites and it involves the Scripture I talked about last week. I hope you enjoy it!

Blessings on your week!
Liz

Conforming

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect Romans 12:2 NRSV

There are so many things we need to conform to these days that it is difficult not to be lulled into complacency. I have always been a questioner. Well, maybe not always, but after a few big things happening in my life when I was younger, I have a tendency to not just trust what comes out of someones mouth, particularly if they are in a position of authority. Maybe especially if they are in a position of authority.

And so, I have a little trouble conforming. If there are throngs participating, I tend not to jump in. I have to think about it for myself. I step back and survey the big picture of activity and try to sort it out. In the last few years there are increasingly more “camps” of people who expect that you have to do _________ to prove you are ___________. And once that is “satisfied” the next required piece of proof is mentioned.

It’s never ending.

And, if you don’t conform, you will be hackled and heckled until you do. Your employer might get contacted, you might get dressed down in a very public and ugly way. I’ve watched it. I’ve experienced it. It isn’t healthy.

Conforming to the expectations of ________________ (fill in the blank that applies to you). We are all experiencing this in one way or another. This seems to be the way things are working today in the world. And it is absolutely everywhere. The need to “be transformed by renewing your mind” has never been more important than now. Do you have God’s Word hiding in your heart so you can recall it when you don’t have tangible access?

Tell me the passage that, when you are facing an incredible challenge, just comes to mind and soothes your soul. With all the challenges of these days, some soul soothing from our Creator, is essential.

If I want my mind renewed and reprogrammed, I need to go to the Source of Light, Love, and Life. It’s where I go to cast my sorrows, celebrate my joys, and ask for a reframe of what I am experiencing.

May God grant you His perspective for the day!
Liz

Praising the Creator

I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever;
    with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
    through all generations.
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
    that you have established your faithfulness in heaven itself.
You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
    I have sworn to David my servant,
‘I will establish your line forever
    and make your throne firm through all generations.’”

The heavens praise your wonders, Lord,
    your faithfulness too, in the assembly of the holy ones.
For who in the skies above can compare with the Lord?
    Who is like the Lord among the heavenly beings?
In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared;
    he is more awesome than all who surround him.
Who is like you, Lord God Almighty?
    You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. [Psalm 89: 1-8, NIV]

It is not difficult for me to look around at creation and know there is a Creator. From the seasons to the incredible variety of flora, fauna, animals, and the vastness of the animal kingdom. And then the solar system and the amazing sunrises and sunsets and, well, you get the picture. The beauty and intricacies we get to see and understand while we are here on Earth are simply amazing.

As we close the books on another year, I am so very thankful for the beauty I saw, for the people in my life, and for the grace extended to me, each and every day, by the God of the Universe. He know my name. He knows your name!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
Thomas Ken (1637-1711)

Righteousness and Justice

You rule over the surging sea;
    when its waves mount up, you still them.
10 You crushed Rahab like one of the slain;
    with your strong arm you scattered your enemies.
11 The heavens are yours, and yours also the earth;
    you founded the world and all that is in it.
12 You created the north and the south;
    Tabor and Hermon sing for joy at your name.
13 Your arm is endowed with power;
    your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.

14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
    love and faithfulness go before you.
15 Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,
    who walk in the light of your presence, Lord.
16 They rejoice in your name all day long;
    they celebrate your righteousness.
17 For you are their glory and strength,
    and by your favor you exalt our horn.[d]
18 Indeed, our shield[e] belongs to the Lord,
    our king to the Holy One of Israel.

19 Once you spoke in a vision,
    to your faithful people you said:
“I have bestowed strength on a warrior;
    I have raised up a young man from among the people.
20 I have found David my servant;
    with my sacred oil I have anointed him.
21 My hand will sustain him;
    surely my arm will strengthen him.
22 The enemy will not get the better of him;
    the wicked will not oppress him.
23 I will crush his foes before him
    and strike down his adversaries.
24 My faithful love will be with him,
    and through my name his horn[f] will be exalted.
25 I will set his hand over the sea,
    his right hand over the rivers.
26 He will call out to me, ‘You are my Father,
    my God, the Rock my Savior.’
27 And I will appoint him to be my firstborn,
    the most exalted of the kings of the earth.
28 I will maintain my love to him forever,
    and my covenant with him will never fail.
29 I will establish his line forever,
    his throne as long as the heavens endure. [Psalm 89:9-29, NIV]

We don’t see what God sees. And we surely don’t define things the same way God does. Unless we are rooted in Scripture ourselves and are regularly connected to a healthy, Biblical perspective, we only see what we see or what others tell us they see. And all of those things we know come from a flawed perspective. Ever listen to two or more people describe an incident and everyone is compelling but each story is so different? It would do us all good to start out with, “From my point of view…” or “The way I see it at this moment…” because a slightly different angle almost always gives us new information to consider.

But when we go back to the source, or the author of the concepts, and seriously consider the words, that is where we really see the intentions.

Are you hearing some words and phrases these days that don’t seem to add up to God’s definition or perspective? I would like to encourage you to not take the world’s word on what is what. Even when, and especially when, the world is loud and disruptive, consider the source of the definitions.

We are in the midst of difficult days for a number of reasons. But God is with us in every step.

 “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
2 Chronicles 20:12

May we fix our eyes on our Creator and follow His lead!

God’s Peace!
Liz

Laughter & Joy

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them. [Psalm 126, NIV]

Yesterday, I was visiting with one of my children about how our mood can change just by being able to see a photo or video of one of the babies in our family. They have been the source of a lot of laughter and joy for all of us this year!

The heaviness of the complications and challenges of our daily lives these days threatens to steal our laughter and joy. I don’t know about you, but I am wee bit tired. If I don’t leave the house very often and the news is not on, I don’t think about this pandemic very much. But then, I have to do something and I remember — everything takes longer. And, too often, I forget to build in that extra time to accomplish the task I set out to do.

The Lord has done great things.
The Lord is doing great things.
And the Lord will continue to do great things.

Even in the midst of the challenges of our days — and we are all facing some level of challenge — the Lord is doing great things. Take time to focus on those things and, quite often the laughter and joy will follow.

Goodness

Goodness is always found in what God is doing in our lives. His goodness is sure, even as there are struggles and incredibly painful days. Sometimes His goodness is found in the simplest gift or thoughtful deed. It might come from an unexpected place.

This world has its challenges, but being on the lookout for goodness, particularly God’s goodness, is an essential part of my every day!

Fresh

Sometimes, I need to step away from a situation to see it with fresh eyes. A “refresh” if you will. I often refresh my newsfeed or my email – and it gives me something new to see or focus on. How much more important is it to “refresh” how I look at things, particularly from God’s perspective.

“Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”

What is something you love when it is fresh?

Encouragement

Encouragement is something I have to be intentional about seeking. I have to place the Scripture or words of God around me. Sometimes, when I receive written words of encouragement from a friend, I keep it handy. As a visual person, it is important to see words of encouragement to keep it in my mind.

What Scripture verse speaks encouragement to you?