How’s Your Time?

Every man, woman and child has the same amount hours in everyday. We are all given the exact same amount, but we surely don’t use it the same. I wonder if, at the end of our life, will there be a measuring stick (with a digital readout) that tells us just how much of our life’s efforts really amounted to something significant…

Think about it.

BUSYNESS OF LIFE: WORTH / LACK = VALUE

If there was, what would your percentage be? Would all your busyness in life amount to good stuff, quality efforts and true, needed changes and value placed into your life and the lives of others? Or would you find that the equation only equaled a pile of, what I call, “cotton candy?”

Lots of sweetness (or sickening sugar and stickiness, depending on your preference) but nothing substantial.

Think about it.

2017 is quickly coming to an end. What if just this year was measured.

What would your equation say about you?

Job 14:5, “Since his days are determined,

The number of his months is with You;

You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.”

Ecclesiastes 1:3, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”

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Do you chatter or Do You Speak?

Have you ever met someone who just rambles on and on, and it’s hard to even get a word in edgewise? I’m not talking about when you run into your “long lost friend,” and you’re both talking so fast, excited to share what’s happened over the years. I’m not referring to those times when your spouse and you are trying to iron out some differences, and I’m not even implying those moments when your teenager is allowing the deepest soul beats to overflow for your ears to hear. 

I’m talking about the person to whom you go when you need the “latest and greatest news.” Come on, you know the one. Even when you shouldn’t listen, and even when you pretend you don’t, she has the most recent, “juiciest” word on the street, just dying to let you receive it! The string of gossip is so delicious, so “hot off the press,” she carries it to you like it’s a hot potato, and she can’t wait to release it from her flapping lips. 

If you’re a living, breathing soul, and you’re an honest one at that, we can all attest we’ve been there. We’ve been caught in that moment between wanting to hear the herald and knowing we shouldn’t give it credence. So, we are faced with a dilemma. Do we receive it, even if it is only to appear gracious and kind, not wanting to hurt her feelings? Do we say, “We really shouldn’t be talking about this,” yet, continue to allow her jaws to chatter, or do we kindly (or rudely, if needed) tell her we will not lend our ears to this gossip, no matter how close to the truth it might be? 

What do we do? What should we do?

If we are God-fearing, God-pleasing and desire to be seen as such, then we should choose the latter, no matter how hard it may be to speak, and no matter what “friendship” it may cost us. When you become a person known not only by the words you speak, but also, by the company you keep, you carry with you a reputation which speaks when you don’t have to. You become known as a person of integrity, trustworthiness and higher standards. When you close off gossip, not only from your own mouth, but also from those mouths that surround you, you close off needless chatter. 

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People are drawn to those who are of a reputable stature. They will be intrigued by your silence rather than offended by your babble or the gibberish that surrounds you. People of integrity and trust will begin to want to hear what you have to say when you choose to speak. So, choose your words and your “atmosphere of words” wisely; then, you will become known as a person who speaks and doesn’t just chatter. 

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Love Me Challenge #19

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Something I feel strongly about…

There are few things for which I will live and die, but these are a few…

My God

All He is to me, all He’s done for me, and all He has promised

He has created my world. He sustains my world. He is my world.

 

My Loves

Who they are and what they mean to me

They are my world.

 

PS. Just as a side note… too often, in today’s culture, there are too many “fighting and dying” for so many things of not much value and not much “reward.” When you choose to ‘feel strongly’ about something, and you choose to fight for it, just make sure it is truly something worth fighting for, not just the latest trend or the latest, greatest and loudest scheme of the politicians or other agenda driven group to get your attention! ūüėČ …There are things for which to fight, and there are things for which to sacrifice a life, just make sure you are certain those things are right! … okay, that is all. ūüôā

 

 

 

More Valuable Than Gold

 

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I wonder, sometimes, what do we truly value in this life? There is a story in the Bible, in the book of Luke, that tells the story of a woman who lost one silver coin out of ten that she had. She lit a lamp and frantically searched the whole house for the coin, even going so far as to sweep the whole house in her search. Then, once it had been found, she called all her friends and neighbors to celebrate the goodness she had found. This parable is in reference to salvation, and the truth revealed in God loving us so much that His search for us when we are lost is even more so than this woman.

‚ÄúOr what woman, having ten silver coins,¬†if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds¬†it?¬†¬†And when she has found¬†it,¬†she calls¬†her¬†friends and neighbors together, saying, ‚ÄėRejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!” Luke 15:8-10

However, the parable also brings to mind the thoughts of what we hold valuable in our lives, what we hold dear and precious to our hearts, and what would bring us to the point of extreme desperation at the loss of it. What we consider of value displays our true character. What we value sets our priorities in place and determines our perspective of significance.

I wonder what it might be in your life?

I wonder what it is that you hold cherished and valued in your life?

Is it your children? your job? your money? your possessions? What is it that sets your priorities in right order? What might it be that places your perspective and your ponderings on a particular sight, person or concept?

Those of us who call on the name of Jesus as Lord should pause a moment and consider the truth of this reality. Is it really the message of Jesus that we hold dear? Do we cherish Him as a treasure? Do we consider Him that valuable? Do we seek Him as expensive gold? Do we place everything aside simply to be with Him and to know Him more each and every day?

Do we share Him with those around us as the good news we have found?

Do You Have Presents or Presence?

Taking time out with family and friends does a body good…and the mind and the soul… If you’re the type who has to work, work, work, and you never take time out to relax, to spend time with family and friends, and just to simply take time out to think, you are really robbing yourself and the ones who love you. When you consume your time with “presents” (of wealth, fame and power) with the lack of presence (of people), you will find your life full of emptiness.

It’s so sad to me to watch people who filled their life with agendas and ambitions, and then, when they grow older and aren’t in the work force anymore and aren’t able to accomplish what they once did, they find themselves sitting alone in a room wondering when someone will come to visit. You can simply walk through the assisted living facilities and nursing homes and see countless men and women waiting alone.

The presence of relationships is so important in this life. You don’t have to have a ton, but the ones you have must be deep. They have to be meaningful. They have to be full of love and life. When you have these, you have something to hold on to when the days grow dark and the nights grow lonely.

As this new year approaches, ask yourself, are you ambitious about the presents ūüéĀ or are you ambitious about the presence (of relationships)? Let’s make this new year meaningful and full of life…

 

 

We Are Moms

Ok, so, if you’ll indulge me, I’m going to rant for just a moment. I am so sick of all the bickering across social media, blogs and other “news” mediums, and I just want to shout this from the rooftops: STOP IT!!¬† *Please note before I start, I am not looking for a debate, and I am not trying to offend. I just feel the need to say something, and¬†I hope you will read till the end…

There is so much shaming, fingerpointing and backbiting that, too often lately, I feel as if I’m back in kindergarten, or better yet, I’m back in junior high listening to the 12 year old girls bickering over who’s fault it is that the popular girl doesn’t like¬†them anymore! ūüėĀ It’s silly, and it’s really becoming annoying.

We have had several MAJOR tragedies in our country over the last several weeks, and the news media and social media feeds have been lit up like Christmas trees. Everyone is trying to find someone to blame for the gorilla, the alligator and the night club violence, because after all, it couldn’t be as interesting as simply be sympathetic toward the families who are grieving over their lost loved ones! It couldn’t be as intriguing as trying to reach out to the ones mourning.

These mothers will never hug their babies again in this life. (And yes, I realize the nightclub was not filled with¬†‘babies,’ but to a mother, her child will always be her ‘baby,’ no matter his or her age.) These fathers will never rescue their children from another emergency. These grandparents will never see their grandbabies smile those beautiful smiles that made their hearts swell with love. Why can we not stop all the¬†fighting for a split second and observe the value of a life? Observing the value of life does not mean I must agree or disagree with the person or his or her lifestyle for that life to be valuable.

Why? Because this country has become too accustomed to shaming anybody and everybody who avails him or herself to the public eye. We have become too comfortable with setting ourselves as judge and juror,  bondsman and, even, the thought police. This ought not be.

Can I tell you? I am a mom. I love my babies, and I do my very best to take care of them the best way I know how. Do I always do everything perfect? By all means, No! I wake up everyday and pray the Lord help me and guide me, because I am human, and humans make mistakes, and accidents can happen.

Now, just because I do my best, does that put every mom into that same category? No, unfortunately, I can’t say that it does. Some moms are so focused on themselves or their own agendas that they are neglective or oblivious to their child’s needs. Some moms are so jacked up that they cannot cope and function the way they should.¬†Other moms are just simply wrong in how they handle life, children and all of the above.

Yet, it’s not my place (or yours) to get on social media or any other news medium and blast that mom for what I believe she did or didn’t do right. I don’t even know the woman.¬†If we are not within her orbit, didn’t see exactly what happened and have no tangible access to her world, how can we sit in judgement and shame her, or praise her, for what we have drawn as our own opinions??¬†…and why should we? Don’t we have better things to do with our time??

If there has been a crime committed, the authorities will figure that out. It is their job. That is what they are trained to do! That’s what they are doing at that nightclub. They’ve determined it was an act of terrorism; so, why is the bickering still focused on gun control and the life of the homosexual? The news media and liberal agendas seem to enjoy stirring up the opinions on everything else but the real issue at hand.¬†The fact is, we are all Americans, no matter race, origin, religion or sexual orientation, and we have some real enemies in this world. These enemies would like to see us ALL dead, and our fighting amongst ourselves is not going to change this fact, nor will it help to bring¬†resolution to that fact. Sometimes, there is a war to be fought, and we must fight it. Shooting in amongst the troops isn’t going to kill the enemy. It will only hinder our efforts to win.

On the two other tragedies, if there is a wrong to be found, those involved in the situation will be called upon to right that wrong. If she (and he) is found to be untrue, and she is to be chastised for her faulty ways, then those closest to her and those in leadership surrounding her should speak into her life for reprimand and change, but who are you and I to think it is our place to publicly shame her? Do you really think that is going to make a difference in her life?

Sometimes, shaming is for coping, and sometimes, it’s for competing. We are moms. We shouldn’t do either, but it all comes from vanity. Either you feel better than someone else or worse than them. So, you compare. You compete. You tear them down to lift yourself up. It’s all wrong.

Matt12.34

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“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.¬†But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.‚ÄĚ Matthew 12:34b-37

 

 

We are moms. This is a battle of life and death, and the victory is the¬†breath and legacy of our children. We should just fight the good fight. Link arms together when we can, and pull each other up when we’re able. If we see wrong within our orbit of influence, we should not hesitate to speak up; however, often times, we must have built a relationship long before the tragedy to make any real impact in the lives of those whom we speak truth.

If we witness a crime, by all means, stand up for the innocent! Yet, when it comes to men and women we know nothing about, a situation in which we have no first hand knowledge and a location in which we were not present, sometimes, it’s better for everyone involved, including ourselves, to keep quiet, give grace¬†and just pray. Pray for wisdom. Pray for truth. Pray for justice and grace.

Life is hard sometimes, and we all need a friend and a cheerleader to help us along the way!¬† … Okay, I will end my rant now. Thank you for letting me unload that mess…

¬†plankeye“And why do you look at the speck in your brother‚Äôs eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?¬†Or how can you say to your brother, ‚ÄėLet me remove the speck from your eye‚Äô; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother‚Äôs eye.” Matthew.7:3-5¬†¬†

 

Do You See A Purpose?

What is your purpose?

Sometimes, you can dream about your purpose for the future, for the world, for your nation. These dreams are fun, exciting, and if pursued, they can be life changing. Everyone should have a dream and a purpose bigger than they are. When you live your life for a purpose bigger than you, one that is for the greater good of those around you, it’s easier to avoid things like selfishness, arrogance and even self-loathing.

Yet, what do you do when those dreams seem too big, too far or too foreign to the struggle and turmoil of everyday life? What about those lives who are broken and in despair, and the next breath seems too hard to imagine? What about them? What does purpose mean then?

Sometimes, you just have to realize your purpose for the here and now, and set aside those bigger purposes, those bigger dreams for another day. It doesn’t mean those things can’t happen, but when your spouse is lying debilitated in a hospital bed, those “purposes for the future” seem a little farfetched. When your child is suffering from a terminal illness, and you don’t even know if she’ll make it till tomorrow, those “dreams bigger than life” seem a little nonsensical.

At these times, you simply do what comes next, and you do it well. You take care of the one you love and the ones you are with, and you let tomorrow take care of itself. You find purpose in today, in the now, in the value of those around you. That purpose, sometimes, can become greater than any “big purpose” you could find elsewhere.

When things don’t turn out as you imagined, and your purpose seems a little less than you dreamed, just hold on. It doesn’t mean that purpose will never come to fruition. It doesn’t mean your dreams will never be realized. It just means it’s on hold for a little while, and what’s in front of you may need more attention than those “big” things. Your purpose is before you always. Sometimes, you just have to open your eyes to see it.

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“For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry.”  Habakkuk 2:3

 

Daily Prompt: Purpose

The Christmas List

  
Thanksgiving is next week. Black Friday is right after that. Christmas is only 38 days away. We will usher in the New Year in just 45 days…that’s about the average amount of time you take to close on a house. There will be endless get togethers, shopping trips, holiday parties and cards to be sent between now and then…Life can get so busy at this time of year!

 
I feel like more and more, time just speeds up the closer we get to the end of the year. There are so many things I want to do, especially for the holidays, with my family and friends. I can feel my agenda of events starting to take over and consume my calendar. If I try to hold tightly to the time, like sand in an hour glass, it simply starts trickling through my fingers. There’s simply not enough time. 

No, wait, there’s no less time than there was 20-30 years ago. There’s no less hours in my day today than there were last year or the year before. Time hasn’t changed, my calendar has, my priorities have. Now, I have a husband, two lively boys, a growing church family and many more added responsibilities than I did those 20-30 years ago, when all I had to worry about was getting home on time for curfew, getting the next 5-page paper done, or what I planned to wear for a night out with friends. 

Yes, there are more things required of me in this day and time; however, these things should not distract me from those things which are of high importance in my life before the holiday season hits. My list may adjust some, but those top 3-5 things shouldn’t alter simply because I have added desires and agendas during Christmas time. 

My list may not be exactly like yours, and, honestly, if it were, I might wonder why…we have different family dynamics; we live different lives. Yet, we all have a purpose, and we all commitments we have made. We must set our priorities in such a way that we keep those important things, and those important people, at the top. 

Even during this very busy season, my God, my family, and our staff and church family are the most important things on that list. These things don’t change, simply, because it’s a new season, a more hectic time. These things can’t take a backseat simply because I’d like to add a few more items to my list. I simply have to become more disciplined and deliberate in my approach to them. I have to become more aware of my intentions, my agendas and my follow through, and sometimes, I have to learn to say no to something I’d like to do “on a whim” to stay consistent in doing something that I’ve made a commitment to do. 

Sometimes, our family can be placed on hold simply because we’re working more hours to accommodate the Christmas wish list, when, maybe, we just need to get back to the simpler things of life. Sometimes, our commitments can be delayed simply because we had an act of spontaneity due to the holiday season, when it would have been better to stay consistent in those promises we once made. Sometimes, we need to hold onto those things (or people) of tradition and value and not forsake them for “the newest and the brightest” things found to be on the shelf. This isn’t going to be true for everyone, and there will be endless variables to this equation; however, if we are truly honest with that face that stares back at us in the mirroe, we know when we’ve let a priority slip by the wayside. We know when we’ve excuses away a commitment we should’ve held dear. 

This holiday season, let’s make a point to remember the things that are on top of the list; those things of importance and meaning. It doesn’t mean we can enjoy the fun events of the holiday, and it doesn’t mean we have to miss out on something new and fun to do, but let’s not forsake one to grasp hold of another! Let’s learn to balance and prioritize on the important once so that we can maximize our efforts! ūüėä

Life Is So Short…Stop.

Friday, some good friends of ours lost two of their nephews in a tragic car accident. Today, another family will be saying goodbye to their father, grandfather and husband, whom they lost suddenly about a week ago, and yet, another family just laid to rest their family matriarch, yesterday, after her sudden illness in just the last few days. There are several more I could mention who are going through a season of grief or who are just on the verge of it. Sometimes, when it rains, it pours.

Life¬†is so short.¬†It slows down¬†for no one.¬†Stop. Inhale. Breathe. Make the Moments Last.¬†Cherish those you love¬†longer. Treasure those around you, even when you feel like they’ll¬†be there¬†forever. Don‚Äôt let those memories be lost, simply, because you haven‚Äôt the time to remember. Don‚Äôt brush away the tears, simply, because you don‚Äôt want them to see. Pause and ponder. Look up and wonder. Gaze into the eyes of a child, and remember what matters most.

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Sometimes, life can be a fierce reminder of what can be lost in an instant. We are never guaranteed tomorrow. We are never promised our next breath. This why it’s so important to savor the dimming light in a sunset, to treasure those last embers around the campfire. We never know what may be around the next bin or beyond the next horizon. How we handle “right now” may determine our regrets and our joys for tomorrow.

We can live our lives letting life happen, or we can choose to make life happen. We can roll on, allowing life to impact us in whatever fashion it comes, or we can choose to make an impact on the life around us. We can be a victim, or we can be the victor. What we do with the time we are given may very well become our anthem or our lament.

If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to share with you what King Solomon said about this¬†in Ecclesiastes 3…

“To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

2 A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
8 A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.    

…(14) I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever.

From the wisest King who ever lived, we are given confirmation that time never stops; there are seasons for everything, and that whatever God does,¬†that is what¬†will last forever. So, I leave you with this question, ” What¬†things or¬†people¬†do you hold so dear, and for whom are you living your life today?”

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Ever Striving

We work. We strive.
We sweat. We strain.
For what gain?
We toil for all these earthly things.
We forsake the precious for the temporal.
Eternity waits; yet, we strive.

We push. We pull.
We twist. We bend.
For what end?
We scrape to grasp the material.
We lose hold of the treasure for the momentary.
Eternity groans; yet, we strive.

When will we see?
These are as things shouldn’t be.
We abandon the truth for a lie.
We sell our souls only for what money can buy.
The sacred forgotten. The value has been lost.
We can’t even see it’s our very lives that it costs.

Penned -MG – 1/23/15