Stress Blocker

>> Saturday, December 21, 2013

The words from my car radio captured my attention.

“Ease everyday stress for a healthier mind and body.”

The voice continued with positive remarks about this magic pill that could promote relaxation, calmness and focus. Due to the three key powerful ingredients, the effects of stress on your body would be whisked away. And of course there was a financial cost attached.

As I drove, I pondered those words.
Everybody has stress in their lives…especially at the Christmas season…which is a sad commentary on the way we celebrate. Do most people even understand what really occurred with that birth? Talk about a Stress Blocker; Jesus is the ultimate. He comes with three key components, Himself, God and the Holy Spirit. And this Stress Blocker is free.
For me, these aren’t just words on paper. Many times my life has been off the stress chart. I’ve turned to the Stress Blocker time and again. I place my concerns in His hands and sleep soundly.

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?” Matthew 6:25 (NLT)



>> Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last month the Oxford Dictionaries announced selfie as their international word of the year for 2013. Selfie is a picture taken of yourself with a mobile device. Since the use of the word selfie has increased by 17,000% in the last year, more than a few people have become acquainted with it.

However, I had never heard of it until my pastor used it in a sermon a few weeks ago. I did some research; hence, my previous declaration.

When I understood its definition, my thoughts immediately turned to the photos I had taken of an island in Lake Tahoe. Its beauty was magnificent. I wanted to share the wonder with those who could not make the trip. So as our tour boat traveled around the island, my camera shutter clicked 17 times.

Imagine my surprise when I excitedly looked at my wonderful pictures. Each one was of me. 17 selfies. Even though I had not meant to take portraits of myself, the results were the same.

Others deliberately take pictures of themselves. Facebook proves that.

But here’s my point. Whether you set out to show others who you are…or you have no intention of doing so…the result is the same. Each and every day we are presenting a selfie to the world.

What does yours look like?

“Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don’t miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.” Colossians 4:5-6 (MSG)


Accustomed to the Dark

>> Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I avoid the intake of caffeine. Yet on a recent trip to Boise, I indulged…at Starbucks in the morning with chai…and then when I ate lunch. We arrived back in town at 2:00 and by the time I was served my Mexican food it was 3:00. I can’t eat Mexican without pop…so I partook of a diet Pepsi. And then a refill.

I should have known better.

That evening, for the first hour after we went to bed, I lay there wide-eyed, staring into the dark. Enough of that. I snuck from the bedroom feeling my way to the door. Traversing the living room I discovered the suitcases were still there. Finally I arrived at my office and turned on the light.

A blog was written.

Time to try the bed again…but this time I went through the kitchen to avoid the suitcases. Even though I had turned the lights off when I left my room, I paused at the bedroom door.

“I need to let my eyes get accustomed to the darkness so I can make my way to the bed.”

So I stood there. When I began to see shapes in the dark, I entered the bedroom and went to bed.

As I thought about that experience, I realized that life could happen just like that. We spend time in the light…doing good things…having high integrity…great morals. But something occurs to cause us to be in darkness…feeling our way. If we stay in that darkness long enough, it becomes familiar. We can find our way around without the light.

It’s easier to get away with bad behavior in the dark. Some people like it there and choose to stay.

For me, as a Christ-follower, I choose the Light.

“Make sure the light you think you have is not really darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you” Luke 11:36 (NLT)


Thankful for Those Years

>> Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We gather at the Thanksgiving dinner table…hold hands…and then go around the table with each person expressing what they are thankful for. It’s a wonderful tradition. There is always a plethora of ideas for thankfulness.

But this year my thanksgiving has gone a different direction.

I think back to my days in Kansas…raised under religious oppression. It was all I knew and I thought it was normal. An arranged marriage before I graduated from high school only continued my kind of normalcy.

And then he left me…in a strange town…no friends…no church support…to fend for myself. The next two years I floundered in all aspects of my life: finances, children, employment and Christianity.

But I’m thankful for those years.

Now I live in a new “normal”. Those years formed my backbone…caused me to observe my lack of parenting…taught me how to handle money and a job…and sent me on an exhaustive search to discover who God really is and what that meant for me.

Today I am in a life test…and so far I’m passing. Without those years of learning and growing I would be failing.

So I’m thankful for those years.

“Thank you!”
Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness;
Most holy is your name, most holy is your Word.
The moment I called out, you stepped in; you made my life large with strength.” Psalm 138:2-3 (MSG)


Dirty Hands

>> Sunday, November 24, 2013

When my kids were little…after a day of playing outside…I would tell them to wash their hands before dinner. From the bathroom would come sounds of water running and various conversations.

“You didn’t wash your hands good enough. There’s still dirt right there.”

“I got my hands washed first. You’re just slow.”

“Your hands are clean enough. A little dirt is okay.”

Competitions. Comparisons.
Isn’t the same true in life? There’s always someone who will tell you exactly where your dirt is. Or maybe they take life as a competition and they want to finish first. Others are quite willing to keep a little dirt. It won’t hurt anybody.

As a Christ-follower, I want to be careful about that kind of behavior. Even though I have washed my life with God’s love, it’s not my job to tell someone else where their dirt is. They are already all too aware of the issues in their life that are dragging them down. Nor should I go around expressing pride in my status as a Christ-follower…with the attitude of what’s wrong with you?

Then there are those who want to get by with as little Christianity as possible…just enough to make it to heaven, but not interfere in their earthly passions. My heart goes out to the empty life they lead.

Jesus is in the hand-washing business. No competitions. No comparisons. Just clean.

“Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus” 1 Corinthians 6:11 (MSG)


Good Eye…Bad Eye

>> Sunday, November 17, 2013

My right eye used to be my bad eye…not functioning properly. In fact, my vision was so blurry I was declared legally blind in that eye. My left eye became the dominant one…taking control of my focus. And then I was given a lens implant in my right eye. Immediately the vision in that eye was much sharper than my left eye.

So my left eye rebelled.

For several years now, my eyes have not worked together. They both want to be in charge. That causes issues such as double vision and slower tracking of movement. But recently my Optometrist mentioned I have developed a cataract in my left eye. The manifestation of that film over my eye lens has resulted in inferior quality of vision in that eye.

So who’s in charge now?

As Christ-followers, we face the same issue of who’s in charge. Sometimes the lines of right and wrong can become blurry. Due to factors in our lives, we may find it difficult to focus. There are forces within us that are at war.

We are not helpless in this battle. Just as a lens implant restores clear vision, our God can remove the cause of indistinct vision. We don’t even have to make an appointment and endure countless tests. He made us and knows us from the inside out.

We just need to allow Him to do His work.

“Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)


Chicken or Eagle

>> Thursday, November 7, 2013

A folktale handed down through the years is of an Indian who found an eagle’s egg. Unable to find the nest it came from, he slipped the egg in the nest of a prairie chicken. When the eggs hatched, out came several chickens and one eagle.

But it didn’t know it was an eagle.

So it scratched in the dirt, pecked for seeds and fluttered its wings to fly a few feet above the ground. Occasionally it would raise its head, spot an eagle soaring high in the sky and wonder what that would feel like.

But it was a chicken, so it would lower its head and return to pecking in the dirt…never delighting in that glorious feeling.

I grew up in a chicken pen.

Due to a combination of older age, too many children and religion, my mother filled my head with rules and judgments that kept me scratching in the dirt and eating seeds. At school I would see a group of children…laughing and playing together…and wonder what that would feel like.

But I was an obedient daughter and a Christian, so I would sit alone. It was my lot in life to stay true to God. There would be no soaring for me.

How grateful I am for the people in my life that saw my eagle’s wings and asked questions about why I wasn’t using them. What a surprise and delight to discover God had endowed me with the capability to soar.

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)


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