Monthly Archives: October 2020

Pinocchio Prayers

Nothing worse than being lied to.

And unfortunately, this time of year during voting season, it seems the lies are passed around like candy.

One party blames another while touting their own lies.  The accused creates their own lies to combat the accuser.  It snowballs – all this lying – until it becomes so big and so heavy that we give up digging through the dirt to find the truth.  We start distrusting everyone – even the truth-tellers.

And that’s not good.

But before we start pointing fingers, let’s look at our own lives.

Are we liars?  You.  Me.  Are we liars?

Maybe we don’t mean to be.  Maybe our intentions are the best but what about our follow through?

As I was having my quiet time this morning, I was convicted.  Like heavily convicted.  One of the studies I am doing is about Daniel and how committed he was to prayer.  He was so busy with daily responsibilities and excelled in his work that he was promoted and given greater and greater responsibilities until he was like a “prime minister” of Babylon.

Yet he still found time to pray – multiple times. Every. single. day.

When we tell someone we will pray for them, do we?
Do we mumble a quick prayer right then and never follow through with additional prayers?
If we say we will pray and then don’t do it, are we a liar?

That seems pretty harsh, but that’s the conviction the Lord gave me.  When I say I am going to pray, I not only need to stop and pray right then, but add it to a list and continue to pray for that request.  Then, I need to not only pray but follow up and check on the request for which I am praying.

Praying is a privilege awarded to every person.  And we can do it anywhere, any time.  If we are in a place where prayer isn’t allowed, we can still do it in our heart.

God loves to hear from us.  People need to know we are praying for them.

And we certainly don’t want to be “Pinoccchio Pray-ers”.

Be like Daniel.  Continue to live.  Continue to work.  But don’t forget to continue to pray.

Praying is a privilege.  Let’s take that honor seriously.

Ephesians 6:8 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Toothpaste Words.

Have you ever squeezed the toothpaste too much and all that white glob spills over the sides of the toothbrush?

I try to prop it back on top of the brush only to leave it oozing down the side again.  I think, “it will be okay.   This isn’t that much toothpaste.”  I begin brushing my teeth only to feel as if fluoride-infested ice cream is floating around my gums and my taste buds just can’t take it any longer.

The very next day, the same thing happens.  Why do I squeeze the toothpaste with so much force?  So I try desperately to do like a reverse squeeze; you know, like try to open up the tube from the bottom in hopes there will be some kind of sucking of air IN versus pushing of toothpaste out.

I put just a little on the top of the tube and hold the tube upright thinking perhaps gravity can force that little gritty white paste back into the tube.  Maybe a toothpick can shove it down in.  And then I come to grips….

It is NOT gonna happen.

There is no getting that toothpaste back in that tube.  I tried every angle, every scientific method my bathroom sink had to offer.  The toothpaste is out and will not go back in.

That’s how our words can be.  We say things out of anger or just because our mouth sets in action before our brains and out come those words.  Words of hurt or defense.  Words of expressing our opinions in forceful manners.  Words that don’t express our Christian values but instead ooze out of our mouth from our sinful heart.

We’ve all done it.
We’ve all tried to backpedal.
We’ve all apologized.
We’ve all deleted our comment on social media.
We’ve all asked for forgiveness.

But there is no putting those words back in our mouth to reverse the action that has already happened.  They’re toothpaste words.  They can’t be put back in the tube.

The good thing is that people can forgive.  God will forgive.  And we can learn valuable lessons for next time.

Ephesians 4:29 – Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

It’s hard, especially in today’s highly-sensitive climate, to not let those words ooze out of our mouths before we think.  But once they’re out, we can’t take them back.

I challenge you to come along with me this week to be extra cautious about our words; to be very mindful of the things we say and the way we say them.  We should ask ourselves before we speak, “is this something that will build others up or tear others down?”  If it’s not to build others up, don’t speak it.

Because once those words are out, no matter how much we try, they cannot squeeze back into the tube.

The Wooden Bench.

There’s one outside the local barber shop to catch up on today’s gossip.
There’s one at the bus stop to take a load off during the wait.
There’s a few scattered around the reservoir to rest during exercise.
There’s one on the front porch and another on the back.
There’s several in the park and a few under the trees.

The Wooden Bench.

A seat compiled of several pieces of lumber.   They come in all sizes but usually one basic shape.  Some are more decorative and some are plain.  Some are stained while others are colorfully painted.

It offers a lot – this little wooden bench.

It’s not complicated but actually rather simple.

It offers rest for the body and the soul.

It invites one to visit with a friend or a stranger.

It allows one to sit solo or with another.

It is versatile because it can go anywhere.

It can be here.  It can be there.  It can be everywhere.

It is welcoming and offers only good.

It is sturdy and strong.

The Wooden Bench.

Jesus is a lot like the wooden bench.  He is simple, welcoming, inviting, provides rest for the body and the soul, supports, loves people of all sizes and colors, is a friend and welcomes strangers.  He is sturdy and unchanging.  He is here, there and everywhere.  And He is no stranger to wood.

I hope you find time to sit a while on your wooden bench.  Rest.  Relax.  Chat with a friend.  Watch the squirrels.  Find renewal and peace from the weight of the world.

And may you feel the Spirit of the Holy One sitting there with you offering eternal peace from the weight of this world….. right there at the foot of the wooden bench.

 

That’s It. I’m Done.

I give up.  I give in. Toxic out.  You win.

I am on Day 10 of a 10-day body detox program.  I’ve fought it for several years.  My holistic nurse has said she thought the detox could get rid of the toxins in my body, help me physically feel better, jump start my weight loss and teach me how I can change my diet when I have been so resistant to it.

Well it’s day 10 and she was right.  I just woke up on September 22 and decided that was the day.  No more procrastinating.

So I encouraged myself and said, “That’s it.  It’s time to do this thing.  It’s time to detox.  I give up.  I give in. Toxins out.  You win.”

Who was I even talking to?  Who wins?  My nurse?  Me?  God?

Yes, I add God in there because I knew He had been telling me to do this detox for a while.  I kept resisting because I don’t love veggies.  I do love chocolate and sugar.  And frankly….the real reason….I don’t like to be told what to do.

There I said it.  I like to be in control.

But when I followed the guidelines and drank the shake, cut out the sugar and carbs, ate more veggies and fruits and protein, I felt so much better!  I have more energy.  My attitude is better.  My body doesn’t ache like it did.  And bonus – I lost 3 pounds.  🙂

It is true.  Getting the toxins out, focusing on putting good things in and giving up that stubborn control really did make a difference in how I felt.

But I don’t think God was just telling me to do this for my body.  I think He was also telling me to do this for my soul.  For my spiritual soul.

And I did.

I woke one morning for my regular routine of devotions and quiet time, treadmill, shower and work.  But that morning was different.  That morning I knew I needed to spend extra time with the Lord.  I knew the detox that day had to be my heart.

The toxins I had been carrying around for so long had to go.  Worry.  Control.  Stubborness.  I sat in my quiet place and read scripture and devotion and cried.  Not a loud sob but rather a gentle, constant, few minutes of soft tears continually flowing from my eyes, down my cheeks, across my jaw bone and onto my neck.

I let them flow as I softly spoke to Jesus to take it all.  To take my burdens.  To take my worry, my need to control and that doggone stubborn spirit.  To rid me of all the toxins.

And when I did, there was peace.  My body and my spirit felt cleansed.  My heart didn’t hurt anymore.  I had jump started my trust in Jesus again.  I felt hope.

Just like the detox for my physical self, I needed a detox for my spiritual self.

If you need a spiritual detox, I encourage you to ask God where to start.  Just sit in a quiet place.  Confess your sins, your worries, your stubborness.  And then let Him take control and do the cleaning for you.

It’s worth it.  Give up.  Give in.  Toxins out.  You win.