Posts filed under ‘Meditations’

Philosophy of Life Hasn’t Changed in 9 Years

Last Sunday I preached at church on my life verse. As I was preparing for the sermon I remembered that sometime ago I had written about it on my blog. I did a little research and found that in 2008 I was tagged to define my philosophy using only 6 words.

Here is that first post, 6 Words That Define Philosophy of Life. In thinking about this topic, I first I came up with ideas that others might have used.

Jesus could have used one of the following as His 6 word philosophy . . . 

  1. The Father and I are One.
  2. Greatness? Humble servant, always obedient.
  3. I always do the Father’s will.
  4. My life, for yours, for eternity.

Augustine might have had the following as his philosophy … Desire what I know God desires.

And finally The Westminster Larger Catechism says . . . Glorify God and enjoy him forever.

Then I wrote a post about coming up with my philosophy, My 6 Word Philosophy of Life Brings Perspective. Can you guess how many tries it took to narrow it down to 6 words that I WANT to base my life on? It only took 12 tries. Go read this post to see what my progression was. And to see what my life verse is!

Your Turn . . .  Have you ever taken time to narrow down your philosophy of life? If you have, can you connect it with a verse in the Bible? . . . If you haven’t done either, I encourage you to do so and then share it with us. . . . If you’ve already done it, share it with us.

Related Post . . . I ended this concentrated thinking time by writing this post, 11 Generations Participate in 6 Word Philosophy of Life Meme.  It was interesting to see how this chain started and where it went.

Why don’t you continue this chain by answering and then tagging some folks to answer? Let’s get this meme going again. This kind of reflection is good for us.

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Checking Your Heart for Leaf Scars

Gazillions of leaves are falling . . .
Into my yard.
On my roof.
Under my doormat (?).
All over my car.
In my outdoor glider.

One time a bunch even descended upon me (and in my shirt) as I left my house.

Why in the world are these leaves attacking me and others en masse?
Because it’s Autumn.

Technically, it’s because there is less sunlight and water, the tree stops making food and grows a seal which disconnects the leaf from the tree. This is a protective measure the tree “instinctively” makes in order to help itself survive the winter.

More in-depth answers are available to the autumn questions at kidzone. Also your kiddos will enjoy the following autumn projects like . . .

So what does all this have to do with anything relevant to my life as a Believer?

There are times in my life when it feels like autumn.
I lose my leaves, my sense of connection with my core, my energy. I shut down for a season. These leaves can be my composure, joy, temper, courage, integrity, commitments. I bet you can name some more.

A tree in this cycle is healthy. When I’m in this cycle, not so healthy.

It always happens when I move myself (not always intentionally) away from the light of the Son and water of the Word. If this goes on for a spell, a seal forms around my heart.

At the point where the stem of the leaf is attached to the tree, a special layer of cells develops and gradually severs the tissues that support the leaf.

In my heart, these layers are caused by fatigue, unbelief, anger, pain, fear, overload. And when I don’t regularly feed myself with truth, as found in God’s word, I lack the ability to take care of myself properly. I feel severed from God’s leading.*

When the leaf is finally blown off by the wind or falls from its own weight, it leaves behind a leaf scar.

I’ve got leaf scars! Too many are the result of my own choices.

But I am grateful that God is . . .

  • the Master of autumn and spring and every season.
  • stronger than any protective seal I allow to come between us.
  • constantly wooing me back into right relationship with Him, with others and with myself.

Sisters, if you are in an autumn season . . .

  • Drink some water – the Bible.
  • Sit in the Sun (Christ) for a bit.
  • Tell Him how you feel.
  • Ask for His help.
  • Dare to share with a friend what the layers are.
  • Seek prayer from others.
  • Unload your life.

It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

Autumn is about positive, protective, preparation for winter. It’s good for a tree to drop its business all over – everywhere.

When our autumn means we protect ourselves from God, others, ourselves, and when it means we drop our business all over – everywhere, it means trouble. But it is trouble that has an answer.

Will you join me in believing that God really has the answers for a good life?

Let’s use this earthly autumn to see where our hearts are going dormant.

Your Turn . . . 

  • What are some of the layers you’re carrying around?
  • How may I encourage you?
  • Pray for you?
  • Call or email me if you’d like to talk privately.

Remember, It’s that simple. And it’s that hard.

But no matter how I feel, I am never severed, as a Believer, from His grace, love and mercy. Nor can I ever be snatched from His hand.

Related Posts . . .

NOTE: This is an updated post from 2006.

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Two Results of Proper WORSHIP & How to Experience It

Worship helps me stop the negative, self-centered, and sometimes critical thoughts. THEN I can concentrate on God: His will, attributes, and love for His Children.

Worship helps me stop the negative, self-centered, worried, and sometimes critical thoughts. THEN I can concentrate on God: His will, attributes, and love for His Children.

What does PROPER worship do?

  1. Interrupts my self-preoccupation
  2. Leads me to deliberately focus on God

“Worship is the strategy by which we interrupt our preoccupation with ourselves and attend to the presence of God.”

“Worship is the time and place that we assign for deliberate attentiveness to God – not because He’s confined to time and place but because  . . .

  • our self-importance is so insidiously relentless
  • that if we don’t deliberately interrupt ourselves regularly,
  • we have no chance of attending to Him at all at other times and in other places.”  

By Eugene Peterson

Pastor Peterson says that worship is a strategy, an identifiable plan of action to achieve the goal of “attending to the presence of God.”

Therefore worship, or experiencing God’s presence, can happen at any point in the day on any day when I deliberately reflect on God.

Here are three ways I can worship, experience God’s presence.

ONE. Music helps me experience God’s presence. I agree with Bach that certain music makes me feel God’s presence. “Where there is devotional music, God is always at hand with His gracious presence,” (Johann Sebastian Bach).

“Sometimes when we sing, the power of music and truth combined can dig deeply into our hearts to make us realize that God is with us, but it wasn’t the singing that made him appear. He was there all along.” By Vaughan Roberts

TWO. Sermons help me experience God’s presence. Listening to people like my Pastor or other speakers who truthfully and diligently preach/teach God’s Word does 3 things . . .

  1. corrects my theology, 
  2. admonishes me to see how God would have me change, and  
  3. opens my thoughts to God’s loving, powerful, omnipresence in my life.  

“God fills heaven and earth just as the ocean fills a bucket which has been submerged in it a mile down. The bucket is full of ocean, but the ocean surrounds the bucket in all directions.” AW Tozer, The Attributes of God

Everyday life can help me experience God. Brother Lawrence took this to mean that he could worship God anywhere even while cleaning dishes if he was seeking out and reflecting on God’s presence. I’ve discovered the same thing.

“He [God] does not ask much of us merely a thought of Him from time to time,

  • a little act of adoration,
  • sometimes to ask for His grace,
  • sometimes to offer Him your sufferings,
  • at other times to thank Him for the graces, past and present, He has bestowed on you,
  • in the midst of your troubles to take solace in Him as often as you can.”

By Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

These are only three of the ways I worship, experience God’s presence.

Your Turn . . . 

  • How often do you worship God?
  • How do you best experience God’s presence?
  • What helpful book(s) have you read on this topic?

Related Articles from the Internet . . . 

Related Posts from Fruitful Words

  1. Honoring gods or God
  2. Making Sunday More Enjoyable
  3. Songs Can Deliver Some Of The Best Sermons

_________________________________________

This post is written for the Blogging From A to Z Challenge. There are 22 categories and my category is MI = Miscellaneous.

During the month of April I will post 26 times finishing up posts that have been in my draft fie for at least a year. For a list of all the posts go to the A-Z button on my header.

Today’s letter is W. The topic is WORSHIP.

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Perfect Gift Takes Reflection and Sacrifice

Have you purchased or made all your Christmas gifts yet? What do you get that one person who means the most to you? Ever have a hard time figuring out the perfect present?

I have all the Christmas gifts on my list – all except for one. I’ve been thinking about what to get ever since Pastor Mike told us we would be giving presents at church on Sunday, December 26th. These presents are not for mere mortals, but for Jesus, the King, and Saviour of the world.

Last night I watched a movie that also talked about giving a gift to Jesus. The movie, The Bishop’s Wife, has David Niven as the bishop. Loretta Young is the bishop’s wife. And Cary Grant? He is the … No, you have to see the movie to found out who he is.

Anyway, at the end of the movie, the Bishop gives his Christmas Eve sermon. This is a sermon that could be preached at our church this coming Sunday. In fact, it could be a “trailer” for Pastor Mike’s sermon. Read on for the Bishop’s admonition and suggestion for a gift.

David Niven’s Introduction to Pastor’s Sermon on Sunday

Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear there was a child’s cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wisemen came with birthday gifts.

We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries. We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells, and with gifts. But especially with gifts.

You give me a book. I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange-squeezer. And Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. But we forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled.

All that is except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. A stocking for the child born in a manger. It’s His birthday we are celebrating. Don’t let us ever forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most. And then let each one put in his share. Loving kindness … warm hearts … and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.

Have you thought about what gift you will bring to the Blessed Child on Sunday? Will it be loving kindness, a warm heart, or the stretched out hand of tolerance? An improved attitude? A material possession?  An action? A new habit?

During my walks this week I’ve been reflecting upon this same question. I have a general sense of what I think would please Jesus most. I also sense it will require sacrifice on my part. A giving up of my will for His. I am trying to narrow down the idea into a sentence or two. I am confident that by Sunday, I will be ready to present my gift to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

Will you be ready too?

Related Posts . . .



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Stain or Pattern: Reflections on Focus

Startled my glance reveals a brown stain upon my foot.

 Inspection brings the stain into focus:

  • Proud peacock with royal feathers
  • Solitary bloom emerging from this unlikely soil
  • Lines and squiggles of unnamed origin complete the pattern

 My life is either a brown stain or purposeful pattern. It all depends upon the focus.

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3 Encouragements I Needed When My Children Were Young

I was a co-hostess at a baby shower on Saturday morning. I gave the devotional. Below is what I shared. What encouragement did/do you need as a mom?

A Swedish proverb says 2 children are like none and 3 are like 17. I wonder what the Swedes would say it’s like having 4 children?

I would venture to say among other things messy, noisy, and demanding. But I only have two children and so am not qualified to speak on what that’s like. But I can speak from a mother’s perspective.

My two children are now 25 and 27 years old. The constant, day-to-day care of them is passed. However, I do remember some of my shortcomings and needs from their growing up years.

When my children were growing up, I didn’t have a circle of moms around me. I didn’t have Christian women as close friends. I parented with my husband and my books, including the Bible. And now looking back, I see that I really needed women in my life. I have them now and I am a little sad that I didn’t know you all back then.

My greatest need from women was encouragement. I needed encouragement in 3 ways.

First, I needed encouragement to keep on persevering in doing right. It was tiring to persistently, but loving, discipline my strong-willed child. It was tiring to consistently put my needs second because the little ones in my house needed me to care for them first. It was tiring to keep a happy spirit when I was so exhausted  from all those years of interrupted sleep.

Dr. Dobson spoke convincingly about the need for godly, loving discipline. I knew the Bible said in Galatians 6:9 “to not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”

But the reward, the good thing, I would reap from being consistently noble and doing right seemed so far away. I could have benefited form hearing from an experienced mom to remember the long-view. They will grow up. I am now living that long-view. My children are in their mid 20’s and I am now seeing the good that’s come from my early parenting years. And on the other hand,  I am still waiting for some of that.

Second, I also needed encouragement that what I was doing was important. Dr. Lehman spoke about the valuable role of mothers in a child’s development. I knew that the Bible, Psalm 127 to be exact, said that children are a blessing. But after many, many, many, many hours of wiping bottoms, noses and spills, I came to doubt my importance. And sometimes I didn’t view my children as blessings, but as hindrances to a life where I could do “great” things.

I needed a mom to remind me of Ephesians 2:10. “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Wiping those bottoms, noses and messes were good works that God meant for me to do at that period in my life. They were important!

Finally, I needed encouragement to maintain a close walk with God. As you all know, the to-do is a heartless taskmaster. It seems even harsher when the children are young. The scattered toys, the 330 loads of laundry, the needs of the children and the husband, the job demands, etc all fought for my time and energy. Too many times I let those demands stop me from pursuing an ongoing relationship with Christ.

I knew that Matthew 6:33 told me to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As much as I wanted to, I didn’t love God with all my soul, heart and mind.

I could have benefited by a godly woman’s intervention, mentorship and prayers. Had I taken time every day to soak up God’s living Word, I would have been a better mom and woman. I would have had more strength to persevere, known what was truly important and lastly I would have been able to maintain that close connection with God.

Ladies, the reason we are having this shower today is to encourage the mommy-to-be. It is our hope that as we gather around her for the long haul, pray with and for her, share our stories, wisdom and tips, that she will find that encouragement she’ll need over the coming years to parent well, to know her place in God’s purpose and to grow increasingly closer to our loving Father and God.

Let me end with a Scripture for all of us: Galatians 6:10:

“So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[morally] to all people [not only being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage]. Be mindful to be a blessing, especially to those of the household of faith [those who belong to God’s family with you, the believers].”

Related Post . . . How Good Books Aid in a Child’s Growth (A baby shower devotional)

Your Turn . . . What do you think is the greatest need for moms or moms-to-be? How would you meet it?

Or, What do you, as a mom, most need?

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Live in the Day: a To-Do List

75732now“It’s not what you did; It’s how you lived.” Great line from the song How You Live by Point of Grace. The song also gives me ideas on how to live in the day.

So how have you lived this week? 

  • In the moment?
  • In the past?
  • Waiting for tomorrow to live, create, help, celebrate?

To live in the day means embracing the moments as they present themselves . . .

  • Waking up with open windows to hear the singing birds or splashing rain. Here’s my variation on this idea. My dd and I have a date to eat in the car the next time it pours down with rain. Snuggling under dryer-warmed blankets . . . Eating steaming food . . . Hearing the drops pound upon the car . . . Reciting rain poetry . . . Sharing the moments together. What moment will you seize today to live  fully with ALL your senses and with a loved one?
  • Taking a few chances. This is harder for me. I am not naturally a big chance-taker and get less so the older I get. Last night my dd and I wrote for 10 minutes on “I Want… (fill in the blank).”  I listed fairly predictable things, except for the one about wanting to ride a camel. I need some new ideas. What are some ways you are taking chances?
  • Embracing the truth. Praying and journaling from two different Lenten Guides (found here and here) are helping me discover the lies I hold dear. And they are helping me to lean into the truth of simplicity, sacrifice, relationship with God and thankfulness. What truth do you need to/want to lean into and embrace?
  • Thinking about those around me. This week I’ll do that by making time to listen to a few through a phone call or visit. I’ll write a few notes of appreciation and several “I’m praying for you” cards. I’ll pray with the staff today about church attendees, ministries, and other requests on our hearts. “Lord, help me to be open to Your agenda for my life today and this week. “Give me Your eyes for just one second” and help me respond NOW with Your love.” Shall I pray the same for you?

Look over the lyrics of  How You Live. Have a listen. What will go onto your “Living in the Day To-Do List”?

(more…)

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