That’s It! I’m Grounded!

messy deskYes, I am grounded.  I’ve had it!  I am grounded until I clean off my desk and get myself organized!  As you can see, I have been on the run for many weeks!  You can always tell how busy I am by how my desk looks.  However, if I am doing an office job, I make it a point to make sure every day before I leave, my piles are tucked away neatly and organized for the next day.  On the contrary, at home in my office…I’m a slob!  You know what they say…the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem!

I was thinking about why I’m a messy at home and not in the office?  Other than the fact that I have been working non-stop and organizing paperwork hasn’t been my priority, I really don’t have an excuse. Even though I have no good explanation, I know God was speaking to me through the mess this week.  You see, as Christians, we often go out into the world and appear to have it all together…you know, clean desks so to speak.  In fact, at work, I am a tidy desk Nazi at the end of the day.  You wouldn’t dream that my desk at home would look anything like this if you knew me at work.

As God worked on my heart this week, I was reminded of the times that I have gone to church or work and put on a good front that all was well.  No one would know looking at me that I was going through a traumatic time in my life.  In fact, I have learned to emit confidence no matter what lurks in my life at any given time.  I try to have a smile on my face as to not spread doom and gloom to those who aren’t having a bad day.  I’m an encourager, not a discourager at heart.  Isn’t that what I should do?  Isn’t it a good thing to be positive?  I think that it is noble not to be a whiner; but rather, try to live victoriously through my struggles.  However, as I have mentioned before in my writings, if the world is looking at Christians as someone that has to be perfect; I don’t think anyone would ever want to be one.  Being perfect is hard.  As a matter of fact, it is a recipe for failure as none of us have the capability in this life of perfection.  We all fail from time to time even when we are living a good Christian life.  I have learned recently that we don’t want to become complainers; but I think it is a good thing for Christians to let the world see their struggles.

For example, we are in a class at church and last week’s lesson was on healing.  I get a little angry sometimes when I think about God healing one person and not the other.   I know that’s not a real reasonable emotion but I’m sure most of us have questioned why at one point or another in our lives.  The whole idea about the lesson was that God makes decisions on to heal or not to heal related to the greatest glory to Him.  Obviously, in miraculous healing situations, He is given much praise and glory.  However, there are times in ones’s life that God can get greater glory by not healing an individual.  Did you ever think about that?  Have you ever watched someone suffer and not get healed but in the process they brought glory to God?  Perhaps they already knew Jesus as their Savior and they were able to minister to others who were also suffering with the same problem or to caregivers who watched them trust Jesus with their daily issues.  Others that didn’t know Jesus before they got sick, may have gotten to a point in their illness that for the first time in their life, they sought Jesus as their Savior.  If God would’ve healed them, they may have never recognized their need for Jesus.

Did you ever look at suffering and illness like that?  Did you ever go through a messy desk time in your life and wonder how God will be glorified through your actions?  I think it is a great way to think about it the next time you are going through a trial.  Maybe appearing to have a clean desk at church or work is not really giving God glory in your situation.  Perhaps as Christians, we should invite some company over and allow them to look inside our lives—and see our cluttered and somewhat out of control desks so to speak—to see that perhaps things are not as they appear.  As followers of Christ, we are called to trust God and be joyful through tribulations.  However, I think it is also glorifying to God to allow others to watch us  as we put our trust in God along the way and show some of the messiness that comes with the situation.  For when we are real, we can reach many for Christ.

Ahhhh!  What joy there is in an uncluttered life!  I am free!

Ahhhh! What joy there is in an uncluttered life! I am free!

How’s your desk look at work or church vs. how it looks at home?  Are you being real?  What about that person sitting next to you in church that you know is going through a hard time but you don’t get involved as everything on the outside appears to be fine.  It’s less messy that way, for sure.  Is there someone that God has laid on your heart to help clean up their mess or just show them you have one, too?  I pray that you take the time this week to reflect on the trials God has allowed to come into your life and ask Him, “How can I glorify You the most through this situation, Lord?”  For when we take the focus off of ourselves and put our focus on God, life seems to be so much less cluttered.  For in our trials we find purpose…actually the ONE purpose we have been given in this life…TO GLORIFY GOD.   Be blessed…and don’t forget to be a blessing!

Acts 1:8 (NIV)  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

1 Peter 4:12-13   Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

Thankful To Be Thankful!

Wow!  What an emotional day it was yesterday!  Our church service was about adoption.   I left wanting to sell everything, move to Haiti, work in an orphanage and never have to see another kid in the world ever suffer again!  Obviously, that’s a silly thought; but nonetheless, I left wondering how God was calling me to help those less fortunate.  Then yesterday afternoon we joined many others in the community and delivered Thanksgiving dinner baskets in our surrounding area.  We saw a lot of poverty.  We saw some we suspect may have drug issues leading to their poverty and dysfunctional homes.  Then we went to a couple of very nice middle class homes.  Homes like what lives next to you and me perhaps—just average Americans.

The homes looked nice on the outside, but for them to be on the list for free turkey dinners, something had to be going terribly wrong on the inside.  Perhaps they had lost a job and been unemployed for months–or even years.  It might be that one of the adults in the family decided they didn’t want to be married anymore and the income of the spouse remaining in the home was greatly less than in the past.  I can relate to that.  Perhaps the main bread-winner was ill and the family was just trying to be there for him/her in their last days.  Maybe that explains the homes in disarray on the inside.  One never knows why someone is “on the list” so to speak.  I was reminded that we could all be “on the list” at any given time for any given reason no matter who we are.  I don’t even have to go to Haiti to find them!

Going from home to home with food baskets conjured up feelings I hadn’t felt in many years.  You see, there was a time when I was a single mom and short on cash.  I remember those who came to my door with bags of groceries because they felt God telling them to come.  Not only did they come with groceries; but they came with stuff my picky children would eat!  God even told them what to take!  I had to swallow my pride to accept them but what a blessing it was to get a little help here and there.  This time being on the giving side instead of the taking side was almost as hard.  I know how embarrassed those on the receiving end might have been.  It’s a humbling experience to be in that place.   I’ve been there.  However, on the giving side, you see those whose families have been turned upside down for one reason or another and a meal seems so insignificant.  It leaves one with a feeling that perhaps your turkey dinner you just delivered was merely a band-aid on a gaping wound.  We actually did nothing to help the family get out of the situation they are in.  We simply gave them one day of hope amidst their overwhelming hopelessness.  Then it’s back to reality.  Does God think I failed?  No.  I know I was obedient to complete my tiny part of the big picture He has for that family’s future.  In Matthew 25:40 (NIV) it says, “…Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  He didn’t say only the big things you do count; rather, He said whatever you do.

Our pastor challenged us Sunday to listen for what God is calling us to do no matter what it might be.  Whether it is to adopt ten children, go start an orphanage or just volunteer, get involved with the local homeless shelter, start a Bible study in our home or simply take a bag of groceries to someone— whatever God is asking us to do , we need to just do it!  Yesterday 225 meals were delivered.  Our family delivered about 8.  It took us about 3 hours to do it.  It’s a good thing that so many other volunteers were called to deliver meals too or we still wouldn’t have it done yet!  As a matter of fact, we wouldn’t be able to get it done before Thanksgiving even working day and night if we had to do it alone.   The one small thing that I can do for God and for others doesn’t look like much.  However, if each one of us is obedient to God when He calls, great things can be accomplished.

I am grateful for a God Who allows me to do His work here on this earth—it gives me purpose.  I am thankful that I personally have had suffering and loss in my life—it gives me compassion and understanding for those I serve.   I am blessed that He doesn’t expect me to do everything needing to be done.  My heart is warmed to know that I have brothers and sisters in Christ all around who are ready and willing to take action at any given time just because God said to!  This makes me part of a family even if my earthly family lets me down or in the case of the orphans—isn’t there at all.  I’m thankful for the Holy Spirit’s guidance to tell me where to go, what to do and how God can use me today.  That gives me power—the end result being a life lived with passion.

What are you thankful for?  Is God using you?  If not, why not?  What little thing can you do to get started on your journey God has planned for you?  How is He speaking to you today?

1Peter 4:10-11 (NIV) Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving to all…go out and be a blessing!

Diet and Exercise…the Keys to a Full Life…

I think I have a tapeworm.  I have been hungry for the last several days and nothing seems to satisfy.  Maybe I’m going through a growing spurt and am going to come out of this a couple inches taller in the next few days.  Just think, if I added a couple of inches to my height my weight would finally be perfect!

Have you ever felt that way spiritually?  You are starving for something more and no matter how much you read your Bible or pray, you just seem to be left wanting?  There are times in our lives that we seem to be more restless than others.  Do you agree?  What do you do to help feed the hunger pains of maintaining a consistent walk with Christ?  Do you just ignore them or do you push through trying to find the missing nutrients in your diet?  Do you have a spiritual tapeworm that is pulling you away from the full life God wants you to have?  Experts agree, a healthy life isn’t all about diet…it also involves exercise.

I am an independent woman and hate to ask anyone for help.  However, this house has taken me to the point of swallowing my pride and accepting someone’s help to get things done.  I tried to put a positive spin on things and said, “Paint party at the Kempton house this weekend!”  However, I was really saying, “We need help and it needs to free!”  We were blessed to have our son-in-law, Bryan, come help me with much needed lawn work.  Then a friend from church, Jason, and our two sons, Rob and Cristofer came and donated some time for the painting we needed to complete on a deadline.  Because of their help, we now have carpet-layers finishing the basement…right on schedule.

There are times in our lives that we simply can’t do it on our own.  We need to surround ourselves with others who will come alongside and help us get things done.  However, I think the most effective way to get yourself back on track and feel “full” again is to go do something for someone else.  Jim and I were truly blessed by everyone’s help this week.  I suspect that those who came and helped a bit to get us through a pinch, received an even greater blessing.  There is something about serving others that fills us up to overflowing.

How God calls us to serve is not always glamorous.  Sometimes, we don’t even get a thank-you for a job well done!  But one thing is for sure…we are called to serve.  It may be by giving of our time, talents, or possessions.  You might say, “Lori, I just don’t have anything to give.”  I would beg to argue with you.  We each have something, we just need to ask God how He can use us to bless others.  I’m thankful that He sent us Bryan, Rob, Cristofer and Jason this week.  They were an answer to our prayers.  I suspect though that it doesn’t stop there.  This hunger I’m feeling might just be telling me that I need to get my head out of the refrigerator and get moving.  He’s whispering…it might not be all about what you’re eating…perhaps you need to get out and exercise your faith a little.  How can I serve to be a blessing to someone else?  For when I am serving others–doing what God has sent me to do–I am full.  Man may not thank me or be thankful, but God is pleased for a job well done.

What is God asking you to do this week?  Actions can be way more powerful than words…even the simplest ones.  I pray that as you step out and do that which you are designed to do, you are blessed abundantly and fully satisfied in the Lord!  Have a great week and go be a blessing!

1Peter 4:10-11 (NIV)  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

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