Let Me Tell You About My Ah-Ha Moment!

suprised meI absolutely LOVE serving the Lord!  It is not always easy and I’m never the most popular doing it.  However, I consider it a huge privilege every time He appoints me for a job.  I am finding that even though He uses me to share His message, it’s not because I’m a good teacher.  It is usually because He wants to teach me an important lesson.  Teachers often are the ones who learn the most when they teach!

This last month as I prepared for a retreat I spoke at yesterday and for the Bible study I taught after speaking, I struggled to get it done.  It seemed that my schedule was so hectic that when it came time to study and plan, I was WORN out!  As I worked on the final pieces Friday night, it dawned on me… “This lesson is for me!”

I have always been very timid about teaching the Bible as I feel very under-qualified to say the least.  However, I agreed to teach a lesson on Elijah that showed how when he allowed his physical condition to deteriorate—not getting enough rest, not eating right, and over-exerting himself to the max physically, his outlook on life became very bleak. Although he had one of the most arduous ministries in one of Israel’s darkest times, he allowed himself to become so tired that he literally found himself under a tree, all alone, whining…woe is me!  This was even after he had seen God do mighty things right in front of his eyes just a short time before that and knew better.  He was actually at a point in his ministry he simply wanted to be done and die.  He had lost sight of God and all of His power while he focused totally on himself, even to the point of believing he was the only believer left.  His perspective was not reality but his physical condition made him feel that it was.

I woke up the morning of the retreat and did my devotion as I typically do while I drink my first cup of coffee.  I was still feeling a little alone and concerned whether or not I was the right person to lead the Bible study.  However, as I read, right there in front of me was the scripture from my lesson I was teaching in 1 Kings 19:12 that afternoon.  It said, After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”  I had been so busy lately that I was beginning to panic thinking God wasn’t going to be there for me when I taught the lesson even when I intellectually knew better.  However, He was faithful, once again, to show up Saturday morning in His quiet and calm way as I read the Bible.  This simple verse assured me instantly that He had it all under control.  He was going to meet me there and His Holy Spirit would guide me that day.  I was not alone!  I never was!  He was there all the time.  I was just too busy and tired lately to remember it!

Another part of the study went on to add the verse in 1Peter 5:8—Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  It is easy to teach others about the need to surround themselves with other Christians who will speak truth into their lives when their perspective is skewed for some reason or another.  However, I know that when I get tired, I’m the first to start pulling away from everyone in my world.  Just as the lion uses the tactic of separating its prey from the rest of the group so it can attack; so he does the same to believers when they allow themselves to become isolated because of tiredness, hurt feelings, illness, or for whatever reason when they pull away from others who would typically encourage them.

So this week’s lesson I learned is:

  1. I need to take care of myself physically…nutrition, rest and even exercise.  Ouch.  Had to say that last word…sorry.  If I don’t, I may find myself too distraught or unfocused to even know He is trying to get my attention.
  2. I need to have quiet times in my life so that when God whispers, I hear. If I wait for Him to shoot down a lighting strike or send a note on a string like Charlie the Tuna used to get…some of you young’ns won’t get that…go ask your mom…it will never come!  If my life is too busy and noisy…I may never hear His voice. I might even think He has abandoned me!
  3. I need to allow other people into my life so that when I get down and discouraged, they can help me get my perspective back on the truth.  If I isolate myself from others, my perspective might become something other than reality.

Thank you, Lord for your still small voice that speaks truth to me…even when I am supposed to be the teacher.  Although this is another busy week, I am going to be doing some rearranging.  I’m going to be saying “no” to some things while saying “yes” to some down time.  I am also going to make an effort to go to our small group that starts back up this week even when I don’t feel the strength to go.

Who do you have in your life holding you accountable?  Have you allowed yourself to be separated from the pack?  Are you taking the time to take care of yourself physically?  How about spiritually?  I pray that this week we all take the time to listen for God’s quiet direction in our lives.  Until next week…blessings!

How Do You Deal With Stress?

What do you do when you get stressed out?  Maybe you don’t ever get stressed?  If we are honest, most of us would admit to have some level of stress in our lives at any given time.  When I am overwhelmed, my first reaction is to go to bed and sleep it off.  I know that probably isn’t the best way to deal with things because it really doesn’t deal with anything.  In fact, once I wake up, I have even more stress when I look in the mirror and see how messed up my hair got during my nap!

Yesterday morning, Jim and I were looking at our windows trying to figure out how we were going to wash them.  We’ve gotten quotes ranging from $285 to over $500.  That’s just nuts!  So, as we were looking out assessing our situation, I noticed something that moved on the ground below.  Low and behold it was a little adolescent robin taking a nap right out in the middle of the backyard!  Immediately, I had to go get my camera and run down there to get a picture.  However, the robin just wouldn’t cooperate.  It was all curled up in a ball sound asleep not hearing a thing going on around it.

As I got closer, it just slept.  I nudged it with a stick and it looked up at me like, “Don’t you know it’s Sunday morning?!  I’m sleeping in!” and then quickly tucked its head back under its wing before I could snap a photo.  I whistled thinking maybe a little bird talk would stir him—nothing.  There was nothing I was going to do to get a response out of this bird today.  I started thinking about how that bird often resembles me or others I know who would just rather curl up in a ball and forget the world instead of facing our fears and forging ahead.

How about you?  Have you tried and failed enough that it just doesn’t matter anymore?  Is God nudging you and whistling at you to no avail?  Perhaps if you’d pop your head out for a few minutes, you would realize there is a whole world out there just waiting for you to make your mark on it!  However, if you refuse to get up, trust God and hear His direction, you will always be ineffective.   It’s OK to take a few minutes to regroup when stress hits; but, don’t stay there long.  Nothing is going to change in life unless we are moving forward.  If you’re sleeping and ignoring life, you’re wasting time!  We have all of eternity to slow down.  However, we have very limited time on this earth and we must make the best of it while we are here.

I have seen a lot of wild animals around and have also heard about some living in my woods I don’t see.  All I could think about was how vulnerable this little robin was sound asleep in the middle of the lawn for all to see.  His inattentiveness to his surroundings may in the end cost him his life.  If he were going to check-out for a while, he should have at least done it hidden somewhere away from those that may lurk in the trees waiting for the opportunity to catch him off-guard and devour him.  Perhaps even while another bird friend stood watch nearby.

It’s a dangerous place for us as well when we tune God out and do our own thing.  We need to be listening, alert, attentive, surrounded by Godly friends and aware of our environment at all times.  If we give up on any of these things in our Christian walks, it is an opening for the enemy to move in and destroy.  The robin was lucky this time that I wasn’t a fox that was nudging him with my nose; rather, a curious human with a gentle stick.

How are you handling life today?  Are you checked-out, asleep in the grass, not worrying about what comes next?  Or are you pleading with God to nudge you and speak to you with wisdom from above to help you overcome?  Are you going to church and surrounding yourself with other believers who will watch over you as you travel through life’s struggles; or are you just sleeping in on Sunday morning and opening yourself up to the roaring lion of Satan to come and devour you as you slumber?

The choice is yours, as always.

1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

Psalm 37:5

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.

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