Wasted Time & Energy

Last week I used a sharp knife to cut an apple. I rinsed the knife in hot water. I used  a paper towel to firmly wipe the blade. One of my fingertips got a little too close to the blade and it nicked the surface of my skin. I felt it immediately. The cut was so shallow, it took a full minute before a drop of blood oozed to the surface.

First, it amazed me the sharp edge sliced the paper towel and my skin so quickly and easily. It startled me.

Second, I felt pretty stupid for such a silly mistake since I grew up in a meat market handling sharp knives, especially with a Dad who constantly reminded me of the proper handling of a knife.

My Dad always impressed me that he could sharpen a knife so efficiently.  He would carefully draw the knife back and forth on a whetstone at just the right angle alternating each side of the blade.

Then he used a “steel” or honing rod. With a few quick flicks of the wrist he could put a fine edge on it in seconds. (Click HERE to see photo.)

Testing the sharpness came next. He stuck out his left arm. With the knife in his right hand, he carefully placed the blade on his left arm and made a brief shaving motion. If a couple of hairs flicked off effortlessly, then it was sharp!

The few minutes it took to sharpen the blade saved many minutes in work time later, not to mention the physical energy wasted and slowed work pace if he had continued to use a dull blade. (Click HERE to learn how to sharpen a knife properly.)

Living life without regularly reading, meditating on, studying, applying, and memorizing God’s word will waste a lot of time, energy, money, and life itself.

  • Are you using the sharp knife of God’s insightful word or the dull knife of this world’s wisdom?
  • Are you allowing the sharp sword of God’s word to pierce deeply into your heart, mind, and soul?
  • Are you permitting God’s word to affect your motives, emotions, regrets, worries, and intentions?
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Are you willing and ready to have your innermost thoughts and desires surgically examined by your Creator? He already knows what they are! Are you courageous enough to see them for what they are too?

Our Father, thank-you for your sharp, holy, inspired word in the Bible. We commit today to read, study, and apply it to our lives.

 

Take One of These Daily & Get Some Exercise

According to the doctor, my Dad has the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. Boy that’s an attention-getter! I’m only twenty years behind him. So what can I do to prevent it or slow it down?

Brain exercises keep your brain healthy much like physical exercises keep the body healthy. A muscle can atrophy if it is not used. So too the brain can atrophy if it is not regularly challenged.

Studies have shown that memory loss is slowed, delayed, and sometimes regained to some degree for those who participate in “drug therapy, physical exercise, low-fat diet instruction, cognitive training, socialization, and meditation.” See this great Article.

Whether one’s memory loss is significant enough or not to see a doctor and participate in drug therapy, the other recommendations are good for all of us regardless of our age or status!

Memorizing a grocery list and playing the word games in the newspaper are good brain exercises.

Memorizing! That’s what got my attention. One of the healthiest things we can do for our brain and also for our spiritual growth is memorizing scripture.

Many of us remember the Vacation Bible School verse when we pledged allegiance to the Bible.

I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Isn’t it amazing how God’s Word is thousands of years ahead of medical research! So among the other recommendations in the Article, Dr. Denny recommends memorizing scripture!

Here’s your Rx: write a verse or passage on a 3 x 5 card and keep it with you. Read it and reread it. Learn to say it phrase by phrase. Every spare moment pull it out and meditate on it. Mute the TV commercial and work on it. Work on it in the waiting room or while going down the road in the car. Boredom is the enemy of the brain. Say it out loud. Keep on until you can say the verse without thinking about it.  Then tackle another verse or passage. Review it weekly.

Here’s some of my favorites: Romans 15:13; Ephesians 3:20-21; Matthew 6:33; Ephesians 2:8-9; Jeremiah 33:3; Exodus 20:12 and teach it to your grandchildren; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Joshua 1:9; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Nehemiah 6:9; Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 3:5-6; Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 6:19-34; John 14:1-7; 1 John 5:14-15; Acts 20:24; Philippians 1:6.

Our Father, thank-you for your life-giving Word. Thank-you for Jesus, the Word who became flesh. Thank-you for your written Word, preserved and inspired by your Holy Spirit.

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Read the Directions!

“If all else fails, read the directions.” How many times that has been my modus operandi!

Well to be honest, I had to look that up modus operandi . I just used that phrase to impress you. I’ve heard others use it. I thought I knew what it meant in practice but couldn’t give you a definition!

So, what in the world is a modus operandi? It is Latin for ‘way of operating.’ It means: a particular way or method of doing something, especially one that is characteristic or well-established. I Googled it!

Anyway, so much for my Latin lesson for the day. Back to what I was saying.

I bought one of those gadgets recently that finds studs in the wall of your home so I could know where to drive a nail to hang a heavy mirror. I opened the package and removed the gadget.  I removed the screw on the back to insert the batteries. Uh-oh! The gadget’s insides spilled out!

If I had read the instructions, I would have known that there’s a little slide-out on the back that makes it very easy to insert batteries. Yes, I did get the gadget put back together and re-inserted the screw.  Lesson learned! Well for a little while, until the next time I do something without reading the directions.

Ignoring instructions and despising reproof can have much greater consequences! In fact, it can mean life or death! I prefer life. I prefer wisdom. I value myself pretty highly and would rather not despise myself.

So here’s some really wise words from the writer of Proverbs:

The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself. Proverbs 15:31-32 ESV

Our Father, thank-you for the life-giving reproof of your Holy Bible and your Holy Spirit. Make us sensitive today to accept your reproof and to pay close attention to your instruction to be wise.

Praying Scripture

Have you heard of the concept of “praying Scripture?” We know God inspired His word and it is holy. By praying what the Scripture says, we can know we are praying in the will of God.

I like to write my prayers, because when I write my prayers, my mind tends not to wander to the dozens of other things that can get my attention.  Writing prayers keeps me focused.

Here’s an example. Take a passage of Scripture and try it yourself!

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ. 2 Thes.3.5

Our Father, please lead us,

  • from deep within our hearts,
  • from the stirring of our souls,
  • from the use of each moment of time in our lives,
  • from our toenails to the tips of the hair on our heads …

into

  • a full-blown understanding,
  • a totally encompassing comprehension,
  • a moment-by-moment living-it-out today …

of

  • Your love for us,
  • Your love expressed through us to others,
  • Your love revealed in the sacrifices of time & money,
  • Your love flowing through us because You are in us …

And give us

  • Christ’s attitude of patient endurance for serving You,
  • Christ’s perspective on anxiety and worry,
  • Christ’s reaction to difficult circumstances,
  • Christ’s power to not just wait, but have His mind while we wait,
  • Christ’s tangible presence made known to us in real ways many times today.

Father, please lead us into a full understanding and expression of Your love.  Please lead us into a full understanding and expression of Your Son’s patient endurance. Genuine love comes from You, Father, so we seek You today.  Patient endurance comes from the continual presence of  Your Son, Jesus Christ, living in us, so we depend on Him today.

The Lord is far from the wicked, but hears the prayers of the righteous. Prov. 15:29

 

 

Call Me

When Billie Sue and I were dating, every evening we were either together on a date, or I was at her parents’ house, or she was at my parents’ house, or more often we talked on the telephone (you know, the land-line kind, the one with a chord, the one we actually had to sit down to use, instead of walking around doing something else at the same time).

When we love someone, we want to talk to them and listen to them!

A conversation is simple.  I talk to you and listen to you.  You talk to me and you listen to me.

“Communication is the key!” How many times have we heard that!?  It’s true for marriage, parenting, teaching, friendship, and employee/employer. Communication IS the key!

One of the funniest videos I’ve seen is by Jeanne Robertson. She sent her husband on a quick trip to the grocery store with a list of seven items.  He stayed gone much too long and came back with a car load of groceries.  Watch the video to see why, it hilarious! Its worth eight minutes of your time. Watch this!

I’m amazed how many times I come across it in scripture! “Call to me.”  “Ask, seek, knock.” “Pray.”

The Father loves us so much, he wants to hear from us on a regular basis, no, on a continual basis, as in “pray without ceasing.”

Then there’s “You have not because you ask not.”  He says to “make your requests known” to Him.

Why should we act so confidently?

  • What should cause this kind of faith to well up in us?
  • Why would we take the time to do something like talking to someone who is invisible?

Because He made world and everything in the it.

  • Everything belongs to Him! He is the powerful Creator.
  • He is the expert on everything that is.
  • He knows us better than we even know ourselves.

Give Him a call!

Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it—the Lord is his name:  Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:2-3

I praise You for You are a Loving Father. You love it when we listen to You, talk to You, and make our requests of You. Please use us, the congregation of Balboa Baptist Church, to do your will.  Work in us, through us, and in spite of us to present Jesus to people in life-changing ways. Lead us into the future by Your Spirit!

Take an Umbrella when it Rains

If you want to build rapport with others and win their trust, do not make them the butt of your jokes, make fun of yourself.

Don’t ever take yourself seriously, but always take God seriously.

Do not expect to get stuff from others because of your position or relationship with them, but always expect to give.

Take an umbrella when it rains.

These are some great words of advice I have received over the years. These tidbits are golden when I listen and take them to heart! I benefited from these encounters when my heart was soft, my ears were open, and I acted upon them.

I thank God for strategically placing in my life at just the right decision-making corners, the right person with the right word of advice.

The book of Proverbs is a book of God’s advice to us.

Here’s some advice: read a chapter of Proverbs each day.  With thirty-one chapters, we could read through Proverbs each month.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction,

that you may gain wisdom in the future.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,

but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.

Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV)

1. We have to listen to the advice God gives us through Scripture or through people in our lives.

2. We must accept the instruction for it to benefit us.

3. Often the wisdom is for a future event and not for the moment, so patiently hold on to it.

4. We devise many plans in our heads but we must discover God’s purpose for our lives.

5. In a hundred years, only what’s done in God’s purpose will still be left standing.

Thank-you Father for bringing wise people and wise proverbs into our lives just when we need them. Please give us discernment to know when and how to use this counsel. Your Word is a light to our path and a lamp for our feet. May your Word shine brightly so that we may live in the center of Your purpose.

 

I Found My Pants!

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 ESV

I’m sure Paul was not thinking about pants packed away in a box when he talked about “groanings.”  But last night I did find my pants!  The one pair I’ve been wearing and Billie Sue has been washing repeatedly can now have a rest.

Life can get very serious at times, even intense. Keeping a light heart in the face of the difficulties of life helps keep it all in perspective for me. If I couldn’t see a little humor in life from time to time, I would go crazy.  There’s plenty of “serious” to go around all the time!

The apostle Paul kept things in perspective. He said that the sufferings of this world are not even worth comparing to the glory we will soon experience! (Romans 8:18)

Even the earth, the rocks, the trees, the hills, the rivers, and lakes, that is, the whole creation is groaning, even yearning for this resolution. The universe is on edge, ready to be set free from bondage caused by sin. (Romans 8:19-22)

And that uneasiness in our own bodies, well it too is a yearning for total redemption.  Yes, we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but we are yet to see the complete results. Hang on to your hats, there’s a lot more to come! (Romans 8:23-24)

Now back to the present. That’s where we have to live isn’t it. We must live in the “now.” The Spirit is always helping us NOW in our weakness.  Even when we struggle to pray He is there to pray for us. He even expresses our thoughts and feelings to the Father which we ourselves cannot even put into words.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Romans 8:26 ESV

Thank-you Father for indwelling us with your Holy Spirit.  Thank-you that The Comforter is always beside us. In grief, sorrow, confusion, pain, disappointment, and obstacles Your Spirit expresses these things to You and You always understand. And thank-you that you even care about the little things in life, like my pants.