Monday, February 8, 2016

CAN YOU SEE THE MOUNTAIN?


It never rains in California…

Isn't that how the old song goes?  

(FYI, the song was written and recorded by Albert Hammond in 1972.  I know, I had the same reaction…who???)

Anyway, rain…

So, let me answer the question – YES, it does rain in California!

And sometimes it sleets, and snows, and blows!

Last weekend we had some dramatic winter weather.

The winds were gusting, the rain was smashing into our windows, and an icy sleet covered everything with a chilly layer of white.

For a few days, it never got out of the 20's.

Now listen to me, you folks who live in the Midwest or Eastern part of the country.  Don't be getting high and mighty on me, bragging on how you deal with your winter weather.  I will gracefully concede that many of you face conditions much worse than this.

But, consider…

For a girl who's spent almost all of her life living near the beach, in sandals and shorts for most of the year, this mountain weather is a whole new story!!

Dealing with possible freezing pipes, and chipping out ice-encrusted cars, and shoveling driveways, and putting on and taking off chains, and any number of other winter challenges is brand new territory for me!

I digress.


So, last weekend we had a STORM!!

Sunday was the worst day of all.  

Yo, ho, blow the man (or woman) down!!

(Let me tell you, I am very glad for the protection of double-paned windows, a roof over my head, and good, solid carpentry!)

Monday morning arrived…

"The Hub" has a ritual that he goes through every morning.

He gets a big glass of iced tea (yeah, he grew up near the beach, too!), and stands by our huge floor-to-ceiling window.  You know, the one with the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, and one very impressive granite outcropping.

He's like a lizard – he loves to soak up the rays of the sun first thing in the morning.

I knew the sun was not shining this morning.

Because along with the storm, we'd had crazy fog!

Carl Sandburg wrote a famous poem called "FOG".  

Here's the first line:

"The fog comes
on little cat feet."

Yeah, well, this storm's fog hadn't come in like a little cat.  It had arrived full-force, roaring like a lion, and blanketing the entire mountain in a shroud.

So, I asked "The Hub"…

"Can you see the mountain?"

"It comes and goes," he answered.

As a little joke, I replied, "The mountain?  Or our perception of it?"

He chuckled.

"You know," I quipped, "it doesn't really matter if we can see it or not.  It's still there."


Throughout the rest of the day, I got to thinking about what I'd said.

And I got to thinking about how it applied to life lately.

I don't know what's going on with me.

Severe anxiety has plagued me for a couple of weeks now.

Personally, I think it has something to do with the fact that I am intentionally seeking to be grateful.  And when one makes an effort to mindfully incorporate gratitude into their everyday life, *someone* isn't happy about that.

You-know-who always seeks to steal, kill, and destroy.

Steal peace.

Kill joy.

Destroy hope.

I have felt his influence more than usual lately.  In some ways, it's sort of validation that this *journey of grateful* this year is indeed God's plan and purpose for me.

Sometimes God's work is confirmed by the counter-work of the enemy.

But, being grateful is made so much harder when you're fending off arrows of attack.


I sometimes often don't understand myself at all.

I get in these places, these moods, and I'm not always sure of how I got therelet alone how to get out of them.

And lately, that's just how I've felt.

Beleaguered, beset, bedeviled, bewildered.

Anxious and unsettled.  Afraid and rattled.  Discouraged and dismayed.

Off-kilter, overly sensitive, hyper-reactive – sad, mad, and glad in dizzying merry-go-round fashion.

Yeah, and also desperately out-of-control.

So, on this stormy morning, when I jokingly asked "The Hub" about the mountain, I saw a pretty appropriate lesson in it.


It is so easy to lose sight when surrounded by storms.

And sometimes, even though life might not be throwing a bunch of actual storms at us, the storm can still rage within us.

A fog of moodiness can blanket our hearts and spirits.

And we can lose sight of the mountain – The Rock.

It seems to me that there is a direct correlation between the state of my emotions, and my perception of God's closeness.

The more tossed and turned I feel, the less I feel Him there.

The more I am consumed with my inner tempest, the less I sense His presence.

If someone were to ask me, "Can you see the mountain?"(Can you still see the Lord?) – my truthful answer would probably be, "It comes and goes."

But here's the thing.

The mountain – our Lord – never disappears.

He stands in the same place...

...strong and steady and sure, whether I see Him there or not!

Perception is never reality.

Feeling is never truth.

And moods never, ever change the position of our Mountain, our Rock.

God doesn't play cosmic hide-and-seek with us.

But we can certainly experience times when He seems distant, silent, hidden.

How come?

I'd have to say it's because we live in a world that is shadowed by sin. 

Where truth can be hidden by the vacillating challenges of circumstances.

Where emotions can fool us, and feelings can trap us.

Where it seems like God is here one day, and gone the next.

Where few things are in our control.


So yeah, I'm not entirely sure what's responsible for this recent roller-coaster of emotion.  This tumult in my spirit.

But, in the end, it matters not.

"Can I see the mountain?" I ask myself.

It's not the right question.

I do not need to see Him.

I do not need to sense Him.

I do not need to touch Him.

Fleeting senses, one and all.

I simply need to rely on what I know is true...

The mountain, My Rock, is there.

Unmovable, unchanging, undiminished by my lack of perception.

My emotions may ask the question.

But my heart will instead proclaim the Truth:

"It doesn't really matter if I see Him or not…

HE'S. STILL. THERE."


Yes, I will rest in that…

Gratefully.






Fixing
my eyes on
Jesus,
my vision
is focused
and my future
is clear. 




"For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made." (Romans 1:20, ESV)

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…" (Colossians 1:15, NLT)

"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known." 
(John 1:18, NIV)

"No one has ever seen God.  But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us." (1 John 4:12, NLT)

"It was by faith that Moses left the land of Egypt…He kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27, NLT)

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7, Bearean Bible)

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV)

"Then Jesus [said], 'You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.'" (John 20:29, NLT)

"Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and though you do not even see Him now, you believe and trust in Him and you greatly rejoice and delight with inexpressible and glorious joy…" (1 Peter 1:8, AMP)

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT)

"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2, KJV)

"Now faith is the assurance (title deed, confirmation) of things hoped for (divinely guaranteed), and the evidence of things not seen [the conviction of their reality – faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses]." (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

"But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.  And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God!  I will see him for myself.  Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.  I am overwhelmed at the thought!" (Job 19:25-27, NLT)

"Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever.  Amen." (1 Timothy 1:17, NIV)



***REMEMBER to check out DAILY GRATEFUL THOUGHTS here***
  
(Updated DAILY GRATEFUL WORDS, A WORD FROM THE WORD, A "MESSAGE" FROM GOD, and FOOD FOR THOUGHT can be found on the sidebar.  Thank you!)




In spite of the fog and storms in life, can you still see The Mountain?




Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, WISE WOMAN, TELL HIS STORY, THE HOMEMAKING PARTY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, BLOGGER SPOTLIGHT, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, February 1, 2016

THE BOGEYMAN


Big girl confession.

I am a scaredy-cat.

And I am very afraid of the dark.

Which isn't a good thing when you live on the top of a mountain, with only one neighbor in sight (who only occasionally visits), no streetlights, multiple windows, and minimal window coverings.

I feel like I am on view for every scary creature out there.

And I really don't like driving home in the dark.

The last leg to our house is a steep switchback, a skinny ribbon of a road that requires one to slow to a snail's pace to negotiate it.

At nighttime, this means one lonely set of headlights illuminating shadowy trees and clawing branches, ogre-shaped boulders, darkened ravines where trolls lurk…

And heaven help me if it's windy!


I have always been afraid of the dark.

I think it must be something innate to the human creature.  I think we're born with an uneasy wariness of the darkness.  After all, we can't see as well, and therefore we're most vulnerable.

However, if something happens to you when you're a child, that fear can really escalate and take hold.

Like it did for me.

I vividly remember one night when we were visiting my grandparents' house. I was very young.  Young enough that my mom put me to bed in the other room while they stayed up visiting.

I fell asleep, yes.

But at some point, I awoke – and discovered, to my terror, that someone or some *thing* had a tight grip on my hand!

Now I knew that the Bogeyman lived either in a closet or under a bed.  So I knew it was HIM that had hold of me!!

Even though I was scared out of my wits, I still had some wits about me.

So I started reasoning out what to do.

If I yelled for my father, the Bogeyman would pull me quickly under the bed and take me to the unknown void where he takes little children.

If I stayed still and quiet, he'd still end up pulling me quickly under the bed and taking me to the unknown void where he takes little children.

I finally decided that if I yelled for my father, the Bogeyman might be startled just long enough for my dad to arrive and rescue me.

I started screaming…

"Dad, help me, help me!!"

He stormed into the room, and I started sobbing.

"What's wrong???"

Blubbering, I tried to tell him about how the Bogeyman was tightly gripping my hand, and how he was momentarily going to pull me under the bed and take me to the unknown void where he takes little children.

My father started laughing.

Dad was not a cruel man, but I just could NOT figure out what was so funny about being kidnapped.

"Dad, why are you laughing?"

"Look at your hand," he chuckled.

Oh, I was terrified to do that.  What horribly gnarled, wart-encrusted, talon-curled, slimy green hand was I going to see?

Finally, I took one peekonly to find my hand firmly in the grasp of my other one.

What?!?!

Well, it seems that one arm had fallen asleep, and dead to the world, it had become the gripping and grasping claw of the *Bogeyman*…

OK, amusing, but this incident only cemented my terror of the dark.

Fortunately, I did not have parents who used the Bogeyman as a threat to ensure good behavior.

But I did have a brother who delighted in jumping out at me from dark doorways, or from behind couches, or out of closets.

My fear of the dark and sudden surprises took root.

I still sorta launch myself into bed from a couple of feet out…

And "The Hub" has been know to accidentally startle me into a terror-stricken shout from time to time.

He always asks me, "Who did you expect?"

Well, the Bogeyman…


Interesting background on the Bogeyman:

"The word bogey is believed to be derived from the Middle English bogge/bugge (hobgoblin).  Bogeyman (also, sometimes, incorrectly, spelled bogieman, boogeyman, or boogie man) is a common allusion to a mythical creature in many cultures used by adults or older children to frighten children into good behavior. This monster has no specific appearance, and conceptions about it can vary drastically from household to household within the same community; in many cases, he has no set appearance in the mind of an adult or child, but is simply a non-specific embodiment of terror. Parents may tell their children that if they misbehave, the bogeyman will get them…In some cases, the bogeyman is a nickname for the devil." 
(From Wikipedia)

It seems like every culture has some sort of myth or legend about the Bogeyman.

But what I found most interesting is that he can represent Satan.

When you think about it, our fear of the dark probably has its roots in our fear of the devil and his minions.  And though the Bogeyman is a fictional character, the enemy of our souls is very real.

And he has a missionto steal, kill, and destroy.  (John 10:10, ESV)

Described as evil, a thief, the father of lies, a murderer, he is scary.

But, I have discovered a couple of things about him.


One, he cannot read my mind.

This means that my thought life is private.

It cannot be invaded physically or spiritually by the enemy.

Yes, just as we can sense the mood of another person and try to influence it, he can be the parrot that sits on my shoulder, squawking his lies and venom into my ear.

Or he can be the slippery serpent that whispers temptations and doubts.

He can attempt to inflame my thoughts, influence my thoughts, encourage my thoughts, twist my thoughts – but he cannot get in there and hear them.

I like that.

For one thing, this means that when I talk with the Lord in my heart, the enemy is NOT privy to the conversation.

He will not hear me pour out my heart, nor listen to me recount my troubles and worries.  He will not hear me when I feel angry or disappointed in God. He will never hear my doubts.

Therefore, what tremendous courage I can take in being totally honest with the Lord!

I don't know if any of you remember the comedy series, "Get Smart."  If you do, then you'll remember the *cone of silence.*  A rather bulky and cumbersome plastic dome that never, ever worked.

But, God surrounds our minds with His protection.

So what we say in our innermost thoughts, and what we feel in our innermost emotions, is safe with Him.

He alone is omniscient, He alone knows the heart.

He alone knows you.


The second thing that I've learned about the enemy is that he cannot read my mind.

I'm not being redundant here.

This is what I mean.

If the devil cannot read my mind – (he cannot) – then he also doesn't hear my words when I try to battle him in my thoughts.

I can say "Get thee behind me, Satan" all I want in my head, and it might serve to shore up my defenses, but there is only one way to be offensive…

Say it out loud.

Yes, say it so he can hear it.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He used Scripture as His sword.

But He didn't just quote it in his head.

Nope.

If you look closely at the story in Matthew 4, you'll notice something…

Jesus SPOKE Scripture!

And he ended with this:

"Then Jesus said to him, 'Go away, Satan!'" (Matthew 1:10, AMP)


"The Hub" has a funny story about a guy he used to know at work.  This guy was really frustrated with someone, and was telling my husband all the ugly things he said to that person.

"The Hub," finding it hard to believe that this guy got away with all the trash talk, asked him, "You said that?"

The guy kinda smiled and replied, "Yeah…on the inside."

Friends, we cannot afford to fight our enemy just "on the inside."

So if you want to fight well against a most-feared, but not so fearsome, enemy – talk back to him...

OUT. LOUD.

After all, he can't read your mind.


Yeah, I'm still afraid of the dark.

I still love flashlights, and night lights in every room.

I still check closets and under the bed from time to time.

But truly, the Bogeyman is just a figment of an overactive imagination, a myth, a legend.

And though our enemy is real, he is also rather insubstantial.

So if you ever find yourself tightly in his grip, take a good, long look at your hands.

Chances are, something's *fallen asleep* and you're only gripped by your own fear.

Your Father is right there.

And there is no one or no thing "under the bed" ready to snatch you away.


You are safe in His hands alone…





Jesus speaks...

I am
the light of the world.
Whoever follows Me
will never
walk in darkness,
but will have
the Light of life.




***REMEMBER to check out DAILY GRATEFUL THOUGHTS here***
  
(Updated DAILY GRATEFUL WORDS, A WORD FROM THE WORD, A "MESSAGE" FROM GOD, and FOOD FOR THOUGHT can be found on the sidebar.  Thank you!)




"O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I'm far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD." (Psalm 139:1-4, NLT)

"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God.  There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." 
(Hebrews 4:16, NLT)

"Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]." (1 Peter 5:7, AMP)

"Then you will walk on your way [of life] securely and your foot will not stumble.  When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." (Proverbs 3:23-24, AMP)

"'The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned.'" (Matthew 4:16, NASB)

"'I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'" (John 8:12, NIV)

"Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4, AMP)

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand." (John 10:28, ESV)

"'...I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.'" (Matthew 16:18, NLT)

"Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you." 
(James 4:7, AMP)

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes…Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand." (Ephesians 6:11, 13, NIV)

"For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword..." (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105, AMP)



What is the *Bogeyman* in your life?  What are you afraid of?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, SMALL WONDER, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, UNITE LINKUP, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, THE HOMEMAKING PARTY, WISE WOMAN, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, BLOGGERS SPOTLIGHT, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, GRACE & TRUTH, TGI SATURDAYS, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, DANCE WITH JESUS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH, WEEKEND WHISPERS, GIVE ME GRACE, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, LIVING PROVERBS, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, January 25, 2016

JUST A "SMALL" LEAK??


Saga.

"A long, involved story, account, or series of incidents."

And every good story starts with a single event, a seemingly innocuous incident that starts the ball rolling.

Like a snowflake starts an avalanche.

Like a water droplet starts a flood.

I have a good story for you.


It began a couple of weeks ago when my mother said to my brother and I...

"Can I show you something?"

Those words sound harmless enough, right?

But it occurs to me that they are ominously portentous – like saying to someone:

"Can we talk about something?"

So, my brother followed my mom into her bathroom area.

A few minutes later, I wandered in, only to meet my brother halfway.

"What's going on?" I asked.

"Go look," he replied, with a rather grim expression on his face.

I poked my head into her bathroom, and instantly felt like I had entered a horror movie.

There were winged bugs all over her floor, all over her toilet, all over

As I stood there aghast, my brother returned.

My mom's bathroom has a little window with shutters in front of it.

Shut shutters.

My brother and I knew we needed to look.  So we gingerly opened the shutters…

(If this was indeed a horror movie, this is the point when the audience starts screaming, "Don't open the shutters!  Don't do it!!)

Oh my.

A literal mound of bugs was heaped behind those shutters.  A hive of winged insects.  A pile of grossness.

And if there was a *queen* inside, she would have been the size of a baseball, I'm sure about that.  (Needless to say, we did NOT go looking for her...)

"What are those?" I whispered to my brother.

"I think they're termites."

Well, we *RAIDed* that pile, and cleaned up carcasses, and called a termite company.   They came out about a week later for an inspection.  And yup, Mom's house was infested.

Treatment Day was scheduled.

Fortunately, this company uses a non-toxic way to treat termites.  No tenting, no need for anyone to leave the house (though we did arrange for Mom to be gone for the day).

Treatment Day arrived.

So, this non-toxic method entailed drilling holes every foot around the entire perimeter of the house, down to the soil, treating every square inch of the attic and fascia board around the garage, and injecting an orange oil concoction into each hole.

The noise, the dust, the inconvenience, the disruption – feet in the attic, drills and hammers pounding, cement dust flying.

Ugh.

At one point, one of the workers said that he was having trouble drilling down to the soil in the patio.  His drill bit got stuck, and they were awaiting a new, longer one to arrive.

This is the point in the story where the plot twists…


Mid-morning my brother was called outside.  And then came back inside with one of "those" faces – oh no, bad news coming.

"We've had to turn off the water.  They hit a pipe somewhere, and there's a leak."

And so began a 58-hour ordeal.

We had to have the water turned off – except for momentary moments in order to wash hands, brush teeth, and use the restroom.  However, each time we did that, a fountain of water erupted in the patio, and poured out ($$$) all over!

At the mercy of the termite company, because repair work was now in their court, it was 48 hours until their plumber came.

He proceeded to jackhammer the patio to locate and cap the broken pipe.

Except he didn't.

Turns out this guy's "regular" job was heating and air conditioning.  And he only did plumbing "on the side."

So, after an hour of futile and destructive work, he informed me that he couldn't fix it.

Multiple phone calls ensued.

Miscommunication, delays, double-bookings, faulty promises – finally, a guy arrived at our house.  And worked for hours in a valiant effort to remedy our problem.

He did.

At the cost of removing drywall from several areas inside the house in an effort to locate the source of the leak.  And cutting and capping off pipes that compromised the water supply to downstairs.

Needless to say, we were grateful to have running water, finally, at 9:00 PM that night.

This saga is not yet done – as there are more calls and negotiations for leak-plugging, piping restoration, drywall repair, concrete re-pouring, patio re-tiling, etc.

But the whole experience showed me something…


One "small" incident can lead to a whole lot of suffering.

One "small" leak can be anything but…

Have you ever fooled yourself into thinking that a "small" sin is OK?

A fib.

A minor cheat.

A harmless flirtation.

A quick look.

A snap judgment.

I know you're like me (you are, right?!) – and I have been guilty of committing "small" sins, sins that I deemed innocuous, sins that hardly seemed worth the effort of thinking about.

Sins that could hardly be called sins.

Except…

Those sins were just the beginningthe first domino tipping over and starting a chain of events that tumbled out of control.

We humans are funny creatures.

And I think it's a temptation all in itself to *rank* our sins.  

Some are not-so-bad, some are oh-that-wasn't-so-good, and others are really-and-truly-terrible.

And when we are guilty of committing "little" sins, it's easy to dismiss them, to ignore them.

Until a "small" leak turns into a flood.

We must not be fooled.

Small leaks have a way of permeating our souls.  

Every sin costs something.

Consciences can be dulled, integrity can be jeopardized, honesty can be compromised, relationships can be broken, and trust can be demolished.

And more than anything, any kind of sin diminishes and threatens our relationship with God.

You see, in God's eyes, there is no ranking of sins.

There is only SIN – a fatal condition of the human heart.

Yes, sin manifests itself in a million different ways – a million different wrongdoings.

But God's holiness is perfect.

And it doesn't matter if we fall short by an inch or a trillion miles.

WE. ALL. FALL. SHORT.


Oh, dear ones, we cannot afford to be casual about the "small" sins.

We must be ruthless in our determination to find them and eliminate them in our single-minded pursuit of God.

But let us not be like the plumber who thought he could fix the problem himself, and couldn't, because he wasn't a professional.

We are like that – only amateurs in this sin business.

Therefore, we must allow, we must invite the Holy Spirit to do the work that only He can do.

He knows our hearts intimately, better than we do, and He is the only one who can stop the leaky "small" sins before they escalate into something bigger and more damaging.

It might take some jack-hammering, some digging behind walls, some exposing of hidden leaks, some capping off of pipelines that are the source of sinful behavior.

It might take some time, and it might be expensive, costly.

For it will involve dying to self.

But in the end, it's worth it.

Let LIVING WATER flow again!!





Oh Lord,
it seems I've sprung a leak,
I am not displaying
the holiness You seek.

So please search my heart
where sin doth lurk,
And let Your Holy Spirit
do His work.



***REMEMBER to check out DAILY GRATEFUL THOUGHTS here***
  
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(A lot of Scripture today, but let it have a *domino* effect in your heart!)


"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's glorious standard." (Romans 3:23, NLT)

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." (James 2:10, NASB)

"You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2, NIV)

"I am afraid, however, that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may be led astray from your simple and pure devotion to Christ." (2 Corinthians 11:3, Berean Bible)

"You must warn each other every day, while it is still "today," so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God." (Hebrews 3:13, NLT)

"For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness – my sinful capacity].  For the willingness [to do good] is present in me, but the doing of good is not.  For the good that I want to do, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want…For I joyfully delight in the law of God in my inner self [with my new nature], but I see a different law and rule of action in the members of my body [in its appetites and desires], waging war against the law of my mind and subduing me and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is within my members.  Wretched and miserable man that I am!  Who will [rescue me and] set me free from this body of death [this corrupt, mortal existence]?  Thanks be to God [for my deliverance] through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:18-19, 22-25, AMP)

"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.  But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." (1 John 1:8-9, NLT)

"'The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?  But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives.'" (Jeremiah 17:9-10, NLT)

"Search me, O God, and know my heart!  Try me and know my thoughts!  And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psalm 139:23-24, ESV)

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10, AMP)

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God…Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry…In these you too once walked, when you were living in them.  But now you must put them all away…" (Colossians 3:2-3, 5, 7-8, ESV)                                   

"So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls." (James 1:21, NLT)

"We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.  We are no longer slaves to sin." (Romans 6:6, NLT)

"I have been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20, ESV)



Have you sprung a "small" sin leak?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, SMALL WONDER, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, UNITE LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, BLOGGERS SPOTLIGHT, WORSHIPFUL WEDNESDAY, TELL HIS STORY, THE HOMEMAKING PARTY, WISE WOMAN, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, SO MUCH AT HOME, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, NO RULES WEEKEND BLOG PARTY, BLOGGERS SPOTLIGHT, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, GRACE & TRUTH, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYSDANCE WITH JESUS, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & FAITH, TGI SATURDAYS, WEEKEND WHISPERS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY



BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"

Monday, January 18, 2016

WINTER ROADBLOCK


Excitement on the mountain!

Almost two feet of snow!

Millions come to play!

Traffic is a madhouse!

And oh yeah, a giant 18-foot boulder falls on the highway, completely blocking traffic both ways.

Highway reopening – undetermined!

Yes, a week ago Sunday – (thankfully in the middle of the night) – a giant rock tumbled down the hillside onto the highway.

And everything stopped…

Fortunately, our way into and out of town was not affected.

But many people in a smaller town up the road are completely blocked off.

Which is a very big inconvenience.  

You see, there are only three ways in and out of our little mountain town.

And this *rockin' roadblock* has temporarily eliminated one.  People have had to drive long distances to go up and down the hill, and this adds major amounts of time to their work commutes, school bus routes, and access to grocery stores, etc.

Mountain living does have its challenges.

Like fallen trees, flooded roads, and frozen pipes.  (Or 60-hour power outages that DID affect us!)

All of it makes me feel like a bit of a pioneer.

What's next?

Chopping down trees for firewood, shoeing horses, raising cattle, churning butter?!

(Which "The Hub" would love!!  Me, not so much...)

But, truthfully, I still find myself complaining when inconvenience lands on my doorstep.


It's funny how we human creatures get so used to things a certain way. Our little routines get so ingrained.  And we get accustomed to having things work.

Reliability is something we really take for granted.

I think we get even more entrenched in our comfort zones the older we get.

(I'll let you know when I get older…!)

We depend on being able to depend on things.

But, alas, into life some boulders must fall – and then what happens?

Seems to me like we either panic, get discouraged, or rise to the occasion.

Nervous Nellie panics.

Negative Nora gets discouraged.

Learning-How-To-Be-Grateful Sharon wants to rise to the occasion.


Life is an interesting journey – full of ups and downs.  

Sometimes our road is smooth going, straight and predictable.  Sometimes it's littered with gravel and pebbles, and we need to maneuver a little more carefully.

But sometimes God allows big 'ol boulders to crash into the road.

And we are stopped in our tracks.

Oh, the challenges of that!


One of my favorite characters in the Bible is Job.

I relate to him in so many ways, don't you?

Job had a wonderful life – this is how the Bible describes it:

"There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job…Seven sons and three daughters were born to him.  He also possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke (pairs) of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great number of servants, so that this man was the greatest [and wealthiest and most respected] of all the men of the east (northern Arabia)." (From Job 1, AMP)


Job's life was wonderful on many fronts.

He had a sterling reputation, a large and close family, and he was financially well-off!

Job possessed four things that bring securityfame, family, financial freedom, and physical fitness.

His road was smooth and straight.

Then the story continues:

"Now there was a day…"

Isn't that how life happens?

Things are going along just fine, thank you, and then…a day comes along.

A *one-of-those-kinds-of-days* day.

Like a boulder in the middle of the night.

Job lost everything.

I know this story is familiar to all of us.  But have you ever stopped and personalized it?  Actually imagined losing all your possessions, all your children, all your money? 

In one fell swoop?

Devastating.

And then, as God continues to allow Job's testing, he also loses his health.

He was struck down with "loathsome boils and agonizingly painful sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head."

We all know how good physical health can be jeopardized, compromised, or stolen suddenly and without warning.

Finally, Job loses his reputation.

His friends accuse him, wrongfully, of sin.  

And their "helpful" advice does nothing to encourage Job or lift his spirits.

Even his wife throws him under the bus.

She tells him to curse God and die.

(Honestly, with friends and a spouse like that, who needs enemies??)

By the end of Chapter Two, we find Job sitting among the ashes, in a rubbish heap, scratching himself with a discarded piece of broken pottery.

Talk about a boulder in the road…

But Job remains true to God, and God remains true to him.

It's a good lesson for me, for all of us, to ponder.


Last week, I read this in my daily devotional:

"I will make You the basis of my trust, Lord.  I will accept Your demolition of my security, even though it is painful." (Daily Walk with the King, by W. Glyn Evans, c. 1979, Moody Publishers)

I just can't stop thinking about that phrase:

"…demolition of my security…"

The systematic dismantling of all that I find security in – fame, family, financial freedom, or physical fitnessa purposeful laying aside of anything else but Him.

Yes, Lord, I will accept the gravel and pebbles, the twisting and turning of the straight road.

I will even learn, with Your strength and grace, to rise to the occasion when a boulder falls in my path.

I will look past the obstruction toward the construction of Your work in my life.

For the end result is this, in the words of Job:

"I know that you can do anything,
    and no one can stop you.
You asked, 'Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?'
It is I – and I was talking about things I knew nothing about,
    things far too wonderful for me…
I had only heard about you before,
    but now I have seen you with my own eyes."


Yes, Lord, I would see You.






Sticks and stones
may break my bones,
And boulders
may try to hurt me...
But standing firm
upon The Rock,
All is just
as it should be. 




***REMEMBER to check out DAILY GRATEFUL THOUGHTS here***
  
(Updated DAILY GRATEFUL WORDS, A WORD FROM THE WORD, A "MESSAGE" FROM GOD, and FOOD FOR THOUGHT can be found on the sidebar.  Thank you!)

  

"Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more." (Psalm 16:4, NIV)

"Do not love the world or anything in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not from the Father but from the world.  The world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God remains forever." (1 John 2:15-17, Berean Bible)

"Those who use the things of the world should not become attached to them. For this world as we know it will soon pass away." (1 Corinthians 7:31, NLT)

"Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone." (Proverbs 23:4-5, NASB)

"As for the rich in this present world, instruct them not to be conceited and arrogant, nor to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.  Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous, willing to share [with others].   In this way storing up for themselves the enduring riches of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:17-19, AMP)

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 
(Matthew 6:21, KJV)

"'No one can serve two masters.  For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money.  That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear.  Isn't life more...? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?...Why do you have so little faith?...So don't worry about these things…These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.'" (Matthew 6:24-25, 28, 30, 31-35, NLT)

"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NLT)

"And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ephesians 5:20, NLT)

"I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth." (Psalm 34:1, ESV)

"We put our hope in the LORD.  He is our help and our shield.  In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone." (Psalm 33:20-22, NLT)

"[For] we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." (Romans 8:28, NLT)

"Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ?  Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword…Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].  For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced – beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35, 37-39, AMP)




When the boulders of life fall onto your path, what are you depending on?



Linked with:

SHARING HIS BEAUTY, PLAYDATES WITH GOD, MONDAY'S MUSINGS, MONDAYS AT SOUL SURVIVAL, LIFE GIVING LINKUP, GOOD MORNING MONDAYS, GRATEFUL HEART MONDAY, THE ART OF HOMEMAKING MONDAYS, INSPIRE ME MONDAY, SMALL WONDER, TELL ME A TRUE STORY, TITUS 2 TUESDAY, UNITE LINKUP, TESTIMONY TUESDAY, TUESDAY TALK, TELL IT TO ME TUESDAYS, RA RA LINKUP, TEACHING WHAT IS GOOD, INTENTIONAL TUESDAY, WISE WOMAN, TELL HIS STORY, WHOLEHEARTED WEDNESDAY, A LITTLE R & R WEDNESDAYS, WORD FILLED WEDNESDAY, THREE WORD WEDNESDAY, COFFEE FOR YOUR HEART, COFFEE & CONVERSATION, WOMEN WITH INTENTION, WAITING ON WEDNESDAY, SITTING AMONG FRIENDS, THURSDAY FAVORITE THINGS, LIVE FREE THURSDAY, THOUGHT-PROVOKING THURSDAY, GRACE AT HOME, SHINE BLOG HOP, THOUGHTFUL THURSDAYS, FROM HOUSE TO HOME, LITTLE THINGS THURSDAY, COZY READING SPOT, FRIENDSHIP FRIDAY, EVERYDAY TESTIMONY, FAITH FILLED FRIDAY, SPIRITUAL SUNDAYS, FAITH 'N FRIENDS, MAKE MY SATURDAY SWEET, GRACE & TRUTH, DANCE WITH JESUS, ESSENTIAL FRIDAYS, NO RULES BLOG PARTY, COFFEE SHOP CONVERSATIONS, TGI SATURDAYS, WEEKEND WHISPERS, SMALL VICTORIES SUNDAY, WORD OF GOD SPEAK, GIVE ME GRACE, SOCIAL BUTTERFLY SUNDAY, INSPIRE ME MONDAY




BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"