Routines

I would be willing to say that all of us have daily routines. We have our list of “to-do’s” to be done before we leave our home every morning. We try to make sure that every item is checked off before we leave home. Once we get to work, school, or wherever we may be going, we have our “to-do” list, maybe not written out, but plainly written in our mind. Then, when we get home, we have another “to-do” list. Would you say that oftentimes our attitude is that our “to-do” list is our “have to do’s” rather than or “get to do’s”?

Our routines include the small things, such as, don’t forget the keys, phone, and wallet, feed the dog, wash the dishes, turn off the kitchen light, etc. Some routines are much more important. We have places we have to go, people we have to see and jobs that we have to do. I recently read about a business woman who would visit her mom in the nursing home every day. She was close to her mother and loved her very much. Her time to visit her mom was the same each day. She would never schedule appointments at that time, because she knew that she would be spending time with her mother. Her visit was something that she felt she had to do. The day came when her mother died. She then realized that she didn’t have to visit her mother, but wished that she could visit her mother.

This story makes us realize that our routines that we feel that we “have to do” may need to be seen as things that we “get to do”. Do we “have to” drive the kids to school or do we “get to” drive our kids to school? Do we “have to” go to work or do we “get to” go to work? Do we “have to” spend time in prayer or do we “get to” spend time in prayer?

Let’s try changing our words from “have to” to “get to” and see if our routines become our blessings. We may find ourselves looking forward to getting up each morning and embracing the day. We may find that our change of attitude may impact our entire day and also impact those around us as well.

Woody

Are You Leaking?

Have you ever counted the items around your house that use air? Yes, air. Tires on your vehicles, lawnmower, utility trailer, tractor; air mattresses, tools, blow-up swimming pools, rafts, etc. When I stop to consider, I have several items that need air. Interestingly, without air, none of these items are of any use. Air is not costly, but it is a great necessity. Have you ever gotten ready to go somewhere in your vehicle and realized that you had a flat tire? Or, wanted to mow your lawn only to realize a lawnmower tire was flat. Flat tires, mattresses, swimming pools, etc. can change our entire agenda for the day.

The same is true when our “joy” leaks out. In John 15:11, we read “I have told you these things so that you will be filled with joy. Yes your joy will overflow”.  Joy is a quality or attitude of delight and happiness grounded in what God has done and is doing in our life. Joy can be identified by our rejoicing and our gladness. I recently read that “Joy is like the hidden note in the glass. Joy is tuning in to what God is doing around you, seeing the world through his eyes, picking up on his delight in us as his children. Anyone can find happiness for a while… Happiness depends on what is happening to you. Joy is different; joy goes deeper. Joy is when your whole being sings because you have caught a glimpse of God at work. Joy can creep up on you and surprise you in unexpected places.”

Our joy is dependent upon what God is doing in our life. Once we have the joy of the Lord, it should remain because the love of God never changes. Jesus tells us that our joy is full. That means there is no room for any more joy and there is no room for sorrow.

Are you experiencing a leak in your joy today? Spend time with God and ask Him to seal you with His love and joy. Just as tires, rafts and air mattresses are flat without air, our life is flat without the joy of the Lord.

Woody

Muddy Windshields

Anxiety is a condition of the heart that gives rise to many other sinful states of mind. Anxiety about finances can give rise to coveting, greed, hoarding, and stealing. Anxiety about succeeding at some task can make you irritable and abrupt.  Anxiety about relationships can make you withdrawn, indifferent and uncaring. Anxiety about how someone will respond to you can make you cover the truth, lie about things.

If anxiety could be conquered, a mortal blow would be struck to many other sins.

In Matthew 6:30, Jesus refers to his listeners as, “0 men of little faith”. In other words, Jesus is saying that the root of anxiety is inadequate faith in our Fathers grace. As unbelief gets a hold on us, one of the effects is anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised.

You may ask, ‘How can I have any assurance at a11?”- You feel like your faith in God’s grace is totally inadequate, so how can I have assurance of even being saved?

Suppose you are on a dirt race track and your enemy throws mud on your windshield–the fact you temporarily lose sight and swerve doesn’t mean you are going to quit the race or that you are on the wrong track. Otherwise, the enemy wouldn’t bother you. What it means is you should turn on your windshield wipers. When anxiety strikes and blurs our vision of Gods glory and the greatness of the future He has for us, this doesn’t mean that we are faithless, but that our faith is being attacked.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee”(Psa 56:3) The Bibles doesn’t say we won’t struggle with fear. The Bible doesn’t assume believers will have not anxiety, but it tells us how to fight it off. “Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares for you”(l Peter 5:7). The Bible doesn’t say we will never feel anxieties, but when we have them, cast them on God.

Are you anxious about:

-being too weak to do your work—”My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness”(2Cor 12:9).
-making decisions about the future–“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go”(Psa 32:8).
-about facing opponents–”If God is for us, who is against us(Rom 8:31)

Our unbelief is the root of our anxiety, which is the root of many other sins.

Turn on your windshield wipers, clean off your windshield and get back in the race. Stop allowing anxiety to keep you stranded on your faith journey.

Woody

God’s Powerwashing

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

Have you ever asked God to search you? To know your heart? Try you? Know your thoughts? And then to see if there was anything wicked going on within you, your life? Interestingly, the Psalmist asked God to do that to him. He didn’t stop there—he then said, “lead me in the way everlasting”.

Yesterday, I heard a noise outside of my office window. It was the sound of a small engine, the voices of a couple of men and some sort of air or water sound. I got up from my desk and looked out my window to see what was going on. Sure enough, a couple of workers were using a motorized power washer to wash the sidewalk, walls and windows of the building. I watched them as they power washed the sidewalk. To my amazement, the concrete fresh look was being revealed. The dirt and stains were being washed away. I walk those sidewalks nearly every day but I had not realized how the dirt and stains had slowly covered the clean, concrete look.

Just like the dirt and stains on the sidewalks, the same things happen in our lives. Day by day, week by week, month by month, we are affected by the world in which we live. The hurts, disappointments, sins, negative emotions, you get the picture, yes, they slowly build up in our lives. The sad reality is that oftentimes, we fail to see just how the dirt and stains of life cover up what God has cleaned up.

So, let us pray for God to search us, to know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts. See if there by any wicked way in me—power wash my life with His Word, with His presence. You may be asking, “Why is that necessary?” The Psalmist tells us so that God will lead us in the way everlasting. Our “ways”, our sidewalks of life should be clean. God’s power washing in our life will be refreshing, clean and those around us will enjoy the results as well.

As God’s power washing takes place in your life, you may be surprised at how much of the world’s dirt and stains have found place in your life.

Woody