Impromptu Moments

dtr 1.26.19

Mark 6:31

Live your life in a way that allows for moments of reflection, rest and being fully present. Simplify your schedule to create margin for impromptu shopping trips and lazy Saturdays.

When was the last time you decided, on a whim, to do something alone, with a friend or your spouse?  Has you time become so consumed with things to do that you have no time to add anything spur of the moment to it?

Everyday I wake up to list of MORE than 10 things that need to happen that day.  Some of those things are personal and some of them are business.  I spend all week working on things outside the home and then on the weekends I fill my time with things of the home.  I try my best to SQUEEZE in the grandkids, my kids and my husband.  Sadly, even they seem to get leftover time.

Purposefully plan at least one weekend a month that you have NOTHING planned.  Be sure that the house cleaning, grocery shopping and grass cutting are all done before the weekend or choose to skip it this one time.  That morning when you wake up, decide last minute on what your day will consist of.  Go hiking, ride a horse, catch a train, take a bus to a big city, ride a motorcycle, you choose.  Your body, mind and family will thank you and you will be surprised at how excited you will actually be as you rest and enjoy this unscheduled time.

 

Stop Procrastinating.

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If you have ever taken a time management class you know that before your day begins you should make a “to do” list of things you need to accomplish that day. Step two in the process is to prioritize those items on your list from most to least important. Then the last part is to begin completing and checking off items beginning with the most important.
 
It is easy to put the things we hate to do at the bottom of the list or maybe rate them high and skip them as we check off the items we complete. I recommend that you begin with the things you hate the most. Procrastination only delays the inevitable and causes you stress and anxiety. Once you begin the hard task, break it down into several smaller steps. Then reward yourself after completing each step. Each reward will motivate you to move on to the task ending with a completion and a bigger reward. No matter how hard it may seem…YOU CAN DO IT!
 
Proverbs 6:6-11 “Take A Lesson From The Ants”

Take Care of Yourself

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Practice self-care. Invest in your emotional and mental health each day.
 
There are so many demands on our time and attention from family, work, children, friends, and volunteer work. If we don’t take the time to tend to ourselves, our well will dry up rather quickly. We will have nothing left to give.
 
When it comes to things we care about like our family and our work, none of us aim to give the very last leftover bits of ourselves. Rather, we desire to give the very best of ourselves. So when we take care of ourselves, we are filled up, renewed, and restored so we can offer the people around us the very best of who we are.
 
Mark 1:9-13 is an example where Jesus took time to go away and be alone to be refreshed. Today I encourage you to add some time in your calendar daily, or at least weekly, to do something you love that is just for you. It may be reading a book, soaking in a bubble bath, shooting at the range, golfing, camping or walking a trail in the mountains. Whatever you do, do it to take care of you. You will love yourself, your job, and your family more when you do.

Stop Reacting

In the social media world of instantaneous opinion sharing, this can be tough. Resist the urge to lash out, and take a deep breath or two before you respond to something that might upset you.
 
Read it, take a breath, pray about it and sleep on it. If after doing those things if you still feel that you should respond to a social media post, ask yourself if your post is true, necessary and kind. If not….skip responding and move on. FYI. You are not required to respond to or acknowledge everything that you read on social media.
 
Ecclesiastes 3:7
stop reacting

Desires Of Your Heart

Maybe you have stopped asking God for things because you feel He no longer listens or answers your prayers. Maybe you are mad at God. Maybe you are hurt or disappointed. Maybe you have quit dreaming, setting goals. Just maybe you are DONE with looking ahead.
 
Don’t give up and if you already have then commit to give it another try. I am praying this prayer just for you!! YOU CAN DO IT!!
 
Psalm 20:4.DTR 1-2-19

Abandonment

Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV) Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

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I had the honor of visiting and sitting with someone at the hospital on Friday.  She was a young lady of 80 years old, turning 81 this month.  She told me she had surgery scheduled to fix two leaky heart valves.  Once I arrived and talked with a family member I discovered that what she thought was going to be surgery to fix the problem turned into two procedures to investigate the heart and valves to see what surgery would work best.  The family member said she was disappointed, however her smile and words were no indication of disappointment.

She was scheduled for the first procedure at 11:30 and had been bumped several times, getting in the operating room around 2.  She was in ICU from 2:30 to almost 5:00 waiting for an open operating room for the second procedure.  Smiles and kinds words continued to drip from her mouth to all of those who came in contact with her.  No frustration, fear or anger for being bumped and the long wait.

As I sat with this lady she talked about God non-stop.  All his blessings in her life.  She talked about her marriage of almost 60 years, her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her spiritual journey.  She talked about the many times she could have died but didn’t because God choose to keep her around.  She talked about how she loves to go to church because she loves God and wants to be there every time she can to worship Him, to praise Him, to sing to Him and to be with other Christians. She said how hard it was to get up to go to church on Sundays and how she longed for the days when she could go Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday nights.  She spoke of week long revivals, events the church held throughout the year and how she used to volunteer to work at the church as often as the church would have her.  Most of all she talked about how people today don’t feel this way and how it made her sad.

As we sat waiting on the second procedure, I shared with her how I admired her, her faith and her love of God.  She called me close and whispered that in her lifetime she had voice God speak clearly and directly to her and today was one of those times.  She stated as they were putting her to sleep she heard God tell her that He did not want her to be afraid because He would be with to the very end.  She held my hand, looked me directly in the eyes and said “you know JoAnne, God will never abandon me. Never.  AND I KNOW that that was God talking to me.”

What faith.  What a witness.  What a great woman of God.  After the second procedure the doctors told the family that her heart was not strong enough to withstand the surgery.  They said they would prescribe medication that might help but at this point there was nothing they could do.  She was not disappointed, not angry not afraid.  She simply repeated God’s promise “to be with her to the end.”  That made everything alright with her. Sunday morning, she was in the church.  She was worshiping God, praising God and fellowshipping with other Christians with a smile and joy that only God can give.

I don’t know who on this post is struggling with abandonment issues.  Maybe you feel abandoned by a mother or father.  Maybe you feel abandoned by a friend, a boss, someone you were in a serious relationship with, your spouse or a child.  Who knows, maybe you feel abandoned by God.

I want to encourage you today.  Today’s scripture is a promise and God keeps his promises.  People may leave you but God never will.  If you are going through a trial it doesn’t mean God has left you. We are promised in this world we will have troubles.  God told us that so we could expect it, not like, but know it was coming.  He tells us we don’t have to worry about those trials because He will be with us and help us to overcome the trials.

I love what this wonderful woman of God said to me and I believe it with all that I am.  GOD WILL BE WITH YOU TO THE END!! My family used old southern saying which would be appropriate with her words, “Now you can put that in your pipe and smoke it”.  The phrase was used after stating something surprising or undesired, to emphasize its truth. This 80 year old woman spoke the word with TRUTH.

 

Hooked, Caught and Captured

James 3:3-12 (ESV)  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

My husband, children and grandchild all love to fish.  My father taught all the kids in my family how to fish, including all the details of which bait to use, which hook to choose, what strength line was needed, how to choose a fishing pole, and how to fish for the different types of fish.

As I read the scripture above I was reminded of fishing and the hook you use to catch the fish.  The official description of a fish hook is as follows: A device which goes at the end of a fishing line that actually catches fish either by impaling them in the mouth or, more rarely, by snagging the body of the fish.  The barb is shaped so that after the hook goes into the fishes mouth, it won’t easily come back out. A basic fishing hook is shaped like the letter J.  Funny how Jesus starts with a J right?

 

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I think the devil uses different bait, just like a fisherman to catch us on his hook.  It could be anger at another person, gossip, jealously, hate, pain, the list goes on.  I think we open our mouth, take the bait and then we are hooked.  Some open their mouths so wide they completely swallow the hook while others are simply hooked on the mouth, the lip or even the body.  Once we are hooked, just like a regular fish hook, it is hard to get loose because of the barb, we have already committed with our words.

As a fisherman, we had to choose if we were going to catch and then release the fish or if we would keep them for dinner.  I assure you the devil has no plans to catch and release us.  Each time we took the fish off the hook the fish would fight and wiggle to try to get away.  Sometimes, they would escape from our hands and fall back in the lake.  They could either fight for their life or fry in the pan. They had been caught but they were not truly captured until they were in the ice chest or in the frying pan. Then there was no hope.

The devil may have caught you with his bait I mentioned earlier.  You may feel caught, you may feel trapped, captured, backed into a corner.  Maybe you have started something and you don’t know how to get out of it. You don’t have to live there.  Start fighting the devil and the desire to use your words against others.  Fight, wiggle, jump, do whatever you can to get away from the devil.  Stop and go apologize for the one you have wronged.  Go back and repair the damage you mouth has made.  Make amends.

Maybe you are the one that is suffering from someone else’s words.  God does not approve of us tearing each other down as the scriptures says above.  Pray for the person who is trying to hurt you.  They have been hooked.  They have been caught.  Pray for their freedom.  Pray for them to see a way out.  Pray for you to forgive them.  Don’t stop praying until they are freed.  Ask others to pray with you for them. Ask God to give you wisdom on how to release the hurt you may feel and to love your enemies.  In other words, do what is right, no matter how hard it is.  God will honor and bless you if you do.