See What Happens?

It doesn’t seem so bad, does it, to… relax… sometimes?

To skip reading the bible a night… or two.

To play hooky from church when the weather is bad… or too good to be inside.

To get lazy in our prayers every once in a while.

 

Acee, my tiny rescue dog, was delighted when her grooming was… relaxed. She HATES haircuts, baths, clipping toe nails, etc. She was very happy to skip these things over the few months I was gone.

 

But see what happened? IMG_20180906_163204643 (2)

 

Her fur grew so long she could no longer see clearly. It became matted in areas, and got so dirty she developed a skin condition.

 

 

 

 

The cost of the… relaxation… was way more than she expected and it’s taking a long time to get her back in shape. She has had to endure an extra long time to trim her fur and she now has to suffer through longer aggressive baths with medicated shampoo to treat her skin condition. But, finally she is looking and feeling so much better! And she can see again!

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So was… relaxing… so bad?  Or should we call it by what it really is – neglect?

 

Psalm 119:16  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Hebrews 10:24-25   And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

1 Timothy 4:14  Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

2 Pet 1:3-9   His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;  and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Prov 24:30-34  I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;  thorns had come up everywhere  the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins.  I applied my heart to what I observed  and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man.

Dear Goofy Face, (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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Dear  Goofy Face,

Your goofy smile makes me wonder what you are thinking. Relief from the digestive distress you so frequently have to deal with? Warmth from the comfy clothing that covers your little hands? Satisfaction from getting your way as you are held again in a soft yet firm embrace? Oh, I know what people say. Those smiles are just gas passing through your system. But somehow I like to think there’s more to them than that. That you are finding that life can be good, too. It’s not all pain and stress and confinements as you wait to grow stronger. There are moments where you can just relax and enjoy where you are – safe in my arms.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

Song of Songs 2:6    His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.

1 Peter 5:10   And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

 

These letters have double meaning. On the surface they are letters I’m writing to my granddaughter. But they are also letters God is writing to you. Reread them, replacing the greeting with your own name, and the closure with God’s name – and get to know the great love God has for you!

Mary’s Heart in Martha’s Body

She couldn’t go back to sleep. Why did they say that? Did they think her friend loved Jesus more than she did? And here she was carrying the greater load in serving them? It was totally upsetting and hurtful to her and she resented them for it.

To be honest, she didn’t really get that bible story anyway. If Martha didn’t serve, who would? Certainly not Mary, who didn’t even lift a finger to help. Actually, she had always thought of Mary as being lazy and self-centered – she wanted to spend time with Jesus so she did, not caring in the least that she had left everything for her sister to carry. Forcing her sister to carry more than she should have had to carry. If Mary had stayed with Martha to help finish the preparations, they both could have sat at Jesus’ feet.

And she was being called a Martha? Like she would rather stay in the kitchen serving than be with Jesus? Like she didn’t love Him enough to want to spend time with Him?

She still didn’t get it – but what she did get was a revelation of her resentment towards people who forced her into the Martha role.  It wasn’t fair for them to do that to her. The injustice of it hurt her. That and other injustices done to her over the years, especially when she was a young child, kept returning to her as she lay in bed not sleeping.

So she did the only thing she knew to do. She prayed.

“Jesus, I don’t understand all this. All I know is it hurts. But I forgive them for saying what they did and ask that You deliver me from the resentment and pain that has filled me.”

She fell back asleep and dreamed of a barracuda. A poor innocent barracuda that was about to be sacrificed in the name of entertainment. Upset at the injustice, she went to the people in charge and told them it was wrong and that she would tell the authorities about it if they didn’t stop it.

She woke again, puzzled.

“Lord, what’s this about?”

“Injustice. You have been treated unfairly in life.  I can release you from the past, to free you for the future. Just don’t worry about things so much.”

“So I really am like Martha?” she asked, heart sinking.

“Yes, daughter. Sweet daughter,” He said, voice full of love. “You are like Martha in that you get so worked up about things. You don’t need to worry if things will get done.  I’ll make sure what needs to be done does get done. I am here, involved, and I will bring about all that needs to be done. Relax in Me. I will give you the desire to do the things I want you to do. The rest I can handle. Don’t sweat over it. ”

“Do I at least have Mary’s heart? I love listening to You.”

“Yes, you have Mary’s heart. I know your love for Me. But you have been forced into a role I didn’t create for you. IMG_20180511_161925872As you are freed from the past, you will be free to be who I made you to be.”

“How do I get free?”

“Give it to Me -your resentments , your pain. Continually give it to Me. Forgive those involved. Listen for My directions. Practice letting go. I won’t treat you unfairly. As you see My faithfulness, you will be able to relax more.”

As she got ready for the day, she thought about His words. And came up with a plan. When things had to get done, instead of trying to get everything to happen herself, she would say…

“I wonder how Jesus is going to make this happen.”

Then all she needed to do was wait and watch and listen. Like Mary.

My Cross… It’s Not What You Think

She opened her Bible and read Matt 16:24  “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

She had heard many interpretations of what this cross might be. Chronic illness, death of a loved one, difficult people in your life…  They all sounded reasonable, but something about them bothered her. And they didn’t really apply to her life at the moment. Did that mean she didn’t have a cross?

So she asked the Lord.

“Do I have a cross?”

“Everyone does.”

” Well, I’m not sick. No one has died. And there are no difficult people in my life.”

“It’s not what you think.”

“So what is my cross?”

“The ability to understand.”

“I thought that was a good thing.”

“To a degree it is. But you want to know and understand every spiritual thing.”

“So?”

“You’re not capable of understanding everything. You’re limited by your human brain. Besides, even if you could, it wouldn’t be wise. There are some things you cannot handle yet. And sometimes knowing too much would cause you to mess up what I’m doing. You would be tempted to take over instead of relying on Me.”

She thought about that for a few minutes.

“I can see how knowing everything could be a bad thing. It could feed my pride and I would be trusting my understanding instead of trusting You.”

“Right.”

“So how do I carry this cross?”

“Deny your desire to understand everything. Accept and enjoy what you know and don’t fret about what you don’t know. Learn to use the knowledge that you have. Trust Me for the rest. And relax. You’re not carrying this cross alone.”

“I’m not?”

“No one carries their cross alone. I promised to always be with you, in every part of your life, to care for you and help you. That includes carrying your cross.”

“Is the cross the same for everyone?”

“Oh no. Just as every person is different and unique, every cross is different and unique.”

“Wow. It’s amazing that you can help everyone at the same time in so many different ways. I can’t get my head wrapped around how big You are.”

“See? That’s what I’m talking about!”

And she did.

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