Archive | August 2020

Inevitable Change

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Yes, that is a lizard in the picture!  I was outside checking on my plants the other morning, when I spotted this lizard being very still on the exterior wall of my home.   I really don’t do well with seeing lizards or any other little creatures around me, but this one had me reaching for my phone so that I could take a picture.  If you look closely, you will see what appears to be a white substance on the lizard.   My first thought was what did it get into, and then I realized that it might be shedding it’s old skin.

I tend to pay attention to the nature around me and I am always curious as to why God allows me to see or hear certain things. So after seeing this lizard,  I did a bit of research on lizards shedding their skins. I found out that shedding is an indication of growth and renewal.  I also found out that some lizards will eat the skin they shed for nourishment.  The shedding of the skin is an inevitable change the lizard will experience.

Does an inevitable change occur when we join with Christ? I surely hope so! Inevitable means that something is certain to happen.  Change means becoming or experiencing something different.  As we join with Christ we have to put away the former things and walk in our newness with Him.  Of course, this doesn’t mean everything will be easy from here on out, but it does mean we can find hope and peace in our newness with Him.  It means we can put all of our trust in Him instead of being so quick to worry and try to figure things out on our own.   It means we strive to be better and to make better choices.

II Corinthians 5:17(GNT) says “Anyone who has joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.”   When we join with Christ, are we similar to this lizard shedding it’s skin? I would imagine that in a way we are.  Hopefully, we are getting rid of what is old to embrace the new.  Hopefully, we are able to allow what we’ve been through to help us grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.  Just as the lizard may eat it’s shed skin for nourishment, we can take our past experiences to learn life’s lessons and move forward.

Another thought I had about this lizard shedding it’s skin is that you can’t put new wine into old wineskin.  Jesus says in Luke 5:37 NIV: “And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined.”  This parable came about when there was a discussion of John’s disciples time of fasting being compared to Jesus and His disciples not fasting.  Traditionally, fasting was a time of mourning over sins or an urgency for prayer.  Jesus was telling them it was a time of celebration; time to embrace a new covenant.  How often do we try to hold onto old traditions that no longer serve a purpose to help us move forward?  

When I was a little girl, one of my chores was to iron pillow cases after the laundry was done.  I have often wondered what was the purpose in ironing pillow cases when we were just going to wrinkle them as soon as we laid our heads on them.  I do understand it was to make everything nice and neat, but really, what was the point?  Fast forward to today, I’m thankful for wrinkle free pillow cases and those decorative pillow covers.  But just imagine, if I told you I was still ironing pillow cases! You’d probably think does she know how much better it is to embrace the wrinkle free and not waste time ironing! She’s ironing something that does not need to be ironed. There are times we just have to let go of the old traditions and embrace what is new.  (I don’t know if that analogy worked for you, but it made me smile!)  

Jesus offers us something new everyday.  The Bible tells us His mercies are new every morning.  What He offers us is so much better than what we have.  I would like to think the lizard felt so much better after the shedding process was complete.  Getting rid of the old and shaking off that extra burden from the old skin it was carrying around was probably a relief.  I’m sure it looked different from the appearance I captured in my photo.  I believe we look different when we grow and mature in our relationship with Christ.   We don’t wear worry  on our faces as much.  We don’t look like we are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders, because we know  we can cast our burdens on Him.

As you draw closer to Christ, I encourage you to embrace the inevitable changes that should occur in your life.  You have to get yourself to a place where you don’t do certain things you used to do.  You have to resist fleshly desires and seek God for strength and direction.  You have to increase your faith in Him, and make wise decisions concerning you and others.  You have to pray more and study the Bible more.  You have to shed the old and embrace the new.

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Father, we come before You and give thanks to You for being a gracious and merciful God.  We thank You for being wonderful and loving towards us.  Lord, we thank You for all things new.  We know You are the one Who makes a new way out of what was the old way, and we look to You for all we need.  Dear Father, we seek Your guidance for the inevitable changes in our lives because of our relationship with You.   We ask You to  cleanse us with hyssop; give us joy and gladness in bones that were once crushed.  Lord, we know as we embrace change and seek You to forgive us that You hide Your face from our sins and blot out our iniquities. Lord, as we join with You and change for the better, create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us.  In the precious name of Jesus, amen!

Are You Missing Out On What Mary Discovered?

Have you noticed that whenever you are researching or shopping online that a pop up appears out of nowhere?  Either customer service is being offered via a chat with a representative or an advertisement for something completely unrelated to your actual search pops up on the screen. Distractions!  These pop ups momentarily take my focus away from what I was trying to research.  I then have to intentionally take the time to dismiss this distraction or get even more distracted because I take up the offer to chat with the representative.

What about your phone? How often does it distract you?  I can be in the middle of responding to one text and get another text from someone else.  Quite often, I will switch to the new incoming text and start engaging in a conversation forgetting about the response I was sending to someone else.

What about setting aside time to spend with God?  How often are you distracted from your quiet time with God, because of all you have going on each day? There’s your family obligations, your work, ministry work, scheduled appointments, emergencies, friends who need you, social media distractions, and anything else that tends to pop up and capture part of your day.   Also, don’t forget within the 24 hours you are given, that you need time to get dressed, eat a meal or two and get a few hours of rest.  Where does the time go?

If you are able to get up and give God the first part of the day He blesses you with, that is great!  If you are able to give Him some time at night before going to bed, that is great, too.  But are you able to give Him time without being distracted?  Are you able to sit still and feel His presence? My answer to the last two questions is “sometimes!”  Thankfully, I am doing better than I have in the past.  I am grateful God is patient with me as I learn to deal with my distractions so I can enjoy being still in His presence even more.

Luke 12:40-41 tells the story of when Jesus visits Mary and Martha.  The verses from the New Living Translation says  “But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me”.  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details.  There is only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

We often get distracted by comparing what we do to what others are doing.  Martha actually told Jesus it was unfair she was working and Mary was sitting around doing nothing!  We have been conditioned to think it is better to be busy and moving around rather than to just take a moment to sit down and rest.  Imagine Martha’s surprise when Jesus told her that Mary was doing the right thing!  I wonder if she tried to continue the conversation with Him to try and prove her point.  More importantly, I wonder if she went back to the work she was doing and still missed out on what Mary had discovered.

What do you think Mary discovered?  I believe as Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, she discovered her Lord and Savior.  I believe she discovered the truest form of love.   I believe she released all hurt and shame and discovered forgiveness.   I believe she felt a peace from all her worries and day to day pressures.  The Bible tells us we can cast our cares on Him because He cares for us. I can only imagine that is what Mary did that day.   I believe Mary discovered Jesus was the answer to everything she needed.

Jesus was right there in the same house with Mary and Martha.  Mary chose to sit with Him and Martha chose to stay busy.  How often do you do what Martha chose to do?  Jesus is telling you He is right there with you and He wants to spend time with you, but you stay busy.  Are you too busy to take a few moments and be still in His presence? Are you missing out on the joy and peace that comes with sitting at His feet? Are you missing out on what Mary discovered?

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Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being so gracious and merciful to me.  Thank You for being loving and patient with me each day.  Lord, help me to be more like Mary and not become so distracted like Martha, that I miss an opportunity to sit with You.  Oftentimes, I get so anxious about my family, my job, my finances, my health, and other things that I just don’t take the time I should to spend with You.  Lord, help me to become more like Mary.

Father,  I pray that I don’t allow what others are doing to distract me from spending precious time with You.  Lord, I desire to make time, more often than I do, to sit with You.  Help me to tune out what is going on around me, so that I can become more in tune with You.  Lord, in Psalm 23:3 (Message) it says “You are true to your word, you let me catch my breath, and you send me in the right direction.”   I pray I will be more intentional in taking the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and  catch my breath, so that I can also discover what Mary discovered.  In Jesus’ wonderful name, amen!