The Blame Game {6.30.16}

“He started it.” – “No I didn’t. She did.” blame road signs

“He touched me.” – “She looked at me.”

“I didn’t do it.”

“It’s not my fault.”

 “I couldn’t help it.”

The Blame Game. We have all played it, haven’t we? We blame other people, circumstances, surroundings – anything but taking responsibility ourselves. We often times blame other people for the decisions we make in life. Mostly we blame others when we make bad decisions, or at least not the best decisions. Strange, isn’t it? When good things happen, we love toblame pointing finger take credit. But, when things go south, we are looking to shift blame. I remember the saying that when we point a finger at someone or something, there are several fingers pointing back to us. The truth eventually shows itself.

I was thinking this morning about trash. I’m not sure why that came to mind but it’s just one example of not taking responsibility. I bag up trash each week and set it out to be picked up. Then, my house looks clean and I don’t have to think about what happens to it after it leaves my driveway. The fact is, the trash I put out does make a difference. It makes a difference to the environment. It’s going someplace and making an impact there and beyond. Trash is only one example of how we can ignore our actions and push them off on someone else. But, those decisions always impact us as well as others.

Not accepting responsibility is nothing new. People have been shifting blame forever. It started in the Garden of Eden. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the Serpent. The Israelites blamed Moses. On and on it goes – The Blame Game. It’s time to move on to another game and leave this Blame Game behind us. We know that there will come a day when we will be forced to accept responsibility. “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:35-37) blame cartoon

We might as well admit our mistakes and accept responsibility for our actions, attitudes and words. God already knows everything about us and is ready to forgive us. We only need to admit and ask. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus prayed for us. In Luke 23:34 “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing…”

Don’t we all appreciate it when someone admits their mistakes and takes responsibility instead of passing the buck? Let’s be that person. Humble and Honest (with ourselves and others and most importantly, with God). We are all in this game of life together but at the end of this age, we will all stand alone before God. I don’t know about you but I shudder to think of all the careless words I’ve spoken and the number of times I have played the Blame Game. Let’s live responsibly and make a positive difference this day. People are watching.

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Patience Please {6.25.16}

Well, once again I was made plainfully and painfully aware that I lack patience. Sometimes I think I have patience. I do seem to be a patient driver – that counts, right? Well, that’s the only thing that comes to mind where I have acted patiently. Unfortunately, when I decide to do something, I want to do it NOW. Which is ok unless it’s something I need help with. Sometimes I wait for help, when I simply realize after trying that I can’t possibly do it myself. However, yesterday was not one of those days. I was cleaning and rearranging furniture in our guest room. No surprise – I rearrange furniture often. Well, I decided to move a book shelf. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted it. Again, no surprise but I’m sure a frustration for those involved when I do need help. I am usually not really sure where I want things until I get them there and take a look. Can anyone relate? patience Anyway, back to my story of yesterday. I was just going to move it a couple of inches and see how that would work. So, rather than unload everything, I just pushed. Evidently I was only pushing from the top. I heard something pop and walked to the other end and realized something broke loose. So, I unloaded the shelves. Then I proceeded to push again – this time determined to move it out of the room. Wrong move – another series of sounds let me know that I had made matters worse. Before I was done, I had a couple of boards pulling away from the shelves and had torn a piece off the corner. Now my dilemma got worse. I pulled up on one end and it came loose from the bottom. Now I had a book case that swayed one way and the other. I couldn’t turn it over on its side because the bottom was staying put. YIKES. I hate when that happens. So, I finally got it out into the hallway (still now sure how) and propped up both ends with small furniture pieces so I could finish my rearrangement and cleaning. Realizing that all of this could have/would have been avoided if I had simply waited until my husband got home to help me. But, that would have been a few hours. Who can wait that long? Evidently, not me. Patience Please.

Patience: The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset:

I have very carefully avoided praying for patience because of that old saying “be careful what you pray for”. But, God can find a way to teach us even when we don’t ask for it. Maybe even more so when we don’t ask for it.

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Now I was praying that I could avoid a lecture from my husband that he would have helped me if I had only waited. You see, I have a track record of this type behavior. When returning from the grocery store I hang as many plastic bags on my arms as I possibly can and still hold my arms up – just to shorten the number of trips so I can get done and move onto something else. Not good habits, not proud of them, but the truth.

Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Well, he was forgiving and I did not receive a lecture. He simply took the furniture apart, carried it to the garage and tore it down to be reused in something else. He was certainly patient with me. Maybe he’s gotten used to it after almost 40 years of marriage – think that’s it? Regardless, it was a lesson learned – again. Hopefully it sticks with me longer this time. By the way, the room looks nice. All’s well that ends well.

Addicted to Love {6.20.16}

Do any of you remember the song “Addicted to Love”? For some strange reason it’s been in my head for about a week. I’ve been thinking about addictions and it popped up. Like a song you hear and can’t get it out of your head until another one takes its place. This verse is what I keep thinking about:

“You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”

Addiction: The act of devoting or giving up in practice, the state of being devoted. To devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively.

We can find ourselves addicted to many things. It can be fame, money, certain foods or drinks, alcohol, drugs, exercise, hobbies, television, internet, Facebook, pleasing people (fill in the blank for your life). addictive behavior

We want to feel like we control our lives. And, we do have control over some things. We have control over the choices we make. We have control over our attitudes. Maybe that’s why we are so easily tempted to the bondage of addictions. It’s our self-satisfaction we desire and sometimes think we deserve. I believe we all have tendencies to addictive behavior. Whether it is having to have a cup of coffee, soft drink, or tea before we think we can begin our day, an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or not letting anything or anyone disrupt our exercise or TV schedule, they are all types of addiction. I mean, the fact that I can’t open a bag of chips and stop at 1 or 5 or 10, but can keep eating long after the hunger is gone, that’s addiction. The fact that I will stop at McDonalds to get a tea even if I’m not thirsty, that’s a habit turned to addiction.

When we realize we have an addiction that is starting to control our lives instead of us controlling it, we need to take action. We all have a void in our lives that only God can fill! He is the only person who can really help us and fill void. After all, He knows our struggles already. He knows everything about us (Psalm 139:1-16). He created us to love and worship Him. And, NOTHING is too hard for God. He is creator! (Jeremiah 32:17) He loves us with a love that we can’t even comprehend. And, God’s power in us is strong enough to demolish any stronghold (2 Corinthians 10:4-7). The Spirit of God gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

God’s Word tells us that no temptation has seized us except what is common to man and God is faithful. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. And, when we are tempted (and we will be), He will provide a way out from under the temptation. We just need to be willing to take that escape route. Sometimes I’m willing and sometimes I’m not. I do like to get my way, even if I know it’s not in my best interest. Maybe that’s another definition of insanity. It’s like doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

1 John 4:8, 16 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because GOD IS LOVE.” “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. GOD IS LOVE. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.”

1 John 5:3 “This is love for God: to obey his commands.”

I don’t know about you but…I need GOD and I need His help to put Him first in all things and only be addicted to love – Love for God and others. After all, GOD IS LOVE. Only through God’s power in me will I be able to truly love Him and all others. Because, like me, not everyone is always loveable.

addicted to love I want to be addicted to God to the point that being with Him and following His lead are both a habit and obsession. In order to truly love others, I must love GOD FIRST and MOST – all the time. Only then will the light of God shine in my life for others to see.

I pray that one day people will say to me, “You might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”

Bible Bite – gray hair

Gray Hair – to color or not to color, that is the question.

If we live long enough we all will have some gray hair. Some get it earlier than others but still…it comes. I have to admit – it does tend to make us look older. But, then again, we are older (older thagray hair cartoon 2n yesterday, older than yesteryears). I am not totally gray but when I get out in the sunshine or see photos, I realize that it’s gaining on the other colors in there.  To date, I have decided not to color my hair. Many reasons figure into my decision. My hair grows fast and I can’t imagine having to touch up every couple of weeks. You can’t find my “before gray” color in any bottle. That means, any color I choose would not look natural. Of course at this point in time, anyone who saw me would know that I had colored my hair so I guess it wouldn’t matter what color I chose. I could go red or black if I wanted. Probably the main reason though is that coloring my hair on a regular basis is just plain more “high maintenance” than I am willing to commit to at this point in my life. Maybe it just boils down to laziness. Whatever the reason, until my husband, daughter or hairdresser tell me – “It’s Time!” I’ll let nature take it’s course.  After all, look at this “Bible bite” I found…

Proverbs 16:31 “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” gray hair cartoon

That sounds pretty regal, doesn’t it? Thanks to Jesus and my belief in Him, I was made righteous through Christ. Certainly not on my own merit. But, I’m going to hang onto that verse for now. No matter what stage or season of life we are in, there are blessings specific to it. Let’s count those blessings and rest in them.

Matthew 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – I consider scriptures “Bible bites” as we read them. Proverbs 16:31 is my “Bible Bite” for today. What’s yours?

 

Detours {6.7.16}

I don’t know about where you live, but in my daily travels, I find road construction or detours on almost every route I take. I’m usually a patient driver and don’t get frustrated easily but I find myself trying to find a way around the detours or construction so that I don’t have to wait. Can you relate?

Road detours aren’t thdetoure only detours we take in life, are they? We can be going down a path toward our goals and something derails us. Before we know it, we have left that path and forged another. I know that in my own life, I have consistently exercised for a long time (same time each day) and then got sidetracked or derailed. For some strange reason it is always very hard for me to get back on the path I had started – the one toward my goal. Same with healthy eating. I will do well for a while and then have one of my “trigger foods” and spiral back into old habits. How about our spiritual walks? We are consistently in God’s Word, prayer, fellowshipping with other believers and then – BAM! Something happens and pretty soon we let worry, new commitments, other desires take over the time we used to spend with God. Before we know it, God is not in first place and sometimes not even in second or third. We just call on Him when WE THINK we need Him.

We are tempted – sure. But, not by God. James 1:13-14 “When tempted, no one should say, God is tempting me. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.”

Good News – we don’t have to wait for Monday to begin again, we can do it NOW, right this minute. We can ask God for His help and then – accept it. With God, it’s just that easy. On our own we have more trouble. As human beings, we have a tendency to talk ourselves in or out of anything we want. Problem is – it only delays the inevitable consequence. Here is God’s promise to believers regarding temptation:  1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it.”

Matthew 6:33 tells us that if we put God first, everything else will fall into place. That’s the key. So simple. So true. There is no way to stay on the right path without God’s direction. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight.” That’s a promise from God and He always keeps His Word!

Even when we are inconvenienced and find ourselves on a detour, we don’t have to be detoured from the plan God has for us and the narrow path leading to righteous
ness. We can use the time spent waiting in traffic to pray: for road detour crossconstruction crews, those behind the wheel who frustrate us, any other need we see as we travel. And of course, we can spend the time praising God for the blessings He has given us. Funny how it works but as we count our blessings in praise and thanksgiving to God, pretty soon our delays and annoyances won’t seem so big and bad after all. We may even start looking at detours as opportunities for growth. We can refocus and go forward in peace and joy. Acts 2:28 “You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”  I wish you all joy and peace along whatever path God leads you.

 

Pesky Wabbits {6.1.16}

Have you ever felt like you were living a children’s cartoon or story book? Lately, Elmer Fudd and Mr. McGregor have been in my thoughts.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him: male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the bests of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.”” (Genesis 1:26-30)

peter rabbitSo, we were created to rule over the other creatures. See, God proves it above. The problem is, the rabbits in our garden have somehow forgotten that! In recent weeks, I have felt like we were living out “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” and that we were Mr. McGregor. Our garden is really beautiful, thanks to the efforts of my husband and the blessings of God. However, the rabbits have eaten as much as we have so far! I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I have seen the rabbits simply walk down between the rows eating first from one row to their side and then another. So frustrating! They ended up eating ALL of the tops of the radishes. Finally, they had to be dug up because there
was nothing green on top. Once the radishes were gone, they started on the green bean leaves.

These rabbits are living large and their bellies show it. Part of the increased rabpeter rabbit and mr mcgregorbit problem this year is that the field behind our house was sold to a developer. Thus, no beautiful wheat blowing in the wind, no corn or bean rows, just waist high weeds. Lots of room for rabbits to live and multiply. Who knows what else is living back there! Yesterday I saw a rabbit just on the other side of the garden so I went outside and yelled and clapped my hands to run him off. He just looked at me. I seriously had to get within 8 feet of him, still clapping and yelling, before he finally hopped off down the back of the garden and towards the front yard. He was not one bit afraid of me. I know I must have looked a sight!

This scripture came to mind as I was thinking about our garden woes. “…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)

Sin does have its consequences. green bean rows.jpg

Well, in our “Tale of Peter Rabbit”, we tried something new. We put moth balls down between the rows. I think it is helping. I have only seen one rabbit and he
was not eating bean leaves. Chalk one up for Mr. McGregor.

We might get beans to can after all.