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Drive-Thru Disaster...

There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.  This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God. (Eating and drinking in enjoyment from the hand of God most likely was not intended to take place in a Taco Bell drive-thru) - Ecc 2:24

(Note: Parenthetical notes are the author's insertion and are not a part of the biblical text.)

ALTERNATE TITLE: Traumatic Times at Taco Bell

Today is going to be an unusual post for this blog, but I have to post about my experience today over lunch because it was definitely a "first" in my life and a priceless experience.  You see, while obtaining lunch today for my husband and I at a local Taco Bell drive-thru, I somehow managed to spill dump almost all of a 32 ounce drink IN MY LAP.  I'm not saying that this was the first time I'd ever spilled anything in a car, but it was the first time that the spillage required a change of clothes.  My, oh my.  I wish I knew how it happened.  However, after being slightly irritated at the fact that my lunch was ruined, I've been able to laugh at the absurdity of the whole thing all day.  I hope you may get a chuckle as well!

Things I have learned/pondered from today's experience ...

  • It is a mystery to me how 24 ounces of Pepsi can be absorbed into clothing, carpet and a car seat.
  • Praise God that I didn't ruin my Blackberry.
  • Maybe large 32 ounce flimsy plastic cups like those issued by Taco Bell should be banned from drive-thru window distribution.
  • I wonder what the poor drive thru attendant thought as I sat there doused with Pepsi waiting for her to hand me the rest of my order.  After about 30 seconds of disbelief on both of our parts, I finally said "Please just hand me the rest of my order, I need to get out of here!"
  • I wonder what kind of conversation the drive thru attendant had with her co-workers after I drove away.
  • I have learned that 25 minutes of driving while soaked in and sitting on spilled Pepsi will not kill a person.
  • I have also learned that when cotton soaked in a soft drink dries, it has a stiffer texture than normal.
  • Would spilled unsweetened iced tea have been so sticky?
  • Would wearing a diet Pepsi have felt any different than the regular Pepsi did?
  • I'm glad that the spilled drink didn't get into my hair. 
  • Golf towels come in handy for more than just cleaning golf clubs.  When removed from the golf bag in one's trunk, they work nicely for large spills.
  • I am thankful that I was 'driving through" alone.
  • I am thankful that the incident wasn't caught on a surveillance camera.  I wonder what that caption could have read.
  • At least my socks didn't get wet.
  • At least the experience kept me from eating the fast food that I should never have gone after anyway.  After all, who is in the mood to eat when they've just received a soaking in a drive-thru?
  • I hope my husband was thankful that he got his food before I left to go home and change clothes.
  • I wish I could blame the incident on someone other than myself.  I tried to blame it on the friend with whom I was supposed to have lunch with somewhere else, but for some reason she didn't want to accept responsibility for my actions.
  • Receiving a phone call from a friend while driving home to change clothes immediately after a drive-thru disasta' is really quite entertaining.
  • While I'm not sure this experience has made me a better person, per se, it sure has brought a few laughs to my world and the people in it.  :)
  • What would have happened if my dog would have been riding with me.  A Pepsi-soaked Shih-tzu, really would have been a sight to behold.  Of course, then I also might have gotten it in my hair.
  • Sometimes things just don't go as planned.

Come Before the Lord

Today, if you will hear His voice: "Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.  (Psalm 95:7b-9 NKJV)

Are you ready to hear from God?  Will you hear from God or will you close your ears and harden your heart to what He has to say to you?  God wants us to not only come before Him in praise and adoration,  but also in obedience and submission.  Just as He was angered when the people of Israel questioned and turned away from God in their stubbornness while in the wilderness after their captivity in Egypt, it pains God to see it today. He wants us to come to Him, as Psalm 95 clearly calls the reader to do, but he wants us to come in praise, in humility and in submission.  Psalm 95 exemplies a wonderful progression of how we should come to God in prayer.  Praise leads to humility, which should lead to complete submission to God's will and not our own.  Let's open our bibles to Psalm 95 and dig in!  :) Praise (Psalm 95:1-5)

The psalmist implores us to sing unto the Lord joyfully with thanksgiving to the Rock of our salvation.  God is so worthy of praise.  If we carefully consider all that He is - all-powerful, majestic, creator of all - our awe and adoration of Him should flow from our lips. Humility (Psalm 95:6-7)

For me, there is nothing like an understanding of how puny I am in relation to God to bring me to my knees.  He is my Maker and my Shepherd.  He is our God.  Fully understanding who we are should bring us to our knees when we approach God.  We must revere Him. Submission (Psalm 95:7-11)

Today if you hear from God through your daily bible reading, another devotional, a bible teacher or even this blog, what are you going to do with what you've been told?  That is the question of the day.  God love us, like He loves His Israelites, and because of that love He wants so much for us.  He wants the best for us and only He really knows what that "best" is.  To enter into the "rest" God has for each of us, we must wholeheartedly attempt to follow His direction in all areas of our lives, not just the areas we want to follow. 

Heavenly Father, show me clearly today even though it may be painful to see, the areas in which I am hardening my heart toward your desires for my life.  Help me to walk in the full power of your Holy Spirit so that I can change in these areas.  Thank you for allowing me to come to you at all.  Your steadfast love for your wayward "sheep" is incomprehensible to me.  Help me to remember your past miracles in my life as I anticipate the future you have planned for me, trusting in your goodness as you work your will in my life.  Amen.

The Weight and the Wait

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, - Hebrews 12:1

What weight are you carrying today that is keeping you from running the race God has set before you?  We all have something.  The weight could be our own sin or a situation that is getting the best of us.  It could be an attitude of our own or of someone else that weighs on us day after day.  The weight could be loneliness or even too much interaction with others.  Take your pick.  And I'll ask again, what is your weight?

I don't share many details here about specific areas in my life, but today I feel compelled to share so that maybe others can know they are not alone.  In the past week, the fact that I am in a sense in a spiritually unequally yoked marriage has been in the forefront of my mind.  My husband is a Christian and a good man, however the gap between where we both are spiritually provides great challenges for both of us.  Let's just say that my relationship with God means everything to me while I don't sense that my husband feels the same in his relationship with the Lord.   (Note: This is my sense alone, I am not a mind reader so I don't really KNOW how my husband feels)/  I felt this "weight" today when I went alone to church.  I felt it last week when he accompanied me to church but didn't participate as I thought he should.  Can you see how this can weigh on a person?

It is difficult for a woman who feels called to Christian service/leadership to be in this place.  Being in leadership is difficult enough without this extra burden of a spouse who cannot relate in both the joy and the hardships (including spiritual warfare) of Christian service.  So, what can we do?  First of all, we must focus on ourselves and our own relationship with God.  We can choose to daily lay our weights down at the foot of the cross.  We can give whatever it is to God in prayer.  And then, we must wait.  We must wait for God to respond to our humble prayers in His due time.  That is the hard part, isnt it?  I wonder if that's what the verse in Hebrews 12:1 means when it says to "run with patience the race that is set before us"?

As I heard our pastor this morning discuss Romans 8:37-39 and how nothing can separate us from the love of God, my mind wandered as I thought of how grateful I am for His love and for the hope that I have through His word.  We are promised that through everything we can be "more than conquerors" through Jesus Christ.  We can let God take our weights so we can run the race.  I'm choosing once again today in my life to not let the weight of my situation drag me down.  I am going to focus on the finish line and on God's promises for me.  We can all choose to lay aside our weights.  Won't you join me today?

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.  (Isaiah 64:4)

Let's pray...

Dear Heavenly Father, I am speechless to think of the love you have for me and of the provisions you make for me.  Help me to lay my weights down at your feet each day so you can take them and carry them for me.  I pray not just for myself, but for all who love you and have their own weights they are trying to carry.  Lord, it would be a lonely place in this world without you.  Keep strong your servants.  Give us your peace, your strength and the knowledge that no matter where we are in our lives, we are not so far away that your love cannot penetrate us.  Help us to sense your love and your presence in our lives.  Thank you for all that you do and all that you will do for us.  Most importantly, I thank you for who you are.  Amen.

Resting in the Shadow

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  (Psalm 91:1 NIV)

Last week on the very day Psalm 91 came up in my daily reading plan through the bible, I read this post over at "Laced With Grace" that beautifully described how this Psalm can be our "911" call in times of trouble.  The psalm is all about the protection, shelter and rest that God provides to those that love him.

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name." - Psalm 91:14 NIV

Think about what this means to us.  I hope that I never cease to be amazed at what God will do for those who love Him.  The amazing part to me is that He is God...GOD, yet He cares so deeply about me, a nobody.  Unbelievable.  Yet if we love Him in even our very limited capacities, He will provide for us.  The more we love Him, the more we will find ourselves dwelling in His shelter and receive the rest that God promises.   By keeping God's commandments and accepting that without God we can do nothing (John 15:5) by coming to Him in pray for everything, we can dwell with God.  We can make living our lives in God's presence a way of life.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-29 to

28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

I want to rest in the shadow of the Almighty God.  I want to be free of worry and to trust completely that God has all things under control.  To me this is true freedom and rest.   In John 8:32, Jesus tells us that the truth shall make us free.  Jesus is the truth.  We need to learn of Him through God's word so that we can have the rest that only He can provide.  Remember, because God loves you, He wants to take care of you in whatever way that He can.

Help Wanted Opportunity!

A good friend of mine is writing a book and is in need of your help.  Would you be so kind as to donate a few minutes of your time and take a survey for me to help her?  See below for an excerpt off of an email I received announcing this opportunity to be a part.  Also, if anyone else out there would like to share this survey as well, please feel free to link to this post.  Thanks for much for all of your help and support!


I'd like to share an exciting opportunity in my life right now--I'm writing a book.  It's about 70% complete and the subject is  "Staying Spiritually Healthy in Today's Changing Church."

Target completion is September. But before I can finish, I need your help.

Would you consider contributing by taking a survey that should take you no more than 5-10 minutes to complete?

Thank you in advance!  Click HERE to begin the survey.

Heaven on Earth

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  (Revelation 22:4-5a)

In my last post, I wrote about the new song we can have in our lives through the power of God working in us and through us.  Today, I'm writing about all things being new.  God will make all things new.  Isn't that fabulous?  Sometime in the future there will literally be heaven on earth and we Christians will be living right in the midst of it.  Revelation 21 and 22 describe the sight to behold.  Not to mention that along with that new heaven and new earth, God will remove tears, pain, death and sorrow from our lives forever.  Close your eyes a moment and take all of that in.  Wow.

How often do you think about heaven?  Heaven is a Christian's final destination and the place where we will spend eternity.  However, we don't hear much talk of heaven in our pulpits today.  When I think of my own life and discussions with friends, I don't recall talk of heaven being a recurring point of conversation.  But why not?  If we think about it, keeping a clear vision of a better future in the forefront of our minds would help us endure our present circumstances wouldn't it?  Keeping an eternal perspective in the midst of our trials really does help us see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Focusing on our heavenly reward at the end of the race of life is an excellent motivator to keep pushing to the finish line.

So what are you pressing through today?  Health issues?  Family issues?  Financial pressures?  No matter what the circumstances, if we remember that in the end we have a much better life ahead for eternity, not just for the blip in time of our fleshly lives, we can make it.  We will have new life.  We can have it now if we rely on God and His provision for us.  We will all have happiness someday.

A New Song

I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.  (Psalm 40:1-3 NIV)

I feel so priviledged to share my thoughts about scripture and life on this blog.  Today I'm going to choose to reflect on one of my favorite passages in the psalms.  In my bible next to the passage of scripture shown above, I have two dates written.  Dates of new resolve for two different issues in my life when my heart was broken and I was in desperate need of a new day and a new song in my life.  They were dates when I allowed God to set my feet upon the rock of His word and His love, as I decided that He was all I really needed.

Dear reader, are you in need of a new start or a new song in your life? God can give it to you.  When He does, many will see it and wonder how you can be so joyful in the midst of the pain or stress of your circumstance.  He has done it for me. He will do it for you.  God will give you that new song so that others will look at you and see God at work in and through you.  God wants people to know that He is God.  Through our praises to God through our lips and our lives, others will eventually put their trust in God as well. 

More to ponder:

1) In what area of your life do you need a "new song"?  In what pit are you dwelling?

2) What do you visualize your "new song" to be?

3) What small step can you take today to start living out the new life you've visualized?  Prayer is a good first step.

God's Inheritance

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.  - Psalm 90:1-2 NIV

One of the things I hear on occasion while playing golf is the phrase: "Remember to hit the little ball, not the big ball", or something like that.  In case you aren't a golfer, the little ball is the golf ball and the big ball is the earth.  If you hit too much of the big ball before you hit the little golf ball, your shot won't go very far at all.  In my case, recently, the ball landed in a pond.  These things came to my mind this morning as I mulled over Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses.  As I read the words in the first few verses, I think about how insignificant I am in the whole scheme of things.  Individually, we are just tiny specks in God's creation. 

It is all about perspective, isn't it?  God is the creator of this whole world.  None of us have even seen the whole world, let alone can we fathom its creation.  And yet, God takes interest in you and me.  While that is incomprehensible to me, I'm so very thankful for it.  God created us for His pleasure and for His inheritance.   Did you know that you were an inheritance to God? The saints (Christians) are God's inheritance because we will be living in heaven with Him someday and all of our actions have an eternal impact one way or the other.  All that we do should be for Him, for the furtherance of His kingdom.  And the good thing is, God will enable us to do His work here on earth through the same power that He used when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  Paul prays for us to have the knowledge of that kind of power in his letter to the Ephesians:

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, -  Ephesians 1:18-20, NIV

Yes.  We are God's inheritance.  The God who created and who rules the entire universe has in inheritance in us.  Let's get to work for God here on earth so we can give Him the inheritance in us that he deserves, shall we?

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us, - yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17 NIV

Lord, I thank you for taking interest in me personally and considering me an inheritance even though you have the whole world at your disposal.  Show me exactly the work I am to do for you with my hands.  Enable me with your power to do that work you would have me to do and let your favor rest upon me so that I can live for your glory.  Amen.

How Is Your Heart Set?

O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! - Psalm 84:12 NKJV

Blessed.  I want to be blessed.  Is that a selfish thought?  I think that depends on the way we look at things.  Being blessed by God requires acts of selflessness, not selfishness if we are to be blessed by God the way He wants to bless us.  Psalm 84 speaks to me in a way that reminds me of how my proper focus will reap joy here on earth and eternal rewards in heaven.  I am reminded here of the blessings a heart centered on the right things can bring in spite of whatever else is going on in my life.  It makes me take inventory once again of what my heart is set on...really.  How about you? 

Take a look with me as I look at Psalm 84 and the benefits we can have from having our hearts "set" on the things God desires.

A heart set on pilgrimage...

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. (Ps 84:5 NKJV)

Our Christian life is a journey.  The more we travel on its roads, the more we need God's strength, don't we?  The longer we travel, the more reassurance we need that life is better with God than with anything else.  The great thing is, the more we seek getting to know God better in all aspects of our journey, the more we will see of Him and the more He will bless us.   How is your journey progressing?  Is your heart set on a pilgrimage to know more of God?

A heart set on closeness...

For a day in your courts is better than a thousand.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  (Ps 84:10 NKJV)

A doorkeeper at the temple was most likely standing outside in all of the elements of weather - the rain, the heat, etc.  However, our psalmist states that he would rather be that doorkeeper close to God than sheltered in the tents of the wicked.  How about you?  I want to be close to God no matter what it demands of me.  No material possessions and no amount of creature comforts ever compare to the warmth and peace I experience when I am walking with our God.  If we make the effort to get to be with Him, we can have a relationship with God that surpasses even our most intimate earthly relationship.  How was your time with God today?

A heart set on righteousness...

For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.  (Ps 84:11 NKJV)

To a heart set on righteousness, God will grant us grace, glory and good things.  His face will shine upon us like the sun on a summer's day, warming our hearts as His shield protects us from the evil one.  Oh, the blessings of living the way God intended us to live.  I don't know about anyone else, but I'm glad that God promises us blessing for living righteous lives - trying to live uprightly in this day and age is not so easy all of the time.  What should you change today to live a more "upright" life?

When we trust in God by keeping our hearts set on Him, He will indeed bless us as He has promised.  I cling to those promises He has made for me.  He will give us what we need, when He sees that we need it.  It is in the waiting through our journey that we must trust in Him so that He will give us the strength to press on in our pilgrimage of getting to know Him better each and every day.  We need to keep our hearts set on God.


For the Glory of His Name

Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name's sake. (Psalm 79:8)

Stereotypes.  We can all be stereotyped into a variety of categories whether we like it or not.  I for instance, can be considered a "typical" woman, accountant, and born-again Christian.  Each stereotype conjures up both positive and negative images in our minds.  The images are based on a person's past experience with a particular type, whether the experience is first, second or third-hand.  Unfortunately, stereotypical characteristics are applied to individuals within each particular group, which may or may not be true reflections of that individual.  Confused?  Hang on, I am going somewhere with this.

I'm bringing up this subject today because I recently overheard a side conversation in a group setting where people were talking about born-again Christians.  To summarize briefly, I heard the words "hypocrites" and "judgmental" among others.  One of the parties to this conversation said "I'm just a regular Christian", in an effort to make sure she wasn't classified with the "born-agains".  First, I must clarify that to be a Christian and to go to heaven, you must be "born again".  That's what the bible says.  So I have to ask myself whether this "regular" Christian is really a Christian or whether she just doesn't realize that she is a "born-again" Christian.  But I digress.

What really got to me about what I overheard was not about debating whether or not these individuals were really Christians, but the fact that so many born-again Christians are giving us a bad name by not living out their lives as God intended.  As I read through Psalm 79 today, I noticed this point again.  Take a look again at the verse 8 at the top of this post.  Keep in mind once again that I'm not holding myself up to be all righteous and good.  I too, have given God a bad name with my words and actions on occasion.  What a shame that is! 

Christians, we are held to a higher standard because we represent such a Holy God.  If we aren't cleansing our minds daily by reading God's Word and allowing it to penetrate our hearts and minds, we will have no chance in keeping this high standard of humble righteousness.  No chance.  It is hard enough for me and I do get into my bible everyday.  This is a heavy post I know, but my heart is heavy for those who might not hear the truth of salvation because their minds are clouded by what they see Christians to be.  Let us all sincerely strive to be who God wants us to be so that our lives aren't stumbling blocks to those who need Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for who you are to me and to the world.  I thank you for your mercy and grace.  Help us to seek your face daily through your written word for your name's sake.  Forgive us for letting you down and not being the best ambassadors for you that we could be.  Deliver us from our sins and purge them from us for YOUR name's sake, not for our own.  Help us to desire to be more like you every day that we live.  Amen.