Faith Is Not a Spare Tire it is a Choice

I read a saying that really hit me between the eyes. It went something like this. “Faith isn’t a spare tire, it’s an everyday choice.”

It took me a moment to absorb that thought. I had to ask myself how I looked at my faith in the past. Did I use it as a spare tire, to change when things began to go smooth once again in my life and pull it back out when the waters became troubled?

I have to answer that question as yes, I did. I look back at the things that happened in my life early on and wonder how in the world I have arrived at the place in my life where my faith is no longer a spare tire. It is a choice. That choice is without my faith I would not be able to function. I would be angry not only at life, but God and everyone else around me. The things that have happened in my last the past seven years, could have sent me into the abyss, running on that spare tire.

However, by the grace of God, I learned that my faith was a choice and my choice was to wrap that faith around me like a coat. To know that God knows the big picture, that all things work

together for those who love the Lord and called according to his purpose.

When we look at how a spare tire is supposed to work, we understand that it is only a small tire and will only run for about fifty miles before it blows. When our faith is like that spare tire it too will only work for a short distance before it blows up in our face.  But, if we make our faith a choice, it will sustain us even at our lowest ebb. It will never fail us, and it will give us peace that passes all understanding.

The more I take this journey of life the more I appreciate my spiritual ancestors who made the choice of faith, even though they were human and sinned many times over, their faith never wavered. The more I understand that faith was not a spare tire, it was a choice, it was the thing that drove them to be the best they could be – human failings and all.

As you go through your journey, make faith your choice, not your spare tire. Know that God has the plan, the answers and holds us in his hand.

 

There is More to Eve Than Meets the Eye

Ever since I was a small child I was taught the story of Eve. I was taught how she was deceived by the devil, how she talked Adam into eating the fruit and how because of her they were thrown out of the Garden.

But since those days, I have studied on my own. I found out thing about Eve that I was never taught. Life’s lessons that were put in the background. It hit me as I was watching all of the so feminist spouting their rhetoric about equal rights, blah, blah, blah. How women need to be empowered.

I went back to Eve. When we sit down and really look at Eve, we find that women have been empowered since the beginning of time. They have been leaders, they have been powerful. Let’s just start with Eve.

Yes, Eve sinned that is a given. Yes, she was deceived, that is a given. However, there are two thing that get lost in the translation. While she was deceived and while she did sin. She led a man. She led Adam into joining her in that sin. Adam was supposed to be the stronger one. The wiser one. The one who would resist. However, he fell under Eve’s spell and followed her into that sin. That shows power on  Eve’s part. Yes, it was wrong. But on the flip side of that same coin women can lead men into taking paths of greatness. They can lead men into making the right decisions. So when I hear women say they need to be empowered I scoff at their ignorance. They are already empowered they have not yet learned how to use it the proper way. Sure they still lead men, but the consequences of that path are not what they should be.

Now, let us look at the rest of the story. God told Adam he would live by the sweat of his brow. In other words he would have to work hard in order to make a living for himself and his family. While on the surface that might not appear to be a big deal it is. Adam should have said no. He should have showed the woman that by sinning they would be separated from their Creator. He did not. He followed. Gen 3:17 ”

17Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”

Now let’s look at Eve. While she was punished for her sin in that she would bear children in pain and sorrow, the promise of salvation came through her. God promised that he would strike the devil’s head through the woman. Which he did. God did not give the promise to Adam, he gave it to Eve when he cursed the Devil. Gen 3: 13-15

13And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
14So the Lord God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.”
 Now back to this day and age. When Women say that we need to be empowered we need to “put men in their place.” I cringe. Both have a place God made it so. Both are a balance and both need each other. Women already have the empowerment. They were given it by God. They have forgotten how to use it for the greater good. They have forgotten how to honor men by helping them and in turn helping themselves.
 As women let us return to the understanding that we are already empowered, we just have to stop trying to be men and embrace ourselves as women and use the tools God gave us. Let us go back to treating men with respect they deserve as men and encourage them to be the best they can be. In that light not only will they be successful we will as well.

Planting A Seed

In nature a seed is planted so that something might grow. Notice I said might. Just because the seed is planted does not mean that thing will grow. There could be a myriad of reasons. The seed was to young to old, diseased, infertile, etc. However, the one who plants that seed will not know that until the seed is in the ground.

If the farmer was to afraid to plant his seeds in the springtime there would be no food to harvest. If we are too afraid to plant our spiritual seeds there will be no harvest. To add to that there will be spiritual starvation for lack of food.

In Galatians 6 : 9 we are told:

Galatians 6:9 English Standard Version (ESV)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

We are promised that in due season we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

In 2 Corinthians we are told ;

2 Corinthians 9:6 ESV 

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.

Let us not grow weary of sowing the seeds, for even though not all of them will sprout, some will, and those will be the ones we tenderly care for so that the harvest will be rich.

Be willing to plant a seed, be willing to watch it wither, be willing to watch it grow. That is our mission. Be willing to produce a harvest.

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If You are Not Enough with it- You will Never Be Enough without It

I heard this on a movie I watched for the hundredth time. The movie was called Cool Runnings. The back story is they were the first Bob Sled team from the islands that went to the Winter Olympics.  While they didn’t win a medal that year because the sled broke, and they crashed, they carried the sled across the finish line to finish the race.

In our daily lives, sometimes we think that we are not enough unless we have A,B,C. What we fail to understand is that if we are not enough with A,B, C we will never be enough without it. How many of us say to ourselves, if I only had A, B, C  I would be happy. Or if I had A,B, C I could do this or that. Or if I had A,B or C I would be able to do this or that.

What we need to look toward is that we are already enough without A,B or C. We are enough because this world is not our home. We are only pilgrims on a short journey. Our ultimate goal is to understand that we are enough. We are enough because we are heirs to a kingdom that is not of this world. We have riches beyond all comprehension. We are enough because we are children of the Most High. We are enough because his son gave his life that we might live.

We do not have to wonder if we are going to be enough without it because we are enough with the promise that God has given us. We just have to reach out and receive it.

We just need to keep our eye and hope on the finish line no matter how many times we break or fall down. We are more than enough without A,B or C. The prize is not how much we accumulate. The prize is being with our Father forever. The journey is not how much we gather here on earth, the journey is how we look forward to that which transcends gold or silver. We are enough without it and we are enough if we have it.

As we go through our daily lives let us all understand, We are all enough with it, but we will never be enough without it. The it being  God’s grace, Christ’s sacrifice and the understanding of being with them always.

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The 2019 Journey Begins

For Christmas this year I was given a wonderful gift – This gift is the One Year Bible. Each day is a devotion for that day. This Bible will take me through the entire year of 2019. The beginning starts with the creation. So, in order to share with each of you my journey and to being you along with me, I will start with creation and the ancestry of Christ. All of these things were part of God’s plan. He has the big picture.

As I was reading this I was struck by two things I had overlooked many times. Genesis talks talks about the Garden of Eden and the rivers that ran through it. There were four.

Gensis 2:10-14 “A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found.  The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

What is interesting to me is when one looks up those rivers, we see they still exist today, even though the ebb and flow has changed over the centuries – yes the garden is underwater, however, we do know it existed. The Bible tells us so and facts prove it. God had a plan.

The second thing I had never been taught in all of my years and had never noticed before hit me like a ton of bricks. The genealogy of Christ is amazing and human. The ancestors were not anything special, they were every day people with flaws and failings, strengths and weaknesses just like we have today. The women, were strong, determined and the backbone of the ancestry.

For those of us who study ancestry to determine where we came from in order to better understand who we are, can appreciate, the fact that in Matthew Chapters 1 and 2 the writer talk about the genealogy of Christ. He spares nothing. He tells us the names of four women who were instrumental in the linage. These four women were not perfect in fact three of them would be considered criminals.

Tamar slept with her father in law

Rahab was a harlot who hid the spies of Israel

Ruth- after Ruth’s husband died – she left her own people and traveled with her mother in law to a strange land and became part of her mother in law’s people

Bathsheba was an adulteress whose husband was murdered by King David.

And yet God used these women as vessels to bring forth his son.

God has a plan- he knows the plan even before we are born. He knew Adam and Eve would sin, he knew what these women would do – and yet, even knowing the events would happen, his perfect son arrived.

My point in all of this is none of us are perfect, we all have flaws, we all sin. We have to understand where Christ came from in order to better understand why he came. That includes the Garden, the women and the journey of the ancestors. Imperfect  they were.

Yet, we have a perfect way to our creator. He descended from imperfection.

So take this journey with me. Learn things . Have a greater understanding. Learn that none of us are perfect, however,  we have a perfect way.

We have Hope!

 

Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss those two words are such small words and yet, they are such powerful words. Loss is that thing that happens when we lose something precious to us. Be is a job, a thing or someone. Grief is that thing we do after the loss.

Grief is that lingering ache in our heart, that sadness that fills our soul with pain as we wonder how we will ever get through it. Grief has no time line. While there is a process that process has its own ending.

Grief creates other emotions that some find they cannot deal with. People in their circle cannot understand how those emotions dance around like a mad tap dancer, moving first one way than another. The loved ones just want that person to move on – there is no moving on. There is only moving forward.

Some on you might ask, “How do I move forward? How do I fill the void in my heart and life? ”

First of all there is no filling that void, there will always be a hole. Once that tapestry of your life is ripped it can not be repaired, however, the tapestry can be added to.

When we allow God to be our guide and truly understand that he knows our loss and our grief better than we ever could. When we lean on him for our comfort and strength and know that he holds us in his hands, then and only then can we heal.

In Psalms 147:3  ”  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God understands, he sent his only son to die for us. He willingly gave him up to a death that no man should ever have to suffer. He was in such grief that he had to turn his back. And yet, he tells us that he will heal us as the brokenhearted and he will bind our wounds.

We are told In Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” What a beautiful thought, when the entire world leaves us and goes back to their own lives, God is near to us, he saves our crushed spirit. He listens when we repeat our pain over and over again. When we beg to understand the why of it all. He listens. And if we allow it he comforts us and saves us in our darkest hour.

Grief and loss is a natural phenomenon it is a part of life. However, it does not have to consume us nor does it have to destroy us. It does not have to become who we are, just what we do for  a season.

 

The Elderly

In this age of all things new all the time and throw away all things “unuseful”, we are losing one of our most important natural resources. That is the Elderly, you know those folks of a certain age that have become a “Burden” to the rest of us in our “Busy” lives.  Yes, those lovely wise people. Those folks who have lived through many years of life and have so much to offer the young. In I Timothy 5:1-2 we are told “Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father, and the younger men as brethren. The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

In other words, when men and women get of a certain age we are to treat them was we would our own parents.  Sadly sometimes we treat our own parents worse than we treat strangers. We don’t have time to sit with them, to talk with them, to listen to them even though they may repeat themselves over and over.

My question is why do we do this? There are many excuses but no good reasons. The first one that I often hear is I am to busy, I work all the time. My answer is were they too busy to care of you when you were small? Were they to busy to listen to you when you came to them with problems that in your mind were earth shattering? Were they do busy to sooth you your broken heart? That answer would be no they were not . The next excuse is well, they don’t know me anymore, they have dementia – and my answer is this, they may not know you- but you still know them. Even with memory issues inside that broken body is your parent who loves you still.

My favorite excuse is well, I have small children and I can’t handle all of it. That one makes me sad. Your parents never said they could not handle you even if they had several small children. They just hitched up their pants and handled it.

The best one of all times is well my siblings won’t help me. My answer to that one is this- that is on them, they have to live with the consequences and the guilt not you.

We are blessed with one set of parents, even if those parents are no longer together, they are still out parents, what went on between them was between them it is not about you. Your responsibility is to love both of them – because they first loved you.

Bottom line stop treating our Elderly like they have no worth. They have more worth than the most priceless painting, the largest gem and they are certainly worth more than that gym membership. Once they are gone so is the history they have locked in their minds.  Gone is their sage advise, their love and their support in our darkest time.

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