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Routine Anchoring

routine coffee

When we think of back to school, what first comes to mind? Sack lunches, big yellow buses, school supplies (Oh I love school supplies) and what about routine? During the summer we tend to lighten up or throw out routine altogether. Spontaneity is exciting and good and at times a total hoot, yet routine gives aide to keeping our prone-to-wander ducks – in a row.

Routine helps anchor our season of life – our day – our moment. An anchor is used when a boat or ship needs to be centered in one location and not moved by the wind, waves or current. When we follow an established pattern, it gives us focus, a goal rather than a haphazard throw it to wind mindset. Routine is a time, a place and a purpose.

Daniel of the Bible followed a pattern of praying three times a day, regardless of what was going on around him. His time with his God solidified his assurance of God’s character, thus help shape his own stand-strong character. King David mentions multiple times his routine was ‘early in the morning’ (early & first) he sought God, read His law, setting everything aside to praise Him. Jesus, our ultimate example was often seen slipping away to pray to His Father. Routine is a time, a place and a purpose.

Nicholas Herman of the 1600s, known to us as ‘Brother Lawrence’ speaks of the development of acute awareness, in the beloved compiled letters ‘Practicing the Presence of God.’ Brother Lawrence spent years working in the kitchen, then working as a shoe repairman. If I may offer application; he speaks of routine as a tool for focus.

Each night as my husband and I crawl in bed, he reads over us. A portion of scripture or from an in-depth devotional. He does this even if he’s traveling for work, through the phone the established routine anchors us.

Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Oh. (OH!)

Perhaps we need to re-adjust some focus, smooth out our schedule, dotting our calendar with designed routine. A time, a place, a purpose: For prayer, praise, seeking HIM early and first. For family and relationship.

Routine.

I shared the above with our women at church over breakfast at our September gathering.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

In The Early – In The First

Fred the Frog.jpg

This is Fred my aquatic frog, my husband named him, I wanted something more exquisite like ‘Sebastian Theodore III’, nope, Fred. He is just a lil guy, less than an inch from nose to frog rump. Most folks have a dog or a cat, but I have fish and a frog. Fred is often seen waiting… just waiting … still waiting. You see when I drop his food in the bowl, it is here (where he waits) that we meet. This morning when I saw him waiting yet again, I thought of his expectation, knowing it is our morning routine. The words of the Psalmist came to mind, “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” (130:5) Waiting in routine is good, waiting with expectation is great.    “For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” (Ps 107:9).

King David wrote, “O God, you are my God; early will I seek You…” (Ps 63:1a) He is saying he not only seeks God early but FIRST.

Finding inspiration from the Psalms and Sebastian Theodore III (aka: Fred). May we too find routine in the early – in the first – in expectation of our God.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

The Simple

Simple slide

Simple. We all seek the simple, the quick, and the ‘let’s get to it’ in life. But, when something is presented without difficulty, we pick it up, look behind it and wonder where’s the rest. We take this mentality into our Jesus walk as well, if it seems uncomplicated, effortless and even manageable, we begin to reach for stuff to fill in the cracks, make it heavier than designed and by all means, let’s OVER-THINK-IT!

Most of the basics are just that … simple.

This Jesus life is co-operative – His divine (instruction & empowerment) with our obedience, equates good God stuff! Example: John 9, the blind man, blind from birth encounters Jesus: (In short) Jesus puts spitty-mud on the guy’s eyes and instructs him to go and wash.   “So, I went and washed and then I could see.” (v11, NIV) To wash – so simple. Yet, there are others who hesitate due to the simple: Naaman, the commander of the Syrian army (2 Kings 5) he’s a mighty man of valor yet had leprosy. Through interesting circumstances, he was told to go dip seven times in the Jordan and he’d be healed. But the man thought he needed-deserved more! Bring out the parade, Elisha wave your hand over me, pray a glorious King James prayer (ok, I added that). In his refusal of the simple, fighting against God’s instruction, he didn’t do it. But finally, in response to his servants challenging him, he went, did the dunking and was healed – his healing, however, was delayed due to denial of simplicity. The blind man in John 9, obeyed immediately – healed immediately.

What is God instructing us? Are we holding out for more, before we respond? Perhaps, we’re making it more difficult than it is.

Simple.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

Your Name

Name

We’ve heard the questioning phrase, “What’s in a name?” The answer: Biblically, a boatload, actually. When we begin reading John 11, we are introduced to a man named Lazarus. We find he is a brother, lives in Bethany and is ill. But beyond those three initial facts, before going any further so much gets lost in the translation – his name. Names given in ancient days helped define the person, gives a title and even their destiny. Lazarus is known to come from the Hebrew, meaning ‘God is my help.’ Continuing the story: Lazarus dies, he is buried, the sisters mourn, and after 4 days Jesus comes and calls him out with all Godly authority and out of the grave walks … Lazarus. THAT is indeed ‘God is my help.’

Names.  I am known by many names, legally I am ‘Diana’ and if called out by my dad, I am ‘Diana Rena’ (and better respond quickly) but to most I am DeDe. To my sons, ‘Mom’, my granddaughter, of recent ‘Grams’ and to my Beloved, I am ‘Sweetheart’. These names offer relationship, title and yes destiny. But my most cherished name and the honored title is ‘Child of God.’ It is SO defining. John writes, “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13, NIV) I am born of God, His child, His daughter.

The scriptures speak of the privileges that accompany the title (AND the responsibility) of being a child of God, one – inheritance (See: Ro 8:17; Tit 3:7; Eph 1:11,18; Acts 20:32; 1 Pet 1:3-12, Col 1:12-14, just to name a few). Folks, this alone is huge, when we are in Jesus, we get the full-meal-deal, the whole God package! Because of our relationship with Him, our name is more than DeDe, Lisa, Bob or Mary – it is CHILD OF GOD.  So, you too, like Lazarus, may be a brother/sister, live in ___________ and even sick (be healed in Jesus name) but because of your titled name, YOU get the privilege of walking out of an assured death sentence to … LIFE! As your story continues, don’t let your name get lost in the translation of the world, keep walking, remembering who and Whose you are – a Child of God.

What’s in a name? Everything.

HIS, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

*Photo credit: product of IdealPin

Happy Left-Handers Day (Left Handed in the Bible)

left-handed-facts

Happy ‘Left-hander Day.’ Yes, it’s an annual national day. Studies suggest that approximately 10% of the world’s population is left-handed.

Leftys …

  • Use the right side of the brain the most
  • Twice as likely to be a man
  • Better at multitasking
  • Of the eight most recent U.S Presidents, 4 have been left-handed
  • Less able to roll their tongue than a righty, (fun facts to share with your friends)

You may ask, “What does the Bible say about being left-handed?” ‘Left-handed’ in the Hebrew is itter and only mentioned 2 times in scripture (Judges 3 & 20) and literally means; ‘not of the right hand’ – thus …left-handed.

Judges 20: In short: There was a very icky situation, war broke out among the tribe of Benjamin and all the rest of the tribes of Israel. “Among all these were 700 chosen men who were left-handed…” (These leftys were in addition to 26,000 other men). ‘Chosen’ is a keyword. In essence, they went looking for left-handed men. WHY?

Back up to Judges 3, Israel had AGAIN gone about doing ‘evil in the eyes of the Lord’, (Boooo!) God allowed the bad king Eglon of Moab to help teach the Israelites a lesson, through warfare. Israel cried out to God and He sent ‘Ehud’ (of the tribe of Benjamin) who just happened to be left-handed, who goes on to defeat the bad king. (YAY!) Moab became subject to Israel and there was peace in the kingdom for 80 years. (Ahh!) All of Israel KNEW the story of the ‘left-handed’ Benjamite – Ehud! THAT is why the Benjamites went looking for leftys – in hopes of having an ‘advantage.’ They were known for being able to “sling a stone at a hair and not miss.” (Jg 20:16). The Benjamites, however, did lose the battle – guess the left-handed missed. (Oops!)

What a lesson for us, we can’t always reach from our past in hopes that what worked ‘then’ will work now. God used the left-handed man to show the Israelites that when they are in fellowship with Him,  He takes the least (one man) and makes the MOST.  His lessons take on new angles with each battle. Left-handed or right-handed, new battle, new battle plan. God’s plan.

Left-handed.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)

 

Tangled Hangers

 

tangled hangers

Patience. At times a hurry up and wait mindset. When the hurry isn’t an instant thing, then anger becomes our response. GOOD patience is a God quality, Paul lumps it in with love, joy, peace, patience…and self-control. (See Galatians 5:22-23).   My husband and I together, have worked through the devotional book, “Praying the Attributes of God” by Ann Spangler and I mean ‘WORK’ through. One does not merely read when you open your heart and mind to transformation. The chapter on patience, looking at God’s patience with us. OH-MY-GOODNESS! God makes declaration of Himself: “The Lord, the Lord! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6).   In short, God does not grow frustrated with us like we do with others, things, circumstances or … ourselves. Patience is being long of feeling, delaying one’s anger.

Impatient trigger points, what is it for you? Long lines at the gas station or 23 items in the gals cart ahead of you at the grocery store when the sign clearly reads only ‘15’? For me, it is tangled hangers – NOTHING makes me more instantly frustrated than when I reach for one, ONE, and they tangle, and others come tumbling out and fall to the floor. Instant ‘hurry up and get it the way I WANT IT’ – mad woman moment! The imagery in life is the same – we are SO busy, our mind so full, that when we reach for one thing, the thing needed or wanted, it potentially all comes tumbling down. What is the first step to de-tangle my hangers and decrease my instant anger? CLEAN OUT THE CLOSET! (I know, DUH!) The same is true with our lives, clean out, get rid of, grow pass all the stuff, so when we (or God) reaches for something… there isn’t a tumbled mess at our feet.

“Thank you, God, for being so very patient with us, willing to allow us to grow and learn. We invite You to work YOUR precious attribute of patience, full of mercy and slow to anger in us. May we this week, sense You as we clean out the stuff, making life easier and not so cluttered, reducing our frustration. De-tangling for Your glory! In the powerful name of Jesus. Amen”

De-tangling the tangled hangers. Pursuing God patience.

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:2

Extolling Him

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I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever.” (King David, Psalm 145:1, ESV – emphasis mine) Extol, the word is pretty much obsolete these days. When was the last time we used it in a sentence – it doesn’t just roll off our tongue? (Or should it?)

Webster’s defines it, ‘to praise highly or enthusiastically.’ Looking at the many different words translated in the Old Testament on praising and glorifying God, there are two main representations: When we exalt God, (in word AND deed) we are personally declaring Him as Superior: He is more, He is beyond, He is aboveall. When extolling God, we not only raise Him in high status, but we lift His attributes as well. God, YOU are holy! You are merciful! You are loving! You are sovereign! You are grace-filled and grace-giving! (Selah)

The imagery is likened to when we raise our hands in church, not only are we in a posture of surrender but raising God above – above the stuff, higher than ourselves. There have been a few times when I, reading His word and becoming so keenly aware of Him and His holiness, on the floor face down I can-not-get-low-enough. A true revelation of God will cause a gut response to do nothing else but lift Him up!

King Nebuchadnezzar experienced just this when stating: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven, for all His works are right and His ways are just; and those who walk in pride He is able to humble.” (Daniel 4:37) As the ancient folks came across on dry ground, safely on the shores, with the Egyptians who sought to again enslave them, now lay dead, it is said of them, the Israelites  ‘believed in the LORD…” (Ex. 14:31) and sang: “The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will extol Him.” (Ex 15:2)

Praising lavishly and magnifying His majesty! May ours, be a lifestyle of extolling God above all. (In Jesus name)

In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)