Are You a Light Stand or a Bucket?

This morning I read something that really resonated with me.  The last few months (or maybe year!) I have been sort of hiding out at home, not participating in much outside social activity, and for whatever reason, feeling pretty apathetic.  I know – doesn’t sound too smart, but how many of you feel, or have felt this way too?

            Well, if you’re in this same pit I am right now, what I read this morning was a good kick start for me today – maybe it will be for you too.  And for those of you who don’t really need a good kick start, let’s call it a nice affirmation, or inspired reminder of what life is really all about – or should be.

Salt13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.

(God-flavors: love, kindness, mercy, justice, compassion, caring, sharing, to name a few)

If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

(Garbage: unfriendly, unhappy, afraid, paranoid, selfish, worried, LONELY.  Oh no – is this where I’ve been lately!!)

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.Light

(God-colors: TRUTH, peace, joy, love, happiness, openness, transparency, light!)

God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.  (Matthew 5:13-16 MSG)

         This was my directive this morning; to get out and be productive, to do something – to help my fellow man.  It’s not just a nice idea, a feel-good sort of thing to do in my spare time – no, it’s also a directive from God! 

            We are to be purposeful in our lives, not just sit idly under the bucket of our homes, being complacent, playing games and spending hours on end perusing social media (this has been me lately ).  Instead, we are to be purposeful, good salt, helping one another, especially the sick, the poor, the needy.  We should go out, with our warming, life-giving light shining, doing good things, seeking justice, spreading our tasty (God) flavoring to all those around us.  Yes, we should let our lights shine like a bright city on a hill that cannot be hidden!Salt and Light

            So, this, then, is our purpose in life.  Whatever our personality – bold or timid, bubbly or serious, gregarious or quiet, there is a way we can be salty and light-bearing.  If this wasn’t so, God wouldn’t have directed it.  He has already equipped us with what we need – we just need to use it.  If we just open our eyes to what is going on around us, we will see an unsalted, dim life or place that can use exactly what flavoring we each have to give. 

Be purposeful!

I choose the light stand, which do you choose?

Thank God for Chocolate Cake!

Have you ever had one of those yukky days when everything goes wrong, no matter how hard you try, the whole day just flies out from underneath you, takes off on its own, and seems bent on messing up everything you do, stirring up more problems, more issues, and more work?  Ugghh!

And then you feel discouraged, dumb, inferior, incapable, useless, withered, exhausted, done in, etc.  Uuuuuuuugggghh!!!!!!

You go home, get into your comfy flannel jammies, feeling down and dejected, and your tummy grumbles – “need food!” But nothing sounds good – nothing that’s good for you anyway.  You need a treat, something yummy, something that’s not good for you, something bad – oh yeah, something that will make you feel good!  Aaaah yes, comfort food!

And then you remember – left over from last night – oh yeeesssssss!!!!!

CHOCOLATE CAKE!!!!!

ImageRich, dreamy, smooth, moist, luscious, soothing, soul reviving chocolate cake!!

Now, for those of you who don’t like chocolate – I will pray for you – because you are missing out on one of life’s most miraculous healing tools!!

But for those of you who know what I’m talking about – there’s just nothing like a big slice of rich, deep, yummy, super moist, super chocolaty, chocolate cake, topped with thick, rich, dark chocolaty, creamy icing! Oooooooohhhhh Lord – it just soothes my soul and all that ails it!!!!  Makes me feel delectably worthy and able again.

Thank God for chocolate cake!

 (And might I add here that I make a baaaaaaaaaaddddd chocolate cake!!)

Well, what about when that delectable chocolate cake isn’t available? Or Heaven forbid – you don’t like delectable chocolate cake? (Unfathomable to me, but, hey, whatever floats your boat J) 

I realized something a few days ago that put me on this thought path; having my daily personal quiet/devotional/meditation time, for me, provides that same delectably worthy and able feeling, deep down in my soul – that same delectable feeling that chocolate cake gives me after I have liberally imbibed. It simply soothes my soul and all that ails it.

 But, for me, just like that amazing chocolate cake, the right ingredients have to go into the mix, or I’m left wanting, feeling that something is missing.  Without the main ingredient – rich, decadent chocolate – it’s just not chocolate cake, right?

In my quiet time, my main ingredient is God.  Like chocolate, God just simply soothes my soul. He and His awesome words of truth and love lift my spirits.  They assure me that I am not alone, that I am loved, just as I am, faults and all.  They tell me that, yes, I will have bad days along with the good, that there are times I will fail, times I will do the wrong thing.  They acknowledge I’m not perfect, but that it’s ok!

And then they tell me I am beautiful, that I am beloved, and that I matter, that I am worth it, and that I am precious!!  No matter what!!!  And when I talk to God while reading these Words, I get that incredible, delectable, rich chocolate cake feeling, deep down in my soul.  And then everything is better once again. 

Bible 2 compSo, I invite you – try some daily personal quiet/devotional/meditation time.  Reflect upon the good, positive things in your life. Everyone has some, every day of their life – you just have to look for them.  If you don’t already have an open, daily dialogue with God, I recommend you try it.  Today!  Just start talking to Him like He was sitting there right next to you.  Tell Him about your day; ask Him to give you peace.  Devour a piece of His rich, dreamy, chocolate cake – Scripture – as often as you can.  Guaranteed not to put pounds on you, instead, it takes tons of worry and sorrow OFF! Try some today and experience that soul-satisfying, spirit lifting, yummy, delectable, good feeling!

Yes, thank God for Chocolate Cake

His kind is the best

I and My House Are a Mess!!

I and My House Are a Mess!

 An honest evaluation of how I have been applying (or not applying) these Awesome Words to my life.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd

 (when I allow Him to be)

I shall not want. 

(even though I do want – lots of things – I will try not to want unreasonably)

He makes me lie down in green pastures; 

(even though often I don’t see them)

He leads me beside quiet waters. 

(even though I tend to stir them up)

He restores my soul;

 (time, after time, after time)

He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 

(This means He guides me when I seek Him. When I forget to seek Him, or ask for His help, more often than not, I end up on the wrong path!)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 

(Sorry God, I know that not having enough money for the things I think I need, is not actually the valley of the shadow of deathnor is having shoe envy! – but I get what you mean here.)

I fear no evil, for You are with me; 

(I know You are with me, God, but sometimes it’s so hard not to worry or be afraid. Bad things have happened in my life in the past, and I keep being afraid they will happen again. But I will try to trust that You know what You are doing.)

Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

(Yes, God, I have to admit that in probably every tough lessen I have had to learn, I came out better for it. I don’t like tough lessens at all – as a matter of fact, I dread them, but there is comfort in knowing that once through the lesson I will be stronger and a better person for it.  And when I let You lead me, my reward is always greater on Your path than my own.  Yes, I have learned this.)

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; 

(Sometimes I don’t get this one – but I know that when I’m around people I don’t know, or those I feel uncomfortable around, or a little scared of – if I just say a quick prayer to You to help me or keep me safe, I always feel reassured. I know from Your Word that You will bless me for my faithfulness and carry me through any danger.)

You have anointed my head with oil; 

(and my feet with beautiful shoes)

My cup overflows. 

(Yes, Lord, even though I like to “want,” I do realize that I have much more than many, many others. I have a non-leaking, heated and cooled roof over my head; I have a dependable car to get me where I need to go; I have ample and nutritious food in my tummy every day; and I have so much love and support in my life from family and friends – My cup does overflow!

I will be grateful!!

And during those times when the level in my cup begins to lower, yes even when it seems it will dry up – well, somehow just in the nick of time You seem to always fill it back up and then even overflow it again!

I will remember this! I will!)

Surely goodness and lovingkindness (and mercy) will follow me all the days of my life. 

(This means God will take care of me, providing for my basic needs and love me forever. This does NOT mean I will always be trouble-free, carefree, or rich! But I promise I will try to remember this and be grateful, even in the tough times.)

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

Thank You, God, that I have Your house and Your presence to dwell in, because I, and my house are a mess!

Thank You God for the Words You give me – that You give to everyone, to help me – us- make it through each and every day. God, please help me remember to start each day saying “hi” to You, and asking You to walk with me that day, and to be with me, no matter what. Show me who You are in my life, God. Give me faith to believe completely in You, and that You have a pre-made plan for me, because You loved me and formed me, and consecrated me even before I was born. Please help me remember this and be faithful. I love you God ❤

Feel Good, Bad things

Feel Good, Bad Things

Hey to all of you out there, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing!  I hope you are having an excellent day!
I just have to tell you – Wow – have I just been renewed, re-energized, and pumped!!  Let me back up a little and provide you some background info.
Have you ever had one of those times when you do something that you know you shouldn’t do, but temptation just gets the best of you and for a few moments you give in?  And oh my, for that few moments, it feels really good?  And you’re glad you’re doing it.  But…wait a minute…
… what’s that feeling? Uh-oh, guilt!  Yikes! You quickly shut the guilt feeling out and continue the feeling good, bad thing.  Oh yeah.
…then the guilt jumps up again and takes a bite.
Ouch…that hurt – it took a little of the feel good out of that bad, didn’t it?
But … you quickly shut it out one more time and the feel good flows again. Ah, yes, this is good,
this is ok…
Ouch…guilt bites again!  Oooh this time…I really feel it, the guilt, and not just the guilt but also the knowing in my soul that this feel good thing I’m doing, well it really is BAD for me.  I shouldn’t be doing this.  Yes, I know I shouldn’t, but oh I really like it…I like how it makes me feel.
But, wow, I know I shouldn’t be doing it.
And then…you summon the strength to stop.  To walk away.  Whoa…thank goodness, I got out of that one!
But then, later, maybe the next day, you begin feeling bad about it, about doing that feel good, bad thing.  About allowing yourself to be tempted – maybe yet again.  How many times?  And then you begin trying to justify it or excuse it, or even try to make it not such a bad thing, in your mind.  And then you’re okay for a while.
And then it hits you again – the feeling guilty.  Or convicted in your heart that what you did was actually not a good thing, and you feel sorry for doing it.  And then the guilt begins to tear you down a little.  Makes you begin to doubt yourself.  It eats at you.  And you feel worse.
Ok – we all know where that is heading, right?
So, yesterday, this is where I was.  I allowed myself to be tempted.  I quit fighting the temptation and jumped in.  Oh yes, maybe I dove in head first with all eagerness to overflow myself completely with it.  Who knows what I was thinking.  But, oh it was such a feel good, bad thing!!  It soothed a spot in me that has been left neglected for too long.   Can you relate?
Tell me, why do these so-bad-for-you things have to feel oh-so-good sometimes?
Well…it did feel really good, but only for a very short time.  Then the guilt, the conviction set in, in all those stages mentioned above.  And today, I felt really bad about it.  I hated feeling this way, especially since I always want to have a good connection with God, and don’t want anything to stand between my prayers and Him.  And, I don’t need any help feeling down about myself sometimes cause I just have too many imperfections to deal with since God didn’t make me perfect  :->
But my guilt – which today I immediately transposed to holy conviction (yes there is a difference between guilt and conviction) – was standing in the way.  Because I knew I shouldn’t have done that feel good, bad thing, but I did it anyway.  I rebelled.  I threw caution to the wind.  I turned my head the other way.
Well… I’m here to say “no problem!”  That’s right – no problem!
Huh?
Being a Christian girl, I knew that what I needed to do was to talk to God.  Tell Him what I had done (yes, I know He already knows what I did, but I needed to verbalize it to make it real) and that I really was sorry.  That I wanted to feel close to Him again but my feel good, bad thing was standing in the way.  That I don’t know why I keep falling into that same thing, but once again, God, please forgive me.  I don’t want the ugly stain of that guilt – that feel good, bad thing in my brain any longer.  Please God take it from me.  Forgive me please, God, once again, so I can move on and not feel ugly any more.  So I can feel You with me again.  Yes, I know, God, that You never leave me – rather it is I who move away from you when I choose to.  Well, I’m back.  I’m holding my hand back up for You to grasp once again to lead me.  Yes, I know You did not let go – it was I who let go of You.  But I’m back!  Once again.  Holding on.  Yay!!!
Your forgiveness washes over me and I am free – again!
And once again, I am in that feel good, GOOD place! Oh hallelujah – thank you, God, that You so willingly and unendingly provide this GOOD thing for me!  Without it – I am a mess!
In looking at Scripture today, there is a verse that sums up this prayer perfectly.  It is Psalm 51:10 and says:
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. 
(Amplified Bible)
Yes, I needed my heart cleansed of the guilt and my spirit renewed with forgiveness and perseverance to not fall into that temptation again.
And I got it.  Fully and Beautifully!
So, my hope and prayer for you today is this: if anything is bothering you, if you are wandering around, wallowing, or floundering about in the guilt of a feel good, bad thing – one or many things – then I invite you to turn that guilt into holy conviction – no condemnation, just the knowing it was wrong – and lift your heart to your Heavenly Father, who loves you to distraction, and whisper the Scriptured prayer, Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. 
And let go of the guilt.
Be renewed.
Be free.
And be beautiful!
Have a beautiful and lovely day, evening or night. God bless you all,
Mindy