Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Are You a Clutterbug? Here's Help!

cartoon copyright Ron Levellie

Taking care of clutter is a huge time thief. If you’re a clutter-bug who needs help de-junking your environment so you can spend more time enjoying life, try these three steps:
  1. Enlist help from a trusted but objective friend who isn’t as attached to your collection of hair bows from elementary school or scratched Elvis records. Spend a day together de-junking everything that fits into these categories:
    • It is the wrong style or shape for your body (be realistic and brutal);
    • it will cost more to fix it than it’s worth;
    • it takes up more space and time than the joy it gives you.
  2. Give, give, give to charities, homeless shelters, and thrift stores. Just don’t give it to relatives who are likely to give it back to you, or a second-hand store you frequently shop at.
  3. Reward yourself after each room, drawer, or box you’ve cleaned out. But not with more stuff! Read a chapter from a novel, look at cute kitten videos on YouTube, or watch a movie. Then revel in how much time you are freeing to engage in activities you love!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why does God take so long?

image by gerait
Did you ever wonder why God takes so long to answer some of your prayers, while others—mighty few, if you ask me—get answers right away? Me too. 
            According Psalm 138:3, the Lord answered David on the very day he called. “On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul” Psalm 138:3 (NRSV).

God’s answer was to increase David’s boldness and strengthen his soul. He didn’t immediately rescue David from his enemies, but the fresh courage he gave David provided an answer in itself. God took away David’s fears so that he could confidently say, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.” 

I always want God to fix every problem in my or my loved one’s lives immediately. Heal the disease right now—no more pain or suffering, please. Open a door for a new job today—no more living from paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet. Fix the relationships that are broken this minute—make us understand and accept each other and act like adults.

            He rarely comes through that fast. I often say to myself or others, “Why does God take so long?” I generally have to stand fast in faith for days, weeks, even years before I see the changes I want. 

            But he does answer me on the day I call. By offering me his supernatural courage and strength, He makes me bold. He causes me to stand up on the inside, rather than crumpling in defeat. I know he loves me. I know he listens when I call. That assurance gives me the confidence I need to say, with David, “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me.”

image by Alexas fotos
            Father, please increase your strength in my soul. Help me believe you’re at work even when it doesn’t look like circumstances are changing for the better. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Are you standing in faith for something today that makes you wonder, "Why does God take so long?"  How can I agree in prayer with you?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

When Your Child Is Far From Home

Lord, you see the empty pages in my sister’s heart, where her child lived, played, and grew. Now she’s gone from her embrace, and my friend struggles to trust You with her. Please dip your pen into Your well of endless love, and write love letters of grace across her heart today. Give her words meant only for her, filling the pages of her soul with the sweet poetry of peace.

The pages of hope have yellowed, curled, and all but turned to despair. Write a new story for my friend, a story of Your commitment to her child’s well-being and peace.  Whisper words of safety, fulfillment, and dreams realized. Show her Your plan to rescue her child from the plans of the enemy. Let her clearly see her beloved child at your feet and before Your throne, serving You.      
If my friend is tempted to obsess over lost opportunities, give her hope that You’ve not written the last chapter in her child’s life yet. Reassure her that You have many people who can relate Your kindness and love into her daughter’s heart. Bring those people to her, please, Father. You know the very ones she’ll listen to. Protect her from wrong influences and deceptive voices. 

Please fill up my friend’s heart in ways that mean the most to her, whether a special song on the radio, a flower in bloom, or a call from a dear friend. You are the master of custom-made favors.  Give my friend the ones she needs today, to keep her hopes focused on You.

And bring her child back home—home to her, and home to You
In Jesus’ Name, so be it.   
References to Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 6:16; Isaiah 30:18

The above prayer is a chapter from my newest book, Touchable God: Finding the Lord's Friendship Through Prayer.  I hope, if your child is far from home, you found encouragement in it. It is one of 25 prayers for friends in crisis included in the book. I also share 20 stories of my own journey to an intimate walk with Jesus.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How to Re-Purpose Grossly Green Mouthwash

From Grossly Green to Sparkling Clean

     When my husband bought the monster size of Grossly Green mouthwash, I wondered if we’d live long enough to finish it. Or die trying. Whoever invented this stuff either has taste buds of steel, or they hope that their least favorite politicians will buy a case and gag to death. 
     Each time I used some was an excuse to chase it with an ice cream cone or a candy bar. But that only worked for two weeks. It’s not worth a new wardrobe two sizes bigger just to have lovely breath. 
     We can’t throw it out; we’ve invested half a week’s salary in it. Those economy sizes require the money with unknown president’s faces on them.  We could pour it into fancy bottles and give it as Christmas gifts. But our friends may reciprocate next year.
     I discovered the solution to our dilemma while preparing for church one morning in the bathroom. I noticed a ring in the toilet, and rummaged for some bowl cleanser. All I saw under the sink was half a bottle of Grossly Green. Aha. No self-respecting toilet will dare stay dirty after a few swishes of this chartreuse poison. 
     My husband may wonder why it’s disappearing so fast. I’m sure he was expecting it to last a decade. If he asks, I’ll just point to our sparkling, whimpering toilet and tell him that his bargain of the century works better as a bowl cleaner than a mouthwash. 
     Do you sometimes feel that you missed your calling, and chose a wrong path? You don’t need to live in regret. Just put your life in God’s hands. In spite of poor decisions, He can give you a fresh start to do something significant with your life. Not to shine toilets, necessarily, but to shine for Him. 
The above story is a sample chapter from my second book THE HEART OF HUMOR
Have you re-purposed something gross? Do tell!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Why You Should Never, never, never give up!

Ever feel like you’ll run out of time before you accomplish all your dreams and plans? Before you give up, you may want to read these stats:
  • Colonel Harland Sanders was 65 when he launched his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise business;
  • Grandma Moses was 78 when she began oil painting;
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder was 65 when she started writing her Little House on the Prairie series;
  • And Myrrha Stanford-Smith, an 82-year-old teacher, landed a 3-book deal for her fictional accounts of William Shakespeare. Read about it here.
Makes you want to go out and skip some rope, doesn’t it?

Please don't give up on your dreams.

God hasn't.

Follow Him; He'll lead you to the fulfillment of all your dreams,
and more. 
"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).  
What dreams are you holding in your heart today?