Monday, March 3, 2014

You Can't Change Someone's Dish Soap.

As I was falling asleep yesterday, a random thought popped into my head, an epiphany, if you will; "you can't change someone's dish soap." At first my foggy mind smiled to itself, impressed, then I snapped to reality and thought, "well, what the heck does that mean?"
"I'm guessing dish soap is someone's mind, based on the context. Or maybe a certain way of doing something." "So, if I see someone making a big mistake, I shouldn't even try to help them?" "Dish soap isn't that serious. "

Conclusion: we all have friends and family who have a certain way of doing things. We love them anyway, but 'that thing' they do just irks us. That's their dish soap. Everyone has one, sometimes more than one. It can be as petty as the way they chew or say a certain word, but it manages to annoy someone else.

What I realized yesterday is that the same way the dish soap we use doesn't really matter as long as dishes are clean, our individual 'dish soaps' don't change the person we actually are. They're usually an extension of our personalities.

If you like a person, however irritating that habit of theirs may be, it doesn't weigh in comparison of who they are. I don't go to a restaurant and ask what brand of soap they used, I check that my dishes are clean and go on to eat my food.

While others dish soaps are annoying to me, and I know mine are annoying to others, it's important to remember that you can't change that about them and you really don't have to. If they're your family, then you're stuck with them unconditionally, and if it's your friends, then, you're friends because of the simple fact that you like the person they are.

So if you happen to see someone washing dishes with a stupid soap, build a bridge and get over it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Motivation Monday.

Blah, Mondays. For me, it's the true start of my week. Whatever I do today set a precedent for the next five days. So I've been trying to set great vibes on Mondays!
Here are a few Scriptures and songs that help me get going when I have a case of the Monday blues.

Scriptures:

1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2. Romans 8:31 KJV

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

3. Philippians 4:8 KJV

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

4. 1 Peter 5:10 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

5. Colossians 3:23 KJV

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

6. Philippians 4:13 KJV

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

7. Isaiah 40:31 KJV

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Songs:

1. Courageous
          Casting Crowns
2. Ready Or Not
          Britt Nicole
3. Losing
          Tenth Avenue North
4. This Is The Stuff
           Francesca Battistelli
5. Strong Enough
           Matthew West
6. Words I Would Say
           Sidewalk Prophets
7. Love Does
           Brandon Heath

Hope you enjoy, and have a great week!!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

More Than Valentine Love

Happy Valentine's day to those that celebrate today and Happy Friday to the rest of us. It's a belief of mine that you shouldn't wait for one day a year to show a loved one how much you care, whether it be a S.O., parent, sibling or friend. Everyday we're given another  opportunity to love someone else, and here to explain all that is my best friend, Mary G, in her first guest post with many more to come. Enjoy:-)
Danielle.

What is love?

Well let me tell you what love is not. Love isn’t rejection, hurt, constant fighting, and pain. Love isn’t hard because when love is real it comes automatically. Love isn’t just saying the three words (I Love You). Saying “I Love You” is good, but without any actions behind it to show and prove the words it means nothing. In my life love hasn’t always come easy so I’ve always been a strong believer and person for love. Without real love what is life? To me life is nothing without having someone to love you straight from the heart. If you gave me all the riches of the world without love I will still have nothing. Material things can’t be there to comfort you when you are lonely or be there to hold your hand when life gets hard. When someone love you when you dream small they’ll dream bigger for you. When you can’t hope they’ll be there hoping for you. When you are stuck in the darkness of the night they’ll fight to bring you to the light. When you have nothing they wouldn’t walk away they’ll be there to make sure you receive something. It wouldn’t ask you to lower your standards because they’ll be too busy making sure you hold them even higher. You may say real love is hard to find, but when love is real it come find you. We have to ask ourselves what have we taking for granted or who have we let become common to us. Love isn’t always just in a man or a woman. It could be in that friend that annoys you the most, the family member you stopped giving so much time, or a child you just haven’t realized you become a role model for. Every day we should wake up ready to show and remind someone just how much we love them. We have to make sure when life is so great when don’t forget who stood by in love when we had nothing. So let us just not show plenty of love today to the special people of our lives. Let us take every day and love all the people that matters most to us just like it’s our last time.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Swords and Tools.

Dear best friend,
You're always there for me. You're an almost limitless source of information. You help me read my Bible and listen to Messages. You remember everything I forget and help me get home when I'm lost. You help me get food when I'm hungry and then help me workout to burn all those calories. You keep a record of everything I've ever told you and you know my taste in music to a tee. You're always teaching me new things and I absolutely love it when you finish my sentences for me :-) But this relationship has a big problem. Your constant cries for attention are taking their toll on this friendship and while you don't seem to mind hanging in a group as long as you're included, you act like you always have to be present. You distract me from spending time alone, and make it hard to focus on things that don't involve you. I love you and I think we have a great relationship, but I need space sometimes.
-sincerely, Danielle

You may or may not have gathered from my letter that I'm talking about a phone. I do tend to personify inanimate objects, but I know I can't be the only person with a phone for a bff.

And I think the saddest part of my letter is that if someone else had written it, I would probably think they were having a real-life bff breakup. If I gave them advice, I'd tell them not to throw away a great friendship, but the recipient really need to learn some boundaries.

Then I remember I'm referring to an inanimate object. An electronic device that I'm supposed to be in control of.
But more often than not, I find my phone in control of me. It tells me what to do and who to spend time with.

And if I'm not careful, I could let my phone replace The Compass that's supposed to be guiding my life. It's true that man gave us an awesome tool in the phone,(and similar devices)but God's given us the most powerful Weapon ever.
Hebrews 4:12 KJV

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

So if I'm going to utilize the "tools" that I've been given, I think I should also make sure I keep my "Sword" sharp and ready for battle against the darkness of sin.

So I'm issuing myself a challenge: before I pick up my phone to do something unnecessary, like playing a game, or checking my social sites, I'm going to read a Bible verse, or whisper a word of prayer.

It's not a law; I just don't want to feel so consumed with the things of the world anymore.  And it doesn't stop at cell phones; I'm just a taking a step away from this in particular, and I hope it's the start of many steps away from the world and closer to God.

Because in the end, that's all that matters.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Still Small Voice

On the first Monday of June 2013, I walked under the threshold of Still Waters Camp for the second time in my life. Having been there the year before, I knew a little of what to expect. I went there with high hopes of visiting with my friends, meeting new people, having a great time and most of all, having a week away from the distractions of the world to get closer to Christ.

Monday went much like I'd imagined; with a great day and an awesome evening bonfire and devotional time. But the service on Tuesday evening pricked my heart in a way I couldn't ignore.You see, for the past 3 years( since I've become a Christian) I've felt the Lord telling me to get rebaptized. And for the past 3 years, I've ignored, excused, and fought against that Leading. Before I went to camp, I'd been asking the Lord to reveal to me His purpose for my life. I just wanted to hear from Him in a way I'd thought I would understand, not realizing I was hearing from Him and not listening. I thought I was I listening for a still small Voice, but in my heart I wanted to hear a loud, thunderous sound.

The sermon that night was about Elijah and told a pretty familiar story of how Elijah had fell into a dispair and God showed him wonders, but wasn't in the wonders. After the wonders, God spoke to him in a still small Voice. As I was pondering this,  the Speaker went on to say how we shouldn't wait to listen to God's Voice, because one day it will be too late; we'd cross a line and never hear it again.

Those words slammed into my heart like a runway train. The thought of never hearing God's Voice again sent chills racing down my spine. To never feel His Presence when I pray or worship Him in song, to never sense His nudging when I'm headed down the wrong path? I decided I never wanted to live that kind of existence and prayed I'd always obey when I felt God speaking.

Then I realized, He had been speaking to me. He'd been telling me to get baptized for years, and, I'd been ignoring it. I knew I had to make right then, without excuses, without waiting, without thinking. I knew I had to obey.

Before long, I found myself standing on the beach, crying my eyes out, while my tent chaperone held her arm around me on support. I cried because I was scared the lake was freezing, because I was scared of everyone looking, but mostly because I was sorry for waiting so long.

When I rose out of the water, I was greeted with hugs and congratulations from my friends and chaperones, but I also rose with a sense of relief that was greater than I've ever known before. The apprehension I'd always felt before seemed silly in comparison to the feeling I had now.

The rest of the week passed by even better than I could've expected, with the Lord giving me everything I needed and more. I spent it in laughs with my friends and prayer with people that I consider my family(we all have the same Father). I also learned lessons I pray I never forget.

That week I learned that obedience is better than sacrifice and there's no greater feeling in the world than being in the Will of God. I also learned that a still small Voice is exactly that, you have to listen for It, then listen to It.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Keeping The Christmas Spirit.

Yesterday we got our first official snow of the season. We had a few flurries the day before thanksgiving but this time we got awesome snowfall that stuck to the ground, coating the city with a layer of cold, white awesomeness.

Something about the snow ushers in the Christmas spirit for me in a way that even trees and decorations aren't always able to. Somehow the snow manages to wash away everything the fall left behind and makes me truly ready for Christmas.

And ready for Christmas I am; I love the gifts-for others, of course-the food, the music, the decorations, and most of all, the spirit that seems to transcend over everyone. For the next month or two, saints and sinners alike tend to forget their differences and embrace each other all in the Christmas spirit.

Everywhere you look, people are jolly, in the past month I've had longer conversations with strangers about toys than I've had with people I've known for years. Elderly ladies chat with me about their grands and younger women talk to me about their kid's wishlists. It's an atmosphere I wish could last forever.

But sometime in January, the Christmas season will come to a close. The decorations will be put away, the weight gained over the holidays will be lost at the gym(hopefully) and unfortunately the love, joy and hope that we share during the holidays will be forgotten, cast away in our busy lives.

But I want to make 2014 different. I want to stop elderly ladies and ask about their great-grandchildren. I want to chat at the supermarket wherever I'm waiting in line or not. I want to stop whenever I'm doing and show people that the love of Jesus shines through me, not just for a few months but the whole year. That though I have hard times and problems in my life, everyday with Jesus is a holiday.

It's not hard to keep the Christmas spirit when you get the Holy Spirit.

Monday, December 2, 2013

I'm Free!!!

I'm a bit of a Civil War geek. Where other periods in history have failed to hold my interest, I find the Civil War era to be one filled with interest and intrigue. Even though I strongly oppose war and violence of any kind, somewhere along the line the Civil War came to life for me.

I began to see the men fighting on both sides less as collective armies and more as individuals. For me, it became more than blue and gray, North and South, Yankees and Rebels. I started reading and thinking and began to understand more and more of the reasons and consequences of the war.

I used to think the CW(as we'll call it) was all about whether a man should allowed to own another, I used to think the South was bad and North was good. While I would never agree with slavery, I understand that for many people in the South it wasn't an personal vendetta but rather a way of life, rooted and grounded in them since birth.

Cotton and tobacco crops needed to be tended and slaves were the people that did it. Food needed to be cooked and served, children needed mammies, women needed maids, men needed valets and carriage drivers, and slaves were the ones to do the job.

Some may have genuinely believed that slavery was a God-given institution. But I believe that most didn't even think about the rights or wrongs, just "the way things are." These opinions weren't limited to the South though; on the contrary, many in the North strongly hated anyone of a different color and many in the South loved them with all their heart.

In short, North and South were just sides of the USA. There were individual people on both sides with personal beliefs and opinions about slavery and people that were different from them.

Enter Lincoln, a man who believed that "God made man, and men made slaves." And vowed to stamp it out if it took his life, which it eventually did. In January, 1863, Lincoln released the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring the slaves free in rebelling states.

I think how I'd feel as a slave set free, knowing many men had died to keep me a slave and many had died to set me free. How they'd fought for nearly four years for this very cause. Looking at my old home, once glorious and prestigious in its wealth now a barren wasteland. I imagine finding out I'd been released from a cruel master, realizing that a taskmaster's whip would never touch me again, and then I remember, I know that feeling well.

I was a never a slave in the physical sense, but I spent years with Satan as a master, his demons my taskmasters. I spent years doing his bidding, dreaming of freedom but not realizing there was a better way than this. Many men had lived their lives for the devil, determined to keep me bound in those chains and many had lived theirs proclaiming the gospel of Jesus, trying to help me to freedom. Then one day I accepted that Someone had died for me to be free. Not Lincoln, but Jesus.

He gave His Life so I'd be free forever. I never ever have to return to Satan and his tyranny. I never have to feel the chains compelling me to sin again. Jesus said "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Freedom is sweet. I imagine knowing my life as literal slave was over forever and I know my life as a slave to sin is over forever, and I can't help but rejoice.
I'm free!!!!! I'm free!!!! Jesus set me free!!!!!!