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Too Many Choices!

I have had a lot of choices to make this past week.  Following are just a few:

Do I stay home with my husband and help him get caught up with chores and a mountain of office work around the house over the weekend?  Or do I leave and give a short sharing I was invited to give at a friend’s church?  While short, it would require preparation, and preparation takes me a lot of time!

Do I attend my daughter’s birthday party?  Or do I keep another commitment that is out of town?  Is going out of town so important that I take the next step towards craziness, and actually try to do both?

Friends are coming from out of town next week.  Do I spend time with them?  Or do I help a family member to whom I made a commitment before I knew they were coming?

How will I avoid feeling good about what I accomplish, and guilty about that which I do not?

All of these questions caused me to remember the order of God’s priorities.
God.  Family.  Work.

Walking and talking with God and spending time with Him.  As much as I am able, keeping my thoughts, deeds and heart in ways that are pleasing to Him.

With God’s help, loving family in the way that I am loved by Jesus.  Placing their needs above my own desires.

Remembering that work is not to take precedence over my relationship with God or with the people that I love.

Under that backdrop I presented each of my choices to The Lord, and I prayed until I had peace.  The result?

I stayed home with my husband and helped him accomplish what was too much for one person to do.
I attended our daughter’s birthday, and fancy that; my other commitment was canceled!
I kept my commitment to my family member.  I will see our friends the next time they come.

In the end, I didn’t feel guilty.  With prayer and peace as my markers, I knew I was doing the right things.

“Lord help me to remember to consult with You in decisions that are big and small.   Today I decide to trust You to show me what is best in all of my choices.”

James 1:5 (NKJV)
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Isaiah 30:21 (KJV) And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

 

 

 

 

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Be A Light!

I was running late as I dashed to the bank to deposit two checks that I had forgotten to take for far too long.  I was scheduled to be at my Mom’s to pick her up for a Doctor’s appointment in about 10 minutes.  Changes to the deposit slip needed to be made, and I was planning on filling out a new one inside. I had just enough time.

Briskly walking up to the building and pulling on the door handle.  I was met with strong resistance.  The door was locked because the bank didn’t open for another half hour.  Quickly I sat down on the floor and scribbled corrections to the numbers on my slip of paper.  Noticing a sign that said the drive up was open, I hurried back to my car and headed for the window.  Only one person was in front of me, but they were waiting for a car in the next lane.  Someone else pulled in behind me, boxing me in.  Not exactly what I had planned.

After waiting for what seemed like a very long time, a lovely gal with a southern accent appeared and cheerily asked me how I was.  “Doing fine”, I responded flatly as I refrained from saying, “but very much in a hurry and running late!”.  I asked how her day was going, just to be polite.  “Quite well, but very busy!” she replied as she continued on with her work.  That smile and positive attitude were starting to get on my nerves!   She stopped to say good morning to the man in the car beside me, assuring him she would be right back.  “HURRY UP!”, I grumbled to myself aloud as she rounded the corner and headed out of sight.

She returned in a few minutes, task complete, and wearing that same smile on her face.  “Here you are, Christine!  Have a wonderful day!”. Surprisingly I found myself  replying with a smile, “You too!”, as I rolled up the car window and put away the deposit slip.  I’ll be darned.  The persistent light of her joy had cut through my darkness and brightened my mood!

Pulling away from the bank I realized how stinking my thinking had been.  The fact that I felt hurried because I had allowed myself to be late had absolutely nothing to do with that teller.  It had everything to do with how I had decided to respond.

Every day I have a choice.  Will the light and joy of Jesus within me shine, brightening the day of another?  Or will I cover it with negative grumbling, bringing darkness to myself and those around?  Such a seemingly simple choice.  One that carries much impact.  There is much difference in so many ways when we choose Darkness over Light .

“Lord, every day may I choose to be a reflection You!
Show me quickly when I have slipped into an attitude other than one of thankfulness and praise.  I will need Your help with this.
Thank You for the simple ways You use us Lord, and turn them into something  profound.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen”

Matthew 5:15-16  (NKJV)
15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 (KJV)  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

2 Corinthians 4:6 (KJV) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

John 8:12 (NKJV) Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of  life.”

Isaiah 60:1 (KJV) Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

 

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A Thanksgiving Prayer

Psalm 107:1 NKJV 1 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.  

Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

“Father, You are indeed a good and merciful God.  May we be anxious for nothing as we put our trust in You.  Please Lord, help us to give You thanks and praise in each and every thing.  May we walk in an ever growing peace as we make our requests known to You.  Guard our hearts and our minds through Jesus.   One of the greatest gifts You can give us Lord, is the gift of a grateful heart”.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving full of blessing,
Christine and A Little Made Enough

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Snowflakes and Purpose

This week we experienced the first snowfall of the season.  Our granddaughters were spending the weekend with us when it arrived.  Their reaction was that of excitement and joy.  They had been looking forward to it’s appearance with anticipation.  While we received just under an inch in measure, they spent several hours outside making snowballs and little forts and running through the yard with abandon.  It was a gift to us all.

As I watched them play, I reflected on the amazing people that they are.  I imagined their futures in light of the talents, uniqueness, and beautiful gifts that they possess.   I was excited by the plans and purposes The Lord has for each of their lives.  His plans for them to know Him, and that they make a difference in this world.   That is the plan that He has for us all.

Following is an article about snowflakes and purpose and beauty.  May it bring excitement and joy to you.  As you read it please remember:
no matter how young,
no matter how old,
no matter where you have been,
no matter what you have done;

God has a hope and a future for your life.  He is not finished with you yet!

You Have A Purpose

 

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Idle Words

Mathew 12:36 (KJV) But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

This week an ALME reader asked the question: “What is considered an idle word?”, after reading the Daily Scripture on Facebook.  The question got me to thinking, prompting today’s weekly post.

There are countless books and articles written on the subject of the power of the spoken word.   A quick review of Mathew 12:36 in several translations of the bible provide insight into our question.  Words, phrases and definitions for idle included:

careless, useless, thoughtless, untrue, inoperative, nonworking, vain, lazy, unemployed, barren

Quite a vivid picture!  I had to chuckle, however, at the thoughts that came to my own mind after my research.  Driving tractor has forever changed the way I see things.

I imagined myself in Beauty, our big farm tractor. Instead of taking off and driving with purpose, I was just sitting with the engine running idle.  I was not going anywhere or putting her to good use. With the gears resting in the neutral position, I wasn’t accomplishing a thing. I was just wasting time and burning fuel.

This tractor has 280 horse power. We have used her to tear out weeds, plant good seed, and even to pull the pickup up the road when it was too muddy or snowy to navigate. There was so much power available to me, yet I did nothing with the power I had been given.

The Lord entrusted us with a great responsibility when He gave us the gift of speech. May our tongue be used with purpose and care.  May we keep our list of idle, careless, thoughtless, useless, words, very very short.

So I pray:
“Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the times I have spoken carelessly and without thought.  For words I have spoken that were untrue.  I ask that You help me to speak words that sow good seed and that bring forth life in others.  Help me Lord, to be aware of every word that I am to say.  May You be pleased with that which I have spoken, one day when I stand before You.”
In Jesus’ Name~ Amen

James 12:9-10 (NKJV) 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Proverbs (KJV) 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

Ephesians 4:29 (IJV) let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

 

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Well THAT Was Exciting!

I have just returned home from helping my husband drive a 1960’s 4020 John Deere tractor on a VERY busy road to a shop for repair.  While the distance of the trip is just over a mile, it is far from my favorite thing to do.  In spite of this fact I took a deep breath as we headed down the driveway and prepared to follow in the pickup with flashers flashing and the whirly gig whizzing on top.

The speed limit on the road is 55 mph, while the tractor will travel at 10-15mph tops.  There is a wide shoulder and a turn lane in the middle that allows impatient drivers to pass.  Today however, there was a school bus that decided not to take advantage of either.  As I looked in the rear view mirror to survey traffic, it was filled with a mass of yellow that had caught up and was right behind me.  There were four cars behind this  cautious driver, followed by a large city bus.  Behind that, I would estimate that  there were another 20 cars lined up traveling at our slow speed.  While our caravan didn’t actually last too long, it seemed like it lasted forever.  I was ever so grateful as we made it to the turn lane and exited into the parking lot so that everyone could pass on by.  In spite of my trepidation, we had arrived at our destination safe and sound.

Pulling into the driveway after our adventure, I couldn’t help but be thankful for the faithfulness of God.  He is with us, and maybe especially, when we have hard things to do.  I recalled the break in traffic He provided as we pulled both of our vehicles onto the road and  I remembered my “thank You” as we took the short side road that gave us a reprieve from the long string of cars.  I felt grateful for the turn lane that came into sight just as the back up was becoming alarmingly long.  When it was all said and done, no one shook a fist, elevated their middle finger, or gave us an angry horn honk.

Our success doesn’t mean that it is always easy, however.  Years ago I was flagging a “new to us” Combine home on back country roads and somehow managed to slide the pickup off into a ditch.  I couldn’t drive it out in spite of the fact it was 4-wheel drive, so we (my husband and I) had to use the Combine to pull it back onto the road.  Oops!  One thing is for certain: whether hard or easy, I would rather have Jesus riding with me than to try to handle my life without Him.

Do you have something that is not your favorite thing to do?  Then don’t forget to bring Jesus with you!!!

 

Joshua 1:9 (KJV)  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Psalm 139:7-10 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. 9If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; 10Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

 

 

 

 

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We Have No Idea

Recently I was having a conversation with someone I do business with.  Things had not gone as smoothly as anticipated for either one of us in our dealings.  As we were discussing our situation she said, “you have no idea” in regards to the troubles that she had experienced in the last several months.  She recounted a couple of incidences about which I was unaware.  She was right.  I had had no idea.  My heart was filled with compassion.  I had a new understanding of her circumstance.  Yet, I could not help but think about her comment and reply silently to myself; “and you have no idea about mine.”

Every day we interact with people.  Family.  Friends.  Those  we walk by on the street, or with whom we share the highway as we drive our cars…and we have no idea.  We cannot see the trials and tribulations, the joys and the triumphs that they are going through.  We cannot know all of the factors that give them their perspective.  Neither can they know and see all of ours.  But Jesus can.

Jesus sees the reason behind anger, impatience on the freeway, or the cause of a fallen tear.  He sees past wounds causing current behaviors.  He has heard words that have been spoken, some harsh and others kind.  He sees beyond a person’s emotions and behaviors.  He sees the person’s heart.

“Lord thank You that You do not see as we see, but that You see into our hearts. Please help us not to judge others, but grant us grace to understand.  May we not be easily offended, but able to see another’s point of view.  Help us to bless and pray for one another, for we really ‘have no idea’.”

1 Samuel 16:7b…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

Colossians 3:12 (NKJV)Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

1 Peter 3:8 8Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

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The “Crabby Cloud”

My husband and I work many weekends at The Ranch House, but when possible we watch our favorite professional football team on television.  It is something we enjoy doing together.   Lately we have begun watching his college alma mater as well.  While my interest doesn’t extend to college sports, I have decided to join in to help root the team on.

While watching the game last weekend I found myself feeling particularly restless.  I began grumbling to myself about being bored.  I started thinking of the other things I could be doing, when in reality I really didn’t want to be doing them either.  I was a crabby mess.  Then The Lord in His goodness reminded me that He was there with us, and that He had some important things I could be doing  for Him.  I could be thankful.  I could pray for someone in need.

So I started expressing my thanks to Jesus.  I thanked Him for a husband who actually likes my company and wants me to be near him during football.  I gave thanks to Jesus for His kindness and provision; for His Presence in my life.  I remembered a baby having surgery this week, and the woman whose husband had just died.  I was reminded of the son of a friend who was going through a tough time, and the grandson of another who needed help.  Jesus reminded me of His Love for them, and that I have been given the privilege of prayer.  Soon my “crabby cloud” lifted, and I was content to be right where I was.  Peace began to surround me.  I was no longer bored.

Jesus has a call and a purpose for each one of us.  One of the most important pieces of our call is to pray.  Our prayers are powerful.  Our prayers make a difference.  They can even make a crabby cloud disappear!

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) 6Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

1 Timothy 2:1 (KJV) 1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men;

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) Pray without ceasing.

Revelation 8:4 (KJV) 4And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

James 5:16 (KJV) 16Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

 

 

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Chew On This!

I am reposting the following article because I need to read it myself!!!  This week I goofed.  I didn’t trust God.  I allowed fear to step in.

Now I have a choice.  What am I going to think about?  Will I think upon the goodness of The Lord, no matter how big my mistake?   Or am I going to think on my mistake, playing it over and over in my mind?

I am choosing to think on The Goodness of God.  I am going to trust Jesus to help me to do better next time.  I am going to remember He loves me no matter what.  I am going to release my mistake to Him.

Chew On This!