Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Rose by Any Other Name

Are you familiar with the story of Jacob in the Bible? 

"What is your name?” the Angel asked. “Jacob,” was the reply. “It isn’t anymore!” the Angel told him. “It is Israel—one who has power with God. Because you have been strong with God, you shall prevail with men.”  Genesis 32: 27 - 28 



Jacob, that deceiver, cheater, and schemer, wrestled all night with an angel (some translations say it was God himself) and had earned God's new name of grace--'Israel'.  This story is so, so poignant to me.  I see myself in Jacob. I see myself, not as a schemer and deceiver, but as one who spent too many years not using my gifts for God's glory, just as Jacob did.  Despite my stupid, selfish actions, God still looked on me as worthy of blessings and grace. Oh, so much grace!

I will confess that the last few years, Satan has been mocking me and taunting me with my old names--Divorcee', Not Good Enough, Ugly, Disappointing, Failure.  Because I still live in the small town I did twenty years ago, I see so many reminders of my mistakes; of my failures.  Y'all, it is SO freaking hard sometimes! I get physically sick at times.  


But it is not God telling me those things! It's that stupid liar demon, and in my humanity, I let him win sometimes. I get overwhelmed by the disgust of my sins and I let the guilt carry me.  You all know what that "one button" is that Satan can push to get us upset, right? And man, oh man, how he loves to push mine! 


So, how do I overcome it and walk in the grace bestowed upon me? I've found the following habits have helped me the most: 


  • Hide verses in my heart which will help me.  Write them, say them, share them, memorize them, pray them. 
  • Talk to someone I trust who can help me realize what is happening in the spiritual realm. 
  • Focus on the blessings right in front of me which prove God's grace has never left my side, not even for a minute. 
  • Seek the Lord's face when the enemy attacks--you know, like, every. single. day. 
  • Pray, pray, and then pray some more! 
~***~
"After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?"  ~Kazuo Ishiguro from The Remains of the Day
~***~

God's love is not restricted to when I think I've performed well. He loves me even when I make mistakes and fail!  And He loves you, too. Today. Right where you are. No matter your past; your looks; your weight; your race; your bank account balance.  Please take a deep breath and rest in His love today, and I promise to do the same. ♥


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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Choosing Contentment

Philippians 4: 12:  "I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want." 

~**~

My sweet grandbabies often spend the night with me and they are early risers, much to my I-really-need-my-coffee-before-interacting dismay.  One rainy morning last week, Swayze (age 3), asked me why it was raining outside. I quickly and sleepily answered, "I don't know, Baby. You'll have to ask God that question."   


With a serious look on her face, she immediately looked up to heaven and with a very loud whisper asked "God, why it 'waining' outside?"  She paused and then looked at me.  "Granna, I not hear him. Why He not answer me yet?"  Bless her heart!  I assured her that God had indeed heard her and I proceeded to take more time answer her question about why the earth needed rain.  She was satisfied and went back to playing. 

How many times do we get frustrated when God doesn't answer our questions immediately? I am embarrassed to admit that I am pretty impatient when it comes to answers of any kind, especially those from God. I think God should answer on my timetable.  I mean, don't my problems heavily outrank the rest of the world's? Mmmmhmmm. . . sometimes I let the frustration over His delayed answers marr the current happiness I have at my fingertips.  



I'd be happier if God would answer me the same day instead of making me keep on praying for things which seem so simple for Him to answer, like: 

~Why won't Lauren would let us be a part of her life?

~Why can't Abbey breathe without struggle?

~Why can't jobs go more smoothly? 

~Why haven't You healed my migraines? 

. . .the list goes on and on and on. 

But what if God never answers another one of my prayers for as long as I live? What if He never moves me, never heals Abbey or me, never changes my current lot in life.  Can I learn to truly be content? 

One of my favorite authors, C. S. Lewis, said: "If you think of this world as a place intended simply for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable; but if you think of it as a place of training and correction, it's not that bad."  In the Philippians verse above, Paul says he had to LEARN to be content. To learn anything takes practice. Hard days and unanswered prayers offer that practice, I suppose.




Recently, I asked my husband Michael: "If God never changes anything for us, and this--working every day for ourselves and struggling to pay our bills--is the way things will be for the rest of our lives, will you be happy?"   He, without hesitation, said "Yes. I would be more than okay with it."  He is content. He enjoys what he's doing. Does he wish we had more working capital? Absolutely. But is he satisfied that we'll be okay no matter what? Absolutely. 

Contentment is really a state of accepting that God's plan for your life is exactly and always the very. best. thing.  And relaxing into that knowledge can release so much worry and doubt and discouragement.  

I am learning, slowly but surely, that true contentment is sincerely acting with the grace which has dramatically changed my heart.  I don't have to care if life goes exactly the way I want, as long as I have Him.





Psalms 17:15: "But as for me, my contentment is not in wealth but in seeing You and knowing all is well between us. And when I awake in heaven, I will be fully satisfied, for I will see You face-to-face." 





©2018-2020 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Scripture and a Snapshot--4/8/18


"Abraham named the place “Jehovah provides”—and it still goes by that name to this day." Genesis 22:14

~***~





Joining Jennifer and other amazing bloggers over at A Glimpse of Our Life! (click the box to see more photos and scripture!) 



~***~





©2018-2020 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

If Jesus Went "Live" on Facebook


If you've been on Facebook for any length of time, you've seen individuals, news channels, and business pages who go "live" to reach their audience.  My daughter does this several times a week to sell her LuLaRoe clothing in real time.  It's a pretty neat concept, and it has been a super successful way to interact with the audience.  




Technology never ceases to amaze me.  

So, it got me to thinking. . . what would a Facebook Live from Jesus Christ look like? 

How cool would it be to see a notification pop-up which says "Jesus Christ is now live in Heaven"?!! 

Clicking over to His post, what would you like to see?  

  • A strong warrior, fighting off the demons of hell who seek to destroy all goodness?  
  • A gentle shepherd, talking lovingly to a group of children?  
  • A healer, reaching out and touching the hurting to provide instant relief? 
  • A tour guide of sorts, showing us around the portals of heaven and giving us a sneak peek into the eternal glory to come? 
  • A messenger of the angels, letting us know our loved ones are safe and happy? 
  • A one-on-one session where we can share our problems and get instant answers? 
Oh, the possibilities! While it is so fun to imagine, let me encourage you that Jesus is even closer than a Facebook post. Through the Holy Spirit, through the Word, and even in those times when it seems that God is doing nothing--He is still the sovereign Lord of all creation, and He is constantly at work, bringing about the completion of His perfect plan! And one perfect day, we will see Him face to face--no laptops needed

For now, I'm off to check my Facebook notifications. . .



"Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. But blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” 



John 20:29





©2018-2019 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Flickering Lights

As most of you know, my hubby is a carpenter, and while I have zero carpentry skills, I can attempt to help a tiny bit so he can focus on the important things.  Yesterday, as I was busy sanding some cabinet doors for him over in my little corner of that big warehouse, I kept seeing this pesky fluorescent light directly above me constantly blinking on and off.  Off. On. Buzz, buzz. 

For several days, actually for several weeks, it's been mocking me.  I'll be working away, my work station all lit up and my aging eyes enjoying the extra help.  Then boom--without warning, I can't see what I'm doing.  It really makes me crazy! 




The humming of the ballast in the unit certainly reveals a deeper problem--even if the light bulbs are changed and the ballast is neglected, the problem will not be fixed.  New light bulbs in dying ballasts will only be a temporary repair. The entire ballast and bulb must be replaced, and because that is not a 5-minute repair, it hasn't been done yet and the light is still flickering and still annoying me.  


But as God loves to do with the commonplace things in my life, He reminded me of the metaphor that flickering light offers.  




I can find myself ignoring the humming of the Holy Spirit's voice in my daily life and I can push aside His call on my heart.  Christians can change our clothes, our hair, our home, our church, but none of that will change the final outcome if we don't change from the inside out.  If we ignore the flickering long enough without giving attention to His call, or without obedience and prayers, we will no longer shine--no matter how many outward things we do or say to try to make it seem okay.  

Our lights will only shine with its fullest capacity when we look to His example and allow His voice to be the foundation of our earthly missions.  Change that ballast! Let your light shine! 




"Jesus said to the people, “I am the Light of the world. So if you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, for living light will flood your path.” John 8:12

©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Morning Glories and the Beauty of God

I’ve always been an early riser and with that comes some wonderful benefits...
  • I get the first cup of coffee.
  • I get to see the sunrise over the pasture.
  • I get to pray without distractions.
  • I get to be still enough to listen for God’s voice.

Yesterday, as usual, I woke up early and walked outside to feed the doggies and to take a deep breath of fresh (muggy) air.  Along the fence row, I caught a glimpse of the beautiful morning glories bursting from the vine along the chain link.  For some unknown reason, this species of flower only blooms in the pre-dawn hours and then dies shortly after sunrise. 



Look closely at a morning glory vine and you’ll see that different blooms open up each day and then die.  If you’re not up early enough to see the new blooms, you’re out of luck for the rest of the day.  



And just as clear as you and I standing face-to-face talking, I heard God’s voice that morning.  Not an audible voice, but a realization in my spirit.  I realized how closely the hurting people in our lives mimic those sweet flowers.   How many times have I missed an opportunity to see the beauty of a person because I refused to take time to meet them in their time of need? How many times have I ignored them or turned away because all that I saw at first glance was the invasive, messy ‘vine’ they show to the world? Too many times, I’m ashamed to say.
 
Sometimes the only way to reach a person with the love of Christ is to meet them at the exact moment they are ready to ‘open up’ and share their deep beauty with us.
  • It may mean getting up early (or staying up late) to find them.
  • It may mean going to the really messy places to find them.
  • It may mean giving up your own comfort to find them.
  • It may mean spending time with the Lord so you can recognize where to look to find them.
  • And finally, it may mean being there every single day, even when things are not so easy for them, in order to gain their trust. 
The effort may be time-consuming, but I promise the reward is worth it. And if we can't be the salt and light in the world, who will? 



"He will give eternal life to those who patiently do the will of God, seeking for the unseen glory and honor and eternal life that He offers." Romans 2:7 





©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

The More of Less

On my way to take Abbey to a birthday party yesterday, we came to a 4-way stop.  Above it was a blinking red light to alert drivers of the intersection.  Lost in thought and fighting a headache, I sat staring at that red light for a full five seconds, waiting for it to turn green so I could proceed through the intersection. 



Abbey and I got a good laugh out of it and we moved on down the road, but it sure got me to thinking about how distracted I've been lately.  Life is incredulously busy and my brain can hardly handle it all.  The threat of clutter--both physical and spiritual-- is how it keeps our discipleship from being all it can be.  I am quite sure I never fully grasped the concept when I was younger, but boy, do I ever now! 

Less is more! When my children were young, I discovered they would play together and much more happily in a room that was straightened up.  So if their playroom became overwhelmed with toys and a mess, they would move into the areas of the home which were clean and start making a mess playing there. Once their rooms were tidied up again, they would happily play in their own spaces again.  I have observed it over and over, with all the kids who have come into my home--their brains need organization and clutter-free zones, even if they don't understand the "why" of it all.  


Adults are the same way.  We also need organized, uncluttered spaces in our lives. We need quiet time when all we think about are the praises and prayers on our hearts.  We need enough space to be able to voice them earnestly and sincerely to our Lord, who is always eager to listen.  


An actual drawing of my brain. 

In a cluttered mind, prayers can become trite, short, and nothing less than duty.  You see a post on Facebook that requests prayer covering and you type "Praying" or the hands-folded-in-prayer emoji and you move on through your newsfeed, hardly giving it another thought.  Yep. I'm guilty, too.  Superficiality is the curse of our age.  



God desires so much more for us, for our hearts.  He knows that a simpler life means a much more peaceful life.  And please know that while you may want to give away a lot of your possessions (which I recommend), the focus should not be on getting rid of what we have, but rather upon cultivating the disposition of "a life of joyful unconcern for possessions" (Richard J. Foster).



"Deep calls to deep" as the Psalmist penned, and we can live a more spiritually-fulfilling life if we take time to focus on the important things each day.  The work is not our own, but rather of the Lord.'s  He will change our focus if we are willing to let Him have control of our cluttered minds and hearts.  

Find that space, learn to say 'no' to the unimportant, get up five minutes earlier, give away the clothes you've not worn in years, simplify your life.  You won't regret it.  





"If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus." Philipians 4:7



©2017-2018 Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. www.coffeecobwebsandcurriculum.blogspot.com Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! Links can be found in the right sidebar on this blog!

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