Must Everything Change?

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To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; He hath made every thing beautiful in his time. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, 11a

Everything must change. Just as God created the earth to move from one season to the next, He will also allow changes and seasons in our lives. Some of these changes, like the seasons, are expected, beautiful, and welcome. Others come unexpectedly, unwanted, and leave us wondering what to do next.

We tend to equate the winter season with death and the spring season with life. Although it may appear and feel that way in the natural, there is actually just as much life in the dormant seed as in the brightest bloom.

The answer to all of our changes and our changing times is to put our faith in God, who does not change! King Solomon said that God makes “everything beautiful in his time.” He will transform the winter season of your life into spring…in His time. When we accept changes and trust His timing, asking the Lord to show us the beauty and purposes of even our hardest seasons, our faith will grow and we will experience transformation like the landscapes of spring.

Don’t Complain!

Don’t complain!!! Most especially don’t complain or murmur regarding leadership or align yourself with this form of rebellion. If you do, you are flowing in the same demonic spirit that caused the earth to open up and swallow a people. (see all of Numbers 16) This is how my morning conversation with the Lord and my daily Bible reading began.

“The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.” ~ Proverbs 11:6

“Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” ~ Psalm 54:2

“And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.” And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? Behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marveled. – Mark 15:3-5

“Then Pilate said unto them, why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly. Crucify Him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. – Mark 15:15

God has really let me know without a doubt that He has indeed given “ear to the words of my mouth.”  He has been speaking about my words, the words of others, and His Word.

He wants me to check and deal with what I allow into my heart, words of others and my own thoughts. He wants me to be careful and purposeful regarding what I allow myself to meditate on. The Holy Spirit has shown me specifics in my life that create and allow an atmosphere of sin to develop. This kind of environment breeds thoughts in my head and an attitude in my heart that eventually leads to words coming out of my mouth that displeases Him. I noticed while reading in Numbers that is said the sin of the “children of Israel provoked the Lord.”  I believe although He is a God that loves and is long-suffering, that we provoke Him so much. We grieve the Holy Spirit. I am incredibly thankful for His mercy.

Over the years I have looked back at my life and wished I could go back and make changes. Why??? Because I wish there had been a different outcome to some areas of my life because hopefully I would live my life for a different result.  I have regrets that involve every area: marriage, family, friends, money, job. Looking at ALL my regrets from this vantage point, it is easy to see where I took the wrong path that led to the undesired outcome. Hindsight is 20/20, they say…they are right. But it would be good if we could use our regrets to learn some valuable lessons.

We can never go back and change or take away, but we can from this moment forward keep the outcome in mind when we make our choices. Today is the day to stop living in the “past” and live our nows with eyes on the “eternal” and outcomes in the future that are pleasing…be it outcomes of good word or deed  or meditation. Today we can make choices that will bear for us reward or bear for us regret in the future. If we chose correctly on this day we won’t have to wish we had done something or said something differently tomorrow.

As it regards this, I need to make decisions that are very purposeful – based on the Words of the Bible and everything; even the words of my mouth and my thoughts should mirror a Christ like life.

When Christ did not address the Chief Priest or Pilate to address the accusations of the people, His silence was very purposeful. I also believe that Pilate surely came to a place of regret that he was “willing to content the people” when it came to his moment of decision. I think, if we aren’t careful we will find ourselves standing before the altar guilty of that same sin and it could be consequences of a snap decision that we did not think through before we spoke or acted. Always, always our words and thoughts and actions just must line up with the Word.

Each person will be accountable for their own words, thoughts and deeds and as it said in Proverbs today, transgressors will be “taken in their own naughtiness.”  We have definitely had our warning.

A few of the ways we use words that displease the Lord:

  • Words of unbelief
  • murmuring
  • leading others to murmur
  • slander
  • evil report
  • denying Christ
  • complaining
  • gossip

Thanks for reading. This is some of what the Holy Spirit spoke to me today through my daily reading of the One Year Bible.

So, what has the Lord been speaking to you today?

Thoughtful Gifts

Back in the summer of 1985 Dan and I took our very first vacation as a couple. We went to Cape May, New Jersey to stay for a few days with his sister, Mary Ellen and her family. During that trip, Mary Ellen and I went to a little market full of unique shops. That is a very common thing now but back then it was new to me. One of the shops was a Christmas shop and there I found some Wizard of Oz ornaments that I bought for my mom. They had a special place on her tree until 1996 when my sister passed away and my mom stopped putting up a Christmas tree. She later gave away all of her Christmas ornaments and my sister-in-law asked for the Wizard of Oz ornaments. Of course, I wasn’t going to say no to that request because I didn’t want to be selfish…but honestly, I found that most years I wished I had.

This year my daughter came to my house insisting I receive my Christmas present early. My present was the exact ornaments I had given to my mom back in 1985. Meagan had not seen these ornaments since she was 10 years old, but she had researched and then searched on eBay for several years to find them. I was blown away, to say the least. I love gifts like this. These many years later it is not so much the ornaments themselves, but it is that my daughter would give me such a gift. It was a gift that was so thoughtful and took effort and showed such love and care for me. I admit I don’t feel that I am often that kind of gift giver…but it touched my heart in an incredible way when I was on the receiving end. And receiving that gift made me so thankful that all those years before I had allowed my sister-in-law the originals.

Sometimes when we release things that are temporal, we make room for gifts that will last forever!

And then it dawned on me that I received mostly very thoughtful gifts this year in addition to that one. A beautiful necklace from a friend that meant so much because of the Word/words etched upon it; wool socks and cinnamon candy canes from my son because he knows I love these things; a notebook and pencil from the GKiddles so I can do my work; a beautiful mug (I do love my coffee); two identical antique Tiffany table lamps that were a heirloom to a relative’s family but no longer wanted, and a ripped up picture of my dad’s company when he graduated from boot camp at the age of 16… along with a letter from the Lieutenant Commander of the Navy to my grandparents that was so personal.

Then there is the most thoughtful gift of all and that is the gift given by our Father when He sent His Son, Jesus, to be born. To be born to die on an old rugged cross for my sins. He sent His Son and He sent me (and you) a Savior.

I pray that in this next season I can take a lesson from my family and friends and from my Heavenly Father and be more thoughtful and deliberate in my giving. Love you all and God bless you!