Lamentations 3:21-23 – Living Bible
21 Yet there is one ray of hope: 22 his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.
Lamentations 3:21-23 – Living Bible
21 Yet there is one ray of hope: 22 his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. 23 Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day.
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
On Monday night I was reading material about Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Well, that’s another post entirely, but I will get to it sometime within the next month or maybe the next six months, but I will get to it. :) Anyway, I came across this verse and it struck me in the core of my heart.
Have you had those “Ah Ha!” moments? Have you been digging in the Word and had perspective poured over you regarding the verse you are reading? I hope so friend. It is an intamite moment that the Lord has made for just the two of you. Sometimes we are to share those moments with others, but sometimes they are just for us – right where we are. For me there is a sweet presence that I feel. OK. This is a discussion for another time as well.
Whew! I’m chasing bunny trails, so I’ll get back to the verse at hand.
Let’s start with the first part of the verse. Repent, then, and turn to God so that your sins may be washed out……. I know what I’m about to say, but sometimes I need reminded of things. (Just ask my kids and husband how much I need to be reminded of things.) Repentance isn’t a one time deal. We don’t repent when we accept Jesus as our Saviour and then forget about it. It’s not like the Ronco Rotisserie where you set it and forget it. It is a continual process. If we are to grow in Him, we cannot forget about repentance. It is dying to self. Most of us die to ourselves on an hourly basis. Well, I tend to be that way. I hope for your sake you are better than I.
Repentance is an action verb. (Do you remember those? If not, message me later. We can have a lot of fun rehashing an English class.) This part of the passage is full of action. We are to repent (turn away from whatever sin(s) has been laid upon our heart) and turn toward God (after turning away, I would suggest running to God so you don’t get sidetracked by another turn) and He will wipe out our sins. Wiping is most certainly an action. Think of all the things you wipe. This is not anything passive. And the best thing is that God is doing this action for us. We can now rest from all the turning away, and turning to, that is in the verse. (It’s a good thing God does the wiping because after all this turning, I’m dizzy and I may miss some spots.)
Another way to think about it is that God cleans up our messes. He is really the only one that can do it thoroughly. The rule at my mom’s house is, “If you make the mess, you clean it up.” Thank goodness God pours out his mercy and grace upon us because there are a lot of messes I’ve made that no amount of wiping would make clean.
Hmmm. God is my personal housekeeper – the supreme Mr. Clean – if I only turn away from the mess, to him, and ask that it be wiped away. Acts 3:19 ERV (Elizabeth Richey Version) :) I wonder if he does windows too.
The next part of this verse gives me goose bumps and the warm fuzzies inside. It makes me fall in love all over again.
Are you tired sweet sister? Do you feel as if the harder you try, the harder the enemy rails against you? Are you exhausted to the point of hopelessness? Do Not Be! Break the chains of sins’ bondage and find refreshment in the Lord. Just saying it makes you feel better. Yes?
“…….that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” Refreshing may come from the Lord. I love saying it.
Why, oh why, do we insist on cleaning up our own messes? Dirty boys, laundry, a muddy dog and spilled drinks are for us to clean, but soiled thoughts, poisonous words and unclean hearts are not. We are not capable of such things. God is more than sufficient to take care of these matters.
Have you ever been around a child that insists on completing a task you know he/she cannot without catastrophe happening? We are no different when we try to tame our sinful flesh. If only the child would allow you to help, you could end their struggle. That is what God wants to do for us.
Turn sweet sisters. Turn right now to Him and receive a time of refreshing.
Blessings & Hugs, Elizabeth
Yes, I know there is a lot in that title, but I’ve not been around here so I must make up for lost time. Do you believe that AWANA starts next Wednesday?!?!? I barely do. But it is. So here are some thoughts on this upcoming event in a “Let’s take a Sunday drive through the country!” kind of way.
This summer several women have been meeting at 6:30am, on Tuesday mornings at McDonald’s for a Bible Study. (We’d love for you to join us!) Because most of us have to go on to work from there, we keep it brief – about a 1/2 hour or a little more. Even though our time is short, we all come away with conviction and a deeper understanding of what we studied. At this time we are studying about how to handle the pressures we are dealt in life.
Two of these pressures that will apply to the upcoming AWANA year are about controlling our words and patience. Whew! Those are two heavy duty subjects. We could study on those two things alone for the rest of the year if we wanted. In both of these lessons, we’ve learned that it is not in our power to control these things. If we leave it up to our power, disaster is bound to strike sooner than later. It is only through transferring our control to the Holy Spirit that we can be right with our words and maintain patience in sticky situations.
Shall we speak of kind words first? I think so since it’s first in the title. Words are powerful. The Bible tells us many things about words of encouragement, wisdom and slanderous tongues. Oh that pesky tongue! It is hard to tame and James 3:1-12 tells us all about it. It is little but mighty and can “set the course of life on fire”. Fire is powerful and sometimes unpredictable, just like our tongue. Have you ever unleashed your tongue of fire on an unsuspecting soul Maybe you’ve loosed it on someone who wasn’t so unsuspecting? Oh boy have I. I’ve unleash my tongue like a wild untamed beast on my husband, children, my mother, a couple of coworkers and a few people who have waited on me or checked me out at a store or two……..or three…….maybe. I have sometimes apologized for my behavior and sometimes simply left bad witness and impression. How sad that I thought “setting someone strait” was more important than being the light of Jesus. It makes me pause and roll those sour thoughts around on my palate.
Then there is the matter of patience. (I saw you roll your eyes……for shame.) Really, though, we act like patience is a gift that will be dropped in our lap and all will be right with the world. This is not at all true. Patience is not a spiritual gift. It is a fruit of the Spirit. Remember those? Love, joy peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
I used to sing a song to my kids about the fruits of the Spirit. Let me share a few fun words. “The fruit of the Spirit’s not an apple. The fruit of the Spirit’s not apple. So if you want to be an apple, you might as well hear it, you can’t eat a fruit of the Spirit. For the fruit is love, joy, peace, Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Repeat”
Wasn’t that fun? If you ask me, I’ll even sing it for you the next time you see me.
What does the song have to do with this. Not a whole lot other than patience, a fruit of the Spirit, that becomes present when we are in the His will. And the fruits of the Spirit are to be exercised……practiced…….not in our power, but His.
Now I’m going to be slick and tie this into AWANA. These things are all things we need to put into practice every Wednesday night when we get the privilege and blessing of sharing our Jesus with all the little darlins’ that descend upon Marshall Missionary Baptist Church during the school year. The kids need, not want, but need us to be Jesus. They don’t care about what kind of rotten day we had at home or work. They don’t need to know what is ailing us and how we busted our buns to be there on time. They just need to see Jesus, in us. They need to see Jesus in how we treat each other and how we treat them. Isn’t that why we invite them into our church home?
And we don’t need to bring out the best behavior on Wednesday night only. We can put it into practice on a daily basis. Just think of how God could move through us! I’m getting goose pimples thinking about the possibilities.
If you are not a participant in the AWANA program, then pray for us all. Please pray! We will need it. Truly.
Hugs and Blessings,
Are you familiar with the famous Abbott and Costello routine? It’s all about confusion. They are both talking about the same thing, but neither one understands why the other has no idea what the other is saying. They both think they are communicating clearly, but it ends up being a big misunderstanding with lots of frustrating moments. It’s very funny to watch. It’s also a lot like my life at times. Yes?
Where you were going is not where you end up.
Can you relate?
You tell your kids, spouse, co-workers, or anyone else you want to add to the list, things that are important to you or important to what they are doing and they look at you like there are lobsters crawling out of your ears. What language must you be speaking? Don’t they know that what you have for them is important, because you said so?
It makes you feel, as my Aaron would say, a little “cray cray” (crazy).
All of the sudden the path you thought you were taking has been derailed. There was a miscommunication. You were directing them for good……..
Wait a minute……you…..ummm…should there be someone else first?
Where did you start?
Matthew 6:33-34 But seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
This is one of the verses in the Journey devotion today. The devotion is about the role we see ourselves playing on a daily basis and what sort of significance we feel. It’s illustration relates to moms, but the theme is pretty universal.
We all want to feel like we are making a difference and that what we do is important. We want to guide those we love. I believe it is easy to get caught up in our day-to-day routine and forget the big picture. I know I do. Today’s schedule and tomorrow’s schedule and what is going to happen next week consumes my life until I am like a fire deprived of oxygen. The air is sucked right out of my life.
Do you ever feel that way?
Are you ruled by schedules, check lists and the demands of things around you?
Sometimes, even though I feel drained, I’m drowning in a sea of priorities and expectations that are not mine.
Can I get an Amen my sisters?
It is at this point we should maybe re-evaluate where we are going and what we are doing.
Seek ye first sisters.
We are lucky to have each other to help us along the way. When one is down, the rest can pick her up. That way our lives don’t sound, look or feel like an Abbott and Costello skit with no direction.
And on that note, would anyone be interested in starting their mornings off seeking God together? I’m an early morning gal and would love to join anyone else who may be at McDonald’s on Tuesday mornings. I will be there at 6:30, or shortly after, because I have to be at work at 7:30. If you would like to spend a 1/2 hour on a study or devotional or a cup of coffee and a friend, that can start at 6:45. Let me know if you’d like to start your Tuesdays this way. I think it could be a fun treat – at least for the summer and maybe into the school year.
Hugs and Blessings,
1 Corinthians 3:5-9
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Please forgive me for skipping you last week. I don’t know if I shared, but this year I would like to work on being a more responsible person. The purpose of the blog was so we could connect and discuss in real way about our lives and growing in Christ. We can’t do that if we’re not consistent. Of course, sometimes life interrupts us. So that will be my excuse – my life got in my way.
Does your life ever get in your way?
Please tell me yes so I can feel we are of one accord.
One of my first posts was about comparison. I have a sickness friends. I often compare myself to others that I have no business comparing myself to. Sometimes I compare myself and am envious. Sometimes, shamefully, I compare myself and think like a Pharisee, “Thank you God that I’m not like them.” (Yes, it’s ugly, but true.)
Today I was not feeling particularly inspired, but I was feeling convicted to share with you in some fashion. I went to biblegateway.com and looked up the topic “responsibility” – since I shirked it last week. LOL 25 different scriptures showed up. I quickly prayed for a prompting or prodding and this is where I was led. Actually, it brought up 1 Corinthians 3 in its entirety, but this part jumped out.
It spoke to me. Who am I? I am nothing but a servant with job from God and for God. I’ve got a job to do.
Most mornings, when I get up, I feel the word job is a dirty word. I want to do what I want to do. I’m really not that different from my kiddos. But in today’s passage from Corinthians, there was faith and then there was work. The faith in Jesus led them to do work for him. Because of Apollos and Paul, others were led to the Lord.
This Sunday we will celebrate the resurection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
But is that all we are celebrating?
I hope not!
It’s not just that Christ defied the grave. It’s that he gives us new life out of his sacrificed one. We are freed from eternal damnation. We are freed from ourselves and the limitations this world places upon us. We are freed to be his servant and do his bidding. Being a servant is not full of constraints as the world would have us believe. No my sweet sisters. We are privileged to be able to do our King’s bidding. He calls us his own. He has given us a home with him. We no longer have to struggle to see where our place is in this world – it is with Him! Praise God!
Can I get a BIG AMEN? AMEN! (I think I can hear you)
That’s right sisters – you are, “Free at last, free at last, Thank God Almighty, Free at last.”
So when you feel like a slave instead of a servant while getting Easter dinner together for the family this weekend, remember it is really for Him that we celebrate – not the food, the bunny or Aunt Bessie’s famous chocolate sheet cake. Although if I had an Aunt Bessie that made I chocolate sheet cake, I’d praise Him for that too.
Thank you God for sending your son for me. And help me to realize the works you have for me to do. Amen
Now, for a few announcements. There will be a Women’s Bible Study starting this Tuesday, April 2nd, from 6-7:30pm. The book is Angie Smith’s What Women Fear. I will have books for you that night.
Also, there is a Girl’s Night IN April 19th starting at 5:30! Yes, we will be staying in the church. Not all night – just till we’ve had enough food, fun and of each other. LOL It will be a carry in so bring some good snacky food if you are able. There will be 3 tables, maybe more, of Pinterest projects. I promise you will not be disappointed! Please let Amy or I know if you plan to be there so we can plan to have enough project material for you. There will be a small fee for the projects, but we will let you know what that is at a later date.
Blessings & Hugs,
PS – Thank you again for listening to my ramblings.
This aversion has caused me to do some thinking lately. Actually, I do that a lot. I think about what I need to do to get the results I day-dream about for mine and my family’s life, but then that’s about as far as I go. To make the changes that I know need done, well, that would take work. Lots of work. I’d probably have to give up some shows in the evening which means I wouldn’t be able to plop on the couch after dinner. If I’ve been at work all day, don’t I deserve to do nothing in the evening? Why can’t the dishes and laundry take care of themselves? I’d also have to plan ahead, like more than 30 minutes ahead. This too would mean giving up some of my guilty pleasures. What can I say? My flesh is sinful and likes to indulge in laziness.
I should tell you I’m a great starter, but a lousy finisher. For years I’ve been searching for the answer. I’ve had help and support from friends and family. I have prayed for an instantaneous change to rid me of my weaknesses. Boy have I prayed. I have not yet been rescued . I have continued on in my lack of ……what is the word I’m looking for……..ummmm OH!!!! I know! It’s discipline. It’s that thing I try to instill in my children. I try to instill it in them, but it seems to evade me. My mama tried to instill it in me. I’m sure she still shakes her head in wonder some days.
Why is that?
Hmmmmm. I’ll ponder some more. Because I do that well.
Proverbs is a good place to ponder. The verse I chose today is for me and hopefully for you too. With discipline comes understanding.
My sisters, there are many things I need understanding about.
I have had discipline in my life, a few times. And if you know me, stop laughing, it’s cruel.
This is what I’ve noticed when I have discipline – my life runs much more smoothly. When there is discipline in my housekeeping efforts, I do not experience CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome…….Thank you FlyLady.) When I have discipline in my meal planning, I don’t drive thru fast food places to get meals because I know I’m covered. And the two times in my life I was disciplined in my eating and exercising habits, I was an overall happier gal. When I am disciplined in my Bible study and prayer life, I have an abundance of peace and develop an insatiable hunger to know Him more. When all of this is out of whack, I truly do despise myself. I have an unsettled spirit.
Discipline is not the confining box I imagine it to be. Discipline is really meant to free us and protect us. It frees us from getting mired in ourselves and our want to do list. It does not mean that we have a rigid schedule where there is no room for anything or anyone else. It does mean that we are better prepared for when unexpected things happen.
I have a friend with which I have a pact regarding the state of my house and hers. We have the understanding. Should either one of us die, we will not grieve until we have cleaned the others house because we don’t want people coming over and seeing the state in which we live. Yes, this is a true story. Now really my sisters, should this be a worry of mine or hers. The answer is no, it should not. But, it is.
So today, in the spirit of discipline and understanding, I’ve got my boys doing a few things at home after school. It will help me to jump-start the process.
Last weekend I did a big grocery shopping and I’ve very much enjoyed not panicking about what we will eat for meals.
I can do it and you can to……if you need to.
Converse with me sweet sisters! Please leave comments and share your stories. It’s fun to have conversation.
Blessings & Hugs, Elizabeth
Cor 13: 1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
We’ve almost wrapped up February, but not yet. Even though Valentine’s Day was about two weeks ago, we are still in the month of love and dealing with matters of the heart.
Have you shown your love?
If you have please share.
You know, sometimes, even though we say we’re about love, we’re not so much. Sometimes we don’t show the love that was shown to us when we were saved. Sometimes, the love we don’t show, or withhold, is from those that are closest to us.
Don’t even act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. I bet you haven’t gone 3 days without snapping at a loved one you live with, have you? Well, even if it’s been more than 3 days, what do our words of hurt and bitterness say to them?
Oh how I wish we were all sitting at Starbucks having this conversation and Grande Salted Caramel Mocha!
I’ve learned in my 42 years that when bitterness leaves my mouth, it probably started in my heart. I come to you today telling you that I have purposely said things that are hurtful to my husband and my children because I felt justified at the time. Yep, on purpose. I felt justified to hurt them because I had been hurt. And once in a while, they have simply been in the line of fire of an incident that had absolutely nothing to do with them. All they heard from me was a clanging and banging of words.
I don’t suppose any of you have found yourselves in a similar situation?
How on earth can I expect for Jesus love to shine through me to others, when I’m not being who he calls me to be at home? Isn’t that where it starts? I’m an example for my children and they become examples for their friends. I show them my love for my husband, then I’m hopefully demonstrating a healthy, Godly relationship that they will want for themselves. It’s a heavy responsibility.
More than it being a responsibility, it’s a calling. A calling that started with Jesus speaking to my heart. That’s why the heart IS the heart of the matter. Be careful to not have the beating of it sound like an empty room echoing because home is where the heart is.
I just love it when it all pulls together!
Well, I’m going to leave you now. I need to get my heart checked.
Blessings & Hugs Sisters, Elizabeth
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
I hope it truly is a happy day for you. Meet everyone where they are at today and don’t try to put them where you want them to be. That will make you happier – I promise.
Ahhhhhh. Love is in the air today.
True love – everyone has an idea of what they think that means. Some may think it there is love at first sight that is true love. Some may think true love is going through life with the same person – the good, the bad & the ugly. Some may think true love is a feeling. I could go on and on, (like I’m telling you something you don’t know) but I won’t.
Today I want to share with you a love story. It’s not your typical boy meets girl love story, but I think you will be touched just the same.
I often share with you the chaos and craziness that ensues at our house. It’s about time I share the good things too. I feel amazingly blessed to have the children God has given me. So, please, don’t ever think I’m ungrateful. I know what I’ve been given.
This love story started about 4 years ago. It’s between Adam and his third grade teacher and God. If you are unaware, Adam is now in 6th grade. His third grade teacher was really good. She is reserved, matter of fact and cares deeply for her kids. Whenever I spoke to her about him, she was always pleased with his work and told me how good she thought he was – not just grade wise. It makes a mama smile to hear these things. Adam had a great third grade year. We were all pleased and blessed to have yet another wonderful teacher in our son’s life.
Because Adam is a people person, he liked to make it a point to say hi to her when he would see her. I think she appreciated that. Who doesn’t?
This year she moved from the third grade to librarian. Adam is one of her library helpers. He likes a lot. I think he likes the responsibility and he likes to be useful. He also enjoys her.
Last night I was at Walmart gathering a couple of last-minute Valentine items.
I know your saying to yourself, “I’m so surprised that Elizabeth didn’t have that done already.” Hard to believe of me, I agree.
So while I was gathering what I needed, I saw her. Adam happened to be on the phone with me giving me a list of additional Valentine items he wanted. I informed him that this was not on the same level as Christmas. When I got off of the phone, I commented to her something that was a little sarcastic about my boys and what they wanted.
She turned and looked at me and said, “You have good boys.”
I said I knew. Then I threw in another “yes, but” comment about them. We chit chatted just a bit and then we our separate ways.
After I left her I realized that I had sounded a bit bratty. I sounded like an ungrateful wretch. I was sorry for how I presented myself and them.
We met up again and I made a point to tell her I know I have good boys. I know I’m blessed. I know they are polite, respectful, thoughtful of others and kind. (Of course this is only to the people who don’t live in our house. What? They can’t be perfect. Right? )
This is where the story has a purpose. Really.
She looked at me and said, “Yes they are. You have been blessed three times. I can’t tell you what Adam said today because it will make me cry, but you have been blessed.”
I thanked her and my heart swelled. I even got a lump in my throat and felt teary.
See, her mom passed away a little over a week ago. I could only imagine what he might have said.
I asked him this morning. Adam told me he said, ” I prayed for you.”
I felt like this was an example of true love. It was simple, but so powerful. He acknowledged her grief and gave her the gift of a child’s prayer. I can’t think of love any truer than that. Can you?
Blessings, Hugs and Abundant Love my friends, Elizabeth
PS – I didn’t ask Adam if I could share this……let’s just keep it between us in case I committed a breach of confidence. Thank you!
I guess it’s my turn to blog. I appreciate Elizabeth picking up all of my pregnant, nauseous slack for the last month. She’s the best.
Elizabeth often likes to talk about our different “voices” that show through our blog writing. Hers is very light-hearted and takes a fun look at the lessons God is teaching her through the life that happens around her each day. My blogging tends to be a little more serious or introspective. It’s often just the way I observe how God is teaching me, and I hope that you all don’t mind listening for a minute. If it’s a downer, don’t worry, Elizabeth will be back on the next one.
So. Here is where I am right now. I will be 11 weeks pregnant on Thursday. As you all pretty much know, in 2008 before I had Sadie, Paul and I experienced two miscarriages. I always feel now that if I were doing one of those “draw out a timeline with significant moments in your life on it”, that 2008 would be one of those dots that would be bold and black. It would be a way of saying “Life for Amy changed significantly after this. The way she related to God changed. The way she felt inside changed. She will be….forever….different.” Ominous? Maybe. But true.
In completely, transparent honesty, 2008 was when my soul became tired. When, for the first time, I had trouble truly believing that God wanted the best for my life. I never, through any of this process, doubted that God loved me, or that He is great, or good, or kind, or any of those wonderful attributes that make Him holy. Really, I never doubted those things, or stopped believing they were true of Him. But it became very easy to doubt those things as they related to me. The way I pray is different now. The way I approach His Word is different now. My soul became weary at that time.
As I trudge my way through this first trimester, I pray every day that God will help me to trust Him. Some days, it’s the only prayer I know how to pray. I want to trust that this baby is growing inside of me, even when I cannot feel anything yet (except nausea). I want to believe that, come late August or early September, I will hold a newborn baby in my arms. But most of all, as hard as these words are to utter, I want personal holiness, even when I don’t know what God may use in my life to get me there. I have so many scriptures hidden in my heart. They are there, I know them….let not my heart be troubled….be strong and courageous…He is the God who sees me…..do not be anxious for anything….lean not on my own understanding….His yoke is easy and His burden is light….He is the God who does wonders. These scriptures have not left me through any of this, yet the worry is so familiar to me now. The weariness is always there.
This morning, as I was getting ready in the bathroom, I heard this song by JJ Heller called “Have Mercy on Me.” And had I not been applying eye makeup at that very moment, I would have cried. The words were so real to me. They made so much sense.
Friend, I don’t know what your “2008″ was on your timeline. Maybe it was losing a child. Maybe a spouse. Perhaps it was a dreaded diagnosis for you or someone you love. Or a marriage ending. Maybe you haven’t had your “2008″ yet. If you want to share how we can pray for you, please do so. And please, pray for me. Just because I have my hair done and my make-up on does not mean I am not often a mess on the inside.