Monday, February 22, 2010

Too Much

When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. ~~ Proverbs 10:19 ESV

The other night at dinner, my husband poured too much sauce on his plate for his meat. “Oh, that’s too much!”

But what do you do when you pour too much on your plate? Pouring it back in the bottle is not a good solution as there is already other food on the plate. Besides, the openings to most sauce bottles are too small to funnel back the original contents.

We looked at each other and we both had the same thought. Pouring too much sauce on the plate is like saying too many words. You can’t put it back.

Sometimes we may say things without thinking. Those words may cause hurt, discouragement or anger. There have been times I tried to comfort a friend in need. When I kept talking I eventually said something that wounded the soul instead of bringing encouragement.

Jesus made it very clear what will happen with our words in Matthew 12:36-37, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (ESV).

Every word – we will be held accountable for every word that comes out of our mouths. Like the sauce, we can not pour those words back into our mouths and minds.

We must practice restraint. When pouring ketchup on the plate, we taught our children to use just a little bit. They can get more if needed, but too much will go to waste. To emphasize our point, we told them we would not buy any more until the next scheduled grocery shopping trip. They had to learn to manage what was in the bottle.

We too must learn to manage the words that come out of our mouths. Start with just a little and add more as led by the Holy Spirit.

If we speak too much, then it will surely lead to transgressions. We’ll be prudent not to say too much.

Recently a particular situation has bothered me. I wanted to talk about it over and over with my husband. When I became more frustrated that he didn’t want to have this conversation, he finally told me that talking about it too much could lead to gossip. He’s right.

Therefore, this week I’m going to work on saying less and praying more. What suggestions do you have about not saying too much?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Where's Your Treasure?

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” ~~ Matthew 6:19-21 (NIV)

Last month we moved across the state of Texas. In preparation for the move, we cleaned out the attic and storage shed.

What did we discover? Trash! What we put away to keep for later became obsolete, worn out, and utterly useless garbage.

It reminded me of the scripture reference above. Why did I buy so much junk? It may be fun for a little while, but I must realize it is not to keep forever. The things we buy on this earth will wear out and decay. Or especially in the area of technology, become obsolete.

Cameras that were state of the art digital cameras in the 1990’s, we can no longer use as 3 ¼ in floppy disks are not available today. But yet I kept it. For what?

The scripture said not to store up treasures on earth. I caught a glimpse of why we’re not to store up treasures on earth. They do wear out, collect dust and clutter our homes. We took several trailer loads of “stored up treasures” to the garbage dump before we moved.

If I take an honest assessment of the unpacked boxes in the garage, more garbage is probably stored up.

But what am I to do? As I pondered the answer “but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. . .” what does that mean? Several thoughts come to my mind, but the first being that I shouldn’t become too attached to my stuff.

Then I thought of some practical solutions to avoid storing up too much stuff:

  • Once worn out or broken, throw it away. Things we’ve kept saying we’ll fix it later never get fixed.
  • Give away an item once I’m no longer using it so someone else can enjoy it before it wears out or becomes obsolete
  • Not put so much emphasis on buying stuff, but giving more to advance the work of the kingdom of God. There are many charitable organizations that count on free will contributions to function. Perhaps when I want to make an impulse purchase, I can deny myself that item and send the money to charity.

What about you? What ideas do you have to share about how to store up treasure in heaven and not on earth?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Esperanza -- Hope

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~~ Hebrews 11:1

Two years ago, my friends Richard and Debra, planted from seed an esperanza plant. One time upon my visit to their home, they gifted to me the little seedling plant. I kept it and watered it.

Shortly upon receiving the plant, Debra gave me the news that Richard had colon cancer. His tumor was so large the medical team started him with radiation for they could not perform surgery until the tumor had been shrunk.

After receiving that news, I prayed for Richard every day I watered the little plant. Sometimes I’d see the plant wilting and I felt led to pray for Richard even more. I felt like God gave me the plant as a prayer prompt for Richard.

Since we lived in different cities, Debra would call and give me updates when she could. But the calls grew farther apart, but I kept on praying for Richard. The plant kept growing until it needed a new pot as the roots were becoming cramped. I kept asking the Lord if this was a sign that Richard was doing well. I hoped it was.

Upon researching a little bit of information about this particular plant, I learned the Spanish word, esperanza means hope in English. So I kept my hope alive for Richard’s health by standing on God’s word and watching the “hope” plant.

Then the large pot became too small for the growing roots. We transplanted it in the ground. Afterwards, the plant bloomed with such pretty yellow blossoms. I kept hoping that was a sign from God that Richard was doing well as I kept praying for him and Debra.

When we received word that we were moving from our home to another city, I became so focused on packing and moving that I forgot about the plant. Our home is now under contract with a new owner and chances are I’ll never see that plant again.

But God is soooo good. I received an email from Debra that Richard’s doctors declared him cancer-free! Praise the Lord! So at the same time that I am no longer able to see the plant and remember to pray, Richard received his healing from the Lord confirmed by his medical team.

There is always hope through faith in Jesus Christ.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goodbyes Are Not Forever

Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end. They simply mean I'll miss you, Until we meet again! ~~ author unknown

Moving from one city to another can be taxing on the physical body as well as the emotional. I am so thankful that my hope and trust is in the Lord for I wouldn’t have known how to handle such a large move as this.

It’s been 21 years since I’ve moved. Back then, all I had were clothes and a few possessions. It took two large U-Haul trucks to move our possessions across the state of Texas. Abraham had donkeys and I couldn’t imagine how many donkeys and days it took him.

I’ve spent the last two months packing and then unpacking. We’re finally into a home with most aspects of it functioning (with a garage full of boxes that we’re not even sure what’s inside them—if that says anything). We have too much stuff!

While the stuff took a physical toll on us, the emotional toll tugged at me for those that I left. I’m so thankful for unlimited long distance, skype, email, facebook and texting. Though I can no longer physically see those I’ve bonded with over the past years, it is so much easier to keep in touch these days. With these technological advances, the distance has shortened. Twenty-one years ago, these techy gadgets were not available.

Thank God I can stay in touch with all of you! I’ll miss you my dear friends, but we will meet again. Stay in touch!

Now that things have settled a bit for me and a regular routine is starting to take shape, I should be back to my weekly postings. Thank you for all your prayers, comments, emails, and FB updates through this transition!