~reflections~musings~inspirations~insights~and life lessons learned by one who is
whole-heartedly, steadfastly, firmly in HIS grip~

Romans 1:6 "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes..."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall is in the Air Because It’s The First Day of the Lonoke County Fair

Ahhh…the past couple of evenings and mornings have been gloriously cool. Our lazy chocolate lab, Bruno, has found a fresh spring in his step at 4:30 in the morning as he and Papa go out to play a bit of ball. The A/C is off, the windows open, and the fresh, gentle breeze is cleaning the stuffiness out of the house. Fall is in the air…early and never more welcomed around the Kyzer Compound.

Much to my dismay the past couple of months I have taken to sleeping late. Since boot camp some 25+ years ago I’ve been a “morning” person. Don’t get me wrong…I needed plenty of time to wake up…I had a great routine; morning pot of coffee, news on the television, a bit of the newspaper, my Bible…then shower, add the face and do the hair before I was suited up and out the door at 7 or 7:30 to take on the world. However, since my retirement I’ve found myself sleeping quite late into the morning.

Today was different though. I had to get up early and meet my grandson, Gage, at the county fair along with his entire pre-k class. While I have never been one of those of babysitting, taking field trips kind of grandmothers…he turns five today and how could I disappoint him?

I got up as Papa was heading out to work around 5 this morning and bleary eyed, stumbled about in the kitchen while attempting to make coffee. I still need those extra hours to gird myself up for the day. I slipped into a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, pulled my hair into a pony tail, and jumped into the truck. Let’s do this…I’m not afraid of a bunch of five year olds, am I?

As I sat in the drive way waiting for the wipers to clear the condensation from the window I surveyed the landscape. Sadly, I noticed the dead tree that stood for many years in the middle part of the front pasture was now laying on the ground no longer a monument of the once vigorous oak. I watched the fog lift from the pond as cows and calves gently nibbled the grass or slowly drank from the cool water.

I sat there amazed at the beauty I have so long taken for granted and it dawned on me… that fog rising from the pond was much like the fog that lifted from my heart the day I became a child of God. I was overcome with the joy and happiness I felt on that very day. I was reminded that His mercies are renewed daily, that each morning, we get yet one more chance to act and react in a manner worthy of His name. We put off the old and put on the new, we die to self and live for HIM!

So often I fall short…either I’m rambling around in this old house all alone, or I’m in a hurry to do the duties set for the day that I brush past people (strangers and friends alike) who need a kind word, a gentle touch, a helping hand. That behavior can cause the fog to return and slowly and lightly engulf a once “Son” filled heart. Just reading the Bible, praying and going to church is not enough! It takes action…this living out the Christian life. Oh, the dictionary says the word is a noun…but the person…the person is a verb!

I knew right then and there it was going to be a great day and I was not disappointed.

Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”

2 Corinthians 4:16 “Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature, with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Plank Pluckers vs. Sawdust Pickers

The Sawdust Pickers are ahead 7 to 3 in the game of life. They screeched past the Plank Pluckers with a dab of gossip about someone who was supposed to be a friend, and then scored the extra points when the story was embellished just a bit and believed by someone on the outside looking in.

As one of our beloved Plank Pluckers made a bold counter play and counseled the most aggressive and leading scorer of the Sawdust Pickers the score tied 7 to 7 and the crowd was on its feet with lifted hands shouting hallelujah, Glory to God, and in general screaming rowdy thanks heavenward.

Then out of nowhere the defensive players, Anger, Envy, and Strife showed up and the game intensified. Prayer, Fasting, and Bible Study ran out on the field for the Plank Pluckers and went head to head in a grueling battle. As mud flew the Sawdust Pickers knocked the Plank Pluckers to their knees once again. Steady was the onslaught as Vicious Rumors, Deceit, and Lies joined the Sawdust Pickers and everyone was sure they had the game in the bag.

When victory seemed nowhere in sight for the Plank Pluckers their star quarter back, Holy Spirit, showed up and began calling the plays…First up, a play of mercy and grace, followed by two of the biggest, most impressive plays ever made in the game of life; forgiveness and loving kindness! It was a matter of no time at all till every member of the Sawdust Pickers came tumbling down and the Plank Pluckers celebrated triumphantly as the whistle blew and the skirmish came to an end.

Matthew 7: 1-5 “1) Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2) For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3) Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4) How can you say to your brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye, when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5) You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

Luke 6:41, 42 41) “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42) How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Why is it so easy for us to see other’s faults, inadequacies, and apathy above our own? It seems that we are quick to judge and condemn others for the slightest weakness and then expect others to over look ours. We are comfortable judging others on their actions while expecting them to judge us on our intentions. The worst part of it is that we tend to do this to our friends, our families, and those in our church.

Don’t get me wrong…I am all about exercising judgment and discernment. But when it is malicious in intent…when that judgment and condemnation are verbalized so that it makes the one pointing out the errors of someone else seem to look better, all high and mighty, all holier than thou, well…it’s wrong, I tell you, it is just plain wrong! And it makes me madder than a wet hen!

When we as “mature” Christians see this happening what do we do? Do we sit idly by and watch, thinking it is not our place to intervene, thinking that if we ignore it…it will all work out or simply just go away. Heaven forbid! Titus tells us to teach the younger. Most of the New Testament tells us how to mentor, teach, and grow believers in one form or another.

But nowhere over the past 19 years have I read anywhere in the Bible that someone who calls themselves “mature in the Word” is supposed to bash the faith of a believer who is barely off milk let alone into the meat. No where have I read that we are to go to our “friend” and voice our opinions on how someone else is living their life, especially when we know our friend is going to tell their friend, who will tell another friend. And if we as true mature Christians sit by and let this happen…with out action…woe to us!

It is one thing to tell your prayer partner of a specific need in someone’s life, to join together and take it to the Lord. I am a firm believer in that, for sure, that’s the power play. But why, oh why, do believers fall to temptation and start gossiping, when in reality our sister or brother needs a true helping hand?

The root of gossip is usually that someone has had their feelings hurt in one way or another and then the focus goes from God to self. When we are not focused on God how can we get the work done that He has called us to do? And everyone from the least to the greatest has a job to do! It is as plain and simple as that!

Before we begin to judge, condemn, and point fingers at others…we need to take a long hard look in the mirror at our own hearts; judge that, condemn that, tell others that!

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

James 3: 5, 6 “5) Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6) The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fires, and is itself set on fire by hell.

James 3: 8-10 “8) but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

1st Peter 3:10 “For, whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.”

1st John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love one another with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.”

All scripture is from the New International Version
· For further reading: Matthew 7:1-2; Luke 6:37; Luke 19:22; John 8:15; John 12:47; Romans 2:1; Romans 2:16; Romans 14:10; Hebrews 12:23; Hebrews 13:4; James 4:12

It's been a while...

Wow! It has been almost a month since my last post. Thanks, Brother Jim, for reminding me to get back to one of the things I love the most. I wish I could say that I just got caught up in the chaos of the month but that would not be true. The first part of August was busy as I tried to hold on to my baby boy until the last few seconds before his departure for boot camp and the last couple of weeks have been spent bumbling around in this big old house trying to figure out what I do now. You would be surprised how empty a house can seem when there is no teenager to tell what to do. Laughing here…

Then of course, there was a bit of drama in my family, thanks to my little brother (45 years old!) and his undying love for the "wrong" woman. Let me tell you…it is very hard for a big sister to keep her mouth shut and just love unconditionally when in reality…the worldly part of me…wants to stomp, shout, and maybe even get a little physical. Pastor informed me that to actually hit someone over the head with the Bible is not a good witness and would not actually cause my brother to understand it easier.

Alas, I just wring my hands and tearfully pray for the intervention of my Savior and I know, without a doubt, if my brother would just believe, and come to know HIM, he would find strength and answers for this complicated roller coaster he finds himself riding.

Thankfully, the Spirit of God is strong enough, and my determination and desire to love and follow Christ powerful enough that as I SUBMIT to Him, I am able to be an example for all to see.