Friday, August 8, 2014

Epic Fail

Did you ever want to duct tape your mouth shut within a micro millisecond of your ears hearing the syllables you spewed out?

Yup.  Guilty.  Soooo guilty. 

Yesterday I wasn’t having the best of days, but I opted to try and make the best of the late afternoon/early evening.  I grabbed my two new furry stepchildren (okay, step doggies) and ventured out with them solo for the first time to a local dog park.  It was beautiful weather, and I thought it would be just what we all needed.  

I parked and they excitedly bounded out of the car (after I had grabbed their leashes with superhero speed), and off we went for a bit of bonding in doggie heaven.  There were two other doggies in the small dog area, and everyone seemed to be doing well as I unleashed them to socialize.  All good… 

until…

two (cough, cough) older gentlemen walked right by the big dog fenced-in area (not three feet away) and brought in their dogs to our area.  The one dog was quite old (as was his owner), and then there was… the OTHER dog.  The alpha dog.  The dog that immediately ran after the smaller dogs like they were appetizers.  My two pups jumped up on the bench with me, and Scooter (my alpha pup) began growling and barking with all the bravado (masking fear) that his little body could muster.  I’m sitting there, watching all this, and none of the other small doggie owners are saying anything.


 I spoke up, feeling quite the Joan of Arc champion of all dogs small, telling this guy that this was the small dog area and the large dog area was right other there (and pointed with raised eyebrows for dramatic effect).   The alpha dog alpha owner smarmily proceeds to tell me that his dog is right in the middle, and… yes… and that “you can complain all you want.”  He then informs me that they don’t like aggressive dogs in the park… as Scooter continues to growl, which seems like a great thing for me to begin doing as well.  I add a bit of a grrrr as I spit out, “Well, he wasn’t aggressive until your big dog came in here and scared him!”  He laughs, this big bully man with his big bully dog, and then arrogantly says, “Oh, you probably don’t even have a permit to be here.”  Ugh… okay, I need a permit to be in here?  Seriously?  My brain feels like it’s about to explode and about a million “comebacks” fly through until I land on this one and it comes out of my mouth dripping with venom, “Oh, why don’t you just shut up?”  Now there’s a snappy, intelligent response.  He just laughs again, and after a few minutes decides to leave. 

Needless to say, I left shortly thereafter, chalking up this foray into the world of dog park politics as an epic fail.  But more importantly, I am most disturbed about my own attitude and behavior.  Okay, this guy was a real dork, but I didn’t have to be.  I just can’t imagine Jesus telling His enemies to shut up.  Hmmm… godly woman attitude and “quiet and gentle spirit”… epic fail.

It has bothered me ever since, even though I have asked the Lord to forgive my attitude and dishonoring and disrespectful words.  This little momentary snippet of my life has revealed some “ugly” that I don’t want to have in me… a chink in my character.  It revealed the nasty nature that I don’t like to admit having, with an aroma not of sweet perfume, but more of something that I might have trekked through on my way out of the dog park.  As I was driving into work today, two separate sermons on the radio addressed the use of words (uh-huh, yes indeed, no co-winky-dink here, God was sending a lesson to me LOUD AND CLEAR – with loving grace, but nonetheless, a lesson that pierced my heart, which I need to hear and put into practice).  

The first was from Truth for Life’s Alistair Begg in his message “The Use and Abuse of Words”:  http://www.truthforlife.org/broadcasts/2014/08/08/the-use-and-abuse-of-words-part-2-of-2/

The second from Adrienne Rogers is entitled “Tune In, Tone Down, and Sweeten Up” and can be found at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/love-worth-finding/custom-player.  

Both pastors spoke from James chapter 3.  And it doesn’t surprise me that both men quoted the same poem below (author unknown):
If all that we say in a single day,
With never a word left out,
Were painted each night in clear black and white,
It would prove queer reading, no doubt.

And then just suppose 'ere our eyes would close,
We must read the whole record through,
Then wouldn't we sigh, and wouldn't we try,
A good deal less talking to do.

And I more than half think that many a kink
Would be smoother in life's tangled thread,
If half that we say in a single day
Were forever left unsaid.


I think this weekend I will spend time memorizing the following verses, in the hopes and prayers that next time I find myself in a similar situation, my words, however necessary, however, justified, will be filled with grace and will honor my Savior.  




and my prayer will be that of King David: 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I'm currently taking "New Testament Survey" at Liberty University Online, and I wanted to encourage any Bible readers to pick up a copy of "The Essence of the New Testament:  A Survey", by Elmer L. Towns and Ben Gutierrez.  It is a wonderful book that provides a fascinating, readable, practical view of the New Testament.  I am learning so very much and it truly is helping me see many new things.  I am recommending it as our book of the month.  You can get it at Amazon for $19.99 as a Kindle edition, or as a hardback book for $25.68.  A must read and have for your library! And do take the class online at Liberty University if you have an opportunity as well.  Blessings!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lent Challenge Day 2: "GIVE"


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent: Looking for the Cross Day 4


Photo:  Linda Bush Cannon
This is my coworker and friend Bob.  He commutes by train, and on the first morning of Lent he was met by a priest at the Princeton Junction train station from Trinity Church, where they have a program called "Ashes to Go".  The priest was administering ashes right at the station. 

The church reaching out to people - and proving that God doesn't need a fancy sanctuary for worship - it can be as simple as a train station platform!

Finding the Cross on the station platform... beautiful.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lent

Lent... a time of reflection, a time of looking forward, a time of renewal and praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for His sacrifice for us that we might have eternal life through Him.  

It is only in the last few years I have honored this season and I am happy to see it receiving more recognition.  There are several wonderful options to take time for Lent this year, and here I will share some with you.

http://www.aholyexperience.com/ = Ann Voskamp's website where she is offering a free Family Lent and Easter Devotional.  You can create an Easter tree, read as a single, roomie, family, coworkers... invite others to join you!

Read the New Testament over the next 40 days - here is a video from National Community Church.  Here is the video.

I have decided to accept Laura Humphrey-Dohmann's Instagram Lent Challenge of taking a representative photograph a day and I will post each day here.  I have also invited several of my very talented photographer friends to join as well.  You can find Laura's challenge at:

http://instagram.com/p/lH7blCmQps/

So... I am planning on reading the New Testament over the next 40 days, select an item or activity from which to fast, and to take Lent photo challenge.  I pray the Lord will be honored and glorified by these offerings to Him as I seek His face and draw closer to Him.

Blessings as you prepare your heart for the Savior.









Friday, February 14, 2014

A Few Thoughts from a Single On Valentine's Day


Valentines Day. Ah yes, that hyped-up Cupid-infused Hallmark-created reminder to many that their left-hand ring finger is as empty as their bed.  That there are no card-giving, roses-toting, candlelit-dinner-taking romantic-words-whispering heartthrobs ringing their doorbells tonight. And if you're in the 50+ singles category you can add the icy-fingered despair that your shelf life is expiring with every passing minute and if God doesn't send "him" (cue sunbeams and the angelic chorus ) soon, there won't be much left to be swept away to happy ever after-ville!  Oh, where IS that bottle of wrinkle cream?!?!?

Yes I'll be the first in line to admit sometimes it stinks to be alone. But God's been working with me a lot on this very subject for awhile now. He has asked the hard question when I've cried and told Him I'm lonely and I didn't think I'd be where I am at this stage of the game, and  I have so much to offer and how come...

"Am I not enough?"

Whoa. 

"Am I not enough?"

It stopped me dead in my tracks. 

How do you answer that? "Well yeah-uh, but... Uh... Well..."

That question has haunted me ever since... And then I realized that, if I let Him be enough He could fill the emptiness.  He could calm my longing heart. He could help me get my eyes off what I didn't have and fill me with all I did have... And all I could give away. 

I can take this love and pour it out on others, just love on them and bless them and bring them joy. I can use this time and energy to spend with The Lord, cultivating our relationship and growing and maturing as a godly woman. Instead of whining I can be shining, radiating His love to others... 

So okay, it's still not having a flesh-and-blood someone to romance and hold and cuddle up next to all warm and sleepy in the middle of the night. 

But before me is my holy Bridegroom, the Lover of my soul. The One Who gave His life for me. The One Who loves me unconditionally in spite of my past and ugly heart and sinful selfish self. The One Who always has time to listen to me, Who will never hurt me or lie to me... or abandon me. He will never leave me - He has promised me that. And I believe Him and find comfort and contentment in that. 

Does it mean I'm never sad or lonely, or don't hope for a lifetime of love with that special "someone"? (Cue sunbeams and chorus again). Of course not. 

But... I have found me... in Christ. I am finally, fully myself in/with Him.  I have found joy and contentment in my singleness. I don't know what The Lord has in store for me. We talk about it, and He knows the desires of my heart. I place them all in His capable hands.  I surrender them to His will for my life. He will give me strength and wisdom to walk whatever journey is around the corner. I'm done worrying and fussing and fretting about it. I'm gonna live each day with everything I've got, every drop of love I can give --regardless of whether I'm a Ms. or Mrs.  Because at the end, whether it's been with someone I can call "the Hubs", or whether it's been with family, friends and others, I want to know I loved deeply and fully and completely in His name. 

"I’ve kept my feet on the ground, I’ve cultivated a quiet heart. Like a baby content in its mother’s arms, my soul is a baby content." Psalm 131:2

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13

Monday, February 10, 2014

Terrors in the Night


"Tonight I will sleep securely on a bed of peace because I trust in You, You alone."
Ps 3:5

I wrestle awake, heart pounding out of my chest, mouth drought dry, practically gasping for breath. I fumble as trembling fingers flail for the safety of the lamplight on my nightstand. Struggling to sit up, the horrific video of the nightmare washes over me like an unwelcome sea wave. My body shakes as I try to convince it that what just happened was a dream, not reality... 

I have struggled with nightmares my whole life. Dreams that pierce my sanity in the darkness - so vivid and detailed I can tell you the patterns on the wallpaper, describe the scents, and recount each scene as if it were a recently watched movie. And here I am again, lights ablaze, fully awake to fight against the monsters not under my bed... but in my head. 

Once more, however, I find my refuge in God's Word. My sleeplessness finds solace in His truth, my rest in His reality. Like a loving Papa comforting his young child, He wraps His love around me and whispers tenderly, "Shhh... there now, rest securely, I'm here... I'm here.  You're safe in My arms."

My heartbeat and breathing rest. Terror subsides. Peace replaces panic.  My Father is here at my side and will not leave me. I snuggle down as I almost feel Him tucking me in. I cradle my Bible as a babe clings to a teddy. My heart calms as His lullabye of love blankets my sleep. 

Fear not, my soul, for He is with me. 

"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will... rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You wi not fear the terrors of night,,," Psalm 91:4-5

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day Star... Morning Star

2 Peter 1:19  We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 

I love stars, sparkling like diamonds in the velvety blackness of the night sky.  There is nothing like being out in nature on a clear night when the only light is that from above, the moon and stars.  I can breathe deeper, think clearer… gazing at the miracle of the twinkle, twinkle from a little star.  

When I read this verse in 2 Peter this morning I looked up the word star.  In the original Greek it is phosphorus, from which we get the word of the same name – phos meaning light, and phoros meaning bearer.  Phosphorus is in every cell of our bodies.  It is light-bearing, bringing and giving light.  White phosphorus glows in a darkened room when exposed to oxygen.  

Most importantly, when you find the phrase morning star or day star in the Scriptures, they are all a metaphor for Christ Himself.

Christ, the Star rising in my heart, setting the darkness aglow, brilliantly glittering and shimmering and flashing life-giving illumination to every corner.  Taking my breath away, restoring it again.  I inhale deeply as I think of Him in His majesty residing in me, this dark, worn vessel.  My hand reaches up to my chest as if to hold Him there, feel His energy, longing to experience His splendor.

I lift my face to the morning sky, to Him, the Morning Star… the Day Star… the Star that lights my world and my soul shadows.  A Star that shines more intensely vibrant than anything He has created.  A Light that shows the way to eternal life.  A luminescent Lover of my soul.  Encompass every cell in my being, my Star… radiate in me Your love, Your light that I might glow from within bearing witness to You. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Meaty Reading

In a post from my Coach Linda Bush blog yesterday (click HERE) I mentioned I was reading Andrew Murray's devotional on John 15 regarding Christ's parable on the Vine and branches.  Well today a friend told me about this website: 

http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/bookcat.htm

where you can read FOR FREE many wonderful books by classic Christian authors including Murray, Hannah Whitall Smith, Karl Barth, E. M. Bounds and many others.

I am seeking to be "Frugal in '14" this year, but that doesn't mean just saving as much $$$ as possible.  I want to be very careful how I spend my time as well, which is priceless.  Let's face it, in time you might be able to earn millions of dollars, but millions of dollars won't buy you one second more!  Okay, maybe you can hire people to do all your work, but you get my meaning!!!  

As I think about how to achieve my Frugal in '14 goal, one thing I am being very mindful of is the use of my rare moments of down time, which I often use to catch up on my reading.  Instead of spending it on "fluff" (certain magazines, books, mindless internet surfing, TV, etc.) I want to make my time count, especially for eternal value.  This link above to literature that  I call "meaty reading" (as opposed to fluffy sugar-candy spun reading that isn't worth the paper it's written on, including a LOT of fiction so-called "Christian" books out there, but that's a whole 'nuther topic), will give me a lot of great and FREE reading this year.  Please understanding, I'm not saying I won't ever watch a TV program or pick up a magazine... but like choosing the most nutrient dense and healthy foods for my optimal physical health, I want to be sure to select solid food for my brain and spiritual health as well. Frankly, I also want to do everything I can to walk strong and close to Jesus, and something I ask myself often is "How would I feel if Jesus came back today and I was reading this? doing this? watching that?" It's a question that certainly convicts me to spend my time with more of a kingdom-focus!

May I encourage you to select at least six of the books offered, and take a month or two to read each one. I know you won't regret it!  And if you have any recommendations on books that you have found helped you get deeper into your Christian walk, please post your comments here or email me at westudyGodsword@gmail.com.  Just FYI, a current author that I enjoy and recommend is Mark Batterson, and my January book (which is also our book of the month here on this blog) is his newest, "All In".

Thanks and blessings for a day walking close to the Lord, filled with love and laughter! 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Free Beth Moore Book

Today I'd like to start off the new year by sharing with you THREE FREE Kindle edition books by Beth Moore's book, "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things:  Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction", "To Live Is Christ", and "The Beloved Disciple".  Here's the links: 

Beth Moore is one of my favorite authors/speakers.  Over the years I have done many of her studies, watched her DVDs, and I highly recommend her! 

One of the things I'm doing this year is to keep a list of books that I want to complete (as I'm usually the one with the 6-7 books on the nightstand all about 1/3 read!), and I am not allowing myself to spend one red cent on any more books until I have completed reading the ones I already have in my hot little hands or on my Kindle!!!  So this was kind of a fun way to get THREE FREE BOOKS from an author I love!!!  Plus, I am going to replace three on my list with these instead, so I'm saving money and decluttering at the same time.  Ahhhh.... frugal and organized - today's baby step towards two of my 2014 goals.  Not too shabby - the first Monday of the month and I saved about $60 in freebies - woohoo!!!

For more info on organizing, you can go to my website at www.coachlindabush.com where this week I'm featuring blogs about organizing.

Enjoy these books, and I wish you every blessing and joy as you begin a new year in your journey with our Savior!