Tag Archives: bad habits

New and Tidy

IMG_7323Summer is definitely over and we are well into the fall season. With temperatures at 29 this morning, frost is definitely on the pumpkin! I’m always glad to announce that the canning season is officially over! On Monday, my husband tilled the garden, pulled out the frost-wilted flowers and mowed were it was needed.  Now, as I look out my kitchen window, everything is neat and tidy—ready for the snow!

Neat and tidy…hmm. It made me wonder if my spiritual house matches my physical one. What does a “neat and tidy” spirit look like? Do you see any parallels, like…

  • Gathering the fruit of your labors and preserving them—How much time do I spend gleaning truths from God’s Word and storing them for later use by preserving them in my heart through memorization?
  • Tilling the ground—Tilly the rototiller chews up the dirt, loosening the clods and chopping up any left over, unwanted growth, turning them into fertilizer (sort of). Have I allowed the Lord access to my heart—going deeper than the surface which is what everyone else sees? Isn’t it wonderful that God can take all the unwanted weeds in our lives and turn them into something worthwhile? When we surrender our bad habits, wrong actions, words and attitudes, and other sins to God, He can use them to make us more aware the next time we struggle, fortifying us to bring forth more fruit!
  • Put out the dead flowers—Do you have any “dead” spots in your spirit—Jude called them “spots in your feast” and “clouds…without water” (Jude 1:12). Even though the passage is actually talking about lost folks, we can certainly apply it to areas in our lives where we are fruitless. Satan sends a chilly wind of opposition and our hearts grow cold. He sends temptations and our resolve withers and we yield. He whispers words of doubt and distrust and the chilling effects of fear freeze out God’s fiery Spirit, making us barren or stagnant.

It takes a lot of work to keep a place neat and tidy. It’s much easier to just ignore the weeds or faded paint.  It takes time and effort. So often, we just run out of time and can’t seem to get everything done! But when that starts to happen to our spiritual house, the consequences can be eternally disastrous!

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Hebrew 12:15

This verse may be talking about roots of bitterness, but we can plug in any “weed” that we are struggling with and apply the results:

  1. We are troubled by whatever the sin. We may not want to call some of our bad habits sin. In fact, we are often accused of legalism if we even hint that unfaithfulness to church services is a sin. What is it that “troubles” your spirit in your life? What can YOU do about it?
  2. Many are defiled. This is such a frightening statement. Who will be affected by my lack of dedication, bad testimony, or hobby horse? Am I speaking the truth in my heart concerning my sin?

Do you see the remedy? “Looking diligently…” When we are diligent in our walk, the result is a neat and tidy testimony for our gracious Lord and Savior! I enjoy the compliments we get about our home and the way it looks and feels, but more than those compliments, I long to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” when Jesus comes to call!

Bear Attack!

ID-1008340So… it’s a beautiful morning and I’m doing the usual 2000 video cutting-edge aerobics when I look out the window and decide to take Pepper for a walk instead.  Good choice, because I not only get good exercise, I also fill my lungs with fresh crisp twenty-four degree country air!  AND I get to talk to God – it’s always better out there in His creation.

I’m on my way back, jogging a bit, when I think I hear something behind me.  My worst possible nightmare is now a reality.  Loping in my path just thirty feet back is a black bear!  I hurry my pace, but there’s no way I can outrun it!  How often have I played this scenario in my mind before?  What will Pepper do?  Will Tom find my mangled body?

My legs are jelly, when I stop, plant my feet. Turn around, and scream at the top of my lungs (much like the father on “The Croods”J) I wave my arms and act crazy; and to my amazement, the beast stops, looks, and turns off the road into the woods.  Now I’m really ready to fall apart, but thankfully I’m only a hundred yards from the house.  I’m going to make it!!

Yes, this is a made up scenario; but ever since I read about a man walking his dog our west somewhere and getting attacked by a black bear, I’ve been wary of walking our dirt road.  It’s very deserted: only the two other neighbors’ houses in eye-view from ours, and then one other house at the dead end and a hunting cabin – not much civilization.  We often see bears around our house, although we’ve only seen them once when walking this road.  It COULD happen, but it didn’t.

So where’s the connection?  I had been praying about several “impossible” situations that are in our church, reminding God that He is the God of the impossible, when HE reminded me of some impossible situations in my own life.  Would I prove God and work to change those impossible life habits?  Doing so would be a good thing! It stopped me short, and I thought of the bear.

What is stalking you, ready to attack and destroy you if it could?  Right away we think of something awful like drugs or an extramarital affair; however, most of us aren’t stalked by big Papa bears.  Maybe you’re laying out of church for whatever the reason.  Perhaps you’ve dropped the habit of daily Bible reading, or you never find the time to pray.  Is it the TV programs you watch or the books you read or the internet sights you frequent that are stalking you?  Let me tell you – those yearling bears can take the life out of you just as quickly as a full-grown male!  They are deadly, and so are the habits I’ve just mentioned.  They are not only stalking us, but they are sapping us of our strength, lulling us to sleep.

Can you imagine talking to someone who has a bear chewing on his arm?  You say, “What’s that bear doing?”

“Oh, I know.  I really need to get rid of him.  I’ll get around to it someday.”

But someday never comes because you are dead!  Our bad habits are keeping us from the Spirit-filled life that God has planned for each of His dear children.

Years ago, my husband-pastor said this after a counseling session: “I wish I could take that person, who is making wrong choices, and have him talk to the guy I talked to last week that’s just twenty years down the road, reaping the consequences of the same bad choices!”

Make a choice.  Plant your feet squarely on God’s Word and determine to change!  You don’t have to scream and act crazy, but you do need to storm the Throne of God and ask for help!  And watch the bears run!!!

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;

yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” 

Galatians 2:20

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One Stupid Thing

This morning I realized that I had done something stupid yesterday.  (Well, one thing that I could remember!)  I had made play-dough for the kids for the Junior Church lesson and put it into Ziploc baggies.  As I was lying in bed this morning going through the day, I remembered the play-dough, thinking that I shouldn’t have zipped them all shut because they were still warm.  My fears were correct – we had play-goo instead of play-dough!  So, added to the list of things to do this morning was to make another batch!  Thankfully, I was up early; all the family (except Nathan, boo hoo) were coming for dinner, so I had quite a “to do” list: peel carrots and onions, set the table, fix the roast, not to mention the usual: go over the choir number and practice the special.

Praise the Lord, everything worked out just fine.  Old Scratch tried to stick his stinky toe into the mess a couple of times, but the Lord gave the victory.

Lesson: what is that stupid thing that you just keep doing over and over again?  Where do you need to have a victory in your life?  You see, I was able to make another batch of play-dough, but you can’t rebuild the character of your children.  Those stupid things, those bad habits that we just won’t give up or won’t conquer through the power of the cross can wreak havoc in molding a child; not to mention that they also ruin our relationships and mar our testimony.

You know the sad thing about this whole scenario?  As I was zipping up the bags, a little voice said, “Maybe you should keep them open until they’re cool.”  AND I DIDN’T LISTEN!!!  Sound familiar?  How often does the Holy Spirit whisper in my ear, “You really shouldn’t say that, or think that, or do that – and I turn a deaf ear?

Fellow struggler – take the plunge: make this week different.  Go forth and conquer just one of those stupid things!  Don’t forget: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Php 4:13

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