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My Joy Is Contagious Make Sure You Catch It!

I always tell people that any day above ground is a good day! I hope your day is wonderful and blessed! Feel free to share your thoughts!
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Friday, March 6, 2009

My Personal Tailor


Proms, weddings or romantic dinners what do they all have in common? Memorable events in our lives usually require outfits that are equally as memorable. Most women probably get excited at any opportunity to shop for new clothes. I think I’ll always be enamored with a pair of jeans, a simple blouse and my messenger bag to complete my look. I hardly ever wear dresses or heels. In fact the closer my feet are to the ground the better I feel. I’ve been invited to attend a special event in a couple months. My dilemma, this event might require me to “dress” up. I have a few things hanging in my closet, but I already have an idea that everything is entirely too big. I have a few options available to me. I could easily buy something new. I could hit the malls, boutiques, or order something from J. Crew. Another option available to me is that I can choose a number of ensembles from my closet and have them taken in by a professional tailor or seamstress. I could just wear an outfit that is too large and pray that nobody notices.
Thinking about this upcoming event I felt inspired to consider how Jesus in countless ways works as a professional yet personal tailor. I looked up the word tailor. One of the definitions I found was this one: A Tailor makes custom menswear-style jackets and the trousers or skirts that go with them, for men or women. I like to think of our bodies as mere earth suits housing our spirits. Think about it this way! Jesus starts with an already wonderful pattern (YOU and I) but He guarantees a custom fit that include expert repairs, alterations, and custom designs for our entire wardrobe needs. If I choose the option of having my clothes taken in or altered in some way, I have to be able to deal with the irrevocable consequences. Grasp this mental picture and file it away in your mental rolodex of Jesus being as the tailor, altering YOU changing YOU to fit, never to be the same!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just ADD HOT Water



When I want to wind down from a grueling or otherwise taxing day I indulge in the simple things. Nothing satisfies like a steaming cup of hot tea. I have grown accustomed to taking my tea on the sofa with honey, lemon, and my remote control. I’ve developed a penchant for finding beautiful ceramic mugs and Japanese tea cups and they’ve truly enhanced my tea drinking experience. Tea is pretty inexpensive and simple to make. The most arduous part perhaps is WAITING for the water to come to a boil. WAITING is an essential part of life. We WAIT for everything: love, birthdays, weddings, and graduations. We are usually just WAITING for what we want. I’ve since developed an attitude of WAITING for what God wants. WAITING can be especially difficult even if God has instructed you to do so. During my “WAITING” periods I discovered that sometimes God’s answer is YES, sometimes God’s answer is NO and sometimes God’s answer is simply NOT RIGHT NOW! I believe when you are WAITING often you find that it can seem like a wilderness experience. I’ve often felt like I was literally WAITING in a dry, arid place with absolutely no real sense of direction. I have also learned during MY seasons of WAITING that God was right after all. I know that if God had me all the things I thought I wanted right then, I wouldn’t have had the spiritual maturity to handle them.
If we dared to be honest we could readily admit to consciously coveting others. We perceive them as having everything come too easily to them. A lot of times though we just want their CUP we don’t want the CONTENTS. Yeah, your neighbor may look “THANK YOU JESUS” on the outside but you have no real idea of the HELL that person has been through to be where they are. I used to speed! I’m talking 75mph in a 35mph zone with no valid explanation other than thinking I had to get NOWHERE fast. Now I laugh at other drivers who pass me by in a hurry particularly when we end up WAITING at the same red light. Since my speed demon days are long behind me, I’ve learned to WAIT. Chicago traffic will do that for you. I’ve noticed so many wonderful parks, restaurants, and cultural places this city has to offer because I’m not driving by them in a hasty blur, I’m WAITING. WAITING can seem futile, pointless, and such a waste of time but STAY where you are until told to move. We’ve become consumed with our “microwave” style of living. Anything lasting more than 5 minutes seems like an eternity. We want everything easy! We were never promised life would be easy. If I never had ANY problems, how would I know that God could solve them?
It’s irritating to see individuals that have professed Christ yet have adopted this ridiculous notion that they should never have to WAIT much less be put in hot water. Think of a tea kettle the next time you have to WAIT. One thing is certain when you boil water it’s bound to get hot. The next time you make a cup of tea WAIT for the melodic singing the kettle echoes under pressure. Maybe that’s a lesson for you to try not to get discouraged while WAITING. I’ll leave you with this: A Christian is just like a tea bag useless until exposed to some hot water.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Benefits of Being Broke!


What’s in your wallet right now lint or loot? The love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself. So many people with good reason are concerned about the stability of the economy. Greed left unchecked for so long by individuals and corporations has fleeced us all to no end. I live in the suburbs and watching all makes and models of luxury sedans pull up at our local food bank seems surreal. Being hungry makes people humble no matter what side of town they live on. All the financial experts teach us to pay ourselves first. I agree setting aside a little money from each paycheck is a good idea, but is having money everything? Most people have more month than money and there is isn't anything to set aside. The best things in life still are free like hugs. Most of us only notice what we don’t have. We never even glance at what we do have what’s right in front of us. Regardless of what your bank statement reveals there are BENEFITS TO BEING BROKE. The biggest one is the one I think we take for granted and that is now having FREE time NOT money to SPEND with our families and friends.
We’re no longer novices at throwing money at our problems. When our children get out of hand now, we merely purchase serenity. I-Pods, video games, and cell phones have replaced parenting. We used to be capable of uttering the word NO. No I don’t need the new car! No I don’t need that television just because it’s flat! No I need to pay my rent NOT buy another Coach bag! Most people with a lot of money at their disposal are emotionally and morally bankrupt because they are always chasing the dollar. Have you ever had a conversation with a rehabilitated drug addict? An addict will always tell you that the one thing they seek is to experience is the euphoria of that first hit. It really doesn’t matter to me whether you suit up or shoot up. When you chase that dollar chasing a high will always bring you low. There is another significant BENEFIT TO BEING BROKE and it is unmistakably obvious. You can now unearth real solutions NOT Benjamin’s for the cares of life. Money only tells people what you’re worth in numbers. A person’s wealth may be visible on a spreadsheet, the neighborhood he or she can afford to live in, and all the material possessions they accumulate. What has it really cost them?


Remember what I said earlier about paying yourself first? Try it! Pay yourself a well deserved compliment today! Tell yourself that in spite of what is going on all around me, I AM A WINNER! It’s another BENEFIT OF BEING BROKE and it’s free with my complements!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

JUMPING IN


My sister called me the other day. As usual we started revisiting events from our colorful childhoods. Learning how to jump rope was a rite of passage for many young girls growing up in the Deep South. While the boys engaged in a spirited game of touch football, we girls took part in the one activity that separated the “little girls” from the “BIG GIRLS”. There were more than a few feats each girl had to accomplish in order to be considered worthy of getting near the prized rope. For instance, every girl had to be able to demonstrate that she could turn the rope precisely and consistently. The other critical mission was to be able to “JUMP IN”. “JUMPING IN” required impressive skill. You had to be capable of timing your moves just right so that you would not be struck in the face by the rope or worse, lose your turn altogether.
I can certainly recall being envious of the other girls and their pony tails bouncing violently in the air. I was afraid of “JUMPING IN”. The other girls seemed undeterred by lunging effortlessly into the unknown. To complicate matters, our jump rope was not made for the faint of heart because in the Deep South we “JUMPED” with a garden hose. One day I woke with sheer determination that I would take that leap of faith and “JUMP” in. Like a lioness hunting its prey, I watched and waited for my turn to pounce. I saw my chance and then propelled myself forward. With my big sister cheering me on, I did it! I “JUMPED” in! It was pure bliss feeling my ponytails hit me about the face. Once I tackled that garden hose I couldn’t be stopped, and each time I “JUMPED IN”, I found out I got better and better. I didn’t know it at the time but deciding to “JUMP” in was probably my first lesson in faith. I’ve managed to do a lot of things in my life many of them with nervousness and trepidation. I remember these times the most. Faith requires action!
Life requires us “JUMPING IN” even if all you can do is “JUMP” in fear!