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The Watered Soul

The Watered Soul: April 2010

Apr 30, 2010

Z is for Zachariah

Well before getting some zzz's for the night, I thought I'd actually write a post to finalize the A-Z Challenge. On this round, Z is for Zachariah, who was married to Elizabeth. There story is found in Luke 1. As I read through this particular chapter, a few things stood out to me.

Zachariah and Elizabeth were described as being righteous and walking blameless before the Lord. Yet they found themselves lacking something in their lives that they had dearly wanted. On an ordinary day as Zachariah was serving in the house of God, he had a divine visitation bringing news that not only had his prayers been heard but now would be answered. Yet Zachariah was fearful and in doubt. Which tells me that you can be serving in ministry in the house of God, the place where God is suppose to be, but be surprise when He actually shows up. Could it be that we're often going through the motion of things without real expectation of God making an appearance in our personal lives?

The angel was bringing him the answer to their prayers, which quite possibly had long been forgotten since their condition (Elizabeth's barrenness) had remained the same. And their position in regards to age had changed for the worse. However, the fact that the angel showed up with news that their request was to be answered tells me that at some point they had been praying the will of God. But the proper time and season had to coincide with one another. God had a greater purpose for Zachariah and Elizabeth having a baby than just reducing her shame or keeping up with the Jones. John needed to come on the scene at a certain time.

I also noted that Zachariah was made mute because he didn't believe the angel's message. But after the baby was born and he named the baby as the angel had instructed, he was able to talk again. Which leads me to believe that there are times when we should be quiet until we bring our speech into alignment with God's Word. I wonder what was going on in Elizabeth's mind when her husband came home speechless.

Their story makes me want to reexamine the things I once prayed for but have silently relinquished by stance because after all that area in my life is still bare and I have only increased in age. I find myself looking to see if there's some topics I need to refrain from discussing until I can get the mind of Christ on the matter. As I reflect on their story, it has me calling out to God asking Him to raise my expectation and help my unbelief.

Watch for the May 3 A-Z Mega post. Until then hope y'all have a great weekend.


Z is for

Z is Zenith TV.
We had a floor model TV for years. I thought it was a Zenith but Mom said ours was a Magnavox.

Z is for Zoo
 Lisa over at Bombastic Bandicot posted a cute pic from the Ft. Worth Zoo the other day. So I decided to post a similar snapshot I captured from my visit.

I'll probably be zipping back to write a more thorough Z-post for the end of the A-Z Challenge, when I get some extra time. But in the mean time, zap over to Tossing It Out find out what others are talking about.


Apr 29, 2010

Y is for Yield

Hi y'all (in my southern drawl). Hard to believe that we're already at the letter "Y". Today Y is for yield. I remember when I was kid in church there was a song we used to sing that lyrics said, "young people yield yourself  to God, while you're young and in your youth, yield yourself to God".  Hadn't heard that song in years. The songwriter understood that the younger we are the less opportunity we have had to build up a resistance toward God.

When I think of the word yield, the yield traffic sign comes to mind. The yield sign is a place where I have to pause momentarily and possibly give another driver the right of way. Makes me wonder about the things we often give the right away in our lives. As a Christian, God is the person we are suppose to submit ourselves unto but there are times when I find myself fighting not to succumb to frustration, disappointment, fear, offense, depression, or doubt. Of course, it's important to pause a moment to acknowledge our feelings because denial does one little good. But giving those negative feelings free reign in our lives yields bad fruit. There are times when it seems easier to hold onto those feelings rather than saying yes, I choose to let that go.  For the past couple of days, after receiving some unexpected news, I've found myself feeling grieved and confused. But I've been hearing the words, let not your heart be troubled. It's up to me to choose what I'll give the right away to-my feelings or God's Word.

Isaiah 55:10-11 10 As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:  It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

Are you yielding to the right things in your life?  Have you given the Master a yes?


Apr 28, 2010

X Marks the Spot

Well we're back to our regularly scheduled A-Z Challenge post and today's letter is "X". Now I must admit that I had to sneak a peak in the dictionary for some ideas since I don't regularly use words beginning with that letter. However, none stuck out to me as much as the plain old letter "x". I often “x” things off my to-do list or mark an “x” when filling out forms. But did you know that even in today's time, some people are unable to write their name and have to sign forms with an "x"? Reading and writing are fundamental things that I often take for granted. Yet, many of my ancestors labored to ensure those behind them would have the opportunity to read and write. According to the Department of Justice statistics, 21 million Americans can't read at all, 45 million are marginally illiterate and one-fifth of high school graduates can't read their diplomas.

However, in my line of work, I see people using "x" as their signature not because they're unable to read but because they're physically disabled due to some type of medical condition or motor vehicle accident. I can't imagine the daily struggle to perform even the simplest of task. Today as I go about reading posts, typing and adding my signature to copious notes, I do it with conscious gratitude for not just the knowledge to read and write but for the ability to use my hands.

As this month long A to Z challenge quickly comes to an end, it will soon be one of the tasks I can mark “x” through as completed. Many of the participants will be joining a mega post on May 3 to discuss what we’ve learned through this event. In the mean time find out what other x-rated (oops I meant related) topics are being expounded today here.


Apr 27, 2010

Random Things about Me

It's time for the Single, Sassy Blogger link up for April at Exemplify Online Singles. This month we're asked to share seven random things about ourselves. So here goes my list:

1. The first car I bought was purple Pontiac Sunfire.
2. I happen to be afraid of anything that creeps and/or crawls.
3. I'm a recovering perfectionist. 
4. I absolutely love books and I can speed hours browsing in a bookstore. Speaking of books, my new favorite thing is swapping books via paperbackswap.
5. I love Tex-Mex food.
6. My favorite Bath & Body scent is Moonlight Path. Nothing like a nice bubble bath :)
7. Never thought I'd own a dog but I've been sharing my place with Bella, my furbaby I adopted from a shelter, for almost two years now.

Well that's a pretty random view of me. Find other single, sassy bloggers and join the fun here.

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Never Walk Alone

It's something about walking in the morning that clears my head and helps to get my day off to a great start. As I walk, I hear the gentle whispers of instructions or inspirations. Often it's then is when the answers to things I've longed pondered seem to be revealed to me. But there are just as many other times that I don't sense any overwhelming presence of Him. But as I gaze at the sky or listen to melody of the birds sing, I see His handiwork. I'm awfully grateful that even when I can't sense Him and I can't hear His voice because of the noise in my head, He never leaves me to walk alone. He's always watching and knows my exact whereabouts even when I'm lost.

Isaiah 43:2 When you go through deep waters,I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.

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Apr 26, 2010

You're the Vessel

The A-Z challenge continues with the letter V. My focus word for the day is vessel. Vessel is defined as a hollow or concave utensil for holding anything or a ship or boat. Just as ships carry goods, we as humans are carriers as well. Now, I really don't know a lot about ships but I do understand that they operate in the water. And I would imagine that on occasion these vessels run into some storms at sea while attempting to transport their goods to the appropriate port. Not unlike ourselves, we become battered by life storms or events such as childhood, work, relationship, or health issues. The storms are designed to delay or detour us from reaching our divine destination and ultimately destroy us, if possible. But why? Because you're carrying something valuable. No matter how the vessel has been damaged or looks on the outside, its real treasure is found inside. Every human has been created with purpose. And what you're holding someone else needs.

Our inner enemy would often have us believe that based upon the look of the vessel-damaged, broken, and bruised parts-that we couldn't possibly posses anything of significance to someone else. In our eyes, we may appear as just a small boat in a vast ocean full of larger more pristine looking ships. Yet if you're sailing along in this life, there's a void that only you can fill. Our individual voyages differ and the size and shape of our vessels are not the same but the fact remains that your cargo is full of treasure.

However, we possess this precious treasure [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not from ourselves. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (Amplified)

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 (The Message)

If you have a minute, take some time to listen to The Corinthian Song by Micah Stampley.

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Apr 24, 2010

Until When?

U is the letter of the day in the A-Z challenge. My word I chose for today is “until”. I remember when I was a kid in school I couldn’t wait until I was grown and able to make decisions on my own. After reaching adulthood, I realize those carefree years weren’t so bad after all. How many times have you put something off until a more favorable time? Or you failed to enjoy your present because you were focused on a time in the future?
As singles we’re often tempted to put off enjoying life “until” our mate comes alone. Waiting to buy homes, cars, investments, or take trips. Those of us who struggle with our weight will put off engaging in certain activities “until” reaching our ideal size. We can delay getting involved in opportunities to serve others. Waiting to share a smile, give kind word, or make a difference in someone’s life “until” we have gotten ourselves together. Waiting to step out “until” we’re absolutely certain it’s the best time. Choosing to use the good china “until” company comes. Refusing to take a moment for yourself “until” everyone else needs are met. Not trusting until we see evidence.

There are all sorts of reasons (or excuses) we give for not moving on or making the most of our lives. Like I can’t forgive “until” they apologize. The myriad of excuses is unbelievable. I’m not proposing that we take on foolish risk or get ahead of God. But that we take some time to observe what we’ve been putting on hold “until”. As I wrote in a previous post, I journal sometime and one day I was reading over some of the whispers from God. There was a statement that said you’re ready now. More ready than you’ve ever been. Within your own self, you will never feel ready. I once read a quote that said something like you have to do a thing first and then your feelings will follow. There’s some truth in that statement because I sure didn’t feel like getting on my treadmill this morning but I feel better now that I did. So again, I encourage you to examine the “untils” in your life and decide or discover the ones that you can begin making steps toward today.

Ecclesiastes 11:4 Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops.

On another note, a few months ago, I knew very little about blogging. Even now that knowledge is limited. But until I started, I never knew how much it would help me to give voice to the ramblings in my head. Until I dared to leap into the A-Z Challenge, I never knew so many of you. And it’s unlikely that our paths would have crossed. But I’m thankful for the opportunity to have been in union with you. Until next time, I hope you enjoy a wonderful weekend.

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Apr 23, 2010

Quench Your Thirst

On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood and said in loud voice, If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within. John 7:37-38

In this particular passage of scripture Christ issues an invitation to anyone whose thirsty [that would include me] to come and drink from Him and that if you would believe, from within you would flow streams of living water. In the natural when we thirst we look for something outside of ourselves to quench our thirst. Water can satisfy the thirst but each individual has his own preference of drink [for me, coke]. Because I don't settle for the most basic thirst quencher "water", there has been numerous additives and weight added physically. Water in it's pure state has nothing added and has zero calories. Other synthetic thirst quenchers are man made attempts to satiate our thirst sensation but each comes along with unnecessary additives.

Spiritually speaking, Christ, is the purest thirst quencher that is available within us but many times we seek to fill the dry place with other external things like relationships, eating, shopping, alcohol, drugs, careers, or possessions. These other sources' thirst quenching abilities are only temporary and they bring along additives like addictions, perversions, debt, stress, or soulish weights that continue to cause us to be parched again. Thus, initiating the thirst cycle repeatedly.

Is your soul parched? The invitation to come drink still stands.

Now teeter on over and see what other A-Z Challengers are discussing here.

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Apr 22, 2010

Satisfaction Guaranteed

Rather late getting my post up today. My mind was not settled on what "s" topic I wanted to discuss last night and didn't have time to gather my thoughts before heading to work this morning.  Ok, so on with my post.

You ever notice that on the back of many products there's a promise of satisfaction? On the back of my Suave lotion in small fine print it reads: We guarantee your full satisfaction or we will replace or refund your purchase. Now I like the lotion and have had no problems with it. But, I have acquired some other things in life that I was certain would bring me satisfaction. I obtained positions, car and house-the supposed American dream. Yet some how it didn't seem enough. I found myself becoming disillusion and discontent after the newness wore off.

Marketing in today's society aims to capitalize on our insatiable desire for more, more, more. Right when you think you have the latest and greatest something more improved comes along. I would not consider myself to be materialistic so my dis-ease was not because I was seeking more things. Just that the place I was in did not fit. I simply was not satisfied and questioned within myself that surely there was more to life.

In Philippians 4:12-13, Paul states (my paraphrase) he has learned the secret to being content despite whatever situation he found himself. I remember a while back a book titled The Secret was all the rage. Oprah had the author on her show. Maybe it's human nature to seek out those secrets that tend to allude us at times. Here we find Paul saying he finally figured it out that it's through Christ that true contentment comes. He didn't give any false guarantees that the happenings in life would always be favorable. But in spite of it, one could still be content.  I found that passage to be challenging. How can I be satisfied when I don't like what is occurring around me? Honestly, I haven't mastered the art of contentment. But in reading something the other day, I gained greater insight on contentment. When I know and trust that where I am is not outside of God's radar, I can be confident that He is orchestrating all things and that there is indeed a plan for my life. Therefore, I can patiently wait on Him.

Of course possessions alone can never bring true satisfaction. It's only found in Christ and our relationship with Him is one place we shouldn't settle. There is always more of Him to know and experience. I have provided link to a beautiful worship song by William McDowell entitled Show Me Your Face.

Until "T" time tomorrow, I hope enjoy a wonderful evening.

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Apr 21, 2010


Re is a prefix meaning again or anew. One of the first re(s) to come to mind is reruns. I don’t know about you but I’m not very fond of watching television reruns, although certain channels in my satellite package are racked full of them. On the occasion that I forget to set the DVR, I can appreciate the encore presentation of my favorite shows. For some shows, it looks like certain episodes are repeated more than others. Kind of like how certain life events keep making reoccurrences in our lives. Sure the characters, dates, and times might be different but the underlying issue is repeated. Like the guy or gal’s name is different but the relationship ends up the same as all the others. The job is new but the results are same. Your location changes but the same problems follow you. Could it be that in the midst of the repetition God is giving us another opportunity to catch the lesson we missed before?

Retaking a life test is not always fun but I’m grateful for some do over’s in my life. Christ coming offers me REDEMPTION. When I’m empty He REPLENISHES me. Even when it looks like I’m on the losing in end, He promises to RESTORE. In my brokenness, He REPAIRS the breaches. He even offers a REWARD. As discouragement and feelings of giving up begin to overtake me, He will send along a word to REVIVE me.

Thank you Lord for the things you’re doing anew and again in my life. It’s only because of your loving kindness that I’m not without hope or utterly consumed. May He continuously redeem, replenish, restore, repair, revive and reward you in any and every place that you stand in need today. You've done it before, oh God, now do it again I pray. In Jesus Name~Amen

Now review some other interesting "R" related post from other A-Z Challengers.

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Apr 20, 2010

Quiet Please

Life can be quite noisy at times. We’re inundated with music, television, family and friends to occupy our time. Even things that we don’t consider to be loud carry a sound. When I shut down my office computer, I’m amazed at how quiet the room suddenly sounds. Although I’ve sat in there for hours, I had been oblivious to the amount of white noise that was filling my space.

Likewise our inner selves can be full of white noise. Noisy expectations, frightening fears, negative self talk, constant worries speak loudly in our souls. At times it is necessary to pull away from all the hustle and bustle and just quieten ourselves. Frequently it is easier to live with the rumblings in our head than to be still and wait on God. Take some quiet time to rest from all your toiling.

A few scriptures to meditate on:

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (NIV)

Mark 6:31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, "Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Psalm 131:2 (English Standard Version)

Psalm 131:2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. (NIV)

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Apr 19, 2010

Essential P’s in the Race of Life

Today the A-Z challenge continues and the letter of the day is P. As I pondered on various p-topics, two words were plastered in the forefront of mind-patience and perseverance. Unlike you perhaps, I don’t always like the sound of the word of patience. It conjures up ideas of extended periods of waiting, waiting, and waiting. Rather it’s waiting in line, being delayed by a slow driver in traffic, or sitting idly in the doctor’s office, I don’t always exhibit much patience. I become antsy, anxious, and complain because it’s seems like such a waste of time not being able to progress at faster speeds.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines patience as the capacity, habit, or fact of being patient. Patient is defined as bearing pains or trials calmly without complaint; not hasty; manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain; steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity. In some cases, the only choice we have other than waiting is forgoing the item or experience. Patience has to do with my attitude during the wait. And did you know that God is concerned about how we wait in life? The Word of God is filled with promises but they don’t appear overnight; there’s a time to wait on the fulfillment of the promise. Because He is God we can’t control the timing of the promise’s arrival; so waiting is inevitable but our attitude during this period is pretty important.

In my reading, I came across Colossians 1:10-12 which states, And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. (NIV) I like to compare various translations of scripture and really like the Amplified version of verse 11- [We pray] that you may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of His glory, [to exercise] every kind of endurance and patience (perseverance and forbearance) with joy. The Message gives another look at Colossians 1:9-10 Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us.

These passages of scripture speak volumes to me today. If I’m to have any increase in fruitfulness, productivity, or knowledge of God in my life, patience and perseverance are going to be essential. To accomplish any goal, like weight loss for example, one must persist in a particular state or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition or discouragement. And God knows that I have failed to complete some things I started in life. Some things I started out strong but quickly became discouraged or too impatient to see the end results. Looking at the passage, I see two other important P’s to incorporate in my life-prayer and power. My human power alone will only get me so far but being infused with His power gives me the ability to wait patiently and persevere. And prayer helps to tap into the greater power.

Discover what other A-Z challengers are discussing here.

Flickr photo by Jacob Garcia

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Apr 17, 2010

Open to Opportunity

Opportunities are around us daily. Opportunities to choose joy over sadness, to try something new over being stuck in the mundane, to walk in obedience, to touch the life of someone else, or to share the good news of the Gospel. Chances to rejoice rather than complain are available. Occasions to smile instead of frown. You know opportunities, big or small; our lives are full of them.

When I look back over my life, I wonder just how many opportunities have I missed. Much of my life has been lived out confined into a small, safe box, in a way. Having been the shy, introverted type didn’t lend itself to exploring new frontiers. Stifled by the fear of rejection and insecurities, I lost chances to meet and fellowship with new people. At times, I failed to obey the voice of God, preventing Him from revealing Himself to me in new ways. Immobilized by the fear of failure or fear of what others might think, I didn’t take the chance of engaging in new activities. Being so self-absorbed and consumed with the “what-ifs”, I neglected to share a word of encouragement that could have rendered aide to a fellow brother or sister.

I heard a lady once say that Passing Over Opportunities Repeatedly leaves you POOR. And I must agree. Hearing the word poor, we might immediately think of it economic terms but it simply means less than what is normal, necessary, or desirable; or low quality. Not seizing opportunities for new relationships can leave you with a low quality of companionship and less than normal chances for growth. For iron sharpens iron. As we walk in obedience, our faith increases. Lately, I’ve began to step out in small areas of obedience and I’ve seen my confidence in not only God’s willingness to use me but His great desire to use me in service to Him. He wants to use me, despite my insecurities and my personal temperament.

You may find that like me, you have overlooked a few opportunities. Don’t despair. Every day that you awaken you are given the chance to begin again. The same ones do not always come around again but rest assured that if you’re living, God is opening doors of opportunity to you each and every day. It’s up to us what we do with them.

I found a few keys in maximizing opportunities:

1) Conquering fear –some things you have to do afraid.
2) Being alert/aware- live consciously knowing that opportunities are available daily
3) Obeying God’s voice/word
4) Preparation – it’s too late to get prepared when opportunities present themselves.

A few scriptures to meditate on regarding opportunities:

Galatians 6:10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (NIV)

Ephesians 5:11-16 Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! (The Message)

Colossians 4:4-6 Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day to them. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. (The Message)

Mark 13:9 When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. (NLT)

Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished tempting Jesus, he left him until the next opportunity came.

James 1:2
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (NLT)

Lord, forgive me for all the times I failed to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me. Open my eyes that I might see the opportunities all around me. And give me the courage and boldness needed to not only see but seize every God given opportunity. Amen

Now go in peace and may you enjoy a blessed weekend. Be sure to check out other "o" related topics in the A-Z challenge.

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Apr 16, 2010

Never Say Never

NEVER...not ever; at no time, not in any degree, not under any condition. Have you ever found yourself using the word never? Nope not ever going to do that again. Under no condition will I do this or that. When I was in college there was certainly some courses, I didn't think I'd ever use. One such course I did everything possible to avoid, but as luck would have it, I was force to take a certain social gerontology course due to scheduling conflicts. Well I had NO intentions of ever using the material from the course BUT for the past 8 or 10 years I've been working in the field of aging. NEVER saw that coming.

So much in my life hasn't quite turned out the way I expected. But I find comfort in knowing that although I don't always know the way that I'm to take, I serve a God who had a plan for me (and you) before I was even formed in my mother's womb. And His plan is good and not evil. I'm learning to trust Him more and more to lead me and not seek my own way.

And to use another n-word~NEW. I would like to say thanks to all the new followers. It's been such a pleasure getting to read all the new blogs, I've discovered through the A-Z challenge.

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Apr 15, 2010

My Mind is Pondering

"M" is the letter of the day for the A-Z Challenge. I considered mentioning mothers and even money matters. But the subject of marriage has my mind mesmerized at the moment. Not because I'm some expert in the matter but as a young, single, professional Christian woman, I'm concerned about getting it right. The fact that so many marriages, even among Christians, today end in divorce is rather alarming to me. Understandably being Christian doesn't exempt one from the pressures and challenges that any marriage faces, I've just always believe that somehow two Christians entering marriage could certainly beat the odds. So my questions is to those of you who are happily hanging in marriage, what's the secret (for the lack of a better word) to making marriage work? Or what tools are essential to having a happy marriage?

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Apr 14, 2010

Lifting the Labels

Clothing, cars, bottles, bags, boxes, purses, shoes, and cans are just of the few places that you can find a label. There are designer labels and others are just generic names. Companies spend big bucks trying to market their labels so their brand stands out. When we see a particular label or logo, we instantly recognize the company that produces the product. Amazingly before children are even able to read, they know those golden arches means McDonalds is nearby. We don't have to see the words Nike but that little swoosh sign easily makes the shoes recognizable.

Labels serve to describe something or identify an item, its contents or manufacturer. And we associate certain characteristics with a specific label thus defining its value or potential. However, labels also limit our expectancy. If a can is labeled as corn, we don't expect to open it and find green beans. In life sometimes we acquire labels that attempt to define us and affect our perception of ourselves and others. Teachers might have labeled you has dumb. Maybe, your family called you the black sheep. Of course, not all labels are negative. Whether the label is smart, you’re just like your father, or you're no good, those who have been labeled find themselves living out those labels at times. I remember reading about an experiment with a group of students. Divided into two groups, one group of students labeled as smart and the other as average. Surprisingly, each group’s academic performance was at the level they had been identified.

It reminds of the story of Jacob in the Bible. His own mother gave him a name that means trickster, deceiver or supplanter (to take the place of another through force, scheming/strategy) and he certainly fulfilled that role. Not only did he steal his brothers birthright but also his blessing. But the good news is that although labels sure have a way of sticking to us, they don't have to be attached for a lifetime. Just like Jacob was given a new name (Israel) so do we when we accept Christ as Savior. No longer am I stuck living out labels or stuck in sin. For He gives me a new label of overcomer, chosen, righteous... just to name a few.

My mom being the recycler that she is often reuses jars and although she would remove the label, they hardly ever all came off at one time. Even after repeated washings, parts of the label would still be attached. As believers we are the same way, having lived much of our lives with certain labels, we don’t always find it easy to lift the labels of our past and walk in the freedom of our new labels. But as we continue to bathe our minds in His Words and declare what He says about us, those old labels will lose their stickiness.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. (CEV)

 2 Corinthians 5: 16-17 Because of this decision we don't evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don't look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons!  (The Message)

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Apr 13, 2010

K is for King

When I think of the letter k, king is the first word that comes to mind. Attired in royal robes and commanding His subjects is the picture I see of a King. A king governs with power and authority. He's one who is served and doesn't entertain the common folk. Instead he dines with other rulers and leading authorities.

Yet I'm reminded how so many people in Bible times missed the King of kings because He didn't come packaged in the stately garments in which they expected. Rather than glitz and glamour, my King arrived on earth's scene in a plain and humble manner. He didn't grow up with a silver spoon in His mouth but as the son of an ordinary carpenter. The kingdom He came to establish was not about lording over others or seeking positions of grandeur. Instead he taught that servanthood is the way to true greatness.

Grateful that He chose to utilize the ordinary, mundane, often-overlooked people in society to advance His Kingdom. Otherwise, there would be no hope for a girl like me. His kingdom is not based on race, age, or economic status but open to all who will believe and confess. Matthew 21:32 John came to show you the right way to live. You did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes believed him. Even after seeing this, you still refused to change your ways and believe him. Have you accepted the invitation to be a part of the Kingdom? If not, there's still time left.

Be sure to visit other A-Z challengers here.


Apr 12, 2010

Capturing the Journey

A place to reflect on days gone by...

A safe place to dream and envision life as I wish it could be...

A place to juggle my thoughts and release the rage or disappointment within...

A journal has been my place to release all the rumblings in my head for quite some time.

When I was much younger, I wrote in it daily but find that now days, weeks, and sometimes even months go by without writing in my journal. It's interesting to read back through my journal to see how I've progressed in my journey through life. So many of the things I was once consumed with now have little significance in my life. Other things that I thought I never could get through I found that God has moved me pass. It’s the place I write the whisperings from God and in times of drought, reviewing them makes my heart glad to recall the promises He’s spoken. How do you document your life’s journey?

This post is a part of the A-Z challenge. Find other J-topics here.

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Apr 10, 2010

Imposter on the Loose

According to statistics identity theft is on the rise. One report states that one in four households in the US is affected by it. While certain age groups have higher incidences of id theft, it happens to people from all walks of life. Encarta dictionary defines identity as the name or essential character that identifies somebody or something; the set of characteristics that somebody recognizes as belonging uniquely to himself or herself and constituting his or her individual personality for life.

What things or characteristics do you identify with yourself? There is a song I listen to from time to time by Lacrae called Identity. The words of the chorus are:

I'm not the shoes I wear, I'm not the clothes I buy
I'm am not the house I live in, I'm not the car I drive
I'm not the job I work, You can't define my worth
By nothing on God's green earth, my identity is found in Christ.
I believe one of the greatest thefts in the body of Christ is stolen identities. The enemy fights hard to keep us locked away from the truth of who God has called us to be. As long as we don't know who we are and the power and authority that he has placed within these earthen vessels, the enemy is able to steal, kill, and destroy our love ones, our hopes, passions, and faith. Keeping us chained to our old man thus rendering us ineffective in the kingdom of God. Our true identity can only be found by fellowshipping with the Creator.

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I is for

I is for the many ideas for topics that are swimming around in my head. However, I've yet to pull them together into a cohesive post. Perhaps my brain will be better organized later today. In the meantime, I would like to invite you to visit a fellow blogger who has written an intriguing post entitled Master of Integrity. You will certainly be blessed. Now head on over there and enjoy a great Saturday.

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Apr 9, 2010

Power in Your Hands

Photo Credit: Nojahn via Flickr

With my hands I shuffle endless heaps of paper at work, add my signature to notes, wash dishes, fold piles of laundry, and click through my favorite channels with the remote. I use these hands to pat Bella and fill her doggy dishes. Through these same hands money passes to pay bills. And often within their grip is the latest book or Bible verse I'm reading. Each of these ordinary and seemingly insignificant tasks keeps my hands busy. But could this be all that God had in mind for these hands of mine?

You've probably read the poem entitled, Whose Hands It's In, if not I've included at the bottom of the post. Through the hands of a murderer like Moses, God placed deliverance for a whole nation. In the hands of a persecutor like Paul, God placed healing for many. The hands of a little shepherd boy like David laid the assassination of a giant named Goliath. God placed a baby born to be the Savior of the world in the hands of a virgin girl named Mary. In the hands of fishermen, Christ placed the authority and power to spread the Gospel. The hand of one blogger with a single idea was able to unite bloggers across hemispheres to join an A-Z Challenge. In the hands of a scared farmer named Gideon, God placed the ability to be a rescuer. These were all ordinary people, whom God choose to use, going about their daily lives. But how did the insignificant become a candidate for such inspiring and honorable feats? They simply chose to place their hands in God's hand.

Now go ahead and take a look at those hands of yours and know that God wants to use those hands as well. Father we not only place our hands in your hands but our whole lives as well.

 Whose Hands it's In.
A basketball in my hands is worth about $19.
A basketball in Michael Jordan’s hands
Is worth about $33 million.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

A baseball in my hands is worth about $6.
A baseball in Mark Mcquire’s hands
Is worth $19 million.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

A tennis racket is useless in my hands.
A tennis racket in Pete Sampras’ hands
Is a Wimbledon Championship.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

A rod in my hands will keep away a wild animal.
A rod in Moses’ hands
Will part the mighty sea.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

A sling shot in my hands is a kid’s toy.
A sling shot in David’s hand
Is a mighty weapon.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in my hands
Is a couple of fish sandwiches.
Two fish and 5 loaves of bread in God’s hands
Will feed thousands.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

Nails in my hands might produce a birdhouse.
Nails in Jesus Christ’s hands
Will produce salvation for the entire world.
It depends Whose hands it’s in.

So put your concerns, your worries, your fears,
Your hopes, your dreams, your families
And all your relationships into God’s hands.
Because as you can see
It matters Whose hands their in.
Author Unknown

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Apr 8, 2010

Are You Growing?

Oh my gosh, I must admit lately I've been feeling like a girl back in grade school working hard to get my A-Z challenge assignments completed. I could never be glad with an incomplete. Gees let's get to my post.

Babies, flowers, and definitely my grass seem to grow so fast. I've been reflecting on those things needed to ensure healthy growth in our lives. Using each letter of the word grow, I discovered some helpful things to help our spirtitual lives bloom.

G-for Ground. The ground or the type of soil we're planting in hampers or helps the seeds sown. Jesus, Himself illustrated through the parable of the sower the impact the ground of our hearts have on the Word in our lives.

R-for Rain. Just as plants require water, we need the rain of his presence to fall upon us. Life has a way of leaving us burdened, burned, and bare. Searching for water sources to quench our thirst leads us to broken relationships, food addictions, alcohol and drug abuse, promiscuity. All promising to quench our dry places but only leaving us more drained and parched than before.

O-for Opportunities and Obstacles. Yes, I did say obstacles. Obstacles and opportunities for growth present themselves in very obscure ways. Trials and tribulations produce (if there is production, there is growth) something within us according to Romans 5:3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us. They help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.  So the next time you find yourself facing and obstacle, remind yourself that you have been granted an opportunity to grow.

W-for Weapons. Oh indeed you need some weapons if you're going to grow. Any good farmer or gardener has specific tools that help him cultivate the ground and gather the harvest. And the devil is just like pests are to plants, he comes to infect and ultimately destroy your growth. Therefore, appropriate pesticides(weapons) are needed. Being as gracious as He is, God has prepared  armor for you to wear so that you might stand against the wiles of the devil. 2 Corinthians 10:4 tells us The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (NIV)

I pray that the ground of your heart is soft and receptive to God. And when you find that you are harden that you'll allow the rain of His presence to make you supple again. When obstacles and opportunities come along, may you not shrink back in fear but fearlessly forge ahead knowing that God is right at your side and that His equipped you with the weapons to overcome.

See what other g-related topics A-Z Challengers are discussing here.

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Apr 7, 2010

F is for F.A.M.I.L.Y.

Short or tall. Young or old. Big or small. We all were born into some type of family of sort. The composition of families in society has changed. Dynamics in families vary but having a family provides us with a few fundamental ingredients.

Families provide us with a foundation for trust and developing relationships with others. There we learn the fundamental skills needed to forge into the future. Who we become is built upon the experiences we had as children.

Faith: Church and faith has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. It was through fierce determination of my mother that my siblings and I grew up with the knowledge of the Heavenly Father. All those times spent in Sunday School, YPWW, and even choir practice (which I soooo dreaded) was sowing seeds of faith that would reap an eternal harvest within me.

Fun and Fond Memories: Just during ordinary days I've share so many laughs and good times with my family. And holidays bring back fond memories of Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth July, and Easter past. My extended family has a habit of gathering on any and every occasion.

Fan Club: It has been my family that has cheered me on from award ceremonies, graduations, and birthdays. There has not been one occasion that someone was not there encouraging me.

Families are often filled with faults as well. As I was reading a post over at Coffee Rings Everywhere about the author's father, I couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness that I don't recall any such tender moments with my dad. Dysfunction in families is nothing new simply read your Bible and you'll find some major feuds and favoritism in families. We are unable to choose our natural families, but we all have to opportunity to become a part of a much greater family-God's family.

P. S. Trying to come up with posts for the A-Z challenge has been fun and frightening. Find other F-related posts here.

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Apr 6, 2010

The Eyes Have It

When you look into the mirror, what color are the eyes peeking back at you…hazel, blue, brown, green, gray, black or perhaps a little red from all the blog reading? Throughout my life, I've been said to have dreamy or sleeping eyes. Eyes come in all shapes and sizes but there essential purpose remains the same-to see.

However, several people looking at the exact same scene often see very different things. Such is the case of many of the people in Bible times (just as we are today). The deeply religious Pharisees and Saducees were exposed to the same teachings and miracles of Jesus. Yet they were unable to see that He was indeed the Messiah in which they searched the Scriptures. Even the disciples were privy to close encounters with Jesus seeing first hand his many wonderous works but on several occasions He rebuked them for not being able to perceive who He was really. Looking and seeing does not automatically translate into perceiving what is seen. Matthew 13: 13-14 This why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.

I've worn glasses or contacts for several years due to a condition called myopia or nearsightedness as it's commonly known. Myopia is a condition in which one can see things close up but things at a distance appear blurred. Another definition of myopia is a lack of discernment or long range perspective in thinking or planning. Reminds me of how sometimes in life , we're so busy looking at the everyday things that we fail to see the glorious works of God being displayed before our eyes. It was myopia, that prevented the woman at the well from seeing Jesus as the source of everlasting water. Enveloped with daily struggles, myopia prevents me from perceiving they are producing endurance, character, and hope within me.

And what about those who are always looking into the future, planning for a later date and time. Waiting before enjoying, encouraging, or enlightening themselves and others. Certainly preparation for the future is important but not so much that it eludes us of partaking in today's blessings and joys.

So how does one correct their eyesight so that they're not just looking but perceiving. The Message's translation of Matthew 6:22-23 offers a few suggestions like opening your eyes in wonder and belief. Distrust and greed causes distorted vision. Essentially being open and receptive leads to more understanding.

Photo Credit: Chispita_666 via Flickr

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Apr 5, 2010

D is the Day

D-day has dawned and I found myself in a dilemma. Didn't quite know what to decide. Do I discuss delicious desserts, determined dedication, dreadful driving habits, or daring Daniel. I dare not go on. So after much deliberation, I have chosen to designate the day as doggy day. Yep, I've chosen to detour from deeper topics and instead deal with my dear dog Bella.

Sweet little girl was deserted at the pound. And since the day I discovered her, she has brought such delight.

First day at her new home

 She detects the faintest sound and dashes to the door in record time.
Occasionally dines on paper and other strange dishes.
 And she definitely has a deafening high pitched shrill.

Someone did away with my coat

Loves to dangle her head outside the car door and is ever satisfied to cling to my side.
From time to time, she even lets me dress her and does not dare complain. 

Do I have to wear the sweater?

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Apr 3, 2010

Time for Revisiting the Tomb

This is actually a repost from March but felt it fitting as we approach Easter.

 I finished reading the book of Mark today. In Mark Chapter 16. We see Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James going back to the tomb to put some spices on Jesus' body. In verse 3, it says that "on the way there they were discussing who would roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. Yet we know when they arrived at the tomb, they found the stone had ALREADY been ROLLED away. Like you, I've heard or seen this passage of scripture many times and it's often quoted/illustrated around Easter time. However, today the Holy Ghost allowed me to see the text with fresh eyes and new application. I'm saved, so I've already believed and confessed that Jesus died and rose again.

Yet, is there not some other things that are DEAD in our lives? Are not there some things that have been BURIED and TUCKED AWAY in the recesses of our HEART and MIND? Some for many years. Some things have been so deeply buried that we don't even think about them often. Our emotions, heart, mind have become deaden and we've longed since forgotten about there existence, if it were possible. When we see these women in the beginning of chapter 16, they're preparing to go say their FINAL goodbyes to Jesus. They were going to put some sweet smelling stuff on a DEAD body -a DEAD Jesus. Jesus represents HOPE, LIFE, LIGHT, HELP, SUPPORT as these are all the things He promised He was. Yet, now they find all that DEAD but they were preparing to send it off smelling good. Not unlike what we do at times when something we've hoped for, supported, or that brought light into our life fades away. We'll dress it up we sweet smelling phrases like , "must not have been for me anyway", "I'm just fine". However, they weren't in denial that Jesus was dead. And we don't need to be either. Reality is that some things DIED in us, around us, and even through us.

Just as the women went back to the tomb, we need the courage to revisit some tombs in our lives. Their expectation when revisiting the tomb was to put some things to rest. Probably expected to leave in MOURNING and ANGUISH. Unexpectedly, the stone had already been move d away, while they were attempting to ponder how they were going to get the thing done. Some of us are pondering within our selves, "how am I going to get past this" but if we'll muster up the courage to not only revisit the tomb but ENTER in the places that's been BURIED/TUCKED AWAY. We will find that the experience WILL NOT be the same. RESURRECTION POWER had visited the tomb! Just like Mary and the other ladies, instead of leaving the tomb in SORROW, we'll leave in AMAZEMENT and JOY. The Holy Spirit is unctioning us to REVISIT the TOMBS of dead DREAMS, RELATIONSHIP, HOPE, JOY, LOVE, PASSION, PROMISES or whatever may be dead in your life, and TRY AGAIN. The RESURRECTOR has already gone before you to MOVE the STONE away and He promises that it absolutely will not be the same. EXPECT some thing different because DIVINE RESURRECTION has already ARRIVED but you must go to the place you left it.

Father, I pray that you'll give us the courage to go back to those places in our lives that we've locked away and given up hope of any change. Out of obedience to your word and by the power of the Holy Ghost, we move believing that the place may be the same but what we encounter will not be. Thank you for moving us past places and things in our lives that was too hard for us. Thank you for moving us past old hurts, old mind sets, old baggage, old hang ups. We thank you for resurrecting life, love, hope, joy, passion in us. In Jesus Name-Amen

Happy Resurrection Day!

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Contractually Connected to a Covenant Keeping Christ

Ok, perhaps I went a little bit crazy with the c-words in my title. But oh contraire, it does complement my post. Yes, I admit I confiscated the idea for this post while listening at Wednesday night Bible study. Inspiration can certainly come from all sorts of places.

Employment agreements, marriages, mortgages, and car loans are a few of the many contracts we enter into and dissolve in today’s time. The terms or conditions of each one differ slightly but its function of connecting two or more parties are the same. Each party agrees to offer or bring something to the deal. Thus each reaping some benefit of sort. Before accepting job offers, we are told the salary, insurance policies, vacation days, sick leave or other perks available. As the speaker pointed out in Bible study, we fully expect our employer (flesh) to fulfill what was outlined in the contract. We place great confidence in mere humans (flesh which is often fickle like you and me) that they will uphold their part of the deal.

If we can place such assurance in human contracts, as believers, how much more confidence should we have in our covenant? A covenant sealed in the blood of Christ Jesus. A covenant made over 2000 years ago by a God, who cannot lie. God, who remains the same today, yesterday, and forever more and who does not change His mind. He is the one who remains faithful even when we are faithless.

In reading about covenant in the Nelson’s Illustrated Dictionary of the Bible, I found this particular passage interesting. “A covenant, in the biblical sense, implies much more than a contract or simple agreement. A contract always has an end date, while a covenant is a permanent arrangement. Another difference is that a contract generally involves only one part of person, such as a skill, while a covenant covers a person’s total being. “Isn’t that just like our God, He goes beyond and makes provision for our whole being-mind, body, soul, and spirit. When signing natural contracts, there is often some print we only glance over and soon forget. Maybe it’s time to pull your covenant out and read through the pages again. You are sure to find some provision in His Word that you have yet to partake.

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Apr 2, 2010

Buried in Him


Today marks the day we remember them crucifying Jesus

and carrying Him away to be buried in the tomb.

When I think of the word “bury”, heaps of dirt marking a fresh grave comes to mind.

To bury marks an ending of what was and memorializes what now ceases to be.

When they crucified my Lord, they had no idea what significance that would be

to someone like you and me.

How could they have known that precious seed

would serve to set so many free

I heard a man of God say the most dangerous thing you can do to a seed is to bury it.

For there its greatest potential is released.

Beneath the ground beyond what they could see,

God was preparing a way for you and me.

Because they buried Him and He rose again,

my sins and bondages no longer have the power to imprison me.

When they buried Him, they made resurrection available to me

When they closed the tomb that day, they couldn’t fathom

the way of escape made possible on that eventful day.

Because he was bruised and battered, there’s healing here now for me

Because He was buried, I can now live freely

©W.Ward 2010

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Bare But Not Barren

B is the letter for today. While out listening to the birds chirp as I waited for my Bella to take her potty break, the phrase bare but not barren blew into my mind one winter morning. As I looked intently on the beautiful bird perched in the tree, the unadorned branches of the tree caught my attention. It was still winter so the tree’s nakedness was not unusual; it actually had a natural beauty to it. The tree was bare but not necessarily barren. To the outward eye bare and barren can look the same. However, bare is to be empty but barren is to lack the ability to produce. Just like the tree was bare (empty of leaves), there are places in my life that are currently bare. The tree’s bareness was simply due to the season the tree was in. It didn’t signify the tree’s eternal state. Beneath the surface, the tree was connected to some life-nurturing sustenance yet it had no outer appearance of growth. As you know seasons change and now that same tree is now budding.

When I actually took the time to look up the definition of the two words it was in alignment with what the spirit revealed. BARE= lacking a natural, usual or appropriate covering; open to view; unfurnished or scantily supplied; devoid of amplification or adornment. BARREN= not reproducing; incapable of producing offspring; habitually failing to fruit ; not productive; lacking interest or charm. Depending on the length of time or the severity of your bareness, some people would have you inclined to believe that particular place in your life is actually barren - it lacks the ability to produce fruitful relationships, ideas, or ministry. Therefore be careful who you connect with during your “bare” seasons; otherwise you might find yourself disconnected from the Source (the innate power within you to reproduce). Bare is momentary while barren can be for a lifetime. Thank you Lord that every bare place in my life will produce fruit in its proper season.

Photo by: plentyofants


Apr 1, 2010

Ready, Set, Go

Well today kicks off the A-Z challenge. Today’s theme is the letter “A”. Lots of “a” words come to mind but the one sticking out to me at the moment is available. If you call my phone on a regular basis, from time to time my answering machine is bound to pick up with a recording, which says “sorry I’m not available to take your call right now but please leave a message.” When calling others, one of the messages I dislike the most is “the mailbox is full please try your call later”.

With the use of cell phones, instant messenger, and emails, one’s ability to be reach has certainly been expanded. Before the widespread use of such technology, the car was a quiet place to unwind from the days happenings. Vacations were sacred getaways but now even there we are available to be reached. DVR and TIVO make television programming available to be watched later at a more convenient time.

Merriam Webster’s online dictionary defines available as present and ready for immediate use. I cannot help but wonder how many times God has attempted to reach me only to receive the message that I’m not present and ready to be used. I know that God can reach us anywhere. But just like there are times when my phone rings and I’m actually home but I don’t hear it because I’m busy being distracted by other things, I would imagine there has been times when He tried to reach me. However, my spiritual ringer was turned too low or perhaps I did not feel like talking and decided to let the answering machine pick up instead. Some calls, television shows, blog posts, and emails we can afford to miss but being unavailable to God can leave us void of valuable information for our lives. Wonder how many divine appointments I missed with the Father because I was not available.

Father forgive me for the times I've let the cares of this world make me unavailable to you. Help me to not only be present but ready to be used in service to you. Attune my ears that I might hear you.  Thank you for loving me enough to keep calling me back to you when you find that I have drifted away. ~Amen~

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