Driven to Distraction

You know, I don’t pay attention to many car commercials, mostly because I can’t afford a new car. But I was watching television over the weekend and one caught my eye like none has in quite a while.

Perhaps you’ve seen it: they ask eight or so people to sit in a room and watch a video on a screen.  You hear a verbal command something to the effect, “Please do not remove your eyes from the screen.  Watch the screen at all times.”

Then the producers send in cute puppies, Vegas-style show girls, loud singers, and a host of other distractions.  And of course, not one participant keeps his/her eyes on the screen.

It’s a car commercial with a target audience for those that feel the need to text while driving.  The car they’re advertising has a text screen located high on the dashboard so that you can text and keep your eyes on the road. Sorry. This makes me nervous. PLEASE DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE — EVEN IF YOU OWN THIS CAR.

The fact that I can’t remember many of the details of this commercial says something. I have to say I wasn’t enthralled by the commercial enough to even remember the make or model of the car. From the moment the commercial started, I heard the still, small voice of God whispering in my ear, “That’s you, Sandy.  You’ve been distracted from Me.”  After that, all I could think of was the spiritual implications of how I’ve been distracted from God.

We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith. and He is the One who makes our faith complete.He suffered death on the cross. But He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy He could see waiting for Him and now He is sitting at the right hand of God’s Throne.  Hebrews 2:12 ERV

I am a writer, so distractions can be the death of an afternoon of hard work or even an idea. But you don’t have to be a writer for distractions to wreak havoc on your life.

Imagine cleaning your house and happening upon some really interesting television show (Discovery ID can do this for me). You sit to watch a few minutes and the next thing you know it’s time to make supper and do homework with the kids — and that inch of dust is still layered on top of the mantel.

Just about the time you sit down for your quiet time in the Bible and a moment to commune with God, a friend with whom you’ve not spoken in ages calls…and it just seems rude to hang up. Before you know it, it’s been two hours and you now have to rush to get to your doctor’s appointment.

Or, let’s imagine that you are at the grocery store with your list — your concise, nothing-else-needed list; the list that you diligently went through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and the freezer to make; the list you intend to stick to because you’ve promised God to live on a tighter budget and contribute a little extra to the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign at church.   As you turn the first aisle, you notice Nutter Butters are on sale (Or Oreos!) and you counsel with yourself saying, “Just one little bag won’t throw my budget off too much.”  And by the end of the grocery shopping, you’ve “one-little-bagged it” on every aisle and your budget is blown.

“We must never stop looking to Jesus,” is the first line in Hebrews 12:2.

And I fail to do it every day. If you think I’m writing to tell you how well I avoid distractions, my dear Child of God, you are reading the wrong devotion in the wrong blog. It takes great practice to ignore the pleadings of the world and while I’d like to say I spend a good portion of every day practicing avoiding distractions, I don’t spend nearly enough. I get caught up in the drama of the world and let the rush of “being in with the in-crowd” wash all over me.

The point I want to share with you is that God uses worldly things to remind me just how distracted I’ve let myself become. In my gluttony, He shows me a young couple who is barely making it on their own. In my gossip-carrying mouth, He allows me to see or hear a bit of unkindness about myself so that I can lay my hate-carrying tongue on His altar for cleansing. In my impatience, He allows me to experience waiting in a way that will only point me to Him. If I’m carrying a grudge or hate in my heart toward someone, He somehow shows me that I have the same quality I dislike about that person.  I must humble myself and forgive that person or there will be no forthcoming forgiveness from God to me.

In my distracted mind, God shows me a car commercial in which the message isn’t that I can text and watch the road at the same time, but that I can’t remain close to God and let a distraction take my attention away. I must remain focused on my Lord as if the distractions of this world are nothing or I will miss the joy that is waiting for me.

Do you have a something you’d like to share in the comments?  Do you need prayer?  If so, you can leave a detailed request or simply write “unspoken.”

Don’t miss the joy of the Lord, my friends! And whatever our distractions are, rest assured that God is never distracted from us.

If you don’t know about the wonderful missions project (Imagine No Malaria) by the United Methodist Church, please click on the link above, and if you feel so inclined, a donation would be greatly appreciated.

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Can I Pray for You?

Pain. It’s my constant companion. Sometimes, it’s containable. Sometimes it runs roughshod and I get beaten up in the process. I am thankful for doctors who have guided me along the way with therapy and medications that allow me to function as normally as I possibly can. God sends blessings to me from every direction.

In this pain, I found that I must go on with what lies in front of me because I cannot curl up in a ball and wait for it to go away. I used to look at this chronic pain as a curse. I was angry with God for many years. Then He opened my eyes and showed me all the things that I’ve been blessed with because of this condition. It took me a while, but I began to see how God has moved in my life because of this pain — how it’s made me a more compassionate person who feels the pain of others deeply. Being able to show my empathy is a great blessing. I’ve been called to reach out to others, as we all have, but God has taken this pain of mine and made it a source of LOVE instead of LOATHING.

Image Source:  www.fbresearch.org

There are other kinds of pain that have come along with my physical pain. I have also recognized that this is a blessing because it has made me more aware of the hearts of those who are hurting in ways that cannot be seen. I have learned to be kind to everyone I meet because there are those who are bearing their own burdens. If a word or smile or touch from me can make a difference, then I ask God to put me in the path of those who need it most.

Image Source:  www.juxtapost.com

Throughout the past twenty-two years in this journey tinged with pain, Jesus has been my anchor EVERY SINGLE DAY — even on those days when I couldn’t speak the words out loud. Jesus knew my heart and He could hear the prayers of my heart.

My dear friends, He knows your heart as well. He sees your hurt and fears. He longs to comfort you. Your name is on His lips.

Image Source:  www.endtimeprophecy1012-2013.blogspot,com

Each Friday, some wonderful prayer warrior friends and I hold a prayer service.  (FRIDAY AT THE ALTAR (11am EST/8am PST).)  Can we pray for you?

If you just want to be added to the prayer list just leave your name here or go to “Loved by the King” (my companion Facebook page) and click LIKE. If you have a specific prayer request, leave a comment with a the request. If it’s an intensely personal request, you can email me or message me on Facebook. Most of all, I ask that you join with me in corporate prayer for everyone who’s asked for prayer.  The list is long and I never remove a name unless an answer has been sent or unless I’m asked to remove it.  And you don'[t have to know who is on the prayer list because God does and He knows their needs. 

Will you join us?

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I Will Rise” (Chris Tomlin)

Faith It Forward: Tricia Edwards Smith

O death, where is your victory?  Where is your power to hurt? (1 Corinthians 15:55 ERV)

Thursday, October 17, 2013, the angels came to collect my friend, Tricia, and escort her home to Jesus.  Her long and arduous fight with cancer was done.  After years of praying for it, she was finally healed.

Todd & Tricia

Image Source:  www.facebook.com/tricia.smith

But her fight has not been in vain.  In her fight to live, I saw an extreme display of faith that has forever changed me. I watched as her family, her church, and her community rallied around her to offer her strength through prayer and an outpouring of love through deeds of kindness.  The irony of it all is that while we were offering Tricia our strength, she was giving us hers.

Her husband Todd, and sons Carter, Aaron, and Nathan brought her such joy and she was the light of their world.  Her parents, Nancy and Landon Edwards, raised Tricia in a Christian home, full of love and laughter.  Todd and Tricia established the same kind of home for their family.  She had a close, loving relationship with her brother and sisters, Mike Edwards, Pamela Edwards Pritchard, and Teresa Edwards Pritchard.  Her nieces and nephews adored her.

Her friends were another source of joy to Tricia.  A Facebook page, “Friends of Tricia,” was established so we could share with her our thoughts and prayers.  Hundreds of messages were added each day.  She was never far from my thoughts and when I had even the smallest bit of time, I would read each and every message (many of them prayers) and lift them up to God as well.

Never one to think of her own needs first, she was constantly looking out for the needs of others and it led her into healthcare.  As a critical care nurse, she loved caring for others and she was good at her job.  She worked well into her battle with cancer, refusing to let it keep her from the profession she was so obviously made for.  It was not only her medical knowledge that she imparted to her patients — she shared the love of God and joy of serving the Great Physician. Even if you didn’t personally know Tricia, you could take one look at her and know that she was warm, giving, and selfless. She had a million-watt smile that could light up a room and she always had a kind word and a hug to share with everyone she met.

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Image Source: http://www.klove.com/encouraging

Tricia’s greatest source of strength and joy was her relationship with Jesus Christ.  That’s why, even in the last days when Hospice was called in, she wasn’t afraid.  As others tried to comfort her, she sought to comfort them — to let them know that no matter the physical outcome, she was spiritually ready.  She took satisfaction in the knowledge that this world was a temporary residence for her.  She trusted completely that she was just biding time on earth, simply in transit to her true home — Heaven.

I love what her niece, Erica, shared:  “I’m praising God for the life of my Aunt Tricia. So jealous of the angels today. Thank you for your many prayers. Our family appreciates each one. Please pray for continued strength as we go through this arm in arm and only through the grace of The Lord Jesus.

I heard a loud voice from the throne. It said, “Now God’s home is with people. He will live with them. They will be his people. God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. All the old ways are gone.”  (Revelation 21:3-4 ERV)

We will grieve mightily because we will miss her happy, humble presence — a woman with a gentle spirit and a heart as big as all outdoors!  Her family will especially miss her.  On special days to come — holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, and the days her grandchildren are born — there will be a yearning for her physical presence. There will be an ache that cannot be soothed because those will be days when there would have been memories to be made with her — that she would have loved to make.  But she leaves such a rich legacy behind that it will almost seem that she is here — and she will here, living in the hearts and accomplishments of those who loved her.

Today, Tricia is rejoicing because she is in Heaven, completely healed, and in the presence of our Lord.  Tricia can finally say, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have served the Lord faithfully.” (2 Timothy 4:7 ERV)

I have seen glimpses of faith in my life, but life-altering portraits of faith have been few and far between.  Faith has a new face for me now.  Faith looks like Tricia Edwards Smith.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Tricia Smith Charitable Fund, send your donation to:

Fayetteville Community Church

2010 Middle Road Loop

Fayetteville, North Carolina  28312

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Celebrate Me Home” (The Perrys)

To follow me on my Facebook page, “Loved by the King,” click here.

Music Monday: He is With Us

In life, there seems to always be a flow of people and things coming into our lives and going out of our lives.  In the past six months, I have experienced a loss in the closeness of two friendships.  It’s painful, especially when I don’t fully understand why the friendships changed.  The absolute worst part is that neither of the friends is completely out of my life.  They are on the fringes and sometimes we all act as if nothing has really changed.

But it doesn’t mean that the change hasn’t taken place.  I’ve cried over this so many times.  I’ve prayed for God to restore the friendships.  I do not know what the future has in store for us, but I read this in an online devotional:

Image Source:  www.kootation.com

Right now, I just have to let go.  There is nothing more that I can do.  For right now, it seems the Lord has put a “period” at the end of these friendships.  So, I’ve removed the question mark and I am living in His peace about the situation.

How fortunate that in the same span of time, God has brought me closer to two other friends:  an old friend of mine and a brand-new friend.  These friendships have just blossomed and I am thankful for God’s love and care.  These two women have brought a new depth of love and devotion in my life.  We work closely together for the Lord and we find joy in serving others.

Image Source:  www.idlehearts.com

The one constant in my life is my Lord.  I love the book of Joshua.  In the very first chapter, God is assuring Joshua of His love, support, and constant presence.

No one will be able to defeat you all your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forget you. ( Joshua 1:5 NCV — emphasis mine)

So on this Monday, I share a song that is relatively new and has quickly become one of my favorites.  I find myself singing its chorus throughout the day.  Let it remind you, that no matter what is happening in your life, God is there.  He is our salvation and strength.  But He is also our Friend.

Sandy

He is With Us (Love & the Outcome)

A Very Special Music Monday: Like My Mother Does

Image Source:  www.quotesandwishes.com

I love you, Mama.  We are so much alike it’s scary…but in a good way.  Linda Hall, you are my best friend and role model. You taught me to be a good daughter by watching how you loved and cared for your own mother, my Granny Mae.  You taught me that a mother-in-law can be a source of joy through the relationship I watched you have with my Granny Brook. I realize that because Betty died so soon after Kelly and I were engaged, I’ve missed having her as a source of strength, example, and faith.  Thank you for loving Kelly like he was your own son.  You’ve made such a difference in his life.

My children love you.  You did the job of two grandmothers because you knew that Betty couldn’t be here to share the task with you.  You have offered them your love and advice.  The fact that Claire still gets up on Saturday mornings to have her weekly shot of “Grammy” time is a testimony to the great love and respect she has for you.  The fact that Steven waited so patiently (okay — maybe not-so-patiently) for your rental house to become available so that he could raise his family in the place where he was raised is a testament to our family’s great love and support of each other.  And even thought Martin is still living at home, working on his education, it means a great deal to him to be able to walk over anytime and see you.  I know their adoption papers say that they are not blood-related to you, but your spirit flows through their veins and your influence has shaped the persons they’re becoming.

Four Generations:  My Mom and Joshlyn (center), Steven (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

I’ve watched you struggle with eyesight issues all of my life.  Of course, I didn’t know you were handicapped until I was in high school.  You could do everything, except drive, and I just thought Granny Mae drove us everywhere because she loved being with us.  You play the piano like a professional and have been the pianist at Judson Baptist Church for fifty-four years.  You worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Cumberland County Schools and touched hundreds of children’s lives with your love and Christian influence.

You’ve seen me through bad choices, rough situations, emotionally crippling times, and countless other faults and sins I’ve endured in my fifty-one years.  Although I didn’t always appreciate your advice when I was younger, the older I get, the more I realize that you were right more times than you were wrong.  Even when you were wrong, you admitted it, and that made an impact on me.  As a parent, I’ve made countless errors, but I always admit when I’m wrong because it lets my kids know that I am human and need forgiveness.  I’ve even begun to hear that phrase that is music to my ears:  “You were right, Mom!”

In wishing my Mama a happy birthday, I have to acknowledge two other very important women who added to my spiritual and emotional education:  Eula Mae Carter (my maternal grandmother) and Mary Alice Westbrook (my paternal grandmother). I lost them over a decade ago.  Granny Mae’s birthday would have been on September 5.  Granny Brook’s birthday would have been on September 7.  I believe that I have received wonderful traits from my “September Superwomen.”

She watches over her family
    and never wastes her time.
Her children speak well of her.
Her husband also praises her,
   saying, “There are many fine women,
    but you are better than all of them.”
Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you,
    but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned;
    she should be praised in public for what she has done.                                                                                            (Proverbs 31:27-31, NCV)

My Granny Mae was a woman after God’s own heart.  She lived right beside my family as I was growing up.  My greatest memory associated with her is that she always had her Bible on the kitchen table and open to whatever she was studying.  I had the great privilege of having her as my senior high Sunday school teacher.  She lost the love of her life in her fifties and never re-married.  She worked hard all her life.  She loved me unconditionally but she never minded telling me when she thought I was wrong.  She was a woman who kept her opinions about other people close to the vest — not much of a gossip.  (Sorry, Granny Mae.  I’m striving to be more like that daily.)

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Three Generations:  Granny Mae (center), Mama (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Reflections Photography/Diane Atkinson

She was the reason I was able to participate in any after school activities.  Because my mom was visually impaired (and I was not aware of the ramifications of this until I got my own driver’s license at sixteen), she and Granny Mae made sure I could stay for chorus, cheerleading practice, and any other activity where the school bus couldn’t take me home.  I cherish those times — the three of us coming home from school, sharing what kind of day I’d had with two of the three most important women in my life.

The thing I’ll never forget about her is that when Martin and Steven first came to live with us, she started making breakfast for them on Saturday mornings.  “I don’t know how long they’ll be with us,” she said.  “But we’re going to make memories while we can.”  When we found out that we could actually adopt them, the Saturday morning breakfasts continued and family from all over the neighborhood began to show up.  It was like a having mini-family reunion every week.  I miss that.

My Granny Brook was also a woman after God’s own heart.  She did not believe in mincing her words — you knew exactly where you stood with Alice Westbrook.  She lost her first husband when my father was two years old and married my Granddaddy Percy, who loved my daddy like he was his own child.  Living directly across the street from her while I was growing up meant that I could visit anytime I wanted.  She always had a garden and the best-stocked freezer!  Summer corn and butter beans in February was always a treat.  My husband says she made the best fried chicken, corn, and butter beans ever cooked on this planet.

IMGGranny Brook (left) and Daddy (right)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

The thing for which I’ll always be grateful is that she lent me the money to go college.  My tuition wasn’t much by today’s standards, but it was more than I could manage without a loan in 1980.  She loaned me the money, interest free.  She was proud that I would be the first college graduate in our family and that I wanted to be a teacher.  She loved my children and they loved her.  Martin and Steven got spend more time with her because they were ten and eleven when she died.  She and my grandfather used to take them to the Autryville Cafe for lunch.  Steven always called it “The Chicken House” because he always got a chicken leg and french fries for his meal.

Claire was only four when my grandmothers died.  Her memories are sketchy, so I always tell her stories.  My Granny Mae and Granny Brook considered her their “little princess” and no great-granddaughter was ever loved more.  I remind her that her middle name, Melinda, is a combination of her grandmothers’ names: “M” from Mary Alice, “E” from Eula Mae, and “Linda,” which is my mother’s name.  She carries a huge legacy in that name and she is proving to be a smart, strong, God-fearing young lady.

It’s my mother’s birthday.  I want to have her around for years to come.  The song I’ve chosen today is not necessarily sacred on face value, but the underlying meaning is sacred for me.  It’s generational in nature because I am what my mother is because she is what my Granny Mae was.

Happy birthday, Mama.  I don’t mind being told that I do things “like my mother does.”  It’s a great compliment.  I hope I make you proud.

shr.

Like My Mother Does” (Lauren Alaina)

Out of the Slump: More Carbs, More Faith

Image Source: http://www.someecards.com

It’s amazing what a little knowledge can do for you.  I am taking an online course in nutrition at Universal Class (Nutrition 101).  This is not so I can become a registered dietician or a certified personal trainer.  It’s just to educate me.  (Knowledge is POWER!)  I’ve found out some interesting things so far.  For example, the carb cycling eating plan I’ve been following to lose weight isn’t new at all — in fact, it’s how naturally thin people eat.  (Therefore, it’s new to ME because I am not naturally thin!)

And I’ve almost been getting it right — almost.  The carb cycling days are correct.  Adding in the high carb week every fourth week is right on target.  But the amount of carbohydrates I’ve been consuming is slightly off.  According to my textbook and online instructor, a person needs to consume 130 grams of carbohydrates on an average day to maintain their current weight.  (I nearly fainted — 130 grams of carbs?)  It seems to me that 130 grams is an awful lot of carbohydrates to consume in a day.  But compare that amount with this information:  on an average day, adult males consume 220-330 grams of carbohydrates and adult females consume 180-230 grams of carbohydrates.

The daily recommended requirement is that 45% of your daily caloric intake be carbohydrates.  I consume 1200 calories on my low carb days.  The maximum amount of carbohydrates I should consume just to maintain my weight is about 130 grams.  On my high carb days, I eat 1500 calories.  The maximum amount of carbohydrates that I need to maintain my weight on 1500 calorie days is 170 grams.

Let’s review the amount of carbohydrates I’ve been eating during my carb cycling journey:

25-30 grams on low carb days

50-75 grams on high carb days

During my last 30-pound loss, this amount worked very well for me.  First, I wasn’t exercising consistently.  Secondly, I had a fair amount of weight to lose.  I am now 25 pounds from goal weight.  To be honest, I’ve been at this threshold a couple of times in the past ten years.  This threshold is where I’ve given up and given in.   I’ve raised my hands to God and said, “Why, oh why, Lord?  Why can’t it be easy?  Why can’t I just shovel any old thing in my mouth and be a Skinny Minnie?”  But nothing that’s worth having is ever easy — and that’s not just a platitude.  What we work for, what we struggle to obtain is more cherished to us.  We hold those things in higher esteem.  We tend to take care with what’s been difficult to come by.

To be very, very honest, I’ve been struggling with constant plateaus since June.  Lose a couple of pounds, gain them back. It’s never very much and I never keep it on for every long, but every plateau is a mind game that Satan has used to attack me and halt my progress.

A man answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has an evil spirit in him that stops him from talking.  When the spirit attacks him, it throws him on the ground. Then my son foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes very stiff.  I asked your followers to force the evil spirit out, but they couldn’t.”   (Mark 9:17-18, NCV)

Ever feel like this?  This is how I feel when I’m on a plateau. Thoughts of what I could put in my mouth make me salivate.  If I don’t occupy myself with an activity or just a simple prayer for God to fill my mind with a task He’d have me complete instead of eating for no reason, the thought of that craving sends me into a tizzy.  I have a physical reaction to my emotional desire to eat when I’m not truly hungry.

Jesus had a response to this father and it’s the same response He is giving me when I want to give up:  you don’t have enough faith!  The father, whom I’m sure was frantic for help with his son, said it would be nice if Jesus could help them, since these attacks had been going on a long time.  If.  What a small, but telling word.

Jesus said to the father, “You said, ‘If you can!’ All things are possible for the one who believes.”

Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe! Help me to believe more!”  

When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he ordered the evil spirit, saying, “You spirit that makes people unable to hear or speak, I command you to come out of this boy and never enter him again!”  

The evil spirit screamed and caused the boy to fall on the ground again. Then the spirit came out. The boy looked as if he were dead, and many people said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took hold of the boy’s hand and helped him to stand up.  (Mark 9:23-26, NCV)

I asked God in prayer two weeks ago what I was doing wrong and why I was having this emotional reaction to the plateaus I’ve been on. I asked Him to increase my faith and give me strength not to give up.  I believe He sent me the answer in my nutrition class:  now that I’m close to goal, I have to increase the energy (carbohydrates) I put into my body to burn the remaining fat I need to lose.  I am more active now.  I need the energy to boost my metabolism.  I need more carbohydrates like I need more faith! 

Image Source: http://www.bing.com

So here are my new daily carbohydrate intake numbers:

50-75 grams of carbs on my low carb days

75-110 grams of carbs on my high carb days

I wouldn’t just throw these numbers out there without having first put them into action.  This is my second week of my carb intake adjustment and last Saturday when I weighed, I was down 3 pounds!  Even after my high carb days, I didn’t see a significant amount of weight gain (which I normally do).  I was so afraid to try this new carb intake, but I stepped out in faith because I know God is taking me into a higher glory.  The slump wasn’t going to do me in!   I wasn’t about to quit, but I was beginning to feel the effects of the slump.

I’ll let you know if I’ve hit a “homer” as time goes on!

What slump are you in?  What have been your victories this week?

God bless you all.  You remain in my prayers, dear readers!

shr

Music Monday: Die Another Day

Last year in July, I had life-changing knee surgery.  After being in pain for eighteen months, I had surgery to repair a tear in the meniscus in my right knee.  Six weeks later, my knee movement was great and was experiencing no pain from the knee or the surgery.  (Oh that I could have that kind of relief in my back — but that is another story.)

Image Source:  www.medicineworld.org

Then two weeks ago, I pressed on the gas pedal to accelerate my car and something in that knee “popped,” for lack of a better explanation right now.  (I’ve had an MRI and will find out what it shows this Thursday.)  I’m back to always using a cane, instead of just occasionally using one on really bad back days.  I’ve taken more pain medication than I like to take.  I’ve iced it, propped it, babied it, and prayed over it.  So far, no relief.

Image Source:  www.freefoto.com

Enter this morning:  it’s rainy and cold in Fayetteville, North Carolina.  My husband, who teaches Criminal Justice in our public school system here in Cumberland County, started a new school year today.  My daughter, who starts school NEXT Monday as a junior, spent the night at a friend’s house so her mother could take them to cross country practice (thank you, Terrie Fonseca, from the bottom of my hurt little knee).  I was alone in a semi-dark house laid back on the easy chair in which I’ve slept for the past two weeks because it keeps my knee at in incline, which in turn, keeps it from swelling like a melon.

And the self-pity party started.

I started to turn on the television so I could watch the news.  (And find out which was the worst story so that I could at least say, “Ha!  At least my life is better than that!”  Oh, come on.  You know you’ve done it, too!)  Instead, I picked up one of my devotional books from the end table beside my chair.  (God‘s Promises & Answers for Your Life by J. Countryman for Thomas Nelson Publisher.  I wholeheartedly recommend this book because it is a compilation of scripture by subject matter.  For example, “Understanding the Liberty that is in Christ,” or “How to Know that You’re Saved” are two of the subjects listed in the book.)

There, on page four, was this scripture:

If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new! (2 Corinthians 5:17, NCV)

“The old things have gone.” It was like a slap in the face and I was ashamed at my initial reaction for the start of my day.  You see, I used to start every day in a deep funk because I forgot what I learned as a child:  Jesus makes me a new creation through His blood.  Because I am His child and He gave me this day, rainy and all, I have a new start.  I have to lay down my feelings of self-importance, pride, anger, and anything that will keep me from being all that this “new creation” is meant to be — including my self-pity.

And that reminder led me to today’s song.  I’ve made a pact with my Heavenly Father that should another morning come that I want to wallow in self-pity and be discouraged at my situation, I’m going to play this over and over till my attitude is new again.  The words to the chorus of this song get me every time!

I die to my ambition.

I die to selfish pride.

I take up my cross and cast my will aside.

My life upon the altar, as a sacrifice, I lay.

What joy to live and die another day!

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What about you?  What did you promise God this morning?  What will you promise Him now?

Die Another Day (Brian Free and Assurance)

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