cupboardI’m glad you stopped by my blog.  Make yourself at home.  Start meandering by scrolling down…and you can peek into all my cupboards and closets by clicking the side bar.  I know you’ll find some strengthening articles, encouraging resources, fabulous-but-forgotten hymn texts, and perhaps a heartening smile or two.  Most importantly, I hope you’ll be strengthened in your walk with the Lord for the time you spend here with me.  If you do not yet know Him, please click here for a beautiful invitation.  To learn about how He changed my life, click here, and by clicking here you can find out a few more fun and forgettable snippets about me. :)

If I can do anything to be a further blessing to you, in prayer, or by improving my site, please let me know…or just write to say “Hi”!  Please click here for an email form.

Blessings ~Diane

To Die For

?????????“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”

This is really the theme of the entire passage today. Why do you think God felt the need to have a lengthy discussion about this idea (and elsewhere as well)? Think about how the average church operates. We have our order of service. Our seasonal traditions. Our music of choice. Our sense of propriety regarding what should be worn, and how folks should behave themselves. Our scripture version of choice. Our decor of choice. Programs and outreaches. Stewardship committees. Social activities. Organizational methods and means in place. Even for a small church, things can get pretty complex.

Now, I ask you…how much of the above is by God’s commandment? How much is simply “the way things are done”? How much of it is *genuinely* carried on in “conviction”–something you feel is so strongly grounded in unshakable truth that you would be willing to die for it? The list gets much smaller, doesn’t it? Let’s keep that in mind as we go to worship today. Let’s not miss out on joy because someone throws a spontaneous wrench in the schedule this morning, or because a visitor sat in “your” seat, or because the flowers are not to your taste, or someone showed up in their work clothes (let’s be reasonable, friends), or there is a screaming child, or someone rearranged the nursery or kitchen, or the menu for the next social event does not suit. Let’s not allow the adversary to get a victory in these petty things. Grace.

Things that are higher,
Things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.

Temps Are Dropping!

tempNo, I’m not talking about the weather, although it has been  bit chilly here in Wyoming.  I’m talking about another benefit of my new Plexus life.

I had “mono” back in my 20’s, and immediately had another episode about a month later. Now I have CEBV (Chronic Epstein Barr Virus)…which is basically where “mono” or mononucleosis remains latent in the body and rears its head periodically with flares. Body aches all over, irritated lymphatic system, pronounced fatigue, and a consistent body temp of near 100 degrees (sometimes over…at least for me) on a daily basis are just a few of the symptoms.

I’ve noticed the past few days that my temp is hovering down around 99.3 now. That may not mean much to you, but if you have physically lived in crisis mode for very long you know how emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally exhausting it can be. It kidnaps your life.

It is a main focus of Plexus to address gut health. You may think this is unassociated with the condition I mentioned above, but it’s not. Your intestines are the headquarters for your immune system. If your gut is not healthy, particularly if it is leaking due to perforations from yeast overgrowth, then your immune system is limping. I highly encourage anyone with autoimmune conditions to consider looking at Pro Bio 5 and Bio Cleanse from Plexus.

Come visit my page on Facebook for more info, tips, and discussion including a good “note” posting on Gut Health! Watch this excellent video for a very good, easy to understand explanation of why this is crucial:

Come Away

calgon“Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.”

This was on the heels of learning about the beheading of John the Baptist. Did Jesus know how hard a blow this would be to His men? Yes. They were already weary with ministering (and we’ll see that they hit the ground running when their boat came to rest on dry ground again), and then to have this weight of grief put upon them…it was too much to bear. What was the solution? A boat ride with their Master.

“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Ps. 61:1-3

He led them to Himself. No luxury cruise. No two-week, paid vacation. Just perhaps an hour or two with Him. How often have we felt that “Calgon, take me away!” weariness? The day that is heaped with straws to break the camel’s back? There is wisdom in briefly withdrawing if we can. Read for an hour. Go for a stroll. Turn on some music that resets your stress button. Do something that is therapeutic…bake, crochet, play Angry Birds (lol), nap, garden… Do something which helps you find your center, and when your mind and spirit are once again calmed and prepared, read some scripture or listen to it on a recording, open a hymn book and read the words, or sing aloud. Pray. Pray. Pray…out loud if possible, and without a list.

Here is an excerpt from Spurgeon’s “Lectures to My Students”, in a chapter called “The Minister’s Fainting Fits”. Don’t be mislead…there are plenty of practical insights for Christians in general when it comes to this idea of rest.

“In the midst of a long stretch of unbroken labour, the same affliction may be looked for. The bow cannot be always bent without fear of breaking. Repose is as needful to the mind as sleep to the body. Our Sabbaths are our days of toil, and if we do not rest upon some other day we shall break down. Even the earth must lie fallow and have her Sabbaths, and so must we. Hence the wisdom and compassion of our Lord, when he said to his disciples, “Let us go into the desert and rest awhile.” What! when the people are fainting? When the multitudes are like sheep upon the mountains without a shepherd? Does Jesus talk of rest? When Scribes and Pharisees, like grievous wolves, are rending the flock, does he take his followers on an excursion into a quiet resting place? Does some red-hot zealot denounce such atrocious forgetfulness of present and pressing demands? Let him rave in his folly. The Master knows better than to exhaust his servants and quench the light of Israel. Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. Look at the mower in the summer a day, with so much to cut down ere the sun sets. He pauses in his labour, is he a sluggard? He looks for his stone, and begins to draw it up and down his scythe, with “rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink—rink-a-tink.” Is that idle music? is he wasting precious moments? How much he might have mown while he has been ringing out those notes on his scythe! But he is sharpening his tool, and he will do far more when once again he gives his strength to those long sweeps which lay the grass prostrate in rows before him. Even thus a little pause prepares the mind for greater service in the good cause. Fishermen must mend their nets, and we must every now and then repair our mental waste and set our machinery in order for future service. To tug the oar from day to day, hike a galley-slave who knows no holidays, suits not mortal men.

Mill-streams go on and on for ever, but we must have our pauses and our intervals. Who can help being out of breath when the race is continued without intermission? Even beasts of burden must be turned out to grass occasionally; the very sea pauses at ebb and flood; earth keeps the Sabbath of the wintry months; and man, even when exalted to be God’s ambassador, must rest or faint; must trim his lamp or let it burn low; must recruit his vigour or grow prematurely old. It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less. On, on, on for ever, without recreation, may suit spirits emancipated from this “heavy clay,” but while we are in this tabernacle, we must every now and then cry halt, and serve the Lord by holy inaction and consecrated leisure. Let no tender conscience doubt the lawfulness of going out of harness for awhile, but learn from the experience of others the necessity and duty of taking timely rest.”

Read the entire chapter here: http://www.the-highway.com/articleSept99.html

No. Fine. Print.

fine-print“Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.”

There are a lot of ways in which we enter into “the fellowship of His sufferings”. This is one of them. Do not be surprised if, as Rodney Dangerfield quipped, you “can’t get no respect.” First, that’s not what this is all about anyway. Second, it’s been fairly clear from the beginning that people are hard wired for skepticism and cynicism…a result of the vast disappointment of the Fall. We had perfection. It was taken away. Now anything which seems to have the scent of Heaven about it is immediately suspect…especially if it steps on our toes.

“Where does she get the right to quote that Bible verse to me?” (even if it was done in tenderness and with empathy)

“I don’t agree with her interpretation of that passage.” (when the exegesis was spot-on…and it found its way directly to the sin target)

“Where is her authority in saying/doing/thinking/acting ________? She has no authority over me.” (when one is trying to walk in the Spirit, even their reactions to things can bring conviction to those around them)

“I know her family…where she grew up, the faults of her parents, the weaknesses of her husband, the failings of her children…she’s not perfect enough for her words to have any influence upon me. But never point out my imperfections.” (if only we would all consider scripture…look at the life of Josiah, one of the most righteous kings Israel ever had…and look at his pedigree, for example)

Pride is at the root of all of this denial and hardness. We need to pray for real, spiritual, life changing activity in our own lives before we’ll see it in others.

The humble, teachable spirit is precious in God’s sight. The person who is able to listen for His instruction all throughout the day, and glean wisdom even from the most unlikely sources, simply because it is truth…that person will succeed spiritually.

Psalm 119 is full of requests: teach me, lead me, guide me, instruct me…this needs to be our prayer today. No. Fine. Print.

Hurrying God

hurryup“While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead.”

Why would He delay? Imagine the inward turmoil Jairus was experiencing. His daughter is dying. He is a ruler of the synagogue (his coworkers had no regard for the Messiah…there was contempt and conspiracy against Him already), and yet he boldly seeks Him out publicly and in open desperation. And then, while they are in transit, Jesus does not follow him in haste through the crowd, but stops to have a discussion with a woman on the street. Didn’t He know this was an emergency? Wasn’t He aware that every second was precious? This sounds vaguely familiar to me:

“Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:21

“Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:32

What were Martha and Mary saying? You waited too long. If You had come right away, our brother would still be alive. Why didn’t You come? But Jesus deliberately delayed. Why? So that His power over death might be unmistakably, clearly, powerfully manifested. There had been healings. This was different. It was important that Lazarus’ body be prepared for burial and entombed…with no doubt that he was deceased. There were higher purposes than just delivering a beloved brother back into the loving care of his sisters.

Our takeaway? Do not be in haste. God is already in tomorrow, and the day after that. He is Jehovah-Shammah, “the God who is there”. He was already in that room where Jairus’ daughter lay fading. He was present while Mary and Martha lovingly and tearfully wrapped the body of Lazarus in linen and spices. He even wept at the thought of all the pain they were going through. Was it cruel to allow it to be so? No, because He was also mindful of that temporary resting place, thinking of the glorious triumph to come!

We must teach our hearts to rest in this, and not to continually act and react out of a state of panic. Pray for His purposes to be fulfilled instead of frantically scribbling out a “to do” list to toss at His nail scarred feet.

What is it today for you? Surgery? The Great Physician is already there in the operating room. A dreaded confrontation? The Wonderful Counselor is already there, sitting at the table of that person who is at odds with you. A job that is beyond your capabilities? Almighty God is waiting, with the tool box of the Holy Spirit in hand…any tool you need, at your disposal. Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, patience. Just ask.