Have you ever prayed “God please use me ”? Do you ever feel less accomplished, gifted, or useful than those around you? Then you’re in good company because nearly everyone I spoke to before writing this admitted to feeling that way at times. Including myself. We tell ourselves “everyone else has so much more to ‘offer’ than I have.”
Why is it that we think the Christian life is all about usefulness? God doesn’t need me. I am not indispensable in the kingdom – none of us are, even the great podcaster on social media who has umpteen thousands of followers.
God Delights in YOU
God delights in you, not because of anything you can bring to him or do for him, but simply because you are his beloved child. Thinking of my relationship with own, now adult children often brings clarity to my heart when viewing…
Last week I did some cat-sitting for a friend. I didn’t stay at her place, but I did drive down to her house every other day (as agreed upon) to replenish the food and water, clean out the litter box, and take her mail and any packages in the house. I have done that a couple other times this year, and always enjoy doing it for her. She gives me money for gas and my time.
Last Sunday, the first day, both Duke and Duchess put in an appearance. Duke sat on the living room rug watching me; Duchess saw me and promptly hid. The cats don’t know me because I haven’t spent a lot of time around them, so that reaction was expected. It would have been nice if they’d been more sociable, but knowing cats, I decided it would be better to let them alone, than try to force the issue. (How many readers know “forcing” a cat to do anything doesn’t work?) It wasn’t really my job to convince them to be sociable, anyway. It was my job to make sure they had enough food, clean water, and a clean litter box.
Any time I cat-sit for my friend, I gain these insights:
I practice the mental discipline of simply doing the job I’m there to do. It’s not my job to criticize the cat food or the litter she buys, or to judge anything at all. Somehow in that time and space, it’s easier to see that fact, and to realize there’s other areas in my life I can apply that discipline to. It’s all too easy for me to say, “That person should do this” or, “Well, if that were me, I’d do that.” People don’t need me to be the judge and jury of their lives.
My friend says it’s a blessing to know someone who she can trust in her house who likes cats. It is a blessing for me to be trusted. To be able to go in and out of another person’s house and know that person trusts you is freedom in a way. It’s also responsibility. But then, freedom and responsibility have a way of going hand in hand.
Recently I watched the PureFlix film, The Book of Daniel. Although the events depicted occurred thousands of years ago, you can’t help but make some connections to today’s cultural climate.
The Book of Daniel is an Old Testament book of the Bible. It tells of real people—particularly Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—who were captured during the fall of Jerusalem and sent into slavery in Babylon, hundreds of miles away in geography, and an alien world as far as religion was concerned. Whereas Daniel and his friends served God, the Babylonians did not know God. They served idols, in many cruel and perverse rituals.
Some takeaways from the movie and the book:
Daniel and his friends were always respectful of the kings (rulers in authority). You didn’t see them in any protests against the government; they didn’t try to change the politics, society, or the culture, which was foreign to them.
Although in captivity, they still served God. They made up their minds to do this and they stayed the course. Surrounded by people and circumstances they never would have chosen on their own, they served God by serving the rulers, except when whatever king was in power (notably King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful king in the world) demanded they worship someone or something other than God. Then they quietly, respectfully refused, knowing they could lose their lives for doing so, but also knowing their lives were ultimately in God’s hands.
Loyalty to God wins respect.
Daniel and his friends were committed to the truth. Telling the truth could have easily cost them their lives, but they told the truth anyway.
God’s sovereignty over the world’s rulers is clearly shown.
God hates pride. Pride leads to a downfall, sometimes quickly.
God honors humility and faith in Him.
What impressed me the most about the movie is that it demonstrated the quiet power of trusting God in situations you don’t really want to be in. This is a movie I will watch again. Interesting fact from “Behind The Scenes”: The lions are real, not computer-generated!
Running time (movie only): 88 minutes.
Special Features: Behind The Scenes, Actor Interviews, Trailers, Spanish Subtitles
I’m always amazed by how much light one candle or one nightlight produces. When I go into a dark room and turn on a little four- or-seven-watt lightbulb, the difference is stunning. Even that tiny bit of light pierces the darkness and makes it easier to see.
I don’t feel as though I have a lot of light, but I need to shine the light I have. That little bit of light from a nightlight can keep me from stumbling in the dark. The little bit of light I shine may be what helps someone to gather the courage to keep going, to not give up, not give in, at least for one more hour or one more day.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15 (NLT)
I just returned from a “time-out”, a mini-vacation.
I didn’t go far, only upstairs to the porch. I took my ice tea, a pen and a book of word search/sudoku puzzles. I did word searches, listened to the birds, admired the trees with their green leaves-turning-to- gold, and enjoyed being able to “get away from it all”. Later I took a short walk towards the woods. After that it was time to close the car windows and while I did that, watch the stars and planets come out as the afternoon slowly turned to evening.
I came back from my mini-vacation feeling refreshed and relaxed—the way my body feels after a massage—only this time, it was my spirit.
I’ve come to realize I need to be outside for at least 20—30 minutes a day, every day. It doesn’t matter whether I do anything or not. Driving somewhere in the car doesn’t cut it; no, I have to be in nature: walking, mowing grass, sitting in a chair reading or doing puzzles, or simply appreciating God’s creation. It gives me perspective and calms my nerves.
Some other things I discovered I need to do every day:
something creative—write, take pictures, color, bake, or rearrange decorations
something for someone else
take time to think of God—His greatness, His kindness, His caring. I call this “dwelling on the Lord”. This may also take the form of reading devotionals.
OK, so I’m curious: Is there anything you’ve found you must do every day for your well-being, a non-negotiable for your life?
Today I asked the Lord to let me see “gems” of blessings sprinkled among the hours and tasks of my day. He did.
First, I prayed something unusual for me: since I planned to wash clothes, I asked that the washer and dryer would work. I don’t think I’ve ever prayed for that before. Just as the washer finished the second load of clothes, I noticed a narrow trickle of water coming from underneath the washer and heading for the kitchen. Then I saw the floor under the laundry tub was wet. At first, I thought, Wait aminute, I prayed that the washer would work, and it’s leaking! Then the “gem” of a blessing came to me: at least the water didn’t gush out; it was trickling out; it wasn’t a major disaster. Also: I had only one more load to do. Obviously, I wouldn’t be doing it today, but most of the clothes were done.
Secondly, we have a neighbor who has a trucking business. His tractor-trailer truck is LOUD. He lives a little farther up the road, probably about a quarter-of-a-mile away, and when he starts his diesel up, particularly at 3:30 am, I can hear the vibrations from the engine through our floor. I don’t sleep well anyway, and his truck doesn’t help matters. I admit to having not-nice thoughts about our neighbor. Today, while I was outside, my neighbor drove up the hill in his truck. I said, “Oh, that truck is SO loud! SO loud!” Then the thought (and the second gem) occurred to me: pray that God blesses him with a new truck that’s not so noisy!! Of course, that’s what I can do!
The third gem is good news from my mother’s doctor regarding the echocardiogram she had last week: her heart is working normally for her age. After the health issues she’s had in the past few months, and the anxiety I felt concerning the way she acted, this is very good news. It’s certainly in the blessing category.
I expect to be asking God more often to show me “gems” of blessing amidst my tasks and responsibilities for my days.
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” Who remembers or has heard that song by Marvin Gaye “Ain’t no mountain high enough (to keep me from getting to you)”?
The singer declares his utter devotion, making a vow that nothing; no mountain, valley, river or storm will stop him from getting to the one he loves in her hour of need, he sings the heartfelt words “remember the day I set you free? -I told you, you could always count on me” and also “if you’re ever in trouble I’ll be there.” And all the one he loves has to do is ….call him.
A Constant Friend Isn’t that lovely? Doesn’t it make you go all warm and mushy inside? Honestly, did that song cause you to think, even for a moment, that you wished you had a friend who would, and could literally move…
I'm Joanna, a busy married mum of two beautiful boys aged four and three. I'm sharing my experiences as I navigate the wonderful world of motherhood! Mistakes, routines, mum / life hacks, cleaning, beauty...little bit of everything!
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