Experts tell us that we need to understand WHY we do something so that we can better explain it to others. After all, people want to know why you do what you do… they want the heart and soul behind it. It makes you more relatable to them, not just some cog in the wheel house of life. You have meaning and purpose… a reason to be.
I’ve thought about this and it makes sense. The ‘big why‘ helps give meaning to our existence. It provides us a better way to complete goals because we know why we are striving for said goals. There are a lot of why’s in our lives. Why we married or didn’t, why we have children or didn’t, why we picked a particular university, a particular place to live or shop, or why we work the jobs that we do.
It’s in this vein that I want to discuss why I do what I do.
All this came about because I was recently asked “why do you help people? Why would you put yourself out there day in and day out…”
My ‘big why’ is simple. It’s because I want to make a difference in the lives of others. I want to solve problems. I want to truly excel in helping people. I put a lot of effort into being the best I can be and upgrading my skills at every opportunity. I choose to make a difference in the lives of individual people, one at a time.
I just happen to do all this by helping individual sellers and buyers with one of their largest investments; their homes or commercial properties. I have many friends/clients and I believe all of them know that I will offer help whenever asked… but if YOU didn’t know, ask me. If I can help you, I certainly will. If I can’t, I may suggest someone else better suited.
Hello all. Just a quick note to let you know that I am still alive. I’ve been working, living and contemplating life. Those things take quite a bit of my focus most days. Oh, you understand working and living… but what’s this “contemplating life” stuff you ask? I am glad you asked.
My contemplation has been how to engage in life in the most effective, intentional, and productive way. I am not just talking about work either… just life. Life as we all have it. From waking up in the morning throughout the day to going to bed. What did my contemplation lead to? Well in a nutshell, “How you live your life is up to you.” Profound… right 😉
What do I mean by it being up to you? Well, it goes back to choices. We all have to work, many of us have to work in jobs we don’t like or are bored with. What do you focus on there? Do you focus on how much you don’t like it or do you find something every day to experience real life while doing the job? Do you find people to help, make smile, have real relationships with??? Do you just wallow in your misfortunes? Do you focus on gratitude for being able to work?
Newsflash, everyone has days, weeks, years, etc in which they feel pain, misunderstood, bored, abused, unfulfilled, etc… It’s what you do with that matters. What you focus on that makes the difference. YOU were given another day to live. YOU have a responsibility to make the most of what you have. Dwell on the good. Keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper1. THAT is how you truly experience life in an intentional and productive way.
I love you friends… I strive to speak truth and contentment into your life. Know that I care and I want you to be fulfilled in your life. To be fulfilled, pay attention to what you are focusing on and make sure it creates peace, joy, contentment, and love in your life. Let go of the disappointments, frustrations, aggravations, etc. Focus on others and how you can help them. In doing so, you’ll find that your life is better for it. Peace to you…
Let Freedom Ring! There’s a song written about the United States called “America” originally penned by Samuel Francis Smith.1 The first stanza goes like this:
“My country, ’tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountain side.
Let Freedom ring.”
Freedom has been on my mind lately. Just exactly what is freedom? What does it mean to be free? To have freedom in life, mind, and circumstances?
According to Merriam-Webster, freedom means; the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action; liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another; independence;the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous.2
So to feel the freedom that Mr. Smith spoke of, we should also feel a sense of liberation or know the experience of free will to choose what to do or be. For a long time in my life, I didn’t feel those things. No matter how poetic and true the verses rang from the song, no matter how many times I heard it, tried to believe it, or sang it myself, I didn’t feel free. I felt oppressed, down-trodden, whipped… I felt constrained.
Further down in the song still, is the following stanza:
“Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of Liberty,
To thee we sing,
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by thy might
Great God, our King.”
The answer to why I didn’t feel the freedom that was granted me by the Author of Liberty was because I didn’t look to Him in my daily life. While I have been a Christian since youth, I have mostly continued to strive in my own strength or “work it out” on my own. Getting more wore out by the day, I struggled with life. I forgot to include the Author of Liberty into my daily life. But to experience His Freedom, I found out that I had to do just that. I couldn’t do it alone.3
Jesus tell’s us plainly how to obtain Freedom in John Chapter 8 of the Bible. “So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “IF (emphasis mine) you continue to obey my teaching [remain/abide in my word], you are truly my followers [disciples].Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make [set] you free.”4So, according to Jesus, you must obey Him, stay in His word to know the truth and the truth leads us to freedom! What a simple (and under-utilized) path to freedom. So simple, yet so hard to do if we don’t obey and stay in His word.
The Apostle Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians that to understand God’s Freedom, we need His Spirit.5 How do you get God’s Spirit? If you believe in His Son, just ask for it!6 Sometimes you have to go back and ask again, but keep knocking, keep seeking and you will find God’s wonderful Freedom through His Spirit who teaches us all things.7
So that brings me full circle. To remove the shackles of oppression, the feeling of being down-trodden, or loneliness, I needed another way. I needed to look to the Author of Liberty and CHOOSE Him! I needed to let go of the hurts of yesteryear, stop believing the lies 8 of the enemy, and denounce the thoughts of oppression and what gave me those feelings in the first place. I needed to look to the only One 9 that could truly set me free.
My goal now is to invite Christ into my life every day! To hand over my direction to the Author of Liberty and to stop trying to “work it out” on my own. I will ask Christ to lead me daily and will listen for His voice 10. I will choose to follow His lead. I want freedom… but only the freedom that comes from knowing the truth. For that, I need Him.
That brings me to my final thoughts on freedom. I read somewhere (and I apologize, I cannot remember where but the quote stuck with me) that “The only real Freedom ceases to exist in the absence of discipline”. People think that freedom means the absence of restraint. That couldn’t be further from the truth. While yes, you can exercise your freedom to choose cake over broccoli! But… if you make that your habit, you will experience the consequences of your actions. To experience freedom therefore, we make choices. Do you want a healthy body? Choose the healthier lifestyle and you’ll experience the freedom that comes from that lifestyle and not the bondage that comes from being a slave to your baser desires (for massive quantities of cake, for example).
Christ too, gives us a choice. He doesn’t shove His will down our throats 11. In order to continue to experience His freedom, I will have to discipline myself to choose Him. I will have to bring my thoughts and my selfish desires into subjection and choose the Author every day. I want freedom, but not just the freedom to have cake or not. I want the real freedom that comes from knowing who my Creator is and what He has in store for me 12 which is better than anything I can think up 13! The kind of freedom that can only be experienced by choosing to seek Him and by abiding in His word. I will choose this, every day because I don’t want even ONE day to be without His freedom.
Thank you Lord for making it so easy for us. Thank you for the gift of Your freedom.
This Saturday, November 24, 2018, is Small Business Saturday wherein people are being asked to shop their local shops. Shopping local helps the community in which you live. It helps small business owners succeed, providing a vibrant healthy economy. That keeps people in jobs and creates local wealth. Our local communities stay flush with community stores, it cuts down on vacancy rates in smaller areas, and provides options to everyone. If that all wasn’t enough, it cuts down on drive time, gasoline use, and get’s you out of the house!
The coming “shop local” Saturday brings to mind a book I just finished called “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. (You can find more information about the book here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3228917-outliers). In it, he talks about what makes certain individuals, or groups of individuals unique. This can display in good or bad ways.
What I took away from this deep dive of intellectual prowess is that it takes community, opportunity, and hard work to make someone unique. For example, if Bill Gates hadn’t been born when he was, hadn’t had the opportunity to work unfettered on the computer of the time, or had the support of his “community”… he probably wouldn’t have turned out the way that he did. You’ll need to read the book to get more info on that!
So, community… what exactly is community? According to Webster’s, community is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” or “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”1
For my purposes here, I will look at the first definition, although fellowship has an equal standing. People having characteristics in common (i.e. mouth, eyes, two arms, language, etc) brings us together and it should. Without community, individuals wouldn’t be able to be all that they can be. We wouldn’t have any outliers. Without the support of our fellow man, we couldn’t get as far as we do. Ask any successful person (however you define success) and they will tell you that other people helped them along their path. A favorite teacher, grandparent, supportive mom or dad, or a mentor. Ask any un-successful person and they will tell you that they just didn’t get the support or opportunity that they needed.
It’s interesting to me that the Bible has spoken about community all along. In it, you read about the community of Israelite’s, family communities (Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac or Joseph, Mary, and Jesus), and church communities.2 We are instructed to “bear one another’s burdens”3 and to “pity” the one that has no one to help him.4 In Hebrews 10, the Apostle Paul admonishes Christians to help one another out in love and to come together in community.5
This concept is especially brought home as we come to the Thanksgiving holiday and share our homes, meals, and time with the people we love. Community… It’s what we were born to do. Support and love one another. Give back to society, give opportunities where you can for fellowship. Not just fellowship with one another, but fellowship with your Creator God.6
My wish for you this Thanksgiving; happiness, a sense of belonging, all the support that you need, opportunities abounding, the fortitude to seize them, positive and loving relationships, and a relationship with the One who matters most. I wish for you a community and fellowship with your Creator.
This past week, I went to Houston with my daughter and grand baby. He’s a patient at Shriner’s Hospital for Children. The people there are on top of things. The surgeon that worked on his lips is a genuinely caring person that will go the extra mile to explain things to us. I cannot express enough how incredibly blessed we feel with all of this.
As I look back at the trip, I am reminded just how much I love my children and my grandchild. The love I feel for them, the concern, the feelings of wanting to take care of them is ever present in my life. I looked at my grandson and thought that it’s a wonderful thing to be a grand parent. It’s a wonderful thing to see the next generation coming into being, learning and growing… becoming. I hope that I can be a good influence on him all the days of his life.
Until next time, I wish you all the love that can be received. You are loved. If not by your parents or grandparents, by God. He loves you more than anyone else on earth. (Romans 8:38-39 “I’m absolutely convinced that nothing – nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable – absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” (The Message) Find peace and contentment in that.
Let me say that again, I love my new shower. It’s beautiful! But mostly, it just gets me clean. Who doesn’t like to be clean?
Anyway, my friends at TNT Services created my shower for me when they were remodeling my house. (If you like it and you need some work done in your house and are in the North Texas area, contact me and I’ll give you their contact info.)
Sorry for the toilet in the shot but there was no way around that. 🙂
Anyway, being clean. Clean is a great feeling. Having your body washed with water and soap, standing under the flood, and feeling it run over you. There’s nothing like it? Or is there?
Well, I can tell you that there is. Being washed clean in the Word is even better. All you have to do is ask. Just like the leper in the book of Matthew asked Jesus, you need to ask. Matthew 8:2-3 (HCSB) The leper “…knelt before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean. Reaching out His hand He touched him, saying, “I am willing; be made clean.” Immediately his disease was healed.” Let that sink in a minute. Jesus loves us so much that He actually touched, physically touched, a man with an incurable (for the time) skin disease. In front of people. Where He could have been ostracized for the action. But He touched the leper and made him clean. There are several things to note here. One of them is that the fella ASKED Jesus to make him clean. The guy had to ask for help. He had to ask Jesus, specifically, for help.
How much more will He clean you if you ask him? If you are sick, ask the Healer to make you well. If you are a sinner, have made great mistakes in your life, like me… Ask the Greatest Healer (Psalm 147:3) who ever walked the earth to touch you and make you clean from them. Imagine asking and receiving God’s healing touch… how clean would that make you feel? I bet it would be better than any shower could do. I know it was for me when I asked.
So, what’s all this asking to be made clean mean to you? You are not sick… you are not a great sinner (that’s another post :))… why do I need to be clean, you ask yourself. Well, how else are you going to get a new life? A better life? A life that will allow you to have a relationship with God who loves you (Romans 5:8)?
An example of what He can do for you… 2 Corinthians 5:17 (HCSB) “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.” He gives you new life. A new, clean life… what a wonderful, awesome thing!
God gives us a new life through Jesus Christ. He opens our eyes… even in our slavery. Ezra 9:8 (HCSB) says, “But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from the Lord our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes.”
There is something wonderful to celebrate here. Being clean with water and soap is a fantastic thing. But being cleansed in the Word (and Jesus and the Word are one in the same according to John 1:1) is a marvelous miracle worthy of screaming from the rooftops.
Some supporting scriptures for your review, all from the Holman Christian Standard Bible:
Ezekiel 36:25 “I (the Lord) will also sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and all your idols.”
Jeremiah 17:14 “Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me, and I will be saved…”
Psalm 51:7 says, “Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
Psalm 103:12 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 “…just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless.”
John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Acts 22:16 says, “And now, why delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins by calling on His name.”
Psalm 51:10 “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
What are you waiting for? Call on His name. The ONLY One that can wash you clean as far as the East is from the West. Better than being washed in a running shower any day, even with soap!
I have a grandson. He’s my first grandson. He was born with a full bi-lateral cleft palate. That means he has a hole in the roof of his mouth and both sides of his lips were not closed. He had his first surgery on November 1st at Shriner’s Hospital in Houston, TX. I can’t be there… I feel horrible that I can’t hold his hand and kiss his face. I feel horrible that I can’t be there with my daughter so that I can support her as she goes through this time of anxiety, watching as the surgeon changes my little grandson’s face by closing up his lips. But, I also feel relief. I know that my grandson is in good hands. The doctors at Shriner’s are top notch and it was a blessing to be accepted into that program in the first place.
My little grand-baby will go through many more surgeries to correct his bite, the hole, and his lips. But, he’s in good hands. He’s in capable hands. He is loved no matter what by his family and most importantly by God. That makes me feel better. All my friends that are praying for him makes me feel better. I cannot imagine a life without knowing that God cares for me and all those who call upon his name.
To my friends and family, thank you for caring enough to bend the knee with me and ask for protection, strength, guidance, and healing for my little grand-son and his mother and father.
So, I just finished listening to a book I got from the public library, Overdrive section, and I wanted to share it with you. With as many people as I could possibly reach actually. Especially anyone dealing with feelings of inadequacy. Like me…
The premise of the book is that we, as faulty humans, need to let go of trying to be everything to everyone. Let go of trying to be in charge of our lives. Let go of striving for perfection. Quite simply because we are faulty, complicated, and full of imperfections. She’s not suggesting that we “check out” on life however. On the contrary, the author says that we need to be more present. Draw closer to Christ and live in His “enough-ness”.
This book spoke to me because I have been drifting between “numbing out” and “striving in my own strength” too long. I have missed the boat on what it means to be a Christian in so many ways. I have been forgetting to draw close to the God who saved me. He is enough… He is my Savior… He is worthy of all praise and all honor… He deserves my time that I have been spending in the worldly pursuits of “self fulfillment” and “depression”. My God came to this earth to dwell with me! Let that sink in because He came here for you too. Don’t you think that we should get to know Him better? Spend time alone with Him. Let Him do the heavy lifting in our lives by learning to be in His presence.
Thank you Lord for the revelation that Jennie Allen brought to me through the words in her book that were so eloquently inspired by You. Thank you Jesus for people who put themselves out there to be used by you. May I be one of those people too in my daily walk.
Here’s a link to her book (or get it at your local library, amazon, etc)
Well, as you may know, I have a dog named Roxie. She’s very sweet and gentle dog but she is rather excitable still being just over a year old. She loves to run and play and especially… chase the cats. The cats don’t care too much for her attempts at playtime however.
This picture was taken as my sweet girl tried to help me with a stained glass project I am working on…. under my feet of course!
She is a very pretty girl. Do you have a pet? If so, what kind of quirks does yours have?