Best of Places, Hardest of Times

My backyard is one of the most peaceful places on earth. At least the most peaceful place closest to home without the headache of traveling. (Ha!) Have to give credit where credit is due; God has made lots of wonderful places on earth. Anyway, we have a small pool with a stone fountain, tall hedges, lots of privacy and the hot tub has a waterfall into the pool. You can lounge on the sofa in the shade of the gazebo and listen to the birds chirp. Squirrels run along the fence line and rarely do you hear a barking dog. There is nothing better than sitting outside, waterfall in the background, breeze blowing, Francesca Battistelli playing on the speakers, eyes closed and praying to Jesus.

God and I do lots of talking outside. We do lots of talking on my couch inside too (Texas heat!). It is in the quiet  that I hear him the most. Unfortunately, there isn’t much quiet in my life. I have to make the quiet happen. Whether it’s after everyone goes to bed or the 15 minutes between picking the kids up and getting dinner started, I make it a point to find the time for the quiet. Sitting outside sets the stage for quiet and sets the stage to be vulnerable (I guess because no one else is around?). Make your quiet time intentional. Start small, don’t try to conquer the world in a day.  Even just a minute or two is a place to start. 

It is in the best of places that I have my hardest of times. It’s when God speaks to my heart and the tears roll down my cheeks. It’s a place to confess my sins, to breakdown and tell God I’m a mess.  It’s my place to sob about death and mean kids at school and consequences I am suffering. It’s a safe place to cry out to Jesus that I don’t have it all together, and I don’t know what I’m doing so I sure hope he does. Then he holds me and loves me. I can imagine his arms around me, just holding me and comforting me, letting me get it all out of my system. And once I’ve got all the messy out he simply says “I forgive you. I love you” and continues to hold me.

Those words, those simple words are life-giving words. They will set you free for an eternity.  You can start your eternity with Christ by accepting Jesus today.  

James 4:8 – Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double minded.

Matthew 6:6 – But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Mark 1:35-37 – Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed.

 

Confession Is Good For the Soul

So, true confession, I am not a writer.  This whole blogging thing is not my thing!  It is completely not within my comfort zone, nor is it in the top ten “Lindsay attributes” list either.  That being said, I always, and I mean always, pray before sitting down to blog.  This blog is for God’s glory, not my own, and therefore it’s my hearts desire to allow Him to lead my heart and my fingers.

More often than I’d like to admit, I’m not sure how to start my prayer time with him, though.  Usually my brain is still churning on the events of the day and not ready to settle down into God’s word.  I try to imagine kneeling before him, hands open, head bowed, submitting to his will.  Sometimes that imagery is the catalyst to the beginning of our quiet time together, and sometimes I still feel distant and alone.

One day mom and I were out running errands together (I was 4ish years old), and I committed theft.  We were at Michael’s and while standing in line I started playing with some small suction cups.  Totally random, I know, but I was fascinated by them.  They were the size of a quarter, clear, bendy, and fun to play with.  Mom wouldn’t let me have them, though, and I really wanted them.  My fingers NEEDED them.  So I did what any child would do when their mom told them “no” and to instead of putting them back on the shelf, I stuck them down my pants.

Later that day, mom was assisting me in the restroom and, as I pulled down my pants, out fell the suction cups.  There was no hiding it, they fell out right in front of her.  She knew exactly what I had done.  She knew I had stolen them after she told me no.  Needless to say that was the longest, most quietest, ride back to Michael’s that she and I ever had.  There was a chasm in our relationship that couldn’t be bridged until repentance took place.

Mom drove me back to Michael’s where I had to hand over the suction cups to the employee on duty and confess my crime.  I was sure that they’d handcuff me right then and there.  I was ashamed and embarrassed.  The employee accepted my apology, permitted me to put the suction cups back on the shelf, and leave the store with my mom (no jail time!).  The ride home wasn’t as silent as the ride there; Mom and I started our repair.

If you’re having trouble praying today, try confessing your sins.  Confess to the sin of putting self first, greed of finances, gluttony of food, anger towards others and lack of love in general.  As your sin pours out, God’s love pours in.  Thank you God for filling my ugly heart with your everlasting love and grace.

Psalm 32:5 – Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity.  I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.”  And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Proverbs 28:13 – Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Psalm 69:5 – O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.

James 4:7-10 – Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

Stinky Messy Trash

Tuesdays and Fridays the trash men religiously come by and remove all our trash from the curb.  We are truly thankful for the job they do, twice a week, rain or shine.  They must have the most solid stomachs of anyone on the planet.  If we miss trash day then it becomes a less than thankful moment.  The heaps and mounds and bags upon bags of trash are endless.  Where in the world does all this trash come from!?  How do four people generate that much waste?

Just like there is a “too late” moment for taking out the trash there is a “too late” moment for accepting Christ as your savior.  You never know when you will breathe your last breath.  Once you die, it is done, finished; there is no going back, there is no chasing the trash men down the street begging for them to come back and take your trash.

Christ did not come to the world to judge but to save.  Jesus loves you just as you are.  Messy, imperfect, ugly on the inside, lazy, impoverished, uncared for, you just as you are.  You don’t have to become perfect to receive Christ’s love, Christ was made perfect to be sufficient for you

Don’t wait to take out your trash until the last minute.  Don’t wait until it’s too late to accept Christ.  Pray today, Lord I come to you a mess and I surrender all my stinky trash to you.  I have nothing to offer you but my heart, my whole heart.  God I believe that Jesus Christ lived a blameless life, died on the cross for my sins to pay the penalty for my sins (my stinky trash), and was resurrected on the third day and lives eternally in heaven with God the Father.  Jesus’s sacrifice is the one and only way of salvation. I want to live my life for you God.

If you prayed this prayer today, please reach out so that I can pray for you and offer you encouragement as my brother and sister in Christ.  You are loved and cherished!

John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

1 Timothy 2:5 – For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:8 – But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 23:39 – One of the criminals who was hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?”  And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”  And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  And he said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the Bride say “Come.”  And let the one who hears say, “Come.”  And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Hebrews 5:9 – And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

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