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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Feeling low after the excitement of the holidays? Grandchildren left and took their laughter with them? Divorce made you lonely? Death left an emptiness? Here are three attitudes to help with the after holiday blues.


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Three Attitudes to Beat the After Holiday Blues

Feeling low after the excitement of the holidays? Grandchildren left and took their laughter with them? Divorce made you lonely? Death left an emptiness? Here are three attitudes to help with the after holiday blues.

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Being a little down after the holiday season is perfectly normal.  We see family that we haven’t seen in a while and then they quickly go.  Divorce divides the children and leaves one parent alone.   This time of year forces us to look behind us at goals not met and a new year already upon us.  We feel our age, and wonder how time has escaped us.

It’s all mental.  Warfare of the mind.  There is only one way to fight this spiritual battle of the blues.  The Word of God.  Here are three positive attitudes found in scripture along with suggested mental exercises to help in banishing these painful thoughts.

Live in the NOW

Regrets can haunt.  The only thing that looking over your shoulder is good for is education.  Look back and learn, then train your eyes to see what is now.

Looking to the future can bring fear and dread.  The only thing good about looking to the future is education.  Look ahead and prepare, then train your eyes to see what is now.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

 First Mental Exercise:  Use your phone to record yourself spontaneously  thanking God for everything you see as you walk around your environment.  Play it back for yourself.  Sometimes the best teacher for yourself is yourself.

Take Control

How easily it is for the mind to wander.  Today on my walk, someone’s naughty, little pooch stood just outside a dog-sized hole in her fence yipping at me.  She had squeezed through the gap, intent on wandering the neighborhood.

This is exactly what my mind does y’all when I don’t keep it contained, controlled, fenced in…thinking only  of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8) … when I allow myself to squeeze through the culture-sized hole in the fence of my mind and wander away from safety, dwelling on things that crush my joy.

Second Mental Exercise:   Take a break from social media and listen to a Christian speaker on YouTube or maybe a little private praise with your favorite worship music.  Look on my Pinterest page for some ideas.

Hope

Sometimes lost hope creates a pity party.  The enemy loves to fill you with dark thoughts about yourself and the life you lead.    The Liar throws shadows on truth until all you want to do is watch TV and eat ice cream.

Feeling low after the excitement of the holidays? Grandchildren left and took their laughter with them? Divorce made you lonely? Death left an emptiness? Here are three attitudes to help with the after holiday blues.

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Satan urges you to forget that God is highly invested in you and has beautiful plans for your life.  Plans for you to do good works in His name.  Plans for you to live for Him, not for self.

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

Third Mental Exercise:  This is where the church comes in y’all.  It’s time to phone, email, or text a friend.   Find a believer who knows scripture and explain exactly how you are feeling.  Request scriptures and prayer.  Spend time looking at the scripture given to you as if it were sent from God.

It was.

Feeling low after the excitement of the holidays? Grandchildren left and took their laughter with them? Divorce made you lonely? Death left an emptiness? Here are three attitudes to help with the after holiday blues.

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One final scripture for you to meditation on…

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  Colossians 2:7

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+  Picture taken outside of my classroom one morning on a foggy day

++ Picture taken at the Grand Canyon of me taking it all in…

+++Picture taken after at storm at the family ranch in Montana

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I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.


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Curb Shopping at Christmas

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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I have been feeling a bit Scrooge-ish lately and haven’t been able to put my finger on the problem until I found myself curb shopping in my neighbor’s trash last week.   It’s excess y’all.  We are a people who can put our excess to the curb without a thought…most of the time to make room for more.   Tis the season of excess.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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In stark contrast, I have observed a different kind of curb shopping taking place in Cambodia, my future home.  I have seen a man hand-cutting a certain kind of grass in the front of businesses in order to  feed his ox.  I have seen an older woman pulling a cart, stopping at every trash heap looking for cardboard to sell.  I have seen beggars sitting on curbs, and girls with baskets hoping someone will buy their boiled snails.  My daughter observed a tiny girl, perhaps six, struggling with a buggy much bigger than her, going from house to house searching for cans to recycle.  A daily struggle to survive for some.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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Back here in Texas, I have a gorgeous tree, I have spent lots of money on gifts,  I watch the holiday shows, I attend parties,  I meet up with family, I eat scrumptious food…all in excess.  I celebrate in a cheery little bubble that floats high above Bethlehem.   Sometimes I glance down lovingly at the manger as I float through the holidays, but to be honest, I am trapped in cultural distractions that steal my focus.  The cultural noise of excess drowns out His holy birth.  I have put Jesus to the curb while making room for meaningless diversions.   My Scrooge-ish mood feels a little like guilt.

So this year I will line up behind the wise men with my gift for the baby Jesus.   I will bow before Him and ask Him to make me more like Him.  To open my eyes to suffering.  To warm my heart to the helpless.  To cleanse my desire for material possessions and replace it with a desire to love Him more.  To fill me.  Then I will be ready to serve.   I don’t have much to give, but I do have me.

I have been curb shopping in my neighbor's trash y'all. I found more than I bargained for.

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+Closeup picture of my Christmas tree

++Picture of the treasure I found on the side of the road

+++Picture taken in Cambodia during the water festival

++++Picture taken of the Christmas decorations outside The Woodlands Pavilion.  We were on our way to a concert by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant.

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Broken glass and a clumsy streak led to a powerful story of the brokenhearted. God can take anything and create meaning y'all.


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How God Used my Clumsy Streak to Share a Story of the Brokenhearted

Broken glass and a clumsy streak led to a powerful story of the brokenhearted.   God can take anything and create meaning y'all.

I sat down with a good book and two of my homemade soft tacos for lunch yesterday.   My first yummy bite was surprising and jarring.  The investigation that followed led to a horrifying discovery (see picture).  shard of glass  How did glass get in my taco?

If you decide to follow my blog you will quickly find out that I believe God is a God of stories, a God of parables, a literary genius, who uses the unfolding happenings of our lives to teach us deep personal truths if we are willing to keep in step with His Spirit.

Back to the glass.  I have been having a bit of a clumsy streak lately.  Y’all,  within 24 hours I broke  two large serving bowls and the glass in a large display frame where two panes of glass were pressed up against themselves to showcase a see through type picture.  All three times the glass shattered everywhere and had to be gingerly cleaned up so as not to cut anyone.  Little did I know that some of the glass escaped into my cabinet and undetected into the skillet I used to cook taco meat.

Surely there is a spiritual  story to be learned from all this broken glass.

The Drop

Someone I love had her heart dropped and broken recently.  She came to find out that after two years of marriage her young husband had been having an affair with a woman at work.  She was willing to forgive, but he was unwilling to reconcile, so they divorced.  Her heart shattered.

The Cleaning

Those that have been smashed by evil have been left with sharp edges, and it is sometimes a slow, painful process to help with cleanup.   Sometimes the ones closest to the broken can get cut and bloody even after gentle handling has been applied.  Sometimes after much time has passed, and the room has been swept, a tiny piece might still be discovered by a bare foot on the kitchen floor, or may have bounced undetected into a bowl used later for taco meat.

The Mending

At some point in the cleanup process, the ones helping realize that the pieces will never go back together the way they were before.  They are helpless in the face of such great suffering.  So they prayerfully box up the fragments and hand them to our Father, the God of comfort.  It will take a miracle…the pieces are so tiny…it seems so hopeless…

YAHWEH, King of Kings, Lord of Lords

His specialty is broken hearts.  And once those pieces are held in His hands,  fused backed together by the heat of His love, they will be a work of art.

Broken glass and a clumsy streak led to a powerful story of the brokenhearted. God can take anything and create meaning y'all.

 

Blessings, Alice

Picture:  This is the double frame glass that I broke.  I used Pic Monkey for the scripture and my title.    The shard in the taco was about 1/2 inch long.

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Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.


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How the Saved can Rise Above Fear-mongering

Jesus and Culture:  November 2015 Paris Bombing–March 2016 Turkey and Brussels Bombing

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil?  There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly.  Do you find yourself worried and afraid?  Are your children asking questions?  Are even the saved full of dread and fear?  The most prudent thing to do in times like these y’all, is return to scripture.

Think truth.  Most anxiety comes from concocting unfavorable futuristic scenarios in your head.  Believe me, I know about this one y’all.   The frequent “What if…this,”  and What if….that.” ALL LIES!  We must take control of all our false thoughts and focus on truth. Do this with scripture.

 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

 

Pray truth.  Scripture tells you how.

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

Believe truth.  Even though you may feel that evil is closing in on the Christian community, with the political scene being more and more intolerant and Muslim extremists gleefully  extinguishing life…even though you feel this way (I feel this way) it is all as it should be.  Such things will happen in the last days.   Click here for reminder.   And here.  So my question to myself lately is this…Shouldn’t I be scanning the skies every day in these troubled times…calling up to the One on the throne, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)  I am going to try that.

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

Speak truth. Your voice needs to be louder than the timid squeaks of fear echoing around the country.  Someone in your immediate circle needs to hear scripture right now, maybe your children.

Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2

Where in history do we see a setting where citizens of the world can have twenty-four hour access to acts of evil? There has never been a time such as this where the devil can spread fear and hate so effortlessly. The most prudent thing to do in times like these y'all, is return to scripture.

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See another of my posts related to this topic:  Five Ways to Protect Against the Surprise of Evil

matthew 613

My top post is this one about my beautiful mother, maybe it will help you too.

5 spiritual lessons

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There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.


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If I am so Thankful, Then Why do I Feel so Guilty?

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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Someone I love went into the military right after high school.  He was strong, agile, and emotionally fit for basic training.  One night while he was on guard duty, a fellow soldier passed by him on the way to the restroom, but never came back out.  He hung himself.  So my loved one, the new recruit, barely wet behind the ears,  had to recover the body as part of his guard duty job.  What emotions might a person be thinking as he performed this grim task?  There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart.

Thankful for the pregnancy, guilt over the friend who can’t conceive.

Thankful for health, guilt over the one with cancer.

Thankful for wealth, guilt over those in poverty.

Thankful for a great marriage, guilt over the one suffering with divorce

Thankful for the awesome job, guilt over the one out of work.

Thankful for coming out of the military in one piece, guilt over the dead and injured.

Look y’all,  guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this. Real guilt comes from sin.  If you are a Christian, all guilt has been paid at the cross.   This misplaced guilt comes from pride.  PRIDE.  From somehow thinking that your blessings in the face of such suffering is wrong, a mistake, maybe even sinful.  Essentially it is a feeling of mistrust in your Creator.

This is trust…

 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.  Romans 8:18-19

So how can you be thankful for your blessings and not feel guilty?    Put God back on the throne and bow your knee to His will.  Trust that we are all on a different path with Jesus and that each is individualized, made perfect for that particular person, a path that may include suffering.   Stop comparing.  Change that guilt to compassion, mercy, and love for others.  Serve them, wash their feet.  And then throw your head back with great joy and be thankful for every gift He has given you.

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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What you are really longing for is Heaven y’all.  The place where all tears are washed away.  Where there will no longer be any curse,  Where we will all have new perfect bodies.  Where we will see the face of God.   (see Revelation 21)

There are many situations that we find ourselves in when the conflicting emotions of thankfulness and guilt push their way into our heart. Look y'all, guilt is the wrong emotion to have in situations like this.

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Pictures:  + Yellowstone National Park, ++a state park in Texas, +++sunset on the family ranch in Montana

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