Trash Room

Jesus, promises, forgivenessWhile on vacation, the sign on a door near the elevator caught my attention. There were only two words on it – Trash Room. I’m sure that most people wouldn’t give this a second thought. My thoughts, however, seem to go in different directions from most!

I immediately thought of all the trash that I collect in my mind. There are things that I hold onto that would be much better thrown out with the trash. Negative thoughts, self doubts and hurt feelings don’t serve a useful purpose in my life. Regrets from the past are not helping me to move forward. Perhaps a trash room where I could dispose of them would be a good idea.

Upon thinking about this, I realized that I don’t need a whole room dedicated to trash removal. What I have is so much better. I can take my sorrows, regrets and sins and lay them at the feet of Jesus. When I do, he promises to remove them as far as the east is from the west. Not only are they taken away, they are also forgiven and then forgotten so I need never deal with them again.

as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12 NIV

Speed Bumps

God, inspirationSpeed bumps are necessary to ensure traffic safety. Going over the bump causes me to slow down my vehicle. I am used to speed bumps that are fairly low and just a minor inconvenience. Years ago, when my sister-in-law was still a teenager, she told me that she could drive over them fast enough that she didn’t feel the bumps!

In some areas the speed bumps are not only high, but also wide. These definitely impact my speed as I need to slow to a crawl to get over them. The nice thing is that there are signs alerting us as we approach them. That way we can prepare and not be caught off guard.

I look at the warning signs and wonder what it would be like to have a sign warning me when I am coming up to a speed bump in my life. Some of the speed bumps I’ve encountered have been just minor irritations, hardly slowing me down. Others are the large, bone jarring kind that causes me to almost stop in my tracks. They may even seem too large to get past. If I had the warning sign in life, I may do more than slow down. Not wanting the uncomfortable interruption on my otherwise smooth path, I may turn around instead of moving forward. If I know what the future holds, there is no need for faith and trust in the Lord. I don’t need to second guess myself, I only need to trust that the Lord is guiding me and he knows what is best.

But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” Psalm 31:14 NIV

Child’s Play

Jesus, inspiration, dreamsWe sat on a bench in the sunshine enjoying the sights and sounds of children in the playground. When we first arrived there with our grandchildren I heard shouts of, “Take my picture;” “Look at me;” or “Push me on the swing.” The longer we were there, the less the adults were noticed.

What impressed me was the imagination of children at play. They were unselfconsciously creating the worlds that existed in their minds. New children arriving were welcomed into the fantasy. During this time anything was possible. We watched as one became a superhero. Another waved an invisible magic want to make it rain cookies for those around her!

At one point in life I must have had the same creative imagination. I wonder when and why it disappeared. Perhaps it was when I became too concerned with what others thought. In striving to be like everyone else, I gave up the freedom to dream about who I could become.

The good news is that Jesus has bigger dreams for my life than I could ever dream for myself. He is not limited by my lack of imagination. He also has the power and ability to bring those dreams to reality. My part in this is to pray for his leading and then trust and let him direct me. Instead of limiting his power in my life by asking, “Who am I to …?” I need to give him full reign by saying, “In his power, who am I not to?”

For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, put gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

Not the Same

God, Jesus, inspirationSomeone new joined our exercise class one morning. From the moment the class started she complained to anyone who would listen. The temperature was too cool, the exercises seemed disorganized, and on and on. She normally attended the later class that met in the warmer pool but due to a change in work schedule had to come to our class that day. This was not the same as the class she was used to and she was not happy. Halfway through the class she gave up and left.

Thinking about this later, I realized that the major difficulty for her was to adapt to something that was unfamiliar. As the saying goes, she was comparing apples to oranges.

It made me wonder what my attitude is like in a similar circumstance. Do I go into a new situation expecting things to be the same as the one I’m familiar with? How do I deal with change? Am I willing to try new things? The answers made me uncomfortable. On occasion I have been known to react like the lady in the class. Change can be very frightening.

The fact is that I can’t move ahead and embrace new things if I have the mindset that everything should remain the same. When I take my fears and concerns to the Lord, he gives me peace and guidance. He has many new opportunities for me but I can’t embrace them until I let go of what I am currently holding onto.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13,14 NIV

Do Not Disturb

God, inspiration, disturb, availableMy husband and I had arrived to have dinner with family. Our young granddaughters were told to come to the table, but instead, one headed upstairs to her bedroom. The other grandma called her to come back down and the response we heard was, “Don’t ‘sturb me. I’m doing something important.” Although it sounded very cheeky, she was actually being serious, as she had gone to put something away. They have been taught to tidy up before meals and she was doing just that.

Talking about it later, my husband and I felt that she had probably heard a variation of those words before. Mom works from a home office and chances are the girls have been told not to disturb her when she’s in the office as she is doing important work.

Upon closer examination, I wondered if I do this in my life. Do I get so focused on the little things that I fail to see the bigger picture? Have I missed out on opportunities because I didn’t want to be taken away from what I was doing? When I have felt God calling me to spend time with him, have I make it clear that I’m too busy to be disturbed and later would work better for me?

God is never too busy to be disturbed by me. He is always available, always willing to be there for me. My life works much better when I take down my Do Not Disturb sign and make sure I am available for Him.

Do you have contempt for God, who is very kind to you, puts up with you, and deals patiently with you? Do you realize that it is God’s kindness that is trying to lead you to him and change the way you think and act? Romans 2:4 GWT

Tribute to My Mother

inspiration, favor, happyMy mother passed away 15 years ago on Mother’s Day weekend. Today I can think of no more fitting tribute than to share something she wrote many years ago. This is from a talk she gave in 1981.

Do Yourself a Favor – Make Someone Happy

We are sent here together, as sharers of each others burdens, and we should be quick in our deeds of mercy. It is not simply a suggestion that we should follow these ideals if we felt like it – we are told that suffering and distress, wherever found, command the service of every one who can soften a sorrow, or dry a tear.
There is an added bonus in this for each of us, too. When we perform a helpful, or kindly act for another, it makes us feel good inside. Norman Vincent Peale, a famous author and lecturer, words it this way – “Helping others is one of the best ways to help yourself. Those warm feelings that spread within us when we do something nice for someone else are some of the best feelings that we can ever experience.”

Taking his daily stroll, an old but energetic gentleman dropped a half-dollar on the sidewalk. A passerby retrieved it, and hurried up to the man to return it. “Oh, I didn’t LOSE it,” the man said. “I always drop a coin when I take my daily walk.” “But WHY?” asked the passerby. “I’ll let you in on a little secret,” the old gentleman smiled, “It pleases me to think that the person who finds it, will be happy for the rest of the day.” You could say that the old gentleman was doing himself the favour of making some else happy.

Isn’t it wonderful that one of the precious, effective, and long-lasting gifts that one person can give to another, is absolutely free? It’s true, though. Long after the expensive present has worn out, or been forgotten, the gift of a kind and encouraging word, a thoughtful act, or a friendly smile, can live on indefinitely. And not only are these easy-to-give gifts free – the supply never runs out!
A friendly stranger on the street remarks, “What a lovely day! It’s a joy to be alive!” – and suddenly we realize that it is! Some of their happiness is passed on to us.

Sometimes we really don’t feel all that happy or cheerful ourselves – then we need to PRACTISE smiling and being cheerful.
I’ll laugh at myself, in spite of myself,
No matter HOW I may feel.
And after awhile, my painted on smile
Will turn into one that is real.

A few years ago, a 102 year old man appeared on one of Groucho Marx’s television programs, and matched wits quite successfully with the professional comedian. When asked why he seemed so cheerful all of the time, the oldster said, “Every morning when I get out of bed, I have two choices – to be happy or to be unhappy. I always choose to be happy.” We, too would be wise to make this conscious choice.

“It’s not just as we take it, this mystical world of ours – Life’s field will yield as we MAKE it, a harvest of thorns, or of flowers.” (Goethe)

Let us concentrate on harvesting the flowers. We know that a small effort on our part, can make a great deal of difference to the happiness of others – and to ourselves. Let’s do ourselves a favour, and make someone else happy, today and every day. Happiness is not an accident – it is a by-product, as a result of our trying to live according to Christian ideals.

New Journal

perspective, GodI had just started writing in a new journal. This one had been chosen for the inspiring words on the cover. Inside the journal were designs or words bordering some pages. When I reached one of the pages I was having difficulty figuring out what something said. It was all in capital letters and looked like IM A GINE. That made no sense to me, what did im a gine mean? Perhaps it was I’M and not IM. After several minutes of trying to figure it out, I turned back to the cover, hoping for enlightenment. What I saw there caused me to burst into laughter. It wasn’t three words, but a single word – IMAGINE. With the stylized writing I had put spaces where there were none. Now that I knew what it was supposed to say, it was easy to see it. I did find it rather ironic that I didn’t have the imagination to see the word imagine! It was all a matter of perspective.

This caused me to wonder how many times I have misinterpreted something because my perspective was wrong. In over thinking I tend to make things far more complicated than they actually are.

The lesson here is that I can work and struggle and not get the desired results. When I focus too hard, I lose my perspective. What is needed is for me to relax and realize that I don’t have to do everything on my own. When I call out to God, he will either equip me or send someone to walk along side of me to help. His perspective is always the right one.

[The Lord says,] “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you.” Psalm 25:4,5 GWT


snow, spring, peaceThe date was May 3rd. I was attending a weekend retreat. When I looked out of my window in the morning I was greeted by the beauty of snow-covered evergreen trees. The snow, soft and gentle, continued throughout the day.

While this is not typical weather for this time of year in Central Alberta, it was no use being upset. There was nothing I could do to change it, so instead I chose acceptance. Mid-afternoon I decided to embrace the weather and went for a walk in the beautiful surroundings, enjoying the peace as the snow covered everything under a blanket of white.

There was a deeper lesson for me here. My life does not always go the way I had envisioned it. Sometimes the sun I long for disappears for a time. I can grumble and complain but the only thing that will accomplish, is to make me feel worse. What I need to do is not only accept my situation, but to make the best of it. God is always watching over me. Nothing I go through is a surprise to him. When I willingly leave it all in God’s hands, acceptance comes easier. He is able to make everything work for his good.

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV


God, inspiration,The store I work in changed locations recently. We get phone calls regularly asking where our new store is and how to get there.

Last weekend we had a booth at a Home Show and I asked everyone who stopped by if they’d been to our new location. Not everyone was familiar with the street name or the landmarks I gave. When that happened I would give them detailed directions. The first thing I needed to establish was their starting point. From there I could guide them to our store.

This is a good example of life. In order to reach my destination I need to know where I am starting from and where I want to be. Only then can I plan the route to get there. I also need to ensure that I know east from west when I am making a turn.

Even with accurate directions it is still possible to get lost if I misinterpret them. Detours and roadblocks may cause my route to be altered. A once familiar landmark may no longer be there to guide me. There is always the possibility that the directions will have to be re-evaluated in order to reach my destination. Am I able to make the necessary corrections?

The good news is that God knows where he wants to take me and how to get me there. What looks like a detour to me, may be part of the overall plan. The shortcut I wanted to take may not be in my best interests. When I spend time with God I will understand his leading and know that the best route is the one he has planned for me.

A person may plan his own journey, but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9 GWT

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