What If?

Guardian Angel from Childhood
Guardian Angel from Childhood

Talk about another wake up call!  As I listen to the news regarding the mudslide that has taken place about an hour and a half southeast of where I live, I am again reminded of how our lives can change in seconds!  One minute you may be doing your normal daily regime, and the next minute, disaster hits.

This last Sunday, our pastor asked us two questions:

  1. What would you do if you were to receive one billion dollars next week?
  2. What would you do if you lost everything you own next week?
  • 3.  Based on the above, how would your life change?

It really made me think.

So, let’s talk about the first question.  What would you do if you were to receive one billion dollars next week?    If we came into money, we could think of all kinds of things to do with it.  We would have all kinds of plans that would come to mind, and most of it may be for ourselves or immediate wants.  But, with that kind of windfall, we may, and I hope that is true, decide to be gracious and help with the needs around us.  But for the most part, we would probably be making all these plans with our comforts foremost in our minds.  How would your life change?

Second question.  What if we lost everything we own next week?  How would we react to that?  I think of all those in the Oso, Washington area that have lost everything!  There have many lost lives and many with questions about loved ones who haven’t been found.  Their homes… and everything in them…gone.  Then, there are those who have survived that are thankful to be alive.  Some “just happened” to be away from the house with other activities.  In seconds, their lives are changed forever!  Lost…everything you own.  How would your life change?

So how then, shall we live?  That question seems very key for us today.  How will I live out my life?  Am I ready for a storm of whatever comes my way?  Am I ready to meet the Lord if I am over taken by that storm?  Am I living in such a way daily, that I have happiness, joy and peace in my life?  Do I share my love freely with my family so they know how important they are to me?  Yes…  It makes me think.  I hope it makes you think also.  It is true that we can’t predict these kinds of disasters. They happen.  Scripture tells us that we will have troubles.  But, we can live each day as if it is our last; never closing our eyes without giving thanks, without saying I love you to those who need to hear it, without feeling gratitude for what God has given us, and without forgiveness; either asking, given, and asked for from God.  It would change our lives if we lived like that, wouldn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to make any of you anxious about the future.  “The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable.” (Pastor Herb Geeslin)  If we always worry about what might happen, it would make us miserable and it also means that we aren’t trusting the Lord.  However, we have hope because we have a Savior that never leaves us.  EVER.  I think it should cause us want to have abundant joy and zest for life.

What drives your happiness now?  Don’t let it be things and possessions that are your main focus.  They can be taken from you in seconds as we have seen in Oso.  I would encourage you to talk it over with God and see what your score is.

Let’s keep the families of Oso, Washington in our prayers as they try to pick up the pieces of their lives.  It could be yours, or mine.

A changed life relishes the future of today. (From the same sermon mentioned above).  If you need to, make some changes in how you think about your life.  Let’s live our lives with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Walking the journey with you…

 

~JoAnn

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What’s In A Word?

Words

Today in my quiet time, I was thinking and praying about my word for this year…watchful.  I went to the dictionary and here are a few things it had to say about watchful:

Observe, close observation, keeping guard, time on duty, vigil, watchman, keep awake, be cautious, and contemplate.

Wow!  That is a mouthful of the same word!  But when I started going through the list, it is a lesson onto itself!  So let’s look at these words because they apply to your life daily, and to mine.

Let’s start with observe and close observation.  To observe is to sit back and watch over all that which is going on.  Something may catch your eye, or you see a behavior, a mannerism, something you like or dislike, and you are pretty relaxed as you sit and observe what is going on around you.  Now close observation, that means you are zeroing in on something.  You look for movement, changes, expressions, things that tell you more about what you are observing.  You are taking a specific interest in something or someone.  What if we really did that every day?  What would we notice and “move on” if we thought about this more as we went about our day?

What about Vigil?  We think of prayer vigils, but that word means that we are on it; maybe even 24/7 for a period of time.  We don’t leave until our appointed time.  We observe closely what is going on while we are there.  For me, vigils will always include prayer.  I want to see what I am supposed to be seeing and pray for what God wants to give me.  It is my responsibility to open up to God so that He can place within my heart, that which He desires for me to see and be a part of.  It is constant.  I’m on alert.

Keeping guard is like the watchman.  I have talked before about being a watchman on the wall.  But, again, we have to learn what we are watching for.  We have to ask God to show us what we are watching for.  Why do we watch?  So we can discern the enemy or The Messenger and know which is which.

Keeping awake is something some of us would rather not do.  I have had weeks since myIMG_5249 surgery of not sleeping at night.  I don’t think there is anything more frustrating than wanting to sleep and can’t!  But in this case, we are to “keep awake”.  Why?  We don’t want anything sneaking up on us.  We are to keep awake and pray.  We want to stay awake with God.  Give Him our fears and concerns and worries.  It may involve a period of waiting.

Cautious is another definition.  Cautious is once again knowing what is for me and what is against me.  How do I know THAT?  We can ask God for discernment and He will give it to us.  When we have a close relationship with Him, we more easily recognize God at work, when God speaks, and what He would have us to do.  But we need to be cautious of many things such as, what we watch, how we speak, our example to others, and what we listen too and what or who we spend time with.  It’s easy to get off track.  It may sound good, tickles your fancy a bit, and its easy, but it may not be biblically correct.  Be cautious.

Contemplate is one that closely resembles your quiet time.  It’s a time when you are quiet and you listen.  it’s hard for us to be quiet sometimes but that is a good skill to improve upon.  When we are quiet or reading God’s Word, we contemplate its meaning to us, and what would God have us to do with what we learn?  Use it in our everyday lives of course.  Take time to contemplate where you are and where you are going.  Think and review.  How does it apply?  What truth is in it for me?  Remember when your parents got on you about something you might have done wrong?  They would tell you to go to your room and think about it?  Sounded dumb to me when I was young because I could go to my room and do anything I wanted then.  But did I?  I might have done some things, but usually in the middle of the “things” I was thinking about what they said.  We are to be contemplative.

Lastly is time on duty.  Now this is where the rubber meets the road!  How much time do I give to being watchful, or observing, or using my awake time?  It’s how much time we give God.  Do we live out our daily lives as God would live?  I don’t think this means “duty”.  It means how much time I give in my day to things of the Lord.  Each of us has something we are to do here on earth.  Spend time on duty seeking what He has for you to do.

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So here we are in a new year and I would challenge you to think through these words that mean watch/watchful.  I know it’s MY word for the year, but I think we can all benefit from having these thoughts in the forefront of our thinking.  Don’t get over whelmed, just ask God to give you the watchful eye to see what He sees and to act on what He wants for you to act on.

I’m excited to see what it brings into my life.  I know when God moves to help others, it ends up blessing me more!  You will begin to see what you haven’t noticed before and it the process, your life will also be changed.  Want a good book on this subject of noticing?  Read The Noticer by Andy Andrews.  You will never be the same!  I hope this chat time will give you the boost you need to start!

Walking the journey with you…