Category Archives: Security

You Can’t Outrun the Long Arm of the Lord

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The phrase “Long Arm of the Law” dredges up Marshall Matt Dillon from the ‘Gunsmoke’, Cowboys and Indians and gun fights in the streets of the Wild West.  Wherever the bad guys were (always dressed in black), you were sure to see Marshall Dillon show up to save the day.  The good guys always win, right?  Hi Ho Silver, awaaaay!  Even the Lone Ranger rode in on a white horse to make sure that good prevailed and bad was punished.  The cries of the poor, needy and down-trodden were heard three states away and drew the masked man to come save the day.  Unfortunately, all of this only took place on a Hollywood set for the entertainment of television viewers.  Real life is not fair.  The good don’t always prevail.  The cries of the poor and needy are not heard….or are they?

Psalm 33:18 “But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love” ~NIV

God never sleeps and never tires of reaching out to help those who cry out to Him.  Just like a parent who rushes when they hear their child crying, He is there to help – if only we call on Him.  When my children where little, they sometimes worried that I might not hear them if they cried in the night.  I reassured them that I could sleep through an earthquake, but should they need me, I was awake and alert.  God is better than that because he doesn’t even rest from searching for those who might need Him.

Psalm 139:1-18

1 You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; 
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways. 
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely. 
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, 
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, 
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 For you created my inmost being; 
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful, 
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God! 
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them, 
    they would outnumber the grains of sand —
    when I awake, I am still with you.

This is one of my favorite passages from the Bible!  Where can I possibly go that God can’t find me?  According to these words written by David, there is no where on heaven or earth that He is not already there.  Sometimes I may not want Him to see me because I am ashamed of my actions or I have traveled away from Him, but He will not let me go!  His love for me is so strong that no matter how far I try to run or the dark places that I may try to hide myself in from Him, His eyes are watching.  I am sure you are familiar with the game of Hide and Seek.  Who as a child has not played this favorite game?  I used to have the best hiding places.  One of my favorite things to do was to sneak into the dining room and squeeze myself into one of the side doors in the serving buffet.  I have no idea how I was able to fit into such a small place, but nevertheless I did.  No one could find me in that spot.  I would sit there in silence waiting, but no one would come.  Even in that dark hiding place, I was not alone, for God was there with me.  It is impossible to hide from Him.  In good or bad, He is there.  He rejoices in our happiness and triumphs but he is there to hold us and heal us in our hurts and sorrow.  His presence is not dependent upon our good behavior, thankfully, but is a gift to us because He loves and cares for us.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:7  ~AMP

Are you lonely, tired or hurt?  Are you excited with good news?  Look to your Heavenly Father, for he waits anxiously for you to call Him.  He is always there!

 

Aside

Did you ever play the game ‘telephone’ when you were younger?  That was a favorite of mine.  The game worked best with a large group and the results were usually very comical!  Everyone sat in a circle.  One person started the game by whispering a phrase or story to the person next to them who would repeat what they heard (or what they thought they heard) to the person next to them.  This process would continue until the story got back to the person who originally started the game.  The original story would be revealed as well as the story that had made it’s way around the circle and through many ears and translations.  The two stories never matched and really took on a life of it’s own.  One of the reasons that the story did not remain intact is that people hear what they want to hear.  Perhaps one of the translators was distracted and only heard half of the story and then made up the part they missed.  Perhaps, and this is the reason I tend to place most weight on, people anticipate what the story might be and as their focus is on their own anticipated outcome, they miss the actual information being passed to them.  This game taught many lessons to my group of friends and I:  Don’t believe everything you hear; Gossip can be painful and untrue; Lies spread like wildfire and never end the way you intend…..the lessons that can be drawn from this game are innumerable.

I was thinking about this game today as I heard about a young lady whose feelings were crushed as a result of a conversation that she didn’t hear.  She saw people whispering and immediately imagined that they could only be talking about her.  This propelled her to criticize herself as she pinpointed the root of the imagined conversation.  ‘Her outfit must be out of style, although she had recently purchased it and thought it looked alright when she got dressed this morning.’  ‘She must look ugly today.  She was definitely having a bad hair day so that must be the topic.’  ‘Her work production was down and she is probably about to be called into her bosses’ office for discipline.”  On an on these thoughts ran through her mind until she had worked herself into a migraine and overwhelming sadness.  In reality, her co-workers were talking about a picnic they were planning for the following weekend.  The conversation had absolutely nothing to do with her and yet, she had made herself sick as a result of her runaway imagination.  Has this ever happened to you?  I can raise my hand to admit that I am guilty of presuming myself the topic of secret conversations.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  How silly!  We have enough trouble to deal with that we know about without creating trouble where there is none.  If we would only keep our eyes on Him, we could avoid so much hurt and suffering!

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!  Trust in the Lord always, for the Lord God is the eternal Rock.”  Isaiah 26:3-4 (New Living Translation)

I love this verse!  I am making a concerted effort to keep my focus on Jesus, where my thoughts and focus should be rather than down in the weeds of imagination.  Please join me in this effort.  Leave comments of encouragement or suggestions to help myself and others as we endeavor to keep our eyes on Jesus!

Telephone

Safety in the Storm

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I am not a fan of thunderstorms!  I do enjoy a nice, quiet and gentle rain – especially if I get to lay in bed and read a good book while I hear the rain in the background.  Once you add the sound effects of thunder and lightning though, I lose my sense of relaxation.  In fact, I tense up and jump as the thunder snaps.  We had the pleasure of encountering one of these storms the other evening as we were driving.  The sky was alive with electrically charged and vivid displays of white heat as lighting sizzled across the black sky.  This was followed immediately by the loudest sonic booms that I believe I have ever heard.  The highway shook underneath us from the power of this storm (maybe that’s exaggerating a bit, but it very well could have been shaking).  A few minutes later, the rain fall became more forceful until it turned into hail.  This was a severe thunderstorm, in the words of the emergency message that sounded a few minutes later over the radio (thank you, National Weather Alert System!).  As I watched nature’s drama taking place outside the windshield while gripping the seat with white knuckles, my husband said, “relax”.  Huh?  Are you kidding me?  Who could relax in all of this cosmic chaos?  “Relax.  You are in the safest place,” he said again.  Whoa!  I surely did not feel relaxed and I may be slow on the uptake, but what was safe about this situation?   I know that my wide-eyed look of horror must have conveyed this question to him, because he continued, “you are surrounded by rubber tires which grounds you and prevents the lighting’s electricity from harming you.”  That sounded familiar.  I do remember hearing that from childhood and oddly enough, I started to calm down.  My husband has that ability.  He is truly my rock!

I have another Rock!  He is my anchor in a troubled storm.  He gives me peace when chaos is all around me.  “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.”  Psalm 4:8 (NIV)

Mark 4:35-40 tells the story of a violent storm:     

35 And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?

39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Jesus is our example of how we should live our lives – in every aspect of our daily activities.  I believe that many lessons can be learned from this story but the most obvious truth is plainly spoken by Jesus.  “Why are you so fearful?  Why don’t you have faith?”  Even in His sleep, He was not afraid when everything around Him was swirling with unsettledness and danger.  This is the model by which He shows us how to live.  We are not to be afraid of anything for He holds us in the palm of His hands.  Nothing can harm us for He is our great Defender and Deliverer!  What are you afraid of today?  Give your fears to the Master of the wind and the Maker of the rain.  He will keep you in perfect peace when you are focused on Him!

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”

 Isaiah 26:3 (NIV)

Laundry Day

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I have two teenage boys.  Combine that with white clothes, and…..yup, you get the picture.  Dirty clothes, all the time!  I am convinced that even if the t-shirts or socks stay clean and white, the wearer feels it necessary to soil the item, just on principle.  Sometimes, I can’t even identify the crud and muck that is attached to their clothes.   I’m pretty sure that I don’t want to know what food has been ground in and how long it has been attached to the clothes that I am examining.  I am most certain that I don’t want to inhale the aroma that I refer to as “the stink” as it permeates the house.  A mother’s love truly knows no limits, although my limits frequently come close to being breached.  This morning was no exception.  I had laundry baskets lined up and ready to start sorting this morning.  Before I could even get to my older son’s pile, the overwhelming stench of ripe mildew almost drew tears from my eyes.  Yuck!

I know that I have told my son that wet swimming trunks and clothes need to be hung to dry before placing with other clothes.  He studied the process of mold creation in science.  This is not a new concept to my child.  It is amazing to see the disconnect between cleanliness and my son.  I will most certainly deal with him later, but for the moment I bit my tongue and dug into the dirt.  A little pre-wash, some laundry soap, a generous dousing of Clorox and 45 minutes later……white clothes!  Almost as good as new but a slight dinge still remained.  Sometimes I have been able to get close to the original white, but the creative stains that have found their way into my laundry are just too strong to completely disappear.

This process got me thinking.  I am that dirty shirt.  Maybe I don’t carry the stains on the outside where they are visible to the human eye, but without a doubt, I am a filthy rag.  “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  Isaiah 64:6 (NIV).  Obviously, I am speaking metaphorically, but there is never a day that I have not piled dirt into my life.  Sometimes the dirt may take the form of  impatience with other drivers (this is a definite occurrence on a daily basis), other times I may lose my temper (this one, too).  Regardless of the enormity or smallness of my uncleanliness, dirt is dirt.  In order to become clean, I need to be washed.  Just as my laundry cannot wash itself, neither can I clean myself.  I am not capable.  Only One who is perfectly clean can perform this action.  Psalm 51:7 says, wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  (NIV) Even the strongest, industrial strength Clorox cannot make something whiter than snow.

When I believed in the death and resurrection of  Jesus as the penalty for my sins, He washed me perfectly clean.  This is a promise I can claim for all eternity!  I am His and He is mine.  How beautiful and precious is this gift of clean clothes!  I am so thankful that I am washed by His blood and the stains, stink and dirt is forever gone and completely forgotten!

“I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me,Jeremiah 33:8 (NIV).

“I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”  Isaiah 43:25 (NIV)

Steps

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Psalm 37:23

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him.

Who doesn’t love a good shoe!

Every woman has a journey that begins with a step.  Some days it’s one step forward and two steps back but each step takes us closer to the purpose God has intended for our lives.  I have noticed that each one of my steps also brings me to a newer sense of realization that I am learning so much as I move forward.  All I need to do is look back over my past footprints to see the success stories and triumphs that way overshadow my mistakes and failures.

I want to use this site as a way to reach other women and share ideas, thoughts, helpful hints, questions and solutions.  Some of my triumphs have been so small that they are almost not worth mentioning, but they make me smile.  For instance, I discovered that if I heat the cream for my coffee before I add to my cup, the flavor is so much better and I get to drink a nice, hot cup for a longer time which makes my entire morning so enjoyable!  It’s these little things that encourage me and make me stronger and better.  Hence, the “better today” moniker.  The things that make us better do make us stronger.  I believe that God has ordered my footsteps in such a way that I will come across, usually stumble over, a solution to a problem or an easier way to do something at just the time I need it.  He is great that way!  This keeps me from becoming egotistical and self-reliant.  I know that all good things come from Him who knows just what I need and when I need it.

I hope the things you read here are helpful and meaningful.  Enjoy!

It’s a Priority

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Wow!  This has been a super-busy week and I have not been able to write as I had hoped.  Too many other things pushed this out of the priority list.  I know that many of my friends use an actual, written to-do list but I have a running list that I keep on a conveyor belt in my mind.  I am constantly moving tasks by priority as I complete others.  More often than not, the tasks that I think are the most important get pushed to the end of the list as something at my children’s school or some other unplanned for event needs to jump in with priority.  It’s a vicious cycle that is usually a lose-lose situation.  Most definitely, there is not much me time.  Long gone are the days of bubble baths, girl’s night out or all-day shopping fests.  These have been replaced by laundry, cooking, cleaning, car pool and the list goes on and on and on, ad nauseum.  This afternoon’s priority was to help my husband in the yard.  He jokes that he never gets any help and sadly, he’s right.  So, I determined that I would indeed help today and make a priority.  You probably can guess how this task went….wickedly HOT afternoon, mosquitoes, and overall waning enthusiasm tanked my great intentions.  I quickly became a silent observer and practice some back seat driving (mowing, in this case).  What I did get to experience though was actually quite special.  As my husband worked on trimming some straggling branches to better frame our deck view, we heard some frantic screeching.  In a flurry of red, a family of cardinals came flying at break-neck speed out of the tree and did a quick fly-by as if to order construction on their home to cease.  Not quite picking up on this hint, my husband proceeded to finish the task.  The fly-around repeated in an even louder display of earnest fear and frustration.  What was not a priority for me, quickly became a priority for a family of red birds who had previously been enjoying a quiet and leisurely day.  Isn’t funny how priorities change?  It struck me as a gentle reminder as to how parents will do anything to keep their children safe and their home secure.  I can only imagine if a wrecking ball approached the window of one of my sons, how I would be running out of the door in a hot minute to put a stop to the impending destruction.  Psalm 55:22 tells us to “cast our cares on the Lord and He will sustain us; He will never let the righteous be shaken.”  Isn’t it great to know that no matter who comes to remodel our house, shake our foundation or disrupt our serenity that we have a Father who will never let us be shaken!  The hand that created the universe is the very same hand that holds me tightly in His palm.  I am forever safe and can rest in complete peace knowing that He watches over me.  I may never get all of my priorities aligned or completed and it is quite doubtful that I will ever be much help to my husband in the yard, but it is a fact that I am a priority to my heavenly Father and He always completes what He starts!