The Marvelous Mundane

Every morning just after daybreak I take the dogs for a walk. They know when they hear the rattle of their harnesses it’s time to go. From the time they’re “dressed” and the leashes attached they know their grand adventure awaits!

Every day, we take the same route because we learned our first day danger (aka big dogs, really big dogs) are at the other end of our street. You’d think though, like their human counterparts, they’d at least want to go in a different direction or maybe even not go. After all, it’s the same road, the same sites and smells every single day! That’s never been the case. They love their morning walk. They enjoy seeing the cows, horses, birds, whatever they encounter they enjoy. Even new trash on the roadside is appreciated. They’re totally engaged and enthrawled in their adventure enjoying every minute of it, so much so that I believe they forget they’re on leashes!

I enjoy the walks, too, but like everyone at some time or another, I can’t help but think of all the things I could (and probably should) be doing. Some days I confess I wish I had never started the walk thing because I have more to do than time to do it. I’ve noticed on those days the Lord puts something right in front of me to tweek my attitude and make me glad I did.

I couldn’t help but wonder why we humans don’t participate in our every day, mundane things like those dogs do. Why don’t we enjoy what we have to do simply because we’re still able to do them? I thought about friends who let their dogs run loose because they’re physically unable to walk them. I thought about the fact that a couple of years ago I wouldn’t be able to even have the dogs, much less walk them, because of the time constraints involved with taking care of my father who’s now gone. I was reminded of how blessed I was to be walking those dogs and being able to see and enjoy (if I chose to) what I was privy to.

So I made a decision. Whatever I do, no matter how boring or taxing, I’m going to think about the pups and then make the effort to enjoy it. Everything I do, from cleaning up after the pets to the laundry, I’m going to appreciate being able to do it. I’m going to have a better attitude and work on gratefulness about everything. I realized a day may come that I won’t be able to walk, see or enjoy a lot of the things I can now. I’m deciding not to take anything or the ability to do anything for granted.

Thank God for life-changing reminders while walking the dogs. From now on, I’ll thank God for the marvelous mundane!
Philippians 4:11

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What’s More Important: the fence or what’s behind it?

I was walking the dogs this morning and our path takes us by lots of farm land. I noticed the fence row this morning which was constantly pristine mostly because it’s a new fence. Farmers like to keep the fences clean without weeds and grass and of course, the barbwire taut and the posts firmly in the ground so the fence can do its job…keep the livestock where they’re supposed to be.

I got to thinking about my family and the events of the past 7 years or so. The results have caused pain, lots of hurt and frankly have been hard to get through. While praying about all of this the Lord gave me the following.

Some people get all caught up in their fences and neglect what they’re trying to protect. A lot of resources are spent on taking care of the outside while neglecting what’s on the inside. Some property lines aka fences, exteriors, are immaculate while the inside is a mess. Barns falling down, so much clutter and trash…stuff from yesterday that needs to be cleaned out. The people behind the doors are left without what they need to be the healthy people God intended them to be. Some maintain the property, work themselves to death, constantly spend themselves working on the outside neglecting the inside.

Don’t we do the same? We spend a lot of time and money decorating, maintaining our outside while we neglect the inside: our hearts and minds.

Yes. We’re supposed to take care of everything God’s given us but we aren’t supposed to neglect our family, friends, or our hearts and minds while we’re doing that. If we would spend the time and resources maintaining our “inside” that we do our “outside” I’m sure we would be healthier people all the way around.

Don’t be one of those folks who reaches the end of their life realizing they’ve  spent everything taking care of exterior things and the interior things (what’s inside the fence) have rottened and been neglected. Balance is the key. The fence is important but it serves no purpose if what’s inside is neglected and dies.

Staying Orange in a Red World

I’m a huge University of Tennessee fan (go VOLS!) and I live in Alabama. See my problem? I have a hard time during football season to say the least! I’ve lived here over 25 years and I can honestly say I’ve remained true to my Vols. When I buy flowers, yard decorations, anything for my office it has to be orange.  Just little pieces of home everywhere to keep myself motivated and show everyone I’m not backing down.  There have been many who’ve tried to convert me and get me to renounce my loyalty to no avail. I’ve stood firm and their insistances have only made me more determined not to conform regardless of all the National titles, the whoopins we’ve suffered. I’m still a Vols fan. I’m still proudly displaying my loyalty to my beloved team.

My plight made me think of being a Christian AND LIVING LIKE ONE in this world. Many people go to church but when they step out of Sunday and into their Monday you couldn’t tell it.

We want to be real and live God-honoring lives but let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes we think we need to loosen a little bit. I mean maybe we’d have more friends, more fun and fit in a little easier if we acted like everyone else. Sometimes I think it would be easier just to shut up and try to blend in.

What about you? Do you hide your Christianity? Do you live like everyone else, talk like everyone else? The Bible…you know that book we’re supposed to live by, pattern our lives after, says we’re supposed to be different. God says we’re a “peculiar people”, chosen for HIS good pleasure. Hmmmm.

I want to stand strong for God and my love for Him as I support my favorite football team.  I want to be as faithful to God (more so actually) as I am to the Vols.  I’ve decided you can’t talk me out of my decision on either. Go ahead and try. It may not be easy to honor my decision sometimes but I’ll do my best.

I’m not conforming; I’m being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. I think all of us could use a big dose of boldness and live like we mean it. Our world needs more of God, His love and His truth.

I’m staying orange…what about you? 

The American Soldier

Such a touching & fitting tribute. Thank you Chris Martin for writing this & sharing and THANK ALL OF YOU WHO SERVE/HAVE SERVED to keep us free. God bless you. God bless America.

Chris Martin Writes

Since before and after the birth of our freedom, men and women have given their lives in sacrifice for this country. I won’t lie, our country is in a world of hurt, full of sin and despair. That, however, doesn’t change the fact that there are still brave men and women today who answer the call and put on that uniform. I wrote this for them and their families…for those brave souls presently serving and who have ever served in the military. It’s called The American Soldier.

The American Soldier Copyright 2012 Chris Martin In the fading sun, you can see them standing tall The fearless men and women, unafraid to risk it all So far away, they fight even when it doesn't make sense While we sleep inside the safety of our white picket fence A father sits in silence, a wrinkled picture in his hand With each tear that…

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My Great Enabler

I have a problem. I’m an addict. I used to drink a lot but I don’t any more. However my addiction-nature still lives. I don’t want alcohol…I want my way. I want things to be good and right. A lot of wrongs have occurred in our lives and on the other side of 50, there’s a deep “addiction” for happily ever after. I want easy. I want fair. I want not to hurt, struggle or suffer any more. See the problem? Let me help you..”I WANT” is the problem.

Psalm 37:8 slapped me in the face this morning. The Lord gave me a wake up call. “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; DO NOT FRET IT LEADS ONLY TO EVILDOING.”  (Emphasis mine)

Fretting is that stirring of emotion that makes us want. It makes us focus on how things aren’t rather than trusting God in how things are. Fret keeps me focused on ME.

Oswald Chambers is one of my favorite Authors. In “My Utmost for His Highest”, he says fretting signifies the evil in me because the ability NOT to fret isn’t based on my circumstances, it’s based on my relationship with God.

Fretting (worry) comes from the desire to have my own way. Ouch that hurt but I must confess, it’s true.

It’s easy to praise God when things are good. Let’s face it, attacks from the enemy are becoming more intense. The fight for faith is relentless. The only way not to fret is to stay close to Him and soak in as much of Him as we can and then act out (literally) what He’s given us. He enables us not to fret, otherwise we will definitely stay in a tiz all the time.

“Do not fret” indicates we have to decide. It’s up to us whether we do or not. To me, it’s a pure form of submission, a decision to put me behind, once again, what’s pleasing to Father. What’s pleasing to Father? Being thankful, praying about everything and being anxious for nothing: not fretting!

This is the ultimate evidence of our faith, as I see it. If I have Him in my life…if I have the relationship I say I do with Him and His Spirit is “big” (I spend time with Him, in His word) I will live it. We often have to decide to live a pleasing life for Him and it starts with our attitude and what we choose to spend time thinking about.

We make the free choice not to fret and He enables us to do just that. He’s the power source and He’ll do His part. Will we do ours?

The Obstruction.

We want to be good. We want to do better, be better, be mighty perfect people for Jesus. Guess what? That will never happen. No one is righteous…no not one. My best will never be good enough if I’m the one doing it!

If I keep the focus on me…what I do and stay in a perpetual search for my purpose the focus is on me and not on Him. I’m obstructed and limit what God can do in my life. If I’m considering myself, my resources, my abilities and what I want, need then ok, where is He in that?

The work of Jesus is already finished in me…if I’ve accepted His Atonement. Nothing else needs to be done. If I’m constantly thinking about what I do/not do, who am I thinking about?

1st Peter 2:9 “but you ARE a royal priesthood…” (emphasis mine). Already done! All we have to do is live in that assurance daily constantly mindful of JESUS, not ourselves. One day at a time. Am I humble enough to do that, to not consider me at all? Every day?

Daily if I do this, the course of the rest of my life and what I do every day will put the emphasis on Him instead of me. I have to get me out of the way so I can see Him and others can too.