Mundane Monday: The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

Mundane Monday terrible day

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Every day is a blessing if we are breathing and above ground.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 118:24

“This is the day the LORD has brought about. We will be happy and rejoice in it.”

Alright, I already feel convicted having the title that I chose for this posting, but I wanted to cherish one last vent in my pity party.

Monday sure is a fitting choice for the happenings of today. Admittedly, they are first world problems, but when you have a job to do and cannot get anything done because of technologicial issues one after the other, it is frustrating. And I confess – I cried. Yup. And it felt good. ūüôā

After all, the word “technological” taken apart says tech – has – no – logic. Yep, so true.¬†Sometimes you just keep trying to make things work and they just don’t. What then? Get some chocolate, wings and a soda . . .

Oops – no, do the opposite of what you want to do.¬†Instead of complaining, which only makes things spiral further downward, laughing about circumstances can help. But more than anything, is focusing on God’s truth. If this is the day that the LORD “brought about” or allowed, He wants me to be happy in it. Um – I failed.

But when I consider much larger problems I have had, I begin to smile. For in comparison, these problems are minor and I am humbled that they bothered me so.

So if you are out there and had a struggle today, thank God that you are alive to struggle. If there are things that have broken or malfunctioned, thank the LORD for all the days that they have not. Maybe, just maybe, there is character being worked in and someone around us needs to see how we handle it. And sometimes – someone will notice and bless you and bring you flowers. ūüôā

Lord, thank You for your grace and strength when things don’t go “my way”. Help me to praise You at all times and to have a heart of gratitude.

 

Mundane Monday: Our Weary Flesh

James 4:1, 4-6, 11

1¬†Where do the conflicts and where do the quarrels among you come from? Is it not from this, from your passions that battle inside you? ¬†4¬†Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy. 5¬†Or do you think the scripture means nothing when it says, “The spirit that God caused to live within us has an envious yearning“? 6¬†But he gives greater grace. ¬†Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. 11¬†Do not speak against one another, brothers and sisters. He who speaks against a fellow believer or judges a fellow believer speaks against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but its judge.

James 5:8

“You also be patient and strengthen your hearts, for the Lord’s return is near.”

Ugh.  Monday again.  Before my feet hit the floor my mind is flooded with all that must be accomplished today.  Pulling the blanket over my head only prolongs the agony and finally I relent and rise.

Aware of my Monday morning “blahs”, God’s grace intervenes and I become aware that my thoughts are not God-honoring. ¬†He will grant the grace to accomplish what needs to be done each day. ¬†A miracle happens – a changed disposition to one of gratitude. ¬†Another day to live and serve God!

If there were to be a magic bullet to the Christian life, it would be contained in the passage above.  Recognizing the thoughts and deeds of the flesh and its inward driving passion and crucifying the misleading motivations frees us to live for Jesus and impact the world around us.

Like Paul, we often can find ourselves doing or thinking things that we are not even aware of.  We strive toward vain pursuits or form opinions about our brothers and sisters without pausing to consider what we are doing.

What is the driving force behind our actions? ¬†What causes us to behave one way or another toward an event, an organization or an individual? ¬†The flesh. ¬†The flesh wants the things of the world, yet this friendship with the world puts us at enmity with God. ¬†Friendship connotates a deeper level of commitment than Scripture’s counsel of being in the world and not of it. It is a fascination and a desire for temporal things that distract us from what really matters.

There is so much energy invested in what the flesh wants, chasing after what we are convinced we need, yet perhaps we don’t really want to be a slave to the demands of our flesh, after all.

Everything done in the flesh counts for nothing.  We are wise to pause to contemplate what is of the flesh and what is of the spirit.  Why do we like some people and others we avoid?  Could it be someone tried to form an opinion for us?  Our flesh recoils at work we do not want to do or activities we do not want to participate in, yet maybe deep down we want to.

Again, like Paul, we do not really fully know what it is we want to do and the things we want to do we can hardly carry out.  But there is hope.  We are all flesh, but we have an inner spirit longing for the things of God, urging us on.  What a gift.  In the face of the battle of the flesh, grace wins. His grace, His Holy Spirit is greater.

Being acquainted with the world on an ever-increasing level leaves us empty. ¬†But knowing and hungering after God’s word fills us with an inner joy this world could never give and enables us to see the counterfeit the flesh wants us to chase after.

If we ask God to show us our shortcomings, He is faithful.  The moment of revelation is humbling but also encouraging.  For it is in the seeing of our sins that we can truly begin to be set free.  As we nurture our spirit in the word of God, He enables us to really see the spiritual battle all around us Рand defeat it.

Lord, You are faithful.  Thank You for revealing the deeds of the flesh so we no longer have to be enslaved to its demands.  Help us to seek after Your and Your righteousness above all else so we can recognize the emptiness of the flesh.

Mundane Monday: The Measure of Our Strength

1 Thessalonians 3:2-5

2 “We sent Timothy, our brother and fellow worker for God in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen you and encourage you about your faith, 3¬†so that no one would be shaken by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we are destined for this. 4¬†For in fact when we were with you, we were telling you in advance that we would suffer affliction, and so it has happened, as you well know. ¬†5¬†So when I could bear it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter somehow tempted you and our toil had proven useless.”

Acts 14:21 22

‚ÄúThey preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‚ÄúWe must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,‚ÄĚ they said.‚ÄĚ

Psalms 34:19

‚ÄúMany are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.‚ÄĚ

2 Corinthians 4:8-11

‚ÄúWe are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.¬† For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.‚ÄĚ

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

‚ÄúAnd He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúYou do not determine a man‚Äôs greatness by his talent or wealth, as the world does, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.‚Ä̬† Jerry Falwell

The early leaders of the church were not wooing new believers to their meetings with promises of donuts and coffee, nor making their time of worship more appealing with seeker sensitive or culturally relevant ideologies.  In fact, they promised affliction and hardships for those who recognized their need for a Savior and chose to place their faith in Jesus Christ.

Wow.¬† Hardly seems like a way to share the Gospel to us today.¬† Our society longs to make things easier ‚Äď in fact, we worship at the altar of comfort and ease.¬† Now, I am not saying we cannot offer pleasantries to make the Gospel attractive to unbelievers, but the power of the Gospel is enough and the Word of God is living, active and powerful.

I confess that I have worried about new believers doubting their new faith when troubles enter in.  I want to protect them, but realize that God is better suited for that role than I am.  And when new believers see other believers who have weathered difficult storms and glorified God in the midst, that witness speaks volumes more than any program ever could.

Jesus promised that we would have troubles and demonstrated how to walk through them in victory.  Genuine faith does not mean we will not have times of fear or of great sorrow, but it does mean we have One Who walks with us through life’s tragedies and triumphs, breathing grace into our souls.

If our faith is so fragile that we doubt the very goodness of God when life hurts,  we have been deceived and been lulled into a superficial faith based on the idolatry of pleasure.  But if from that place of fragility we look upward and ask God to strengthen us, we become overcomers in Christ.

Authentic faith is not easily shaken when the storms blow, nor crushed by sorrows.  It is a quiet confidence that stands up to fear and bears burdens firmly trusting in God’s promises, even when it hurts. God mercifully died for us, chose us for salvation and will not leave us when the wind blows.  He loves us and we can trust Him.  Perhaps our view of suffering might be altered in the midst of God’s enablement through it.

Affliction surprisingly offers a promise.  That we will be more like Christ, that we will be comforted by God Himself.  That we will know and understand Him more.  That, when we have been tested we will come forth as gold.

Lord, give us Your perspective and understanding.  Our lives are Yours.  Every blessing and every hardship we pour out at Your beautiful feet.  Blessed be Your perfect, awesome Name.

Mundane Monday: Striving for Rest

Photo Credits: kingpinlifestyle.com

Photo Credits:
kingpinlifestyle.com

Philippians 3:12-16

“Not that I have already attained this–that is, I have not already been perfected–but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. 13¬†Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, 14¬†with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15¬†Therefore let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 16¬†Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.”

Psalm 46:10

“He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God! I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!”

Hebrews 4:1, 11

“Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. ¬†11¬†Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.”


Here it is a Monday again. ¬†I missed blogging last week while recording in Nashville and although Mondays have a reputation for being daunting – back to work – here’s a promising blog of what striving is supposed to look like in the life of the believer. ¬†So, happy Mundane Monday – with God’s grace our lives are anything but mundane and the ordinary becomes extraordinary in His hands!

Is God duplicitous when he says to strive in one passage, but then in another says we need to cease striving?  Paradoxical at first blush, the more we look into His perfect word we see that in His faithfulness he already attained perfection for us.

Positionally, we are right with the God of the universe, though presently we see how very far we fall short of His glory.  How is that?  Just as Abraham was reckoned as righteous before a Holy God, so it is with us who have believed in God and believed that He has the authority to declare righteous who He has ordained to be in His perfect plan.  My heart cannot contain the joy of knowing that God considers me righteous.  How can it be?  Because His Holy Son, Jesus Christ took our place!

While this bliss of being forgiven is incomparable to any other gift on this earth, on one hand it means we are called to rest in His righteousness and on the other, it is a call to cooperate with the sanctification process of pressing in to know God more.

So many times we see today people professing to be Christians and yet their mouths utter profanities or remain in sin and they lay hold of the expensive grace granted by Jesus’ precious blood and believe they are covered. ¬†Paul’s words echo loudly within my being – “may it never be”! ¬†God forgives our sins – and we receive this undeserved forgiveness, not so we can trample on His lavish grace. ¬†No, it is so we can yield to His will and say no to our flesh.

Where does striving cease?  It is in trying to attain our own righteousness.  We can never make it on our own and we can never make ourselves more righteous than what God has achieved for us.  No amount of additional demands made by man can make us clean.  After receiving a covering for our sin, to strive to try to earn it is folly.  But the striving we are to do is to die to self and to seek fervently after God.

Life is hard.  It can be easy to get lazy in our pursuit of God when seemingly the sky is falling, or opposite of that, when all is well in our worlds, we can get very comfortable and forget how great our need is of God.  His salvation is priceless and precious and although it was already attained for us, as ambassadors for Christ our work is never done.

This work in Christ is done only by His grace and He again accomplishes the work of sanctification and character in us as we are faithful to live for Him and not ourselves.  This is truly rest for our souls.  Resting and trusting in Him to complete the work He began in us.  Amen!

Lord, thank You for calling me to know You.  I was an enemy and You chose me, anyway.  I falter and stumble, and you pick me up, clean me up and use me again.  I am dumbfounded by Your mercy and grace.  Be glorified, LORD!  Please help all who are reading this to truly understand this rest You have called us to and to never allow comfort to be our goal, but knowing You more and making You known!

Mundane Monday: Plain Beautiful

Psalm 73:7

“Their prosperity causes them to do wrong; their thoughts are sinful.”

Psalm 73:28

“But as for me, God’s presence is all I need. ¬†I have made the sovereign LORD my shelter, as I declare all the things you have done.”

Expenses in life can be so very challenging sometimes. ¬†I confess there are moments when I wonder if it would be possible for some of those pesky challenges to just stop. ¬†Drifting down this line of thinking I ponder what it would be like to have no financial troubles. ¬†It reminds me of the main character, Tevye in “Fiddler on the Roof”, when he said, “IF MONEY IS A CURSE THEN SMITE ME WITH IT”.

Our vehicles are all over 200,000 miles and have each exhibited signs of that wear that keep our local auto center in business.  We want to refrain from going to the doctor because insurance does not really pay anything, anyway.  Each month I hope the cost of the prescription for a skin condition has somehow decreased, but alas, itch I must.  Opportunities that I wanted for my kids that we cannot afford.  Food costs drive you to always choose from the value menu if you go out at all.  Vacations?  Usually combined with larger family gatherings because affording a vacation place would mean fasting for the trip.  Exaggeration for effect here, but you get my point.

I am not looking for sympathy, really I am not.  Because even though in one moment I could wish it was a little easier, in the next breath, I am so very thankful that I have not had everything I have wanted.  Sure troubles can be frustrating, but there is a deep contentment within that fills me with peace when I am tempted to wonder why things are not easier.  I trust my God and He is sovereign and perfect in His provision.

Where it hurts the most is when I would want to do more for my children or other people but cannot. In this, too, I can rest in God’s wisdom and plan. ¬†He is their Provider, and mine, too. ¬†He is the One Who meets our every need. ¬†If He does not use me to provide for someone else’s need, He has someone else appointed. ¬†What I have felt as lack perhaps is not lack at all and can also cause me to get creative and contemplate what I can do with what God has given.

So, without sounding hyper-spiritual, where is the blessing in not having all that I want?  Not having enough of what I thought I needed causes me to ask my Heavenly Father for help.  The hunger for more is replaced with a longing for God and I am always satisfied in His presence far more than the temporary satisfaction of comfort or materialistic goods.

This flies in the face of prosperity theology, which would proclaim that we always have an abundance.  Defining that abundance, though, is difficult to do.  When is enough, enough?  Perhaps what we have is an abundance, already.  Let that sink in.  A home, vehicles, clothing, food, electricity, a garden Рsounds more blessed than I deserve.

That is what happens when I enter into His presence.  My perspective is changed and what I perceived as plain and not sufficient becomes more than I could ever thank God enough for.  Perhaps having less than all I want is more beautiful, after all.

Lord, help us to be content when others around us appear to be without troubles and humble enough to help those around us who look at us in the same way. 

Mundane Monday: A Holy Calling

Photo Credits: ilifejourney.wordpress.com

Photo Credits:
ilifejourney.wordpress.com

Psalm 127:2

“It is vain for you to rise early, come home late, and work so hard for your food. Yes, he can provide for those whom he loves even when they sleep.”

Ecclesiastes 2:17

“So I loathed life because what happens on earth seems awful to me; for all the benefits of wisdom are futile–like chasing the wind.”

Mondays are always difficult for me.  The grogginess from the fullness of the weekend coupled with autoimmune diseases plaguing me from too much activity leave me craving coffee by the liter come Monday morning.  I know, coffee is not good for people with autoimmune diseases, but neither is my being laid out flat on the ground.  Slight exaggeration there, nonetheless, it seems fitting to kickoff yet another day of the week to pay tribute to РMundane Monday.  I hope to be able to bring some cheer or life to fuel our Mondays and glorify God with what seems to be unimportant and dull.

Solomon really has my ear on days like this. ¬†It is all futile, isn’t it? ¬†Or is it possible that God is in the very minute details of our lives, even in the seemingly mundane aspects of life?

I remember when my children were little and I was between nursing one, changing another’s diaper and teaching another to read. ¬†The words, “A holy calling” were sparked in my heart. ¬†Nobler tasks were hassling me in a multitude of different directions, but they did not compare with the privilege of caring for each of my precious children – even when it got messy.

Paying the bills, answering e-mails, working my job, teaching my children, cleaning, making meals Рall of these are significant and a part of my calling.  They are not glorious compared to other vocations, perhaps, but the outcome down the road is a worthy reward for submitting to such tedious tasks.

This past weekend I had the joy of watching my second child graduate from high school.  Soaking in the moment, thoughts of raising her flooded my head.  It was worth it.  Oh God, thank You for the privilege Рevery second, every minute, every hour, every day. Through tears, crises, hardships, joys, achievements and victories, I would not trade one memory, no matter how difficult, because it made her who she is and me, too.

In the difficult arduous tasks something more precious than completing the job at hand is formed Рcharacter.  Nearness to God.  Life.  When we are tempted to feel burdened or sorrowful for the hand which we have been dealt and how hard it all seems, our hearts are made light when we consider that all of it becomes Holy in the lives of His saints.

It is in the moments of realizing that our lives have emptiness that we will come and be filled by God.  It is in the busy times that we see our need of Him and times without distraction that we can be still before Him.  Everything we do is for Him and about Him, and none of it, not even the difficult or dull moments, are wasted in the hands of our King.

Lord, fill our lives with You. ¬†When we are tempted to complain or agonize over life’s mundanity, help us to remember that all of it is part of Your plan and an extraordinary, precious gift. ¬†Use our lives for Your glory, LORD!

Manic Monday: But That Was Yesterday

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 ‚ÄúDon‚Äôt remember these earlier events;¬†don‚Äôt recall these former events.¬†19 Look, I am about to do something new.¬†Now it begins to happen!¬†¬†Do you not recognize it? ¬†Yes, I will make a road in the desert¬†and paths¬†in the wilderness.”

Hebrews 13:8

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever!”

You read that right – I am posting for Monday on Tuesday. ¬†Yesterday was a whirlwind, but I praise God for it, anyway. ¬†It has been on my heart to write about “yesterday”, so it seems fitting to post for yesterday, today.

While trying to begin a new year invigorated and putting behind us the failures of last year, it is easy to recognize that we will not achieve everything we set our sights on. ¬†In fact, old habits die hard and living intentionally will take some effort. Or sometimes life crowds in and messes up your plans and, well, you realize you will not accomplish that day’s endeavors. ¬†It is in those moments that we have an opportunity. ¬†Being sidetracked does not have to wreck your day – instead it serves a purpose. ¬†Can we be content when the day does not go as planned? ¬†Can we see the larger purpose, or are we limited by someone else’s or our own definition of a successful day? ¬†Being inconvenienced when other people or ourselves “drop the ball” is an opportunity to apply grace.

Perhaps life’s interruptions are meant to jar us to not become too robotic in our pursuit of our goals and can also serve to help us not lose perspective and remember what is really important. ¬†Our days do not have to look perfect, so long as we continue to press on toward the goals we have in Christ. ¬†Laugh a little. ¬†Laugh a lot. ¬†Life is unpredictable, but God is not. ¬†One of the greatest comforts we have is in knowing that Jesus never changes, even though our circumstances can change each and every minute. ¬†Our yesterdays are all covered and there is hope that Christ can change us in areas we are weak.

When we think about forgetting the past, we consider that often to be a distant past. ¬†But part of the victory of living in Christ is that a mistake made or a pain suffered just 5 minutes ago can be brought and laid at our Master’s feet and forgotten. The past is remembered for the sake of improving our lives and our walk before God, but not for condemnation. ¬†This year, give it your best and leave the rest to Jesus!

Lord, thank you that everything You use for good for those who love You.  Crazy moments are even a tool in Your perfect hands.  Help us to consistently serve You with all that You allow into our lives and glorify You in the midst.