Thursday, November 20, 2014

"Let's just go out and get your mind off of it!"

Psalm 19:7

We live in a country where entertainment is endless. We can instantly go somewhere where something or someone can entertain us. Last year Americans spent more than $600,000,000 in entertainment alone. There are sporting events, movies, arcades, lazer tag, bowling, comedy clubs, symphony halls, etc. Anything you enjoy, you can find a place to go see it or go do it. One would think that this would make us one of the happiest countries in the world, YET… one particular sickness runs rampant among Americans…depression. At least 1 in every 10 Americans is on medication for depression, not to mention all of the people who are depressed and just don’t medicate through a doctor. How is it that we live in a place where virtually you can choose any type of entertainment for your pleasure and yet we are still an unhappy population? There is really only one answer…America has bought into the lie that entertainment can revive your soul. People think, “If I can just go have some fun or if I can go and be entertained somewhere, I'll forget about my hurt.” We are looking at entertainment to revive our inner being, so we spend billions as a nation trying to make ourselves feel better.
We, the women not of this world, must choose to believe truth…And this is truth: Absolutely nothing can de-stress you or revive your soul like the Word of God. It is, in its very nature, calming, soothing, peace-giving revival to the deepest parts of your being.

Nothing de-stresses us like God’s word, not the gym, not friends, not family, not church, not being busy, nothing.  Nothing will de-stress your life and revive your soul like Jesus’s words. This might sound like an easy concept or something that we all assume we do, but many of us don’t. People, including Christians, tend to “self medicate” their hurt/upset in various ways. We might not be on anti-depressants, but we self medicate with things other than God’s word. What do you do when something has hurt you? Do your friends say, “Hey, let’s go out!” or “Hey let’s go shopping.” or “Want to catch a movie to get your mind off of this?”. Other people self medicate by eating, socializing, distracting, getting busy, becoming workaholics, or drinking etc. When these self-medicating behaviors are not addressed and they continue for long periods of time, this is when you become susceptible to addiction. Drinking can turn into alcoholism, busy at work can turn into workaholic, eating can turn into gluttony, etc. Self-medicating your soul is very, very dangerous. It is an easy foothold for satan to grab. There are tons of ways that satan has used “self medication” to replace God’s word in our lives. For a little bit, these self-medications do the job. If you’re upset and your friend calls you and the two of you decide to go shopping to “get your mind off of things” and it works for those 2 hours, but it's a false sense of medication. When you get home and put your shopping bags up, your hurt/upset is still there. We are merely taking “sugar pills” when we do this and sugar pills will never, ever cure us.

Psalm 19:7 explains that His Word has enough power to revive the soul! This should be our medication. This should be our addiction. Let’s train ourselves to read and meditate on His Word when sadness hits or when disappointment comes or hurt arises. Let go of the worlds medications and let the Lord’s Word revive you.

Lord, let us all let go of the ways we self medicate and let us run towards you when we need revival. Amen. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Psalm 19:2-4

"Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth and their words to the end of the world."

Nature. That is what this verse is talking about. Being out in nature.

I recently read an article in The Guardian,that said, “…Ask anyone over 40 to recount their most treasured memories of childhood play, and few will be indoors. Fewer still will involve an adult. Independent play, outdoors and far from grown-up eyes, is what we remember. As things stand, today's children will be unlikely to treasure memories like that: 21% of today's kids regularly play outside, compared with 71% of their parents.” Studies have shown that children who spend time outside have:
  • increased academic achievement (mind)
  • enhanced problem solving skills (mind)
  • decrease attention deficit difficulties (mind)
  • decrease in childhood obesity (body)
  • improves vision and vitamin D intake (body)
  • protects the psychological well being of children (spirit)
  • less stress (spirit)
  • increases positive mental/emotional health (spirit)
  • decrease of depression (spirit)
  • enhances social/relationship interactions (spirit)

 As I read that,  I thought back to my own childhood and my mind was flooded with memories of being down at the creek behind our house catching minnows, playing baseball with friends down the street, riding my bike with my brother around the block, and running all alone through the woods near our house. I even remember my mom telling me about one of her favorite memories…She said she had great memories of when she would climb trees and sing out from the tree top, “The hiiiils are aliiiiive with the sound of muuuuuusic.. Aaaaaaaaaa.” Most of us tend to feel something invigorating when we are out in nature… I think these verses explains why we feel that way.

The verbs in these verses keep popping off the page at me: “pour” and “reveal”. The definition of “pour” is to flow rapidly in a steady stream. (  I began to think about rain or a waterfall. Those are both natural examples of water pouring out. It would be extremely difficult to stop a natural waterfall from running and it is completely impossible to stop the pouring of rain. As I meditated on this scripture, I began to think about God’s speech pouring out from creation. It is impossible for anyone to stop God’s voice from shouting out of creation. His handiwork naturally shouts His name. His creation is pouring out speech to us. And much like the downpour of rain, it is impossible to stop His voice from saying through His earth, “Here I am! Here I am! Look at me. I am POURING myself out to you.”

The online Webster dictionary defines the word reveal as 1. to make known through divine inspiration or 2. to make something that is secret or hidden, publicly or generally known.

The night sky, through divine inspiration, makes publicly known to us the “mystery of God”. The night sky reveals knowledge. Night after night, God provides anticipation and excitement of what is to come by what He has placed in the heavens for us to see. The stars, their order, their vast numbers, their changing positions, and their abilities, all reveal the knowledge of our God.

Creation is a universal language. There is no one in the world, no place in the world and no language spoken in any tribe or land that can misunderstand the language of creation. God created a world that allows all people of every nation and tribe to understand that there is a creator and he is called God Almighty. His name is clearly written all over the earth. We can choose to stay out of church, we can stop listening to our pastors, we can quit listening to Christian music and choose to stop hanging out with our godly friends, but still we cannot escape God’s sweet voice.  The voice of creation sings sweetly to the ends of the earth. His voice reaches every mountain, every valley, every piece of sand, every desert, to the bottom of the sea, to every piece of land or water ever created, God’s beautiful voice is heard. We are never able to get away from the general revelation of our God. Hallelujah!

No wonder we feel rejuvenated and refreshed when we are outside!!! We are experiencing the pouring out of God’s speech and the revealing of His knowledge. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported recently that on average, 8 year olds to 18 year olds in America spend more than 53 hours a week “using entertainment media”. This should not be so! Our children are losing the opportunity to hear Gods creation pour out speech to them and they are losing the ability to sense the knowledge of Him night after night. We must allow our children time outside to experience what God’s hands have made, for this is good for their whole being; mind, body and spirit! 

Lord, let us all spend more time in Your handiwork with our spouses, with our grandparents and with our children, so that you can pour your speech over us and reveal your knowledge to us. Amen! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Psalm 19:1

"The Heavens declare the glory of God. The sky above proclaims his handiwork."

Declare: (Merriam-Webster)
            1. to make clear
            2. to make evident
            3. to state emphatically

I love this! His work is clear and evident to us. He is not a God of confusion, nor is he a God of subtlety. His work is unmistakable, clear cut, obvious and straightforward. Creation declares his work and reveals His glory.

I love when the Lord reveals His truth in a child. There is something beautiful about a child’s view of God and their special experiences with Him. Not only are children capable of experiencing God’s creation, but I believe they sense Him when outside playing in His handiwork. A mom I know recently had this experience with her child…

About 4 months ago, my child and I were listening to a song called, “You’re Beautiful” by Phil Wickham and my sweet little one asked me to play it several times that day. We then would listen to it periodically in the car as we were driving and we would both sing it out loudly in the car together.

Then it happened and it was marvelous.

We were out on a bike ride and my child was hooked behind me in the kid trailer. I had just pumped my way up a steep hill in my neighborhood and was barely breathing as I made the turn to come down the hill with my kiddo behind me. As I slowed down on my pedaling, the momentum picked up and we both began speeding down the hill together. I was silent and recouping as the wind was hitting me in the face and I was inhaling the fresh air as it whipped by me, then I heard it…it wasn’t soft and it wasn’t low, this giant preschool voice yelled out, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL GOD!” I gasped and turned around as best as I could…speechless… “What did you say honey?” Then there it was again, loud and clear, “I told God, ‘YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL GOD’”.

I had no words. I rode the rest of the way, tears welling up in my eyes, thanking the Lord for the mouths of babes. When is the last time I yelled out in my loudest voice while riding my bike, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL GOD!” What a mighty chant. What a beautiful picture, what a powerful phrase.

Isn’t it interesting? This little one, just by being out in God’s creation, was impressed to shout out to the Creator, “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL GOD!” It isn’t a coincidence that you sense His peace by appreciating His creation... It is biblical.

God, you are indeed, beautiful. Your creation is beautiful and your works are wonderful. Let us all shout out your beauty as often as we can.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

"Saddest Part of the Day and Best Part of the Day"

Wes and I had just finished looking at one of our Christian placemats about creation.  We talked about the week of creation and all that God accomplished on each of those days. We ended our discussion on day 6 and 7 where he made Adam and Eve and then rested.

After that, I decided to ask him one of our ritual dinner questions about the saddest part of his day and the best part of the day. It went a little something like this:

Me: Wes, what was the saddest part or your day today?

Wes: Mmmmm, I think when the teacher told me I had to put down the wood chips on the playground.

Me: Yes that would be sad. What was the best part of your day?

Wes: I think recess!

Me: That's a good one.

Wes: What was your saddest part of the day mom?

Me: When I was coughing this morning when I woke up. I don’t like feeling sick.

Wes: Ya… what was the best part of your day?

Me: I cleaned out a big closet at the church today and I think that was the best part of my day.

For the next few minutes, Wesley didn't say anything. We both sat there in silence as we ate. He was quietly eating and thinking, and I was quietly eating and thinking. Then, having sat and thought for a while, he turned to me and said: 

Wes: You know what mom?

Me: What?

Wes: I bet I know what Eve’s saddest part of the day was!

Me: You do? (Anxiously awaiting)

Wes: Yep, when she ate that apple!!!

Me: I think you’re right bud! I bet that was the saddest part of her day.

Wes: And do you know the best part of her day?

Me: What?

Wes: Playing in that garden!

Me: You know Wes, I think you’re getting it. That’s pretty good theology my man.

Meditate - to spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation. (as defined by Merriam – Webster Dictionary)

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the MEDITATION OF MY HEART be pleasing in your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (as defined by God himself)

I know Wes is only 3 and I know this might seem like a silly, little story to some, but not to me. The meditation of a 3 year old looks different than the meditation of a 30 year old. I believe God finds it pleasing in His sight to see that children, even at the young age of 3 are meditating on His truths. 

Let all of our children’s hearts and minds continue to meditate on the characters and principles laid out in God’s Holy Word. Amen. 


"Wes chose to draw instead of finishing his work. He had to stay in at recess."  #itwasahardfirstdayback #EthanandLaylaweresti...