Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Teaching the World to Sing

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16)
How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony! Psalm 133:1 (NLT)harmony - (Websters) - the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect. agreement or concord
Being part of creation, perhaps we need to learn to harmonize with it, even as we sing the melody.
Reared with the understanding that littering is sin, I have always been one to search for trash bins, carrying along whatever needing tossing as I did so.  Amazement and frustration have been my bedfellows as I observe other human beings dropping dirty diapers, used tissues, popsicle sticks and wrappers, etc. on the ground, sometimes even when a trashcan is but steps away from them.  The thought has gone through my head multiple times, "How hard can it be to walk five steps to dispose of that properly?"  However, as I read the book I am currently using as a study guide, I realize that in many ways I am just as guilty, if not in physical manifestation, at least in attitude.  So I have another book to recommend to any who happen to fall upon my blog or read my emails: Gardening Eden by Michael Abbate'. (Yes, there is an accent over the e in his last name.)
"Since God created the world and then man and told the first man to be fruitful and multiply, this planet is just like a giant bank account of natural resources that God gave us access to.  We didn't deposit the equity in the account; God did.  But it is here for our use and enjoyment.  Therefore we don't really need to worry about protecting it."  (first common objection of chapter 6, pages are not numbered) This is an objection some Christians give to conservation of natural resources.
My first reaction to this was, "This isn't me. I believe we are caretakers of God's world, not owners and therefore are not to do simply as we please."  Upon deeper reflection, however, I realize that this bank account mentality is more deeply imbedded in me than I realized as I was brought back to a thought that went through my mind years ago when it was first brought up that we have oil reserves in America that would last ten thousand years at the rate we were using it at that date in time.  I thought, "In ten thousand years?  Jesus will probably have returned by then anyway, so what difference does it make it we use it up?"   I had forgotten that I thought that, but the memory stirred something in me.  While I do not believe it would be wrong to delve into those resources, I do believe (now) that we should truly be conservative and use only what is needed rather than what is desired.  Herein lies our problem (in my humble opinion...feel free to disagree): We struggle with knowing the difference between real need and simple desire.  Not only that, but we secretly believe our desires are more important than other peoples' desires and so should be fulfilled more readily. 
The other day I wanted some clear contact paper for a project I was working on for my grandson's preschool lessons.  I started to simply jump in my car and go to Walmart.  However, I called my husband instead.  He said not to go out, because we would be going out later that night anyway, because he had some things he wanted to purchase as well.  At the time I only thought about how this reasoning saved me personal time and energy.  This morning I realized it saved more than that.  It actually saved petroleum, wear and tear on one of our vehicles, money because of the first two items listed, the air from extra pollution from car exhaust, and even exertion on those who would serve us at the store, as they would only have to serve us once rather than twice in the same day.  As I ponder this, it amazes me what an impact such a seemingly simple act can have in the life of this planet we call home.  I am humbled at the thought.
Greed is sneakier than I ever envisioned.  I used to think pride was my biggest problem, but the more I study, the more I become aware that I am a needy, greedy person in the flesh.  Thinking that Jesus would probably return before ten thousand years was up was a very selfish thought, because what if He doesn't?  What if Father God decides He wants to wait ten thousand more before sending Jesus back, because He is ever patient and desires all men to come to Him?  (II Peter 3:9)  If that is the case, then I should be concerned for those who will be here at that time.  If Jesus does return before then, what will be His stance regarding the way I treated the world He placed in my care?  He has granted us many more opportunities of service than we realize, one of them being to take care of and to manage this world and its resources.  I believe it is true that He has given us more resources than we will ever need.  However, I also believe from personal experience, that we are greedy and will not only use what we need, but will grab as much as we possibly can, because in our heart of hearts we believe that the "one with the most toys wins."
Once one of my grandchildren was in a rage and decided to destroy whatever they could get their little hands on.  I caught them beginning to destroy something that "belonged" to one of their siblings.  I took it away and said, "No! If you really want to destroy something, it must be something that belongs to you."  I handed the child a toy I had given them as a gift and told them they could destroy it if they wanted, but not their siblings toy.  Of course the decision was made not to tear it up and the point was made. 
The truth is, this entire world and everything in it belongs to Father God.  He has given us example after example to let us know how He feels about it in the hope that we will grasp and hold on to the understanding and use it to make this world a better place than it has become.  When we destroy the forests, wipe out entire species of animals, spill oil all over the oceans and into our soils, throw trash on the ground and into rivers and streams and poisonous gases into the air, we are destroying Someone else's property!!  This world is like a bank account all right, but we are simply shareholders.  God owns the bank!! 
Father,  I want to thank You for this precious earth we call home.  Make me more grateful and help me to show that gratitude in my actions.  Help me remember that, though You have made me a caretaker, it does not make me owner.  Help me also remember that my actions reflect who You are in me, and if those actions are greedy and prideful, that is what the world will consider You to be.  Forgive me and help me reflect who You truly are, a loving and generous benefactor Who is willing to share all He owns and only asks gratitude, love and respect in return.  Teach us what each of these truly means rather than allowing us to go about defining them in any way we think will benefit us best, because, let's face it Lord, this is our tendency.  Wisdom comes from knowing You and understanding You.  Help us receive both.  In Jesus' precious name I ask this.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The World and Everything in It

This is my Father's world and to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world, oh rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas, His hands the wonders wrought.

This song has been swirling through my head for two days as I have been thinking about creation and to Whom it truly belongs. We have it stuck in our consciences that because we have paid and/or are paying for a particular piece of land that it makes it ours. The bank thinks it belongs to them until the day we pay the last penny of the mortgage and the government believes it is theirs to tax until the day we die. So whose is it really? Truth is, we are all vying over something that was never really ours in the first place. We did not form anything with our words, our hands or even our thought processes. God created the world and everything in it (Acts 17:24), therefore it all belongs to Him. However, being the gracious, all loving and generous God that He is, He allows us to live here rent and mortgage free. He simply asks us to take care of it while we are here. (Genesis 2:15)
Then there is the attitude of “it's mine because I made it, so I can do with it whatever I choose.” However, if we really stop to think about it, where did the materials we used to make said item come from? Did we create the tools we used? Did we make the trees that were carved into paintbrushes, shovel handles, etc.? Did we create the plants the dyes came from to make into paints, crayons, chalk, etc.? Just what did we REALLY make? We took items from God's creation and formed them into something new, but the something new doesn't change the fact that everything it is made of belongs to the God of all creation. I read a joke the other day that made me chuckle: A scientist challenged God to a man-making contest to see who could create the best human.  As the scientist bent down to scoop up a handful of dirt, God said, "No, No.  Get your own dirt."
Going even deeper, everyone on the face of the earth has most probably said or thought at one time or another, “It's my body and I'll do with it as I please.” Some go further with this in thinking, “If I want to over eat or eat just junk food, be lazy, have sex with whomever I want whenever I want, do drugs, speak words that or vile, disheartening or flat out lies, steal, have an abortion, etc., what is that to anyone? I'm not hurting anyone but myself and it's my body!” Of course we all know that these things do not just hurt those doing them. They hurt every single person that loves them, all those they bring into their playing field and most of all, God. Why God? Because our bodies actually belong to Him. He created them to house us and how we treat them reveals to Him how much or how little we appreciate and are grateful to Him for giving them to us.
When my children were little I used to get frustrated with them for not picking up after themselves. I wanted them to learn to be grateful for what they had instead of bemoaning what they didn't have.  I wanted a tidy house and they simply were messy. In other words, they were normal children. I tried to teach them to respect the blessings they had or they could lose them. “If you leave your bike in the rain it will rust and be of no use.” “If you leave your favorite toy in the floor it could get stepped on and broken.” It always helped to explain why putting something away was important. However, as they became teenagers the story changed. Suddenly it was “their” room (after all I had been telling them to clean “their” room from the time the were 3) so why couldn't they leave it the way they wanted? I had no response, so I simply closed their doors. When things became so bad I couldn't stand it, I would go in and clean their rooms myself and then have to listen to the complaints. I wonder what would have happened if I had instead taught them the truth from the beginning (though I hadn't fully grasped it for myself at that time). The house we live in and are paying for doesn't really belong to us. God has given us the means the world demands for us to live here, and out of grateful hearts for His doing so, we need to take care of it and try to make it into the best home we know how. Perhaps they would have learned to appreciate His blessings a little more fully and learned at a much younger age than I that
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.” Psalm 24:1-2 (NLT)
Father, once again my heart cries out for Your wisdom. Your children hunger and thirst for it even though we may not recognize exactly what it is we are seeking. Open the eyes of our understanding to recognize that the things of this world, though not truly ours, are our responsibility. You have placed us here as guardians over the world You created and we have failed miserably. Forgive us and heal us from the sin of greed in thinking that ANYTHING, including our bodies, could possibly belong to us. Help us understand that in this realization is not slavery or bondage, but freedom; freedom to do and be everything for which You have created us. As long as we are striving to “get more toys” we are enslaved to the very things we are trying to obtain!! It all boils down to trust Lord. How much do we dare trust You to provide for us? Our flesh wants to be provider, but You have told us in Your Word that You are Provider – all we need do is trust. (Philippians 4:19) Help us to choose trust over greed, freedom over enslavement, You over self. You are God alone!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Darkness to Light - Simple Thoughts

3Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day. Genesis 1(NIV)
Our God is a God of deliverance – delivering from darkness into light. He formed the world in darkness, but He delivered it into the light by separating the darkness from the light and bidding the darkness to remain in its place.
2even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139 (NIV)
He unites man and woman together to form a unique individual in the darkness of the womb, but then births that small human into the light of a new world.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. I Peter 2:9 (NIV)
"I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV)
Though we see and experience the light of day, our souls dwell in darkness until the day we hear His voice, listen and follow it, to be called into the light of His salvation through accepting Jesus' sacrifice for our deliverance into that light.
Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise." Luke 22:43 (NIV)
One day the seeming darkness of death will come, but for the true believer it is simply a passing into the dawn of a new day in heaven with the Lord of light Himself – Jesus.
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. Revelation 21 (NIV)
Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Revelation 20:24
Then, one amazing day, ALL darkness of sin and death shall be removed and cast into the lake of fire. The earth will be made new along with heaven and the two shall be joined together as one. God will dwell with us for eternity with us as His people and He as our God.
Father God, open the eyes of your children to understand how great is Your deliverance. You could have stopped at any point and still could, but You choose to keep every promise. Help us cling to that knowledge so that on that glorious day we can witness with great joy and utmost satisfaction the rebirth and joining together of Your magnificent creation and Your home of heaven. The groaning of creation will cease and turn to shouts of praise and worship. Help us begin the rejoicing in expectation even now.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Simply Imagine....

(I) do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches if the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe... Ephesians 1:16-19 (NKJV)

Imagine if every brother and sister in Christ were praying for the entire body of Christ as a whole to be filled with wisdom and understanding regarding Father God and His will for our lives. If each morning we, every single one of us, woke with a smile and asked God with a sincere heart, “Father, Your children need You desperately in this world. We need Your strength, Your power, Your healing...but most of all Father, we need to know You better. Fill us, Your children, with wisdom and understanding for this day. Give us what we need to know and understand You just a little bit better today. Our feeble minds cannot take much more than a drop of Your wisdom at a time, but You know exactly what we can handle and what we will need to get through this day, acting on Your behalf to this fallen world. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, making us more one with You than we have ever been before. Thank You for all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I may not agree with them all the time, I may even become angry with them at times, but I choose to love them. Open the eyes of our understanding. Shine Your light into the dark places of our minds and hearts, and help us to begin to know, to really know, the hope of heaven and how great Your power is toward those of us who truly believe.”
I wonder what would happen in the lives of believers. Last Sunday evening Brother Kenny preached on Ephesians 1:17-19 and the importance of praying for the Church body. He mentioned how statistics show that the majority of prayers are requests for ourselves. Very few Christians really intercede for others. Maybe this is why there is so little real joy. Perhaps we are greatly lacking in just how wonderful the hope of our calling really is. Perhaps we are missing in our spirits the joy of conversation with our heavenly Father. We live in such a fast paced world that it becomes easy to make excuses for not praying, not reading our Bible, not getting to know our heavenly Father.
Everything is so very connected. Jesus said, "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!"  Matthew 7:11 (ESV) Here is a cry for us to get to know Daddy God!! The better we know Him, the easier it is to believe He will answer our prayers, provide for our every need and that He is preparing the perfect place for us in heaven. This is not just a nice place to live in comfort. No, no, no. It is a place that will perfectly fit the desires of our hearts. 
God has placed in me a deep love for children. Every child I see burns a desire in my heart to love that child no matter what. When I reach heaven (and my heart cries out for that day), I wonder if perchance my place of dwelling will be filled with exploration, the kind that makes a child's eyes grow wide and their heart beat with excitement. Perhaps I will be blessed with children all around me, exploring with me and finding new things each day. I don't really know. My heart is not yet perfected, but right now that sounds really good. 
I believe God likes us to sit and imagine what heaven is like. I think it brings Him greater joy than we can realize. I believe this because I know from experience the joy of my children when they were little and now my grandchildren looking at gifts I have wrapped for them and desiring to open them, but having to wait. They ask me questions about them and I sometimes smile, sometimes laugh and sometimes give them a questioning look and say, “Hmmmm, I wonder....” If something so simple as a child trying to guess their gift brings me so much joy, how great must the Father's joy be when we sit and contemplate what His marvelous gift of heaven and eternity with Him will be like?!!
Oh Father, I want, with desperation, Your children to know the great love You have for us. I desire us all to be filled with Your wisdom and understanding, so that we can love deeper, pray more effectively, minister more willingly, and hunger for more of You each and every moment of every day. What a marvelous wonder it is to be Your child!! So many of Your children think that being saved is enough; that there is not enough time in the day to spend any of it with You except for throwing up a few thanks and requests now and then. Lord, we do not know what we are missing!! Father, let praying for my brothers and sisters in Christ daily begin in me. Do not allow it to become a mundane or robotic action, but rather keep me sincere in my love and desire to see growth in understanding, wisdom and a deep abiding hunger for more of You in all of us!! Fill us and help us each and every one recognize that the filling comes from You; not from our accomplishments or looks or other people, but from You – You alone!! In Jesus' most precious, loving and generous name I ask this. - AMEN and AMEN!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Conformed or Transformed?

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18

Conform: to be similar to or the same as something
: to obey or agree with something
: to do what other people do : to behave in a way that is accepted by most people

Transform:  to change in composition or structure
:to change the outward form or appearance of
:to change in character or condition
(both definitions from Merriam-Webster)

 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

I was once asked what the first thing on my mind was when I woke in the morning. At the time I had to confess that it was, “What do I need to get done before I go to work?” The point was then made that the first thing on our minds when we woke up would be the focus of our day. When I thought about it, the speaker was correct. What must I accomplish was still on my mind when I entered the work place and when I returned home. Busy, busy, busy, too busy to do much more than pray for thirty seconds and read a few verses of Scripture before going to sleep. On top of that, I was pretty proud of myself for getting in that much “time with God.”
Later it was brought to my attention that the thing I did the most, paid attention to the most, was my god. This scared me. Not the kind of scared where you want to run away and hide, but the kind of fear that makes you fall to your knees in repentance. I had been telling God I didn't have time do read and pray more because of my tight schedule, when in actuality, if I gave up watching TV for just ½ hour in the evening, I could use that time in prayer and study. That was not too much to ask and was a starting place at least. However, TV was not my god, so it wasn't too difficult to give up some of it.

A few months later, basically the same question was asked of me, but worded differently; “What do you spend most of your hours in the day doing?” I knew I had to face the fact that reading novels constantly had become a god in my life.This was not so easy to give up. As a matter of fact, just as any habit, it was like pulling teeth. I rationalized that the majority of the books I read were by Christian authors, so that made it all right. I then rationalized that I needed some quiet alone time to just sit back and relax a while each evening. That backfired quickly and loudly as I realized that I could be better refreshed by prayer and reading God's word. I was taken back to a time several years before when I started my day in prayer and study and I remembered how blessed, refreshed and energized I felt because of it. I heard when God spoke and it was much easier to do the things He lay on my heart to do. Now how did my days go? I felt frustrated at work, frustrated when I came home and collapsed at bedtime. I decided to take the advice of the speaker and start each morning with a simple prayer of thanks for being given a new day and a new opportunity and then ask God to help me see and take those opportunities to serve.  I would then read just one chapter of scripture and begin my day. I was told this would take all of about three minutes, but to realize that if I actually followed through, I would most probably end up wanting more. 
Long story shortened: After a few months of this I told God that I wanted more of Him, because I did. My days were better, I was more patient and caring, but I still was not hearing His voice the way I had back before I started working outside our home and began each day in the word and prayer for much longer than three minutes. So I increased my time to fifteen minutes. I had to get up a bit earlier to do so, but the lack of fifteen minutes sleep was nothing in comparison to the joy I felt when I began to hear His voice once in a while again.
Now I work at home. I still wake up an hour before the world thinks is necessary most days. I come before God in prayer and Bible study for as long as it takes, sometimes a half hour, sometimes and hour, sometimes I start and finish later because it is what I need to do, but I hear His voice now and I am refreshed in it. Simply reading and praying are wonderful, but His voice is what brings me the most refreshment. It is like a cool summer breeze on parched skin; a drink of water after a hard workout; the hug of a child at any time. It feels like all this and more!! When I hear His voice my heart leaps and I strain to hear more. He doesn't raise His voice and his message is instantaneous. I do not have to wait for explanation. It is given in a fleeting moment. I marvel at how time seems to stand still as I am given new insight. Sometimes He directs me to share and sometimes He lets me know this is just for me for now. I may get to share later, but for the time being I need to revel in it and make it a part of my life by meditating on it as I work and play.
The problem I have now? I want all those I love to know the same joy I have each day with God, but I know the work involved and how difficult it is to make ourselves get to that place. It isn't that God is not speaking, but that we are not listening.
The other morning I was thinking about how badly it hurts when one of my loved ones teases me about my faith. The hurt isn't personal, but I hurt for them, knowing they simply don't understand why I am the way I am and why I refuse to go back to the way I was. It hit me that I need to remember that pain and realize that God feels this a billion times over each day as billions of His children antagonize each other, make excuses for not serving, for not attending church, for holding on to bitterness and so many other things. We are all guilty at one time or another. It is much easier to give in to our personal desires than to fight the good fight of faith and keep going. 
Lord, I know You must be deeply grieved by the behavior of us, Your children, yet You keep on loving us, having faith in us and trusting us to eventually come back to You and allow You to transform us to be more like You. For many years I have prayed that You would conform my family to Your will. That is no longer my deepest desire Father!! I no longer want us to simply behave like You. The world can do that if they try really hard. No, I ask rather that You would transform us into the very image of Your Son Jesus. No longer do I ask that You change us on the outside so that I can physically see a change in behavior, but I ask that You would transform us, so that no matter what others may think (and they will think us weird, strange, and out of place) we will seek Your face, listen to Your voice and become obedient, even to the point of death; physical death perhaps, but definitely death to self and the lusts of the flesh.  Help me now do as You have for me.  Help me to love and trust You even when I do not physically see results.  In Jesus' most precious and holy name I pray - AMEN!! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Personal Allegory

I wake each morning in my bedroom. The sun shines through the window to gently wake me. It sings to my heart a song of morning joy that cries out to give thanks to the God Who made me. I stretch and begin to feel my blood flow through my veins more rigorously. I open my eyes and lay in wonder that so many hours have passed by in such a short moment. I am not only rested, but rejuvenated.
My bedroom is one of my favorite rooms in my house. It contains some of my most precious memories in physical form: pictures of family; two cross stitch pictures my daughter made me (one of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 – reminds me each morning to fill the day with love rather than self, and the other of Ruth's declaration of love, which was on our wedding invitations); jewelry given to me by my wonderful husband, children, grandchildren, friends and some that were passed down by my grandmothers; a bedroom set purchased by my husband specifically because I liked it more than any other I had seen, even though he could have purchased another set much cheaper; my books and so on. The list is long but filled with precious memories. It is this room I go to when sad, lonely, frustrated, exhausted or a combination. I also go there when I am joyous, wanting to read, to spend time in quiet with God, to speak with my momma on the phone, to spend time alone with my husband and not to mention sleep. Yes, I love spending time in my bedroom. If my house were a church building (and it is, since we ARE the church) it would be the altar where we go for individual worship.
My house actually has three bedrooms. We use the other two when people spend the night. They are where they go to be alone in quiet contemplation before God. They too are altars, so to speak.
I also have a living-room. It is here I go to NOT be alone. When I am in this room there should be noise, preferably people noises; laughter, singing, talking, sharing, doing skits and turning somersaults, hugging and telling stories. This is the sanctuary – the place of joint worship. It is here people come in, sit down and begin the journey of sharing all God's blessings with each other. It is the first room people enter from the front of the house, and the one they usually leave from, hopefully feeling refreshed and energized from the experience.
Then there is my kitchen. Here is the fellowship hall. It is here people come to cook together, eat together and laugh, laugh and laugh again. Sometimes there are tears of reflection, but mostly there is great joy. The more people sitting around the table sharing stories and eating, the more laughter!!
I have two bathrooms. There is a good reason for this in my life. A lot of waste goes through my body. I drink a lot of water to rid myself of all unnecessary waste. I spend time in those bathrooms and it is not fun, but I do feel much better when I leave. I especially feel better when a good shower is included in the evening. I not only get rid of inside waste, but cleanse my body of the filth that has deposited itself on my outside. I go to my sanctuary feeling happy and clean and ready to rest once again. My bathrooms would be the foot of the cross.
There is a hallway that connects all these rooms to make them as one. Without the hallway they would be separate and alone. The hallway keeps them connected and functioning together as a house and home. The hallway is a picture of the Vine.
The problem is, I have a basement. My basement is both good and bad. I go there to clean our clothing, get food from the freezer, to gather the things I need for Sunday School, to get to the back yard to water my flowers, and sometimes to play. But there are things in my basement that are out of place, and others that don't belong and most of all, it is not connected to the hallway, which makes it vulnerable to be forgotten in the cleaning process.
In every home there has a stash. In my house it is the basement; in others the attic, cellar or storeroom.  We have things we no longer need, that get in our way, that take up room unnecessarily, could be given away, or even thrown out. We sit back and think, “I may need that some day,” and hang on to it when it could benefit others and would certainly benefit us by removing it from our home, yet there they are. I am not talking about sentimental things that help us remember. Sometimes we truly do need them to remind us the reasons we fell in love, how much our parents loved us and each other, how much fun we had with our siblings as children, etc. These things help us remember to forgive hurts and injustices and keep loving. However, if they become items of worship, such as when someone passes away and we cling to the things that remind us of them and refuse to let go instead of simply remembering the love that person generated to and in us, then we need to get rid of them; perhaps giving them to someone who can keep the item simply for memories sake. I personally, however, have some books I could donate, craft supplies I overstocked on that others could use, toys and exercise equipment that were given to me and never used, and more. I have hung on to them long enough. It is time to share and share alike. God is good and will supply all my needs. I don't need to hang on to “what if's” any longer.  But I need help.  Old habits die hard.
Lord, set me free from the “what if's” in my life. There are many, so many I cannot name them all. Take each one and pull it up by the roots so that nothing remains and I am free of their entanglement and able to serve You more fully. Make room in the basement of my heart so I have room to move freely without tripping over the stuff and nonsense so others can see the change and recognize that if it is possible for me to be set free, it is possible for them as well. I know I cannot do it on my own, because I have tried. So I give it to You to work in me the changes necessary to fulfill Your perfect design for my life and home.