Hitting Snooze by Stephanie Gaines

It’s hard to ignore the fact that the reality of our daily walk has changed in the last few weeks.  But, the literal saving grace in all that is that our God hasn’t changed since the beginning of time.  Many of our Christian leaders (and followers) have offered words of encouragement and admonished us to remain calm even during these difficult times.  I don’t have a lot to add to that conversation, but I wanted to share  this post that was written by my daughter several years ago.  It is relevant even today.  So, no matter where you find yourself in this season of pandemic, don’t panic and don’t sleep on the fact that God is still in control.  And, yes that is a shameless plug for the title of this post.  I know you will enjoy it.

Challenging Thought For Today: 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.    Psalms 139: 11-12

My mother, of all people, can tell you that I am not a morning person.  If I don’t have to be up for any particular reason, there’s no telling what time I’ll actually roll out of bed.  When I have to get up early, I always set my alarm at least 30 minutes before I have to get up; just so I can hit snooze.   After hitting snooze at least six times, I realize I should probably go ahead and get up.   As I hit the snooze button this morning I realized how this can relate to our walk with God.

Maybe it’s just me, but there have been times when I’ve hit snooze on my walk with God.  Life will wear me down and I get so tired that I just keep saying, “Just give me five more minutes, God.”  Snooze.   I silence the alarm and go back to my life.  The life I feel I should have when I’m being selfish. The stress of trying to do everything right will get to me and I’ll just want to give up on it all.  Snooze.  I feel like I’m trying to please others and God and, again selfishly decide, I’m tired of this.  Snooze.  I continue to go through life and an opportunity presents itself, an opportunity to wake up and get back to my relationship with God.  Of course I think to myself, I’m not ready and not at a place where I will fully put my heart into it.  Snooze.  I go to church and just go through the motions, not wanting to fully get involved.  Snooze.

This morning helped me realize that no matter how many times I hit snooze, my alarm is still there telling me to get up.  No matter how many times I tell God I’ll get back to him, that alarm will still go off and I realize it’s time to get up and continue my walk with God.  I get over my weariness and pain, I stop complaining about how hard life is, I get up and put on my “big girl” pants and get ready for the life God wants for me. It helps when I pray this prayer.  Dear God, I thank you for your love and patience.  I know that even when I have strayed, your love has still remained.  Help me to be encouraged to be a faithful servant.  Give me the strength to challenge myself to continue to strive towards a closer relationship with you. Amen.  My challenge to you today is take some time to evaluate your life and relationship with God.  Are you running away from God’s calling by hitting snooze?  If so, don’t be afraid to ask yourself, why?  Be completely honest with yourself.  Make a list of things you need to work.  Don’t just remember it, WRITE IT DOWN!  Put the list somewhere you will see it every day as a reminder.  Wake up and be blessed!

Stephanie Gaines

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Man Up!

 

Challenging Thought for Today:  Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.  Job 38:3 (NIV)

King James Version
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

No matter which version you read, the results are the same.  In the book of Job, after almost 40 chapters of silence during Job’s suffering, God speaks. And, the first thing he says is “brace yourself like a man.”  I have read that story more than once, but this verse hit me hard last week.

When I was young I used to hear older people say all the time that you can read the same bible verses over and over and get something new every time.  I don’t know what I got from today’s challenge verse or the entire book of Job for that matter, all of the other times I read it, but I know that last week, I stopped and said, “Wait, did God just tell Job to Man Up?”   Of course, I realize that translation is from the SG (Shelia Gaines) version.  But, that’s basically what he was saying.

He didn’t say.  “Job, don’t worry about it.  One day your name will be synonymous with patience.  Books will be written about you and sermons will be preached about your contribution to the topics of suffering and sovereignty.   Besides, none of this was your fault anyway.  I allowed it to happen.  I knew you could handle it and that you would eventually see my glory.”

Nope.  God did not mention any of that, although all of it was true.  He simply reminded Job that as the sovereign God, he is still in control.  His grace is still sufficient.  Earlier on in his suffering, Job questioned the justice of God in taking him through such a trial. In the end, he repented of that error in judgement and humbly re-submitted himself to the will of God.  Occasionally as I face my most intense challenges in life, I will compare them to the suffering of Job and that of Christ.  Yep, you guessed it.  They pale in comparison.

However, I don’t mean to imply that our struggles aren’t serious or that our pain isn’t real, just that we are not alone in the struggle.  Notice I didn’t say “every time” I face a challenge, I compare it to the suffering of Job, just occasionally.  Besides, if I got it right every time, there would be no room for growth, right?

Seriously speaking, however, we have probably all been guilty of making permanent mountains out of the temporary molehills in our lives.  As my pastor often alludes to, there is a big difference between having a bad day and having a season of struggle.

The story of Job’s struggle is much too long and complex for one blog post, but suffice it to say that he didn’t just have a bad day.  Without warning, he lost everything, his wealth, his children, his health, and his good standing within the community. Everything.  He had a bad season.  But, God!

Job held to integrity and he didn’t lose his faith.

Did you ever wonder why we weren’t told how long Job had to suffer?  Maybe because the fortitude of Job during the suffering is more important than the length of time he had to endure it.

Are you in a season of struggle?  Perhaps you just came out of one.  Maybe you see one looming ahead of you.  Why not broaden your perspective and read the book of Job again or for the first time?  And when you feel like giving up, reflect on Job’s struggle and maybe, just maybe, instead of giving up, you’ll have the strength to Man up!

Be Blessed.

Shelia

 

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Not What I Expected

My grandson turned 10 years old last week, but I still remember the night that he was born.

The doctor spoke calmly to my oldest daughter, “I know you wanted to do the water birth, but I think there’s a little too much stress on the baby. We need to go ahead and get him out of there. Are you o.k. with that?” My daughter nodded her consent, but I suspect that her quick agreement came more from the pain of labor than any resignation concerning water birth.

As soon as she received my daughter’s permission, the doctor’s calm manner was immediately replaced with medical emergency protocol. She whipped a cell phone out of her pocket and spoke rapidly into it. “I need you in here now!” The nurse she spoke to was coming down the hall at a dead run even as the doctor closed her phone.  When they whisked her off to surgery, my other daughter, my son-in-law and I stood there momentarily stunned into silence.

The next few minutes were difficult ones for us. We called family members and called on our faith. Our prayers were answers and we saw a healthy baby boy minutes later.

The whole situation reminds me the scripture from John 16:21.   A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21 (NKJV).  At least I thought about that long after everything was over.  Initially,  I was disappointed that my daughter had to experience an emergency C-section and my son-in-law experienced one of the most joyous events of his life in the midst of great danger to the most important person in his life. However, that precious bundle of joy made it all worthwhile. What a blessing it is that even when circumstances overwhelm us, God still blesses us with small miracles.

My prayer for you today is that even in difficult situations you will always remember to thank God for being a loving God and for always doing what’s best for us, even when we don’t understand. When things don’t go as expected, turn to him and remember the promise from Romans 8:28.  He knows how to make all things work together for good even when they feel bad.

The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, read John 16 and Romans 8.  Meditate on those things and remember that while trials and tribulations will undoubtedly come, you do not have to face them alone as long as you know The Overcomer. Don’t make the mistake of allowing the cares of life to keep you from living.

Be Blessed,

Shelia

 

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True Commitment

One of our pastor friends once had an opportunity to ride in the cockpit of a plane during the flight. He said that once they were airborne and had reached a certain altitude, the pilot radioed back and said “We are committed!”  That story resonated in my spirit and I have never forgotten it because of that simple phrase.  “We are committed!”   In other words, there is no turning back now.  The plane was already in the air. The time to make sure everything needed for the flight was on board and the plane was flight ready had passed. He couldn’t turn around in the middle of the flight to go back and gas up the plane or stop and let someone off.  If something goes wrong, the pilot can’t go all the way back to the airport, he has to know what the emergency procedures are and be confident in his ability to execute them.  The people who boarded the plane put their faith in his flying ability. The pilot made the commitment to learn how to fly the plane before he ever flew with passengers.  Choosing any profession in which you are responsible for human lives takes great courage as well as commitment.  I often meditate on Joshua 1:9 when I reflect on my commitment to God and ministry.  “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be you dismayed: for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”   

Lately, I have been reflecting on how reliable my commitment is to those things God has entrusted me with?   Sometimes I have to remind myself that when you choose to follow God, you are accountable to him as well as to your fellow man.  However, you do not have to be afraid.  Just as flight school and other training prepares a pilot before the passenger board the plane, Jesus has already prepared the way for us before we were even born.  Furthermore, he has made it clear that we do not have to walk alone.

I know the time for New Year’s resolutions has passed and so many people have already fallen short of this year’s goal, but why not take this opportunity to re-commit yourself to what God has called you to do?  Make a list of thing that you are committed to.  Then take the next step.  Ask yourself when was the last time you made a selfless sacrifice for anything or anyone on the list.  Ask God to show you ways to recommit to those things in a way that will be pleasing to him.  And, if you are doing a good job, keep it up.  If not, don’t be afraid of the re-commitment or fear what the future holds.  You can trust God with your future.  Make the commitment…

You will be Blessed,

Shelia

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Seasons of Life

Today’s unseasonable cold weather prompted me to re-post this from last May when we experienced unseasonably “warm” weather.  The wind chill in Memphis today is in the single digits, but maybe reading this will give you some warm thoughts.

Enjoy,

 

 

Did you know that Punxsutawney Phil recently spent some time in the hospital? Well, he did.  It happened in April when we were a full month past his Groundhog Day prediction of six more weeks of cold weather and Spring was starting to feel a lot like winter.   So, naturally a Facebook meme appeared showing him bedridden after being beaten by an angry, cold person somewhere digging out of an unseasonable Spring nor’easter storm.

Now, you and I both know that the fate of our climate does not rest on a groundhog’s shadow.  But, when I heard a local weatherman share the Facebook story, I still laughed at the absurdity of the whole thing.

It was just interesting to me because even though all the cold, snow and ice made it feel like winter, it is still Spring. (To update that for 11-12-19, even though the windchill makes it feel something like 5 degrees outside, it’s still Fall).  I wondered if sometimes human nature feeds an innate need in us to find a place or person to lay blame on for a bad season in our lives.  Even if a lot of stormy seasons are of our own making.

One factor that determines whether or not you will experience colder or warmer weather is your geographic location.  Here in the deep south, it can feel summer warm all the way through October or longer. Likewise, winter cold can linger through April or May in the Northeast.

Ironically, the weather these past couple of weeks has everyone saying that we skipped right over the warm breezy climate of Spring temperatures and went straight to full blown summer heat.

Of course, in keeping with our theme here, that made me ponder this “seasons of life” thing even more. How many times have we thought we were nearing the end of a bad season and looking forward to a little bit of a reprieve only to have life throw us another “hotter than July” situation?

I thought of the words of Ecclesiastes 3:1.  To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  Seasons are just that.  Seasons.  Three short months on the calendar of your life.   Granted, there will be uncomfortable seasons that will last much longer than three months.  Some bad seasons can last for years. But, rest assured that God will orchestrate those days accordingly.  It’s okay to trust him even when life throws you a winter curveball in the middle of your “happy dance” Spring.  No matter how hot it gets, it won’t replace the forthcoming Summer season.   For that matter, even if we get a blizzard in April, winter will not return until December.  Why not reflect on that some today?

Whether you are facing a tsunami of emotional life changes or a tornado of teenage drama, he will never leave you nor forsake you.  The damages can be minor or they might be catastrophic, but remember this.  You are not alone in the storm.  Even the winds and rain obey him.  Matt. 8:27.

Douglas Miller wrote it like this in his song, My soul’s Been Anchored:

But if the storms don’t cease
And if the wind keeps on blowing, (in my life)
My soul has been anchored in the Lord.

 

So, whatever season you find yourself in. Don’t live your life in fear of the coming storms (be they snow, wind, rain or heat).  Be prepared like the man who built his house on a rock instead of sand (Matthew 7:24 -27).

Be Blessed,

Shelia

 

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His Presence in our Present

Challenging Thought for Today: 

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? Psalm 139:7 (NIV)

She called them blessings.  The receptionist in the Intensive Care Unit’s family waiting room held up a small basket filled with tiny strips of folded paper and asked if I gotten mine.   I smiled and politely reached for one and took it with me.  My husband was upstairs having open heart surgery, a triple bypass.   Family and friends would come later, but in those moments during and immediately following the surgery, I felt very alone.  Until I read my “blessing”. Focus on God’s presence in the present.  Seven simple, yet powerful words evoked a message that not only encouraged me during that difficult time but also still blesses and sustains me all these years later.

Amazingly, during that medical crisis for my husband, God allowed me to show his presence to someone facing an even more dire circumstance.  I saw her a few days later sitting alone at one of the corner tables in the waiting room, weeping openly.   It was a unnecessary question, but I still asked if she was alright.  I knew she wasn’t.  I just wanted to offer a prayer and share a blessing; she welcomed both.  I was encouraged further as I studied bible notes on today’s key verse.  They were another reminder that God is always with us in all situations, no matter what the present and future brings.  In addition to the triple bypass surgery, the two-week “present” season brought gall bladder surgery and a stroke for my husband.  For the woman in the waiting room, it brought additional lung cancer complications for hers. My presence in the waiting room with her allowed us to share an “alone” moment together.  God’s presence allowed us to share his peace.  It didn’t change our circumstances, but it certainly changed our focus and we both felt less alone.

Friends, there may be circumstances in your “present” that are threating to take your focus off His presence.  Don’t let them.  A present medical crisis does not always mean future disaster.  A present relationship struggle does not necessarily mean a future broken relationship.  A present financial crisis does not mean future financial ruin.  I could go on and on with a roll call for every one of our present situations, but I think you see my point.  David reminds us in Psalm 23:4 that in times of danger, difficulty, or even death, we don’t have to be afraid because God is yet with us.  And even if your present situation should bring future heartache or take you to an unexpected or previously uninhabited place for you, don’t despair.  Rest assured that the one who holds your future will help you hold it together.  Many times, over the last few years, I re-read the words of that little blessing and remembered that Psalm 138 both asks and answers the question, “Where shall I go from your presence?” There is nowhere life can take us that the grace of God can’t reach us. Seven blessed words are a permanent part of my life now.  Why not make them a part of yours?

Focus on His presence in your present.

Be Blessed,

Shelia

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When your feet stick to the Floor

Friday Fun  Challenge

Friday Fun Challenge

 

  1. Everyday
    b.      Once a week
    c.      When your feet stick to the floor

    Those were the three choices to answer the question.  The question was “how often do you mop the kitchen floor?”  It was a survey designed to reveal your housekeeping style.  I won’t tell you what my answer was or why I was interested in this survey. But I think this is a perfect Friday Fun Challenge. A wonderful opportunity to consider how well you are doing maintaining your spiritual house.

Social media is full of thoughtful memes and inspirational messages that prompt us to be better people, live fuller lives and treat everybody right.  So much so, that I think sometimes we forget that the blueprint for a successful, well-lived life was available to us long before Mark Zuckerberg was born, or the first tweet was ever twittered.

Within the 66 books of the Bible, you will find answers to all of life’s questions without having to consult Alexa or Google.  But don’t take my word for it.  Read Romans 11:33. You want to know how to treat your fellow man?  Read Luke 6:31. Like a little drama?  Check out the book of Ruth.   You get the picture.  A daily diet that includes the word will keep that spiritual house of yours in order (Joshua 24:15).

If we only read the bible when our spiritual feet symbolically stick to the floor (when things are not going well, and we can no longer ignore the problem) then we end up with a very messy Christian “house”.  In order to maintain a well-maintained temple, we must keep our heart set apart, making sure we are always prepared as 1 Peter 3:15 admonishes us to be.  This means getting and keeping our house (our spiritual temple) in order.  We have all heard people say, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”  This statement is not in the bible as some believe, although the command in I Corinthians 14:40 to let everything be done decent and in order, may be close.

But, let’s get back to your Friday Fun Challenge:  Take a closer look at the next Facebook meme you come across that really speaks to you.  Before you share it, consider how often you are reading the word of God for yourself and read 2 Timothy 2:15 and intentionally locate a scripture that shows how well it does or does not line up with the word of God.  I know I could let you know what 2 Timothy 2:15 says, but along with the other scriptures I mentioned earlier, I want you to read it for yourself.

Be Blessed,

Shelia

 

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Pomp and Circumstances

Athena the Tiger            Grad cap

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a young man in front of the library, sitting atop the statue of Athena the Tiger. He had his graduation cap on and waiting for someone to take his picture.   It was the day before commencement so it wasn’t unusual to see students walking around with a bag containing their full academic regalia, although they don’t usually mount Athena to mark the occasion.  While some students simply wandered around campus reminiscing about the past four years and dreaming about years to come, others took advantage of unique photo ops.  But, all of the picture taking, formal ceremonies and sense of excitement in the air was just part of the pomp and circumstances of the weekend.   

For some reason I was reminded of the series finale episode of The Cosby Show. It centered around Theo Huxtable’s college graduation and was appropriately titled, And so we Commence.  I feel like the  last semester of college is almost a paradox. Both a beginning and an end.  Most people attend commencement services or throw parties to celebrate the end of at least one leg of their educational journey.  However, when you get right down to it, the graduating is not the commencing.  The commencing begins after all the pomp and circumstances ends. That’s when students face the “real” world as we call it. 

Much like we do when we finally come to the end of ourselves and find our “real” relationship with God.  After we step away from all the great devotions there are out there.  After we have read all the wonderful books filled with explosive or not so explosive testimonies.  After we finished “preparing” to do what God has called us to do and actually just step out in faith and commence to doing it.  Even if doing it means starting over or facing our procrastination for what it is.

Having worked in higher education for many years now, I am very familiar with the not so wise choices young people make leading up to graduation.  Especially those who put off the responsibility of taking care of a mix up or mistake.  Sometimes students will make it all the way to the day before graduating and be faced with the reality that unless they take care of a bill owed to the school, or a book not returned to the library, they will not be allowed to participate in the ceremony.  It can be a stressful time because they have done all the work they needed to do to obtain the degree, but they still cannot formally graduate because of a minor detail they have left unchecked until it became a major issue.  To get so close and have something of a non-academic nature keep you from completing the process can be a hard thing to swallow.  Fortunately, higher education is very forgiving.  It gives you many opportunities to make it right.  And, so does Jesus.

For many students, commencement is a time of life changing decision making.  In the previously mentioned Cosby Show episode, Theo was given a hard choice on the last day of his job at the center or school he was working for at time.  He could stay and help a young boy who desperately needed a mentoring moment or he could rush to the airport so that he wouldn’t miss his plane and his once in a life time “dream job” opportunity.  Which one do you think he chose?

Today, I want to remind you to consider the words of Zachariah 4:10 and don’t worry if you have to start small.  Just start somewhere.  The platform that you are to share your message with the world may be a lot smaller than the stages of Broadway or a mega church.  But, your “small” circle of influence is usually bigger than you think.  I mean, if you find yourself in the situation like Theo and take time to share what God has given you with one person and that one gives back to someone who gives back to someone else, it only enlarges your circle.  And, just because you have to start small does not mean you need to stay small.  You just need to be content where you are until God moves you and you can’t be afraid to move.

My friend, I don’t know if this graduation season finds you commencing the rest of your life at a formal graduation ceremony, walking down the aisle at a wedding or just waking up every day and praying for strength to get out of bed each morning.   The truth is none of us know exactly what the future hols for us.  But I do know that if you allow Jesus to walk you through it, it’s going to be a much smoother journey.  So, go ahead and complete that degree or make that difficult decision, prayerfully.  Struggle if you have to, but don’t give up.  Just make sure the real reason you are struggling doesn’t have more to do with how the decision will or won’t be part of what you already know is God’s purpose for your life than it does with a lucrative salary or a toxic relationship.   

Commence to get busy enjoying life by truly living the John 10:10 life God intended for you to have instead of just existing.

Be Blessed,

Shelia

 

 

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Judgement Calls

 

Challenging Thought for Today:  Our judgments judge us, and nothing reveals us, exposes our weaknesses, more ingeniously than the attitude of pronouncing upon our fellows.    Paul Valery

 

“I can’t believe she couldn’t park that bus.  Stevie Wonder could have got that bus in there! With Ray Charles directing him!”

As soon as she said it, the heaviness that had become a part of my persona that day lifted. I actually laughed out loud.  I was one aisle over from the two ladies sharing this hilarious conversation in the grocery store.  I didn’t know either of the women, but their hearty exchange took my mind of my own troubles for a few moments as I tried to imagine the story behind their comments.   I’d like to think that anything weighing heavy on your mind today felt a little lighter as you read it.

Maybe you wondered some of the same things I did.  Was someone having trouble passing a school bus road test? Did the lady talking recommend a friend for the job and end up disappointed because the friend didn’t live up to expectations?   Was the person taking the test so nervous that she was having a hard time trying to do something on the test that she had easily done so many times before on her own?

So many questions, so many possible scenarios.

I don’t know if those ladies were making a fair assessment of the incident in question or not. But I know I have sometimes made unfair assumptions and judgement without bothering to get the whole story.  It’s sometimes a lot easier to compare another person’s response to a situation or incident to what we believe would have been our response given the same circumstances.  Without even realizing it, we assess other people’s weaknesses or perceived weaknesses based on what we think are our strengths. We say “I can sing that song better. I can write better, teach better, parent better.”  The list is endless.  What if we turn that around and intentionally find a way to conceal the weakness and promote the strength?

And, I don’t say this judgmentally.  Especially since my first thoughts in overhearing the conversation in the grocery store focused on what the woman whom they were referring to must have done wrong.  However, reflecting on it further, I came up with a different perspective. There could be other possible outcomes.  Maybe she didn’t do a good job of getting the bus in that particular spot, but it still possible that she was able to pass the test and get her commercial license. Maybe the incident they referred to was her first try and she executed the next attempt flawlessly.  I don’t know.  I just hope the story had a good ending.

Now, you may be thinking that there are times when we must offer constructive criticism.  I accept and understand that.  And, Jesus does admonish us to speak the truth in love and sometimes as hard as it is, we must offer some hard truths in order to help those we love.  Nevertheless, I still wonder if sometimes we are too quick to judge, and we count people out when all is not lost.  One of my colleagues recently took a driver’s test and although she passed and is now a licensed driver, the instructor still encouraged her to work on making smoother stops.  The fact that she needed more practice on a specific maneuver did not mean she was not able to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle.  Likewise, even if we don’t always get it right the first time or the fifth time, we can still put forth our best effort, acknowledge our mistakes and try again. We can still live an abundant life (John 10:10).

Are there things you are dealing with right now that you could look at from another perspective?  Instead of automatically focusing on the one thing that continuously challenges you, why not try rejoicing over the many things that motivate you.  Embrace some of those things that you do exceptionally well and work on improving where improving is needed.

Look at today’s challenging thought and instead of judging the quality of your life by what you don’t have or what you can’t do, trust God and reflect on what you have the potential to become.

Be Blessed.

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Lord, Bless This House

 

Challenging Thought for Today:    “You never know how well something is built until you try to take it apart”. Jonathan Scott

 

In a recent Wednesday Night Bible Study, my husband referenced the saying “trials and tribulations build character”.  However,  our pastor countered with “trials and tribulations actually bring out character”.  Both of these statements resonated with me when I heard Jonathan make today’s challenge quote on an episode of the HGTV show, Property Brothers: Buying and Selling.  Jonathan is a contractor and teams with his twin brother Drew, a real estate agent to help clients prepare their current home for sale in order to buy the home of their dreams.  When asked what they are looking for, couples will often say “I want something with character.  I don’t want cookie cutter”.

One online definition of character is “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”.  When referring to houses, features such as decorative details, original hardwood floors, crown molding and baseboards make a home unique and special to a particular buyer.  Sometimes when the Property Brothers introduce couples to an older home and Jonathan and his crew start to tear it apart, they will discover that previous owners have come in and covered up the character by plastering over fireplaces or covering hardwood floors with carpet.  Other times, they will find evidence of a less than ethical builder taking dangerous shortcuts to save money or time.   Electrical and plumbing issues that should have been updated to current building codes are covered up or partially fixed and camouflaged with the hope that their shoddy work won’t be discovered.

Have you ever been tempted to take an unwise shortcut to save time or money or simply to save face?  I know I have.  I won’t give you my track record, but I will say that it has improved with age and spiritual maturity.  It’s always funny to me that even though Jonathan will warn couples to be prepared for the unexpected, especially when dealing with an older home, most of them are still surprised when it happens.

However, Jonathan is not.  As a matter of fact, when he budgets the project, he builds in a contingency so that there will be  extra money available, not if, but when they come across something unexpected.  Sometimes I wonder if the Lord included Romans 3:23 as our contingency plan.  When we hear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”, it’s not a license to sin, it’s just a reassurance to us that God already knows that we can and will mess up.  But, the other part of God’s wonderful plan is in 1 John 1:9 in that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.  And, it doesn’t stop there.  Just like there is still hope for any home in any condition as long as it’s still structurally sound and/or the foundation is still in tack, there is still hope for us when we go astray.  Psalms 139:14 reminds us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  God has “built” us to weather any storm that life throws at us and he can refurbish any part of our life, our heart, our mind and our soul if allow him to.  He is committed to us through eternity.

One of my favorite things about watching home makeover shows on HGTV is the clients reaction once they see their “new” home fully restored.  Often, they can’t believe it’s the same house.  So, I thought today during this time of the year when most people take stock of what’s going on in their lives, I thought  “Why not take a lesson from the Property Brothers?” No matter what condition my spiritual, physical, or emotional home is in, I can still feel the same way the Property Brothers’ clients feel about their new home.  I just need to develop a new outlook that allows my faith in God to be restored and my character to become his character.    .

I don’t want to be like the couple who says they are ready for the challenge of a renovation, but then become very discouraged and wants to quit when more than one problem or major expense occurs.   I want to be more like the homeowner who is so committed to making the home the best it can be, that I take on each new challenge with renewed determination. Even if it means God has to uncover some things I would rather leave hidden and work on some character flaws I would rather not deal with. Will you join me?

God built you to last.  If you have allowed life to place cracks in the foundation of your faith, reclaim it.  Don’t be afraid when Satan places obstacles in your path to discourage you.  Don’t give him power to tear your home or your world apart.   Let your Jesus foundation shine through and show this world and yourself how fearfully and wonderfully made you are.

Blessings,

Shelia

 

 

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