Stripping Away The Dirt

Stripping away the dirt.When things get stressful I head to my workroom and start refurbishing something. The piece of furniture that diverted my attention this time was an antique table that was in my grandparents house when I was growing up.

If only the table could talk. It would tell of family dinners, and weekly card games with the neighbors. It served as a solid surface to write letters to family members spread across the country. When us kids were visiting, the table would be a work surface for cookie baking, holiday crafts and any number of other things my grandparents could think of to keep us kids busy.

I cleaned decades of caked on dirt off that table. I sanded layers and layers of built up varnish and polyurethane coating that was applied to protect the table from us kids. At long last the table stood naked and completely void of any covering. It stood in the middle of the room looking just as it had when the carpenter built it all those years ago.

I then started with bare wood to make the old table something new and beautiful.

Isn’t that what God does for us. He strips off the built up gunk we have covered ourselves with over the years. He sands and chisels the stuff that has grown hard and is hidden in hard to reach places.He works slowly and methodically until we stand before Him as He created us.

He makes us new, whole and spotless.

I don’t know about you but I am thankful that God loves me enough to refurbish me and bring me back to perfection!

Dottie

…………and so I ride

Lightness or darkness

Just a little something to think about.It is a little bit like the old chicken and egg question.


My husband and I do a devotional every morning and the subject of which came first, day or night was brought up. I have been thinking about this and doing some research for about two weeks now and it is intriguing to me. In the end however, the answer was glowingly clear.

In the world we live in it is generally understood that night comes after the day is over. We work all day, relax and unwind when the day is over and night is finally here. We go to bed and get up and start a new day. In the world we live in the end of day is the start of night.

Even in the natural order of the world light goes to darkness. Everything goes from light to dark, day goes into night, youth to aging, strength to weakness and life to death. That is the way of the world. When you think about it, there isn’t much room for hope in that is there?

It is the way of the world but I have come to agree with the author of the devotional, it is not the way of God.

Genesis 1:1-5says that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, DARKNESS was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, let there be light, and there was light. God saw that the light was good and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day and the darkness He called night. And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.

Notice the following, “now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep. And Genesis 1:5b says “and there was evening, and there was morning……

Every biblical day begins at sunset, there is evening and there is morning. There is darkness followed by light.

Why is that significant as Christians? Because we have each lived in darkness but were brought to the light by Christ. We walk from the darkness into the light, we move from weakness to strength. We exchange despair for hope, we replace tears with joy. We walk from death to life, not vise versa!

Our entire lives should evolve around walking away from the darkness that once exemplified all that we were and walking into the brilliant light of Christ.

Dottie

…………..and so I ride

Are you in bondage?

Do you recognize you are in bondage?

The book of Exodus tells the story of the how God delivered the Israelites from slavery at the hand of Pharaoh.

Exodus tells a story about a God who loves His people so much that He reaches down into their bondage and frees them.

The thing about bondage is that it can become a comfortable place, so comfortable that one is often loath to leave. Present surroundings, even when less than perfect, are preferable to a new set of surroundings that can seem foreign, scary and uncertain.

Whatever our bondage, we can find freedom. We can stop sinning and escape the chains that bind us.

Delve into God’s word and pull down the strongholds which bind you. Get a clear picture of who God is and who you are in Christ. Take Jesus words at face value, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. God has accepted you just as you are, do you understand what that means? It is the law of grace that is worked out through God’s love for you.

Look closely at any strongholds the enemy is using to hold you in bondage.

• Un-forgiveness (ouch, I am dealing with this right now and it is a biggie)

• Un-repented, uncontested and often repeated sins (for me it is overeating or eating unhealthy food)

• Un-holy ties to the past. For me anyway, this is certainly tied to in-forgiveness also.

• Negative self talk. These words have the power of life or death. Renounce the words that only serve to bind your soul.

• You put your particular stronghold here.

Learn about your authority. You are a child of God and as such you have been given authority over the powers of the enemy. Stand firm. When you want to cut and run back to that from which you have been delivered. Call up your authority and stand firm.

Remember the story of Exodus. God was with Moses as he mobilized and led this mass of humanity out of Egypt. It took fortitude, courage and more than just a little trust as God led them out of Egypt. He wants to lead us to.

Become independent from the lies that bind you. Receive the love that your Father has for you.

Dottie

…………..and so I ride

The election. God is still in control, hang onto that.

The election. Just saying the word makes me feel desperate and disjointed.

We are all feeling it, there is hate spewed everywhere from both sides. Try as we might to stay out of the hatred and not be a contributing factor in the rising anger in this country, it is almost impossible.

It really doesn’t matter which side of the political fence your find yourself on, the country is experiencing significant stress and that is being brought forth into our everyday lives in very damaging ways.

 We as humans are often quick to jump in and defend our side of the fence.

We are blaming each other, especially if we are on opposing sides.

A county united has been replaced by a country divided.

It feels as if we have lost our power. We have two political parties vying for the highest political office in the land. If you have not noticed, those two parties do not get along very well, not only that but they do not follow even the most basic of playground rules. The thing about disobedience is that it is contagious and easily caught.

So what do we do and how do we get through this?

The most proactive thing we can do is to get out and vote. It does matter, it is our responsibility, our votes do count. .

“Let each citizen remember, at the moment he is offering his vote, that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual—or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society, for which he is accountable to God and his country.” Samuel Adams

On Nov 9th life will continue and no matter our political views, we are going to have to decide how our lives progress from that day forward.

No matter who is our President, God is still in charge. Our hope does not lie in who resides in the white house. Our hope is not with the Republican or the Democratic Party.

 Our hope lies with Christ alone.

God is sovereign and God is still in control. If we see the government (both sides) as evil and corrupt, try to remember that the evil goings on of the humans in the white house(no matter who they are) are never outside God’s control and in His time and His way, His purpose will be accomplished. We may have to live through some tough stuff but in the end, God is in control.

I have been looking past personalities and looking at the issues. It has been hard because the ongoing personality battles are blasted every single day, all day long. However each candidate does have a platform for which they stand. For me the issues are as follows.

Religious freedom

Biblical sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman

The lives of unborn children

Radical Islamic terrorism

Do I want to continue down the road of irresponsible socialism?

Do I want our nation to return to Biblical hard and honest work, entrepreneurship and industry?

Do I want a Supreme Court and federal judges who respect and uphold the safeguards of the US Constitution?

Look at the candidates platforms and place your informed vote. After that is done, step back, take the gloves off and let God do His job. I promise you, He has not forgotten what He has promised us, His people.

Dottie

………..and so I ride

Renew your mind, avoid the hole

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in
I am lost……..I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It is a habit.
My eyes are open. I know where I am.
It is my own fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson

 

I love this poem. Read the poem carefully. Read it as it was written, five different chapters of your life. It is the story of your life, it is the story of my life.

In life chapter 1 we are wandering, lost, alone and helpless. There is a hole we have fallen into through no particular fault of our own. It may be a death, a job loss, a betrayal, any one of a number of unexpected pitfalls that life throws our way. We fall into the hole and there is nothing we can do about it. Our particular hole represents anger, anxiety, worry, grief, etc. It is the darkest hole you have ever experienced, you see no way out and you are there through no fault of your own. This sucks.

You climb out the same way, on your own, with your own sweat and tears. It takes you forever. You are cussing yourself and hitting yourself with negative, critical and judgmental thoughts right and left. You are thinking to yourself how stupid you are and therefore you are right where you deserve to be.

You quickly learn that doing the climbing on your own is hard work and affords little upward motion. Day after day you toil but you stay in the hole much longer than you anticipated. It occurs to you (barely) that God may be able to help you climb a little faster but the job of climbing out takes precedence over anything else and soon the thought of God evaporates in your sweat.
In life chapter 2 you find yourself on the same street with the same hole. You are fully aware the hole is there yet you walk straight towards it. Before long you drop right back into where you were not so long ago. The hole is still deep, dark and scary, it hasn’t changed a bit it is exactly the way you left it. It is becoming familiar.
You are living the same story you always have, you are expecting different results but because your pattern is the same, the results are the same. You fall in the hole yet again. You are thinking to yourself if the other people in your life would grow up and learn to act right your life would go a whole lot better. So now you draw up a plan to fix those around you. It could be that you even enlist God’s help. If God can’t fix your husband, your family, your boss, your friends, (you know, those people who make you fall into the hole) then who can. When God fixes all those people, you can avoid the hole. It really is as simple as that. You are convinced that someone else pushed you over the edge to the hole.

Life chapter 3 finds you on the same familiar street and the deep, scary hole is still where it has always been. It is almost a weird sort of comfort to see it because you count on it to always be where you left it. Yet once again, even though you know the hole intimately, you know if you take the next step you will tumble downward, you do it anyway.

You know you did it and you know you are totally responsible but because of your past experience with your hole, you climb out immediately. Having fallen into this same hole so many times you are awakening to the source of the problem. Maybe it’s time to find a different route, after all it is your fault you are there. Repeating the same mistakes over and over will have the same results over and over. Having come to this conclusion you can begin to change. God is reminding you that He is there to help you with your “hole” problem. There is a nagging in the back of your mind that if you seek Him before you begin your trip down the street with the hole, maybe He will come up with a different answer to the same problem that has always plagued you? As you are jumping (literally) out of the hole this time, you are coming up with a goal to include Him in your “hole” plan. You come to the realization that every trip into the hole has increased your need to ask for God’s help. Yes it was in slow increments because you have always been a slow learner. However, every time you asked Him, He helped you. When you asked Him for little He helped a little. What would happen if you asked Him for a complete solution to this nagging “hole” problem? After emerging from the brief stint in the hole, you head home to open that Bible that is……….somewhere in your house.

Life chapter 4 Is walking down the same street, coming upon the same hole but avoiding the hole. It is a whole new exhilarating experience. You saw it coming, knew what to anticipate from past experiences and you simply walked around it. A talk with God has given you a change of course which gives you a whole new set of possibilities. There really is something to this God thing. He is here to help you dig out of the hole, you are now beginning to have experience of that. But the amazing thing you are learning, is He is here to help you not only climb out of the hole, but to conquer the hole. God has shown you alternate routes and He has given you the gift of the knowledge that you are free to take them.
Life chapter 5 is your new day. It is the day you finally change streets. Life chapter 5 is the marvelous renewing of your mind. It is the time you realize that there will be holes in the street but you now have the courage to walk a different path, around the hole. You know you can because you trust He will do as He promised and give you exactly what you need to take the detour.
Renewing of the mind is happening. When you mind is changed by God, your life changes and the hole no longer consumers you. So when someone asks you to help them climb out of their hole, say, here, let me show you what worked for me!

Dottie
…………and so I rideimage

Thoughts on Challenge Day Three

What If?

There were some valid points made today. In fact, points that made me put down the Fried Taco and say to myself, what in the world are you doing Dottie. Why is it so impossible for you to make a commitment to be healthier and stick with it? This is a 21 day challenge, surely you can give up 21 days in your hunt for health. It seems to me that if I cannot do that then maybe I am not really serious about all this healthy living stuff I spout off all the time. OUCH!

I feel like everyone else is slamming this challenge and here I am, on day three and haven’t even got going yet. I know what is going to happen. We will get to the end of the 21 days and I will either be right where I started or I will be a pound or two heavier. Then I will say to myself, why didn’t you do it, you are such a loser. This part, I have down.

I do not want to get to the end of the 21 days and say “if only”, but even more, I don’t want to take the fast route to severe health problems that I know will plague me if a few years time. Is the momentary pleasure I derive from eating unhealthy food really worth what I am doing to myself?

I don’t want to be like the neglected vase of fresh flowers that we forget to water day after day and one day we look at them and they have died from neglect.

My Father God, I have messed up the first three days of this challenge, I am asking you to strengthen me and to give me the motivation and wisdom to say no to the extra servings of sugar, fat and high calories. Help me Father to see clearly what I am doing to my health. Give me the desire to follow the path to good health. Give me a spirit of commitment to you and not to food. Help me Father to turn to you and let you fight this battle for me, help me to trust you to meet all my needs. Help me Father to change the way I think about eating right, moving more and living healthy.

Help me to be glaringly honest with myself, if I am to lazy to exercise, let me see it, if I eat when I am not hungry, eat unhealthy foods or eat to much, help me to see it. Strike me with the truth of enduring bad health habits. It is only when I can be honest with myself that I can begin to correct these things. Help me to trust the Holy Spirit to guide me through this difficult journey. Let me lose myself so I can be true to you. Give me the strength to endure to my goal and say hello to the new me. Amen

Favorite thought of Challenge Day Three.

“There will be tragedy and triumphs, tests and testimonies, set-backs and successes, mountains and valleys”…….

This is a good reminder that there will be “those days” and I should not be taking them personally, or using them as an excuse to wreck my forward progress. They too shall pass. I strive to be the little engine that could or rather the little engine that did.

Dottie

…………and so I ride

FREE AT LAST I read about an English minister who liked to say that he ministers to the lost, the least, the lonely and the last. I have felt like all those things at times. Sometimes all at once, sometimes one or the other. If I were to be honest at least one of those things is usually with me most of the time. Doesn’t it seem like we are deposited in this lost and lonely place and then forgotten about. We wonder how God could have so easily forgotten our address and phone number. But that is Satan inspired thinking. Of course he wants us to think we are helplessly and hopelessly lost and forgotten. The truth is, according to John 10:10 that although Satan does come to steal, kill and destroy Jesus came to give us life and give it to us abundantly. Praise God that He sent His son to heal the broken hearted (me), to liberate me from my prison, He came to restore my sight so that I can see the truth of what God offers me. Holy Father help me to look up to you before I look around my world. Remind me what the world is versus what you offer and help me make the right choices. Dottie