Weapons of Mass Distraction

OvercomingHe was so tired, but did not want to stop to rest. I am talking about Andrew, our fourteen-month-old grandson. He recently spent a few hours at our home. Andrew gets up really early, so by mid morning, he definitely needs a nap.

As the clock approached eleven, we had tried rocking him, playing lullaby music and putting his head on a shoulder. All those were unsuccessful. Finally, the decision was made to put him in the crib, and let him go to sleep on his own. While I continued to rock Andrew, Gaylon went to the room to remove all the toys from the crib, which doubles as a storage bin for a whole lot of toys! Our toys are different from their regular toys, and the boys play with them only when they are at our house. Gaylon spread all the toys across the bed in the room, and they totally covered the bed.

As I walked into the room to place Andrew in the crib, he saw a bed full of toys. He pointed. He smiled. He said, “Ball, ball!” I did not acknowledge his delight, but laid him in the crib, walked out of the room and closed the door. Andrew cried a little, but then stopped and I could hear him say, “Ball, ball.” Cry a little, “Ball, ball.”

How did I expect Andrew to give way to the rest needed with so many distractions?

So many of us are tired physically and spiritually, yet, we can’t get our gaze off the distractions. I found myself there recently. With several weekends of ministry ahead, I have much preparation. I found myself distracted by so many things, and realized the “Martha” syndrome was alive and at work!

I am a doer and rescuer by nature. That’s not all bad. There has to be some “Martha” going on, or we’d never get anything accomplished. Faith without works is dead. Jesus did not tell “Martha” to never cook again, never be hospitable again. The problem was Martha had become tense, irritable and mad. Jesus said, “You are distracted by too many things. You are totally missing my presence, because you are too distracted.”

I found myself in the midst of my preparation tense, irritable, tired and worried. God whispered to me, “Barbara, Barbara, you are distracted by so many things. Don’t miss my presence in this.” I closed everything down. No one was in the house but me. I settled myself before the Lord, and sat at His feet. It was amazing how refreshed I was at the end of the day, and how much His Word came alive to me.

Are you weary? Turn off Facebook, Twitter, television and even your phone. You mean turn my phone completely off? How can I live without my phone? Quite nicely. Sometimes I long for the good old days when we did not always have a phone attached to our hip. Thirty minutes without the phone, spent in God’s presence will do amazing things. Get with God and let Him sweep over your weariness.

Weapons of mass distraction are one of the greatest weakeners of the Christian life today.  Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us.

“The Lord answered, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things.’ – Luke 10:41

Peanut Butter Filled Pretzels

PretzelsSeven friends and I are on a health journey together. It’s a high-level accountability eating and exercising program. Each day we check-in to tell how much we ate that day, and often what we ate. We also share whether we got up off our blessed assurance and moved our bodies! We pray for and encourage each other. If someone does not check-in by the evening, one or more of us “hunts them down” to see if they are staying on the journey.

As I was shopping in the grocery store yesterday, I ran across a great deal that I rarely see. The deli was running a half-off special on their delicious peanut-butter filled pretzel squares. I immediately picked them up and put them in my cart. In my mind, I was already eating those pretzels while watching a good football game or a good movie.

As I continued walking around the grocery store, I could hear the voices of my accountability partners: “Now, you know you don’t want to eat all that junk.” “Put them back on the shelf.” “This is not good for the journey you are on.” I also was doing a little self-talk: “You know that you either have to lie tonight when you check-in, or you have to tell them that you made a very bad choice – intentionally made a very bad choice, one that will set you back on your journey.”

Finally, just before I went through the checkout line, I walked over to the deli and put the high-fat, high-calorie snack back. I knew that I needed to be careful about my choices concerning what I brought into my house. Thank goodness for my accountability partners! They have challenged me to do the right things so I will thrive in the physical realm.

There is a lot of discussion of whether we, as God’s people, need to be accountable to anyone besides God. My answer is a big, resounding YES!

Some of us have bad connotations about what accountability is. Accountability is not about confrontation or control. We may, at times, need to be confronted and to confront another, but accountability is more about challenging one another to grow in Christ. Accountability helps line us up with the warning precepts that God has given us, but it also offers support, counsel, encouragement, and affirmation.

What might have been different had these people in scripture turned to someone who was strong in God:

  1. What if David had told someone he was tempted to sleep with Bathsheba and wanted them to hold him accountable?
  2. What if Judas had told someone he was in talks to betray Jesus for a little bit of money?
  3. What if Samson had allowed someone to tell him that he was looking for love in all the wrong places, and that particular relationship would take him down a road of destruction?
  4. What if King Saul had a trusted person to whom he could say, “I’m fighting jealously where David is concerned, and I’ve getting too haughty in my God-given role?”
  5. What if Lot would have turned to a godly person and said, “I’m getting pulled into Sodom, and I want you to walk closely with me to be sure that doesn’t happen?”
  6. What if Ananias and Sapphira had gone to strong believers with whom they had built a close relationship, and said, “We are tempted to be hypocritical, and make people think we are so spiritual, when we really are not?”

We will never know how differently things would have turned out in those situations, because none of them went to an accountability partner.

Are you accountable? Do you have strong Christian friends to whom you go? Will that person(s) hold you accountable in your spiritual walk? Are you the type of person that people can come to when they need accountability? Whose voice will say to you, “Don’t bring that into your house?”

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25

The Memory Quilt

quilt 3Rebecca is a friend of mine, and she is doing something special for my family. Losing our son Bryan has, beyond a doubt, been the most difficult part of our journey on earth. Adding to our heartache has always been that Bryan never got to meet his precious son Tucker. We often laugh at what it would have been like for Bryan to see a “mini” Bryan. As a matter of fact, once the family discovered Bryan and Sarah were having a boy, Bryan several times, jokingly said, “We are going to name him “L’il” Bryan. That was prophetic!

Sarah and all of us want Tucker to know about his dad. One of the ways that is happening is via my friend Rebecca. Rebecca is making Tucker a memorial quilt using Bryan’s old tee-shirts. The tees that were chosen all represent things that Bryan loved. Tucker, with our help, can walk down memory lane and know about the love of his father, and the kind of man he was.

As God’s children, I think we should all create a memorial quilt in our minds, and in our journals. Write it down.  In the midst doing life, it’s easy to forget the love of our Father.

If I were to make a quilt, I know some of the squares would include:

  • God found this little hurt and abused girl, and adopted her through Christ, and healed her crushed emotions.
  • God supplied the funds for me to go to Southeastern University of the Assemblies of God. After one semester, I was asked to take a semester off to pay the bill, and then I could return.  What would I do?  I looked in my mailbox just before Christmas break, and there was a note that my bill had been paid in full. I still don’t know who paid it.
  • God blessed me with a loving, patient husband, who would be a huge piece of the puzzle for my emotional wholeness to take place. I listen to women pray for a man, any man, just a man! Or, people pray that God will send a man who is 6’1”, blonde and rich. I am just thankful God sent the exact man I needed.
  • God sent wonderful women in my life to mentor me to become a woman of God. They were tough on me sometimes, but I am so thankful that they did not sugar coat things to make me feel better. On that quilt square would be Women of the Word, Iverna Tompkins, Mary Ann Brown and June Evans. I don’t want to be a shallow, mediocre believer; I want to be a woman of God!
  • God blessed me with wonderful sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. My cup runneth over.
  • God blessed me with people who rubbed me the wrong way. Though I did not think so at the time, I needed them. I needed them to show me things that  needed changing in my own life. I needed their help to learn to serve God faithfully, knowing that everyone is not going to jump on my band wagon,  and not to wimp out every time someone hurts my feelings.
  • God has given me wonderful, wonderful friends in the Body of Christ. They are like family. I can cry with them, laugh with them and grow with them.
  • God has opened doors of ministry for me that I never dreamed possible. If you had asked me thirty years ago if I would be doing this now, I would have said NO! God does have a purpose for us, and as we faithfully walk with Him, He will bring us into that divine purpose.

I could go on and on and make a king-sized quilt.

Tucker will always see things on a quilt, and there will be a story that he has learned about His father. Those blocks will tell the story of his dad.

There’s something that happens when we just sit and go back over our lives, and remember the love of the Father. After reading this blog, take a piece of paper and begin drawing your memory quilt. Pull it out frequently and be reminded of who your Father is. Better yet, tell your children the stories of the squares of your quilt so they will know the Father.

Start sewing your quilt today. Square by square, you will see the love of the Father, and what a beautiful display it will be.

“The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” – Lamentations 3:22-23