E.T.M.’s… ( Enjoy The Moments)

How much happier we would be  if we took time to “Enjoy The Moments” that are so special in our lives. They are sometimes planned and anticipated but other special moments often show up unannounced. I think one of the greatest ways to battle stress and discouragement is to simply enjoy the special moments the Good Lord gives us each day. Our culture is obsessed with the success of getting “ things done” which is okay and necessary for a lot of things but not for everything. The problem is we can be in such a hurry to get the “next thing done” we can miss the blessing of a brief but encouraging conversation with someone, or a pretty sunset, time with friends and family, etc..It’s interesting that many of the life-changing encounters that Jesus had when He walked this earth, took place when He was on His way to somewhere else…He made the most of each day and wasn’t in such a hurry that He didn’t have time to notice someone or see something worth remembering. I like how Jack Cornfield describes the importance of not letting busyness rob us of our joy and peace… “When we get caught up in the busyness of this world, we loose connection with one another and ourselves.” Do you feel disconnected? Then, maybe it’s time to slow down your pace a little bit and enjoy the moments that are on the on your path through the day. 

E.T.M.’s…everybody has them, don’t be in such a hurry that you go rushing by yours and miss a blessing that God has sent your way today. 

 

Fishing on Flat Creek Without a Flashlight 

Some friends and I went fishing one night on the Flat Creek section of nearby Douglas Lake. I asked them, what I needed to bring and they suggested I bring some food for the group. I went by the grocery store and got some big chicken drumsticks ( they look like something Fred Flintstone or some other cave man would like to eat).  We set out on our nocturnal adventure and found our fishing spot, put down the anchor and began to fish. After a while, the group decided it was time to eat the food I brought. I had my fishing pole set and the line in the water, my flashlight on and then began to distribute the chicken to the guys. All of sudden, my fishing pole bent over because I had hooked a fish, I had my flashlight and grabbed the fishing pole in one hand, and held the chicken in the other hand…I had to decide to let some thing go, I couldn’t hold on to all of it at the same time! So… I dropped the flashlight in the lake, handed off the chicken to one of my friends and grabbed the fishing pole with both hands and then caught the fish.The other guys were so impressed with my “multi-tasking-how-to-make-a-quick-decison-making-ability”and responded with lots of laughter and teasing me about letting go the flashlight…What we hold on to and let go of in our lives is so important. We need to let go of the burdens of bitterness, envy, and hatred, failures, guilt, disappointments, worry, etc… We need to hold on to our faith and become better instead of bitter. I am reminded of my favorite verse in the Bible, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens” (Psalm 68:19). The phrase “daily bears our burdens” actually means that God can pick us up, like a parent will reach down and pick a little child when they stumble and falls and then holds them. When we let go of our burdens and look to the Lord and hold on to Him, we realize He is our source of strength, peace, and guidance for our daily lives. What are you holding on to today, that you need to let go? Are you looking to the Lord today to help you? Are you holding on to the right things in your life right now? I don’t know about you, but I have to look to the Lord every day!

  

Are you playing the “Shame” game?

Do you feel like you never quite measure up? Do you automatically feel guilty when something goes wrong, even when it may not be your fault?

Do you have trouble accepting God’s love, grace, and forgiveness?

If someone is sad, mad, or upset…you usually assume that you have done something to make them feel that way?
    Experts have termed this as living by a “shame based  identity”. In other words, it is as if our basic view of life is that  “It is always my fault and I’m guilty”. What causes you to feel that way? It could be several things that can contribute to this…Some suggest it may be due to your childhood, where you grew up in an environment of fear and shame due the overriding feeling you were never “ good enough.”  It can also be a result of other dysfunctional relationships and experiences.  Regardless of it’s origin, the good news you don’t have to be chained to the past emotionally.

    Through redefining our personal faith in what Christ did for us and realizing He loves us unconditionally we can expeirence the peace of God regardless of the pain of the past. The key is to focus more on what God thinks of you than feelings of shame:

1. You are forgiven. “No one whose hope in You will ever be put to shame.” (Psalm 25:3 NIV)

2. You are His regardless of your feelings of failure and guilt. “As far as the east is from the west,, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103: 12 NIV)

3. You don’t have to live in the past. ” Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth.” (Isaiah 54:4 NIV)

    As you and I continually think about God’s grace, we realize that God really loves us, and our personal relationship with Him becomes our true source of our self-esteem and identity. You and I are not a mistake but a reflection of God’s grace.