Thursday, May 31, 2012

There is hope, no matter how bleak the path looks...

Again, I cite Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” It's not hopeless. Things may be hard now, but God is ever guiding you!!! “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’” Isaiah 30:21 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 Don't give up!!!!

As that butterfly!

See yourself as that butterfly, not just the cocoon! There's more to you- and your life- than meets the eye!!! God decided it long before you ever looked in the mirror!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Oof! Real Smooth!!!

Tripping or falling just never quite looks stylish, glamorous or intentional, does it? I’ve tripped up A LOT in my life. I’ve tripped over stairs, over clutter, over my own feet. I’ve tripped on ice, in mud, on carpet and hardwood floors. And then there’s my mouth. Oh, yes, a great tripper this critter is. I’ve stuttered, stammered and said horrible and horribly ridiculous and/or stupid things in my life, all of which have socially, personally or professionally placed me in the corner wearing an invisible dunce cap on my tripping head. So yes, like this fictional doggie exchange here, “I have had it said to me; as well as stating in my own mind, “Real smooth.”
Sigh. Hopeless? Destined for embarrassment and failure perpetually? In those moments, it feels like “yes,” but thank God, there’s more at work then my day, morning, evening, night and midnight hour tripping going on here! God HAS to help us. “A person's steps are directed by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.” Psalm 37:23 When we’re children, just having fallen off from our bikes and skinned our needs, we cry for our parents to come and get us, to kiss our boo boos and make things better. We’re too busy being upset to help ourselves a lot of the time. And emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically, as we grow, we never outgrow our need for God and all of His boo boo kissing help in life. We’d like to think that we’re too mature, too wise, too sophisticated by the accolades in our lives to need God. We’ve “got it,” after all. Eh… uh-oh… “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 Yeah, been there. Fell on that little ditty. The truth is, we will fall- several times in our lives; it’s not fun. It’s not painless. “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again...” Proverbs 24:16 But, author and motivational speaker, John Maxwell, wrote a book, years ago, entitled “Failing Forward.” After reading it, I started changing my perfectionistic mandate of my life performance. If we perceive our falls to be advances to the next stage of our lives, it’s maybe easier to recover when we slip, trip or completely wipe out. We just got closer to God just then; we just got closer to our destiny. After all, what else does “from glory to glory” mean, if it’s not emphasizing the imperfect, human process of us, living our lives? “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 by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 Perhaps it is about perspective, a glass half empty or full. Maybe we can look at our spills as halfway rising instead of completely crushed and defeated forever? Can you? And let’s not forget, God is STILL there, the entire time… "Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield." Psalms 33:20 "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance." Psalms 42:5 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalms 46:1 "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." Psalms 121:1-2 Are you recovering from a real doozy of a fall now? There is hope beyond it! God tells us… But never forget, before that reality, there is THIS one, acting on your behalf… “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 Let God love you, even in spite of your fall, however large or small it may be. The next time you’re tempted to berate yourself with “Real smooth” about your slip, trying saying this to yourself instead: Real loved I am by God! Real loved!

This Memorial Day weekend...

God bless those who serve and protect the cause of Freedom!!! Thank you for your Bravery!!!

An original!!!!

If your ship doesn't come in...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Stuck in the blinds

Look at this perplexed cat.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve often found myself in this same predicament emotionally …repeatedly… I may not be physically stuck in the blinds, but I have been every bit as confused by life as this feline here. Glamour. Sophistication. Maturity. Being Together. Nope, not happening, if you have your head stuck in clacky white slats. The view ain’t the greatest from this vantage point. It’s noisy; it’s obscured. And your placement within the structure makes you look like an idiot. Hello. We’d like to introduce you to a thing called life. Please keep your arms, legs and head within the vehicle at all times. Thank you. Did we honestly think we could figure it all out perfectly? Well, apparently some of us have, at different points in our lives, hence the frightened number of craniums, all trying to get out of this mess, while still trying to be in control. Ah, yes, control. We’re back here, aren’t we? We want to control life- at least our lives. We want to know everything, to be secure of absolutely every single situation which could ever happen to us. C’mon, I’m the only guilty, stuck cat head here. Indeed, back when I was in college, entrenched in eating disorder chaos, I desperately stuck my head in between a few desperate slats, trying to see what would become of my life. Enter the psychic hotline. Oh, goody, Sheryle. Let’s get a reading. The thing was, it couldn’t just be one reading for me. Oh, no! It was a few months of ‘em, all to the tune of hundreds of dollars in phone bills. What was I trying to see? Hope. What did I wind up seeing? More confusion and fear. Wonderful. God tells us, no matter how hard we try to figure it all out, at best, we see things fuzzy… “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12 That doesn’t mean God’s a sadist. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...” 1 Corinthians 14:33 It means, rather, we’re imperfect and- gasp- human, oh lodged headed friend of mine. It means we cannot control and know everything, no matter what device or vice choose and determine to be our secure “answer.” Logically, we know this. But emotionally? Eh, needs works. Indeed, our drive for safety, security and control can all lead us to get stuck in a predicament called our lives. We may start out, completely focused, informed, but, before we know it, boom! We’re not seeing anything, life included, in any clear or accurate way any longer. Our heads are caught in the blinds. And now, our focal point is panic, which, of course, creates wonderful decision making ability. So, are we hopeless? Are we destined to only be idiotic screw ups and failures? No. God tells us if we lack wisdom, to ask Him for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally, and reproaches not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5 But notice, God never tells us He’ll give us every comfy, stable security blanket or binky to soothe our lives. We won’t get all of the answers; let alone, all of our life situations perfectly accomplished and accounted for. No. We need faith. Faith: uneasy, challenging, questioning, imperfect faith. But that faith in a perfect and capable God can keep us out of some nasty situations. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 It’s cliché, but for a reason. When we try to figure anything out on our own, we tend to get in a jam. We can’t see our way out of it if we are struggling IN it. What is the thing now which tempts us into thinking we can put our head, life and efforts into something that looks just as ridiculous as this cat here? It’s worth taking a moment to stop. Think. Pray. Each time we see a new, obscured window, with its matching blinds, let’s remember it’s God, not our bright ideas apart from Him, which gives us the best view and life. “…Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 Anything apart from that, you’re looking at some frustrating “stuck time.” Let’s let God navigate our lives ands perspective- and choose to get and stay- unstuck! Copyright © 2012 by Sheryle Cruse

Thursday, May 10, 2012

There’s an App For That

“There’s an App For That.” That’s one of the catch phrases we often hear when it comes to all things cell phone and tech-y world-related. Whether it’s such options as games, information or pop culture trivia, there seems to be an app that covers every single conceivable base in life. Hmm. Sounds familiar. Sounds like… God’s Word. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,” Ephesians 5:26 But we need to apply it; we need to apply that app to our lives. Which brings me to this wet little critter here:
Anyone who has ever tried to give a cat a bath (notice, I use the word, “try”), knows it is a challenging situation (that’s a nice way of saying “I’m all scratched up”). And, when it comes to us, to our assortment of tricky issues, we often react to getting washed by God’s Word in much the same way. We scowl, we protest, we claw against our help. We don’t apply the Word, even, in spite of the reality, once again: “There’s an App For That.” No matter, for instance, if we struggle with feeling worthless; “There’s an App For That.” “I have chosen you and have not cast you away.” Isaiah 41:9 No matter if we struggle with feeling stupid; “There’s an App For That.” “we have the Mind of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 2:16 No matter if we struggle with feeling like a failure; “There’s an App For That.” “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 No matter if we struggle with knowing and accepting our worth as God sees it; “There’s an App For That.” “Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…” Isaiah 43:4 Are you all tricked out with your cell phone, your laptop and your streaming devices? Do you have every kind of app to keep you amused and informed? What about the rest of your life; what about your spiritual life? Where is God in the context of your personal life application? Why not apply Him, now, to every part of who you are? He’s there for you! He’s the greatest help you could ever have! “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.” Psalm 32:8 Tap into Him today!