Friday, January 29, 2010

Are You Ready?

Although I’m not working outside of my home this year, my alarm rings at 5:30 in the morning. I enjoy spending the first part of my day quietly, for that’s usually the only quiet part. After cooking breakfast, something that I never had time to do when I worked, and watching everyone leave for school, I get ready. Sometimes I have errands to run, friends to meet, or appointments to keep. Other times, I get ready just so I’ll be prepared for the unexpected.
If my husband's lunch meeting is canceled, I'm prepared to fill in.
If my Mom wants to go shopping, I don't have to keep her waiting.
If my Dad is going to lunch with my brother and asks me to meet them in ten minutes, I want to be able to grab my car keys and go. That happened this week, and I'm glad that I was available. All I had to do was put away my broom and dust pan, and I was out of the door.
On my way to meet with them, I thought about how I had instantly responded to my father's phone call. I wish I could say that I answer my Heavenly Father's calls that quickly. When presented with a need, I don't always pray immediately. When I feel impressed to call a friend, or write an encouraging note, I sometimes get sidetracked. I'd like to say that I eventually get the job accomplished, but not always.
Now my new goal is to always be spiritually ready, and respond instantly when called to pray, to encourage, and to give. In addition, the instructions in 1 Peter 3:15 tell me to "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." I should always be prepared to share God's word.
Finally, I must always be ready for the day when my Heavenly Father calls me home to the eternal life promised for all those who have believed in Jesus. (John 3:16) On my last day on earth, whenever that is, I must be ready to meet Him.
Are you?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Right Time

Solomon was inspired to write, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”(Ecclesiastes 3:1) The editors of Woman’s Day magazine apparently agree with him for they devoted an article in the February 17th issue to listing ideal times for various activities.
When should you exercise? According to the article, the best time to workout is in the evenings between 4:00 and 6:00, while a good time for a walk is after dinner.
In the mood to shop? Wednesdays seem to be the best day for grocery shopping. If you’re going to shop in the mall, chances are that Mondays or Tuesdays will have the least amount of fellow shoppers.
Ever hesitated leaving a movie to go to the restroom? You no longer will if you consult There you will find the best time leave the movie. There’s even a synopsis of what you will miss while you are out of the theater. The only bad thing is if everyone in the movie has checked the website, there will be a huge line in the restroom.
As I read the article, I wished that it had included advice from the Bible.
When should we encourage each other? Daily.
What’s the right time to forgive? The minute you experience the offense.
When’s the best time to ridicule one who’s made a mistake? Never.
What’s the best day to ask God’s forgiveness for sin and turn the control of your life to Him? Today. “Now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Open My Eyes

I hate putting away the Christmas stuff, then finding one more thing that I didn’t see. More often than not, the day after I pack up the decorations, I find one more ornament on the floor in the corner of the room, or one more snowman on the kitchen counter. This will be the year, I thought. This will be the year that I put away all of the Christmas decorations.
Despite my best efforts, not long after the last box had been packed and put away, I found it. A tall, slender, blue vase with silver glitter was there on the floor of my living room. The vase that usually makes me smile sat there reminding me of how easy it is to overlook something that you’ve seen every day for a month.
That the vase is not the only thing that I’ve overlooked. God’s blessings are all around me, but I sometimes don’t see them. I take them for granted and allow my problems and pettiness to loom larger on the landscape of my life. When I do that, I miss the blessings.
I’m not alone in overlooking something. Genesis 21 recounts the day that Hagar spent in the desert with her son. Out of water and hope, she sat down and sobbed. “Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water.” (Genesis 21:19) Her frantic desperation had blinded her to God’s provision. The well filled with water was there, but all she could see were her problems, until God opened her eyes.
That’s my prayer this year. I want God to open my eyes so that I can see, really see, all that He has lavishly provided. I want to fully appreciate the people in my life. I want to embrace blessings, rather than question loss. And I want to pray with my eyes wide open to see the answers.
I picked the vase up from the floor, and rather than put it away, I placed in on my desk as a reminder to pray. Seeing it there once again makes me smile.
Ronny may be reached at

Friday, January 8, 2010

Watch What You Fall Into

When you walk into my living room, chances are the first thing that you will see is a large chair, commonly called a chair and a half. It’s overstuffed, very comfortable, and even has a matching ottoman so that you can put up your feet. If you get cold, lift the lid of the ottoman to select one of many blankets including a Snuggie, whose appeal I fail to understand. (But Victoria wanted one, so her friend, Megan Landry, gave her one for her birthday.)
Getting into the chair? Easy. Just plop down. Getting out of it? Well, that’s a little trickier. At least for me. It’s takes more strength to get out of the chair than to get into it. Or if someone’s passing by, I grab their hand, and rely on their strength to lift me.
As I sat in that chair this morning, I thought of the similarities between that chair and sin. So tempting, so easy to sink into, so difficult to rise from. Then the words of a sermon that I heard over 25 years ago by Carl Delatte began to float through my mind. “Sin will take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you there longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you were willing to pay.”
For those reasons, I pray for the strength to avoid sin today. It’s so easy to write these words now when the house is quiet and no one has yet ruffled my feathers. I just hope that I remember them a little later. I like to think that I act like Jesus, then one of the kids says something and I realize that I don’t always react like He would. Or I see something on the Home and Garden channel and suddenly I’m no longer satisfied with what I have and whine about wanting another house. And will I really put away the Christmas decorations today, or just sit down and finish off the fudge? Okay, so maybe that wouldn’t be a sin, it just breaks my New Year’s resolution.
Lying? Coveting? Stealing? Gluttony? Adultery? Although the opportunities to sin are many, I Corinthians 10:13 reminds me that, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.”
The good news is that even when we choose to fall into it, there is always a way out of sin. Maybe we can’t get out of it with our own strength, but Jesus is always there, ready to lend His hand. His nail-scarred hand.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Words are Permanent

I graduated from high school in 1977. Although I can rarely remember where my sunglasses are, I have pretty clear memories of those days, which I don’t hesitate to share with my children. If I wanted to change the television channel, I had to walk across the room and turn the dial. Phones were attached to the wall by a cord, so all calls were taken in the kitchen or living room, where everyone could hear your conversations, and I learned to type on a manual typewriter.
I loved typing class. I enjoyed the steady noises produced by the tapping of the keys, using the carriage return lever to advance to the next line, and finally reading what I had typed. The worst part of typing class was correcting mistakes. Every wrong letter had to be completely erased, then retyped. When carbon paper was used to type multiple copies of a document, the mistake on every copy was individually corrected. The correction process caused me to become a careful typist.
About this time in my life, I read something that instantly struck me, and has stuck with me. It’s one sentence that has corralled many of my conversations. “Don’t say anything that you wouldn’t write down, and sign your name to.” Have I always lived by that? Of course not. But the times when I have spoken too much have produced regret that I would love to live without.
Sticks and stones may break bones, but words can really hurt, too. They can hurt my friends, my spouse, and my children. After a conversation, I sometimes think, What if the last words I said to them were the last words they ever heard me say? Regardless of how lively our conversations become, I want them to end well, with no misunderstandings, or doubt of my love.
Erasing a mistake in typing class was nothing compared to trying to take back words. Although invisible, spoken words can never really be erased. That fact should make me think very carefully before I speak.