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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Rock and a Hard Place

Hello Dear Friends,

How in the world have you been?

It's been awhile and I must say it's nice to be back in the swivel chair tapping out a message on the keys for you. I hope and pray that this entry finds you happy and well and that your 2012 is off to a marvelous start.

Well, grab a cup of tea, coffee, or your favorite snack. You know how we are about having to multi-task. I wouldn't want you to feel as though you are falling down on the job, but I, who am not a very efficient multi-tasker likes to keep it doable. I AM, however, able to chew, swallow and read at the same time. Although, I must admit to almost taking a bite out of a book mark once when I was snacking on something of similar weight, ie., chips or maybe it was wheat thins. I think I'll go with wheat thins. It sounds so much healthier and after all, it is still early in the New Year.

By the way, how is that going?
Did you make some good resolutions?
Are you still, some seven weeks later keeping them?

I don't make New Year's resloutions any more.
Too much pressure.
I feel too lousy when I realize I'm already three days behind schedule before I actually remember that I made resolutions or a week behind when I find the To Do list that I wrote them on. 

Instead, I prefer to give myself a running start by just beginning something on any old odd day of the week, sometime after the start of the year. I don't tell anyone about it, including myself, you know, just in case, the expectations were to get too high.

I continue for several days and sort of sneak up on myself. The next thing you know I've been exercising a little each day for about four days without even realizing it. I've been replacing a cookie here and there with an orange or a handful of golden raisins and almonds. There you have it! Before I have time to panic or doubt my ability to succeed, I've practically conquered this new-start, self-improvement resolution thing.

Things run along nice and smoothly for a few more days, I'm nearing a whole week...

And then, blam. . .

. . . out of the blue something happens to throw a rock in my path.

Oftentimes, it's something seasonal such as a couple inches of snow or cinnamon hearts for Valentine's Day.

My progress comes to a screeching halt.

I fall off the proverbial horse, foot still stuck in the stirrup, body slamming on the ground behind it until finally, my foot comes loose and the horse called my new healthy diet and exercise program goes galloping off into the sunset.

I sit there a few moments staring after it wondering what happened. Finally, brushing the dust off, I get up and come to the realization that I hit a rock.

Yes, that's right. I hit a rock.

It was in my path.
I may or may not have seen it coming. The result is the same.

I thought I had cleared them all away, but this one cropped up unexpectantly.

Now, here comes the hard place....
the realization that I should have seen it coming.
After all, it's happened before.

It gets harder. . .

At this point I must make a decision.
Am I going to do the easy thing and let that horse run free or am I going to track down and lasso that pony and hop back on? 

In my spiritual life there are rocks that must be dealt with also.

How about you, dear heart?  Do you find like Paul in chapter 7 of Romans that the very things you hate and don't wish to do, you end up doing? On the other hand, do you neglect the things that you want to do?  I resemble that remark.

As I read that passage I can just hear the defeat and disappointment in his voice.

Once again . . .    
                          . . . failure.

Perhaps these are the toughest and most important rocks that I need to get out of the way.

But, I thought I had. ???

The look on my face right now is one of puzzlement.

God showed me the answer to this dilemma as I was leaving Bible study one afternoon.

Across from our little country church lies beautiful rolling hills of farmland.
Every year since I've been attending there at least one crop is planted and harvested.
But, on this particular afternoon, I noticed the farmer slowly walking the field ahead of a front-end loader. Ever so often he stooped over, picked up a large rock and heaved it into the bucket of the front-end loader.

This seemed odd to me.
Not that he was clearing out his field, I knew rocks that size could damage farm machinery. 
But, why was he picking the rocks up now?
Surely, they had been there all along. They didn't just drop out of the sky one evening and land in his field.
I would have heard about it. It would have made the local chronicle.

Aha. Yes, indeed they had been there all along. But, as time passed; rains fell, crop roots dug deep, cows rambled around and maybe even our recent earthquake had its hand in dislodging and pushing those rocks to the surface.

Just like our old habits, defeating thought patterns and temptations giving way to sin, they lie just beneath the surface waiting to emerge.
To keep ahead of these "rocks" we must do daily maintenance to keep our spirits strong.
Otherwise, they will appear when we least expect.
Breaking our plow, knocking us off our horse and leaving us defeated and discouraged.

"Where do we start?"

I'm delighted that you asked dear friend.
I'm happy to share how I get started.
  • I like to begin with listening to or singing some songs of praise to our Father. You don't have to sing though, just lift up your hands and praise Him for who He is, not what He's done for you. That comes later. 
Praise chases Satan from our presence. He can't stay where there's honest-to-goodness praise to the Lord. He has to flee.
  • Next I spend a few moments searching my heart and asking forgiveness where I have fallen short of what is pleasing to Him. I ask Him to bring things to mind that I have ignored or overlooked.
  • Then, I thank Him for all He has done for me and how richly He has blessed me and most of all how He loves me.
  • Next, I like to pray for others, intercession on their behalf.
  • Find a version of the Bible that appeals to you and read some portion of it. There are many reading plans to choose from. Check out You Version, there are a ton of plans there.
  • Try memorizing God's word. Hide it in your heart. Start with one line at a time. I did a line a day and before long had a whole Psalm that I could pull from memory at any moment to comfort me or encourage someone.
This looks extensive but you can spend as much or as little time as you want to. God doesn't make you punch a time clock before He hears you. 
He just loves being with you.

He is the one and only rock that will actually keep you from stumbling.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in God the Lord, we have an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock in whom I take refuge; Psalm 18:2

Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14

So there, precious friends, get on out there and dig up some rocks before they cause you to stumble. Triumph over them in the Lord's strength. Make them work for you.
Build an alter out back, make a fence or construct a barbeque pit.
Put them in their place . . . . at the feet of Jesus.

And then cling to the Rock of Salvation.

God bless you with the strength of the Rock.

(c) 2012 Bonnie Mae Evans