Archive for the ‘Leftovers’ Category

What does it mean to live life fully engaged so as to enjoy all that God has to offer to the fullest?  A life lived fully engaged in the present is a life filled with Joy. 

John 15:11, John 16:24 and John 17:13 cover the span of time when Jesus walked through the vineyard with His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus speaks of His joy being in us.  When we allow His joy to fill us, it is impossible to be willing to settle for only the scraps and snippets of all that the Lord God wants to offer us, His daughters.  We are Daughters of the King of Kings!  

We are called to life abundantly and when we fail or refuse to live with a mind overflowing with an attitude of abundance we mock the gift of grace that cost Jesus Christ so much.  A clear study of statistical data would show that if you can read this—no matter what you have in your bank account—you are wealthier than 98% of the world.  Recognizing an abundant life means focusing on the blessings surrounding us—we each can identify those in our lives from being able to see and breath to our homes, family and freedom to worship. 

As this season of celebrating Christ’s birth and love of family begins—may we lift our hearts and reflect the abundance of His joy in our smiles and with our words and actions.  

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, when I think of the abundance of your provisions in my life, I do feel joy bubbling up in me and my mind forgets about the worries and challenges ahead today.  Help me Lord Jesus to keep my mind and heart focused on You so I reflect to my family and neighbors that I trust You to provide.  Help me to walk as one living a life of abundance and not as one living on scraps. May my countenance reflect Your Joy in all I do and say today.  Thank you for Your faithfulness that constantly offers me abundance.  Amen.

Additional Study:  Psalm 66:12-20, Psalm 145:7, Jeremiah 33:6-9, Matthew 12:12, Romans 14:17-19, Galatians 5:13, 22

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Busy and tired usually describe those times when I shortcut preparing dinner and serve my family leftovers.  Well, that also fits the description of those times when I serve God leftovers of me.  I may take the time to read my Bible or even to pray, but my mind is elsewhere on too many tasks and I am hurrying to get on with my day; I am not fully present in the moment with Him. 

Scripture reminds us to “love God with all your heart, mind and soul…”   Mark 12:29-31, yet too often I don’t give Him my entire mind even when I believe He does have all of my heart. 

I was recently challenged to think about those quiet times with my Lord Jesus and to reflect on the word “quiet” not just on the word “time.”  When I add “quiet” to my quiet time, I pause to re-align my values and heart with His.  Quietness allows for the clutter of life to be set aside for a time.  Quietness restores my peace.  Quietness draws me to the Throne of Grace so I can hear His voice and feel His love. 

There is an old hymn that brings that quietness and assures I won’t settle for giving my Lord Jesus only the leftovers of my time and focus—“In the Garden”.  When I picture walking in the garden with Jesus Christ, it always calms me and helps me to be fully present in my heart, mind and soul even if the actual hours amount to only a few minutes of my day. 

 Father, today my mind is racing with all the responsibilities I need to accomplish.  I have spent more time fussing in Your presence than resting.  Forgive me Lord, and still my mind.  Quiet my heart.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation.  I don’t want to serve my family leftovers of me and Father, I surely don’t want that to be all I give You.  I surrender my heart, mind and soul and ask that You fill me with new, fresh, anointed energy and power to go forth in Your name today to accomplish what You need me to accomplish in Your love.  Amen. 

Additional Study:  Romans 8:6, 9-10, 12:1-2, Ephesians 1:4-5

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Synonyms of leftover—snippets, odds and ends, scrap.  Is that what I am settling for?  Jesus Christ said He came that we might have life abundantly.  “The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” (I Timothy 1:14) Interestingly though, synonyms also include “surplus, free, extra,” and that is what the Lord Jesus calls us to—the surpluses of life. 

Jesus Christ says that He came that we might have life to the full and that it is the thief’s purpose to kill and destroy (John 10:10), so when we settle for less than God’s best for us, we fulfill the thief’s purpose.  Jesus wants us to live life abundantly. 

Perhaps there are some circumstances, past mistakes or wounding words from others that have led to the belief that you only “deserve” bits and pieces of love, attention, and bounty.  But abundance means “more than enough, an exceeding measure, something above the ordinary.”  This is what Jesus Christ wants to give us in peace, security, mercy and in meeting our daily needs.  Psalm 132:15 is a binding contract the Lord God has made with us—that when we accept His love and grace, we can count on His abundance in this life as well as the next.  We breach that contract when we fail to accept the full benefits of the agreement by minimizing the life He offers. 

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, today I want to quit settling for scraps and to begin living as a full member of your family with all the rights and privileges afforded to each of us as Daughters of the King of Kings.  Help me release at the foot of the cross all of those images, words, or thoughts that have held me bound to the idea that I am not worthy of Your abundant mercy, grace and provisions.  Help my unbelief.  Fill me today to overflowing so that I have a surplus that I am free to shower on others.  Amen. 

Additional Study:  Jeremiah 33:6-9, Matthew 7:11, Luke 11:13, Romans 5:17, I Peter 1:2, Jude 2

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“Mom, I am with you, but you aren’t with me.”  My 9 year old daughter had just complained that I wasn’t listening to her and I had responded that I heard everything she said.  She made the statement because while listening to her, I was multi-tasking two or three other matters and yes, she was right—my ears were hearing her words, but my mind was thinking about a strategy to solve a client’s issue.

As employees we give our career responsibilities our full attention then we come home exhausted, drained and serve leftover time and attention to those we love the most.  I find it interesting how women (and I am one of them) will dress to the max to go to their job but go without makeup or wear their sloppiest clothes around those at home.  A friend once challenged me about how I spoke to my daughter and husband when she asked me if I would speak with a client or a business associate with that tone. 

If that hits you as hard as it did me…let me offer grace.  Yes, we are called to owe no debt but love and sometimes we shortchange those we love and serve at home.  But the Lord God allows us “do overs.” We can stop serving leftover time, attention and energy to our families and friends when we come to the Throne of Grace and ask for His instruction how to change our focus, prioritize our time and responsibilities so that we serve only the abundance of His love to those in our hearts. 

Oh, Lord, especially this time of year, it is so easy to get caught up in the busy seasonal activities so that we forget today to celebrate the joy of laughter and love with those we love.  Slow me down mentally Father God so I take the time to appreciate my loved ones and to serve them the best of me by giving them my full attention when I speak to them so they receive my full measure of love and not leftovers.  Amen

Additional Study:  Matthew 7:12, Matthew 22:34-39, Matthew 18:6, Mark 8:35-38, Mark 10:42-45, Romans 13: 8-10

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Have you ever opened the refrigerator and discovered leftover food that you had forgotten about?  You open the container to see mold, or…well, let me just say something that looks extremely unappetizing.  That is what leftover emotional baggage can be like.  Yuck!

Leftover emotional baggage creates a residue in our lives like a film left on a milk glass once it is drained.  If, like me, you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior you acknowledge that He has forgiven you of your sins and set you free from the penalty of death.  However, while you know that with your mind, your heart may still be carrying residue of emotions either towards another person or, like me, residue that I use to beat myself up with…that I am unworthy of God’s grace…that I don’t deserve it…that the Lord God couldn’t really love the “real” me.  And so, rather than living in the freedom of His grace, I continue to feed on these leftover emotions that keep me chained to my past mistakes. 

God’s Word tells us in Isaiah 44:22 – “I have swept away your sins like the morning mists.  I have scattered your offenses like the clouds.  Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.”

Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, I wasn’t even aware that there was residue and crude still inside me.  I thought I had fully surrendered all of my baggage when I accepted Your gift of Grace.  Even though I am not aware of all of the emotions I am holding inside, You know what they are.  If I need to acknowledge each one to release it to you—help me to do that consciously.  Lord, if it is just that consciously I need to acknowledge that I have emotions I don’t even know are inside, well, Father God, I acknowledge there could be many inside my heart—please Lord take them today.  Set me free from the ALL residue of past mistakes and regrets.  Give me the courage and strength needed to refrain from reclaiming this baggage—it is yours Lord.  I surrender to Your love and grace.  I am free!  Thank you, Lord.  Amen

Additional Study:  Matthew 11:28-30, Matthew 13:31, Matthew 9:2-6, Romans  5:10, Romans 8:1, Psalm 51:1, 9, Isaiah 55:7, Acts 3:19, I Peter 1:18-19, Colossians 2:13-14

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