Auto Pilot

Prepare for the unexpected

This morning I turned on the fan in my office as normal. The fan started but immediately slowed to a crawl that produced no air for dissipating the heat wave in my office.  I tried switching the plug out, turning it off and on again, moving it, shaking it; but nothing worked.  In semi-panic mode now, I immediately went on the hunt for another fan because not having a working fan in my office was not an option!

I found a fan in a vacant office and grabbed it with hopefulness.  I came back into my office and …  my fan was working … circulating as normal.  I felt the difference in the atmosphere immediately.

Reflective Questions:

  • How often and how quickly do we get anxious or panic when things in our life don’t go as we plan, expect or anticipate?
  • What is our first knee-jerk reaction or response to delays or detours?
  • Being honest with yourself, how quickly do you recover and invite God into the situation?
  • Do you bother God at all and just roll with your emotions?

The truth is, when we practice a behavior long enough we don’t have to think about it – we’ve trained ourselves to act in an autopilot mode to that behavior. If anxiety has always been our first response to an unexpected event, then my automatic response to anything unexpected will be anxiety.  Without putting into practice a more positive response, anxiety will rule my life.

One thing I’ve learned in my relationship with Christ is that his ways are not my ways.  In the same manner, I have learned not to expect others to deal with life issues in the same way that I would.  This has given me a greater appreciation for the beauty of our uniqueness as individuals.  Acknowledging that God has perfect timing for the things He wants to accomplish in us and through us brings peace into our lives as nothing else will.

Don’t rush God’s processes; instead, practice waiting on the Lord, while reckoning yourself being seated in Christ in the heavenlies.  This is the only way to perfect auto responses with godly love.

Dear Future Me

Dying daily that I might live …

Dear Future Me,

I am so glad that you awakened out of your slumber (Proverbs 6:9-11). The Father was so happy when you realized that you had fallen into the conversation of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:14-17).  Even now, you never cease to be amazed at how liberating it is to die daily and empty yourself of that old man – self.  You never imagined the magnitude of the plans God wanted to work through you.  Thank you for learning to set your affection on things above (Colossians 3:1-2) every day.  Thank you for allowing the Father to transform you into the New Creature (2 Corinthians 5:17) He created at your spiritual birth.  Stay humble as you continue to put on the New Man and put off that old dead flesh.  Continue to pray daily, unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17) so your walk in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23) grows stronger as your Love for God grows more intimate.

I Love you, but I praise God for maturing you in the knowledge that no one can ever love us as much as God Loves Us, a fact demonstrated in Christ – His Son!!

black and white dead die diving

 

Take My Hand

from new book “My Soul Cries… Glory, Glory, Glory” (2019). Copyright © Wanda J. Murry.  All rights reserved.

Matthew 18:19-20
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.

These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division.  A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.

We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions.  You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.

affection board broken broken hearted
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge.  A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.”  But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.

white concrete structure
Photo by Arantxa Treva on Pexels.com

We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title.  This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.

What is your point,” you may ask?  It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel!  Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…

Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a  price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.

Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.

Take My Hand.

Family Dinner

A Vanishing Family Tradition – A Shepherd’s Voice

Since truly settling in and purposely learning more about my Savior, I continually find a beauty in how God uses His children’s backgrounds and makeup to accomplish His work.  But I am extremely appreciative of those who have been called to Pastor and Shepherd God’s children.  Having spent the last 18-plus years working side-by-side with these Servants as a church secretary or clerk, I marvel at their willingness and perseverance in working with the spiritual sheep and goats (Matthew 25:32-36; no disrespect intended as I have been both) under their pastoral care.

I am always in wonder of God’s sense of humor.  While praying to work full-time for my own pastor, my current position opened up and I was invited, accepted and now work for a pastor – Pastor Rowan.  I recently enjoyed a letter he posted to his members in their newsletter.  May it give you some food for thought as well …

From Pastor Cedric Rowan, to his congregation at First Baptist Church, Kansas City, Kansas…

Family Dinner –  A Vanishing Family Tradition

On Wednesday, September 29th, we will have our annual Family Dinner here at the church.  It’s been my prayer that each year the number would grow and grow creating a move to a larger location.   We haven’t reached that growth yet, but I am hopeful one day we will.  So, why is this such an important activity for your pastor?  Glad you asked me that question, and here’s the Why (emphasis added).

Study after study continues to show the benefit of families eating together at a table without the television and electronic devices (cell phones) occupying the minds of both parents and children.  We gather in the kitchen only to retrieve food and then retreat to our “sacred places” to entertain ourselves, losing out on the valuable opportunity to have mindful conversations.

One report states that 59% of Americans report having fewer and fewer family dinners then previous generations.  As a baby boomer, I affirm that statement and, in our home, dinner was a time everyone ate together with very few exceptions. If you missed the dinner, momma would clean up and close the kitchen.  Your options – start drinking water, eat peanut butter and jelly, or dream about breakfast.  Remember, there were no microwaves to heat up dinner back then.

With the advancements in technology, recreational and school activities, dining out, me time, and fast food, the dinner hour is on the endangered species list unless we say – no more.

If you seek to study this more, you will find several reasons suggesting the importance of “Family Dinner.”  Here’s just a few:

Improved Mental Health

One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids who regularly enjoyed family meals were less likely to experience symptoms of depression and less likely to get into drug use. Nobody ever said, “please pass the joint” at the dinner table — although it would be a lot cooler if they did.[1]

Bonded Families

Research also suggests that when a family eats together they feel a strong bond with one another. Everyone leads disconnected lives at work and school, and this time allows them to reconnect. And you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your kids’ lives. So, when Ricky tells Tina that Julie said Tommy was going to ask Rebecca to be his girlfriend, you’ll know about it.[2]

Better Grades

The National Center On Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has done a series of studies on the importance of family meals. One showed that kids who eat with their family less than 3 times a week were twice as likely to report receiving C’s or worse in school. Kids who ate with family 5 to 7 times per week did much better, reporting mostly A’s and B’s. Either your lasagna is genius fuel, or dinnertime is the perfect time to make sure they’ve done their homework.[3]

Physical Health

Families that eat together make better food choices. One study from Stanford University reported that kids who eat family dinners are less likely to grub on fried food and saturated fats, while seeking out stuff like fruits and veggies.[4]

This is just a short list and don’t forget saving money.  Yes, the older our children become it’s still the same.  Grown folks need to communicate as well.

It’s important to understand the value family has as viewed by generations.  We hear so often the term “postmodern” where many of our assumptions about culture, identity, history, religion, and language are fundamentally reassessed to fix a norm of our behavior. Let’s get back to what we know is God’s true plan and His plan for healthy families.

In a recent study conducted by Barna Group entitled Forming Family Values in a Digital Age, the survey results concluded a point I would like to share. [5]

CRo Barna Group-TheValueofFamily

If we value something, we will support and appreciate it more and more each day.  It’s not just dinner.

See you Wednesday for some fun and family time.

Cedric Rowan, Senior Pastor

[1-4]  Health & Science/Nutrition 6 Scientific Reasons Family Dinners are Important for Your Child.
[5]  Forming Family Values in a Digital Age, Infographics in Culture & Media • June 27, 2017.

Depending on the Zoo Keeper

Repost:  Copyright © August 26, 2015.  All rights reserved.

The number 8 is biblically the number of new beginnings.  When God poured out his wrath upon the earth and its wicked inhabitants, he chose to rebuild using the family of Noah–8 people.  Preserving sets of the animals and creeping things, he kept with his original design of pairing male and female of each species.  For one year, man and beast would exist harmoniously together.

sea ocean rocks waves
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Who kept Noah, his wife, his sons and his son’s wives from going crazy locked up on a boat with all those animals and creeping things?  The smell alone would have been enough to gag you; and yet, this family was given charge and authority over the care of this magnificent zoo as God washed away the wickedness of man that was so great upon the earth.

In our continually changing times, soaring prices, job instabilities and tightening budgets and belts, life can seem like a zoo.  Sometimes, trying to take it in more than one day at a time can be overwhelming and disheartening depending on the trials and tribulations being faced.

But, Ohhh … how wonderful it is to know that there is a master zoo keeper who is able to keep our lives from spinning completely out of control.  He alone holds the keys that unlock the cages we are sometimes backed into; He alone cracks the whip that keeps the enemy at bay.  In one name is all power and that name is Jesus!

Understandably, prayer – both personally and corporately – is a very necessary dependency needed to keep our sanity in this life.  In the midst of a world that is increasingly becoming a zoo; a place wherein the heart of man grows increasingly anti-Christ-like ~~ depending on the master zoo keeper is insurance against losing our minds, our hopes and our joys.

Psalm 31:19, 24 (KJV)

12 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!  24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.

 

 

In the Shadow of Forewarning

Some things are right before our eyes …

Copyright © Wanda Murry, August 31, 2018

Forewarn (Webster):

To admonish beforehand; To inform previously; To give previous notice; To caution beforehand

Forewarn (Strong’s Concordance):

To exhibit under the eyes; To exemplify (instruct, admonish); To show by making known future things

This I know because it has been foretold,

That in these last days, perilous times would come,

Where me, myself & I would be lovers of their selves;

Where the heart would covet, boast, and proudly ignore.

Where blasphemers rail against knowledge to disobey parents,

Unthankful for their welfare, and unholy in their cares.

Without natural affection, trucebreakers who falsify pacts.

These false accusers fill jails; incontinent slackers they are.

Under fierce attacks, they are despisers of those that are good.

Traitors who prey relentlessly, always heady in mischief.

Highminded, they are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.

Delusional in their form of godliness, they deny the power of the source.

Beware my sisters, for they creep into houses to lead silly women captive;

Catering to those laden with sins and willingly led away with divers lusts.

Beware brethren of ever learning, when acts and deeds uncover

The inability to come to the knowledge of the truth,

Under the shadow of what is still yet to materialize …

abstract ancient architecture art

4And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.  5But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.  Luke 12:4-5

 

Are You Ready?

Not all exams allow a retest …

Copyright © Wanda Murry, August 28, 2018

Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about the day when I will come face to face with Christ.  I’m fairly sure I won’t be able to say anything!  And, although crying is a release mechanism for me, I will have a glorified body, so I’m pretty sure that’s not an option.

It’s not just standing before him though – I’m sure of my salvation and it’s not in question.  What I wonder about is if he’ll be pleased with what I’ve done with His gift over these 40 plus years, and if I have represented Him well.

man wearing gray sweater in selective focus photography
Photo by Segopotso Makhutja on Pexels.com

Every time I think about it I remember a scene from the Bruce Willis movie “The Sixth Sense.”  Toward the end, the little boy is finally explaining to his mom that he sees and talks to the dead. He tells his mom that his grandmother said her answer was “Yes” to a question the mother had.  Asking his mom what the question was, the mother responds, “I asked if I make her proud?

I only get one day at a time to make God proud.  I know He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but at the end of each day, my hope is that God is proud of something I did to magnify His glory.  Daily, the thought of meeting my Savior face-to-face is a welcome desire.  Yet, there are other moments when I ask myself if I am truly ready to stand in His presence?

Definitely a reflective moment worth more than just a cursory thought!

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18  (KJV)

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

From the Outside (A Poem)

Leave judgment where it belongs – in God’s hands

Copyright © Wanda Murry, August 7, 2018

It’s been a while since I shared a poem from my latest book, Emotionally Charged (Amazon, 2016)This poem came to mind as I listened to the words from King & Country’s “God Only Knows” official music video (below).  It made me think of the countless young women and young men who are wandering through life — hopeless, wounded, afraid, and ready to give up on life.

I can so relate to those feelings.  As I’ve mentioned before, I personally dealt with suicidal thoughts as a teen and young adult.  I know what it’s like to feel so alone and/or hurt that you don’t think life is worth living. God brought me back from the brink many, many times!  God wants to impart His love to the lost and the hurting; He just needs them to reach out and take hold of His hand.

If you have an experience or encouraging word you can share with those who will read this post, please do.  Someone may need to hear your testimony to starve off the hopelessness nipping at their heart.

Enjoy the Poem and the Song below.

080718-POEM-From-the-Outside

 

 

My Husband’s Love & Embrace

a wife’s covering should leave her longing for the sweetness of his fruit…

Copyright © Wanda Murry, July 26, 2018

I very much enjoy the alone time I share with my husband.  Our love is deepening and growing more intimate day-by-day.  One of the many niceties and intimates of our relationship is in how He embraces me, and His gentle kisses.  I think one of the strongest emotional bonds we develop in the intimacy of marriage is the power of a hearty1,2,3 kiss!

Let me make clear that I’m not talking about the impassioned kiss used as the prelude to the sexual doorway.  Nope! I’m talking about the unsearchable intimacy that abides in the heart without the aid of the physical.

So, as I’m riding the bus this morning to work I open my book of notes to read.  I’m a person who finds it hard to listen or read the Word of God or any inspirational material and not take notes!  I came across a note I wrote down taken from the 52 Weeks of Pursuit commentary I am utilizing this year to read through the bible. Paraphrasing Mark Trotter’s words from Week 27, Day 1, my note says:

Utilizing Psalm 91 in its correct context for me as a Believer in this church age both devotionally and inspirationally:

072618-HusbandsLove

“Secret Place” – intimacy w/Christ – v1 – Song of Solomon 2:3 …

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

 

As a writer my mind immediately imagined and embraced the following scenario:

I was sitting on the sofa with my husband, leaned in close to his body,

my head tucked into his shoulder, under His shadow with great delight.

His right arm holds me close and I feel safe and secure from all ills.

I am sharing my deepest, most private thoughts and cares

with Him – without fear of rejection or judgment,

knowing confidently that not only was He listening to every word intently,

but that He truly cared about all of my cares, and the things in my heart and mind.

His care for me was like a warm blanket; a cocoon I never wanted to leave.

As I was talking, He stroked my hair, caressed my shoulder,

brushed His lips tenderly across my brow, my forehead, my cheek…

Making sure that in His arms I was reminded and without doubt,

that He was my home, my fortress, my protector, my hope.

He was my King, my husband, and the man of my dreams,

FOREVER-after throughout all of eternity!

And, finding everything I needed and hoped for in His Arms,

with the sweetness of His fruit upon my lips,

I drifted into the most tranquil rest I could ever know.

Coming out of my reverie as I continued my ride into work today, I simply smiled, wiped the tears from my eyes, and gave Thanks to God for the Husband He gave me, who loves me like no other on earth or in heaven!