Archive for Spiritual Growth Articles
As big as my ears are, you would think I would be able to hear everything I am listening to.
I like to think I am hearing what I am listening to but I have so many illustrations that prove otherwise. I’m not sure what it is, but I am working on it with the help of the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage.
It was on a Friday and I was very busy trying to get things done for the weekend. Some in our domicile can multitask and then the other can hardly do one thing at a time.
I’m not quite sure how my wife does it, but she can do half a dozen things at the same time and get them all done perfectly. It is like one of those jugglers at the circus who can keep half a dozen balls in the air at the same time.
Not me. I can’t even keep one ball in the air at the same time, let alone half a dozen.
I was busy trying to get ready for the weekend when the wife came in and said, “Can we borrow your truck on Monday?”
I grunted and nodded my head in the affirmative.
“We need to move some furniture to a storage unit.”
Now, in those two sentences she used the word “we” but I heard the word “I.”
I am okay with her borrowing my truck and doing whatever kind of business she needs to do. A marriage works that way. One has a truck and the other borrows said truck.
I should have thought something was up, but you know how it is with us men. We do not think unless backed into a corner and we cannot do anything else. All through the weekend when I saw my wife, she would look at me and smile and nod her head. I smiled and nodded my head back at her. After all, isn’t that what a good relationship is all about? Smiling and nodding your head at each other.
As I recall, it was a rather pleasant weekend and then it was over.
Early on Monday morning my wife came into the living room where I was watching TV and drinking my morning cup of coffee. I can’t start any day without my coffee. Whoever invented coffee should actually get a Nobel Peace prize.
My wife came in and looked at me and said, “Are we ready to go?” Then she smiled and nodded her head in my direction. Read More→
When it comes to certain things, I am quite a bit confused. One thing has to do with time. What I want to know, what time is it?
I do not know why time cannot be the same for everybody. After all, everybody is squirming about equal rights. Why can’t we have equal time rights? Why do we have to split it up so much?
If that is not enough, we have this idea of changing the time. Who in the world came up with such a stupid idea? You turn the clock ahead one hour and then a couple months later you turn it back one hour. What good does that accomplish?
It is like giving somebody a dollar and then six months later taking that dollar back. What exactly is going on? It just does not really make sense to me.
It has taken me quite a while to get adjusted to this idea of “Spring Forward” and “Fall Backward.” I get the idea falling backwards, but I do not know what it means to spring forward. Moreover, why can’t we spring backward and fall forward one year? After all, there is this issue of equal rights.
It has taken me a while to get adjusted to these kinds of time changes.
One year I remember rather well when I got everything confused. I thought I would take control and not tell the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage that I was going to change the clocks. I wanted it to be a surprise for her.
Of course, I put things off to the last minute and usually get into trouble. I put this off to the last minute not knowing that my wife had already turned the clocks ahead. So, trying to impress the good lady of the parsonage that I was a responsible gentleman, I went around and turned all the clocks ahead one hour.
Some people say when you get older you forget a lot. I have been forgetting a lot all my life.
A few hours later, after setting the clock forward an hour, I could not remember if I really set the clock forward. So, very quietly I went around and set all of the clocks forward one hour. This was on a Saturday night. I thought I would really surprise my wife with remembering to set the clocks forward.
That night when it came time to go to bed, I noticed that I was not very tired. I try to go to bed by 11 o’clock each night, but this night I just could not even yawn.
“I think,” I told my wife, “I’ve had too much coffee today. I just don’t feel sleepy.”
She looked at the clock, scratched her head and said, “I don’t feel sleepy either.”
What do you do when it is time to go to bed and you do not feel sleepy but you know you have to go to bed or you will not get up on time in the morning. And church services were in the morning.
“Well,” my wife looking at me rather strange, “we better go to bed or we will not be able to get up in the morning. And we can’t be late for church.”
It was a little after 11 when I got to bed and my eyes just would not close. I closed them and they would snap open right away. I tried counting sheep. By the time I got to 10,978 sheep, I was just as awake as before. What do you do with that many sheep? Read More→
Do you read your Bible every day? I don’t, but I do read scripture every day. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17), so you need to be reading scripture daily for the health of your faith. But who has the time, or even the desire, to sit down with their Bible and read? So let’s discuss some interesting ways to get your daily dose of The Word.
- Decorate your walls — Put beautiful landscape pictures with scripture on your walls. Not only do you have something pretty to gaze upon, but you will also give your faith a boost every time you walk down the hall to wash another load of laundry. My goal is to put a scripture picture in every room of my house.
- Verse A Day App – Sign up for a verse of the day app on your phone or iPad. Apps are a fantastic method of keeping up with scripture without picking up a Bible. Even better, if you find the verse to be what you need, you can read the rest of the chapter right where you are, even if you are in the grocery store. Some Bible apps will even read the Bible out loud to you while you commute to work. You can even sign up for a verse of the day in your email.
- Wallet cards — Many Christian stores, and even some regular bookstores, will carry credit-card sized cards with a pretty picture and verse. Whenever you reach into your wallet, you will be reminded of God.
- Scripture a Day Calendar — Everyday you rip off the sheet from yesterday and start a fresh verse to feed your soul.
- Answer Questions — I found a website where I answer Bible questions for other people. Those who do not understand The Word can benefit from the knowledge of others. By responding to questions, I have to dive deep into the Bible to find the right answers to the questions. Mind you this option might not be the right one for everyone. If, like me, you have a relevant degree, this might be a viable and unique way to immerse yourself.
- Facebook — Join a Facebook or Twitter group which shares scripture often. Let your news feed fill with verses, in between pictures of cats and your friend’s babies of course!
- Devote a little time — Get yourself a devotional book. Not only will this give you a little lesson every day to uplift, but will have a verse at the bottom for you.
- Listen to music — Find a Christian group you love who incorporate scripture into their songs. You might not know the exact location of the verse in the Bible, but the words will be in your heart.
- Keep a journal — whenever you receive a verse you want to remember to write the scripture in your journal, and when you need it, the verse will be close to you to read on a whim. Fill it up! You can even write prayer requests or prayers in the journal.
- Play Bible games — Find a Bible trivia game to play with your children or friends. What a wonderful way to have fun and feed your faith!
- Use Scripture on your background — Use Google to find a scripture background for your computer. Seeing scripture daily might even help you memorize more verses. When the verse is deeply planted in your head, find a new one!
- Drink your coffee or tea — Shop for a few mugs with your favorite scriptures to make your morning coffee more enjoyable.
- Read to your children — Before your kids head to school educate them with a daily verse from the best book ever created. Reading scripture to your children is beneficial to help them grow their faith as well.
Not long ago I was talking with a coaching client about her fears and doubts in regards to leaving the corporate world and working from home. She was sharing with me her concerns about bringing in enough money, making the right contacts and how just getting her new business off the ground was causing her to feel completely overwhelmed.
As we talked, a verse that I had read earlier in the week, 1 Corinthians 16:13, came to mind and I realized that it can be applied to our work-at-home fears and doubts as well as our spiritual ones.
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
Be On Your Guard
I think it’s imperative that we remember that we must be on guard. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the concerns of this world – our business, our family, etc – and take for granted that we are in a spiritual battle. If we’re doing what God has called us to do, our enemy does NOT want us to succeed. We must be aware of the lies he feeds us, the worry he works to create in our lives and the utter hopelessness that he tries to convince us is reality.
When we’re aware of the battle raging around us, we can cling to God’s truths and stand firm in our faith. There are days I find myself repeating hope-giving verses out loud to help me stand firm. Verses like these:
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When I have God’s truth on my lips and in my heart, I’m filled with courage. The key here is that being courageous is a choice. We can choose to sink into the defeated mindset that the enemy tries to create. Or we can choose to rely upon the Holy Spirit and be courageous even in the face of overwhelming odds.
There will be times in business when it seems like no matter what you do, you can’t succeed. But, we know that isn’t the truth. We must be courageous and walk through these times, trusting that God will provide and that He has our best in mind – even when we can’t see it. Read More→
I remember my grandfather telling me that the older you get the faster time flies. Laughing at him at the time I thought it was another of his little stories he loved telling.
Just the other day I caught myself telling one of my grandchildren, “The older you get the faster time flies.” Then it occurred to me. I am my grandfather. I am not sure how I got here, but here I am.
It is hard keeping up with things, especially when time ticks by so fast. Just when you think you are all caught up, you realize you have to start it all over again.
I was complaining about this the other day to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Normally, I try not to do any complaining in her presence. She has the ability of turning my complaint upside down and confusing me to the extent that I have no idea what I am complaining about.
In my complaint I said, “Where does time go?”
“Where,” my wife said rather sarcastically, “do you want time to go?”
I had to stop and think about that one. In fact, I am still trying to think about that one. To be rather honest, I do not know where I want time to go. The only thing I do know is, I do not want it to go by so fast. Why can’t time slow down just a little bit, especially as I get older.
In my confused state of mind my wife said, “Would you do me a favor and go to the grocery store and pick up some items? I just don’t have enough time to do it myself.”
Whenever my wife asked me to do her a “favor,” I believe there should be some kind of a recompense for my time. After all, my time is valuable, at least to me it is. Read More→
You would think being a husband as long as I have been I would have learned the fine art of negotiating with my wife. And trust me, it is an artistic creation.
When I got married, somebody told me that marriage was a 50-50 proposition, which being the naïve young man that I was, believed it entirely.
The problem I have discovered is that 50 from a man’s point of view may not necessarily be 50 from a woman’s point of view. If I knew then what I know now, I would have asked that person to define what they meant by 50.
Through the years, I discovered that at times it is a 25-75 split. Other times it is a 0-100. Nobody can be 100% right all the time unless of course they are married to a husband.
When men get together, they talk about sports, hunting, cars and so forth.
When women get together, they talk about how to deal with their husbands.
I know it does not sound fair, but then it is our fault as men for not getting our act together.
Although, I must admit that at this point in my life I do not have any regrets. The only thing that I have trouble with is the word “tomorrow.”
I am not quite sure what that word means from my wife’s perspective. From my perspective, the word “tomorrow” is just a way of putting something off and possibly not even doing it.
I never really thought anything of it until recently. To me the word “tomorrow” was just a casual word I used to postpone things. It was not until last week that it really came to the forefront.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage asked me to do something for her. I was really busy at the time, I’m not sure what I was busy doing, but I was not paying too much attention. I smiled at her and said, “Okay.” Then, I went back to doing whatever I was doing.
The next day she approached me and said, “Did you do what I asked you to do yesterday?”
I really was not quite up to date on what she asked me to do yesterday, but I said, “No, but I’ll do it tomorrow.” To be fair, I actually forgot about it. I did not mean to forget about it, but it does not change the fact that I forgot about it.
The next day she queried me rather sternly, “Did you do what I asked you to do the other day?”
At this point I was marinating in that husband fog that seems to plague every husband and so I said, “No, but I’ll do it first thing tomorrow for sure.”
If I thought that was the end of the conversation, I was thinking in vain.
“Today,” she said as sternly as I have ever heard her speak, “is the tomorrow you promise to do it.”
Now I am swimming in that husband fog. How in the world can today be tomorrow? At this point, I did not know if she was confused or if I was confused. To keep things safe, I will admit to being the one confused. Read More→
I have been pondering a delicate question this week. Why is it I can only do one thing at a time? If only I could do several things at a time, I could get more accomplished.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is an expert when it comes to multitasking. Although I have lived with her for over 45 years, I still do not know how she does it. She is better than a circus juggler and can juggle a dozen tasks at the same time.
Not me, that is for sure!
I like to do many things, but I have to do them in order and one at a time. That is how I have always done things even though I have tried to juggle two things at one time but it has never been successful. Usually, both of them fall to the floor and I have to start all over again.
Every day I make a list of things I need to do and start working on them one by one. I am looking forward to the day when I will be able to accomplish everything on my list.
Maybe I am just trying to do too much.
Like the other day, I needed to go across town to pick up something at one of the office supply stores. Usually, I am not allowed to go into the grocery store by myself. However, when my wife found out I was going to go across town, she asked me if I would stop at the grocery store and pick up a few things. Then she handed me a list, and said, “Get everything on the list and only those things on the list.”
Then she gave me one of “those looks.”
It is hard for me to go into a grocery store and not pick up a few things that I want. I have never seen any ice cream that I did not want. However, when I am on strict orders with a shopping list, I don’t have any leeway at all.
It started out rather well. She handed me the list and I put it in my pocket and headed for the front door. As I was going out, I heard her say, “Remember, only those things on the list.” Read More→
Meek & mild. Calm, cool, and collected.
These are all words that I wish described me.
But they don’t. At all. Just ask my family or friends. I would get they would use words more like stressed out and energetic (said somewhat sarcastically. Sarcasm runs in our family).
I have always carried a deep desire to be like Mary. To sit at the feet of Jesus and listen. To sit and soak up the wisdom of the Jesus-like women in my life.
However, I am truly bad at sitting to listen. The sitting aspect I have down – it’s just the sitting AND listening that I can’t seem to manage. I’m more like Martha – I need to be DOING.
Maybe I’m uncomfortable with the solitude necessary at times to hear what God is trying to tell me. Maybe I’m trying to avoid the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so I keep moving, moving, moving; hoping I can DO more, BE more, and prove myself worthy.
I have tried to stuff myself into a meek and mild skin many times. However, it just never sticks. I tell myself that the next time such-and-such situation arises, I’m going to handle it with calm reserve. And then the situation comes to pass and I FREAK OUT and start doing, managing, organizing. The calm reserve I promised myself has flown out the window and I feel like I’ve blown it yet again.
Just As I Am
Recently I was watching some videos online of two Christian women speakers. The first was quiet and meek, the epitome of a Mary in my mind. That’s what I need to be like, I thought. I started a fresh list of personality changes to get to work on that would make me more like this woman that I admired.
Then, the next speaker stood up, and took center stage. She loudly announced that she was about to get all fired up. Oh here we go, I thought. This gal is like me. My eyes were rolling before she even had a chance to get started. I assumed that if she was loud and excited she couldn’t possibly be a good teacher, because that is how I feel about myself. However, as she spoke, something within my was drawn to her. Her excitement was catching, her passion was inspiring, and it was obvious that she was God’s woman through-and-through. Even though she was loud and a little zany and … a little like me.
I saw myself in her. But, more importantly, I saw Jesus in her.
And I realized that God can use me exactly as I am. Don’t get me wrong, He’s continually making changes within me. But my personality, who He created me to be, is EXACTLY what He meant it to be.
He can use my crazy, kooky, loud personality to glorify Him, just as he can use a mild-mannered sweet girl. It’s not our presentation that matters. It’s our hearts.
That realization has given me freedom in a whole new area. The freedom to be myself, to share Jesus in my own kooky, zany way. That realization has brought me JOY as I realize that God truly loves me and uses me just as I am.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of the godly.
Let Israel celebrate its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing
and make music to Him with tambourine and lyre.
For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people;
He adorns the humble with salvation.
Living in Florida my idea of winter is anytime the temperature drops below 60°. At that point, I do the shiver-me-timbers dance. You don’t want to know!
I have a rare disease called Coldaphobia. As far as I know, there is no cure for this except escaping to Florida. Even here, cold will manage to sometimes poke its nose into my business. All I can do at the time is sneeze, hoping it will scare the cold away.
Experiencing a rather cold afternoon this past week, I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage on this subject.
“Why,” I asked rather philosophically, “did God give us winter?”
There are times when I do muse philosophically with a far-off look.
In this mode, I sometimes think about that philosophical question, “How many angels can dance on the point of a needle?” I’ve often mused on this question, but the problem is I do not know how big angels are and if they really can dance.
I guess it is in the same category as the question, “If a tree fell in the middle of a forest and nobody’s around, does it make a sound?”
I like to think along those lines because there is no correct answer to any of them. So, my answer is right, which makes me feel good about myself. If there is anything I want to do, it is to feel good about myself. After all, nobody else feels good about me so it might as well be me.
With all that in mind, the question that I posed to my wife deserved an answer. “Why did God give us winter?”
My wife was busy in the kitchen at the time, but she turned around, put both hands on her hips and said, “So you could go out and buy a new sweater.” Then she went back to her kitchen activity.
Of course, it did not really answer my question. Why is God interested in my sweaters? Why can’t he allow me to have a climate that eliminates the use of sweaters? I could handle that.
Then my wife interrupted my muse session and said, “God gave us winter so that we would appreciate summer when it came.” Then she went back to her kitchen work.
As I thought about that, I had to admit that she is right. Read More→
A few years ago I had one of those “lightning bolt” moments. Each year I sit down to write out goals and dreams for my business. This particular year, as I sat and thought through what I hoped to accomplish in the upcoming year, how I hoped to help people, it hit me. Where does God fit in to all of this? Does He fit comfortably in the “Spiritual” categories or is He a part of everything that CWAHM is and does?
Whoa. Talk about a challenging question.
As I wrestled with this I came to realization that God wants to invade our lives – and that means our businesses, too. In the gospels we see Jesus meeting people right where they were. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and taught the seeking. He met their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.
He wanted to be a part of their everyday lives, not just the days they went to the temple (the Old Testament equivalent of church). He wasn’t afraid to hang out with the sick, the hurting, the “sinners.”
He wants to be a part of our everyday life, too. He wants to invade our families, our marriages, our businesses. He wants to show us that there is a different way of doing things. A better way. A way that points to the divine even in the midst of most basic business task.
He wants to be in:
* The decision to be kind to the difficult customer.
* The decision to give a sale price when we could charge full price to someone who isn’t aware of the sale.
* The decision to give a product away to someone we know is struggling or hurting.
It’s our choice. We can choose to do business with Jesus. Or we can choose to do things our own way…usually the way we’ve been taught by people who seem to know how to “do” business, how to make money. And yet, in the end … is really about making money?
“So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work…” Ecclesiastes 3:22, NCV
Where does God fit in your business?
About The Author
Jill Hart’s entrepreneurial career began in her teens when she spent a summer working with her father who ran his own business. When he put her in charge of a Coke machine and allowed her to keep the profits, she saw the benefits of being her own boss. She is the founder of the popular Christian work-at-home website, CWAHM.com. Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine and P31 Woman magazine, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She is the author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom and speaks to audiences around the country about faith, business and leadership topics.