OH,LORD! IT’S MONDAY! AND IT’S JUST UNEFFORTABLE!

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans chapter 5 verses 3 through 5 New Living Translation

Today’s Morning Morning Spirit that robs us of life–the life God and God alone makes possible–is UNEFFORTABLE! Look in every dictionary–Google it–Bing it–Yahoo it–DuckDuckGo it–but you will not find this word. It’s a word I just made up! It means it’s not worth the effort! Just because it’s not in a dictionary nor in the World Wacky Web doesn’t mean it’s not real. Though it may not be real in the real world of words doesn’t mean it isn’t real in the real world!

Every moment of every day people run head-on into problems and difficulties. The UNEFFORTABLE spirit says, “Look for the easiest. Detour you life around this moment. It’s just not worth the effort to work through it!” People look for the easy and avoid the problems. There are issues with this Monday Morning Attitude that stands in the way of the life God is making possible for us. Beside, it’s an act of futility to think we can simply avoid all problems. So what can we do? We can do what Paul told the folks at Rome.

  • Rejoice that we are facing problems! Now, that’s counter-intuitive. Doesn’t this make a person a masochist? Well, if that’s all we want it does. We rejoice because we know that God is with us to help us push through.
  • Allow the problems to make us stronger in Jesus! If you want to lose weight and get in better physical shape, you can join a fitness center. But if you never GO to the fitness center, nothing will change. Right? Problems are the opportunities we need in order to become stronger in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit!
  • Allow the strength to build your character. A godly, Christ-like character doesn’t happen from reading about it. It happens in the furnaces of life.
  • Allow the Christ-Like character remind you of your hope! Our hope isn’t an easy life. Nope! It’s the life that is full of, saturated with, and overflowing with the Power Of The Resurrection!
  • And remember that God will never disappoint us! WE may be disappointed that God didn’t do this, that, or the other. But God will never, ever, ever, abandon us. If He promises that our problems will make us strong, strong enough to see Him at work–then we know that going through problems and troubles is worth the EFFORT!

When we know that God is with us and working for us in the problems of life–and that His work will give us both joy and hope, then we can say, “Good! Lord it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! AND I’M UNCOMFORTABLE!

The Monday Morning Spirit that I want to speak into this week is the desire to be COMFORTABLE! Something happened last night that opened my eyes to how this devilish desire to be comfortable has eroded the fabric of this gnarled culture. As I was going through my rountines before retiring to the bedroom I checked the a/c thermostat. We like it around 68 degrees at night. And to my horror it showed 78 degrees! We never set it above 71 or 72 degrees. Oh, dear! The A/C wasn’t working.

Here in lovely Fayette County, Alabama we are under a heat advisory. I knew it was going to be a long and uncomfortable night. I gathered up extra fans to help a little. Still, it was going to be uncomfortable. Well, as you can clearly discern, I have survived not having a/c last night. And I knew that this morning that brilliant and wonderful a/c technician would arrive, find the problem, and get the a/c working again!

Still, it was uncomfortable. And in this current culture people are choosing to be comfortable over being uncomfortable. And who wouldn’t? But to grow in maturity, and to grow into what God designed us to be, it requires, from time to time, seasons of being uncomfortable. So many of us live under the deception that life is meant to be comfortable. Well, it would be–had Adam and Eve done the one thing they were supposed to do! They had one job–and failed. And so do we. Thus the consequences of THE Fall by Adam and Eve continues and multiplies in our times.

Now, I want to raise your hackles! We don’t need to be comfortable!!! “Just hold on to your horses, Preachman! That ain’t so! Didn’t Jesus promise us we would comfortable if we follow Him?” Well. . . . . He didn’t! He promised us some thing better than being comfortable; He promised us Comfort! “Dang it, Preacherman, ain’t that what I just said?”

You said Jesus would make us comfortable. What Jesus promises is Comfort! “Dagnabbit, Preacherman! You’re talking like a used car salesman and a politician mashed up into one!” And alas, the problem is revealed. We think that being comforted is that same thing as being comfortable. Comfortable means feeling at ease. Can you see another word in that word “ease”? It’s easy. No, the word is EASY! We want life to be EASY, and thus, we want God to make it EASY! But easy isn’t where the glory is found. Peter, who knew a lot about being uncomfortable, wrote in his letter 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 12 and 13:

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. (meaning He is supposed to be making life easy) Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

From The Message; (emphasis mine)

Better than making us comfortable, God offers us Comfort! And the Comfort means that He is right there with us–more than just a presence–but He is with us with all of His wisdom and power! So, get over wanting to be comfortable, and seek after His Comfort. And remember that being uncomfortable is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner. Hear those last 6 words again and allow them to sink in: with glory just around the corner!

When we seek Comfort over being comfortable, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! BUT WHAT AM I LEARNING?

The Monday Morning Attitude, or spirit if you prefer, is one of those places and moments where we can do more than learn–we can mature! But learning, or as I prefer–maturing, doesn’t just happen automatically. It takes a conscious and dogged determination to choose to learn from it. What’s that saying? If we don’t learn from our mistakes we are destined to repeat them–over and over and over! And the Monday Morning Attitude is a mistake–because it steals from us the joy and wonder of the life God intends and desires for us to experience. So, this morning I thought I would share with you some things I learned on our recent road trip on the trike; since one of my dear friends wants to hear about it. (BTW, this morning I came up with the name for my new bike. My old one was Therapist, and this one is Counselor!)

  1. Don’t wear black jeans on a hot sunny day! Man, my legs felt like they were cooking on a smoker grill! I remembered an old lesson: the color black draws in heat!
  2. Watch out for others! It may have been in Amory, Ms., and there was a tractor mowing the sides of the highway. And this idiot decided to pass that tractor on a double yellow line as we were approaching it. Idiot may not sound like a very “Christian” term–but at 66 years old I call it like I see it!
  3. Stay off the interstates! Not because they are dangerous for a bike. No, it’s because you see so much more of the beauty of God’s creation on the two-lane roads.
  4. Take the time to talk to other people! On more than one stop, we had people wanting to talk about our bike. Some had questions, and others had stories. Rather than being impatient to get on down the road, we listened and talked. Shook hands and bumped fists! It was great!
  5. Don’t worry if you miss a turn, enjoy the ride! We missed a turn and saw parts of the countryside that we probably won’t see again. The adventure of not knowing exactly where we were didn’t keep us from enjoying the ride!
  6. There are some rough roads out there! I mean tooth-rattling, bone jarring roads. But we found out they aren’t everywhere. So we hung on until the roads became smoother. And we saw a lot of the beauty of God’s creation.
  7. Don’t speed! No, I didn’t get a speeding ticket! Speed limits are for our safety and the safety of others. Besides, we saw some beautiful flowers that otherwise we would have missed.
  8. Eventually, you will find a road that will take you to a familiar place! Remember us missing a turn (or two, or three)? We found a sign that pointed us to a familiar place. It was from that familiar place we knew how to get back home! So watch for the signs!

What should have been about a 3 or 4 hour drive, turned into an all day adventure! And we loved every mile (long miles) of the journey. We didn’t take a lot of pictures with our phones, but we took a lot of pictures with our minds. Here’s one from the phone:

The Mississippi River, taken by yours truly

Adding this picture reminded me of another lesson I learned. It’s hard going against the current, but sometimes you have to go against it to get to where you need to be! We couldn’t help but notice the strong currents on the Mississippi. We watched some tug boats going up stream–and they weren’t going as fast as those going downstream because they were going against the current. But I am confident those tugboats and barges arrived at the destination. By the way, why do they call them “tug” boats when in reality they are “pushing”, not tugging, those barges? We may never know.

But one thing I do know is that when we learn and mature through what we experience and what we see, then we can say, “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall be do together?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! AND I’M LIVING IN THE WRONG MOMENT!

Gotta make it to Friday! So are the words of so many–too many–folks! They begin their week. And to help them get there, they have Hump Day! Oh, just to make it to Friday! It’s this Monday Morning Attitude that makes life both drab and dull. It also makes it painful–painful to endure. They make it to Friday and rejoice! Then. . .then Monday comes again and the nefarious cycle starts over. And over. And over. And over. And over. Get my point?

Setting ourselves goals are important and a very good–even excellent–thing to do. Goals fuel the dream for a real life that is worthwhile. But if the goal is just to survive until Friday? It’s a very small and insignificant goal. And it fails–always fails–to satisfy that deep inner craving for a life of purpose and meaning. No Friday can ever fill that hunger–and every Monday only intensifies that thirst. So what’s a person to do? What can YOU do? Glad you asked.

We can live like Psalm 118, Verse 24. The Psalmist wrote: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (English Standard Version) While being happy is connected with our circumstances, rejoicing (or if you prefer joy) is connected with our relationship with God; a relationship based on Jesus’ suffering for us and our trust–unconditional trust–in His love. Every day God is revealing Himself to us. And every day God is offering us a deeper and stronger relationship with Him. Living for Friday causes us to miss the moments God has for us. They are moments of comfort; of peace; of hope; of strength; of guidance; and a whole lot more.

I’m not saying there will not be problems or botherations. That would be a lie from the pits of hell. And there will be challenges. But when we live with the Psalm 118 Verse 24 attitude, we know God is with us in those troubles. And with His Presence there is always His Grace that is more than enough for whatever Monday throws at us–or any day for that matter. Today is God’s gift for you and to you. This very moment that you are reading this, is one designed by God for your good and His Glory.

It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.

Martin Luther

When we live in this moment connected to God, then we can say, “Good! Lord it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” And to encourage you, here’s one of my many favorite songs.

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! aND i’M STUCK!

This week’s episode of “Oh, Lord! It’s Monday!” is all about being STUCK! As an adjective it means “unable to move, or set in a particular positionplace, or way of thinking“. So, let’s use it as an adjective on this rainy Monday morning. So, have you ever been STUCK? Maybe it was in an elevator; or in a room; or in traffic; or maybe mud? I know about that last one. I was about 20 when I bought a new Datsun truck. It was my first brand new vehicle. About the same time I was introduced to riding dirt bikes.

Just about a mile from the house was LaGrange Mountain. It was filled with great riding trails. One day, I had this dumb idea. “I’ll take my truck instead of the dirt bike!” Bear in mind it was a 2, not 4, wheel drive. I knew there were some hills it wouldn’t conquer, but there were some other trails. So off I went with my dumb idea. About 4 miles in I came upon a mud hole. I stopped, looked at it, and decided which side of the mud hole I should traverse. I was wrong. And I was STUCK! To make matters worse, it was in the middle of the week, there wasn’t anyone else out here. As I was commiserating about my dumb decision and dreading walking out, I heard a dirt bike! God sent me someone!!! Hallelujah! God foresaw my poor, make that DUMB decision and prompted another person to decide to ride his dirt bike that day! He stopped, we talked, and then he went back to get his truck and I was UNSTUCK! Needless to say, I didn’t try that again!

More than vehicles, elevators, and doors–we can get STUCK! Maybe it’s that job you’re STUCK in. Maybe it’s that home you’re STUCK in. Maybe it’s that marriage you’re STUCK in. Maybe it’s that mindset you’re STUCK in. Maybe it’s that you’re STUCK spiritually. You can’t move and it seems that no amount of effort you put into being UNSTUCK, you’re STUCK there like my Datsun truck. And if on this particular Monday you are feeling STUCK, then God has sent you this edition, just like he sent me that man on a dirt bike. Are you ready to get UNSTUCK? Well, here’s your own personal dirt biker coming your way!

You CAN’T get UNSTUCK! How is that going to help you? I’ll be glad to tell you. Even though you DON’T what it takes to get UNSTUCK, God does! All you have to do–NEED to do–is quit trying and begin trusting. For STUCK people, God has a very specific promise and process. It’s found in Isaiah chapter 42, verses 18 and 19:

“Forget about what’s happened;
    don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present.

I’m about to do something brand-new.”

From The Message

In the case of my dumb decision, I needed to forget about it. I couldn’t go back in time and change that decision. All I could do–all I could hope for–was to be alert to the sound of someone else heading my way. What you need to do–what you MUST do–is stop trying and begin trusting what God tells you. Don’t limit the way that God will get you UNSTUCK! It may not be instantaneous–and if it’s not–it will be a process. And in His Process, you will find that His Grace is all you need. Are you still STUCK? Wait! I hear someone coming! And He’s coming for you!

When we trust God to be there to help us get UNSTUCK, then we can say: Good! Lord It’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! AND I’M NO DAVID!

Mondays tend to remind us of all the Goliaths that we will face this week. They stand taller than us and like that infamous Goliath from the Bible (see 1 Samuel chapter 17), they shout insults at us and tell us we can’t win. And though we should stand up to them as David did, we wrongly determine, “Hey! I’m no David!” And so, those Goliaths continue to intimidate you and the Monday Morning Spirit hangs over you. And you convince yourself that’s the way it will always be. But, what made David–well–David?

  1. He had confidence in God
  2. He saw the big picture
  3. He remember God’s faithfulness
  4. He was human

First, his confidence was in God, not in what logic or others said. To boost your confidence you can believe Philippians 4:13–I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But it’s better to have the faith like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In case you haven’t heard the story, here’s what they said–“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if He doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel chapter 3 verses 17 &18, NLT, emphasis mine) We all need that even if He doesn’t kind of faith.

Second, he saw that this was a Kingdom of God issue, not a military problem. This was all about God’s reputation. It wasn’t about who had the biggest, strongest, and best warrior. It was about what will God do in the moment. David understood that it wasn’t Saul’s reputation or the army’s reputation that was at stake. It was about God, and God alone.

Third, he remembered all those other times God delivered him. David had a history with God. That history revealed both God’s strength and God’s faithfulness. Because of #1 he knew that God was able to take care of Goliath. Now, notice, I said that God is capable–not that it would happen–just that God was capable. But unless and until someone stood up to Goliath–the world would never see it.

Finally, David was human! He wasn’t Kal-El. What? Don’t you know the story of Superman? David was just as human and you and me! Did David never make a mistake after his victory over Goliath? He did–several of them. Don’t allow past mistakes (sins) nor the possibility of future mistakes (sins) keep you from facing your Goliaths in life. God does His best work in human vessels who know both their weaknesses AND God’s strength.

When you have confidence in God’s unfailing grace, and are willing to remain faithful to God even if not situations, then you can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

oh, lord! it’s monday! who’s to blame?

Blame doesn’t care if it’s Monday or Saturday, for it robs us of the opportunities to be both responsible for our choices and to spiritually grow. When negative and/or painful things happen to us, the immediate response is almost always to find someone to blame! It’s our corrupted DNA. Eve did it in the garden, “The devil made me do it!” And Adam piped right in, “That woman YOU gave me, it’s HER fault!” Finding some “thing” or some “one” to blame relieves and releases us from any personal responsibility; or so we think.

Blame puts blinders on us in order to keep our focus on the blame and the ending results are disasterous! If someone truly is to blame for our pain, it creates anger and bitterness. Anger and bitterness causes us to become self-absorded. And on the outside chance that the blame is our own fault, it prevents us from learning from our mistakes. Failure to learn from those mistakes sends us into a deadly spiral of repeating those mistakes. But there is an alternative to this Monday Morning Attitude Of Self-Destruction.

If the blame lies with another person, then forgive them! What? Forgive them after what they did to me? Sure! When you are hurt and angry (the typical and usual results of blame) you’re not affecting that person at all. But you are infecting yourself with a Pandora’s Box of more and deeper problems. The person you are blaming isn’t losing a single moment of sleep over you. But I bet a dollar to a donut that YOU are losing sleep!

And if the blame lies with your choices, then learn from them! Don’t wallow like a hog in mud if you are to blame–it only results in self-pity. And this is never, ever a good thing. Take the time and effort to learn from your mistake. Figure out what you did wrong. Think about how you could have done right. Accepting responsibility for and learning from our bad choices serves to help us grow and mature–both mentally and spiritually.

In both scenarios make sure you invite God into your heart and especially your thinking. He will always help us sort through the debris and give us wisdom–whether the blame lies with someone else, or yourself! Wisdom rarely come through reading. But wisdom is always to be found in our daily “life as it happens”, be it a Monday or any other day of the week.

When we seek wisdom in the messes and pains of life from God, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! PUNISHMENT

Mondays are the punishment for what we did over the weekend! This is what Monday feels like for many of us on the third rock from the Sun. The feeling of being punished is both painful and it makes Monday seem like it’s an impassable situation. And it prevents us from seeing and experiencing the joy of life–the Joy that God wants us to have. This past weekend a conversation with a friend brought this to light for me.

My friend said, “I guess it’s God punishing me.” And to prove the Holy Spirit is still at work today, I replied, “No, it’s just the consequences of our stupid choices.” Yes, Jesus was punished for our screw-ups, a.k.a. SIN! But His Payment doesn’t negate this consequences of our choice to ignore The Truth. Every word spoken, every chosen attitude, and every action has consequences. Newton’s Third Law of Motion applies not only to physics–but to our spiritual life. In case you forgot it, Newton’s Third Law states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Sin has it’s own consequences, always! Though God’s Grace releases us from the punishment of sin, the consequences is a whole other matter. But rather than bemoan and wail about those consequences, why not do something different? And just what would that be? Glad you asked. We call it “learning”! For example, say there’s a hot iron skillet on the stove. You grab it by the handle and discover just how hot it is. So, what do you do? Try the same thing again? Or, would you take a pot holder and remove that hot cast iron skillet? Makes more sense to use a pot holder. Am I right? Why would you do that? Because you learned, the hard way, that not using that pot holder brings you pain.

So, what if we see the Monday Morning Attitude not as a punishment, but as a learning time? One benefit would be to make better choices in life. If we know some choice is going to end up making us feel miserable, then we learn “Don’t do that again!” Unfortunately, we often don’t have what it takes to avoid those poor decisions. This is where The Gospel comes into play. God offers to help us–SUCCESSFULLY HELP US–make the right choices. Even the apostle Paul struggled. In Romans chapter 7 he wrote about wanting to do good, but didn’t. He didn’t want to do wrong, but he did anyway. At the end of his soliloquy he discovers The Good News (verses 24 and 25)–“Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?  Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Throught the Holy Spirit we are given the knowledge, wisdom, and power to make the right choices and thus avoid sin with all its consequences.

When we accept the fact we are sinners and embrace the Presence and Power of The Holy Spirit in all our decisions, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! TICK TOCK TICK TOCK!

Tick Tock! Tick Tock! And more TICK TOCK! God created life to be explored and enjoyed. And here’s the thing: We only have so much time to do this on the third rock from the Sun. And we might do more of it–if it wasn’t for that infernal Tick Tock! So many, way TOO many, are living from their calendar. Appointments! Agendas! And STUFF! It all robs us of the adventure and joy in life. So, when Monday rolls around like clockwork (see what I did?) the Tick Tock controls our life. To explore and celebrate life we have to make time to break free from our calendars and the Tick Tock.

Notice that I said MAKE time! The calendar and the clock are the prison wardens that keep us from the very thing we are created for: to explore and enjoy life! You must deliberately fight to provide yourself a season, even if only for an hour or 2, to get away from the Tick Tock! As you are reading this, Debbie and I are either near Bartow, Florida or IN Bartow, Florida beside Lake Millsite. Some might say we are on vacation–but we see and accept this time as the gift of sabbatical. No rushing from this to that to the other. Just being with family and friends. Of all the things we carry with us (my golf clubs go in first!), one thing I do not have is a watch. Time is one of the many gifts that God gives us–not to be busy–but to explore and enjoy!

Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to HIM!

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! WHY, OH, WHY?

Another one of those dreadful things about the Monday Morning Spirit happens as we either don’t know our WHY, or we’re living with the WRONG why. And without the right WHY, we end up sounding like our kids when we tell them they can’t do something. Is your WHY for this Monday the bills that need to be paid? Duties and responsibilities? Obligations? More bingeing? Maybe you don’t know??? Life is meant to be lived for a purpose, with a purpose, and ON purpose! Get the wrong WHY, and it’s dread and emptiness. Would you believe there’s a writer from the Bible who understood this? Yep! Solomon! He wrote in Ecclesiaster chapter 1, verse 14: “I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind.”

But what can we do to break this monotonous cycle; the cycle that is sucking the life out of us like a Hoover vacuum cleaner? May I offer you a suggestion? Well, I’m going to anyways! Let Jesus turn over your tables! I say this because it’s Monday of Holy Week. And on that last Monday before his execution, Jesus turned over some tables (see Matthew’s Gospel chapter 21)–tables that had no place in God’s Temple. And this wasn’t the first time He did such a thing. Seems like someone didn’t learn the lesson from the first time! Those tables in The Temple were put there by those who thought they knew the real purpose of The Temple–to make them more money–while pretending to help those who came to encounter God. Currency changers! Sheep market peddlers! Dove sellers! All those tables–but all of them were the wrong table.

Are you living at the wrong Table? Herod’s Temple (the one where the story I aforementioned occured) is nothing but an archeological site. But God’s Temple still exists. Wanna know where? Well, I’m gonna tell you! It’s found in First Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 19 and 20: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” If this Monday is a dread and a pain–you’re sitting at the wrong table. Jesus loves turning over the wrong tables. He’s quite good at it. Allow Him to turn over your tables–then step up and have a seat at the correct table. It’s the one that gives your life a purpose that you can live with–and spend your day ON purpose. It’s like Paul reminds us from First Corinthians, chapter 10, verse 31: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

When your life has the right purpose, then you can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! THE ATTACK OF ATAXIA!

“If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what’s the sign of an empty desk?” This was the sign on Dr. Wells desk. He was one of my Old Testament professors–and that sign on his desk was appropriate. Books and papers all over his desk. And I thought to myself (something dangerous for me to do), “Self, this man is my hero!” You see, I am the world’s worst at creating clutter. I have taken creating clutter to the highest level of both art and science. But recently I’ve learned something else about clutter–and it ain’t pretty.

Clutter causes ATAXIA! No, not the pathological condition–it’s a condition of the mind and heart that permeates into our very core. It’s living with and in clutter. Clutter isn’t the same thing as procrastination, putting off what we should do today. Clutter is the outcome of not thinking further down the road. It’s the lack of organizing our things–our mind–our heart. Clutter takes on a life of its own–growing and growing until it takes over everything. What brought me here is my He-Shed. When I got through using something, rather than put it back in its place, I left it wherever. And I did this consistently. And now? I realized my He-Shed had influenced my thinking. So, I’ve been busy cleaning up the clutter. And it’s been frustrating, to say the least.

But when our heart and mind is cluttered, it’s both dangerous and deadly! Clutter robs us of the joy of life and makes Monday a pain in the, well you know what! Clutter even affects our spiritual life. And that’s why Jesus said, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew chapter 6, verse 33) And I’m on a journey to keep God first–by eliminating that He-Shed clutter–because clutter is contagious and affects every part of our life.

So, if this Monday is a dread to you–look for the clutter in your life. Then make Jesus and The Kingdom your priority. And how do we get rid of clutter? By getting rid of what we don’t need–and organizing what we need. And trust me, that takes a lot of focus and fighting against frustration. But when we stick to it, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” Excuse me, but I’ve got more clutter to tackle today!

OH, LORD, IT’S MONDAY! S.O.S.O.

“But what good is that with this huge crowd?” (John chapter 6, verse 9) This was Andrew’s question to Jesus when He had told them to find food to feed the crowd that day. All Andrew thought he had found was a young boy with a small sack lunch. Andrew’s thought process is still seen in these days. I call it S.O.S.O. thinking. Though S.O.S. is recognized as the international sign of distress–S.O.S.O. is not so easily recognized, though the signal is being broadcast every day and all day long. And it creates that harrowing and hideous Monday Morning Attitude. Perhaps I should provide the explanation of S.O.S.O.

S.O.S.O. stands for Same Ol’ Same Ol’! Mondays come around every week–and it seems like at times that every day is a Monday. Monday’s feel like whatever happens, whatever comes along, it’s simply the S.O.S.O. Have you ever felt like this? I’ll be honest and say, “You darn tootin’!” S.O.S.O. comes from expectation. Think about my personal hero, Andrew. The same kind of thinking that he had been living with his whole life concluded that this sack lunch wasn’t enough. And when we approach every Monday (and every other day for that matter) with the attitude that nothing is going to change–we draw the same conclusion as Andrew did: “But what good is that with this huge crowd?”

We need a different kind of thinking to overcome the Monday Monster! Think about Abraham and Sarah, promised a child but none had arrived. Or David facing Goliath. Or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego facing the furnace. Or Daniel in the lion’s den. S.O.S.O. thinking concludes that it’s hopeless for anything to change. But these, and countless others, reached a different conclusion. Back to my hero, Andrew!

Though S.O.S.O. thinking said it wasn’t enough, still–I said STILL–he brought what he had to Jesus. And if you are fed up with the Same Ol’ Same Ol’ follow the hero’s example–bring it to Jesus anyway! Andrew did see a different outcome and you may not see a different outcome for your Mondays–but Andrew brought what he had to the only one who could see a different outcome! And what a different outcome it was! Not only did Jesus feed all those folks until their bellies were full–there were leftovers!

When you doubt anything will be different–but you still bring it all to Jesus who always sees a different outcome–then you can say: Good! Lord it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! iT’S MONDAY! AVERAGE

Average. Ever pondered on the meaning of this word? The contexts that it is used? Some think average is OK, if it’s a good average. A baseball player who has a batting average of .350 is considered really good and worthy of a multimillion dollar contract. But a surgeon with a .350 success rate? Can you spell malpractice? A car that can be counted on running 35 times out of a hundred? Can you spell lemon?

Average means some are lesser and some are greater. Average is for final grades in school. For baseball players. For women’s clothing sizes. For statistical mathematics. But not for the followers of Jesus. Average life is another one of those cursed Monday Morning Attitudes that robs us of the joy of life. Here’s something to ponder for your Monday: Average is boring! It makes Monday and every day tidious and it’s an insipid way to live.

But God has another way–that’s way above Average. Each and every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday is filled with multiple opportunities to rise above the Average into a life that is Excellent! How can I say this? How can you believe this? Remember! Remember what Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations Chapter 3, Verses 22 and 23: “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning.

When we remember that God’s love and mercies are right here for us in this moment–and that He will sustain us and help us rise above Average, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! LOOKING FOR A BARGAIN!

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.  If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Matthew 16:24-25 (New Living Translation)

Often times people come to church looking for a bargain.  Our natural self wants just enough religion to make us feel comfortable; just enough to make us different from the riff-raff out there in the world; just enough to make us think there’s a possibility we can make it into heaven.  Something that would fit nicely into their lifestyle.  Something that would look good on the mantle or in the curio cabinet.  Don’t want to pay a whole lot.  In fact, if we could barter and negotiate a lower price, it would be even better.  Does this sound like someone you know?  Or does it sound like you?  Now before you answer the question, let’s take a close look at how Jesus describes those whom He considers to be true followers.

We have all heard, and probably quoted verse 25:  “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”  But do you remember what set this passage up?  Simon had made that famous profession:  You are the Christ!  And Jesus blessed Simon with a new name:  You are now Peter, The Rock!  Then Jesus tells them of His impending death.  And Peter absolutely loses it.  He misses the point, and in an instant, lost his focus.  He dares to tell Jesus, “Oh, no, Lord, this kind of thing will never happen to you.”  And Peter experiences yet another name change, “Satan, get behind me!”

Then Jesus proceeds to explain what a real follower is like, what it really means to be a genuine disciple of Jesus:  “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”  The Message puts it like this:  “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self.”

In being a real disciple of Jesus, there are no bargain rates, no bargain prices, no short cuts to the life He offers us.  Second hand experiences will not even help us.  Jesus calls to step more than just outside of ourselves; He calls us to step beyond ourselves.  He calls us to be beyond selfish interests and personal preferences and personal opinions.  He calls us to move forward through the path of sacrifice.  Sometimes this means we don’t get it our way.  Sometimes this means that unfair things happen to us.  Sometimes this means heartache and pain are a part of our normal experiences.

Jesus reminds us that we are not to run away from inconveniences and sacrifices, but we are to run toward them.  Truth be known, we all like Easter better than Good Friday.  We all love happy endings.  But we cannot make it to the Empty Tomb of Easter until we take a trip to Calvary.  In this Lent Season we need to spend quality time at the foot of His Cross.  There’s an old word that I want to use that you don’t hear very often:  the word is TARRY.  We need to TARRY at Calvary.  Take the time to take it all in.  Don’t give the Cross a quick glance and move on.

Stay there!  Let that moment of Perfect Love flood over your life.  I would encourage you this Lent Season, that if you have a copy of Mel Gibson’s “The Passion Of The Christ”, take it off the shelf and put it in the DVD player and watch it all.  Let that emotion pour through you and out of you.  The best evidence of God’s love isn’t the empty tomb, but the Cross on which Jesus died for me, for you, and for everyone.  Then read this passage again; hear Jesus say to you, “If you want to follow me, surrender to me and then take up the Cross and follow me.”  This is no “Yard Sale” pricing here.  It’s all or nothing, but the rewards are indescribable now, and out of this world later.

When we choose to follow Jesus by total surrender and picking up the Cross, then every Monday morning we can say, “Good! Lord, It’s Monday!  What shall we do together this week?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY AND I’M LONELY!

Mondays and every day is a dreaded day when we are feeling lonely. I didn’t say “alone”–I said “lonely”! Being alone and being lonely isn’t the same thing. Loneliness doesn’t depend on the absence of people. We can be in a room full of people and still be lonely. We can be alone but never feel lonely. So, what is the difference?

Loneliness is the result of a myriad of experiences. Abandoned. Disappointed. Forsaken. Neglected. Ignored. Despised. Hated. Misunderstood. Resented. These are just a few of the reasons we feel lonely. To fight loneliness we often make poor choices–just to escape those deep, dark feelings. Back to the previous paragraph. Satan lies to us when he tells us that being alone and beling lonely are the same thing–though they are not the same. Thinking they are the same is only a bandaid fix–eventually lonliness returns.

This season of pandemic hasn’t helped–it has exacerbated the condition of loneliness. And though social media can be a useful tool, it is not the vaccine to cure loneliness. Social media serves the lonely by creating a make-believe world where we are surrounded by people who like, love, care, wowed, cry, and get angry right along with us. Emojis and gifs are replacements for deep, caring relationships. So what’s a lonely person to do?

Glad you asked! It’s not easy, but it is simple. Alienate and isolate those two words: lonely and alone. Then deal with that latter word: alone! Now, tell that feeling of being alone that it’s nothing but a liar–because it is! We are NEVER alone. We may feel that way–but feelings aren’t always truthful. There is ONE who is always present. Psalm 139 is a great song to read when we feel lonely. So is Jeremiah 23, verse 24–“Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the Lord.”

So you see–we are never alone. But loneliness will persist. Fighting that requires a different battle tactic. The first step is to build a deep, faithful relationship with God. Talk to, even call out to the Holy Spirit–and you will find He’s right there with you. And begin to build deep relationships with others–especially those who exude the presence of God in their daily walk. Do you want to make more friends? Then be a friend to someone else. The word “church” wasn’t used in the beginning–the word was Koinonia! It means fellowship and it means holding something in common. Jesus knew loneliness–he said so from the Cross–“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

We don’t make koinonia happen–we step into koinonia. God is there with us wherever we are and in whatever we face. And He’s not alone! Remember He is 3 in 1–Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then He established koinonia in the hearts and lives of others–and the Koinonia is still around us today. Quit trying to make loneliness disappear–step away from it and step into God’s Koinonia. There’s a lot of us already there, and we are waiting for you to step into this amazing fellowship.

When we know the difference between lonely and being alone–and we know that we are never alone because of Jesus, then we can say: “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! QUITTING!

Coping with this COVID mess these past couple of weeks has been a challenge, to say the least! Fortunately I did not have the upper respiratory issues that often come with this plague. But I did have one overwhelming at times issue: Fatigue! The sore throat and body aches weren’t a cake walk–but that Fatigue! I was tired of being tired! Each moment I started feeling better I would begin doing something. But before I could finish it, sometimes before I could even get started, the Fatigue led me back to my room for another nap!

Quitting seem to be my only option. But can I be honest with you? In addition to being sick and tired of being sick and tired, I was fed up with Quitting! But yesterday afternoon, I had enough Quitting to last me a lifetime–so I chose to push through a project I needed to do–rewiring a utility trailer I recently purchased. I didn’t finish it but I did enough late yesterday afternoon to be able to finish it this morning! And in the early morning darkness, I had my own epiphany about Quitting!

Here it is: There are a million and one excuses for quitting, but not one single justification! I’m thinking about folks like Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Joni Eareckson Tada, Robert Hensel, and countless stories from The Wounded Warrior Project. Quitting is a popular activity in our culture. From jobs to relationships to dreams–quitting seems to be the default setting–and it makes Mondays and every single day a burden and a pain. Quitting causes us to lose the joy, and miss the what could have been moments of achievement and great satisfaction.

Paul the Apostle could have easily joined the ranks of Quitters! But he made a different choice–he chose to not quit! Beaten, imprisoned, left for dead, shipwrecked, and God knows what else. He had a plenitude of excuses but made the decision not to live his life out of those excuses. And how did he come to that choice? He took his excuses to God and sought God’s help! God did help Paul, but not the way Paul had hoped. Rather than removing what was fueling that temptation to quit–God gave Paul something better.

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12, Verses 7 through 9 (New Living Translation)

When we give up all our excuses for quitting, and ask God for help, then we can say: “Good! Lord it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” It’s easy to quit–but it’s far more rewarding and satisfying to fight through!

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! IMBALANCED

Here in the south, we have a saying for some folks that goes like this: “They are about 2 bubbles off plumb.” It means they are off-balanced, leaning to one side. If something, or someone, is imbalanced they are subject to falling–it’s only inevitable. Of all the infirmities infecting our culture, living an imbalanced life ranks in the Top 10–Nay! Make that the Top 5.

Balance is another way of saying Perspective. Imbalance is another way of saying the lack of proper perspective. I’ve said before that everyone has a perspective (Thank you, Andy Andrews). The issue is where do we find our perspective? Think about the news. If all one watches is what CNN or One America News only says, well–you get the point. And it’s not just in our source of the daily news where we need perspective.

Life as a whole needs a Balanced Perspective. We need work–but we also need recreation. We need cheerleaders who encourage us on–but we also need true friends who will hold us at arm’s length and tell us when we’re wrong (it’s great when that is the same person!). We need someone who can help us see what’s right in front of us–but we also need someone who can see way down the road. We need goals to drive us forward–but we also need to be light, silly, and humorous.

But where can we find such a Balanced Perspective? It’s not so elusive as some would have us believe. It’s found in The Bible and the world’s foremost authority on the Bible–The Holy Spirit. Solomon gives some insight into what happens with God’s Word and God’s presence to guide us to the Balanced Life. We call his journal Ecclesiastes. And in Chapter 7, Verse 18 we find these words:

It’s best to stay in touch with both sides of an issue. A person who fears God deals responsibly with all of reality, not just a piece of it.

(The Message)

You can’t take life totally frivolous, and you can’t take life with only seriousness. When Imbalance marks our life journey, it’s a burden, a pain, and like Solomon once said, “it’s chasing after the wind”. Just as making a post or wall plumb takes some effort–so does it take effort to develop Balance in our life. Learn how to laugh at yourself. And if you just can’t do it–call me and I’ll do it for you!

When we walk with The Spirit and learn the strength that comes through living a Balanced life, then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! GRIEF

Today I am intimately familiar with this Monday Spirit. This evening we will gather at the Funeral Home where Dad once worked–scratch that–where he shared the love of Christ with so many people. It just so happened he was on their payroll while he was doing that! He helped so many friends and strangers cope with their loss. And now, many of those same people will be there–for us!

Grief is two sides–good and harmful. The good side of Grief is that it gives us the opportunity to remember the love that was experienced. Grief is our way to cleanse our hearts and minds of all the emotions that comes with the death of someone close to us. Think of Grief as a purge–unloading all of that pain. And we have to unload that pain; otherwise it will eat us alive.

Grief also has a harmful side. The deadly side of Grief is when we fail to work through it. Grief isn’t designed nor meant to be a permanent state of life. And when we treat it as though it is permanent–well, Monday and every other day becomes a burden and we miss out on the joy of life. Grief is a part of living–but it’s not all there is to life. Sometimes people want to know why that person was allowed to die. Looking for reasons why prevents Grief from it’s good purpose. Looking for the why will lead you to either a false hope, or worse, it will make you blame God.

Grief has it’s own process. It’s not the same process for every person. And don’t allow anyone to tell you otherwise. Grief isn’t meant to be experienced alone–we need help to navigate the treacherous waters. I’ve been both comforted and amazed at the stories being told now on social media about Dad. Many I knew–many others I am hearing for the first time. I have been comforted by words of wisdom by the Sages in my life. And I have been comforted, strengthened, and held by the hands of my Heavenly Dad! So I can trust the process of Grief to bring me through this season–and it is only a season when we have Him to guide us through.

When we trust God to use our Grief as a process and not a destination, then we can say: “Good! Lord, It’s Monday! What shall we do together?” And here’s the song that The Spirit sent to me this morning in my Worship time!

OH LORD, IT’S MONDAY! iT’S A WON’T OR WANT DAY!

Resistance to change seems to be an inherited trait among the human species. Not all change is good–but when God brings about change–it is always good. The results of those God-initiated changes create within us one of two responses: Won’t or Want! Ain’t the English language–well–confusing. Two words that sound exactly the same–but their meanings are polar opposites. We can desire the changes God is doing–or we can refuse to be a part of the changes God is doing.

Not desiring–or WON’T–what God is doing compounds the feelings of dread, angst, despair, and all their cousins make every day a pain to the point that we become someone other than who God created us to be. But if we desire–that is, WANT–what God is doing, it makes every day an adventure–challenging adventures sometimes–but an adventure nonetheless. Though we may “like” who we are at the moment–God sees much more. And to bring that out, God initiates changes to bring out who He sees.

When God initiates change, the purpose is always to make us whole, stronger, and to transform us in His Image. To change how you feel about this week–change how you feel about the work of the Holy Spirit in us. Every moment possesses the opportunity to be more like Jesus. Open yourself up, and say to The Father: “Dad, I WANT the change that You see is necessary for me to be who I am created to be.”

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, verses 17-18, “For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” And when we WANT that change rather than WON’T, then we can say, “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

OH, LORD! IT’S MONDAY! THE ISSUE OF NOISE

How well do you handle noise, loud noise? Most of the time we don’t like loud noises, especially when we aren’t expecting them. But what about “silence”; How Well Do You Handle Silence? What happens when we come face to face with silence? Truth be told, most of us are better at handling the noise than the silence. Yet, without frequent moments of silence, Mondays become a day of dread and distress.

This morning I woke up to a light snow on the ground. Here in west-central Alabama, it’s an unusual thing–about like some college team other than the SEC winning the College Football National Championship. I know, that was ugly of me! And as I went outside for my morning worship–it was the silence that overtook me. No early morning work traffic. No strong winds blowing, no thunder, no lightning–just silence. It reminded me of Elijah at Mt. Horeb in 1 Kings chapter 19.

It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. 

1 Kings 19:11-12 (NLT)

It was then I could hear just a gentle breeze. It was so powerful, that I didn’t need any of my morning music to experience God’s loving presence. I invited The Holy Spirit to sit with me on the bench–and the two of us hardly said a word. We took in the silence, and I found myself renewed and energized for the day. So back to my second question: How well do you handle silence?

Fighting against that Monday morning attitude is an everyday battle. And it’s a battle we will lose–unless we have frequent moments of silence with God. Just invite Him to sit with you for a while. It doesn’t take an hour or two or three. It only takes a few moments–if you are seeking His Presence. Once you know in the silence the Holy Presence–keep sitting there for a few minutes longer. Don’t get up too quickly. The soft breezes might be carrying a message custom made just for you.

When we seek the strength that comes in being with God in the silence–and simply enjoy who God is–then we can say: Good! Lord, It’s Monday! What Shall We Do Together?”

Oh Lord, It’s Monday! Interruptions!

Interruptions–now here’s a cause for the Monday Morning attitude! I got up this morning, went to get my cup of joy (aka Coffee!) only to find I forgot to set the timer. So I started it, along with the other 3 coffee makers. Our niece likes Keurig, my sister-in-law likes less strong coffee, Debbie and I like real coffee. Her’s is an electric percolator–and mine is a drip coffee maker. But then another INTERRUPTION–the breaker tripped. OK, I finally got a cup of joy and went to our front porch for my morning time with God and my music.

Then another INTERRUPTION–the Wi-Fi was down. By now I’m about to get furious. I mean, how can the Holy Spirit communicate to me without my music? It was then–clear as a bell–I heard: “Even if there is no music, I’m still here with you on the front porch.” And I thanked The Spirit for this reminder–that He is always with me–even in my INTERRUPTIONS. And here is our Monday Morning truth.

Mondays can be full of INTERRUPTIONS. As far as this goes, any and every day can be full of INTERRUPTIONS. Like death and taxes, INTERRUPTIONS are inevitable. And the typical way of responding to them is like what I was starting to do: be frustrated. Frustrations get in the way of accomplishing the things we want to do. We see INTERRUPTIONS as the denial of what we want. And if we want what we want–INTERRUPTIONS are a pain in the…well, you know. But here’s what I discovered this morning.

Want the right things, and INTERRUPTIONS never get in the way. My best friend, The Spirit reminded me of this truth. He was right there on the front porch even if my music wasn’t! When you are faced with an INTERRUPTION, don’t let it get in the way of what matters the most. Remember, we just went through Christmas and have been reminded that His name is Emmanuel–God With Us! Among all the things you may want–want the relationship God offers the most. Then take that INTERRUPTION as your opportunity to experience the depth of His love, grace, and mercy for you. INTERRUPTIONS are gateways to the deepest kind of peace.

When you know that in that INTERRUPTION God is still with you, then you can say: “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?” Oh, and in case you doubt me, here’s the verse I remembered:

I can never escape from your Spirit!
    I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
    if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
    if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    and your strength will support me.

Psalm 139, Verses 7 through 10

Oh Lord, It’s Monday! And there’s no transforming grace

According to progressive theology, there is no need for grace that transforms us for the following reasons:

  • God loves us just the way we are
  • God wants us to love Him just the way we are
  • God wants us to love others just the way they are
  • (Sounds good so far, right?)
  • Because God loves us just the way we are and because we love others just the way they are, He blesses and sanctifies the way we are
  • That loves erases the idea that we have been infected with sin–i.e. changes that sin into holiness without us changing a thing, other than being loving
  • We are free to keep living the way we have been as long as we love others
  • Loving others must include accepting, condoning, approving, AND blessing their sin of choice
  • The only parts of the Bible that are accurate and relevant are those verses that talk about unconditional love
  • Jesus died on the Cross so that WE can determine what is right or wrong, as long as we love

Therefore there is no such thing as Transforming Grace. Why would anyone ever need to change, to be transformed? Right? Just embrace love and be loving–that’s why Jesus died on the Cross. This sounds like a simple solution to all the human problems today. And yet, even those who have embraced Progressive Theology continue to be unhappy, suspicious, and angry at everyone who doesn’t agree with them.

And the Monday Morning Attitude continues to overwhelm people. The primary reason. . .scratch that. . .the only reason we dread another week is because we have failed to be transformed by God’s Grace or we have forgotten that God’s grace HAS and IS transforming us. As long as we are unwilling to allow His Grace to work on us and in us, then each week provides us only with more misery, disappointment, and heartache.

Thankfully God’s Grace is Transforming us. Grace means God has been working to change us, is working to change us, and will continue to work on changing us until we are exactly who HE made us to be! Each week, each day, each hour, each minute, and every second God is working to make us whole and complete. The problems you are facing are moments where God’s Transforming Grace shines! The fears, anxieties, even failures–God’s Grace is at work to make us stronger, livelier, healthier, and confident.

When we open ourselves to God’s Grace and allow His Grace to change us–then we can say: Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2

The Monday Spirit Of Inconsistency

Many feelings can and will invade us on Monday mornings. Not only do they invade us, but they also Invite us to live with them. They pretend it’s only for a day–but they lock the door and won’t let us leave. If there was a single word to describe the plethora of those feelings that word would be Dread!

Dread is a blood-sucking leech that drains both the joy and purpose of life. But the thing about Dread is it has to be invited in–BY US! It is incapable of knocking down our doors; so it needs an in–like a door-to-door salesperson. One such tactic is our own inconsistency. Inconsistency is defined as the quality or condition of being inconsistent. Well, that’s not a lot of help! Let’s look at inconsistent. It’s defined as:

from dictionary.com

That’s better! Notice that it’s called an adjective. Remember that from your school days? An adjective is a modifier or describes nouns. Adjectives give a better description; a description with more details. Look at the first definition: “lacking in harmony between the different parts or elements; self-contradictory”. When we are Inconsistent in our attitudes, beliefs, convictions, or actions we lack the harmony that holds us in peace and joy as life happens–both the good and the bad. Without the harmony between our attitudes, beliefs, convictions, and actions, the resulting inconsistencies opens the door of our heart and mind to that demon called Dread. And Dread talks to us early Monday mornings, sometimes even Sunday evenings, telling us about all the miseries awaiting us on Monday.

Then the sly demon tells us it will be better on Tuesday. But it’s not. So Wednesday becomes Hump Day and Dread stays with us until Friday where he shouts Thank God It’s Friday! And for a couple of days, well, at least until Sunday evening, we feel better. But the vicious cycle starts all over again. So, how do we kick Dread in the seat of his pants out of our mind and heart, to reclaim the peace and joy of another week?

Remember! It’s just that simple–though not always so easy. Remember that God is with you! (Remember we are in the season where the word Immanuel became a living, breathing human like us!) Remember that God loves you. Remember that God takes ordinary tasks, duties, and jobs and transforms them into a deeper purpose–to teach us and others about The Good News Of The Kingdom Of God! Living within God’s designs for our lives on a CONSISTENT basis helps us to live every day without Dread!

When we know that God Is With Us, then we can say: “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

The Monday Spirit Of Routine

Welcome to another edition of “Oh, Lord! It’s Monday!” Remember these musings are about those “Monday Feelings, Thoughts, And Attitudes” that get in the way of us experiencing the fullness of God living in us. Today’s thought is Routine!

Not all routines are bad. The routine of putting on your antiperspirant AFTER your shower is a good routine. Putting it on before your shower defeats the purpose of it. Or eating something before taking certain medications–because that’s what the directions tell us to do. The routine of spending time alone with God at the beginning of your day is another good routine. But not all routines promote and strengthen our minds, bodies, and heart. THAT’S the kind of routines I’m addressing today.

When we are not careful, routines do something to us–it does a lot of things that harm us. If we focus just on the routine itself–not the purpose of it–then we open up our minds to a lot of trash. Things like boredom, dread, anxiety, frustration, fear, despair–just to name a few. That project at work–instead of an opportunity for being productive, becomes a source of burdens. Driving the kids to schools–instead of being time to connect with our kids, becomes an annoyance.

Routines without the proper perspective get in the way of life–rather than helping us stay focused on the life Jesus died for in order to give us. Don’t allow routines to tell you that your life is boring. Don’t listen to routines when they whisper in your ear, “You’re missing out on life.” How do we keep this from happening? I’m so glad you asked! Keep your focus on what God is also doing in your routines! Even in the routines, God is present–more than present–God is at work in you and He is working for you.

How do you keep your focus on God? That’s another great question–a question you need to ask yourself every day and all day long. I know the answer to the question. Do you? It’s found in the Bible. I know, I know, how strange! It’s found in Philippians Chapter 4 Verses 8 and 9:

8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

New Living Translation

When we are focused on and know that God is with us in the routines, then we can say: “Good! Lord, it’s Monday! What shall we do together?”

Oh, Lord! It’s Monday! 15 November 2021

Just 3 days ago, it was T.G.I.F., THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY! Leave the work world behind and have some fun! This morning the song has changed to Oh, Lord! It’s Monday. During the season when I was the Community Spiritual Director for the New Covenant Emmaus Community I was inspired to write a weekly devotion by this name. And I was inspired to write a book–I started it, but I haven’t finished it yet. And that got me to thinking why so many dread Monday! I am going to attempt tackling this issue every Monday–the things that make us dread what we are facing in a new week. Have your trays in the upright position. Put away your electronic devices and fasten your seat belts. We are about to take off!

One of the things that will give us that Dreaded Monday Attitude is Unfinished Tasks! And I have several of them. I promised a friend I would help him finish a project. Administrative work I should have already done. Tuesday night Facebook Live Bible Study. Another message to finish. A doctor’s appointment–two actually. Debbie is having a chemical stress test on Thursday. And my book–which I have been putting off way too long. And here’s the thing–of all the tasks I’ve mentioned I’m sure I’ve forgotten at least 5-6 others.

Maybe I’m not the only one who is overwhelmed by Unfinished Tasks on this dreaded Monday. Being overwhelmed by Unfinished Tasks happens for at least a couple of reasons. The first being we haven’t prioritized our time. We’ve put second, third, sixty-seventh things ahead of what matters the most. And we get behind. I need to get my priorities arranged–and that will happen when I stop giving procrastination the top priority in my agenda.

The other thing that makes us feel overwhelmed by Unfinished Tasks is we think that it’s all left up to us–us and us alone. We never think about the best help of all–The Mind, Power, and Presence of God. Paul wrote in Philippians Chapter 1, Verse 6–“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” I can rely on God to help me finish all these tasks–when I make Him my Constantly Top Priority. And so can you!

When we rely on God–allow Him to set our priorities–and trust that HE is always present with us, and IN us–then we can say: Good! It’s Monday! What shall we do together! Now, if you will excuse me–God’s got some things HE needs me to finish!