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!