God created “time” (how ours days will radically change if we believe this Truth)

With all the regular buzz of New Year’s resolutions, I have a suggestion.

What if we resolve to give our time back to God?

For by [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers:

All things were created by Him, and for Him. (Colossians 1:16)

Coronado Sky

All things were created by God and for God.  Even time.

The seconds, minutes and hours on a clock.

The moments of my day (even those at this instant as fingertips click keyboard keys) were created by Jesus and for Jesus.

When once [time] is gone, it is gone forever; no pains, no cost will recover it.

Though we repent ever so much that we let it pass, and did not improve it while we had it, it will be to no purpose.

Every part of it is successively offered to us, that we may choose whether we will make it our own, or not.

But there is no delay.

It will not wait upon us to see whether or no we will comply with the offer.

But if we refuse, it is immediately taken away, and never offered more.

As to that part of time which is gone, however we have neglected to improve it, it is out of our possession and out of our reach.  (Jonathan Edwards, December 1734)

Coronado Beauty

If we truly believe God created “time” and did so for Himself, how would that change the ways we spend the seconds of the minutes of the hours of our days?

Did God appoint our days to be squandered away in idleness?  Busying ourselves with others’ affairs (2 Thessalonians 3:11)?  Do we benefit from knowing the juicy details of every Hollywood celebrity’s life?

Are we not commanded to disentangle ourselves from the enterprises of this life (2 Timothy 2:4)?

Yet we absent-mindedly scroll through Twitter, Facebook or web articles.  Chat aimlessly on the telephone.  Stare thoughtlessly at a television.

You are accountable to God for your time.

Time is a talent given us by God; He hath set us our day; and it is not for nothing.

Our day was appointed for some work; therefore He will, at the day’s end, call us to an account. We must give account to him of the improvement of all our time.

We are God’s servants; as a servant is accountable to his master, how he spends his time when he is sent forth to work, so are we accountable to God.

If men would aright consider this, and keep it in mind, would they not improve their time otherwise than they do?

Would you not behave otherwise than you do, if you considered with yourselves every morning, that you must give an account to God, how you shall have spent that day?  (Jonathan Edwards, December 1734)

What if we judged our actions by first comparing our motives with God’s Word (1 Thessalonians 4:11).

Make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully.

Mind your own affairs.

Work with your hands.

My time spent following empty pursuits would shrink and cease to exist.

The minutes of my days chasing holiness would expand and bear exceptional fruit.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  (Psalm 90:12)

Camden looking toward the SEALs



These photos I’ve included in this blog post are quite meaningful in reminding me time doesn’t stand still.

These were taken in Coronado, California.  Home of the Naval Amphibious Base.  The place where young men train to become Navy SEALs.  Camden set his heart on becoming a SEAL as a boy when he realized he wanted to be in the military and, by God’s grace, he was given an opportunity to visit the SEALs a year ago.

This last photo is of Camden on the beach of the Pacific looking toward what he expects to be his future training ground.

Time is running out for this mom whose heart is hopeful yet heavy.

Might I make every minute count as a mother.  As a wife.  As a homemaker.

As a daughter of the King of Kings.

She looks well to the ways of her household and eats not the bread of idleness.  (Proverbs 31:27)

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We went “home” for Christmas (to LaQuinta, that is)

If you’ve followed the latest in the DuBois family, you know we sold our home this summer (rather quickly) and moved into the LaQuinta hotel for a month while trying to figure out what in the world we were doing.  We soon bought my grandmother’s RV trailer, and we’ve been living in it ever since.

While still trying to figure out what in the world we’re doing.

With threats of high winds and tornadoes Christmas Eve, we decided to leave the RV and go back to LaQuinta for the night.

hotel christmas_6

I’m not sure why the flags are half-mast.  But, look at the wind!

hotel christmas_5

This Christmas tree in LaQuinta’s lobby was a bit larger than our Charlie Brown tree in the RV.

I tried to talk my husband and boys into sitting in front of it to open gifts.

hotel christmas_2

They didn’t like my idea.

hotel christmas_1

So, we opened gifts in the hotel room.

hotel-christmas_4.jpg

Yes, I bought my son a shirt supporting the right to bear arms.  We live in Texas.  We own firearms.  We take gun-safety courses.  And we support our Constitution.  Merry Christmas, y’all.

hotel christmas_3

Upon arrival at LaQuinta, we realized we’d forgotten the comforts our previous living conditions had offered.  In fact, we had complained while living in the hotel for the thirty days.

This time, we were ecstatic with our amenities.

Mom, a real bed!

Dad, a television!

I was simply thrilled to have a bathtub with unlimited hot water.

We have taken some common American luxuries for granted.

Living in the RV and traveling to Guatemala has opened our eyes.

We are so much more thankful for the simple.  For the conveniences we had available at our fingertips.

Automatic dishwasher.

Standard-sized kitchen appliances.

Washer and dryer.

Insulation in the walls and attic.

An attic.

Bedrooms.

Well, any kind of room, for that matter.

As my husband and I reflected this morning on the lessons we’re learning, we agreed God is refining our lives to bring us into greater agreement with His Word.

We’d never seen ourselves as wealthy nor as seekers of substance.

Yet in comparison with the Truth, we are catching glimpses of misaligned priorities.

Discontentment.

Investing security in the wealth of this world.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.

For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

And having food and clothing let us be therewith content.

But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;

Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  (1 Timothy 6:6-11, 17-19)

So often, we have friends or family offer their condolences to us.  Extending sympathy for what they perceive is a meager existence.

They don’t know our little secret.

Living in an 232 square foot abode has offered more opportunities than the largest home we’ve ever owned.

More chances to grow.

To find joy.

To develop contentment.

These decreased dimensions of our dwelling have enlarged the spiritual expanse of our existence.

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A living picture of Christmas (by Francis Chan)

This story comes from Francis Chan.

Yet this story ultimately comes straight from the heart of Jesus.

Josh is a 20 year old guy that I serve with on Sunday afternoons. This past Sunday, he asked me to pray for an elderly, homeless woman he had befriended. She was attacked and beat up badly the night before. I saw a picture and couldn’t believe anyone would do that to a defenseless old lady! It’s disgusting! It is hard not to get angry when you see this kind of wickedness.

Josh went back to her that night to see if she would be willing to stay at his friend’s house. She didn’t feel comfortable going anywhere. So Josh decided to sleep on the sidewalk near her, to protect her. He has spent the past three nights sleeping on the streets to make sure nothing happens to her.

I get emotional when I imagine this scene. I am honored to serve alongside guys like him, whose lives paint a beautiful picture of Christianity, and Christmas.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7

Francis Chan (CHRISTMAS)

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The reason I’ve quit praying for my husband

Our pastor urged us to beseech God.

Lord, teach us to pray.

This simple request led to extensive training as I became a pupil of God’s Spirit.

I discovered my motives and purposes for prayer were often askew.

Specifically for my husband.

As I evaluated my petitions on my husband’s behalf, I realized my desired outcomes of those heavenly appeals were on my behalf.

Yet even when you do pray, your prayers are not answered, because you pray just for selfish reasons. (James 4:3 CEV)

The prayers for my husband were for me.

A hunger for satisfying my own desires dwelt deeper than the love for my spouse.

And this selfish appetite was revealed in my conversations with the Almighty.

In humbled repentance, I offered my supplications to the Lord.

heart ring light by MorrowLess via flickr

There He gave me His vision for my husband.

I am now able to offer petitions with Christ’s motives and His intentions.

Praying His purpose is much purer than praying Cristal’s purpose.

That’s why I quit praying for my husband.

So Christ could pray.



Why are you praying for your spouse, children, loved ones or friends?

What are you motives and intentions?

Has Jesus prompted you to pray what you are praying?

If not, maybe you should let Him take over.

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Confessions of a holiday harlot

The evil in our desire typically does not lie in what we want, but that we want it too much. (John Calvin)

dry by modomatic via flickr

SONY DSC

If you read my recent post, Why are you trying to keep Christ in Christmas?, you are aware we can borrow celebration convictions from others, having never allowed God to search our hearts individually to show us His desire for making Christmas merry.

It’s vital, for those seeking to grow deeper roots into the nourishing soil of Christ, to ask ourselves:

What are we expecting to bring us fulfillment, satisfaction, contentment, happiness, joy, pleasure, success or gratification?

The passing pleasures of a holiday render little more than a fleeting filling.

Yet, our hearts bow to masters and rulers exalted to positions they were never meant to hold.

Counterfeit, controlling forces dictate our joy.

And leave us empty.

And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. (Jeremiah 3:9)

Adultery committed against God.

Casual harlotry.

Idolatry.

You are like unfaithful wives having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God!

Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy?

So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God. (James 4:4)

A love affair with little gods.

Gleeful decorations.  Hearty fellowships.  Jubilant festivities.  Merry attire.

The giving of gifts.  Sharing of supper.

Even the glowing love of family.

Things that, in themselves, were perfectly good.

Until I built them a high place to occupy my heart.  Exalting them above God.

God uses an absolutely shocking analogy to bring us to our senses.

He tells us we are guilty of adultery.

What?

Yes.

When we practice soul idolatry by running to things other than God to meet our needs, we betray our one true Lover.

This is betrayal.

This is adultery.

Unless we sense God’s ravishing of us — we will fail to submit to Him and life will be futile.  (Dee Brestin)

God deals with our idols when He deals with our hearts.

He is the One who changes us.

fresh by like a duck via flickr

moist by likeaduck via flickr

Dismantling the idols is orchestrated by the only One powerful enough to dethrone them.

We offer obedience, surrender and trust.

Full access to our heart.

In turn, Christ offers freedom.

He will furnish a filling.

And we will finally be full.

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Let’s talk GLUTTONY or is now not a good time?

From our spiritual leaders we hear much of our need for surrender.

Being yielded completely to God so we’re pliable clay in the Potter’s hands.

It seems there is often one area frequently (purposefully?) overlooked.

Even quietly accepted.

Gluttony.

Each Christmas season, I find myself making allowances and compromises on food and drink.  While typically conscious and controlled about what I consume, the temptations of goodies and yummies tend to lure me into a tasty trap.

Many will agree the Scriptures condemn the appetites of our flesh, ignoring the taste buds and stomach.

And some of you will stop reading now so you are able to freely stuff your bellies this month.  All in the name of celebrating Christ.

In an effort to become a disciple, we surely must acknowledge our need for discipline.  A process of being trained by God’s very own Spirit in our daily walk.  Why wouldn’t restraint include our consumption of food and drink?

For this you know: that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.  (Ephesians 5:5)

Covetousness.  A craving.

Idolatry.  A greater affection for what we crave than for God.

Are we desiring the fullness of Christ the way we’re hungering for a  Christmas-dinner-filling of our stomach?

For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.  (Philippians 3:18-19)

Enemies of the cross.  Who set their minds on earthly things.

Their god is their belly.

This sinful sweet tooth.  Longing for material possessions.  Indulging in sensual lusts.

Does it include our physical appetite?

Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.  (Proverbs 23:20-21)

Could gluttony be as dangerous as drunkenness?  We easily notice the drunk man.  But, the glutton goes unnoticed.

Might we be careful not to suspect gluttony based on size.  At 5’6” and 120lbs, my flesh is a fearless feaster.

One can be a glutton without being big.  And one can be big without being a glutton.

Lighthouse river by biscuitslmp via Flickr

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The body.  A sanctuary for God’s very own Holy Spirit.

The body.  A temple not my own.

Bought at a price.  A costly transaction.

And then I pretend it’s mine.

In gluttony, I ignore the opportunities to give thanks for the good things God has given to me.

With a mistreatment of His gifts, I create an environment of conceited consumption.

In seeking to be discipled by Christ, I seek to know Him as the Giver.

From this recognition emerges gratitude.

From gratitude flows enjoyment.

And disciplined moderation.

More spiritual failure is due, I believe, to this cause than to any other:

The failure to recognize this living body as having anything to do with worship or holy sacrifice.

This body is, quite simply, the starting place.  Failure here is failure everywhere else.

(Elisabeth Elliot, Discipline: The Glad Surrender)

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Christmas is wherever we are (a reminder to my husband)

There are unique times in this existence when we are allowed to witness a person living out his faith in his God.

And I have the privilege of being united with such a man.

A husband and father willing to offer his family not what the world tempts him to provide.

Rather, he invites his wife and two sons to follow him as he pursues Christ.

Even when it means looking foolish to some.

Today, I want to remind my courageous husband that his obedience and submission to God are to be greatly admired.

And, regardless of the place we end up, we will celebrate Christ wherever we are.

christmas card

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Before you resort to sniffing oils for curbing your holiday spending…

Our family uses essential oils for many reasons, primarily for healing numerous ailments.  I often receive newsletters from companies selling essential oils.  And, this week was no different.

However, this particular email boasted a special claim.

Ways to keep your holiday spending in control.

With essential oils?  I was curious.

One of the biggest things that can ruin the fun of the holiday season is out-of-control spending.

There is hope!

Here are ways to avoid that.

My inquisitive mind prodded my eyes in a hurry to the next line.  I was eager to find my newfound answer to self-control.

Diffuse the oils in your car, put a drop or two in your purse or wallet, diffuse them around your computer, wear as a perfume or cologne, or just open the bottle and sniff.

When you are preparing to go shopping, particularly when you are making your list, make sure you inhale the aroma deeply 2-3 times, while telling yourself “I am in control.”

If you feel the situation can possibly get out of your control, once again, go back to the scent of the oil, and tell yourself “I am in control.”

I imagined myself making a shopping list while deeply inhaling the aromas of sandalwood and patchouli.  As my self-control heightened, I’d gently be whispering, “I am in control.”  And surely restraint would flow from my nostrils to my pen in hand.  As jurisdiction abounded, my fingers would be aware of abstinence techniques to prevent excessive spending.

And if that didn’t work, I’d keep a bottle of cedarwood oil in my purse.  If I became aware of overspending at the department store, I’d simply inhale the conductor of control at the checkout counter.  And, of course, softly chant, “I am in control.” 

That’s how it works.  Right?

Of course not.

But, I needed a good giggle that day.  And this suggestion for obtaining self-discipline delivered such a laugh.

I have gleaned much wisdom from one of the outstanding women in the Body of Christ.  Elisabeth Elliot has influenced those seeking a deeper and sincere walk with Christ.  Her book, Discipline: The Glad Surrender, is currently moving me into a greater understanding of who I am created and called to be for God. 

peering through a liquid keyhole by steve wall via flickr

I’m certain Mrs. Elliot would disagree with using our flesh to curb our appetites.  As would the One to whom she gladly surrenders.

Christian discipline means placing oneself under orders.  It is no mere business of self-improvement.

The disciple is one who has made a very simple decision.

I do not say it is an easy decision, and I have found it needs to be renewed daily.

The disciple is not on his own, left to seek self-actualization.

He gives himself to a Master and in so doing leaves self behind.

(Elisabeth Elliot)

What a relief to know we are not subject to our own cravings.  Nor can we individually muster up enough fortitude to successfully suppress the shameful desires lurking within.  We who are filled with the Spirit of the living God have moved into position of being subject to and controlled by a Master.

We have a Commanding Officer who will train us in this business of surrender.

Without even needing aromas, chants or fuzzy feelings.

A death of self invites a life everlasting.

He offers an exchange.

His life for ours.

Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours. (2 Corinthians 4:10)

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Why are you trying to keep Christ in Christmas?

There’s been a buzz in social media outlets about how to celebrate Christmas.

Contemplations over trees, stockings and Santa.  I’ve noticed families giving up traditions in the name of honoring Christ.  Children no longer allowed to keep their gifts in order to bless the poor.  Parents declining party invitations in trying to guard their families from the secularism of a worldly celebration.

And, so I wonder.

Have we allowed the enemy to distract us from Christ with borrowed Christmas convictions?

Are we following the promptings of God delivered to us by His Holy Spirit?

Or are we being deceived into believing we’re denying the rudiments of this world while eagerly adopting them?

So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it?

“Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!”

Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention?

Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic.

But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. (Colossians 2:20-23 Message Version)

Many of us are too often bullied by well-meaning Christians and have fallen into a trap of comfortably adopting another set of rules.

If we are not being led by Christ in changing our lives, we are simply borrowing the convictions of another man. 

And a deep check of our heart will expose our motives.

Might we become increasingly sensitive to the arousal of our senses and suggestions to our soul.  Then, may we offer those occasions to the One who calls for change.

And follow His design for life.

Truly this could be the sincerest way to “keep Christ in Christmas.”

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(Caleb was in charge, last year, of setting up the nativity. Yes, the cow is on the roof.  And, yes, it seems the angel and wise men are doting over the animals instead of Baby Jesus. Many would have considered our display sacrilegious.  But, we chose not to borrow their convictions.)

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Less is more (an RV kind of Christmas tree)

Some time back, my friend Tiffany offered me three words of encouragement.

Less is more.

I didn’t realize, then, I’d be celebrating Christmas in an RV.

And living out less is more as a family.

This journey is certainly one to be remembered.

A path taking our family toward a greater appreciation of the simple.

Lives uncluttered.  Tidying up the heart.

Realizing Christmas can actually be celebrated without the familiar DuBois dazzle.

Meet our Christmas tree.

And welcome to simple living.

christmas tree

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