Someone is Watching

Recently, while in the checkout line of a well-known store, I witness a little comedy-drama unfold. I was second in line. There was one lady behind me and one ahead of me. It seemed as though we were just in time for a cashier shift change.

I’m not familiar with the procedures of cashier shift changes but for this particular one, the new cashier felt the need to empty a whole box of new bags placing them in their proper place on the shopping bag carousel as we waited.

After a while, I decided to take notice of the reaction of the other two ladies waiting in line. The lady ahead of me looked at me as to say, “Is she really going to empty that whole box of bags right now?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then the woman walked up to me and whispered, “We have got to be being watched.” We both laughed. I knew exactly what she was referring to.

Back in the day, there was a funny TV show called Candid Camera. There would be hidden cameras set up to catch the reactions of people when presented with unbelievable scenarios. It was hilarious!

Her statement about being watched got me to thinking. We are always being watched. People are watching us and of course, God sees all.

Psalms 33:13-15 From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth–he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

Patience is not only the act of waiting. We are all going to wait for something. But patience is more about how we wait. We can wait well or we can wait badly, the choice is ours.

Just remember, someone is always watching. And if we are a Christian (a representative of Christ) we have a responsibility to wait well.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

​Broken Ears

While recently participating in a local children’s book festival and enjoying the interaction with the children and their parents, I overheard a conversation between an adult and a child. The adult was explaining to the child that because her ears were broken, she needed a special device to help her hear.

What stood out to me was how she referred to her hearing impairment. She said her ears were broken. She wanted to explain her impairment in a way a child would understand.

When our ears are broken we can’t hear what is being said to us or around us. The inability to hear could result in confusion or a lack of understanding.

Thankfully there are devices to assist us in hearing better, therefore, eliminating much of the confusion and lack of understanding.

When our spiritual ears are broken we can’t understand what God is saying to us through His word. And trying to read His word can be very confusing.

Ezekiel 12:2 “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”

Sometimes our spiritual ears may not be broken but we may instead have selective hearing. Having raised three boys, I am very familiar with selective hearing.

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

Or sometimes we may choose to stick our fingers in our spiritual ears while drowning out God’s voice with a loud la-la-la-la-la. Many times we just don’t want to know the truth because we don’t want to change or lose control of our lives, which in reality is a mess.

Isaiah 42:20 “You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”

Whether our spiritual ears are broken, being selective, or choosing not to listen at all, it’s because we do not belong to God.

John 8:47 “Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” Ouch!

But just as the woman at the Book Festival explained, in her conversation with the child, there is a way to help our broken ears hear. Even our broken spiritual ears.

The Holy Spirit helps us understand what God is saying and doing. He helps us hear God with our spiritual ears and understand what He is saying to us, therefore eliminating confusion.

1 Corinthians 2:9-10a However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” – the things God has prepared for those who love him – these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.

The only way to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is needed to hear and comprehend the things God is saying and doing, is through Jesus. Jesus is the only access to God and He is the only access to the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Do you read your bible but can’t understand what God is trying to say to you? Do you have selective hearing when it comes to the things of God? Or maybe you just choose not to hear what God is saying.

The Holy Spirit is the answer; the help for the spiritually hearing impaired. He will give you a better understanding of God and His word. He will give you a desire to know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. He will change your heart and mind and give you new desires.

All you have to do is pray the prayer at the end of this post and mean it with all of your heart.

Prepare to hear things you’ve never heard before. Prepare for new understanding. Prepare for spiritual assurance, certainty, and confidence. Prepare to be amazed!

~Patrice Maguire

Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Journey/Week 3

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the difference between surviving and thriving. During difficult times I think it’s natural to think, feel, or say, “I just want to get through this; I just want to survive and arrive on the other side alive and well.”

I can tend to be one of those people that thinks and feels that way. I mean, don’t we all want to survive difficult situations? It’s not a bad thing to want to survive. It’s brave actually! It’s not giving up!

However, what if instead of just surviving a difficult situation, we decided to thrive while going through it?

Survive means: to remain alive or in existence; to continue to function [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Thrive means: to grow vigorously, to gain wealth, to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances [Mirriam-Webster Dictionary App].

Yes, I have breast cancer. Yes, I want to remain alive and continue to exist. Yes, I want to continue to function in all areas of my life. So, by the grace of God, I will do what it takes to survive. I will do my best and trust God with the rest.

However, I not only want to survive this disease, but I also want to thrive while going through it.

I want to grow vigorously spiritually and in character. I want to gain a wealth of things that can never be taken from me: faith and a better understanding of God’s grace and His love and mercy for me. I want to realize my goal to glorify God, build His kingdom, edify His Body, and point the lost to the cross despite and because of my circumstances.

I want to thrive while I survive!

This Spring I planted a garden in the planter boxes my husband built for me. Only the okra plants produced. None of the other plants produced. The other plants where alive. They were growing. They had flowers on them. But they never produced what they were created to produce. They were surviving but they weren’t thriving. Needless to say, I ended up throwing them away.

John 15:5-6 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me, you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

The way we are able to thrive and bear fruit, in this life and in every circumstance, is by abiding in Jesus, the vine.

Abide means: to remain stable or fixed in a place; to continue in a place [Merriam-Webster Dictionary App].

I am determined, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to remain in Christ! I am determined to stay fixed in Him and to continue in Him! I am determined to bear fruit despite and because of my current circumstances! And I am determined to allow God to use my struggle for His glory and for the good of others!

What are you trying to survive today? A difficult marriage? A devastating diagnosis? A wayward child? An addiction? A job you hate?

What if instead of just surviving your struggle, you thrived despite it or because of it? How could you allow God to use your current unpleasant circumstance for His glory and for the good of someone else?

You may be wondering what bearing fruit or thriving despite or because of difficult circumstances looks like? Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If these fruits are evident in you, in the midst of a crisis, you are thriving!

God has planted us where we are for a purpose. We have a decision to make. Will we thrive and be fruitful or just survive without much to show for it. The decision is ours.

Don’t allow your struggle to be wasted. Bear fruit! Thrive!

Jeremiah 17:8 “They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

~Patrice Maguire

Prayer for salvation: Dear God, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord, from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Destructive Worms

Yesterday afternoon I went outside to do a few things. While I was on the back patio looking at my plants, I noticed that my rose bush’s leaves were nearly all gone. This was very confusing to me since it looked fine just a couple of days ago. As I looked closer and investigated I figured out what had happened. I found these worms that looked just like the leaves, eating the leaves. I picked them off one at a time and threw them into a trash bag and into the trashcan. I was so amazed by their ability to blend in with the rose bush and deceive me so well. Tricky little devils! I also noticed little black dots all around my rose bush on the patio. I later realized it was worm poop. Yuck! Apparently, they are also messy little devils.

This morning, as I was journaling about the worm discovery, the Lord began to speak to me about the worms that we might have in our own lives. One minute we may think all is well but unknown to us there is destruction going on. Just as the worms in my rose bush disguised themselves as part of the bush so they wouldn’t be seen, so it is in our lives.

What are some things in our lives that we can’t see that are destroying us? Could it be food, or relationships or negative thoughts? Maybe it’s a bad attitude or unforgiveness. Maybe it’s selfishness, greed or lust. It could be anything that we think is harmless. And as a result just as the worms left a mess of poop all around my rose bush we are left with a mess of poop in our own lives.

So what can we do about it? Well, first we have to realize we have a problem. Once we see the destruction and the poop mess that it leaves then we have to find the culprit. We have to examine our lives. What is hidden in our lives that looks like it belongs there but is actually destroying us and leaving a mess?

The way I find life-destroying worms in my own life is by asking the Lord to reveal them to me. The ways He uses to reveal them to me is through His Word, the conviction of the Holy Spirit or maybe through an honest godly friend. One of the greatest advantages of reading and studying God’s word is we can know Him and His character. So, when a worm (anything contrary to God and His character) sneaks into our lives we’ll recognize it more easily and more quickly.

Once we find the culprit, the next step is to do as I did with the leaf-eating worms, pick them off one by one and get rid of them. How do we do that in our lives? We deal with each issue as the Lord shows it to us. We pray and ask the Lord to help us to get rid of the destructive behavior through the power of His Holy Spirit. We can’t do it in our own strength. Will power will only get us so far. We need God’s grace! We need the power of His Spirit to do in us what we can’t do on our own. That’s grace!

The secret to keeping the worms out of our lives, once we discover them and do away with them/get victory over them, is by staying in God’s word and staying in prayer. Be watchful! Don’t think that just because you got rid of them once that they won’t be back. It may not be the same worms but there will be new ones. Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

Then what? Watch your life flourish. You will grow new leaves and produce healthy beautiful roses. Isn’t that the goal? We want to bear a lot of fruit. Jesus said in John 15:2 He (God) cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

So let’s examine our lives and find the destructive behaviors that are making a mess in our lives. Let’s ask the Lord to help us change and to clean up our mess. Then let’s bear beautiful roses for all the world to see and enjoy. And when the people around us are enjoying the beauty in our lives let’s tell them about God, our Gardener, and how He helped us to get rid of the destructive worms in our lives. Let’s tell them about how He cleaned up the mess that those worms made and how He wants to do the same for them. Don’t keep your gardening secrets to yourself. Share the good news!

~Patrice Maguire

 

 

Honor One Another Above Yourselves

I learned a long time ago that if I focus on self-preservation God can’t use me. And as hard as it is to be transparent I know that it is required of me for the greater good of others. If God can turn my mess into a message then so be it. Every day I pray that the Lord will help me to use all that He gives me to glorify His name, build His kingdom and edify His body (the Body of Christ/the Church). That includes revelations about myself. So here it goes.

Those that don’t know me very well may think that I have it all together. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m literally a mess. God is never reluctant to correct me and discipline me. As painful as it may be I know it’s necessary to my spiritual growth. Like any good father, He does it gently and in love. I guess the worst part about the revelation of my sins is the ugliness of them. When He shows them to me I can hardly believe I actually did them and thought they were ok to do at the time. I don’t even recognize it. That’s scary!

Recently I was in Barnes and Noble checking on the sales of my children’s book, ‘The Many Fears of Miela the Cat.’ There was only one left on the shelf. I didn’t like where it was. It was all the way on the left end of the shelf and the side of the bookshelf was casting a shadow over it. I thought it should be in a more prominent position on the shelf. Seems reasonable right? I mean if you want to succeed in life you need to be aggressive right? So I saw no harm in moving my book front and center at eye level. The only problem was I had to move someone else’s book onto the shadowy end of the shelf to get mine where I thought it should be. So I did.

This happened Friday and it wasn’t until Sunday morning, while I was reading my morning scriptures and devotionals, that I realized my sin. Funny how God’s word has a tendency to do that. My sin literally shocked me. I felt like Urkel and found myself saying,  “Did I do that?” I felt so disgusted with myself. I repented right away and managed to not wallow in regret but instead got back up and moved on. That in itself is a testament to the work of the Holy Spirit that I’m so thankful for.

The scripture the Lord used to reveal my sin to me was Romans 12:10. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. I was not honoring, above myself, the other person who had written the book that I moved to a less prominent place on the shelf. I was being greedy and selfish. I was not treating that person the way I wanted to be treated (Matthew 7:12). I was not trusting God with all of my heart. I was leaning on my own understanding. I was not acknowledging Him in all of my ways (Proverbs 3:5-6). I was wrong on so many levels. I cannot tell you enough how thankful I am for the convicting of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to stay in my sin and misrepresent God. I want to move up and onward.

How about you? Is there something that you do or have done that is justifiable in the eyes of the world but offensive in the eyes of God? Will you confess your sin and ask God to forgive you today? Don’t wallow in regret over it. Get up and move up and onward!

~Patrice Maguire