It’s 4:11 a.m. – again.

My inability to sleep through the night is well documented in my blog. So is my addiction to Simply Sleep – just one little shot of Benadryl to help me sleep through the night. And it may say “non-habit forming” on the bottle but I’m here to tell you that’s a lie, because every night I take it I sleep like a teenager (forget trying to sleep like a baby – teenagers are much better sleepers) and every night I don’t – well, I don’t sleep well. And yes, I’m writing this at 4:11 a.m., so point proven.

simply sleep

Well, for the last couple of weeks I have removed Simply Sleep from my routine. Why? Why in the world would I give up my awesome, restful, peaceful, full nights of sleep? Because I read an article that quoted research showing long term use of a sleep aid like that one can lead to early onset of dementia.

Wonder if 8 years is considered long-term…

So in my effort to overcome my addiction to Simply Sleep, I have given up sleeping until my alarm goes off, and instead I get out of bed when I realize I’m not gonna get any more sleep, and that seems to be consistently around 4:11 a.m.

It’s amazing what I can get done in the quiet of the morning. Quite time? Check. Balance the bank statement? Done. Fill out my entire 2016 planner with birthdays and anniversary? Complete.

Two hours is a lot of time before the rest of my household wakes up. I have a lot of time to think, a lot of time to pray. A lot of time to seek God’s will and wisdom.

So…much…time… (yawn)…

I don’t suggest setting your alarm clock for 4:11 a.m. to make sure you get your time in with God every day, but wow these early mornings sure have been enlightening. I do urge you to carve out time to spend with Him every day however, especially in the morning (if possible) before your day escalates into the hurried, crazy day we experience all too often.

Check out what Jesus did before He made one of the most important decisions in His ministry: “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles…” (Luke 6:12-13)

This passage from Luke is just one example of Jesus spending time in prayer, seeking God’s will and God’s wisdom. Before Jesus chose the 12 of the most important men in Biblical history he spent all night praying, and that ensured he would make the decision that would be most pleasing to his Father. God never disappointed Jesus after those many nights and mornings spent in prayer, and He’ll never disappoint you either when you take time to talk to Him, pour out your heart to Him and then listen for His responses.

Make time to spend with your Creator, the One who loves you like no other. He wrote the book on your life – don’t you want to know what’s in it? Don’t you want to make the best decisions every single day? How else will you find out if you don’t talk to Him on a consistent basis?

If I got to pick my time, it wouldn’t be 4:11 a.m., but I’m thankful for it anyway.

Find your time.

Blessings!
Leigh

Flag Man

My father-in-law sent an email with a link to a video to my husband back on November 16th and my husband forwarded the email to me that day. The subject of the email was “Flag Man,” and honestly the title didn’t really grab me at the moment. So like many emails it gradually descended to the depths of my email inbox where it – along with so many others – remained in email purgatory until today.

Today was the day I was determined to clean out all 3 of my inboxes (don’t ask why I have 3 – I’m still asking myself that). I decided to answer all emails I hadn’t already answered, delete what the ones I really didn’t need, file away the ones I did need and yes, watch links to videos if they existed in any emails.

But I wasn’t prepared for this link. Didn’t have my Kleenex handy (dadgum it – I had just “put my face on” as Granny would say), and wasn’t ready for the emotions this video brought out of me. I think watching ESPN’s College Gameday live from Philadelphia where Army will play Navy this afternoon served as a moving precursor to this video and I don’t think it’s a coincidence I watched all of this in one day.

What possesses a man to do something as gut-wrenching, as moving, as honorable as this? Where does he get the strength, the energy, the will to keep running day after day after day? When did he get the idea and what made him get off the couch and make it actually happen?

Many answers exist to these questions. But more importantly than asking them is to reflect on what one man did to honor so many who laid down their lives for you and for me.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Amen.
Leigh

Gimme a Light

I usually refrain from writing about political matters for two reasons. One, the purpose of my blog is to point people to Jesus (not to politics) and two, when I think about what is going on in our country it makes me want to wrap my head in duck tape to keep it from exploding.

But these days I can’t escape the chaos that is currently rearing its ugly head all over the planet – and particularly in the good ‘ol U.S. of A. Pick up a newspaper or turn on the TV and you’ll find yourself wandering down Confusion Street or Fearful Avenue. And I quite frankly don’t like wandering down those streets – at all.

College students protesting their schools’ administrations. Terrorists killing innocent people. Citizens rioting over perceived and real racial biases. It’s enough to make anybody freak out and become a doomsday prepper, loading up on prepackaged meals, gold bars and a whole lotta ammunition.

So you may find it difficult this Christmas season to sing Fa-la-la-la-la while the country burns down around you.

Yet as Christians, that is exactly what we are called to do. While I don’t suggest all my Christian brothers and sisters break out in song (‘cause that would scare a lot of nonbelievers if they heard my version of Angels We Have Heard on High) I am suggesting that we who have hope eternal spread that good news to those who are freaking out over what they see happening all around them.

Our country is crying out for clarity, for wisdom, for hope. And we Christians CANNOT let fear stop us from living our lives. We CANNOT get depressed over who holds an office or who doesn’t hold an office. We CANNOT give up hope that we can make a difference in this scared, confused world.

Jesus says this to you and to me: “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before men…” (Matthew 5:14-16) Simply put, we are called to be the light in this dark, dark world.

light

And how do Christians do it? How do Christians get up day after day, face the chaos the world is throwing around and be a light? How do we keep on smiling, serving and encouraging through it all?

By knowing, believing and sharing this truth: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

Our world needs to hear that truth. People need a hope that supersedes the many scary issues they face every day. People need security in a world that is anything but predictable, and there’s only one way to experience true peace – through a relationship with the Savior of the World.

So this Christmas season, share hope with someone around you. Use whatever gift God has placed in you (because he’s placed unique gifts in all of us) to share the hope that is found in Jesus – the hope that can only be found in the baby born in a manger all those years ago.

Blessings!
Leigh

Camping Out

I’m not a camper. Never been, never plan on going. As my husband says, my idea of camping is staying at a Holiday Inn Express instead of the Ritz-Carlton.

hie

But this last week I actually have been camping out – on a certain passage of Scripture. I can’t read it enough. Paul delivers so many nuggets of truth in these verses that I can’t seem to soak them all in, even though I’ve read this chapter many times before.

Take a few minutes and read Colossians 3. It starts with “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…” which sets up the rest of the chapter. In other words, now that you have accepted Jesus into your heart, what should your life look like?

I guarantee you whatever sin you struggle with is found in the next several verses.

Paul gives us a list of sins we need to root out of our lives. And he doesn’t want us to just halfway deal with our sin – verse 5 starts with, “Put to death…” That’s pretty strong wording if you think about it. If I put something to death I squeeze every bit of life out of it. It exists no more. “No bubbles” as I heard a coach say once. And putting to death the one or two sins you struggle with the most just ain’t easy.

‘Cause right about the time you think you have anger, slander, sexual immorality or greed (just to name a few from Colossians 3) all taken care of, satan sneaks in like a thief and tempts you with the one thing he knows will undo all the hard work you & Jesus have done together.

But the awesome news of the gospel is this: Jesus has conquered it all, and through Him we have forgiveness of our sins. We don’t have to struggle all alone and we don’t have to carry around shame and guilt. When we truly repent of our sin He is full of mercy and grace, able to forgive us of things we have said or done, things other people won’t forgive us for, things for which we struggle to forgive ourselves.

So as you camp out on the sins you need to put to death, don’t be discouraged! Jesus has already put to death every one of them and longs to help you do the same. Don’t be shy, don’t be proud – be humble before Him and pray for wisdom, pray for guidance, pray against the sin that binds you in chains.

He is faithful. He is merciful. He is ready and willing to help you deal with Paul’s list found in Colossians 3 – whenever you are.

Blessings!
Leigh