Tag Archives: Jesus

Monday’s Prayer

In the absence of Internet, cell phone, or a good book, I have decided to devote the remainder of my workday afternoon to writing a prayer.

Isn’t that shameful, that only when I have nothing else to do, do I turn to sincere and focused communication with my Lord?

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You so much for the many blessings in my life.  I’m so glad that You are alive and real, with me all the time.  I sometimes find myself in a faith crisis, wondering “How can I be certain God is real?  I can’t feel Him in the tangible sense.  We’ve never shook hands or hugged.  I don’t have any photos in an album labeled ‘Me and Jesus – Lake Eerie, 1992.'”

I know You, God, are real because I couldn’t have merely imagined my life better during the last seven years, when I began seeking a way to be closer to You.  I still struggle with the Trinity.  I’m perfectly secure with the Holy Ghost concept – I like the voices in my head, offering advice and encouragement throughout the day.  I like talking about and to God – the strong Father figure, director of the universe in whole and each minute part.

I am uncomfortable saying aloud “Jesus is my best friend.”  I’m ashamed to admit it, but I feel like a Froot Loop.  I love – crave – letting You guide my life, both every day and in the grander scheme of things.  I wish I wasn’t so squeamish about being all lovey-dovey about Jesus.  I know He died on the cross to save me from eternal damnation.  I know that there is more, so much more, to this world than just what we see.  I know the Bible is the truth, and we should believe it and strive to live its principles every day.

So, why is my heart shrinking from wholly and openly acknowledging Your son, the ultimate sacrifice and Savior, as my closest and most treasured companion?  I like to think I would refuse to reject Jesus as my savior, even if that meant I would die, perhaps painfully.

But how can I expect to do that if I can’t proclaim Him to my closest mortal friends?

If somebody asked me “What’s the most important thing in your life?”  I wish I could say with 100% certainty that I’d answer, ‘My relationship with Jesus.”

Truthfully, my knee-jerk reaction would probably be “My saddle.”  It’s brand-new, custom-built, has a sweet horn, and has ‘John 3:16’ tooled on the cantle.

It’s a great sentiment, my wanting to witness to all who see my saddle.  But, is it what I truly live?

How much of my time do I waste on worrying about money, health insurance (or lack thereof), magazine deadlines, what people think of my hair/clothes/roping ability/colt starting skills/article ideas/tack/what I eat/what I drive.  What if I took that time and instead devoted it to thinking about Jesus?  Instead of worrying, I could just ponder, just savor in my mind for a moment, the awesomeness of the fact that God actually walked around on the Earth for a few decades, then died painfully so people He’d never met (or had He, if ‘He’ is the entire Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit?) could live forever in a glorious paradise?

I don’t have to strive for answers; I just have to grasp this huge concept in my mind for as long as I can.  That’s difficult enough.

But maybe, if I practice holding onto this seemingly simple yet everlastingly complex concept, other things will gradually become more clear.  I can’t build a structure of knowledge without a rock-solid foundation.  Every rodeo competitor will say “Practice the basics for superior results.”

If I’m doubtful of the veracity of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my life, maybe I should just spend more time thinking about the Son.  Just thinking.  Just spending minutes that I could choose to spend watching reruns of That ’70s Show, reading The New York Times online, or texting, just resting my mental power on Jesus.

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God Before Money

At the last minute, I decided to attend the monthly Independence Valley ladies’ Bible study.  For some reason, that name always gets the song “Harper Valley PTA” stuck in my head.  Hmmm.  Strange.

I wasn’t going to go to the study; I planned on working all day at Capriola’s.  I told myself I was too broke to pass up the paycheck.

Ronda called me Friday night to see if I was going to the study.  I said no then changed my mind right after I hung up the phone.  I realized I will always be broke to some degree or another.  Right now I have vehicle registration, a pickup repair bill, rent, a doctor’s bill, etc., and in the future I will have to pay more vehicle repairs, cell phone bills, doctor’s visits, etc. 

I will always have some expense making a grab for my wallet when I’m not looking.  The decision to put my Lord before my money is always there.  I just have to make it. 

I’d subbed every day last week, so I wasn’t haphazardly saying, “Money?  Who needs it?!”  I took time to care of fiscal business.  I needed to take care of spiritual business.

The study was wonderful!  Lunch was a potluck, but we ate before we opened our Bibles because “the kids were hungry.”  The under-eight crowd sat on the floor by the heater and colored while we grown-ups discussed Christ’s Second Coming, woman’s place in the church, how it is way cooler to be made from a rib than a lump of clay, and how to stay positive in depressing circumstances. 

I left Ronda’s house feeling much richer than if I’d worked for Nevada minimum wage all day.  Fellowship strengthens our souls, our relationship with God, and replenishes us so we can share the goodness of Christ with others.  Plus, I got a recipe for my favorite no-bake peanut-butter-and-corn-flake cookies 🙂 

John 8:32

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Gift Wrapping, Jesus-Style

Working in a retail store during the Christmas season means I’ve wrapped approximately 413 presents since Black Friday.  I can cut paper and peel the adhesive sticker off a bow with my eyes closed.  I try to match the paper to the customer.  If they buy a cowboy hat, I use the Charlie Russell pattern.  Jewelry purchased by a non-cowboy lookin’ guy gets wrapped in a delicate snowflake design.

One gal came in the other day and bought a headstall with solid sterling silver buckles, a Bill Kane mane hair McCarty, tooled slobber straps, a chin strap and Garcia snaffle.  Unwrapping that fancy outfit would make up for having to feed cows on Christmas morning!  I wrapped it up, taping down the bit so a curious buckaroo couldn’t rattle things around and guess the gift. 

Another couple came in and purchased 3 palm leaf hats, totaling around $76.  I searched for boxes big enough to wrap them.  Someone said “Do you have to wrap each one individually?”  Well, yeah.  Who would give 3 straw hats of different sizes to the same person?  I spent more time locating boxes and wrapping them twice – the paper was too narrow to complete the job in one cutting – than I did on much more expensive gifts.

At first, I caught myself thinking, “I’m spending all this time and energy on less expensive presents!  How annoying!” and then I kicked myself under the wrapping table for being such a Grinch.  I recalled a vendor at Cowboy Christmas who wrapped the $3.50 refridgerator magnet I bought in tissue paper.  She had the right attitude. 

The New Testament records Jesus telling us to show no favoritism towards each other.  We’re supposed to treat the wealthy and the poor equally, regardless of clothing brand worn or liquid assets owned.  What we do for the lowliest of people on earth, we do unto Jesus Himself.  In that spirit, I decided to give equal smiles, offers to help find items in the store, careful gift-wrapping, and wishes of “Merry Christmas!” to all customers who enter the store. 

This sounds like a cheesey ad: “Come to Capriola’s – I’ll be nice to you because Jesus said.”  I just decided to use my employment as a way to practice what the Bible preaches.  It’s a random life experiment that I hope to turn into a habit.

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Independence Valley BS

I went to one of my favorite events in Nevada today – the Independence Valley ladies’ Bible study.  It’s held every month at a different house, and today we met at the Quarter Circle S on the Van Norman Ranch.  We studied God’s Word, had a baby shower for the lovely Heather, and Chrissy suggested we celebrate she and her husband’s fiftieth move in twenty years (he’s a cowboy).  It was suggested they take no more camp jobs.

There was no danger of a cell phone’s ring interrupting our fellowship, as there is no cell service at the Quarter Circle S.  The driveway was just this side of four-wheel-drive status, so no one complained.  It goes without saying that all the food was made from scratch; you don’t bring Oreos and Raley’s apple pie to a get-together in the Independence Valley. 

Groups like this are rare.  It seems we don’t get enough actual face time with our fellow humans; it’s too convenient to Facebook, blog or text rather than sit on each others’ couches and discuss our lives.  We need to discuss our lives!  There were three pregnant ladies and a whole pack of little kids runnin’ around Bible study.  What better place for a woman to learn how to be a woman who positively contributes to society than by asking and observing others she looks up to? 

I really enjoy not having cell service.  Removing the temptation to check our phones all the time to see what we might be missing elsewhere forces us to fully emerse ourselves and absorb the company we are in at the moment.

I realize I’m going to need to look for a place to stash my soap box here in a minute, but I just thoroughly enjoyed a good old-fashioned dose of wholesome fellowship.  It’s so convenient and socially acceptable for people, especially single twenty-four-year-olds such as myself, to go to the bar and toss a few back, leave with whomever, get sick in the morning, and drag ourselves to work.  It’s reassuring to know some folks still value morals and actively seek godly lives.  And, these gals wear flattering jeans, trendy shirts, dangly earrings, and fix their hair all cute.  Just because you’re wholesome and upright doesn’t mean you’re a stick in the mud.

I’m looking forward to the next study, and not just because I’m not leading it.  I had my notes all prepared for today’s topic, the power of words, and didn’t feel nervous, but for some reason, when I began to talk, I began to sweat profusely.  I had to get a tissue to mop up my face and neck.  It was quite embarrassing and of course made me even more flustered.  Anyway, everyone contributed plenty of discussion so that helped 🙂  I didn’t have to deliver my message all by myself.

Thanks for reading! 

Keep the faith.

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