Relax, Reflect, Recharge

That Little Sneaky Path to a Bad Place

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

 He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake ~ Psalm 23:3, NKJV

One Sunday my pastor had to do some housekeepin’ fussin’ at our congregation before he started his sermon. It was a “visitors, close your ears” moment as Jimmy interrupted the service for an important message from our neighbors.

See, right beside our church property is a city park. On Sundays, when our parking lot is full, we tend to use the city park lot for our overflow parking. The only problem is that the folks going to the city park don’t like the fact that those daggum CHURCH people are taking their parking spaces.

It is not nice of us. Really. I’m sorry. I’ve done it, too.

And while our sweet pastor calmly asked the congregation, once again, to STOP PARKING IN THE CITY PARK PARKING LOT (he didn’t yell, but I bet he wanted to), folks still do it. As soon as Jimmy finished his announcement and began his sermon, God had a sermon just for me. He wasn’t finished with me and the forbidden parking lot issue. That’s what happens when you make a path or keep a path open, He seemed to say, “You’re going to walk down it eventually.”

See, while we have been warned, scolded, and pleaded with not to park next door, there is this nice little path through the bushes from the city park’s parking lot to our church’s parking lot. The bushes are trimmed on both sides, cobblestones are succinctly placed, and a nice little bit of concrete forms a gently curving sidewalk. Someone keeps the bushes clipped and the grass maintained. The breezeway almost beckons us (me) to break the rules.

Now let’s go down a different path. Let’s call the path sin. Let’s say that you have decided that once and for all you are not going to park yourself in the parking lot of a particular sin.

  • You’re not going to stop by Dunkin’ Donuts and eat a dozen chocolate-covereds in one sitting. You’re not even driving by.
  • You are not going to sleep with that boyfriend… ever again!
  • You’re not going to date that guy you know is bad for you… ever again.
  • You’re not going to look at that particular website.
  • You’re not going to flirt with the married guy in the next cubicle.
  • You’re not going to gossip about other people.
  • You are not going to drink because you know you have an alcohol problem.
  • You are not going to indulge in online shopping because you’re in debt.
  • You’re not going to _______________.

There are hundreds of vices you could put in that sentence. But then there’s a nicely groomed little path that you’ve kept open…just in case. You wouldn’t call it “just in case.” You wouldn’t say it out loud.

  • The guy’s name is still in your contacts list on your smartphone.
  • You still think about what that guy in the next cubicle would like when you get dressed for work in the morning.
  • You still pull up that website when you think God isn’t looking.
  • You still pull up a chair when someone begins to gossip.
  • You still take the route home from work that goes right by the Dunkin’ Donuts store.
  • You keep a bottle in the cabinet…just for company.
  • The paths beckon you. And as long as you keep the breezeways open, you’ll probably breeze right through them… eventually.

The answer? Remove the path. Put up a gateless fence.

  • Remove the contact.
  • Change your job.
  • Get rid of your computer.
  • Get an accountability partner.
  • Take a different route home from work.
  • Remove the bottle.
  • Unsubscribe.
  • Make the path to temptation impassable, implausible, and impossible to take, and put up a gateless fence instead.

Jesus said, “If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out” (Matthew 5:29 NKJV). That is pretty dramatic. I’m not telling you to pluck out your eye, and I’m not sure that’s what Jesus was saying either. But He was telling us to remove the cause of the temptation.

Remove the path. Put up a fence.

So here’s my question: Do you need to put up a fence where you now have a path?

Have a blessed day!

Gives Program

Thank You for Your Service

Today is officially Veteran’s Day even though the federal holiday was celebrated yesterday.

What is Veteran’s Day?

“We remember those who died BUT Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime,” It is a holiday “is largely intended to thank LIVING veterans for their service, to acknowledge their contributions to our national security, and to underscore the fact all those who served – not only those who died – have sacrificed and done their duty.”

Would you like to make a difference in the lives of our military families?

Every week, households across the country get the Sunday paper which is typically filled manufacturer coupons.  Some cut out what we can use while others simply put the entire batch in the recycling bin never to be seen again.  Did you know you could help our military families and all it would cost you would be the postage?

Recycling coupons is a GREAT way to “give back” to our military families. Military families can use current and EXPIRED (up to 3 months from the expiration date) manufacturers coupons at the BX/PX.  Such an easy way to help others who risk their lives for us every day.

I never realized how much the “small” things we take for granted are appreciated by our military families and our troops until about 14 years ago.  My best friend’s husband, Bill, was deployed to Bagram in the early days of “Operation Freedom”.

A one month deployment turned into a 6 month stint during a time when there was no family support groups – just friends and family who got Stephanie and the four kids (Jen, Sean, Ryan & Shane) through the many days and long nights.  Every penny counted and believe it or not, coupons helped. Here is a quote from her Facebook page on Veteran’s Day –

” On Veterans Day, don’t count the days or the months. Just please remember every family of every soldier – and if you don’t know what to say, just do a random act of kindness like taking out the trash for a soldier’s wife while her husband is at home. Small things mean a lot. I know.  November 11, 2012 at 8:37pm  

Today, there are many businesses saluting veterans and active-duty military personnel.  They’re offering freebies and special discounts to show their appreciation for all those who have sacrificed for their country.  Proof of service such as a military ID is typically required and a few businesses will allow dressing in uniform as a form of identification.
Check with your location to see if they are participating:

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill: Free meal from a special menu Saturday at any of the nearly 1,800 locations.

Bob Evans: Free meal from a special menu available all day Saturday at all locations.

Bonefish Grill: Free Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer.

Buffalo Wild Wings: Free small order of traditional or boneless wings with a side of fries.

Chili’s: Free meal from a special menu.

Cracker Barrel: Free slice of Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake.

Dunkin’ Donuts: Free doughnut of choice, while supplies last.

Friendly’s: Free meal from a special menu at participating locations.

Little Caesars: Free Hot-N-Ready lunch combo from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LongHorn Steakhouse: Free appetizer or dessert. Plus guests dining with veterans will receive 10% off their meals.

Muscle Maker Grill: Free meal at participating locations.

Olive Garden: Free meal from a select menu.

Outback Steakhouse: Free Bloomin’ Onion and non-alcoholic beverage.

Panera Bread: Free breakfast sandwiches until 10 a.m. Saturday at participating locations. After 10 a.m., military members get a coupon for a free pastry to use on a future visit.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer or dessert.

Red Robin: Free Red’s Tavern Double Burger with bottomless fries.

Ruby Tuesday: Free appetizer up to $10.

TGI Friday’s: Free lunch menu item up to $12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Plus get a coupon for $5 off next meal.

Wawa: Free coffee, any size, all day Saturday for veterans, active military and family members.

Great Clips: Veterans and active duty get a free haircut on Veterans Day or pick up a free haircut card to use through Dec. 31. Also non-veterans who get a haircut Saturday get a free haircut card to give to a veteran.

Many stores offer military discounts year-round, but a handful are only on Veterans Day.

A.C. Moore: 15% off your total regular and sale price purchase with valid ID every day.

Home Depot: 10% discount.

Jo-Ann Fabric: 10% discount for military service members and their families year round.

Lowe’s: 10% discount.

Michaels: 15% discount for military families every day.

Have you served in the military?  You can get your ID card at most county office buildings with a copy of your DD214.

Do you know a vet who could use some cheering up?  I have HERO bags made up and ready to send out.  Complete the form below and I will send them out or if local, I would be happy to drop it off to bring a smile and a thank you to one of our Veterans.

 

If you should see someone from the military today – Thank them!  They don’t just sacrifice their lives on Veteran’s Day but EVERY DAY!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!