Thursday, September 27, 2012

Perfect Trust


Isn’t that really what the whole accepting/rejecting God thing about?  Do we really trust that there is a God out there with our best interests in mind?  Do we really think He will never leave us or abandon us?  Do we really believe that all things work together for good for those who love Him?  Do we really understand that He is?

A lot of the time, I think the answer for me is, “I don’t think so.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe He is Who He is with my mind, but my heart sometimes gets infatuated with the lies that this world offers, and I start to doubt.  And I start to think that maybe He’s not telling me the truth, cause sometimes what I see with my eyes and feel with my emotions doesn’t seem to line up with what I read in the Word. 

But God taught me something the other day about what feeble things I put my trust in.  Here’s what happened:  As I was running through a neighborhood in the early morning, I passed a house and saw a ferocious (albeit tiny) dog in the window.  He had his tiny teeth bared and was barking like he would like to put his millions of tiny teeth into my legs.  But I just kept on running and I laughed because I knew he couldn’t get me; the window was holding him back. 


God said, “You trust in a window; why not Me?”  And I realized that I put my trust in silly things like glass and leashes and fences and NOT GOD.  How silly is that?!  Embarrassingly silly.

So, lately, every time I start to doubt that God is who He says He is, I think back to that window…and then I think about the Creator of me, and of earth and space and sky…and I make my mind make the logical choice because my heart has been convinced;  I can trust Him because He is a good God who loves me more than I can fathom.

What are you trusting in?

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 

Isaiah 26:3

Monday, September 24, 2012

‘member that time?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a “member that time” but I thought this occurrence was memory-worthy.

‘Member that time when I was at Target and I bought some NyQuil for my sick daughter? And member how the clerk asked for my ID and I gave her my debit card and she said, “uh, no.  Not that.  I need your license.”  And  how I was so stunned at being carded for NyQuil that I forgot to ask why and instead walked out of the store thinkin’ I must be looking good that day?  Member that?   

And member how when I got home and looked up “carded for NyQuil” on the internet, it said that people drink NyQuil because it contains 25% alcohol?  Who knew?

And then member how I started not feeling as good about myself anymore because I realized that she thought I looked drunk not young? 

Yeah, well, drunk-looking or not, I still saved 5% because I used my Target Red Card.

And saving money is always good, especially when you’re not drunk.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Smooth Move

Yesterday Tess called me from her college dorm room to proudly tell me that she had made a delicious green smoothie.  Less than an hour later, her brother called from the same city to tell me that he had just fixed himself an amazing green smoothie which he planned to eat with his supper.  These two phone calls thrilled me…and not just because they were from my sweet babies and they were on the same day.  No, they thrilled me because my sweet babies were doing what they had seen me do, again and again and again, morning after morning; they were preparing healthy green smoothies for their very own selves.

Now you must understand my excitement here; these are the same kids who ridiculed me for drinking this unique concoction day after day; the same kids who warily asked me every time I fixed them their own smoothies, “Is there spinach in this?”; and the same kids who thought their mom was over-the-top weird because she ate last night’s veggies in a shake every morning. 

And here’s the take-away from all of this:  Your kids are watching you.  If you continue to wholeheartedly embrace and chase after certain things like good nutrition and exercise, your kids have a good chance of following in your footsteps—even if they made fun of you at first.  Those consistent habits they watched you forge are what they know of “how things work”, and they will often adopt them when they have lives of their own.

But here’s the even better take-away:  If you have been chasing after Jesus with your whole heart while your children have grown, they have seen that too.  In fact, they have had a front row seat to your success at reflecting Jesus…and your failures.  I think maybe it is how we deal with these failures, in the light of eternity, that   affects our kids most profoundly.  And I think our authenticity about our relationship with the Creator of the Universe speaks volumes to their souls—even if they make fun of it at first.

So….keep doing what you’re doing Mom or Dad; walk in the Truth, admit you’re wrong, seek forgiveness, extend more grace than judgment, and love those who seem unlovable.  Your actions are imprinting on your children whether they know it or not, because…they are watching.

And you are pleasing God.

Now, If I could just convince you to try my green smoothies…

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Holy Sieve

God is teaching me so much about obedience lately.  Obedience is kind of a new thing I have learned since I was a rotten kid and all.  And the cool thing is, that if we obey, really amazing things start developing in us and our mind starts thinking more wisely. This said, I have been experimenting with being more and more obedient to God and His ways, and I must say, I really like the outcome.  Believe me, it has not been all easy-peasy, since I didn’t even know I was being rotten in some of the areas that the Holy Spirit has exposed to me, and since I have an incredibly strong will that likes to be rotten sometimes.  But when I have chosen the thing that I know I am supposed to do, when I have denied myself, when I have done the hard thing and refused to feel sorry for myself, I feel really good and strong inside—like I am getting “fitter” in my spirit or something.  God will sometimes stop me mid-thought and say “judging…” or “complaining…” or “watch it!” and when I heed that voice that speaks Truth, and when I listen to it and stop my thought instead of letting it germinate, I feel like I have just done like 100 push ups spiritually—do you understand what I’m sayin’ here?  I mean the discipline of it all is hard, but it gets lots easier the more I practice it.  I think it’s pretty cool that Christ’s Spirit in me gives me the ability to sift through my thoughts and just capture the good ones—the ones that think truth—kind of like a holy sieve.  But here’s what I’ve also figured out: To learn to think with Truth requires me to remind myself of the Truth each and every day.  And this reminding occurs when I spend time reading and studying the Word of God.  If I forget to remind myself of Truth daily, then my holy sieve doesn’t work near as well…or at all; and then we’re back to rottenness again.  And nobody likes that.  Let me show you a neato (I can say that ‘cause I grew up in the 70’s—even though spell-check does not acknowledge it as a word) passage about obedience that God showed me yesterday.  I loved it so much that I wrote it out two times and plan to memorize it as a counter-attack for when my will rears its ugly head.  Drink in its truth:

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, “I know him”, but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God’s truth is truly made complete in him.  This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

1 John 2:3-6



Friday, September 7, 2012

Sanctus Sci-fi

At the last writers conference that my friend, Kim (from 26 Letters--A Million Stories), and I attended, we were encouraged to purchase The Christian Writer’s Market Guide, a huge book that is published every year with listings of publishers, niche-markets, groups, conferences, and workshops.  I have cracked open the book once or twice and will hopefully be studying it more seriously this fall, but apparently Kim has been looking at it a bit more carefully.  Here is the comment I found on my Facebook wall today… "Okay - one more publication I'm sure you'll want to look into. The Midnight Diner is looking for horror, crime and UFO/Alien fiction - from a Christian perspective of course. They accept any Bible translation."

So, Kim, I thought I might give the whole Christian horror writing thing a whirl.  This is for you:

It was a dark and stormy Sunday night and James, being distracted and despondent about his failed relationship with Alicia (an up-and-coming gospel singer), had decided not to attend evening services at his church, but instead stay home and watch the movie Courageous. He wasn’t feeling very courageous though, and in fact, he couldn’t shake the incessant feeling that someone had been watching him all night—kind of like how God watches you all the time.  So, after pausing the movie, re-checking the locks on his doors, and reading the 23rd Psalm, he wrapped himself up in his Precious Moments fleece blanket, and continued his movie.   But just as he began again, he noticed a reflection in the glass of the last supper picture which was positioned just above the set.  The reflected “thing” then jumped and disappeared as James turned his head to see it.  Paralyzed by fear and seemingly unable to move, James quoted Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” and jumped to his feet because he knew that his struggle was not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Then he saw it.  It had lots of eyes and lots of wings and lots of wheels that intersected each other, kind of like those creatures you read about in Old Testament prophecies.  He figured that either this was the Rapture or that he was dealing with a foe from another planet.  Deciding that the latter was probably the case, since he was still here, he willed his legs to run (because God gave us free will you know).  He ran to the window, removed the Fruits of the Spirit vinyl cling which his mother had sent to him on Easter, and peered into the darkness.  He saw a glow in the distance and he put his hand to his eyes as the brightness increased and blinded him temporarily.  When his eyes finally adjusted, they fell upon a hovering vehicle in his backyard—the creature must have come from that.  It was a spherical shape floating above the ground, and on it was written “WWJD”. 

James dared not go outside to witness this “spaceship” more closely because as he looked at his own wrist, and his own WWJD bracelet, he didn’t think that Jesus would fall for a trap like this, so neither would James.  But he wasn’t a coward either, and inspired by the movie, and his childhood memories of playing with the ever-bold Bible Man action figure, he decided to be courageous and face his fears.   Sitting down at the computer, he closed, opened a new browser, and typed in the letters WWJD.  Scrolling down the page, he saw the predictable “What would Jesus Do?” sights and books and games, but what caught his eye as he got to the last entry filled him with terror; there on the screen was a picture of the hovering craft he had seen with his own eyes and an explanation of the acronym he had seen:  WE WANT JAMES DEAD.

Even after recalling Paul’s words in Philippians, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”, James was still terrified and he called out for deliverance.  Just then, his doorbell rang.  James, thinking maybe it was his guardian angel, and forgetting that he had ordered a pizza, opened it quickly.  There stood a grungy college student, listening to Skillet, “Hey mister, there were some weird guys with lots of eyes on your patio when I pulled up, but they flew off when I drove up.  I found this in your driveway.”  YOUR NAME MEANS SUPPLANTER—OFFENDER, WRONGDOER, USURPER---WE WILL DESTROY YOU.

Then James fainted. (This was, of course, after he paid the pizza guy and tipped him well, because not having the gift of service himself, he appreciated those who did service jobs).  And when he came to, he realized that it had all been a dream, that he had fallen asleep after wrapping himself in a blanket, and that he was really on his couch in his living room, all by himself—without Alicia (which means “of the noble sort”) and without any aliens.  The movie had ended, but K-LOVE was still playing in the background, and The Message will still laying on the end table, right on top of Guideposts,—opened to Ezekiel 10.

Then James got up, took off his bracelet (he had decided not to wear it anymore), and fell into a fitful sleep in his bed, pizza uneaten, the Testa-mints he had picked up at Family Christian, unsavored.

And he decided never again to skip evening services on Sunday night and to always close his blinds while watching television.

The End

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day!

Enjoy your day of rest from your labors today…but tomorrow, remember Who you are working for…

 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23-24