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Category: Faith

Faith 2

The Tragedy in Moving

Bev was practically a stranger, but I sensed that I had to ask anyway, “if you feel like you know me well enough, would you speak to the principal for me?”  Bev said “absolutely,” and within a week, I had a teaching job five states away and 15 minutes from my mom and dad.  This move was both a dream come true and a nightmare. I was leaving my twin sister and her family plus a spiritual tribe that I had spent nine years cultivating.  But I was completely certain that this journey was determined by God, so with that knowledge, I started packing.

Moving from California to Missouri was not my family’s first transition, nor was it our last.  In my adult life, I have lived in 8 towns and 17 houses.  I have packed and unpacked. I have hung pictures and filled holes.  I have made friends and left them.

In each town, each church, each move,  sweet, thoughtful gestures demonstrated to me that God was always with us in the leaving and the arriving: Filled pantries, loaded trucks, unloaded trucks, baby showers, Thanksgiving dinners, campfires, church camps, hand-me-downs, help with house projects, coffee dates.  I can’t even begin to list the precise moments and the precious people that showed me, “Jesus is here.”    

I want to list each of you, but the task reminds me of John 21:25,If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”   I would like to tell you what your relationship and kindness have meant to me and how you have been the hands and feet of Jesus, but I can’t.  There isn’t enough time, or enough paper.

And I guess that is the tragedy in moving-– that each precious friend that I’ve encountered may not know that I still think of you, and I’m still encouraged. Your memory will flash through my head, and it still makes me smile.

So if you are reading this, know that I remember you, I love you, and you hold a special place in my heart.  I’m no Paul or Timothy but I understand more every day Philippians 1:3-4, I thank my God every time I remember you. 

And I remember you a lot.

 

 

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Faith 7

Do you see me crying?

 “Do you see me crying?  When you see me crying, you can cry.”

The first time I heard my dad say this to my little nephew Max, I was offended, to say the least. What did he mean?  Of course Max was crying; he was 2 1/2 and had just gotten in trouble.  Why shouldn’t he cry?  But that wasn’t the last time we heard that comment from dad: “When you see me running through the church, you can run through the church.”  “When you see me jumping on the couch, you can jump on the couch.”  I completely disagreed with this treatment, but because I respected my dad greatly, I didn’t say a word about his “cruel” comments. After all, I didn’t have any children, so what did I know?

Then I started my own family and began to see what Dad was talking about. My dad would never cry or throw a fit in public, so why should Maribelle (or any child.)  I would never throw spaghetti on the floor during dinner, so why should little Lissa?  I began to understand that even from the youngest age, I was the model for my children. In a sense, Dad was giving the kid version of Paul’s request to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”

Through trials (and many errors) I discovered that the number one rule of parenting is this:  You can only reproduce who you are.  If you want kids who are kind, that’s who you need to be.  If you want children who don’t lie and treat others fairly,  you will have to do the same.  Conversely, if you want children who yell and scream or punch holes in the wall, well, that is an option, too.

My one goal as a mother has always been to have children who seek God with their whole heart, so from my very first baby, I would wake up every morning (and still do) to study the Word of God and sit in the presence of Jesus.  I do this hoping and praying that my children will follow my example—not as a manipulative tool or an activity to check off the list, but because I want my kids to have the kind of blessed life described in Psalm 91.  Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” My children are not grown yet, but so far I feel like they are “turning out.”

As a parent, what do you want for your children?  Who do you want them to be? Think about it and pray over it.  Ask God to give you a vision for your life and for your children.  Ask for a chapter in the Bible from which to lead.  Because, like it or not, when your kids see your actions, there is a tremendous chance that they will follow.

If you think you’ve already messed up and your kids are lost for good, there is still hope.  God is the great God of hope, forgiveness, and second chances.  He can restore everything that has been lost with your child, but that is a story for another post.

God bless you as we raise the next generation!

Faith 0

Wait for It. . .

167.1 seconds— That’s the average wait time on an order at McDonald’s. 243.7 seconds for White Castle. The average wait for Olive Garden in Orlando is 45 minutes for lunch and an hour for dinner. As for Disney’s Club 33- If you’re a member, you often have a two-week wait for a reservation. If you’re not a member, the joke is that you may have to wait a lifetime.

I don’t mind waiting for fast food.  But for whatever reason, I do not like waiting on God. I want my need met NOW, my prayer answered in 5 minutes, my life changed in a day. I have a list a mile long of what I want from God–and much of the list I feel are promises but many lines on the page are stained from tears of sadness, disappointment or impatience.

I need to learn from Abraham. When Abraham was 75 years old, God promised him he would be a great nation with as many descendants as the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore. And Abraham waited. And waited. And waited. In fact, Abraham waited until he was over 100 years old before the promised child arrived.

Isaac was still just a child, not a nation. But Abraham never stopped believing that God would give him a nation. I am impressed that he waited over 25 years for a son. However, I am most impressed that he still believed that God would give him that nation even when he only had the son and a few offspring. Abraham couldn’t see it– indeed he NEVER saw the nation in his lifetime. But he knew God, and he knew God would keep his word.

I want to be like Abraham. I want to believe what I don’t see. I want to know God is working everything for good. Maybe I won’t ever see that good, but it does not mean that God is not working it. Abraham died believing – knowing– that God would come through on his word. I want to have faith. Not fast food faith that waits a few days or weeks, but real faith that is confident in what I hope for and assured about what I do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

So I will be like Abraham, even if it takes a lifetime.

Faith 0

The Trouble With Gladys

gladys 2I am enamored with the great life of Gladys Aylward. 

(If you aren’t familiar with her story, here is the short, 3 minute version:  A short history of Gladys Aylward.)

I would love to be great like Gladys Aylward. She ran The Inn of the Sixth Happiness in Yangchen, China where hundreds heard the name of Jesus for the first time. She helped end foot binding, single-handedly stopped a prison riot, and saved over 100 children during a war by taking them on a dangerous mountainous journey out of China. Gladys was an amazing women who did great things for God.

But here’s the trouble with Gladys: her life was difficult, very difficult.  Gladys did not enjoy or seek the same things many of us do — a spouse, a beautiful home,  a comfortable life, vacations, money, time to herself.  God placed a deep burden on her for China, and she climbed difficult mountains, figuratively and literally, until she had done what God asked.

Recently, God has placed a deep burden on me for children in foster care.  And while I want to be great like Gladys, I am wrestling with the fact that doing what God asks will be a difficult life.  Am I willing to give up a comfortable life, vacations,  and time to myself to accomplish the plans God has for me? Am I willing to have a life that may be full of trouble and difficulty?

And of course, as it would go, this was my Bible reading this morning: . .

“. . . whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28  

So today I am reminded that we are all called to be great, but greatness won’t come with my house being perfectly put together and lots of time to myself. The greatness God offers all of us comes from serving and giving up a life of seeking comfort for a life that may be filled with difficulty and trouble.

Yet again, I’m inspired by the great life of Gladys Aylward:

“If God has called you to China or any other place and you are sure in your own heart, let nothing deter you… remember it is God who has called you and it is the same as when He called Moses or Samuel.”

So called I will go, even if it brings trouble.

Gladys Aylward’s Testimony

Gladys Aylward Speaking in Person

Faith 0

Eaten by a Lion

lionTo be eaten by a lion would be a terrible thing— the terror of being attacked by a giant cat with sharp claws, the ripping of flesh, aware the entire attack that you might not make it out of the fight alive, but if you do, you will be severely maimed.

Two times in the Bible someone is eaten by a lion.  Did you know that?  Twice.

“By the word of the Lord, one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused. 

So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him. (I Kings 20:35-36)

The next incident is a little more troubling to me.  In I Kings 13,  the story is told of a prophet of God who is given strict instructions to carry a message to the King then return immediately by a different route without stopping to eat or drink.  The said prophet gives his message to the King, then begins his journey home by a different route as he has been instructed in order to obey God.  But then, another prophet of God actually comes after the first prophet to trip him up. . .

 

The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place. I have been told by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.’ ”

The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’ ” (But he was lying to him.) So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house. 

 

This proved to be a TERRIBLE decision.  Instead of listening and obeying what God told him directly, the prophet disobeyed God and let another “Prophet of God” tell him what to do, and it ended in disaster. . .

When the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him. As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was left lying on the road. . .

I know you are asking yourself—who does that??  Who hears directly from God, and then disobeys?  (In case you missed it, disobedience is what gets you eaten by a lion.)

Well, lots of people do it.  Every day.   Repeatedly.  We hear from God and don’t obey.  We know what God wants, but we fail to do it or we obey VERY slowly.  (As at least one parenting class has said, “Slow obedience is no obedience.”)

Or worse yet, like the second prophet, we let someone “godly” talk us out of what we know God has told us to do.

The disobedience usually ends in a serious maiming or injury, but we still disobey until we are barely limping along.

I have my own terrible, personal story about being eaten by a lion, but this blog is getting too long, so I guess I’ll have to tell you next time. . .

 

Faith 0

The one most essential character trait. . .

 

no love

It’s not love.  I know, today is Valentine’s Day, so you’re expecting me to say love, but that’s not it.  Yes, Jesus did say,

“‘’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

But I see one more character trait  in the great love chapter of the Bible that actually sits right in the middle of love and  makes that love meaningful—and it’s humility. ( I Corinthians 13:4)

Because, lets be real, if the best looking guy (or girl) in town gave you flowers today but had this condescending air that said, “Aren’t you thrilled that I choose you out of all others,” the flowers would not make you feel very good, would they?

Not only is love meaningless without humility, as I read through the book of James, I see that the Word of God can become meaningless without humility (which is a very dangerous situation).  James 1:19-22 is a powerful passage about humbly accepting the word planted in us.  James then gives this great illustration about a person who looks in a mirror and as soon as he walks away from the mirror, forgets what he looks like.

I’ve got this mirror at the top of my stairs that’s amazing.  For the first year we lived in our new house, I would walk up the stairs and look at myself in this mirror and think, “hmm, not too bad Michelle.  You’re looking pretty good for a 47 year who’s gained 15 lbs. and never exercises.”  Then my friend Jody from out of town came to visit.  She took one trip up the stairs and said, “you know that is a skinny mirror, right?”  I was devastated.  In my pride, I couldn’t even see how chubby I was getting.

The person without humility does the same thing with the mirror of
the Word of God
.   Sometimes I read “do not be anxious about anything” but worry all day (Philippians 4:6).  Or read “do everything without complaining or grumbling” and fuss about every little thing (Philippians 2:14.)

Let’s be real, it takes great humility to look into the mirror of God’s word, recognize what I need to change, and let the Spirit of God begin to make the changes.  But that’s what I long for, a real humility like Jesus that helps me love God and others with all my heart–  to look in the mirror and see a humble reflection of Jesus.

Faith 0

What are the chances of that?

 

Mens-Women-Rubber-Coated-Frame-Grip-Reading-Glasses-Black-Red-Many-StrengthYesterday near the end of the school day, one of my sweet homeroom girls came over to me distressed.  Her new black and red prescription glasses had fallen out of her pocket, and she couldn’t find them.  I told her I hadn’t seen them, but I would keep an eye out for her.

When the bell rang, 700+ students filed out of the building and into their perspective bus lines or car pickup areas.  When my last seventh grade student was getting on my last bus, the boy opened his jacket like a New York City street salesman and said, “Do you want to see the new glasses I got?”  When I saw the black and red prescription glasses, I was amazed!!  What are the chances of that?  Of all 700+ students, and all 24 bus lines and two areas for car duty, what are the chances that the one student who had picked up the glasses would be in my bus line, at the end of the line, and show me the glasses???

I guess the chances are as great as a colt being tied up outside the city for Jesus to ride on  Luke 19:28-38— or water being available in the desert right when the Ethiopian Eunuch wanted to be baptized Acts 8:26-40— or getting a check in the mail that’s the exact amount you need to pay a bill–the day it’s due.

Chances are that you have some distress, some difficulty that you have no idea how it’s going to work out.  Or some need you have no idea how it will be met.  But God will keep an eye out for you.  You don’t need to stress about it, but you do need to keep your eyes on God.  Jesus encourages us in Matthew 6:33 “to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

So here is the challenge for the week, keep an eye out for God, seeking him with all your heart, and watch how he meets your every need.   There is a 100% chance He will.

 

 

Faith 2

About that car. . .

burned out vanI have been struggling with the words to tell this story for weeks.  There is no easy way to tell it.  Some people I know might be offended, some may think I’m crazy– “but I can’t help speaking about what I have seen and heard,” so here it goes.  . . .

You remember the post about the fork in the road?  The decision to make?  The blog from a few weeks ago?  (You may want to read “Walk Down This Road” first if you haven’t.) God had presented my family with a fork in the road.  We could travel (spiritually) the way we always had, or we could take a different route.  This new route involved how we believe the Holy Spirit works.  I grew up in a “non-denomination” that believes that God is three parts– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  We believed that the Holy Spirit is in us, speaks to us through his written Word (the Bible)  and on occasion may speak to us in our hearts.*  However, in this “non-denomination,” there are also ways the Holy Spirit of God does not work:  no tongues (speaking sounds that one does not recognize as a written language), no miracles at the laying on of hands, and– by all means- NO ONE is to be slain (knocked out) by the Spirit.

However, after twenty three years in paid ministry with this view of the Holy Spirit,  my husband was that burned out car.  He was a broken man.  Our family had been hurt by leadership, by church members who had walked away or been incapable of change, and by our own bad decisions and sin.  Our whole family was wondering where God was in all this?

Because  my husband was in such a bad way, My Aunt Brenda and Uncle Jim invited him to a conference that changed our whole world, and our perception of the Holy Spirit.  I won’t bore you with the details, but at the Lutheran Renewal Conference in Minnesota, my husband was knocked out by God for two hours, and his life has never been the same. A lifetime of hurt, pain, sadness, and regrets was washed away in two hours.  He was no longer that burned out car.

Now, don’t get me wrong– I was skeptical.  Four years I watched and waited, testing to see if this incident was God or the devil.  And I only saw God.  I only saw more love, joy, peace, patience and kindness.  My husband became more like Jesus every day–he’s still becoming more like Jesus every day. I also began to read the Bible watching for every time the Spirit worked and how the Spirit worked.  I saw the Holy Spirit on practically every page of the New Testament.  (Try it– you read and just make tally marks every time the Spirit is mentioned.) What I was seeing in Brant and what I was reading in God’s word matched up.

So when the word got out with our church friends in our “non-denomination” (who are precious people) about the ways we had seen the Holy Spirit work and what we believed to be written in the Word,  you can imagine that they didn’t approve  (in the same way some of you might not approve.)  They believe there are no tongues, no miracles at the laying on of hands, and–by all means– NO ONE is slain in the Spirit.  But I have experienced otherwise, and read in the Bible otherwise.

When the leadership team wanted to pick and choose what they were comfortable with in regards to the Holy Spirit and were unwilling to study the scriptures together, we knew we were at a fork in the road –  and we decided to choose the new route.  The Holy Spirit had done too much for our family– too much healing, peace, and power to not allow Him to do whatever He sees fit.

So here we are, meeting in a hotel, loving God and excited to take this new road with Him.

* [note: This is NOT an all inclusive list of ways this group believes God speaks, only the most common.]

 

Faith 4

Walk Down This Road

detour

A few months ago, I took my twin daughters on a college visit about 9 hours from home. The trip was long but worth it.  On our trip back, we were making great time and were scheduled to make it home by 10:30 pm, when out of nowhere the traffic on the interstate came to a COMPLETE stop. We sat there for about half an hour expecting the traffic to start moving again at any time– but we were at a dead stand still.  Then I noticed that I was right at the exit to go another direction where I could avoid the trouble up ahead.  But I had never been that way before and I was very unfamiliar with it.  I knew that my navigator could talk me through it (with his great British accent), but I was scared.

Yet another half hour passed, and I was still in the same spot and still contemplating whether to take the unfamiliar exit or to wait.   And I knew as I sat at this intersection that God was showing me a picture of the intersection at which my husband and I were in life.  We could travel the way we always had, or we could go a different route.  Other people had driven that road– but I had never been this new way and didn’t know what to expect.  Was I willing to be lost a little?  Or confused?

Fear got the best of me on my road trip, and after an hour or so when traffic started crawling forward, I passed my opportunity to exit. Consequently, we ended up sitting in one spot for TWO HOURS AND 36 MINUTES!!  And as the time ticked off, I became determined that in my own life I would take the new route presented to me– I would not let fear of the unknown and the opinions of others keep me from taking a different route.  But I know my navigator will “be right there, local and on the job, urging me on whenever I wander left or right: ‘This is the right road. Walk down this road.’”  (Isaiah 30:21 MSG)

BTW-  Remind me to tell you about the burned-out car we passed when the traffic finally started moving.

Faith 1

Does this thing work?

I supposedly have this fancy Jetpack on my website that enables me to post via email. What?!? I can hardly believe that– it makes no sense. You are telling me that if I write an email and attach a picture, WordPress will post it for me? How does this work? Why does it work? It is beyond my comprehension.

But there are a lot of things that are beyond my comprehension like how cell phones send messages thousands of miles in six seconds and why my house is always dirty the very second I finish cleaning it.  To me, it just doesn’t make any sense.

But I guess the thing that is the most curious to me are these words of Jesus from Mark chapter 8. . . ” 35For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 

To me, these words don’t make sense—  If I try to save myself I will lose myself, BUT if I give up myself, I will find myself.  This is a GREAT mystery, one I can’t comprehend.  But I am unwilling to forfeit my soul.  I have nothing to give in exchange for my soul.  So I am on the journey willing to lose my life knowing without a doubt that Jesus will prove this thing does work!Image

Faith 0

Bring on the steak!

Image

It is pretty common knowledge that too much processed food is unhealthy.  If one only eats donuts, chicken nuggets, and coke– one would probably be fat, or at least very unhealthy– Good nutrition is hard to find in food that is over-processed.  Now, a nugget or fish stick may be useful for some things. . . it fills your stomach, gives you a boost of energy, gets you through lunch.  But really, in the long run, a diet full of the over-processed stuff leads to weakness and disease.

I think it might be the same for over-processed spiritual food.  While a good devotional book, or Bible study book might be useful for some things. . .   a quick boost of energy, or to get you through a day when you are rushed for time.  But In the end, I suspect it might lead to spiritual weakness and just plain unhealthiness.   

For instance, I have a coffee cup that sits on my desk that says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” We use this verse as a mantra to get through a rough day, win a relay race, or be the best _________  we can be (you fill in the blank– runner, doctor, student.)  We decide to run a marathon and quote to ourselves, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

But in reality, in context, that verse has NOT MUCH to do with running or racing, or doing our best.  It’s about a guy who has been broke and hungry, and his friends finally take notice and help him.  Paul’s like, “thanks for remembering me, but. . .

10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:10-13

You see what I mean?  We have a whole generation of people who have taken this verse out of a devotional or off of a coffee cup, and missed the full meaning.   So much of the nutritional value has been taken out– the best part processed away– just like a chicken nugget.

I want to challenge you as a believer to eat healthier spiritually.  Pick up your Bible, not just a devotional.  It’s not too hard to understand as you might believe.  That’s like saying a real carrot or fillet mignon is too hard to eat.

So do it today– pick up your Bible– and bring on the steak!

Faith 0

Sugar, Sugar

Yuck!!  I went without sugar in my coffee for three days– THREE days.  But not because I was on some diet:   I just couldn’t find it.  I looked EVERYWHERE!!! Next to the coffee pot (of course), in the cabinet with the flour, in the pantry, in the refrigerator, in EVERY CABINET–  EVERYDAY, for 3 days– I looked and looked.  On the fourth day, as I’m groaning about coffee without sugar, my husband walks in and asks what I’m upset about.  When I explain that I guess we are out of sugar because I can’t find it, HE SAYS, “No we aren’t, it’s in the sugar jar.”  I turn my head ever-so-slightly to the right, and look at my GLASS sugar jar ON THE COUNTER and see that, indeed, it is full of sugar.  SO, I had gone without sugar, not because I didn’t have any, but because I was looking in the wrong place.

And I began to wonder:  How many other things do we go without because we are looking in the wrong place?  Happiness from a significant other?  Fulfillment from a job?  Peace from a bottle?  Self-worth from our possessions?  Often we move from place to place, house to house, job to job, friend to friend, spouse to spouse looking for something that we never find– because we are looking in the wrong place.    

One of my favorite passages of all time is in the Book of Acts:  

 “The God who made the world and everything in it  is the Lord of heaven and earth  and does not live in temples built by hands.   25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’  (Act 17:24-28)

So I am praying for you today that you will know that God has placed you exactly where you are at exactly this time so that you will find him—  and maybe even know that He was there all along 🙂

ps.  My husband says he is very worried about me!!

Faith 0

I am not making this up!

The GroveSo, our church is named the Grove.  And we just so happen to have a sweet, older man in the church who creates bonsai trees.   Well, Weldon has made this bonsai grove— which is pretty incredible in itself.  But this week  I noticed something about this grove that amazes me.  Underneath one of the branches is a chrysalis— you know, a cocoon in which a worm is being turned into a butterfly.  Really– I am not making this up. I guess I must be getting old– because this moved me.   I thought to myself, “Isn’t this the perfect picture of what God wants this church to be– a Grove– a group of believers– where God is transforming each of us  into a beautiful butterfly–where we all meet face-to-face with God and are changed forever!”

Chrysallis

2 Cor 3: 16-18Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

Faith 1

Willie’s Song

I dislike cleaning, with a passion.   The main problem I have  is the repetitiveness of it all.  Over and over: sweep the floor, mop the floor, the floor gets dirty, sweep the floor, mop the floor, the floor gets dirty (repeat ad infinitum).  The dirt is never-ending, thus the cleaning isn’t either.   I’ve decided I need to find another way to think of the endless cycle of dirt.

Then I found Willie’s song.  My nine-year old son had written it in my journal with my to-do lists.  I found this on a page somewhere in the middle:  

The dust from the ground is a symbol of you.

God created you from the dust of the ground that you stand upon.  He made you (repeat)

The Savior of life, the Jesus of all in all.

What a sweet thought from a 9-year-old.  So today, and from now on, I am going to see the dust and remember this: God created me.  And my 9-year-old knows God created him.  He made each of us  for a special purposeHe has an exciting plan for me and I will live in that hope.

Even if that plan includes a little cleaning 🙂

Faith 2

Screwed up

I have screwed up.  I am screwed up.  On some days, both can be said of me simultaneously.  Some of the things I have done are so bad, I have only spoken about them aloud a few times.  Somedays, try as I might, I just mess up.  “It happens so regularly that it’s predictable.  The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.  I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.”1  On my worst days, I feel like God could not possibly do anything with me or for me because of what I’ve done.

But I noticed something amazing in my Bible reading on Monday.  I was reading Jesus’ genealogy  in  Matthew when  I saw this: one girl slept with her father-in-law while pretending to be a prostitute (Tamar), One girl was a prostitute (Rahab), one girl committed adultery  (Bathsheba) and her lover (David)  murdered the husband, and one king “reintroduced all the moral rot and spiritual corruption that had been scoured from the country”2 (Manasseh.)

So many bad things- but the end result was the best thing- Jesus!  God used screwed up people to bring about his story line.  And I think He is doing the same thing today.  He uses us, in all our dysfunction, to bring about something good in us, and in others.

Maybe you are thinking right now, God could not possibly do anything with me or for me because of what I’ve done.”  But remember the genealogy of Jesus, and remember this:  “the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.3

Even the bad details 🙂

1. Romans 7:21-22

2. 2 Kings 21:1-3

3. Romans 8:26-28

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