Which Part is Yours?

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There is a story in the Bible about 3 men. One is the father and the other two are his sons. The father is wealthy and raised his two sons the best he knew how. One day the younger son comes to his father and says, “I want what is in your will for me BEFORE you die.” He wanted to get away from his family as quickly as possible and not look back. The father, though hurt by this request, gave the young son what he had asked for.

The young son wasted no time losing everything he had been given. Home started to look better and better, but how to go back when he had “burned his bridges”? He practices what he will say to his father when he sees him again.

Meanwhile the older brother had stayed home, worked hard alongside his father. (Probably reminding his father how wonderful he was that he wasn’t like his younger brother, that had left them high and dry.) He would catch his father looking off in the distance at different times.

As the younger brother heads back home practicing his speech to his father, he looks up and sees his father racing toward him. He braces for the words, “I told you so” or “you are not welcome to come home.” They never came.

His father throws his arms around him and welcomes him home! Throws a party in his honor, puts fine clothes and jewelry on him. The younger son is humbled and feeling so undeserving of such love.

The older brother who is working hard, hears all the commotion and races back to the house. Only to find out his younger brother has returned home. His father is putting the best clothes in the house on his brother and giving him some expensive jewelry. He is even having a huge feast prepared.

Outraged and with his arms crossed tightly across his chest he refuses to celebrate with his father. He once more reminds his father of his loyalty and hard work while this other son has taken all his inheritance and lost it. Why the celebration? Where is MY celebration party?

The father patiently explains that all he loves him and has noticed what wonderful work he has always done. He tells him that all he has belongs to the older son.

Then he tells him the reason for the celebration is that “your brother was dead but is now alive, he was lost but is now found.”

I feel like in my life I have played all three parts.

I was like the younger son and couldn’t wait to be on my own. Out from under all the rules and regulations. Do my life like I want!

I also have been like the older brother and acted like I deserved someone to throw me a party for doing all the work and staying the course. No forgiveness for the wrongs done to me by others.

I also feel like the father as I watch and wait to celebrate ones that were “lost and now found”.

The best thing is that God is that Father.

He was there with open arms when I finally came to my senses and returned to him. I was “lost but now I am found”.

Don’t be like the older brother refusing to forgive, staying lost, outside the celebration.

Which part are you playing in this story?

Commercial Break

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I don’t think I am a normal TV viewer. I like the commercials  more than most programs! It seems I find deeper meanings about life than the commercial intends.

Just one example I would like to share today. I have been doing a Bible Study on line with some friends about decluttering your life. Not only is it about decluttering your home, but yourself.

There was a lesson about God wanting us to declutter every area of our lives not just drawers and closets. Well, I am really an organized person so clutter makes me crazy. That being said, I don’t have drawers with clutter or closets with things I don’t wear. So the lesson didn’t seem to apply to me. The question of the day was, “What are you going to declutter from your life?”

As I was pondering the question, the commercial that came on the TV was perfect. There was a huge avalanche headed toward two fellows. One was in the truck ready to leave. The other one is at the back of the truck trying to get this huge video game machine into the bed of the truck.

The guy driving says, “You gotta let it go!” The other guy just wants to keep hanging on to this heavy load as the avalanche bears down on them. Then the driver takes out his phone and says, “Let’s sell it on Letgo.” They do and escape the avalanche JUST in time.

Got me to thinking of some of the baggage I have been carrying around lately. Things like guilt, sorrow, self condemnation. Then, the words “Let Go!”

Perhaps I do have some decluttering to do. We are to live lives of freedom not waiting for the avalanche to over take us with things like sorrow or guilt.

I need to “Let Go” and turn these things over to the only One that can take them from me, God.

1 Peter 5:7 tells us that we are to give ALL our worries and cares to God because he cares about us. Now that is a great reason to LET GO!

Guess I need to do some decluttering after all!

What about you?

Brushstrokes

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dimmly-2We were coming home from the gym and we were caught up in rush hour traffic. I was driving and trying to keep my eyes pealed for what was ahead. Three lanes of traffic going in one direction, red lights, tail lights then up ahead at the intersection police. All three lanes come to a halt. We watch the policeman get out of his car and start walking. What is he doing?

As I scan the area in front of me I see a car in the middle of the intersection. New car, no dents, but also NO DRIVER!

Who leaves their car in the middle of a busy intersection and just walks away?

The policeman goes to see if he can help the person who is not visible. He walks up and looks in and then walks away. We all watch waiting for someone to do something!

He walks back to his patrol car then turns on his siren and speeds away. Then 4 more police cars race by sirens blaring and follow him.

Well, here we all sit with the car in the middle of the intersection blocking a lane of traffic and  the police racing away from the scene.

We do what any rush hour traffic does, we squeeze into 2 lanes and carefully head home.

Do I know why the  car was in the middle of the intersection?

Nope.

Did the police know something I didn’t?

I am sure of it.

That’s the way our life seems so much of the time. We are able to only see what is happening right now or what has happened in the past.

Broken, hurting, frightened life. We can’t see the whole picture.

There are many things in our lives that seem devastating at the time. But as we move forward with God he reveals to us the ways he has taken bad circumstances and used them for good.

Like when the early church was under grave persecution by the Romans. The people scattered far and wide and so did the gospel.

I am sure the people didn’t see it at the time that it was a good thing but we certainly do. We can see the brushstroke of God in the situation.

Perhaps we need to do the same with our lives.

No one is exempt from hardship.

But could that hardship be the brushstroke of God in our lives?

“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I also I am known.”  (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Are you checking for brushstrokes in your life?

Is That True?

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here-24In church right now the Pastor is talking about things we say are in the Bible but they are no where to be found there.

Example: “God helps those who help themselves”.

That one is not in the Bible. It implies that we don’t really need God.

Last Sunday was one that is a bit less obvious.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

Have you said that?

I have told myself this a million times.

This one implies that God did this particular thing to you AND that you are spiritual enough to handle. (I don’t know about you but the things in my life right now are way out of my spiritual handling.)

Yes, people say look at 1 Corinthians 10:13. Did you read that? It is talking about temptations not hardships that we face. Like the death of a loved one, or the fear of divorce, or the loss of a child to drugs. These are not temptations they are bad hardships that happen to us.

God doesn’t DO bad things, NEVER. He is a good God! Just check out Psalms 46:1-7.

Instead of trying to comfort someone with, “God won’t give  you more than  you can handle.” Perhaps you could tell them that, “God will give them strength for one more step.”

We need to be very careful what we say is in the Bible, make sure you can find it there.

I am guilty of just accepting what I have heard is there. I need to be more diligent in making sure it truly is there.

How about you?

Too Small

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I love to listen to Christian music. It just lifts my spirits and I sing along and feel my self smiling. Is there something like that for you?

Well, lately the song by Natalie Grant, “King of the World” keeps popping up on the radio. Listen here.

Did you hear the part about putting God in a “box that I designed”? Well, that is exactly what I have been doing lately.

I have been having some difficulties in my life lately and I take them to God, but I tell him the way he needs to solve each and every problem. I am sure I have things all figured out and just how God should handle things! (maybe I am alone in this, but I don’t think so) Why do I need God then?

This song keeps telling me that God doesn’t fit in the small box I have for him and He is made small by my thinking he would follow the lines I have made up for him. It goes on to just tell how great God really is, His voice tames the seas. (remember when Jesus told the wind and waves, “Be Still”?) I need to remember that He made Me out of dust!

When I hear this song it reminds me to not put God in a box but watch and see just what he is about to do. I need to stop my “fixing” and just continue praying. He is bigger than I can imagine. He is more creative than I can fathom. It is exciting to think about just what he is about to do to work on all these difficulties I am facing.

Do you have your own “box”?

Perhaps its time to rethink that.

Now Where?

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escape-9When I was in the 7th grade there was a class that I had to take called, “The New Math”. I didn’t get along with the old math so well, so to enter this class was very terrifying for me. Just the word math can get my palms to sweat. Can anyone relate?

In this class the teacher, who had a pocket protector and had his chalk in a metal tube, would put equations on the board and then he would turn to the class and say, “don’t you see?” Well for the longest time I just sat there and in my head was saying, “NO, I don’t see!” We tried to learn base 10, base 2 and so many other crazy things. UGH! what a horrific year.

However, now that I have had lots of time to study, and also teach this subject, it is making sense to me. It took a great deal of time and lots of effort on my part to make math fun and try to explain it in a new and different way to my students. I never used the words, “don’t you see” though. I was able to recognize that look on the faces of my students that no, indeed, they did not see.

Lately I have been going through a study with a few women on our “Identity In Christ”, and just before that we had study Proverbs. Proverbs talks a lot about wisdom and how to get it. (don’t you see?) It is amazing me how all these things are coming together. I know you are one of those who really “does see”. It has just taken me a bit longer.

Things like what I read today, God provides a way out of temptations. Just like the door in the picture above. I have read that many times before and saw a door or a window of escape but never thought about what was on the other side. Today is dawned on me, Jesus is on the other side! Hmm.

When we are tempted to not do the right thing, or weighed down by trials to heavy for anyone to carry we need to go through that door. There is the light of the world, the way maker, the chain breaker, Jesus. He has his arms open wide.  If we will let him, he will hold us, comfort us and restore to joy.

I am not going to ask, “Don’t you see?” I am just going to invite  you to check it out for yourself. Look in the Bible and see all the ways the LORD wants to be your God and have you as his very own child. It all comes together the more you search.

Go through the door and find him.

Lost Identity?

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gift-2I have just started a new Bible Study that is titled “Your Identity in Christ”. It has me thinking about who I really am.

I used to be a daughter, but when my parents died, I felt like an orphan.

I used to be a sister, but when my sister died, I wasn’t.

I used to be a teacher but when I retired, I’m not.

I used to be a mother, but when our children moved out, I am just a long distance call.

I know this sounds all gloom and doom but it isn’t!

I am finding out who I REALLY am, a daughter of the King! It’s like I went on that program you see on TV and I got a “Leaf”. I am finding that one “leaf” leads to another.

I am here on purpose! Leaf.

My Father has a specific plan for me. Leaf.

I am never alone.Leaf.

I always can share my thoughts, joys, fears, and troubles with my Father. Leaf.

The King, my Father, offered me a gift, salvation. Now a gift is no good until it’s opened. (You won’t know what’s inside.) There is nothing I have done to deserve this gift, nothing I can pay to have it, it is a gift! I just had to “open” it.(accept that I am a sinner and need a Savior) It continues to lead to what seems another gift, and yet another. Joy, that comes from learning whose I am. Peace, that is unexplainable.

Did you know there is a gift for you also? (don’t you just love getting gifts!)

It’s up to you to open it!