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wait

The truth that God’s Word is living and active fleshes out in many practical ways, but there is one way which, to me, is really exciting.

Usually, whether during personal study or a sermon or a bible study, the subject has a main idea and focus.  Sometimes, though, God is pleased to cause a completely different truth to, in a sense, jump out at us.  I liken it to the disciples who mused that their hearts “burned within” them as a disguised Jesus talked with them.  Surely this is what they felt!  It is a knowing, a burning in the soul that will not be ignored.  Our God – the consuming fire as he refers to himself – is speaking.  God is speaking.  God is speaking.

And he is speaking directly to us, individually.

Before everyone packs up and heads for the hills, I should add the disclaimer that no, not all tangents from the appropriated lesson are words from the Almighty.  Let’s face it, sometimes we are just daydreaming or so deaf and dull that we are severely disinterested in what is being taught us from the scriptures.  Therefore, these things are marked by 1. being true and 2. corresponding with what the rest of the Bible teaches.  I am not talking about Susie’s mystical hour of cultish extrabiblical revelation and flippant use of the terms “God told me” or “God said” thus and so.  I’m talking about Holy Spirit inspired understanding of the scriptures in a way – albeit an orthodox way – in which one has not understood or recognized beforehand.  This is one way God teaches his children through the Holy Spirit.

Anyway, this happened to me last night.  I was sitting, listening to Beth Moore speak on the tabernacle and as she began to read a passage from Hebrews 6, a verse that I had never considered in any kind of extraordinary way “burned” in my heart and mind.

Afterward, I had a difficult time tracking with her because this verse so puzzled me.  It says this:

“And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.”  Hebrews 6:15 (emphasis mine)

The second I heard that verse read I began to question what on earth it could possibly mean.  Thoughts move rather quickly when attempting to apply logic.  The first thought I had was to take the verse at face value.  Abraham did thus and so and the effect was obtaining the blessing.  Suddenly, my logic came to a screeching halt.  I began to break down the verse with my historically centered thinking cap on.  The progression went something like this: Did Abraham wait patiently?  Did he?  He did?!  He did not!  This cannot be a face value kind of verse.

Abraham.  A childless man whom God called to father a great nation at age 75.  Yes, he believed God.  He even moved without a clue where he was going just because God said so.  But Abraham, in my estimation was anything but patient!  Why does the scripture call him patient?  And let’s not even get started on how full  of doubt and fear this man often proved to be.  Yet God called him both righteous and patient?!

Why?  How?  How is this possible and if it is possible is there hope for an impatient, anxiety-ridden, stressed out doubter like me?

I looked over the story of Abraham spanning from Genesis 12 – 21.  This is the time between the call and the promise and the first fruits of fulfillment with the birth of Issac.

From the time God called Abraham until Issac was born was 25 years.  Twenty-five.  That is a long time boys and girls.  Hold on to your hope.

After God called, Abraham obeyed.  The next thing he did was lie.  He rolled his wife under the bus to save himself.  Apparently that did not faze God or his promise.  Consider the mercy in this verse:

 “And for her sake he dealt well with Abram…” Genesis 12:16

For her sake.  God cares about the spouses of doubting, sin stuck, insecure men and women.

Next, Abraham questions.  Hey.  It’s been a long while since that promise, God.  No son here.  What’s the deal?

In his mercy, God confirms his promise and Abraham believes him.  Unfortunately, Abraham and Sarah decide they should “help” God fulfill his promise.  In other words, even though they believed God, they did not trust him.  Moreover, they trusted themselves more.  Talk about a split personality!  I feel you, Abe.  Abraham has an illegitimate son born out of – you guessed it – his own self-sufficiency, unbelief, and sin.

Finally, God again confirms his promise, giving detail this time.  He tells Abraham and Sarah how and when the promise will be fulfilled.  This is twenty-four years and a whole lot of impatient waiting after the promise was made.

Still, Abraham feared.  Even after the confirmation and the details were given, Abraham again lied about his wife and said she was his sister.  He says this:

 Abraham said, “I did it because I thought,‘There is no fear of God at all in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.’ 12 Besides, she is indeed my sister, the daughter of my father though not the daughter of my mother, and she became my wife. ~Genesis 20:11-12

Funny how Abraham justified his disobedience to God by pointing at others’ disobedience to God.  He accuses his enemies of not fearing God when all the while he is the one actually failing to fear God and obey him.  If Abraham believed the promise, how could he have simultaneously feared imminent death?  He did.  He lied to avoid being killed on account of his beautiful wife.

Finally, Issac is born, which was of course only the beginning of the fulfillment.  God blessed in the exact way he said he would.  Abraham is counted both righteous and patient.  Is that amazing to anyone else?  Does Abraham’s behavioral history seem patient to you?  As the mechanic says, are you pickin’ up what I’m layin’ down?

Skip to Hebrews 11:8-12.  Abraham and Sarah believed God.  They did not obey perfectly by any means.  They made a manure load of mistakes.  But they went when God said, “Go.”  They believed despite all odds.  They left their world behind and sought God.  They doubted.  They feared.  They even laughed at God’s ridiculous news.  But it was all true.  Nothing they did wrong disparaged God’s absolute determination to keep his promises to them.  And at the end, God honors Abraham calling him righteous and patient.

That is an amazing God.  That is a God of great, great mercy.  Do you see Him?  Surely he is good.

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
    nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
13 As a father shows compassion to his children,
    so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust. ~Psalm 103:8-14

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5HO-X_fR7o

sights

Paul has just warned and exhorted the Colossian church to deny legalistic and superstitious practices that were being taught by misguided leaders at best and impostors at worst.  In place of earthly, fleshly, external rule keeping, Paul goes on to encourage them tin spiritual disciplines that will drive them to the mind of Christ.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. ~Colossians 3:1-2

Here’s a pretty easy to understand challenge, Christians.  If you died with Christ – if you live in him – act like it.  Concern yourself with the spiritual things, not the earthly.  If you are his, you are dead to the world.  Act like it.  Here’s how:

 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming.In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another…~Colossians 3:5-9a

Kill sin.  Like our old teacher John Owen said, “Be killing sin or it will be killing you.”  If you are tempted in any or all of these areas, you must cut them off.  Stop.  Stop doing them.  Stop participating.  Stop getting close to them.  Avoid them at all personal costs.  Get help.  Be accountable.

Little wonder why his next admonition is, “Do not lie to one another.”  When we refuse to repent we must instead work at the art of deceit and deny our sin to both self and others in order to keep it alive and thriving. It can be as subtle as down playing sin’s severity and effect in our lives, avoiding conversations about it, and hiding it away from others who will surely not approve.  Do not lie to yourself about your sin.  Kill it.  Put it  behind you.  That is the old you, says Paul.  You are a new person in Christ – if you are in Christ.  He is all and in all for you.  Act like it.

By the way, Paul adds,  since you are God’s chosen people and you are getting rid of all that mess, replace it.  Replace those evil things with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, love, peace, thanksgiving, admonition, and wisdom.

In other words, instead of selfishly using others to fulfill your own evil desires, honor them with the love of Christ.  Instead of getting angry and holding grudges, forgive and be patient.  Instead of lying and envying, admonish and encourage the good of others.  It seems that the first list is rooted in self worship for our own benefits and the second is rooted in serving others for their benefit.

The principle is the same thing I always tell my kids, “Others first.”  Christ rules.  I do not.  If Christ is not all to you, find out what is and kill the sin which makes it so by setting your mind upon Him.

obey

Paul is instructing the Colossian church on the importance of keeping their focus on Christ alone.  He has reminded them who they are in Christ and of the sufficient power of Christ and the cross.  He reinforces the truths pertaining to their cancelled debt of sin, the forgiveness of their sin, the removal of their legal obligations, and his victory over all that seeks to oppose and accuse them.

In chapter 2:16-23, Paul goes on to warn them about listening to or trusting in those who were seeking to obligate them to man-made religion and rules.  He encourages them to take hold of the freedom they have been given and to use their knowledge of Christ’s finished work to avoid the traps their false friends were setting in the church.

Many of these false obligations are still being used by those who think themselves religious superiors in the church today.  Let’s consider them.

1.  Restrictions and obligations about food and drink.  No one has the right to disqualify our sincerity for Christ or pass judgement on us over what we choose to eat or drink.  This was a roadblock in the early church because the Jews had always had very strict dietary regulations and obligations.  Christ’s new covenant did away with all of those rules and regulations.  He declared all foods clean.  Therefore, to obligate others to abstain from certain food or drink is unsupported by the New Testament scriptures.  Yet there are still those who obligate their churches to abstain from meat, forbid certain drinks, and pass judgment on those who do not conform.  Paul says do not listen to them.  There is no such thing as a forbidden food or drink, rather, the issue lies only in whether we use them appropriately and glorify God with our bodies or inappropriately dishonor him with our bodies.  In other words, when it comes to food and drink restrictions it is not about quality, but quantity.  Gluttony and drunkenness are the food and drink related concerns and they are not found in those who eat and drink all things in moderation.

2. Obligatory observance of certain days, feasts, or Sabbaths.  Again, these were part of the Old Testament law carried over wrongfully into the early church.  The people in Colosse believed that observing these special days would earn them spiritual favor and bring them superstitious things such as good fortune.  Many today still consider certain days and dates more holy than others.  They insist that others observe.  But Paul insists that these things are past.  Christ in all his fullness is here.  Therefore, every day is a special day for Christians.  We get to worship, serve, and obey him in everything we do.  Don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not observing and participating in their self-made religious days.  Our gathering together with other believers is what is important.  The day is irrelevant.

3.  Asceticism, or the very act of denying oneself in food, drink, recreation, etc.  Asceticism is just another form of works religion.  If we could earn merit with God through our own self denial, we wouldn’t have needed him to save us.  Denying self may make people feel superior, more holy, or super spiritual compared to those who do not, but this type of self denial is rooted in pride and self worship.  The self denial that Christ encourages is that which he exemplified and it is always rooted in humility and concern for others.  Therefore, it does not demand and command rules and regulations and place them upon others, rather, it allows each to determine how to put others first as a result of their own conviction.  It does not boast about its sacrifice out of obligation like asceticism does, but offers self sacrifice willingly out of love.

4.  The worship of angels.  Whether these men and women thought they were worshiping Christ through angels or simply worshiping angels themselves is irrelevant.  We need no mediator between we and God but Christ.  To use another spirit, angel, person, or thing to mediate between we and God is to deny Christ his rightful place.  He is our only mediator and he lives to intercede for us.

Those who were doing these things were puffed up in pride and always speaking of spiritual visions rather than of Christ and his true Word.

 Paul says no to all of these worthless religious practices.  He asks the Colossians why they seek to be enslaved by those things to which they have died already.  He says they are of no value and they they are not going to help anyone stop sinning.  All of these efforts were vain according to Paul.

If anyone forbids food or drink or marriage, or emphasizes certain holy days, or practices prideful, outward, showy self-denial, or makes his main focus personal visions rather than Christ’s Word, or instructs the worship and mediation of anyone or anything besides Christ, do not listen to them.  They are not teaching the truth.  Do not let them intimidate or disqualify you by their obligations or condescension.  Show them Colossians 2 and keep on.

My Uncommon God

cross

And, can it be that I should gain?  The hymn sneaks into my consciousnesses like a well known friend.

I stop.  I close my eyes.  For a moment, I am with him alone.  If there is a thankfulness greater than mine in this moment, I have not known it.

I have done everything wrong.  I have been the prodigal, the persecutor, the problem, the pride-filled.  Nevertheless, he sends me a song.  It repeats in my mind; my heart.  I give thanks and I seek to worship him.

He has placed a child within me.  A child who was not supposed to be in a marriage that was once condemned to certain death.  This is God’s doing.  It can be no one and nothing else.  He alone saved.  He untangled my rebuttal, my refusal, my rebellion, my resistance.  His love won, and I get the reward.

 I get the reward?  What joyful pain these realities bring.  My sin so apparent placed flush against his mercy so magnificent.  It is overwhelming; almost unbearable.

When all goes wrong we ask, “Why, Lord?  What have I done?” never acknowledging the wrong we have indeed always done.  But today, while all is right in my world I find myself asking, “Why, Lord?  What have I done?” once again.  So undeserving.  So unbefitting, unbecoming, unfit, lesser than, lower than, improper, imprudent, unwise, inept, and inappropriate.

I do not deserve this.  I never did.  Yet you gave it still.  You love me still.  You bless me still.  You do not fail.  You do not renege.  You do not abandon.  You do not forget, me.  Even me – the ever foolish one.

Oh, Lord.  How can I express my gratitude?  There is not a way.  If I climbed the highest mountain and sand the longest hymn and stayed the latest night and prayed the most holy prayer – naught would be enough.  You amaze me.  You are relentless.  You surprise me immensely.  I cannot describe your goodness.  Surely you love the most broken.  You reach for the rotten; the reckless; the wretched; the self-righteous.

Thank you, Daddy.  My mouth has no words for the gratitude in my heart today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03vPxo0WILA

gay

What’s all the hullabaloo over stubborn wedding cake bakers these days?  More Christians being rude, intolerant, and ridiculous?  Willing to lose their life’s work over their pride?  Really?  I can’t say for sure guys, but I’m bettin’ this ballgame is laced with lousy umpires.  Just who is calling the shots and why should we listen to a bunch of bullified big mouths?

We shouldn’t.  Before I share exactly why that is, take some time, sit down, take a deep breath, put your thinking cap on, and prepare to evaluate the truth about what is really happening here.  You ready?  Here goes…

Discrimination is not always a bad word, ladies and gentlemen.  Gasp.  I know.  It comes as a shock after so much falseness and indoctrination from the left in our generation.  But it just so happens that aside from it’s poor reputation regarding racism, prejudices, and partiality, discrimination can also be rightly described as “the ability or power to see or make fine distinctions; discernment.”

Discernment.  “The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgement.”  Good judgement.  Now, before the first wave of freedom filchers jumps me, steals my journal, and cries “You can’t judge me!” let me just be crystal clear.

Every single one of us – regardless of race or religion – exercises judgement every single day.  If we are living life, we are making judgments.  Is this food healthful?  How late is too late?  To speed or not to speed?  Should I speak or stay silent?  Is my coworker an alcoholic?  Does my teacher understand the information she is sharing with me?   On and on it goes.

We all make judgments, mostly for our own well being.  That does not make us intolerant, hateful, or narrow-minded.  It makes us human beings.  We all make judgments all the time because we must in order to survive in this world.  Therefore, when a man, woman, group, or government begins to cry “Discrimination!” we must assess the context before we are qualified to make a judgment about whether the act of discrimination was an act of dirty dereliction and prejudice or one of discernment and decency.

Why?  Because being indiscriminate – not selective, lacking in judgment, and careless about distinctions – presupposes a certain standard of behavior.  It must.  Yes, those standards are different for each of us depending our our values and beliefs, however, all of us have standards of behavior which we accept and reject.  Our standards allow us to filter our actions, reactions, or lack thereof.  Let me explain…

If a man goes into a store, steals something, and gets caught, the owner of that store is likely going to give that man different treatment after he knows that man is a thief.  Perhaps he won’t be allowed to shop in the store anymore.  Maybe he will have to check his bags before coming in.  Whatever the after is, it is discriminatory.  Where the owner can be indiscriminate with his lifelong friends, he obviously cannot afford to do so with the general public.  Discrimination based upon good judgment, discernment, and insight about just who it is that business owner is dealing with is, get this, wise.

What about a man who goes to buy a gun?  Let’s say he tells the owner of the armory that he intends to use this shiny new weapon to kill his wife and children later on today.  Should that owner “discriminate” against this particular consumer?  Of course!  He must discriminate against this man based upon the man’s willful, blatant admission of future eminent wrongdoing that violates both personal convictions of right and wrong and our country’s civil laws.

From a Christian standpoint, homosexuality is wrong.  I know, it’s shocking.  I’m not making up this stuff, people, God did.  You got a problem, talk to him.  Homosexuality is what Our God calls a sin.  Specifically, the sin of perversion.  Therefore, to serve a man or woman who discloses his intent to use our services to celebrate and consummate that act violates both our conscience as well as Our God’s moral laws.  To serve that individual, for us, is to become an accomplice to the act and actually participate in the sin by our apparent approval.  Doing so grieves our conscience just the same as our own sinful behavior does.  Let me just add that I would have the same conviction if I were a ticket seller at the movie theater.  Enabling people to entertain sin as amusement or recreation is to participate.  We need discernment, church.

I began to think deeply on these things after seeing the following comic:

comic

At first glance this may seem witty and correct, but after a closer look and honest consideration, one must recognize the inaccuracy and arrogance of it.  It is said that the only difference between a believer and an unbeliever is that the former loves God and hates his sin and the latter loves his sin and hates God.

The whole of the Christian life is about balance.  Every single one of us, regardless of our religious affiliation or lack thereof, sin every single day.  Clearly, there is a stark contrast between an individual who is striving against his own wrong desires and actions toward the end of a more righteous life and an individual who is blatantly living in a lifestyle characterized by his wrongness and immorality with no intention to change – even celebrating it and expecting that everyone around him do the same lest he throw a fit and insist they all agree or else be name called, blacklisted, and put completely out of business.

That said, logically, if a person goes into a place of business and chooses to eat something unhealthy, that is not necessarily the mark of a gluttonous person.  The mark of a gluttonous person is one who overindulges consistently and fails to avoid anything which he enjoys.  As a clerk, that determination cannot be made based upon a singular interaction unless the individual sits and indulges until he or she becomes ill or perhaps passes out from drunkenness.  In bars, bartenders are not to serve those in such a condition.  Hence, the basic principle at hand: discrimination based upon behavior.  People may be overweight for a myriad of reasons.  To assume it is gluttony is quite arrogant in my opinion.

Furthermore, if I own a business and I am a Christian and someone comes in cursing at me or others in my establishment, if he seems angry and unstable, I would not entertain his business.  In fact, my husband has dealt with this situation at his business and asked men to leave.

If a man or woman comes in sexually harassing me or someone else in my business or is dressed inappropriately, as a business owner with concern for my other customers, the protection of my family, and my own well-being, I absolutely would deal with that individual accordingly and likely ask them to leave.

If he says he is going to use my services, my help, or my business to accomplish ungodly actions, I have a duty to decline.  It has less to do with the consumer than it does my own soul.  I am accountable to a holy God.  I am responsible to do no harm.

And how does a clerk determine whether a person they just met is greedy or divorced or lying anyway?  He cannot.  If he were any of those things or had any other issue, because Christians see people as souls and not merely income providers, if I had any opportunity at all, I would try to begin to know him, understand where he was spiritually, and make a determination as to whether he was seeking help with his problems or simply justifying every wrong action in his life.  The difference here, and the reason why this comic is not a fair comparison is because most people do not go parading their sin around – and rightly so!  We should be ashamed, not proud!  But certain ones do.  God help us!

If another person makes his personal choices blatantly known and those choices grieve my conscience, if they are patronizing me I have an obligation to correct them, and, if they do not listen, shake the dust from my feet and send them on.  I expect them to do the same for me.  I mean, I wouldn’t go to a place where women are required to wear burkas in my bikini and expect not to be exposed for my ignorance and indecency.  My family and my beliefs are more important than a few dollars out of the hands of those who do not value decency or have respect for us or for Our God.

Do not be duped by those who use intimidation and the word discrimination to bully and grossly discriminate against Christians.  We have not only the freedom, but also the duty to decline being an accomplice to dirty deeds.  Those who are truly intolerant prove themselves with force tactics, fear mongering, and intimidating manipulation.  Use your God-given discernment and refuse them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHIw6vs4z0w

housew

I have always been one to point at Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet and justify my lack of Martha skills.  Clearly, Jesus liked Mary’s idea better, right?  He even said so!  Well, I’d like to think I can hold onto that day in and day out but I really don’t think Jesus quite meant for that.  Just look at Easter time.  We all want to worship Jesus on this most important day of the Christian calendar, but if I’m stuck in prayer and my Bible all day who is going to bake the ham, set the table, and run the sweeper?  I need my Martha to balance my overwhelming Mary-mindedness.

Everyone knows that if you want to improve your game, you play with others who are better than you.

Housecleaning has never been my strong suit.  If you want to be the next Martha, don’t watch me.  It’s not that I don’t know how.  It’s that it is not my favorite thing to do.  I can always seem to find something more “urgent” to attend to.  I don’t feel like I’m very good at it.  I’ve never really been taught about how to be a good stay at home mom.  Has anyone, really?  I mean, unless your mother is a Martha, the answer is probably no.  In short, obtaining the discipline needed to keep up on daily housework is difficult for me.  (Let me just add that I thank God every day that my mom spent more time with me than with her feather duster.)

Nevertheless, when the shoe closet begins to overflow with too small shoes and I find myself picking hordes of dog hair off of my tights after sitting on the couch, I start to freak out.

I got to thinking about this adult life long issue and I consider the fact that maybe, just maybe, I have never really given housework my all.  And don’t get me wrong, I definitely do not think it is the most important thing…obviously.  If it is between reading a storybook to my kids or teaching them about the Bible, I will drop the mop faster than you can say Dr. Seuss.  But, if I am honest, our home is quite possibly the whole of the world around them. If I do not serve them well in it, I am not serving them well.

I am reminded of a home economics hospitality class I attended a few years ago.  Afterward, I was anxious and excited to try new ideas and wow my family with special napkin folds, new recipes, and unique organization.  I had been taught some basic housewarming ideas from an experienced expert and she was, believe it or not, excited about housework.

It got me to thinking about how sometimes we lazy humans just need a good example.  We don’t need more condescending voices telling us how we must do thus and so better or how miserably we’re failing.  We already know that part.  We don’t need another 12 step guide to the galaxy.  On the contrary, we often need an expert to simply take the time to show us how; give us some fresh, new ideas on how to go about it; exemplify doing that unappealing “job” in a very appealing and energetic way.  We need someone to help our perspective on the given task from “I have to” into “I get to” do this thing.  Yeah, adults need pep talks, too.

When I think of how many people think about their spiritual life like I think about my housework, it saddens me.  I compare my notes.  I hear so many Christians say things like, “I don’t read the Bible because I don’t understand it or get anything out of it” or  “I wish I could trust God and stop worrying about everything.”  Many people seem to feel overwhelmed and defeated before they even begin on the road to real growth and maturity – just like me in the toy-strewn living room.

  When anxiety, anger, frustration, impatience and spiritual dryness begin to take their toll like old shoes and dog hair, we know we need to go to God some way.  But how?

I have learned that if I am going to clean and beautify my home effectively, I’m going to have to do it one room at a time.  Step by step; begin at the beginning; build a foundation upon the basics I already know and then get more advanced.  If we’re dealing in spiritual terms that means one prayer at a time, one verse at a time, being purposeful to spend time with strong, experienced, mature believers, watching them, asking advice and taking it, gleaning from their wisdom, asking questions, studying their spiritual disciplines and then doing our own.

One thing I should mention is that the lady who taught the class on hospitality was not only very excited and interested in her craft – she was also very willing and available to share it.  Helping other Christians grow in their love for the Lord requires more than a good example.  It requires openness, transparency, and willingness to sacrifice our own time in order to share our gifts with others.  I believe this is the single most important trait of any good leader.

My husband owns a specialty car garage and he is an expert.  He is not only an expert, though.  He loves his trade.  He shares his trade.  He answers questions constantly, makes time for every customer and tours them around showing them what he does, how he does it, and why he does it these very particular ways.  That is why he is successful.  He gives others a sense of belonging and excitement about what he is doing.

Back to my housework, though.  A few years removed from my Martha in the flesh experience, I am back to square one.  No one goes to a one time class and becomes an expert and let me tell ya, the thrill wears off.  I need a boost.  I look up hospitality on the internet.  I ask friends for fresh ideas.  I scour pinterest.  What it really comes down to, though, is whether or not I’m willing to give it my all.  If the answer is no, I will stay stalled, frustrated, and overwhelmed by that which I have no real desire to accomplish.  I have to actively push in to the things I’d rather pull out of sometimes simply because they are the right things.

I hope if you are spiritually stalled, you will do the same.  Ask yourself if you have really given it your all and do not be surprised how much better at it you are than you originally thought when you do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HPGO27rtlg

Like a Book

mom

Alarm sounds.  5 a.m.  Snooze.  6 a.m.  Pray for the mechanic.  Get up.  Too late; no gym today.  Where is my notebook?  Where is my notebook?  Where is my notebook?  Find notebook.  Study the Bible.  Read Matthew Henry’s take.  Thank God for the man who gave Matthew Henry to me.  Pray for him.  Write.  Type.  Start coffee.  Give massage.  Offer breakfast.  Kiss the mechanic goodbye.  Shower.  Do any of these clothes even fit me?

Addie draws my picture as I hurriedly dry my too long tresses.

  Everyone needs a haircut.  Everyone needs a dental appointment.  Two need doctor visits.  The insurance adjuster is coming to an empty driveway tomorrow if I do not call him.  The car I injured rushing to and fro is going on a fieldtrip to the History Museum.  Should I pack lunches?  Mom needs the house key.  Is there any possible way to get a run in today?

 “Look at me, Mom, I’m drawing you!”

 I need to pray.  Maybe I should just fast.  Do I look like I have time to eat anyway?  Fasting it is.  The dog pees at my feet.  There’s a food fight in the kitchen.  No one is dressed for school.

“Mom, look! I’m trying to see what you look like!”

Did I answer that email?  The phone is ringing.  Said dog chewed through the “cordless” phone cord.  Ironic. Get the phone on the fax machine, Mia!  Is that going to make my house burn down?  Answer three texts.

“Here’s your picture, Mommy.”

Crumpled, Addie’s rendition is a more beautiful me; the one she sees.  Give thanks.  Get dressed, brush your hair, and brush your teeth, girls!  Eat breakfast.  What happened to fasting?  Shoot!  How does a person forget that?  Tomorrow.  Teach math.  Run two miles.  Pray.  Thank God for the husband who loves, the children who interrupt, the legs that are able, the new friends he gave, the needs the friends have, the pastor with tremendous grace, the cold on my face, the trees that surround, the rest of the day’s adventure. Yell in upon return, “Are yinz done with math?”

“Yes, mom.”

Smallest girl’s paper is blank.  Help her.  Go over math.  Recite books of the Bible.  Read the Bible.  Read History.  Read Aesop’s fables.  Read a martyr.  Read a poem.  Offer language lesson.  Make lunch.  Answer language questions.  Give phonics.  Give spelling words.

 “Everyone read a chapter of your fiction books while I’m gone.”

 Deposit money.  Take lunch to the mechanic.  Pay bills.  Deposit more money.  Grab milk, bread, and art supplies.  Do not forget to stop for wine.  Get wine.  Deliver art supplies. Vacuum.  What’s for dinner?  We’ll be at Girl Scouts.  Fill crock pot.  View calendar.  Girl Scouts is cancelled.  Gather miscellaneous toys.

 “Put your toys away, girls.”

 Pray talk.

 “Do you guys want to swim?”

 Gather swimming gear.  Go swimming.  Everyone is hungry.  Offer snacks.  Read storybooks.  Call insurance man.  Finish dinner.  Look over the book I’m reviewing.  Pray for grace.  Play blocks.  Discover a sonogram picture stuffed in among my volunteer papers.

“Who got this out, girls?  Please put it back.”

 Consider said sonogram picture.

Life.  Life moves.  My life is a book.  There is such great adventure here.  Mystery, tragedy, comedy, and action all dancing together gracefully, clumsily, angrily, wearily, lovingly, happily.  Too many ily’s to mention. The interludes are grace.  The interruptions are the voices of little lives needing.  They charge in upon the frenzy of my madness and they bring me back to life.  So the ones to whom God gave life through me are the ones who give it back abundantly.

Stop.  Remember how good God is.

Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.  Give thanks.

As if an even ten could truly touch the deficit I’ve so drastically incurred.

Confess.  Confess.  Confess.  Repent.  Give thanks. Repeat.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTg1n95–KE

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