because the more things change the more they stay the same

Archive for February, 2010

>LIFE AFTER THE OOPS

>

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV).

“Oops,” I said as I took the scissors to my mother’s hair.
“Somehow that doesn’t give me a lot of confidence,” she said.
Some days oops flow like lava, one mistake melting into another.  I lose confidence that I will ever get this Christian thing right.
“Oops!  I wish I hadn’t spent all that money.” I comment as I return from shopping, having been unable to resist those 50 percent off sales promotions. When I examine my purchases, I realize I could have easily done without many of the items purchased.
 “Oops, I wish I had stuck to my diet,” I moan when I step on the scales, wishing I had not eaten that second piece of Black Forest cake.
Our spiritual lives seem as imperfect as our shopping sprees and sugary feasts.
“Oops, I wish I hadn’t said that hurtful remark,” I chastise myself after hurling my spouse’s mislaid sneakers across the room.  
As oops spill, I wonder if it’s even possible to live a holy life.  I waste hours in self-incrimination until God pulls at my spiritual ears to get my attention.
“Enough with the apologies,” God tells me.  He reminds me that holiness is an attitude, a desire for the things of God.
“Holiness is not perfection,” God reminds me.
 “You will still make mistakes,” He tells me. “Holiness is a seeking after the things I want to give you. Wallowing in your oops is wasted energy. Remember, I have a remedy. Give me your oops and I will exchange them for peace.”
Have you ever struggled with the oops?
Ponder me back.

>THIN PLACES, A Review

>

“The Celts define a thin place as a place where heaven and the physical world collide, one of those serendipitous territories where eternity and the mundane meet. Thin describes the membrane between the two worlds, like a piece of vellum, where we see a holy glimpse of the eternal—not in digital clarity, but clear enough to discern what lies beyond.”

And so the author describes the concept behind her memoir, Thin Places, where she takes the reader inside those events and times of her life, a series of thin places where God has come near. From the times of her earliest memories to even the present breath she breathes, God has proven himself, revealed himself over and over again in these thin places in the author’s life.

Written with painful honesty, Mary DeMuth brings the reader on an emotional journey as she honestly shares not only the deep areas of her life that brought her guilt, shame, and pain; but how God met her through those “thin places.”

Rarely does a book come along that brings home the true nature of God’s healing and presence through those narrow passages in our lives when we feel abandoned, scorned, or dirtied. This is one such book. This reviewer gives it a whopping five stars, wishing the scale would let me go higher. I highly recommend, Thin Places.

>AN ACT OF THE MIND

>

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8-9 NIV).
So I tried a practical life illustration with my grandson. He wanted me to buy more of the fancy valentines because they were so cool he wanted to keep some for himself. “So, Andy, if you have 27 valentines and you are sending out 20 valentines, how many will you have left?” He thought about that for a minute. He got angry and upset. There were more people he should send valentines to, so he still needed more valentines. Because he wanted to be certain to keep some for himself, he made himself unhappy with what he already possed in abundance.
 
I wonder if I try to manipulate God in the same way. I wonder if I’m consumed by trying to get God to give me what I want, instead of accepting that what He gives me is all I need.

In my view, my kitchen needs a complete gutting and overhaul. I am so tired of looking at broken floor and bent ceiling tiles, buckled walls and decaying cupboards. It seems everyone I know has a beautiful kitchen. Why can’t I have one? Since I work at home, the deficit is always before me. I hound Heaven with my request. “Don’t you love me, God? If you do, why don’t I have a new kitchen? I’d be a much better Christian with a new kitchen. I’d give out more valentines…I’d entertain more…and the arguments go on and on.”

And since God doesn’t see fit to give me a new kitchen, I start imagining ways I can get it myself. I can forsake my calling, go out and get a real job and then have enough money to redo the kitchen. Before I know it, my behavior follows my resentment. I hate the job God has given me because I can’t get a new kitchen from it. I can’t focus on my writing anymore. Or my prayer life either. I end out the day accomplishing nothing, slapping myself with a wet noodle for lack of productivity. The morrow starts the cycle all over again.

A friend mentioned that she is recently convicted to start her day by asking the Son to shine on her day. To bring to her day what God wants for her, rather than what she thinks is important. Easier said than done. Does it begin with reordering my thoughts? Do I ask God to change my environment or do I ask God to change me?

What do you think? Ponder me back.

>Surrendering Doubt

>God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. He says to the snow, “Fall on the earth,” and the rain shower, “Be a mighty downpour.” Job 37 5 – 6.

Job believed nothing could compare with God’s power. He had always bowed his will to God’s authority. His circumstances were beyond his comprehension. How could these disasters be for Job’s benefit? Did God permit them or orchestrate them? How could these disasters make Job a better man?
Even today, the book of Job disturbs believers. If God loves us and God cares about us, why does He allow such horrific events into our lives? We have already arrived to the point of subjection, and we believe God is sovereign and in control. Then why does He allow the downpour of calamity? For some, the gales are relentless like the buffeting winds of a hurricane.

I have witnessed many saints who grow nearer to God during these times when the faint hearted would collapse. These, perhaps, are the times, like Job, when we must surrender our doubts and helplessness, and stand back in awe of what God will accomplish. What do you think? Ponder me back.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: