Today as I was thinking about life and such, God brought this picture to my mind.
Bowling has gutters and if we aren’t careful or skilled, the ball will end up in the gutter. However, someone came up with this wise idea to put up bumpers in order to guide the ball to where it needs to go (for those of us less skilled at bowling).
Often in life, we can foolishly end up in the gutter and miss the mark completely. However, God put wisdom in place to guide us to where we need to go. James tells us that we don’t have to do anything special to receive that wisdom except ASK!
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
We only need to ask God for wisdom and he will generously give it to us without finding fault!
We have the opportunity to live with wisdom to get us going in God’s direction, and help us make that mark. We cannot do it on our own, we just need to ASK GOD!
Will you ask Him today?
Today at our staff meeting, someone was talking about the love of God and how we try to “wrap it around our minds” –I am sure he meant to say we try to wrap our minds around it– but it came out the other way around. This got me thinking and I got this picture in my mind that will NOT go away!
Lately I have been praying through Ephesians 3:14-19 as a prayer not only for me, but for the people that I care deeply about.
It is for this reason that I bow my knees before the Father, 15 after whom all families in heaven above and on earth below receive their names, and pray:
16 Father, out of Your honorable and glorious riches, strengthen Your people. Fill their souls with the power of Your Spirit 17 so that through faith the Anointed One will reside in their hearts. May love be the rich soil where their lives take root. May it be the bedrock where their lives are founded so that together 18-19 with all of Your people they will have the power to understand that the love of the Anointed is infinitely long, wide, high, and deep, surpassing everything anyone previously experienced. God, may Your fullness flood through their entire beings. (The Voice)
The verse talks about knowing, understanding how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (NIV).
This picture that I have is of how infinite his love is that it wraps around our minds, instead of the other way around. We can’t wrap our minds around God’s love for us, but he can wrap it around our minds. (Tweet it by clicking on the link)
It is as if we cannot ever FULLY grasp and comprehend or wrap our head around this concept of how GREAT his love is for us.
Thankfully, we don’t have to. Praise God that his love is so great that it can wrap around our mind, our head, our heart, our life! We don’t have to understand it, because we can fully experience its power!
Though it may have been a human misspoken saying, God used it to create this picture to show me that his love cannot be wrapped around by our finite minds, instead, his infinite love wraps around us and each and every person.
I love the picture of humility and unity that was displayed at our staff meeting this past week: people coming together. Our leaders outwardly confessed, reconciled and forgave one another for bitterness in their hearts that may have been unbeknownst to the other party. It was amazing to see the love that was spread in these small confessions and brought healing to many! Really, forgiveness has more to do with the person doing the forgiving than the person forgiven.
I have realized that on social media, I have held bitterness in my heart and I have not been completely real or honest. The pictures I post are the life I want to portray to the world but not exactly the whole story. I post the good moments and am silent during the bad or pretend like it is all ok. Yes, I want to live by faith and not make it a habit to complain or gripe, but I also do not want others to think I do not struggle and am some inhuman perfect being. It is quite the opposite actually.
So this goes out to all of my readers, I am sorry for becoming bitter about the lives portrayed and the half stories I receive. But I also ask for forgiveness for perpetuating the very same thing that I do not like!
It’s hard to humble yourself and admit you’re wrong. Let me rephrase that. It is hard for me to humble myself and admit I am wrong. I want to be right! And if I am honest-I would like to think I am always right!
While I love the idea and picture of humility, and appreciate it in others, it is so much more difficult to actually make it happen in my own life. I want to be liked, or perceived in a certain way.
A while ago, in the midst of some difficult times, I was on the phone with a friend whom I had not spoken with in a while and she said, “it looks like your life is great right now!”
And I thought to myself, what is she seeing that makes my life so great, why would she say that?!
It wasn’t until I took a look at what I portrayed to the rest of the world when I realized just how bad it was. While sometimes I may want it to be good so I act like it is, sometimes it’s not and instead I am silent. I wonder who else out there, instead of faking like it’s ok, they are silent? The moment they find one ray of hope, they share it with the world and the world thinks life is perfect.
Forgive me for acting like I have it all together all the time.
Social media is a fragile and complicated thing. One can over share- complaints, TMI, or nonsense, but one can also portray themselves in the way they would like to be seen instead of who they are—flaws and all.
I’m working on it. I don’t have it all together or know exactly how to walk this thin tightrope of reality and truth mixed with respect and dignity. All I ask is that you join with me in not only speaking the truth, but in living it as well.
Today was deep cleaning day for my bathroom. It had been quite a while because, hey, I’m busy and who else every uses my bathroom besides me, right? Yeah, we’ll just say it was long overdue. Apparently our apartment has hard water because you can see it all over the drains and there is a ring around the toilet where the water sits. Disgusting, I know.
So I did the whole bleach thing and scrubbed my heart out. Although I got a good amount of it with the first try, there were still those deeper stains that had been there the longest. I let the bleach sit for 10 minutes to really sink into those stains.
I probably scrubbed that toilet for a good 15 minutes and there are still some little spots of hard water stains. So frustrating to leave the toilet knowing that I did not get it all, though those spots may be virtually invisible to the person who just happens to glance in there. AND it did look a whole lot better than what it looked like before. For some reason I could not be fully satisfied. Even now, I go back and think to myself, if only I scrubbed harder or longer, or just didn’t let it sit that long in the first place, it would be all clean!
This process reminds me of Jesus and how he cleanses and purifies us. While we may be considered 100% righteous, because we are justified by his blood, we still have to undergo this process called sanctification. Sometimes the stains are easily removed with a little bleach and the swipe of the brush, and others are tougher and require more attention and time to really scour away. Nonetheless, I know I look a whole lot better than I did before.
BUT… what about that little thing that I can’t seem to get rid of? That little imperfection that always seems to come out at the worst time possible? That daily battle that reminds me just how human I am? Why can’t I seem to get rid of those things and be wholly perfect?
I forget about how far I come and instead of saying “WOW! Look at how far God has brought me!” I think, wow, there’s that little grimy stain, still staring at me, and I can’t seem to scrub hard enough to remove it.
Tonight, we had family night at our church. We celebrated the victory we have in Christ and made the decision to not live with the victim mentality, but to live in the reality of victory because 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Instead of saying “why?” we can say “wow!” and live in awe of all that God has done and is doing in us and around us and through us. We can live with an expectation of victory because we serve a victorious God.
Thank you Jesus for the victory that I have in YOU! May I never forget what you say is true. Recently I’ve felt a little displaced, so please remind me of you unending grace. When all I am says why me? Why now? Please give me the strength to instead say WOW! When I think all is lost-at first glance, now I know to do the victory dance!
Recently my mom told me a story of when she was on a bike ride and a bird kept flying in front of her and landing. Right as she thought she was about to run it over, it would fly a little further in front and do the same thing. It made her think of that definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Of course, she had enough wisdom at the time to immediately check herself to see if she was falling into that same trap.
Sometimes God does that. He gives us examples of our very own pitfalls, but we will miss it if …
a)we aren’t paying attention, or
b) we aren’t willing to humble ourselves and check our motives to look at the reality of some of the choices in our lives.
I can think of two instances in the Bible where God uses nature to paint a picture of how we are to live our lives.
The Ant: Proverbs 6:6-8
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
The Birds & the Lilies: Matt. 6:26-30
26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
While walking this evening, I almost forgot to pay attention. As I turned around to go back from where I had come, I noticed a doe and her two deer babies. I was able to stand and marvel at the wonders of his handiwork, and as I walked further, found two more deer grazing by the lake.
Are you paying attention?
What does God have to show you that you are too busy staring at your phone to recognize?
Will you take the time to be present and pay attention today?
I love my mother. I love how she cares about all of these small details as we get ready to host a get together at our home. How she wants the carpet to be vacuumed on the stairs even though the party is mostly outside and no one will notice the dog hair on the steps if they need to go to the bathroom. She places decorations all around, in places people may never notice in and of themselves, but nonetheless sets the mood without being overly obvious. She cares so much about how she will make people feel, and that they will feel welcomed and well-taken-care-of. Every detail, every potential situation for which she is already prepared, is a labor of love. And here I am sitting, watching it all and realizing the reflection of God that I see in her.
He sees every detail; he knows every detail (not just in the knowing about kind of a way, but an intimate knowing). He is prepared for every possible situation and even if we don’t notice it, he has prepared the way for us in the details as small as dog hairs on the carpet of the stairs. He cares about how you feel and takes care of you and I when we are least deserving. All because He loves you.
Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah
(Psalm 68:19 ESV)
Decided to try something new as a result of a challenger in my life.
Approval. Likes. Shares. Favorites. Retweets. The list goes on. With our social media crazed world, it’s easy to fall into the trap of approval and trying to please others to gain compliments or attention. I just started reading a book called The Well-Balanced World Changer and in the first section it has two quotes.
The first is from Bill Cosby:
“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone.”
The second is from Bob Dylan:
“What good are fans? You can’t eat applause for breakfast.”
Wow. Way to really hit it close to home God. Thanks. For a lot of my life I have been a people pleaser who thrives on people’s compliments and accolades. However, thankfully, I have learned and am still learning the power that we give others when always seeking their approval. We can get caught up in the momentum of the like, but realize we may not even like ourselves. Some even go as far as being paralyzed with fear because of a decision they will have to make that may have the possibility of making someone unhappy.
Taking it a step further, what about God?! In John 5:44, Jesus says,
“That’s why it is hard to see how true faith is even possible for you: you are consumed by the approval of other men, longing to look good in their eyes; and yet you disregard the approval of the one true God.”(Voice)
Looking for approval on the human level, cramps creativity, and sets yourself up for a lifetime of chains and defeat. Looking for Godly approval brings both creativity and freedom back into our lives because we have the ability to live out his purpose and plan for our lives.
We can freely be ourselves and let others learn who we are when we stop trying to impress them or gain their like.
“How then can we, we who try to embody the way of Jesus in the modern world, claim to hold God so high and yet still put so much worth on the words of humans?” -Sarah Cunningham (The Well Balanced World Changer)
If you like this, then don’t click the like button and forget about this, live it out and evaluate how and from whom you seek approval.
Sometimes, life is like a puzzle. This analogy may not make sense if you are not familiar with doing the big 500 or 1000 piece puzzles, but my grandma, mom and many other family members love big puzzles. We have our systems down and share the box to see the big picture, celebrating with each other when we find the right fit.
Most of the time, we start on the boarder, this is the easiest part because all of the edges are straight, there is not much of a need to even look at the box, because the process is in place and we know the routine. It is the rest of the puzzle where the guide of the bigger picture is a necessity.
Similarly, early on in life, you just live it, without many decisions to make because the steps are all laid out for you. You eat, cry, learn to crawl, then walk, potty train, and feed yourself. As we get older, there are more decisions to make and often we can start to think about the bigger picture of our lives.
Recently, I feel that God has shown me the box, the big picture. However, I only get a glimpse before I’m right back at it, looking at this little puzzle piece, trying to figure out where it fits. Once I get that piece, I can move on to the next. Sometimes, I will examine a piece for a time and put it down, because it is in a section of the puzzle not even started yet.
I am thankful that God shows me a glimpse of the big picture sometimes because it gives me a hope for my future and direction for where the next piece of the puzzle goes. Puzzles, like life, take patience. Sometimes we are surprised with how easy a piece fits or we know exactly where it goes. Other times, we search and search and try all of the different options, only to give up and try again another time.
I am also thankful for a God who is patient with me. He knows the whole picture with each and every minute detail that I have yet to discover. He celebrates with me when that piece that I have struggled with over and over finally goes into the right spot!
Life is a process and God is a patient God. In the meantime, we are called to “Pray continually, rejoice always, and give thanks in all circumstances.” (1 Thes. 5:18-19) This is one of my favorite verses because it is such a great reminder of what I can always do even if I am not sure what else to do.
Slowly, piece by piece, the bigger picture is coming together. I keep pressing on because I know my Puzzle maker, and he lovingly created me for a purpose, and the result will be a beautiful picture of a life complete. It is in the struggle where we begin to become complete and mature (James 1). What is your piece of the puzzle that you are examining currently?