Monday, September 27, 2010

A Worm In My Fruit Bowl

"Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me."  John 15:4 (NIV)

It was totally revolting...inching its way across the rim of my fruit bowl.  Disgusting!  It looked like one of those slimy, teensy...but no less gross, worms that occasionally finds its way home from the store in your broccoli.  Fortunately, the unwelcomed critter met his demise (smooshed in a paper towel) without having sampled any grape-y juicy-ness, as the bowl was empty.

That was a fitting way to start a rainy Monday.  Yes, the rain, so desperately needed...that nearly prompted me to run outside and do a little dance yesterday...made today look bleak and dreary.  Rain that an hour earlier plunked such a delightful rhythm on my roof and windowpane...the lullaby that dueled with God's wakeup call to meet with Him and feast on His Word. 

The rain won.

I chose poorly.

I started the day apart from The Vine.

And it was like that appalling little worm inched his way across my morning...nibbling away at the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Until I fought back.  Yep!  I pulled out my Sword!  I reached out toward the heavens with a song of praise.  And God redeemed the day!

Father, forgive me for my laziness.  Thank You for Your mercies that are new each morning...even if I choose poorly.  Thank You for drawing me to the source of strength and joy!  Please let the Fruit of Your Spirit be born in me! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hoodsurfing 101

"Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."  Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

It's really quite amazing that I didn't hit the ladder/siding/machinery-laden vehicle from the rear.  My focus see-sawed between the grasshopper on the hood of my car and the truck just ahead of me.

She...or he, whichever the case may be...I'm going with she because that just feels right to me  :)...leaped onto my car at a redlight.  I watched and waited to see what she would do when the light changed.  She boldly took her stance and held on!

Now the Mama inside of me was saying, "Hey!  Do you realize that you are traveling blocks away from your family??  Will you know how to get back???  Are you sure that you really want to hang on??"

The children's book writer inside of me was thinking, "Hmmm, Gidget Grasshopper Goes to Downtown Cary...or Grasshopper In Town Square (That's supposed to make you smile...if you read children's books!  That one's already been done...just with a Cricket and it was Times Square.)...or Ginger Grasshopper's Wild Ride"...or some other fantastic grasshopper adventure story!

Then the blog author in me pondered...while driving and watching grasshopper & big truck..."What could I learn from this insect?  Did God have her plop on my hood for a purpose?  (I think He's probably too busy for that, but I'm taking the challenge anyway!)

Hence, Hoodsurfing 101. 
Lesson 1  Face Forward...aerodynamics and all that.

Lesson 2  Feet Planted Firmly...all two...or four...or six.

Lesson 3  Fear Not!...Admission:  I don't really know if grasshoppers have the capacity to fear.

So, what adventure is ahead of you??  Have you been called to be obedient in some manner?  Is there a dream in your heart that you need to pursue?  Go for it!

Warning!!!  It may feel like hoodsurfing...dangerous, frightening, and very windy!

Remember our lessons from Hoodsurfing 101 listed above?
Here's some Scriptural backing!
Lesson 1  "My eyes are ever on the LORD...."  Psalm 25:15
                 "I lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from?  My help comes from
                  the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth."  Psalm 121:1-2

Lesson 2  " My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside."
                 Job 23:11
                 "My steps have held to Your paths; my feet have not slipped."  Psalm 17:5
                 "He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights."
                  Psalm 18:33
                 "The law of his God is his heart; his feet do not slip."  Psalm 37:31

Lesson 3  "For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand, and says to you,
                 do not fear; I will help you."  Isaiah 41:13
                 "The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you or
                  forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."  Deuteronomy 31:8
                  "...Be strong and courageous and do the work.  Do not be afraid or discouraged,
                  for the LORD God, my God, is with you."  1 Chronicles 28:20

So, just do it!!!  Feel the wind in your antennae...I mean hair!!  And remember, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"  Romans 10:15  Share His message!  Share His love!

No insects were harmed in the writing of this blog.

Please do not try this at home.  I know of two college boys who experimented with hoodsurfing.  One landed in dire straits.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Lies Hidden Beneath?

"All my longings lie open before You, O Lord, my sighing is not hidden from You."  Psalm 38:9 (NIV)

You should see them!  They're the perfect size...beautifully shaped...really, really smooth...and oh so shiny!  I'm like a kid at Christmas time...just loving the way they sparkle...the way they feel.  I love to inspect them...admire tap them.

I've never given in to this kind of indulgence before.  I never needed to...until age...or vitamin deficiency...or whatever...made it a necessity.  Yes, I gave my hands a "face-lift" and got fake nails!!

They are so lovely.

But underneath is something not so lovely...ridges...splits...cracks...discoloration (from not using base coat under that "Mango Get 'Em" orange).  I grew tired of all the work it took to pamper them...and keep them covered up.  I was ashamed to let them be seen.

So I did it.

And as I sat there for an hour getting the new facade, I couldn't help but think of how many people are like my nails...damaged.  We all have some amount of  brokenness...hurt that hovers from our past...the ghosts of failure or times we just didn't quite measure up...disappointments in ourselves and other people...relationships that went wrong...words uttered that ripped our hearts in two.  We carry it...sometimes bravely and without much effort.  Many times stumbling, crushed under its load.

And we paint it...cover it no one else can see.

But God does.

"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight.."  Hebrews 4:13  He knows our hurts.  He knows our fears.  He knows our struggles.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."  Psalm 147:3

What a comfort are the words in Isaiah 61:1-3
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has annointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor." 

He is the source of all healing...binding up the broken places...covering them with a crown of beauty...for the display of His splendor.

Lord, thank You for taking us and making us beautiful...brand new.  Help us to allow You to work in our lives so that we may truly be "called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the display of Your splendor."  Help us to shine for You.  Cover us.  We love You.  We are in awe of Your unfailing love, Your mercy, Your grace. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Temptation Resisted!

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."   Mark 14:38 (NIV)

A Java Chip Frappuccino from Starbucks was calling my name.  I could almost taste the chocolate-chippy goodness...and feel the crunchy ice crystals on my tongue.  Just a few miles away a barista was at the ready to blend the delightful concoction.  My daughter was at orchestra rehearsal for over an hour.  Ah, what a perfect treat that would be while sitting in the parking lot, reading an equally delicious novel (I love great Christian fiction!), as the nice pre-autumn breeze floated through my car.  It had been hours since I had eaten lunch and my tummy was oh so rumbly.  That would tie me over until dinner.

Then I remembered hearing the ridiculous number of calories those drinks contain.  I made the decision.  I resisted.  And honestly, I must admit...I didn't really make it a matter of prayer.  My tummy still rumbled...but yes, I survived until dinner.

Frappuccinos are pretty mild when exploring the categories of temptation.  The consequences...other than unsightly bulges...are minor.  However, we are faced with multitudes of temptations in our lives daily...yes, some involve what we put into our bodies...the nutritional quality as well as the quantity of the food we well as substances that might compromise our judgement.  Other decisions before us might include what we are allowing into our minds...the TV shows we watch, the music we listen to, the things that we read.  And then there are overt actions...the words we allow to flow from our mouths...places we might go...things we might do.  These challenges are definitely worth praying over!  Yes, "our spirit is willing, but our body is [often] weak."

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we read, "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Let's call on Him.  Let's allow Him to help us giving us strength...or a way out!

We'll see what happens next time that Frappuccino craving hits!  I did some checking.  If I go with Tall, non-fat, decaf, no whip, it only hits 210 calories. Maybe I should commit it to prayer.

Lord, help us not to yield to temptations that could harm our bodies...the very temples of Your Holy Spirit...that could harm our minds...or our communion with You.  We're standing on Your promises, Lord.  Protect us, please!  We love You!