Friday, September 24, 2010

Things that Hinder

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-2
I have been feeling weary lately, weary of feeling so upside down and out of my usual element. I am no longer a wife. My children have all grown up and so I do not feel much like a mother. Lately at work all I can see are my mistakes and there have been plenty. I have noticed that the older I get the more I forget. I used to just joke about it when it only happened once in awhile but now it has been happening with regularity. The more I worry about frustrating those who have to work with me the worse it gets. Sounds like a pity party doesn't it? A few blogs ago I talked about working on my inner narcissism that seems to have crept out into my life. Nicole tells me I am obsessed lately with the word narcissism and I think she is right.  I hate being self absorbed but can't seem to find my way out of it. Part of it is I feel out of my element. For so many years I spent my time mothering and being a wife. That is no longer the case and I am trying to plot out a new course and it is not easy. Lately it seems that I have known just the wrong thing to say to my kids, trying to mother them when they are adults. Not a good idea. I miss my husband. Early this morning I was watching something I had recorded and thought about how much Bill would have loved it and that wave that comes overtook me again. It is part of my life. I was reading in Hebrews this week how it is not just sin that hinders. Sin entangles and it certainly hinders but there are other things that hinder. I want to run the race God has given me until the very end and I can't do that if I am absorbed with what used to be and dwelling on how my life has changed and I don't like it. That hinders and it makes me weary and lose heart. I know it does because I feel it. I don't know the answer in entirety but I have made some changes this week. I am spending extra time in prayer and in the Word. I am reading more again instead of watching things that do not profit. It is all I know to do. I am sharing this because we all have things that hinder us that are a little hidden. They aren't as simple as the sin we easily see. The are hidden and need to be ferreted out and dealt with. Because they are not easily seen we must look for them. It is worth it because when we don't we become weary and we begin to lose heart. God needs our hearts to be fully engaged to accomplish His mission through us. He needs our energy to be His and not lost to sin and entanglements. Hopefully I will soon be through this entangled and hindered portion of life and feel much more useful.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I have been thinking and praying much about the process of salvation this week. It does not seem as if there is much Biblical back up for much of what we use to lead people in the process. There is no sinners prayer or 4 step method or Romans Road in the Bible. What should the process look like today? As I was praying for the service today and asking God that question I had kind of an aha moment. I thought of that verse in Acts that states that "the Lord added to their number daily such as would be saved." It hit me. Jesus adds those who want to be saved. We often try to add people to church who do not wish to be saved. They may believe in God, not want to go to hell, even like the idea of belonging to a religion or giving space in their schedule to God but they do not want to be saved from this life and their sin. They do not want to be set free and given new purpose. They do not like the idea of God ruling over them. They do not want to be saved. When Jesus called the disciples He asked them to follow Him. Simply that. Of course He told them what that meant. For the rich young ruler it meant leaving his wealth and don't be too sure that isn't being asked of people today! For the Pharisees  he asked them to give up their religion. To the woman at the well He said, "Go, and sin no more." A tall order if you ask me. While it was simple it was not easy, while it is worth everything it can seem costly. Today Jesus asks the very same things of us, Follow. Give. Go. Leave your life of sin. Be a soldier. Do not be entangled in this life. Be content. He is enough. Jesus is adding to the church those who would be saved. We do need to keep it simple. But we also need to make sure it is well understood what salvation is, its true cost and the incredible joy and blessing that accompany it. Just my thoughts on this day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I was thinking about justice this week. I thought about how I don't really understand the meaning of it and how apart from God none of us do. It does not seem just that people die from lack of clean water. It does not feel just that, as believers we rail against the gay agenda, single moms on welfare, and other societal ills and forget that these lost ones are God's children that we are called to love. It does not feel just that we inflict the fallout of our sins on our families, friends, and churches. It does not feel just that we often throw the first stone. There is a God who loves us so very much that He sent His beloved Son to die for us. Because of that love I am free, free to make sure that no one I know suffers the consequences of sin without learning the way out. Free to cover the sins of others with mercy and love them in the mess they are in. Free to invest in the poor of this world instead of heaping possessions to ourselves. Free to live and know and love the God who declared that "Mercy always triumphs over judgment." I know we live under intense pressure and it is easy to feel like the psalmist Asaph in Psalm 73 whose "feet almost slipped" when he saw how easy sinners seem to have it. After thinking about it he remembered, "my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;" We have the Lord. We are of all men most blessed. Our weeping endures for a short space only. If we do not remember our purpose that will not be true of our friends and loved ones. It will not be true of the world's lost and poor if we do not intentionally remember. We are here for a purpose. We exist for a reason. Until that last day He has showed us what is good, and what the Lord requires of us. "We are to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with God." We are not to rail against things that are not fair, or to demand rights that we cannot control. We are to trust that the God who loves us will walk with us through this world. We are to trust that His plan and work is greater than any pleasure that this world can give us. We are to grow in our knowledge of Him who is truly Just and absolute Mercy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


I have been thinking today about how, as a believer, we must choose to trust God. We cannot measure whether to trust God by our minds perception of how trustworthy He is. We cannot because life is dark in spots and it can stay dark for what seems to be a lot of time. That is because God will take whatever time He needs to obtain the result He desires. I think of Joseph, sold into slavery. God had a reason for allowing that and Joseph remained faithful to the God He knew and the God He had chosen to trust. If you look at every story of the Bible you will see it over and over again. God is trustworthy but we must choose to trust Him. If you try and decide in the darkness or try and decide while looking at anothers life when they are going through darkness it will be hard to see His plan and His goodness. That is why believers will mistakenly believe that a person is in some kind of sin when they are going through darkness. We try to find a reason instead of trusting in God's ultimate plan and His promise to use all things for our good as we love and serve Him. The truth is, we want a safety net, a place to walk that is not scary. Sorry. Trusting God is about walking through the darkness and coming out on the other side. It is about saying, "God you are good and whatever you need to allow in my life in order for your plan to be accomplished, have at it." It is saying to the darkness, this is temporary, God is with me, and He always has my best interest in mind. It is a willingness to walk through deep waters. We have His Word as a testimony to the beauty of His plans. They will not fail. He can be trusted. He is good.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thoughts Gained from Reading and at the Office

I still am not feeling very cohesive in my thoughts this week but I often have some random thoughts while reading and at work and thought I would share some of them.

1. I have been thinking alot about whether anyone can actually take advantage of another person. Here is my thought. Give your life away so no one can take anything from you. Remember, no one took Jesus’ life. He laid it down. If you live with a life laid down I don't think anyone can take advantage of you.

2. Some days the only reason I can keep breathing is because I know that my life has been Redeemed. I know that the ugly and discarded have a purpose. God does not always intend for us to suffer the grief’s we bear. What is worse is that they are so often inflicted by those we love. He may not have intended for us to hurt and suffer pain...but everything that comes into our lives He uses for our good.

3. The gospel leads you to do what might seem impossible, because you’ve been captured and thrilled by the impossible love of the cross. I so hope God and I accomplish some impossible things this year.

4.The older I get the more that I realize that there is nothing I would rather do than invest my life in God, that being comfortable is almost always at odds with being fulfilled, and that God’s plans are frustrating and painful and unbelievably good.

5. I sometimes struggle to go home at the end of the day. It feels empty and I lose my sense of purpose. I'm going to work on that.

6. I found a blog while randomly searching the other day. It is called - Jesus. Life. Hard. - That says most of what I have felt the past couple years but I would add - Glorious. - He is so worth it all.

Love this verse

Isaiah 58:11

And the LORD will guide you continually

and satisfy your desire in scorched places

and make your bones strong;

and you shall be like a watered garden,

like a spring of water,

whose waters do not fail.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Truly Random Thoughts

My thoughts have been truly random of late so I am going to borrow my dear friend Amber's style and make a kind of list of them.
1. I hate it when you grate your finger instead of the food. That is my whining over my sports injury. I am calling it a sports injury because I grated it making chili for the guys who are picking their fantasy football picks tonight at church. They will eat my food but not let me play. Does that seem somehow wrong? (I'm actually good with it.)
2. Can you really love God and hate His wife? This is for all of us who tend to be overly critical of God's bride.
3. I was filled with an incredible sense of well-being this morning when I turned on the television and saw college football on multiple channels. It gives me this sense that, at least on Saturdays, life goes on. I think that makes me strange.
4. I love having small children in my kitchen. I got to babysit last night and it did me a world of good, felt peaceful the whole evening.
5. The fair looks exactly the same every year. Even the new booths seem to blend into the atmosphere and seem like they have always been there. Thankful for free tickets!
6. On a similar note, so thankful I passed on the steam mop even though it looked like so much fun at the time. My floor is much too small to justify such an expense. Thank you Karly for rescuing me.
7. I feel like I am in a slump, way too emotional, tired of routine, wanting something I can't put my finger on, maybe to feel useful to my King.
8. Each of my girls is a treasure and time has gone by way too fast.
9. Challenge to self: Spend a week without self-indulgent pity parties. I need to put down this creeping narcissim.
10. Jesus called us to follow Him. I think it's interesting and comforting to know that in Christ even leaders must learn to follow.