Weighing in what’s seen
Wondering what is true
Mind in overtime
Destroyed by the Destroyer
Don’t back down.
In a waiting room.
Weighing in what’s seen
Wondering what is true
Mind in overtime
Destroyed by the Destroyer
Don’t back down.
In a waiting room.
We live in a world of instant answers from Google, fast food and streaming videos. Just about everything is available within a click of a button. So, when things take time and are slow to being seen, we get antsy. We wonder if something is broken or if we aren’t being heard. We get impatient and wonder where our quick result is.
We in turn get aggravated at God when things don’t get answered when we want them to. We wonder if He hears us or even cares. I’ve been studying the life of Abraham with the youth group. I see this faithful man of God had his times of doubt as well. His faith wavered because his promise wasn’t filled by when he expected it to be. His wife Sarah didn’t see the promise come in enough time, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. She thought that she would solve the problem by finding someone else to carry the seed of blessing. But, it wasn’t intended for anyone else to carry it. It was intended for Sarah to carry it, but she didn’t believe that God was going to do what He promised. I see myself doing that a lot, I get very impatient with God and try to solve the problem myself. Boy, do I end up making a mess of things.
If only we would trust God and believe Him. It’s when Abraham and Sarah trusted God that He fulfilled His promise. It was when they least expected it. They were old and worn out, having a child late in life was simply laughable to them. I think God likes to reveal His promises in moments that seem ridiculous or miraculous. Why? Because it shows that it wasn’t anything we did and shows that it had to be God. It’s when we let loose of control and let God do things His way and in His time, that we see results. It’s when we trust Him to take care of things, that He shows up and does. It’s when we believe what He says is true and not doubt Him.
“And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” James 2:23-24 (NLV)
Escaping out of the hot house, I listen to the noises of the night and watch a spider intricately spin it’s web. The evening air cools my sticky skin, while the vast orchestra of crickets soothes my mind with a slow dance. Lightning bugs lift like lanterns in a dusky atmosphere. Birds wings flutter as they nestle in their nests, singing to themselves a quick lullaby. The street light reflects on the silent cars that have finally parked after daily errands.
The spider is on night shift, I sigh in relief, knowing that my day is done. Stillness is necessary in rest. I drown out stillness too much with entertainment. Constant noise arrests my thoughts because it doesn’t want me to be still. The spider sits for a moment waiting for something to get caught in his web. Then he softly cascades downward with another line of thread to cover a larger area. God captures my attention when outside interference is removed. Stillness hushes the worries of the day with promise of a new day approaching. God doesn’t have to yell as loud at me when everything is turned off and I am tuned in.
Is integrity lost in our society? I feel that it is lacking greatly in character among many that I encounter on a day to day basis. It saddens me that the world has become such a self-indulgent monster, devouring whatever lies in the path before or ahead of it. Integrity is defined as the quality of being honest and fair. It’s also defined as a firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. I grew up in a time that we were taught to be mindful of others around us, to give an honest answer, and to be ready to pitch in whenever a job needed to be complete. Now, it seems you have to prod people to notice their behavior, you have to pull teeth for the truth, and you have to beg for something to be done.
Being a mother, I hope that my son will grow to be a man of integrity. I know that I am not perfect, but I hope that the lessons his father and I teach him stick. It worries me that he has to grow up in a world that seems anything but honest. Those who are honest have to question others simply based on the lack of honesty as a whole. This is what happens when God isn’t the center of our lives. My prayer is that people will awaken from this monster of self-indulgence and that they will run away from it; that they will see the need of God being the center. My prayer is that people will diligently seek to be changed by God to where others can’t help but see Him residing in their lives. If we say we are living for Him then why do our fruits stink to high heavens? It’s because we are living for ourselves and not Him. We want the benefits of God but not the sacrifice that comes with it. We would be so much better off if we would yield to God and be his true representatives, don’t you think?
“The godly walk with integrity;
blessed are their children who follow them.
When a king sits in judgment, he weighs all the evidence,
distinguishing the bad from the good.
Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart;
I am pure and free from sin”?
False weights and unequal measures[a]—
the Lord detests double standards of every kind.
Even children are known by the way they act,
whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.”
Proverbs 20:7-11 (NLT)
Do you ever get tired of routines? Do you get tired of being in the same repetition or cycle of difficult circumstances? I personally hate repetition. I don’t even like repeats of movies or television, unless it’s been a really long time since I’ve seen it. I get bored with routine, although I always seem to fall into it. At first routine is comfortable, but then I start to get antsy because I want something different. I’m ready for new things. It may be because I see new life abounding around me because of springtime. It may be because it’s time for some things to change. I know that I’m certainly tired of feeling up against it, but that’s because I try to solve my own problems instead of letting God solve them for me. Pondering all these thoughts lead me to Isaiah 43. The first thirteen verses, God reminds Israel that He is beside them and that He is with them during tough circumstances. He is beside us to save us from these things. In verse eighteen, God says don’t think about the past. And the verse that helps me most today is nineteen, “See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” I’m ready to see the road of escape that God has for me in my wilderness. I’m ready for the living water in my dry routine life. I’ve just got to remember that God is on this life journey with me, He wants me to not forget that He will lead me through it.
I lost a friend last week. I heard the news on Facebook, that an old friend passed away. He just had a birthday a few weeks ago. We never know if it’s going to be our last one, do we? I still consider myself pretty young, I just turned 41. He was 48. I’m not sure what happened, but that’s not the point. The point is an old friend is gone. Throughout the weekend, I remembered some good times we had. He was a very witty guy, he was a great storyteller, he loved animals and music. He was an overall nice guy. He was a friend of me and my husbands when we were dating and first married. He got me my first job out of college, he told us about an opening in his apartment complex when we were looking for a place, so our first place as a married couple was there, and he was in our wedding. Other than the occasional like or messaging on Facebook, we haven’t talked in awhile. Knowing he’s no longer on this earth, just makes it hard to wrap my mind around it. We went to his wake yesterday, it was so quiet. I remember years back that he said he wanted a full gospel African choir to sing at his funeral and weep over his casket. Instead, it was just quiet. His death was sudden and a surprise, I think everyone was still in shock. We didn’t stay for the funeral, we had to get back to work. I’ll always remember the times we had with him though.
Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. ~From a headstone in Ireland
This past weekend, I planned a scavenger hunt for the youth group. The teens had a lot of fun and worked great with their teammates. We had four groups of teams and I had four sections of points for the scavenger list. The first set were pretty simple stunts for five points like running a lap on a track, put away a stray shopping cart, or writing their names on a busy sidewalk. The second set was group photo pictures in various places for ten points each. The third section were riddles to locate different places in town and the surrounding areas, they were fifteen points each. Then lastly was the 20 point stunts, these were the stunts that were intended to get the teens out of their comfort zones. These stunts included things like folding clothes for a stranger at a laundry mat, giving a bouquet of flowers to someone and telling them Jesus loves them, pumping gas for a stranger at a gas station, or visiting someone in a nursing home or hospital.
Each team had a driver who would take them wherever they requested to find their clue, get supplies, or do their stunts. The driver couldn’t suggest anything or give answers to the riddles. The driver was only allowed to drive the team, take pictures of the team for group photos, and make sure they did whatever they checked off their list. I was one of the drivers. My team consisted of two girls and two boys. They did great in planning where to go first, what to do, and what all they needed along the way. One girl automatically took the role of the leader and asked the other teammates if her suggestions were ok with them. They agreed and threw in input whenever they thought of something themselves. The first place the group went was a park, there they did several of the group photos and then they decided to go to Walmart to get supplies for their tasks. I took them to Walmart, when we got there they started putting away stray carts. They put away a ton of them, one of the teens gathered so much; he looked like an employee without the electronic push/pull cart. After that they went inside and got a box of peeps for a group photo, a chocolate bunny to give to someone, and a notepad to write notes of encouragement to stick on a bathroom door stall. After they paid, they wrote their notes and placed them where the list said to. They did several different group photos afterwards and then decided to head to the nursing home. They planned to give the chocolate bunny to an elderly person there. Once we got there, the leader of the group went to a nurse that was standing in the foyer to let her know what we were doing. The nurse asked if we just wanted any random person. The group told her yes. When we came in, I noticed an elderly lady sitting in a chair near the entrance. The nurse pointed at her and said, “She’s a retired school teacher. I’m sure she’d like the gift.” The leader of the group went to the lady and introduced herself. The lady was hard of hearing, she asked what. After the teen tried several times to say what she was wanting to, the lady still couldn’t hear, so I spoke to her loudly. It was kind of funny, since I’m hard of hearing too; we were both speaking loud enough for the whole wing to hear us. Anyway once she understood who we were and what we were doing, she was delighted. The team gave her the chocolate bunny and said they wanted to bless her with an Easter gift. The lady smiled and said, “That is so sweet!” She then told about herself being a schoolteacher and how nice it was to have them bring that to her. She stood up and gave them each a hug and a kiss. They were all smiling as she told them each some little advice and thanked them once again. We said our goodbyes and headed out the door back to the car. All the teens were very moved by that little nice gesture, I was as well. They continued afterwards doing other nice little things, having fun, and working together as a team. I know that the other teams have their own stories to tell as well.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if more of us intentionally did something out of the ordinary to make someone’s day a little brighter? A little act of kindness goes a long way. It’s those moments of giving and sharing that help shine Jesus’ light to others. Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped preaching so much to people and started loving them? I think that’s the best door to open for others to hear you. I know that if I walk into an area where people are ranting, I find an alternative route. Instead, let’s just smile at the people we pass, let’s listen to what they have to say, and let’s humble ourselves and do little acts of kindness to show people they are important. Let’s be like Christ!