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Call in the Dump Truck

Garage_JunkMy husband, Chris (also known as Poppy), has been unable to park his car in the garage all summer due to my unending collection of soon-to-be re-purposed furniture. So, yesterday, when Poppy purchased a newer car, I asked my oldest grandson, Carson, to help me clear a space in the garage for Poppy’s homecoming.

We swept the concrete floor and moved my massive furniture collection into a truck for a future Goodwill drop. At day’s end, drenched in sweat and dirt covered clothes, the garage door was lowered with a sense of accomplishment. The once cluttered space had been cleared for something of greater value than my curbside finds.

I can’t count the number of times my spiritual life, like my garage, has accumulated things of no value. Life travels present us with plenty of opportunity to pick up curbside finds. With no forethought, we purpose grandiose ideas of how these discarded items can be salvaged or repurposed into something of value. And so, like the stockpile of stuff in my garage, we fill our life with things that serve no purpose.

In an attempt to save the masses (curbside finds), we clutter our life with other people’s problems (curbside garbage).

When Chris arrived home with his new ride and opened the garage, he was amazed at the transformation. Carson and I had cleared a space for something of value. There were a few furniture pieces that we kept, but our selection was reserved to items that showed a promise of restoration.

As Christians, there are occasions we need to call in God’s dump truck and empty the accumulated garbage that prohibits spiritual growth and crowds God out of our life. It might be:

• Addictions
• Work
• Anger
• Pleasure
• Busyness
• Relationships

At the end of the day, when you lower the door of your life, will you have a sense of accomplishment or frustration?

God longs to eliminate the clutter in our spiritual life and replace it with things of value. Are you are ready to open the door to God’s spiritual dump truck and unload your curbside finds?

One thing I can promise, when you ask God to clear a space for Him to park within your life, that space will be filled with things of eternal value; things of purpose.

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THE SWORD

cross
This morning one scripture commanded my thoughts as my spirit engaged in quiet time with God.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow, as it judges the thoughts and purposes of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12 NIV

I had memorized and recited this verse since childhood but it wasn’t until today that it stirred me with divine enlightenment. As a Christian, I am aware that the power of God’s written Word imparts change. My daddy was a pastor and in difficult times I would turn to him for guidance. No matter the situation I faced, his counsel was always the same– Get into the Living Word.

What the heck does that mean?

I am nearing 60-years of age and though the daughter of a minister, it wasn’t until today, I understood with divine clarity that I am empowered to become more like Jesus when I hide God’s Word in my heart. Old habits and lifestyles are replaced with new ones that please God and lead to peace and joy.

It is the double-edged sword of God’s Word that pierces through all the refuse we hide in our heart. The sword reveals who we are spiritually and when we get into the Living Word (read, study, and meditate) something supernatural happens. Our carnal passions and appetites are no longer concealed and become subject to judgment.

There is life in God’s Word.

Because it is living, it produces effects. It isn’t compared to just any sword, but to a (sharper than any) double-edged sword that is able to cut through the thick joint of a bone to the inner, soft, living part of the bone (the marrow).

God’s Word reveals the invisible dimension of our life; the natural man (soul) and the spiritual man. Are the “thoughts and intentions of our heart” spiritual thoughts and intentions or only natural thoughts and intentions.

Allow God’s Word to pierce you.

When we get into the Living Word and allow it to pierce our soul, we become acutely aware of our spiritual condition. Will there be marrow and life in our bone, or only a spiritless soul?

Today’s prayer:

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14

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GAG or GROW

(As told by my daddy, Pastor Bill Lobbs)

gagOrGrow

In my growing up years, there were certain household rules we children were expected to follow. They were rules made by Mom and Dad with the good of the family in mind. However, some of them really didn’t make any sense to us as children. For example, Mom’s unchanging rule: you have to eat a little bit of everything served at mealtimes.

You are made to grow.

Most times that presented no problem because Mom was a fabulous cook. But there was one thing she sometimes served that did present a problem. At least it did for me, because I just couldn’t eat it without gagging. Spinach was its name and slick and slimy was its game. Meals with spinach became a time of intense suffering for me. I couldn’t stand the taste of it and just the thought of having to put it in my mouth made me sick.

The goal is growth, the soil is grace.

Mealtimes with spinach became a battle of the wills between Mom and me. Another one of her rules was that until we had eaten everything on our plate, we weren’t allowed to leave the table. Many times, after everyone else had left the table and Mom was doing dishes, I was still sitting there trying to force that spinach down my throat.

I remember her saying, “Eat it; it’s filled with vitamins and nutrition. Your body needs it. It will help you to grow.” In my childish thinking, anything that looked and tasted so bad could not possibly be good for me, no matter how many minerals or vitamins it contained. I thought the logical place for it was the garbage can, but Mom’s presence kept that from happening.

In the years that followed, I learned Mom was right, spinach was good for me. I did need its nutrients and it did help me to grow. Amazingly enough, because of Mom’s persistent I did learn to eat spinach without gagging.

The end of life is not happiness, but growth in character and achievement.

The Heavenly Father promotes growth in His children in much the same manner as a mother. The goal of both is to produce strong, healthy growing children. She wants hers to grow physically; Father God wants His to grow spiritually.

To accomplish this, both know it can require children to be served things they might not like, but are necessary for growth. When it is served we push it away and say,

“I know I’m not going to like this. It’s going to be a problem to me. I don’t want it, take it away.”

 But Father God says,

“I know you don’t want it. I know it’s going to be a problem to you. But it is good for you. It will help you to grow spiritually.”

When problems are served up in their life, many people believe God is mad at them, or perhaps He has abandoned them. They think they must be out of His will or those things wouldn’t be happening to them. But that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes it is within the will of God for us to experience problems in our life.

“Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the thick of what Christ experienced. This is the spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” I Peter 4:12-13, (The Message)

God’s scripture doesn’t reveal everything we would like to know on the subject of problems, but He does have valid reasons for allowing problems to be served up in the lives of His children. At the time, we may not understand His reasons; but afterwards, we find it was always for our good.  Each problem promoted spiritual growth and enlarged us in ways we never thought possible.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28

Let me share a personal word with you.

In those moments when everything seems to be against you, when you feel abandoned and question God’s presence, I say this: take heart and heart look up. God is at work in your life. He is behind the scenes leading, directing and molding your life and using these problems to do it.

If you are encountering struggles, hardships, obstacles and problems in your life, remember this:

·         It is struggles that make a person strong.

·         It is hardships that make a person an overcomer.

·         It is obstacles that provide a person with the greatest opportunity to excel.

·         It is problems that develop and direct us.

Andre Crouch wrote about this in his song entitled: Through it All.

I’ve had many tears and sorrows, I’ve had questions for tomorrow; there have been times I didn’t know right from wrong. But in every situation, God gave blessed consolation that my trials come only to make me strong.

I thank God for the mountains I thank Him for the valleys

I thank Him for the storms He brought me through. For if I’d never had a problem I wouldn’t know that He could solve them I’d never know what faith in God can do.

Through it all — through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus; I’ve learned to trust in God. Through it all — through it all, I’ve learned to depend upon His Word.