Monday, April 28, 2008

A Naaman Complex

Recently my husband asked me to do a few things, and I have to admit that my response wasn't too good. There’s nothing glorious nor grand about wiping down cupboards, washing ceiling fan fixtures and especially about scrubbing hard water marks out of toilets, but they are things that need to be done, and they do fall into the things I'm responsible for. You see, I have a Naaman complex.

Naaman was angry because the prophet Elisha wouldn’t even come out to speak to him, and he was a great, important man. Too many times I get caught up in my own importance, which is truly laughable because I’m not great, nor important, to anybody except maybe my family. Just like Naaman, I tend to stand there and sputter and fume about why I need to do such menial tasks.

So Naaman raced away in his chariot. Thankfully he had wise servants who helped him see how silly he was being and the result was that he went to the Jordan River. Did he quit when he saw no results after going under six times? If he had, he would’ve died a leper. Did he understand why it had be seven times? Did he moan about seven? Did he try to bargain it down to five? The Bible just says he dipped himself seven times as he was instructed to. Like Naaman, I don’t need to know why, I just need to obey, without moaning or bargaining.

For Naaman, it came down to complete obedience. He had faith, why else would he have undertaken such a long journey? But faith without obedience would have left him a leper. I have faith, but if I don’t obey God my faith will grow cold.

For the Christian, the secret to our spiritual growth lies in obedience. That means being faithful in the multitude of little things because it’s through obeying in the mundane and menial things, that we learn faithfulness for the bigger things. If I won't do the simple things my husband has asked me to do, things that make perfect sense to me, will I do the things God asks me to do--things that make no sense to me?

Even though I may start like Naaman did, fuming and raging because things aren’t going as I expected and because I’ve been asked to do some things that I don't want to do, I'm going to make sure I end like Naaman did: faithfully obeying.

Naaman's account is found in 2 Kings 5:1-14.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Poison Ivy

I have a couple of kids that catch poison ivy very easily and one of them is my teen daughter. Living in the country like we do, there's an abundance of it but they know where most of it is and know to stay away from it. Right now the leaves are just popping out so I was surprised when she came to me and showed me her blisters.

“Mom, why do I get it and you don't?”

I had to laugh at her question. “Because I don't go where the poison ivy is and you do.”

It was no sooner out my mouth then God flashed the neon 'Duh!' sign He has just for me.

Why do some things effect me that don't bother or effect my Christian sisters? Because I go where poison ivy is and they don't.

It's made me, once again, consider where I walk. Am I tip toeing through poison ivy hoping and praying I don't get it? It would be so much better if I just stayed away from areas where I know the poison ivy grows!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Lesson in Lilac

This morning was filled with shuttling children and running errands, and because it's so nice, all the van windows were open. Sitting at a stop sign I smelled lilacs, and they were heavenly. I quickly looked around for the lilac bush, but I couldn't spot it. Over an hour later I was back in the neighborhood, picking up my girls, and I made sure to go the same way so I could enjoy those lilacs. I never did spot the fragrant bushes, but I decided I want to be just like them.

As people come in contact with me, or even just pass through my neighborhood, I want them to smell the sweet fragrance of Jesus in my life. I want them to choose to pass my way again, simply to savor that fragrance, even if they don't know the understand the source.

Lord, I want to be a fragrant aroma to You, sweet and pleasing and acceptable to You. I pray the aroma of my life would draw others to You, the source of everything.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”
2 Corinthians 2:14-15

Monday, April 21, 2008

Following the Directions

It's taken me several days, but as you can see, I've managed to change the layout of my blog. Do you like it? I would've crashed and burned, and lost everything if I hadn't found (read this: God led me to) a site that was able to step me through the process—in understandable detail. Otherwise, I would've been pulling out my hair (and worse) just to lose it all. (The site's link is on the left!)

That's how the Bible is in our lives. The Bible, God's Word, gives us directions for living. We need to thoroughly read and reread the directions, and follow them each step of the way. God walks us through the steps and He holds our hands through the sticky parts, making it so we don't crash and burn and lose everything.

By following His instructions we can make the changes needed in our lives and live to glorify our Savior.

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet,
And a light to my path.”
Psalm 119:105
(NAS)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Dead-falls Dam

This last winter a lot of branches came down in the strong winds we had. Now those branches are being picked up by the flooding and are being added to other dead-falls that are trapped, causing dams, which are slowing down the drainage of the flood waters.

Those dead-falls reminded me of sin. How many dead-falls are in my life, slowing down and even stopping the movement of the Spirit? I want the Spirit to have free reign in my life, which means I need to clean out and remove everything that will hinder Him. Sin acts like a dam and it has got to go.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 (NAS)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Frosted Blossoms

Well, last night we got our annual late frost. The nectarine and peach tress were blossoming but the frost got those. I love watching things bloom in the spring and I hated seeing those blossoms die instead of maturing into fruit, but I know things happen for a reason. For the fruit trees, the frost thinned out the many blossoms allowing the tree to focus its energy on fewer, but larger fruit.

Many times I've started things and God has sent a frost and killed those blossoms. It wasn't that the things I was doing was bad, it was just a thinning out process so that other things could grow and mature into bigger and better fruit for the Lord.

The thinning process isn't fun nor easy, but if you want a beautiful crop of large fruit it's necessary. Personally, I would rather have a few large, tasty pieces of fruit than small, wormy pieces.Photobucket

“...and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2b

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Green Glow

The other day we all went to the lumber yard and I thoroughly enjoyed getting out with the family. As we drove down the highway the sun peeked out for a few moments, illuminating the trees and I was able to see what had been hiding right in front of me.

The trees were still barren, but when the sun hit them they glowed green. The green that makes you know there's life there, even though all appears to be dead.

Lord, when people look at my life, do they see the green of Your Spirit living in me, or do they just see the barrenness of life without You? Help me to grow and glow so that they see You in my life. Let them see the light of Your love shining in me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Lasting Beauty

I love spring, and one of the things I love is seeing all the daffodils blooming in the middle of nowhere. They were planted generations ago by ladies who loved beauty, and those flowers are still there, blooming every spring, long after the women are gone.

The ladies who planted those daffodils all those years ago still have an impact on the world. They're still making this a beautiful place to live, even though they're no longer here to enjoy it or even nurture it. That's what I want for my life. I want to leave lasting beauty for those coming after me. How do I do that? By planting flower bulbs? I could. But it only takes one pass of a tractor or bulldozer to put an end to their beauty.

Those daffodils remind me that I need to be planting seeds for eternity. Seeds that can grow, bloom and multiply long after I'm gone. Those are blooms that will last forever, not just for a season.

********

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunbathing Turtles

Here's for you, Laury:

Photobucket
May we always remember to follow the Son
and to soak up the Sonshine!
See you on the Sonny side!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Turtles and Pear Trees

On the way to church yesterday evening, we went past a pond that we've passed hundreds of times. When I saw shiny lumps lining the north bank I did a double-take, knowing there had never been rocks there before. It was a crowd of turtles sunning themselves, but they were only on the north banking. It made me chuckle, until I realized just how smart they were.

I was still marveling over them when we drove down Main Street, which is lined with pear trees that are beautiful in the spring. The trees on the north side of the street were in full bloom, but those on the south side were just beginning to blossom. I found the answer much faster the second time around, and not only did I marvel, but I was filled with the desire to be in a position where I could soak up the Son and begin to bloom.

I want the advantage of the southern exposure, and like those turtles, I'm able to move and follow the Son. I don't have to miss a moment of Sonshine!

I'll see you on the Sonny side.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Daffodils


As we drove into town my six year old asked why everyone else had pretty daffodils in their yards but we didn't.

“Because you have to plant them and we haven't planted any.”

So many times I've asked the same thing. “Lord, why don't I have ____ in my life?”

And God's response was like mine to my son. “Because you have to plant it and nurture it to have it.”

********
“If your seek her as silver,
and search for her as for hidden treasures;
then you will discern the fear of the LORD,
and discover the knowledge of God.”
Proverbs 2:4-5 (NAS)

“But if any of you lacks wisdom,
let him ask of God,
who gives to all men generously and without reproach,
and it will be given to him.”
James 1:5 (NAS)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Morning Rain

How many times has it happened that just as it gets light enough to really start doing something outside, it clouds up and rains.

Life often does the same thing to us.

Just as life appears to lighten up so we can actually do something, a storm will blow in and the rain starts, stopping us from what we wanted to do. Is it that what we were going to do is bad? Not necessarily. Is it that God likes to rain on our parade? No. The rain cleanses the air and waters the earth so things can grow, and when the sun comes out again, everything appears brighter--it even smells better. Those are good things and they apply to life's storms, too.

So, when life rains on us, remember that when it passes we'll be refreshed and brighter for it. We can't grow without rain to water us.
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