Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Clean Enough

I hate it when I'm sick.  I sit in a chair all day and watch HGTV or Hallmark movies until my brain goes numb.  There is no cooking, cleaning or showering going on during these times. 

The last time I wasn't feeling well, I sat in my chair and looked at the so-so clean house and said, "It's clean enough."  As the words came out of my mouth, my heart was quickened by the Holy Spirit...clean enough.

That's an interesting concept...clean enough.  

When I was growing up my mom had a plaque on the wall that read...

My house is clean enough to be healthy
and dirty enough to be happy.

I loved that motto because it was freeing.  That particular saying set the bar pretty low, and let’s be honest...that's where we like it.  There is no effort on our part to step over a low bar unlike a high bar which requires effort and preparation.

Clean Enough may be interpreted differently by each of us.  My clean may not be your clean AND your dirty may not be my dirty.

 King David gives us some clarification in Psalm 51 when he set his bar pretty high.   You'll notice in verse seven there is no mention of "Clean Enough."

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

And in Isaiah 1:16-18 "Clean Enough" is also missing from the washing instructions.

Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

My house may pass the “Clean Enough” test but when it comes to my spiritual life, I want that whiter than snow kinda CLEAN--not just "Clean Enough."  

How about you?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I Love You

As a parent, I remember when my children were young and discipline was necessary, I occasionally showed my disapproval to the offender with stern words or...wait for it....a spanking.  Yes, I was one of those kind of parents. 

That said, I want to go on record and say...discipline is a necessary part of proper development.  But come grandchildren really need to be disciplined?  Is that really necessary?

Not so long ago, I watched as a grandchild was being corrected.  That little fella's face was downcast under the weight of his wrong doing.  He looked in the eyes of his mother while she spoke softly but firmly.  Then it happened...mid-way through the reprimand my grandson threw his arms around his mother's neck and in a broken voice said, "I love you."

I watched this play out from my seat across the room.  My heart melted into a pile of mush thinking it's all over now.  The corner of my mouth turned upward and I relaxed thinking...maybe...just little guy would escape standing in the corner of shame or sitting in the seat of loneliness or the worst possible outcome...the one every grandmother in the world fears the most...the dreaded swat.

I thought, surly my daughter would fold like a cheap house of cards.  How could she keep it together with those chubby arms wrapped around her neck and that sweet face pressed against hers...but as we all know...moms are stronger than grandmas.

My daughter followed through with the necessary discipline.

Correction is never fun...not for the giver nor the receiver.  God's word is pretty clear on this subject.  He corrects those he loves.  That's what Proverbs 3:12 says.

"But don’t, dear friend, resent God’s discipline;
    don’t sulk under his loving correction.
It’s the child he loves that God corrects..."

My grandson, right in the mist of his correction, said the words we should all whisper when corrected, "I love you."  If we could all learn that secret it would take the sting out of correction. 

I'm sixty years old and still under the loving correction of my Heavenly Father and I love Him for it!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Rough Water

In March while on a cruise in the Caribbean with my husband, I woke up and looked out my stateroom window at some very rough water. (actual photo from our cabin window)

Over the past twenty years, I have been on a number of cruises.  Some of these cruises were smooth while others were not.  On this particular morning, I gazed out at the choppy water--unafraid.  I was secure in the knowledge I was safe inside my cabin.  I felt peace, contentment and gratitude that I was not being tossed on the waves just a few feet from where I stood.

The Bible tells the story of the first ever cruise.  This cruise line was not a luxury liner like the one I was on.  It was simply called The Ark.  The second-in-command was a righteous man named Noah.  (We all know who was really in charge aboard The Ark.)  Noah and shipmates were on one of those extended trips lasting months--not days.  His accommodations were far more rustic than mine.  Still, the truth of being secure aboard his ship remains the same as mine.

I won't go into all the typology of The Ark, the flood, the judgment of God or Noah.  I just want to make one point for you to chew on today.

Inside the Ark is safe--outside the Ark is not!

If you feel like you are being tossed about on rough water, are you sure you have checked into your stateroom?  It's not that hard.  Here are easy to follow instructions from Hebrews 4:14-16 in the Message Bible. 

"Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help."

This second photo was taken seconds after the one above.  Sometimes just taking a step back can give us a brand new perspective.   

If you are feeling tossed on the rough waters...don't accept this as normal.

Inside the Ark is safe--outside the Ark is not!

Lord, I'll take the mercy you are offering and accept that help.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Quiet Please

Most of the time, I'm pretty level-headed.  But, when I get nervous things usually go one of two ways; rapid talking or silent observing.  Of these two, the scenario that holds the most regret is the rapid talking.  
When I'm in one of those non-stop, nervous talking modes things are fresh and fluid without proper processing.  The next person that walks in the room may hear all my unfiltered issues come flying out like a bursting dam.    
Then later, when I've had time to process I'll think, what's the matter with me?  Why can't I be quiet? 

I scold myself, Take a breath.  Be a listener.  Be quiet for a minute! 
I've said things similar to these to the preschoolers I teach.  And here I am an adult...completely relating to my impulsive little friends trying so hard to be good listeners, but the words just come bursting forth. 
James 1:19 is God's way of reminding us...Quiet Please!
Remember this, my dear brothers and sisters: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and should not get angry easily.  

We expect those around us to be listeners, but in reality we are not.  And by we...I mean me!

This week you may have to remind yourself as I do my preschoolers, "It's listening time."  

"Quiet Please!"  Is a reminder we all need.  

 What more can I say? 

I guess I'll be quiet now!

Book Release

    The Journals of Tori Drake Click on the book cover to order on Amazon. Book Review: I consumed this book in three days. Although it was ...