Wednesday, June 27, 2018

"Let me carry that for you."

Spring is yard work time, and I've sure done my share of yard work these past months.   I've shopped at a few stores so many times for yard stuff that I think the cashier may know me by name.  When I go through the checkout line after shopping, it doesn't matter if the items I'm purchasing are two hanging plants and a pair of gardening gloves or three bags of cement with 8-foot pieces of lumber, it almost never fails that the cashier will ask, "Do you need help carrying that to the car?"
 I normally say, "No, thanks."  Not because I don't need the help, but because I'm rather impatient waiting for help to arrive.  On the few occasions that I have enlisted the help of the store, they usually direct me to go wait somewhere for the promise of help to arrive.    

Waiting...doesn't usually bring out my better qualities.   

Yet, I have waited...and waited...and waited.  I think you get the picture.

But when the help finally arrives, I'm glad that it's some young guy who is lifting the six 40-pound bags of salt into the back of my van.  

I can't help but wonder, do I do the same thing with the Lord?  He says, "Let me carry that for you."  But I scrutinize the situation taking in all the factors. 

  • Do I really need to bother the Lord with this?  Surely, I can handle it on my own.
  • How long will I have to wait for the Lord's help? Is this one of those lessons in patience.  Lord, did You mean, now, right now--You'll carry that for me, NOW?
  •  What will people think if I ask for help?  I'm weak.  I can't let that happen.  I've got to buck-up and carry this all on my own!  People are watching.
Does Jesus really wants to carry our burdens?  In Psalm 68:19 The Lord refutes every excuse I can come up with when it comes to carrying my own burdens.    

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior,
who daily bears our burdens.

Humm?  Why am I making more work for me than necessary?  Why would I carry burdens, when someone is willing to carry them for me?  What do I have to prove?

My prayer and you may want to pray it today too!

"Lord, I don't want to carry this burden another moment!  You said, 'Let me carry that for you.'  So, here it is.  Take it.  It's all yours.  Oh, and one more thing…I'll be back tomorrow."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Building Up The Temple

Image result for how can I helpThere's a song I've sung since I was a kid, and I still sing it with the preschool class I teach on Wednesday nights.  It's called Building Up The Temple.  Do you remember that one?  

The children love this song because the hand motions are fun and the words repetitive.  When singing this song, I look to the left and to the right with my hands cupped on the sides of my mouth to say, "Sister, won't you help me.  Brother, won't you help me."  And the children smile and giggle with delight.

With children, as young as three and four, there is joy in service.  The thought of being a helper, contributing to the betterment of the group, and doing a good thing is very appealing.

How about us?  Do we have the same joy when called on "Sister, won't you help me.  Brother, won't you help me.  Building up the temple of the Lord?"

In Romans 15:1,2 in The Message Bible it says it like this...

Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status.  Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?

It's easy to point out what needs to be done or how it could be done better.  But when was the last time you built up the Temple of the Lord by asking...“How can I help?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

No! No!

We have a dog and she's pretty my husband.  Okay.  He's crazy in love with the dog, but I'll save that for another devotional.

Recently, we were getting ready to leave town for a few days, so I moved the dog's dishes to the kitchen.   This would make it easier for our daughter-in-law to manage the feeding and watering of the dog while we were gone.

I placed the dog's dishes under a bench in the kitchen to keep them near, yet not to easy for little hands to reach.  The moment I sat those dishes down in the kitchen, our 20-month old grandson walked over to the bowls.  He stood and observed them, one bowl with water and one with dog food.  He knew immediately that those two bowls did not belong under that bench.

As I watched him, he did an amazing thing.  He pointed his finger at the bowls and shook his head, No! No!  I was shocked…and proud.  I said, "Good boy.  That's right.  Don't touch the dog's food. No! No!"

Why did he know those dishes were a No! No!?  Because he had been warned before--multiple times that touching the dog's dishes was wrong.   Even though the bowls had changed locations, the rules had not changed.  Touching these bowls was forbidden.

No! No!

There is a verse in Psalm 119:66 (NLT) that I love.  

 "I believe in your commands; 
now teach me good judgment and knowledge."

My little grandson has only been on this earth for 20-months and in those 20-months he has been on a quest for knowledge.  He had been told multiple times not to touch the dogs dishes and finally that truth was realized.  He came face to face with the desire of any little toddler boy--two bowls on the floor at his level and within his reach.  One bowl was filled with water and the other filled with little brown nuggets, yet the boy was able to exercise good judgment.

He listened to the training of someone he trusted.  His mother and grandmother had told him, don't touch and now he was using good judgment.

You may be wondering how in the world could this be applicable to your life.

Here's how...we all need good judgment and knowledge as we navigate through life.  God's Word is our guide.  Look at this prayer that the apostle Paul prayed over the Church at Philippi.

I pray that your love will overflow 
more and more, and that you will 
keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.
For I want you to understand what really matters,
so that you may live pure and blameless lives
until the day of Christ’s return.
(Philippians 1:9-10 NLT)

I wish I could tell my 20-month old grandson that in 20-years, he'll know everything and he won't be tempted to ever 'put his hand in the dog's dishes' again, but alas, we are all works in progress.  

Look again at what Paul said,  Keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.  For I want you to understand what really matters.

Next time you are tempted to be disobedient, without saying a word, just shake your head No! No! as a reminder to you, and you alone, that the words you are about to say or type are not edifying, or that thing you are about to do is not expedient.  

No! No!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Martha, Be Quiet Already!

The worship service was beautiful.  The music was playing, voices were lifted up in praise all around me.  My eyes were pinched closed and my hands lifted.  The lyrics of the song were intermittently mingled with words of praise.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Right there in the midst of all that glorious worship, my mind was making a list of things I needed to do later that day.  I'm sad to say, this was not my first experience with a wandering mind in church, but the real shocker was what happened next which was an absolute first.

I was praising the Lord, and all the sudden my mental list reached my lips and became mingled with my praise.  I kid you not.  It was horrifying.

It went something like this, "Thank you, Lord.  I worship your name.  Send that email."  As the words exited my lips, I opened my eyes in dread hoping no one heard me.  A real sense of shame flooded my heart.  How could I allow this to happen?

The story of Martha asking Jesus to make her sister Mary get up and get busy came rushing into my mind.  I could almost hear Jesus saying to me, "Mary has chosen that which is better."

In this very familiar Bible story from Luke 10, I've often thought that Martha get's a bad rap.  If it's not for the Martha's in this world (the people like me) nothing would ever get done.

But at that very moment, I had to speak firmly to the dominate side of me.  We'll call her Martha.

"Martha, be quiet already!"

At that moment, I was ashamed that the teeny-tiny Mary side of me had been pushed right out of the way.

It's not easy for a person like me who likes to check boxes and cross things off her list to sit at the feet of Jesus, but how can I argue with Jesus.   "Mary has chosen that which is better."

Well here, read it for yourself.  (Luke 10:38-41)

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don't  you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Hum?  So, how busy are you today?  If you're anything like me, you may have to say these words on a daily basis, "Martha, be quiet already!"

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