Looking Through the Lens of Contentment

What is your word for the year?

How often do we get lured in by what looks good only to realize we’ve short-changed ourselves and gotten a worthless emotional fix at the expense of a truly satisfying yet maybe less flashy object? That must-have kitchen gadget that now sits gathering dust. Last year’s expensive fashion accessory you just put in the box to Goodwill because it’s out of style. The latest fad self-help book that was no help at all because you simply need Jesus, not a formula.

Distractions abound. We clutter our houses with stuff which takes time away from people. Bling entices us. The new movie release calls our name. Pinterest projects tempt us. Our long range “To Do” list gets longer instead of getting completed. Books pile up on the shelf and in the app waiting to be read. The latest diet or exercise fad promises a new us, new life, hope. We take expensive vacations, yet we return home needing to rest up from them. We feel the call to buy more, do more, get more, go more. More, more, more distractions!

man-walking-on-the-empty-street-3289156.jpgWe try to fill the emptiness in our soul with these distractions. We seek relief, escape from that dark, scary void. We long to matter. But an ache so deep cannot be filled by material stuff. These distractions are simply packaging popcorn we use to try to fill the gaps in our soul. What we really need is a relationship with our Creator which amply supplies all that we long for and brings self-acceptance and meaning to our souls. We need the Father’s perspective which yields satisfaction, contented lives of faith, and all one needs to face the road ahead without fear.

As I was seeking my Word for the Year this December, the Father surprised me. The word He gave me is Content. Not success, or joy, or hope or any of a number of great things. Simply, Content. As my flesh seeks for thousands of things to comfort and fill the void in my heart, my spirit longs to say with the Apostle Paul, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12)

Have you learned that secret?

Contentment yields the strength we need because we are resting in Christ. In the very next verse Paul said, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” And we can too. We can live contently in plenty or in want – whatever our circumstances are if we are content in Christ. Why? Not because we are denying our problems, but because as Paul goes on to say in verse 19, “my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Because we know that God Himself will meet all our needs.

Do you know that?

Do you have contentment? Are you seeking it?

In 1 Timothy 6, Paul again mentions contentment. He talks to his young disciple, Timothy,  about godly teaching, people who cause unhealthy controversies, quarrels, and strife, and people who seek financial gain. He reminds Timothy in verse 6, that, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” So as we grow in godliness this year, let’s add contentment and experience this great gain. What gain? Maybe more peace. More compassion. More usable time because we aren’t bound up being a care-taker of all our possessions and close-up-of-eyeglasses-256273distractions. A greater ability to hear from the Lord as we sit in contentment at His feet. An ability to see with spiritual eyes the the direction to take on the paths before us.

Sometimes our physical eyesight gets bad and we need to get glasses. Uncertainty abounds from not being able to see clearly. Sometimes our spiritual eyesight gets blurred as well and we need a new lens to look through. Sometimes we are blinded by the glare of the world. Whether your vision is blurred or you need some sunglasses to see through the glare, contentment will be a new lens for you. Try it on and see if it doesn’t help.

Maybe contentment is a primary need of your heart, like mine. As you seek the focus you need for this new year, as you pick your “word for the year” or “verse for the year,” consider the word content. Look up the scriptures on contentment. It may be just the focus you need. It will definitely send you down a new path.

Whatever your word or verse is this year, please share with us in the comments below. Others may be encouraged by what you share.

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Prepare Him Room

When the children were little we had a small, wooden manger that sat beside the fireplace for the entire holiday season. Next to it was a bin of hay. Each time a child did a kindness for someone He got to add a handful of hay to the manger. The children knew that as they were acting in love toward another, they were preparing a place for Jesus to come on Christmas morning. The child-friendly lesson was simple and based on scripture: “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:40

A very familiar Christmas carol encourages us to “let every heart prepare Him room.” Are we? Preparing Him room in our hearts and homes and lives? Are we, coming in child-like faith and laying down a full, soft bed of hay for the baby Jesus through our generous and kind acts of love and service to the world around us?

That same carol proclaims, “Joy to the world the Lord is come!” Does your life proclaim joy to the world? Does it reflect that all joy is because the Lord has come? Does our daily behavior encourage the those around us to “let earth receive her King”?

This Christmas, may you find joy in the Lord. May you prepare Him room in your life and in your home. May your actions draw the people you come in contact with to come receive the King!

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Give Thanks in All Things

Father we come to you today with grateful hearts. No matter our situation, we choose to be thankful.

Thank you for the sun and the rain, the crispness of fall and the varied joys of temperature changes.

Thank you for the breath of life in our lungs this moment as we read this.

Thank you for the beauty around us: trees, aromatic flowers, exotic animals and cuddly pets, art and music and architecture you have allowed man to make, the face of a baby, clouds and soaring birds. Allow our hearts to find beauty in whatever situation we find ourselves.

Thank you for hardships that strengthen us.

Thank you for relationships where we can show love and tenderness and know we had a purpose in that moment to help and comfort.

Thank you for food and tastes and the bounty we celebrate this day.

Thank you for Your Word that speaks truth to every situation we face.

Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to die on a cross as a sacrifice for our sin so that we may have eternal life.

Amen

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What Does a Christian Marriage Look Like?

Part 4

As I revealed in Part 3, my husband and I heard Gary Thomas speak at a retreat on Sacred Marriage a few years ago. Two of the ideas he put forth changed our marriage. Today we’ll cover the second idea. When we can grasp this and keep it in our minds we will treat each other differently. Respectfully. Valuing each other. Loving as Christ loved. But when we forget, we get in a “crazy cycle.”

This second idea is simple:

2. View your spouse as God’s own child.

Your first reaction may be, “Well of course I view him that way. We’re all God’s children.” Or maybe, “That’s too simplistic. What difference does that thought make?” Or maybe even, “Lady, I’ve got real problems in my marriage. Tell me some hands-on tips to help.” I understand. We reject easy things because they seem too simple to offer any real help.

But let me share our experience.

As my husband and I drove home from Asheville after that marriage retreat at The Cove, we talked about this concept extensively. On a day-to-day basis we looked at each other as just another human. A person of flesh and blood. A person affected by stress and their own personal issues. A person who sinned and sought God. A person who was often selfish and unkind.

While that is normal, it is not totally accurate. We humans are more than just flesh and blood, thoughts and action, sins and good deeds. We are spiritual creatures created in the image of God. Not just my husband and I, but you every person on this earth (saved and 69001-creationofadammichelangelodetail-wikimedia.1200w.tnunsaved, American or from any other nation, male and female, and people of every race) bears the Imago Dei. This image of God in us is a reflection of His divine nature and unique characteristics and qualities that make us different from any other living creature. We are rational, creative, self-aware, and able to go beyond what seems physically possible all because we were made in the image of God. (Check out this article from Christianity.com for further info.)

 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27

 

On top of that, we who claim to be Christ-followers, Christians, have become adopted children of God Almighty. We become children of God at the time of our salvation and are brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ Himself. You are God’s child. Your Sunday school teacher is God’s child. Your grocery store clerk who knows Christ is God’s child. That co-worker who knows Christ is God’s child. And Your husband or wife who is a believer is God’s child too, just like you.

So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Galatians 4:7

So God not only made your husband in His image, your husband is also God’s little boy whom He loves dearly.

Now think for a minute as if God were a human walking this earth. The day you wed, you married the son of someone very important! God’s very own child. God became your father-in-law on that day. God, who knows all,  because He’s omniscient you know, knows how you teat His child. He knows when you’re kind and considerate toward him and when you’re… not. He knows when you use your mouth to pray for him and when you use it to shout at him. He knows when your heart is hateful toward him or tender. Your father-in-law is aware of your behavior and thoughts. And He is a very important person. He is the God of the universe, the One who created you!

As my husband and I talked through this whole concept I began to feel small and embarrassed. It was one thing just to be fussing at a man, but I had been fussing at God’s child! I had been discouraging God’s child by my words and behavior. I had belittled God’s child and wounded him and not supported the ministry God had given him, and I had not forgiven him when he wounded me. How could I of flesh and blood presume not to forgive God’s child when Father God had forgiven me so great a debt! As we allowed ourselves to meditate on this idea, and this concept to deeply resonate through us it was extremely humbling. It was a behavior-changing moment.

The next few weeks after we returned home found my husband and I behaving more gently, lovingly, and circumspectly toward each other. The problem with us humans, is that we that we are sinful and selfish by nature, and we are forgetful hearers. We hear a lesson from God’s mouth through a godly speaker straight to our heart. We are intent on learning it. However, we shortly forget and fall back into our sinful, selfish habits.

The good news is this: The Father wants us to live a new life even more than we want to for ourselves. So Father God sends us reminders of those lessons we learned and forgot. I get regular reminders that my Sweetie is God’s precious little boy, and I am humbled once again and reminded to treat my Man as the Beloved of the Father, an important Son of the King of Kings, and not just as any ole piece of flesh that we humans so easily disregard and devalue. No matter how old they are or what they did or didn’t do – they are God’s dear child.

In light of these thoughts I encourage you to write this idea down if needed and think on it. It will change the way we treat our spouses when we remember that 1) they are created in God’s image and 2) they are God’s very own little child. As our thoughts change, our behavior toward that mate will change as well.

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Construction Zone: Fans & Fixtures

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

When the new houses across the street from me are being built there is an order, a process. Although the flooring and countertops and fixtures are what makes a house complete, those things are not part of step one. First, there is measuring and digging for the foundation. Then laying pipe and pouring the foundation. Afterwards comes a string of other things that I, not being a builder, have no concept of the order. Things like studs, wiring, sheetrock, paint, etc. Then at long last the decoration of the structure is allowed to begin.

action-digging-equipment-2058738.jpgJust like a skilled builder, God is a god of order as he makes our lives into new living structures. He comes in and digs up the dirt, excavates the heart. Then he slowly and precisely builds the foundation before a wall is ever erected. The difference with God building our lives is that it’s not just a three, six, or nine month project. The excavating may take years. The foundation may take years. Erecting the physical structure may take years. Are you getting a picture here?

When we first come to know Christ we want the transformation He offers. We want our old mess made into a totally new creation. But we want it overnight! To continue my metaphor, we want to purchase a manufactured home, already completed and ready to move right in. But that is not what the Master Builder of our lives has in mind. He doesn’t just want a sudden beautiful structure to appear; He wants a structure built to last and made of quality materials that will display His glory and operate in excellent fashion.

So while we are eagerly wanting to pick out the light fixtures and ceiling fans, Our Father is saying, “Hold your horses! We have a bow in this wall right here. The floor isn’t level in the back, and the basement has to be sealed properly before we can go any further.”

Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes order in the heights of heaven.   Job 25:2

We chomp at the bit to be finished new creations. While that is a noble desire, it is also naive. In our youthful exuberance, like a kid waiting on Christmas morning to arrive, we want to be completed now. We want to be used for His glory now. Have a glorious ministry now. Be known for our deep faith and wisdom now. When we have a storm in our life we don’t really like those verses about “waiting on the Lord,” and we certainly don’t like those verses when we are so eagerly wanting to be “grown” in the Lord.

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Rev. 21:5

As the years have passed, I am slowly learning to love the process. I’m learning that each season brings slow progress. Just looking at the passing days one at a time, it seems that I’m not being re-made in His image at all. But looking back over the years I can see the progress: the years He dug anger out of my heart, the years He poured faith into my foundation through a storm that seemed to be destroying me, the lifetime He has brought me into His lap to teach me while I didn’t even notice the massive construction going on around me. Looking back at that first slab I was seems like another lifetime. chandelier-2523029_1280.pngToday as I look I see a cozy little cottage taking shape. There’s still numerous projects going on, some I like, some I don’t. And who knows when or if I’ll ever get to install those beautiful chandeliers I dream of. But the Builder gets to pick the time and the pace and the design, I just need to cooperate. I know I’ll love it once I see it from the perspective of a new heaven and a new earth.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
     a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

 

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3

The Book of Job, Infertility & God’s Purposes

by guest author Jennifer Jordan

(Republished with permission from Jennifer Jordan. Originally published Friday, January 15, 2010 on her personal blog.)

Job – what an example!

This week I’ve been studying the book of Job. I must confess that it’s not my favorite book to read. I think because of the “poeticness” of how it’s written. I did, however, read EVERY chapter!

In the beginning of the story, Job had it all – tons of family and friends, wealth, and loads of farm animals. But then without warning, it’s all taken away. Why? We know, as 035_Story_Of_Job1readers, that God and Satan had worked out a deal, but Job and his friends go all around the world blabbing, trying to figure it out. God knew that Job would not sin against Him, but that doesn’t mean that Job didn’t become angry or frustrated. Job’s friends and family thought they had the answers – saying that it must be his sin or something he had done. They seem to go on and on and on about what all Job must do to get things right and back to “normal” with God. They were trying to figure out the “why” of Job’s affliction.

I feel I can somewhat relate to Job. I haven’t had all the loss or any diseases that Job had, but I have gone through a phase in my life where I wondered, “Why?” Through my struggles with infertility, I, too, felt like Job. Just like Job, I had no warning. Just like Job, I had friends and family that suggested “how to fix it.” Like – you must have done something (sin) that has caused this or you must not be reading the Bible enough or praying enough or even you must not be “doing” it right.

It was not until the very last chapters of Job (when God finally speaks up) that I got it. I can just see God listening to Job and his friends’ conversations thinking “oh my goodness!” I love it when God finally speaks up and says, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) (BTW, after God speaks to them…they are silent!) How many times do we try to “figure things out” without seeking God’s knowledge and considering that His ways are for a specific purpose? Job and his friends had drawn conclusions about why he had gone through all his afflictions without even thinking about the hidden knowledge and purpose of God.

128-1.gifI think Job finally got it too. He says, “I know that you (God) can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:2) And then later on Job says, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you… .” (Job 42:5)

I would have never, ever asked to go through infertility. I believe Job would have never asked to go through all he did. But if he had not gone through it, then Job (nor I) would have ever “seen” or known God in such an intimate way.

Tears come to my eyes when I think about how Job found favor with God throughout this whole book. Even though Job was frustrated and angry, he never sinned against God. My ESV Study Bible makes reference to this by saying, “This is probably because Job never lost his earnest desire to appear before God, and his words are testimony to that.” That makes me stop and examine myself. I can’t say that through all my frustration and anger with God and others that I have not sinned, but I’m so very thankful that He forgives, gives mercy, and loves me anyway!

In summary, I love what my study Bible says about the purpose of Job’s story. “The book of Job reminds God’s people that they have an enemy (Satan) who will denounce them, and, through the ignorance of Job’s friends, it helps the faithful to remember at all times how small a part of any situation is the fragment that they see. This equips believers to trust and obey amid life’s perplexities and it enables the faithful to support and encourage one another in a spirit of tenderness and humility.” (ESV Study Bible)

Though I didn’t choose infertility, I am thankful that God has shown Himself faithful and sovereign to me. I have learned to put my trust in Him, knowing that He has a plan and can see farther than I can even imagine. I am thankful for God’s Word, which I have learned to lean on daily. I believe that He WILL bless me and David with a child. I don’t know when, but I will continue to praise Him, trust Him and WAIT for Him, knowing that today I am one day closer!

What His Word reminds me…

Psalm 27:14 “WAIT for the LORD; be strong and take heart and WAIT for the LORD.”

Psalm 130:5 “I WAIT for the LORD, my soul WAITS, and in his word I put my HOPE.”

Romans 8:25 “But if we HOPE for what we do not yet have, we WAIT for it patiently.”

Jennifer Jordan

(Editor’s Note: Jennifer and David have indeed been blessed with a child since she wrote this article. Two, in fact! God loves to bless us in His time. Isaiah 64:4 tells us, “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”)

Your October 31 Assignment

Pumpkins are carved, candy bought, costumes chosen with persnickety detail and maybe just a few tears and whines. While trick-or-treaters go door-to-door tonight and churches offer fall festivals for those who don’t want to embrace the evil side of this secular “holiday,” most people never think of the religious roots and implications of this day. I know very little myself, not having been raised in a denomination that celebrates All Saints Day (November 1).

I was actually a young adult with children before I came to realize that this day of the year, this season, held more importance than just a day for kids to dress up and get candy. This “kids holiday” really holds a great deal of importance for Christians. I won’t bore you with my limited knowledge when a quick Google search can offer so much more, so I’ll just give you your assignment. (Feel free to CLEP out of this if you were educated about these religious events and observances.) But the rest of you – Put on your thinking caps and get those fingers typing, searching these important things:

All Saints Day, All Hallow’s Eve, Reformation Day, Martin Luther (NOT Martin Luther King), Ninety-five Theses, Wittenburg, Germany, and maybe even the roots of the word holiday.

That should give you some food for thought for the next few days to keep you from eating all that candy the kids have! 😉 You can thank me later!

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What Does a “Christian” Marriage Look Like?

Part 3 – Happiness & Holiness

From the day of the wedding it is obvious. We’re different, husbands and wives that is. The picture above sums it up nicely without 1,000 words – we wear the white gowns and they the black tuxes. But that’s just the beginning of the differences. They build relationships by shared activity, we women more often by… you know the answer, … talking. They want just the facts, we have to share the whole story. They see the world through a totally different paradigm. That doesn’t make them wrong and us right, nor vice versa. It makes us, together, a great team with differing strengths, perspectives, and ideas, equipped by the Father to do the work He has prepared in advance for us to do.

However, it can be difficult to appreciate the differences when you are each coming at the same dilemma from two opposite points of view, and neither of you wants to give in. This is often the downfall of married couples. We begin to see decisions, trials, and everyday difficulties, home repairs and such, as battlegrounds where we fight to have our way. We can become more interested in gaining ground and having the power balance leaning in our favor, than in working toward a resolution, in compromising, and in being unified in living out Christ’s purpose for our marriage. We struggle to find that elusive happiness in marriage that all the Disney princess movies seemed to promise. That “happily ever after” that was supposed to be marriage.

Several years ago my husband and I heard Gary Thomas speak at a retreat on Sacred Marriage. The ideas he put forth that weekend greatly impacted our perspective on marriage. Specifically two really big take-away concepts. (The first one I’ll cover today.) When we can grasp them and keep them in our minds we treat each other differently. Respectfully. Valuing each other. Loving as Christ loved. But when we forget them, we get in that “crazy cycle” that Emerson Eggerichs talks about in His book Love and Respect (a topic for another day). You all know the crazy cycle I’m sure, whether you have read about it or not!

The two ideas we grasped help us to live out a marriage with a spirit of unity, living in one accord on a daily basis. The first idea is this:

  1. What if God designed marriage to make us holy rather than to make us happy?

So let me ask you, what IF God put you in that difficult marriage to make you holy? Are you willing to live it walking hand-in-hand with the Father even if it doesn’t make you happy?

When I started contemplating this question it was like I came to a fork in the road. I suddenly had to make a choice, was I willing to be unhappy and not have things always be my way in order to conform to God’s will? This question has since permeated my life beyond my marriage, but we’ll stick to how it relates to our marriages today. Am I more interested in God purifying me and molding me and refining me than I am in my own comfort? Holiness versus comfortable happiness, which would I choose?

Somehow we have let personal happiness become an idol in our lives. We Americans are entitled to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” right? But in God’s kingdom holiness trumps happiness. Joy and peace are promised in Him, but happiness is not a promise to us.

Happiness is a state of well-being and contentment based on external happenings: success, wealth, having friends, pleasurable or satisfying experiences. Happiness is a temporary feeling that can quickly be supplanted by negative experiences.

But holiness is an expectation for us of our Creator. Holiness is an attribute of God alone. It is His purity and perfectness and rightouesness in all He is and does that is unattainable in humans unless His Spirit is living in us. It is that set-apartness of God. In us holiness is that other-ness obedient Christians embody.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Ephesians 5:25-27

 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:13-16

This way of looking at our spouse (as part of God’s refining process for us) is probably very different than the average church-goers’ view. It is definitely different than the secular viewpoint. But when I choose, as a wife (or husband), to be more concerned about the personal holiness God is working in my heart than about my own temporary happiness, my marriage benefits greatly. My marriage becomes a reflection of Christ. It is a high calling. And it is not easy. What will we choose today?

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Psalm 139 – Search Me O God!

Psalm 139

He sees us, searches our hearts, and knows us better than we know ourselves.

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

We cannot go anywhere to escape Him even when we want to rebel and run away. We also cannot go too far in sin as to be out of His reach and unable for Him to find us, love us, and draw us back. We cannot stray to far away, nor be too deep In the darkness of fear or depression for Him to reach us – for He is Light.

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.

He created us intricately. He made us just the way we are. Every detail about us, from the timing of our birth and life, to our personality, even to that cell in our body that mutated and suddenly caused us to come face to face with a health crisis – He made us and allowed for that. He has determined the length of our days and the journey of life He will allow.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Cherish God’s thoughts. Cherish what He had revealed to using His Word.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.

Love as God loves and hate what God hates. He will be your defender and your vindication.

If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.

Let us pray…

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Amen.

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Construction Zone: Remodeling

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

Remodeling.

A word that strikes fear and dread in many.

The closest I’ve ever come to remodeling was having our deck replaced. The constant pounding and sawing outside my kitchen window was overwhelming, but at least it wasn’t sawdust and noise and workers inside my house every day. Nevertheless I chose escape. I loaded up my writing work each morning for weeks and headed off to my other office: Panera Bread. After nearly a month my deck was finished, I’d gotten my writing project completed, and I had a new family, my Panera family. Love you Nola, Tyler, Taylor and Debbie!

God is constantly remodeling our lives. From the moment we turn to Him as our Savior, He actually starts rescuing and remaking us. Rescuing us from our selfish sinful nature and remaking our inner woman. As with physical remodeling, this spiritual remodeling is time-consuming and painful. It is ongoing throughout our life. It can be a process from which we wish to escape. But if we stick with Him and trust Him we will find a brand new us in the end.

Tearing out old sins and habits takes time and effort. Patching up the wounds and hurts from the past is necessary. Finding the faulty wiring built on old lies is crucial. Our Father does this process over time for the health of our spiritual and emotional lives. He digs in places where we would rather not have Him dig. He cleans out closets of things we would rather not turn loose of. We are sometimes left feeling stripped bare of the paint and cosmetic trappings the we have hidden behind for so long.

So how do we embrace this constant remodeling throughout our lives without seeking escape?

  1. Accept that this remodeling will come from time to time throughout your life.
  2. Remind yourself that you have the Master Architect working on you.
  3. Trust that He loves and adores you, and that is why He has chosen to update and improve the rotten, warped, and worn out places in your heart and soul.
  4. He is remaking us for His glory and for our good. We may not like going through the process, but we will love the renovation when it’s over. We will see that it really was for our good, and we will be thankful for the improvements.

As you face struggles this week that seem to tear out those old timbers, be grateful that he is remaking you into a beautiful structure for His glory! Pray and seek His face when you don’t understand. Stay in His Word. And most of all, Trust Him.

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He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5