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

Tambourine

I like a weird store. The kind of store where you gotta fish around and you might find yourself a hair bonnet, half melted gourmet chocolate, a hundred number 2 pencils, and any number of random stationary items for a dollar or two.

I don’t mind to dig around to find the aforementioned items and my Modern Day Bethany Three are the same way. They love a bargain and they love a hunt. They love to bring home their found treasures and show them off to their Daddy. He shares in their excitement as they display each of the items and in detail explain how the item was found.

“Mama said I could look in that blue box and everybody else must’ve thought it was a pop-socket but I saw it wasn’t it was a Jewish thing…you know Mama loves a menorah and I got it for her and come to find out it’s a real live gold coin!”

happy-hanukkah-3791393_1280.pngIt was a Hanukkah gelt she had found. And it did have a resemblance to one of those stand-up sockets that go on cellphones. (Hanukkah gelt refers to money as well as chocolate coins given to Jewish children on the festival of Hanukkah.)

Recently we were at just such a store when Maggie picked up a bent and broken tambourine. She instinctively shook it and did so with a matching rhythm of the background music playing in the random and weird store. I gave her a sharp sideways glance. She laughed and said,

“I know Mama, no tambourines in our home.”

I laughed and said, “You got it Maggie.”

She laid the tambourine where she’d pick if from and we moved on in our hunt for bargains. A short time later as the background music changed in tempo and in genre I heard the tambourine once more in time with the music.

I instinctively looked for Maggie who was within feet of me. I turned in the direction of the tambourine and saw a petit framed woman holding it, tapping it on her leg. Her long skirt danced as her legs beneath it must have been. She had a smile on her face and joy in her heart for the brief moment as she played. I laughed again, and was reminded of a verse in the King’s book,

Psalm 149:3
Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!

For a brief moment in the randomness of a random store with the help of a complete stranger the King’s Word came to life and illustrated a beautiful picture of what heavenly worship will look like all because of a bent, broken, haphazardly placed tambourine.

russia-1070160_1280.jpg

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!

luther-memorial-3490283_1280.jpg

 

 

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?

adults-blur-couple-888899.jpg

 

Rest Time

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

“Well all’s I know is Mama’s gonna take some naps.”

I had asked what her day out of school plans were. We were on our way to meet her Mama and Daddy who had spent the weekend in Boston and were flying in. She’d talked to her Mama and knew she was “just exhausted.” Her mama is my sister and when my niece explained the next day’s plans would include a nap or two my response seemed perfectly reasonable.

“I love a nap.”

She said she sure did know that. I’m famous in our family for my ability to nap. Her Daddy once pointed to a ledge of a bookshelf, no more than 6 inches wide and said to whomever he was describing my napping skills prowess,

“You see that ledge right there? Amy Martin can climb up on that ledge and nap for 3 hours solid.”

It was an exaggeration of course, my sizable derrière would not have been supported by the shelf, but not that much of an exaggeration. I could indeed sleep a solid 3 hours.

I do love a nap and it is true, it takes very little in the way of accommodations for me to nap well.

Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12

When I was in kindergarten decades and decades ago, I got 2 naps per day, the first in the morning under the teacher’s desk, and the second in the afternoon alongside my 5-year-old peers.

Naps serve to rejuvenate me and help me feel refreshed. Occasionally I’ll have the “wake up and have no idea what time, much less what day it is” nap, but that’s not an everyday occurrence. I also rarely nap in my bed. I don’t usually nap on the ledge of a shelf, but my best nap work is done on a sofa, in a recliner, or a hammock.

I rest well when I nap and once I am no longer post nap groggy I am more productive and can think so much more clearly.

adult-bank-bench-274845.jpgI know there are those who are in the anti-nap camp. Those who are unable to sleep the following night after a nap, or those who reserve naps for special occasions like Thanksgiving or limited only to Sunday afternoons.

My sister is not as good at napping as I am, despite our genetic makeup being the same. So I knew it was serious business when my niece declared her Mama would spend a good part of the next day napping.

I thought as we drove on to the meeting destination about how the King desires us to rest well. To bring our heavy burdens to him and there we will find rest. For myself, the act of rest must be intentional, just as intentional as my quiet time, or serving the King. Rest doesn’t necessarily mean a nap, and despite being skilled in the art of napping, I have to make myself rest. Rest doesn’t always equate nap but sometimes it does.

When I am depleted, I am ineffective and the enemy of my soul knows that. I must make concerted efforts to find rest, allow myself to be filled with the good things and to allow myself to find rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29

relaxing-1979674_1280.jpg

 

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.

conceptual-cube-design-327186

Living Logos

Occasionally words will dart through my brain and I may not necessarily know the definition but it may seem to fit the occasion. This happens frequently and on one occasion I distinctly remember getting it wrong. The word was lucid. By definition I thought the word lucid meant unclear, confused, not quite coherent. By definition that is the precise antithesis (or opposite) of lucid.

alphabet-close-up-game-695571I have long had a love of words. Written ones, spoken ones, even my thoughts and imaginations are verbose. For most of my life words have meant something to me. I can distinctly remember being no more than 4 or 5 years old, sitting on the floor of the public library; I sat with my legs folded and a book larger than my lap opened in front of me. I sounded out words and read that book all by myself, cover to faded cover. I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment and the new world that opened before my very eyes. In those moments I had been transported to Paris, France, and the adventures of a tiny little girl. Those words had come alive and transported me to a different place.

When I was in the 4th grade I remember teacher would read aloud to us everyday after lunch. I loved those times everyday, I can still picture her seated in front of the chalkboard, her perfectly scripted cursive writing as her backdrop, chapter book in hand, and her soothing voice like a Mother’s lullaby singing over a newborn would read tales of adventure and fourth grade fun.

Words, they mean much to me and have served as a medium in which to express myself on the regular. Recently I encountered several words I had questions about that caused me to give pause, write them down, find their origins, and define them.

Words like accoutrements, antiquated, assiduously, bedlam, bon vivant, catchword, ruminate, and serendipitous.

The Greek word for “word” is Logos.

John 1 (ESV) says,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,[a] and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

And then verse 14…

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

And the Logos, the Word was made flesh. Talk about words coming alive. The very same Word, or Logos that became flesh is the very same Word that is alive today. That very same Word possesses a greater power and is not just a dead text on a page. He is alive and active and He loves you and me without limits and deliberately.

The book of John begins with the Word and ends with word. The last Chapter of John is 21 and these verses speak volumes (pun completely intended.)

“This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true. Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:24-25)

love-699480_1280

 

Running This Race of Life

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

A recent podcast by author and speaker Andy Andrews told the story of a long jumper named Bob Beamon. According to Andrews, Bob Beamon was just an average long jumper, as far as world champion competitors are concerned at least. In the 1968  Olympics, held in Mexico City, Beamon broke the Olympic and World records by – get this – almost 2 feet! Twenty-one and two-thirds inches to be exact!

Can you even imagine? Olympic records are broken by fractions of seconds or inches, not by feet! How did this young athlete break the record by such an extreme?

As the story goes, a fellow competitor and world record holder, who usually out-jumped Beamon, came up and whispered an encouragement in Bob’s ear just before he started the run to jump. He said, “Give ’em 2 inches on the front…take 2 feet when you land.” And Bob did just that!

Often in our lives we face challenges. Not insurmountable challenges, but challenges that  overwhelm us and leave us feeling defeated. Perhaps we can learn something from this record-breaking athlete.

1. Prepare as if it all depends on you. Olympic athletes train diligently for months and years. Are we living our life as if we are in training for the purpose for which God has put us here? Are you growing in the Word, in faith, in prayer, in service to God and men, in love? Are you growing in your talents, skills, and field of expertise?

2. Live fully. Immerse yourself in this race of life. Bob was in the race. He competed with varying degrees of success. Today we often view challenges as win or lose. I’ve heard kids’ coaches say “second place is first loser.” But that’s a lie. Second place to Bob Beamon in that Olympic event could have broken a previous world record; Bob just broke it by more. We must quit viewing life’s challenges as “all-or-nothing” and should instead take the advice of Hebrews 12:1-4:

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

*************************************************************************************

We must choose to run this race with purpose and endurance without giving up.

*************************************************************************************

3. Listen to uplifting words. Surround yourself with people who speak God’s Word and grace and truth into your life. We must choose not to listen to the negativity and ill-will  of the worldly society, nor even the pessimism and humanistic tendencies of well-meaning church friends. The words spoken into Bob’s ears spurred him to go beyond what he had ever dreamed possible. That is what God’s words of truth and grace do to our hearts.

4. Run the race believing that you can do it. We are capable of so much more than we believe we are. But we have an enemy that whispers lies into our ears. He tells us we are failures, that our desperate situation will never change, that we have sinned too much, that we’re dreaming too big, or, more subtly, he tells us just to give up, it’s useless. But I say – Believe God! He has a plan for you; it will succeed. For with God nothing is impossible! (Matthew 19:26)

Bob_Beamon_1968bThis week as you face the “im”possibilities of life, take a moment to recall Bob Beamon. If no one is around to speak those words of encouragement to you – speak them to yourself! Do as the psalmist David did – encourage yourself. Speak scripture to yourself. Play praise and worship music. Tell yourself the truth of God, don’t repeat the lies of the enemy even in your mind.

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 42:11

 

Check out pictures of Bob’s famous jump here.

 

 

 

Candy Basket

My Boss carried a basket of candy toward me. “You get one for doing a good deed.” She wanted me to know that I had earned a piece of candy. She encouraged me to take a piece of my choosing.

Meanwhile my coworkers wandered up and a few asked for a piece of candy too. She grinned, nodded, and said something about me taking two pieces then. I turned around to continue with my work and another coworker wandered up the hallway.

My Boss held out the candy basket toward her.

“Do you want a piece of candy?”

The coworker paused at the basket and moved her fingers over the candies.

“How much?” She said. My boss looked a tad puzzled and responded, “One.”

My coworker clearly meant something else, “No How much? Like how much does it cost?”

My Boss laughed, “Ooh nothing!! They’re free!”

Immediately I thought about that basket of candy was a representation of salvation. My coworker fully expected a dollar amount in relation to that candy but the candy wasn’t for sale. She couldn’t earn it, she couldn’t purchase it, she could only receive it and receive it she did.

Ephesians 2:8  (ESV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

chocolates-3193666_1280