Monday, July 20, 2015

Jesus, Firm Foundation

Shootings in a military town. Friend's father-in-law dies. Children suffering with cancer. Sister diagnosed with blood clots. STRESS. Life. Chaos.

And we find ourselves shaken.

If you've read my last few posts, you know that I have been dealing with a busy schedule and a busy, messy household.

But yesterday in church, my struggles came face to face with an important truth. We sang a song in church called "Jesus, Firm Foundation." Click here to listen to it. It is fabulous and reminiscent of an older hymn.

There is nothing old about the truths of this song, however. The chorus says:
"How firm our foundation, How sure our salvation.
And we will not be shaken. Jesus, Firm foundation."
What words! The stress and chaos of my last few weeks grew dim. I felt challenged. I had been letting my circumstances shake me up. I had not been clinging to Jesus, the very cornerstone chosen by God to be the foundation for my life. 1 Peter 2:4 says, "You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor."
In case you didn't know, a cornerstone was the largest, most solid stone placed first when constructing a building. It set the landscape for the entire structure. Jesus is that for us. He is our cornerstone. He is the rock we can build our lives on. 
"For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corninthians 3:11).
I had been placing my sense of security in how much I was able to accomplish on a given day, how well my children behaved, and how clean my house was. But when we remind ourselves of this truth, every issue fades away.
We have a solid rock that anchors us. We can be confident that our future in heaven is secure. Nothing should shake us. We have Jesus, the cornerstone, our firm foundation.

 FYI: I'll be taking a little vacation from blogging! See you at the beginning of August!


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Transforming my Mess

Lately, I have felt like such a mess! My house has been a mess, and so has my attitude! I've been having some pity parties too. My daughter had an accident and peed on the bathroom floor. I was doing the dishes (one of my least favorite household chores, second only to cleaning showers) and how to stop and attend to the more urgent matter at hand: the wet floor.

I thought to myself, "Man, I really don't feel like I ever get to have fun!"

The truth was, I was just overwhelmed. We had a busy weekend with a birthday party and our town festival. It seemed like we were always just home long enough to make a quick mess and then leave. I never had any time to clean up the little messes because we were always moving to the next event. I really don't like to be left out of fun because I'm busy cleaning up after everyone. One of my least favorite times of the day is when I have to clean up after supper, and my husband gets to play with the kids.

I know. I'm being a tiny bit dramatic. But sometimes, it just stinks to be an adult! If I had not let everything accumulate, the house would not have looked like an abandoned, disgusting, foreclosed upon house! And my attitude would have been a little sweeter too!


Our God can take a life in shambles and piece it back together. Our God can transform a heart black with sin into one that is whiter than snow. Our God can modify a bad attitude into a joyous disposition. We just have to be willing to let Him do the changing.

So, how do we allow God to makeover the mess of our lives?
  1. Admit that we need Him. We must tell God that we are a mess. (He already knows anyway.) God is patient with us, never pushy. He will not step in unless we ask Him to. In 1 Peter 5:7, we are invited to "Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you." We can go to God with anything that we are struggling with. Anything. Big or small. This is part of the beauty of the relationship God wants with each of us. He wants us to communicate our need to Him. He always wants to hear.
  2. Pray to be filled with the Spirit. When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we immediately receive the Holy Spirit as our helper through this life. When we are filled with the Spirit, God can work in us and remove those messy, ugly attitudes. "The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). When I pray, especially if I'm having a bad day, I ask for the Spirit to help me be more patient and loving and kind. (That tends to be the areas I struggle the most.) All we have to do is ask for the Spirit to fill us, to fill in the gaps of where we are weak.
  3. Be obedient and allow God to work. When that Spirit does start to move in our lives, we need to be open and obedient. We all want to be better, less of a mess. Better moms, wives, dads, husbands, etc. God is the only one who can make us better. We cannot do it on our own. I know I fail daily if I try to do life without inviting God to work in me. "Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him" (Phil. 2:12-13). Thank God for the truth of these verses! When we work to obey Him, He works in us! He gives us the power and the desire to obey Him and please Him more. I just love this verse. It is kind of my "mommy support verse."
Yes, God is in the business of cleaning up messes. He is so many things, isn't He? He is our Rock. He is our Shield. He is our Refuge. He is our Savior. He is our Father. And for me today, He is my Transformer, the Re-maker of my Mess.

Linking up this week at:  #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth, #coffeeforyourheart, #TellHisStory

Monday, July 6, 2015

Time to Clean House

Today was just one of those days. I absolutely had to spend time cleaning my house. The showers were beginning to take on an unholy shade of gross. The carpet appeared to be growing popcorn. Laundry was overflowing, both dirty and clean and in need of folding. Yep, cleaning just had to be done.

It is so easy in the summer to let the cleaning slide. If you're like me up here in Minnesota, we take full advantage of the warm summer months. We know that all too soon, the winter will come, trapping us all indoors. The summer is a time to be outside. In fact, it seems like a crime to spend an afternoon in. So, because we are always venturing outside, the typical daily cleanup gets pushed aside.  I had to give in. Today was a rainy day anyway, so I decided to embrace the cleaning.

Just like our houses, our hearts can be in need of a good scrub. If we are not intentional in our walk with the Lord, setting aside time to daily "clean up" with Him, the walls and floors of our hearts can get dingy with sin and sadness, sorrow and guilt.

I was reminded of Psalm 51 as I was vacuuming today. This is a Psalm of David who was no stranger to sin. And not just a little sin like yelling at your kids. No, David had conspired to have a man murdered so he could marry his wife. He had some issues. Psalm 51 is David's cry to the Lord to come and clean his heart.

In Psalm 51:2 it says, "Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin." The cries continue on, and in verse 7 he says, "Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow."

Only God is capable of such cleaning, purifying power! We have all sinned. Sometimes, we daily sin. If we don't approach God and ask for Him to clean our hearts, we will not be able to live the full, abundant life He promises. Life in Him is joy. Life in sin is sorrow, guilt, and shame.

Besides the purification from sin, David realized something else about asking God to clean up his heart. In verse 11, he pleads, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you." David knew that a clean heart leads to true joy. And joy in the Lord, true happiness in God, prompts obedience. And we are obedient to God, His blessings can freely flow to us. This equals abundant life!

So friends, it is so important to clean house. We must be intentional about spending time with God. We must also be intentional about asking Him to purify us and cleanse us from our sins. We cannot allow our hearts to become dingy. For just as a dingy, dirty light does not shine as brightly, neither can we shine brightly for Him if we are hanging on to the dirty, dusty cobwebs of sin.

When we bring our dirtiness to God, He is so gracious with us! He removes are stains and remembers them no more! David experienced this. He also wrote of this grace in another Psalm.
"He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west" (Psalm 103:12).
God doesn't remember the sins that we have asked Him to forgive. While I still remember the doozy of a mess my kids made this morning, those past sins are gone from His memory. Praise the Lord for His great mercy and grace! We are made clean!

So, while our houses will always need cleaning, our hearts can be spot free. God forgives, cleanses, and remembers no more. Thank you, God!

Linking up this week at: #Soulsurvival, #intentionalTuesday, #RaRaLinkup, #threewordWednesday, #livefreeThursday, #belovedbrews, #dancewithJesus, #fellowshipFriday, #graceandtruth