and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Messy Rooms- Part 2

       We all have messy lives because we are all human.  Just like messy rooms are difficult to function in, so messy lives are difficult to function in... on our own.

       Since most of my Christian life I’ve been seeing with only my natural eyes (2Cor. 4:18), my life has remained quite messy.  With troubles on all sides, there was always a crisis to pull me away from the Lord, the true source of all peace and joy (Eph. 2:14; Jh. 15:11).  Once I shut the Lord out, it was easy for the devil to make my life far worse because now I was trying to do it all on my own.  Once I learned to trust the Lord in all matters- good or bad, my journey became easier to walk for I am no longer trying to do it on my own.

       And everywhere we go there are other people living messy lives, even in our own homes.  Throw us together and what do you get?  Even bigger messes that need to be worked on.  Ugh, more work!  Perhaps we should all become recluses; just avoid involvement with other people and their messes altogether.  Or perhaps we should just retain surface friendliness with everyone.  All is good as long as you keep your mess to yourself and I keep mine to myself.  After all, we’re all too busy to deal with each other’s mess.

       But God never intended for us to be alone.  He was to be with us (Gen. 3:8) and then He gave us the companionship of other humans (Gen. 2:18).  The two ‘greatest’ commandments are about relationship with God and man (Mr. 12:30,31).  Scripture is full of teaching on how we should live and deal with one another.  These are some examples of messy lives involved with other messy lives:

Now we exhort you, brothers, warn those who are unruly, comfort the faint-hearted, support the weak, be patient toward all. 1Th. 5:14
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return. And your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. Lk. 6:35-37

       Involvement.  Jesus prayed that we all would be one as He and the Father are one (Jh. 17:21) so obviously He wanted us to be involved in each other’s lives, even if they are messy.  Some of the best things in life are ‘born’ out of mess: the perfect birthday cake, the rebuilt engine, the ideal house, and the newborn baby.

       Encourage, bear, love, confess, give, warn, forgive, help, nourish, cherish, be: tenderhearted, patient, merciful, sympathetic, compassionate, kind, humble, meek, treat with honour, in their best interests, put away bitterness, wrath, anger, slander, malice, lies, deception, arrogance, envy, rudeness, irritability, resentment, selfishness, childishness and I’m sure I could find many more in Scripture.

       The point is, these are all actionable relationship words so God obviously wants us involved in each other’s lives even in the mess.  And together, arm in arm (with Christ as head) we shall rise amidst this present mess in strength of unity as the bride of Christ- without spot or wrinkle, holy, without blemish (Eph. 5:27) and victory will be ours forever in Christ Jesus!

bless our messes and help us be the brothers and sisters we need to be to each other.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Messy Rooms- Part 1

       Confession time.  I was a very messy kid.  It might have been due to resentment of my mom’s continual cleaning, but for whatever reason, it didn’t bother me to live in a pigsty.  Now, just so you understand, all my friends who said, “Don’t mind the mess” when you went in their bedrooms- and quite frankly ‘a mess’ that I could never see, didn’t really understand what messy was until they saw my bedroom!  They stood in the doorway with disbelieving eyes and then asked, “How do you get to bed?”

       Well, there was about ten feet to my bed from the light switch.  I would turn it off and jump from one small (about 4” sq.) clear spot on the floor to another, three in all, and then carefully dive into bed.  Obviously, I was a hopscotch pro.  In case you wonder I’m not too messy now but it took years of the Lord working in my life.

       Some people don’t have messy bedrooms, but they have messy lives in some way.  It could be a messy physical life (poor health, pain, diet issues), social life (jobs, relationships, finances), mental life (disorders, negativity, stinky thinking), emotional life (continual relationship crises, instability), and spiritual life (on and off with God, reading and not reading Word, praying and not).  In actuality, we all have mess somewhere, but some messes (like my bedroom was) are worse than others. 

"Life isn't like a book. Life isn't logical or sensible or orderly. Life is a mess most of the time. And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess." —Charles Colson in his book, Loving God.

       In the midst of our messy lives are we living what we believe?  Understand, I am NOT asking- are we healthy, spiritually strong, financially doing well, successful, stable, positive, relating well because that’s the way we believe we should be living as Christians, but rather, are we trusting God completely in the midst of our lives despite the fact things aren’t turning out the way we expected?  For me, it keeps coming back to trust.

Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Pr. 3:5,6
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped… Ps. 28:7 ESV
(those who revere God) He shall not be afraid of bad news; his heart is fixed, trusting in Jehovah. Ps. 112:7
Trust in Him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before Him; God is a hiding-place for us. Selah. Ps. 62:8

       Most of my Christian life I’ve been trying to live within my own understanding seeing only with natural eyes- I’ve missed a lot that way.  But as I increase in understanding of whom God is and trust in Him more, I covet the strength He gives me to survive the mess, the shield with which He covers me from the storms, and overall how He helps in the midst of the messiness of life.  Because of this, I no longer have to be afraid of bad news

                                  ...for He is my hiding place.

Thursday, May 30, 2013


       To me, one of the most insulting behaviours is when I am speaking to someone who keeps looking away as if what I am saying (or I myself) is not worth their attention.  If it happens rarely, that is one thing, but there have been particular people that did it most of the time.  Of course, they could also be looking at the clock constantly, just zone out into their own contemplation, or allow other people to keep interrupting them with what must be more significant matters than me.  All of that makes me feel like they think I am not important enough to listen to.

       I wonder sometimes if God feels that way with us.  I know I struggle in that area far too often.  Wake up, exercise, kids to school, eat, God time now-right?  Oh wait, first I have to do this and that then  The truth is that I don’t always put God first.  Sometimes computer work (or play), puzzles, tv or other unnecessary things get in the way.  It is so bad some days that I insist on getting dishes (from the night before) done instead of spending time with the Lord.  How sad is that?  It’s like I’m treating everything and everyone as more important than Him.

(about the exodus Israelis) “But,” God says, “I was very angry with them, for their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of up to me, and they never found the paths I wanted them to follow.”
Beware then or your own hearts, dear brothers, lest you find that they, too, are evil and unbelieving and are leading you away from the living God. Heb. 3:10,12 TLB

       In the past I have done some bashing (in my thoughts) of the Israelis who left Egypt after seeing such great miracles yet still had unbelief and no understanding of God.  Now I often wonder at how much I am like them.  Just like their hearts were always looking somewhere else instead of God, so it is the same with man.  We tend to look at everything around us instead of the God who made it all.  We tend to place more importance on that which we see, and quite frankly, are temporal. 

because we do not look for things that can be seen but for things that cannot be seen. For things that can be seen are temporary, but things that cannot be seen are eternal. 2Cor. 4:18 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness… Mt. 6:33
looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith… Heb. 12:2

       I wonder what God would say to me if I asked Him what He thinks- about how I treat Him as unimportant sometimes. Truth is, I don’t want to ask because I probably won’t like the answer.  Then again, I’m me, and now that I’ve thought about the question, I’ll almost certainly ask even if it hurts, because in the end I do want a better relationship with the Lord no matter the cost. 

 Oh Lord, give me the courage to ask You all the things I may not want to hear answers to.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Know the Lord- Part 3

       Even when couples have been together for decades they can get into destructive fights.  Sometimes words such as, “You don’t even know me (anymore)” are brought up.  How is this possible if they’ve been living together for a while: they have full head knowledge of the person, and have probably learned a lot about the person, so just what is the meaning behind those words?

       Well, you can read a complete novel on everything I’ve ever done, my past, present and expected future, what side of the bed I sleep on, my favourite colour, food, drink, and yet still not know me.  My closest friends know me.  Because we’ve known each other for decades, have gone through storms of life together, and supported each other in times of weakness or need, we know each other.  We share our lives, our selves with each other, we laugh and cry together, we get personal and share memories.

       The people of Israel knew all about Jehovah- they heard about Him from their parents through oral traditions and the priests.  They knew His name and the meanings of their celebrations.  They knew the stories of miracles done by Him.  They had copies of His Word written by many authors, but with all of that they didn’t know Him personally, and in the end, that’s what really matters.

Hear the Word of Jehovah, sons of Israel. For Jehovah has a quarrel with the people of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the landMy people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will also forget your sons, even I.  Hos. 4:1,6 (lack- belee- failure, corruption) (rejected- mawas- spurned, abhorred, cast away, despised, loathed, refused)
Their doings will not allow them to turn to their God; for the spirit of fornication is in their midst, and they have not known Jehovah. Hos. 5:4

Years of togetherness with God... if we want it!
       God knows us, His children, inside and out (because He is God) “But if any one loves God, he has been known of him.(1Cor. 8:3).  But now, knowing God, but rather are known by God…” (Gal. 4:9).  Do we genuinely know God?  Eternal life is at stake, for it is for those who know Him (Jh. 17:3) and are known by Him because they love Him (1Cor. 8:3).

And He has given us an understanding so that we may know Him who is true… 1Jh. 5:20
You are My witnesses, says Jehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen; that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me no God was formed, nor shall there be after Me. Is. 43:10

       So God will give us increasing understanding of Who He is as we spend time with Him.  He chose us to be adopted into His family (Eph. 1:5), so as we draw near to Him, He reciprocates (Jm. 4:8), and as we open the doors of our hearts to Him, He comes in to dine with us (Rev. 3:20).  How far we want to go in this relationship with God is up to us.  Ask yourself?

Just how far am I willing to go to genuinely KNOW the Lord?

Let us pray as Moses:

Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found grace in Your sight,
make me see now Your ways, that I may know You,
that I may find grace in Your sight
Ex. 33:13

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Know the Lord- Part 2

       Knowing the Lord is a progressive thing, not just a one time discovery.  Even if I connected with a new friend and we spent all night talking, sharing, telling deep dark secrets, we still wouldn’t know each other personally- it would just be a lot of new facts.  As I said before, knowing takes time with the person in many circumstances, and continuing effort.

Then we shall know, if we follow on to know Jehovah. Hos. 6:3
that you might walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, being fruitful in every work and increasing in the knowledge of God, Col. 1:10
But grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… 2Pt. 3:18

       So right now we only know part of the whole truth, and that which we see, we see through dim lenses because of our limited human minds.  For now we see in a mirror dimlyNow I know in part…” (1Cor. 13:12)Our knowing God should increase over time, not stay stagnant to where it was when we first surrendered our lives.

For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Jehovah, as the waters cover the sea. Hab. 2:14
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall fully know even as I also am fully known. 1Cor. 13:12

Believers and Israel are betrothed/ married to the Lord.

And I will betroth you to Me forever… Hos. 2:19
For your Maker is your husband... Is. 54:5
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy. For I have espoused you to one Man, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 2Cor. 11:2

Forever side by side Lord!
       The Lord is not giving up on us.  Though we ignore Him when convenient, and use Him for His works, though we fit Him only in little parts of our lives instead of surrendering all of our lives to Him, He still desires to be as intimate as a spouse to us.  Yet I find after 25 yrs-ish of marriage, there are still things I am learning about hubby.  Likewise, we shall continue to know the Lord more as we dwell with Him. 

And we know that the Son of God has come, and He has given us an understanding so that we may know Him who is true… 1Jh. 5:20
(about Israel, but we are Abraham’s seed)I will put My Law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall no more teach each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Jehovah. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more.  Jer. 31:33,34

We need a heart that genuinely wants to know Jehovah God  We are promised that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us (Jm. 4:8).

And I will give them a heart to know Me,
that I am Jehovah; and they shall be My people,
and I will be their God.
For they shall return to Me with their whole heart.
Jer. 24:7