September 26, 2011

Humility Squares

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;” Philippians 2:3 (NASB)

I’ve spent the last few minutes trying to figure out how to make the point of this message flourish literarily. It thrills me to put a spin on words and make them jump off the page, or jump at least to be noticed.

Today it doesn’t seem to be happening. Not sure why – but then again . . .

Last week, I was at a meeting with three other godly women when someone started talking about quilting circles. Apparently, she was acquainted with a quilting group who did exquisite work. Despite the groups’ meticulous and flawless work handiwork, they always inserted a piece of material just a bit off pattern or off center on purpose.

At first, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would do this one purpose. I get in enough trouble doing something like that on accident! But these ladies had a method behind what I thought was madness and they called it the humility square.

This humility square reminded them of their human imperfection before God regardless of the quality of the works of their hands. They remembered their hands could not have worked as wonderfully as they did without His grace and strength.

Makes you think – doesn’t it?

Do you have a humility square in the quilt of your life? You know, it’s the square that reminds you that you are a work in progress? Is there a square that keeps you from taking glory from God or credit from another? Good questions, worthy of answering.

To be truthful, I’d love to expound on this for another page or two, but I can’t. I believe today I am just supposed to leave this with you, and leave it with me, God will do the rest.

Lovingly,
Barbara

September 19, 2011

It’s the Hello Kitty Band-Aid!

“Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (NASB)

I have an arsenal. Ask my husband. I carry it with me wherever I go. These are turbulent times we live in and I never know just what weapon I need to wield at any given time. What is this arsenal? I call it “My Purse.” Every woman carries one and therein resides items that could foster world peace, well at least peace in my world.

In my purse are tracts as one has need of Scripture often. For times when I need to smell fresher, I have perfume. For times when my face needs freshening, I carry a make up bag. For emergencies, I travel with cell phone and plastic. My pharmaceutical compartment is equipped with remedies for every kind of headache known to man, or woman. I carry pencil, pen and sometimes dry erase markers and much, much more.

However, push all those items aside for one super-special secret weapon. It is the Hello Kitty Band-Aid.

A few years ago, I was at the zoo with my daughter and granddaughter, Kylie. At some point during the afternoon, I noticed Kylie had scratched her leg and she began to bleed. We stopped for a moment and I announced I had just the cure needed. I whipped out one sterile Hello Kitty Band-Aid and applied it directly to the child’s boo-boo. Kylie gave a quick inspection to her newly covered sore and looked up at me beaming, “Nana, you take really good care of me!” My heart inflated about 10 sizes; I was her hero.

A few weeks ago, Bob and I headed out to go somewhere when I noticed his elbow was bleeding. No problem, I whipped out another Hello Kitty Band-Aid and applied it directly to his wound. He reluctantly allowed this doctoring because he didn’t want to bleed all over a brand new white shirt. Hero time once again! But then he forgot to take it off and he made quite the impression the next day at church. Face it; can you resist the chance to giggle at a guy with a girlie band-aid on his arm?

A few days ago we traveled to North Carolina with our daughter to help look for a new place for her and her family to live. Her husband received a promotion which means a move! One evening after dinner, she scratched a mole on her face and it began to bleed. Once again, hero mama and the pink kitty band-aid rushed to the rescue.

And finally, just the other day I drove a friend to her auto mechanic to retrieve her newly repaired car. I pulled in between two cars to drop her off. It didn’t take long to notice the dented red vehicle to my left. Someone tried to make it feel better by placing five or six Hello Kitty Band-Aids over each of the dents. Is there anything a Hello Kitty Band-Aid can’t do?

Even though our small children think differently, there isn’t any real magic in a band-aid. I think the “magic” is in the love. But the band-aid serves a valid purpose. It covers and comforts. It covers a wound providing protection. The knowledge of that protection brings comfort. A little strip of plastic whether pink or beige, round or square, gives the wearer peace of mind.

God commands us to love fervently one another. The way we love one another speaks volumes to a lost world around. The way we don’t love one another says just as much if not more. When Christ died on the cross for us, His love covered all my sin and yours. For that I am eternally grateful. But it just doesn’t stop there. Just how do I wear this love? How do I let it cover my life each and every day?

Do I put God’s love temporarily until I get to feeling better only to rip it off at the first sign of healing – thinking I have things under control on my own? Or do I cling to His covering of love, the love that covered my sin and wear it daily for protection from infection? Do I offer this covering to others who need healing, protection and comfort?

I know it seems like a silly subject to write on but I just had to! I pray you will look deeply into the covering God has provided for your sin and then wear it well!

I am stuck on Band-Aid ‘cuz Band-Aid’s stuck on me!
Barbara

September 12, 2011

Life Interrupted

”. . . . and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price. . .” 1 Corinthians 6:19b-20a (NASB)

Our youth minister recently preached both morning and evening services while our pastor was in Israel. His morning sermon was entitled, “Does God Have Your Permission To Mess With Your Life?” Being the righteous, spiritually inclined, Bible believing believer that I am, of course my answer was a resounding YES!

Someone should have warned me to be careful how I answered that question!!!

Certainly God can mess with my life! Lord, my kids moving away messes with my peace.

Certainly God can mess with my life! Lord, my schedule is always too busy and messes with my time.

Certainly God can mess with my life! Lord, my projects around the house keep messing with my ability to write.

I’ve never been one to prohibit God from messing with my life, so why do I question Him when He does? Maybe God really didn’t have my permission after all. Oh-me!

Giving God permission to mess with your life is not a new concept to me. I’ve heard this preached on before, albeit a while ago. But telling God that He has permission and actually giving it to Him are two different things. It’s the difference between lip service and submission.

Therefore I’ve done quite a bit of thinking on this subject lately. There is a lot of messing around going on in my life and in the lives of others I know. Most of these interruptions are not necessarily welcome ones either. My kids are moving. My friend needs a steady job. Another friend needs her health back. In fact, my boss has to move and right now she doesn’t know where she is going to live! Giving permission, then living with the results produces difficulty in the process and creates chaos within your spirit.

That brings me back to the before mentioned sermon. During the service, Brother Kit reminded us of a teenage girl who gave God permission to mess with her life and then actually submitted her life to Him. Thus a Savior was conceived. It took only a moment to submit but a lifetime to live out the results. Her submission resulted in personal shame, ridicule and witnessing the murder of her first born Son. And I think I have it rough! Yet, as she walked in submission with God, He made sure her sacrifice of submission was not in vain. Her suffering was not unnoticed. Through her obedience, God produced the greatest work of Eternal Value this world has ever known or will ever know.

Come to think of it, although not recorded, I am sure Mary had great moments of joy and prosperity in her life as well. Life interrupted by God had some distinct perks that she treasured in her heart to ponder privately. I think she knew something we need to be reminded of today.

For you see, when it comes right down to brass tacks – God doesn’t need our permission. After all my life really isn’t MY life. It is His. Not only did God create me, He bought the rights to me with His own Son, Jesus Christ. I am not my own. Yet, He allows me this thing we call free will. With free will, I can choose to acknowledge His sovereignty over my life or not. Then when trouble avails itself in my life, God will use that toward blessing and purpose if I will only submit to His interruption. And I might actually learn something in the process!

Over the past few days God has dealt with my pride and just exactly what it means to give Him permission to mess with my life. Right now for me, it isn’t really a matter of “permission” (although, I have given it) but “submission” knowing that God’s way is always best – even when I don’t understand it or even like it (at first).

What about you? What’s going on in your life that you didn’t sign up for but are living with anyway? Did you give God permission to mess with you and now you are upset that His has? Let me encourage you to lay aside your pride, relinquish your rights, accept the bad times along with the good ones. Because God is your creator and FATHER! Understand God is never “out to get you” or set you up to fail. His plans for you are to prosper you – see Jeremiah 29:11. These times provide opportunities to prove ourselves to God by truly letting Him do what He does best – work His will! Always remember the blessings ahead for those who persevere when God interrupts!

Permitted and Submitted,
Barbara

September 06, 2011

Be the Uninvited Guest

“If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 15:19 (NASB)

Haven’t we all heard “Misery loves company?” I know this for fact, because too often I’ve practiced the principle. If I am miserable, I want company to know I am miserable. Seldom will I suffer silently. Thus I have perfected the art of the Pity Party. Can anyone relate? Be honest!

In this world we have a plethora of reasons to toss a pity party and the economy doesn’t have to be good to throw it! The government is in a mess and I recently read a joke where Wall Street was being renamed Wal-Mart Street. Can I get a witness? Yet, there is a Pity Party coming that has nothing to do with your personal financial situation. It doesn’t care if you are employed or not. It makes no difference if you live in that big fancy house next to the fancy bridge or if you live under the bridge. To be invited you simply don’t have to do anything at all – just be yourself.

My job today is to encourage you to be uninvited to that party!

You see, that Pity Party is of such proportions that any miserable soul going will have plenty of company and that is most unfortunate. The party favors will not be pretty and the DJ’s will be absolutely demonic! The most miserable point of all, once you enter – you can never leave. For you see, this party takes place in hell and it is forever.

The only way you can escape an invitation to Satan’s Soiree is to not be invited at all! You can get yourself quickly uninvited by accepting another invitation to a heavenly ball where misery is forbidden to attend. The only thing this Perfect Party has in common with the Pity Party is that all are welcome to attend. Race, creed, color or gender is not a factor, the invitation has been issued to ALL, from the least to the most miserable, wretched person and it is forever. No one has been left off the guest list. The only requirement to attend the Perfect Party is that you respond in the affirmative through Christ.

I think we all know where I am headed with this. The only way to escape hell is to accept heaven’s eternal invitation by responding to Christ and accepting His gift of eternal life. This gift is redeemable the minute you admit your need for Him and invite Jesus to be part of your life. The minute we do that, we starting living the Gift right now.

This is where hope truly springs eternal, because after this life is over we are guaranteed a spot at the Perfect Party that will be held in the throne room of Heaven. Because if Christ’s gift was only good for an earthly lifetime, Paul would be right, we are of all men most to be pitied!

But it is what you do here and now that will determine what party you attend and yes, those are the only two choices – but do you really need another? Please take a moment today to settle once and for all what guest list your name will be on! Then extend a heavenly invitation to someone else. Let’s do everything we can to cut Satan’s guest list off before it’s too late. Offer someone the invitation of a lifetime! Do it not only for their eternal life but for a new reason for life right now on earth. I saw this on a church last week that kind of feeds in with today: “Life without Christ is like a dull pencil – where’s the point?”

Don’t pity me – I got the point!
Barbara