Monday, October 25, 2010

Got Junk?

I have a dirty little secret.... I watch the show "Hoarders".   I don't just watch it if it happens to be on, I actually watch it ON DEMAND.  Yes, that's right I demand to watch Hoarders.   It's one of the few shows that I can't multitask while watching.  I sit there mesmerized by the piles and piles of stuff that people accumulate behind closed doors.    It makes me feel pretty good even if I haven't cleaned my house for a while because after all, I'm not that bad.  It's the opposite of the feeling I get when I watch "19 Kids and Counting".  Although I admire that Christian family and the values they are modeling for the rest of the world, I always feel like I don't quite measure up...  I should have more kids...  I should home school...  My kids should all play the violin...  We should watch less TV...  I should wear more skirts... You get the idea.  So I change the channel and go back to watching Hoarders.
It's fascinating to me because the people who hoard, eventually render their homes useless.  They can't eat in the dining room.  They can't cook in the kitchen.  They can't bathe in their bathrooms.  They can't live in the living room.  They can't sleep in the bedroom.  Their stuff keeps them from using their homes for their intended purpose and still they refuse to let it go.  They are comfortable with the junk in their homes.  It's what they know.  They even choose their stuff over people.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble... If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.  (2 Timothy 2:20-21)

It's not just our houses that need cleaning.  It's our lives.  What are we holding onto that keeps us from being useful?  What attitudes, habits, actions, or thoughts are we refusing to let go of even though they keep us from being all that we were meant to be?  What junk  have we gotten so comfortable with that we would rather be miserable than let it go?  What behaviors are we hanging onto even though they hurt the people around us?

"Lord, I don't want to be a hoarder.  I don't want to keep things in my life that are ignoble (common, inferior, vulgar or mean).  I want to be an instrument for noble purposes--holy and useful to you--ready to do any good work.  Lord help me get rid of pride and judgement.  Rid my mouth of godless chatter.  Rid my thoughts of negativity and hopelessness.  Sweep away anger and impatience.  Make me holy, not to draw people to me, but to point them to you."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why do you do what you do?

Have you ever thought about why you do what you do?  Compare the motivation of the people who built what became known as the "Tower of Babel" with Noah.  Both attempted to build something great, but what was different was their motive.  The people built out of pride--for their own glory.  Noah, on the other hand, built out of obedience--for God's glory.  Motives matter to God.  He doesn't just look at what you do. He looks at why you do.  The motive behind the action was what caused the tower to be cursed and the ark to be blessed.  God doesn't hate towers.  He hates pride.  God doesn't love arks.  He loves faith.
Why do you do what you do?  Why do you wear what you wear?  Why do you choose the friends you choose?  Is it for your glory or for God's?

Saturday, October 9, 2010


I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. (Phil.4:11)
A few weeks ago I wrote about being benched.  During the first three football games this season Will (and I) learned to be content sitting on the bench and cheering on our team.  But this week we learned how good it feels to be in the game--and to SCORE!  Will's team (0-3) played another team (0-3) so we weren't sure what to expect.  But when our quarterback scored during the first possession we started to get excited.  We were doing so good that everyone got plenty of playing time.  Will and the other quarterback were taking turns and Will scored the fifth touchdown of the night with a 50 yard run.   Someone in the stands asked, "Who is that?" and I yelled, "That's MY boy!  That's MY boy!"  Will's team won 34-14.  That night when I was putting him to bed he was still reveling in the afterglow.  This was his prayer...
Lord, thank you that I made my first touchdown tonight.  Thank you that all the running backs did good.  Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins.  And help us do as good in our game Saturday as we did tonight.  Amen
So today my challenge to you is to GET IN THE GAME!  Don't be content to be a spectator in this game called life.  If you have been knocked down, get back up.  Press on!  I know it's hard, but keep going!  And if you listen closely, you'll hear your Father in the stands yelling, "That's MY child!"

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lesson's from Micah 7/13/90-10/01/10

Lord, 20 years ago you gave the Walters family a blessing and a burden in their son Micah.  Not only did he have mental and physical challenges, but then you heaped apparent sorrow upon sorrow by allowing cancer to invade his fragile body--three times.  But Micah's special needs were not a curse.   You used those needs to enlarge his family's territory.  Every doctor, nurse, teacher, classmate, band member, church member, coach, therapist, and friend became a part of the great cloud of witnesses who watched Micah and his family  run with endurance the race marked out for them.  This week you relieved Janna and Mark of what the world might see as their greatest burden.  But what is amazing is that this precious human being that others might call a burden, was in reality their greatest blessing.
You do not give us hard situations to curse us, but to bless us.  Forgive me when I resist what you give me because of how it looks to me--too hard, too sad, too messy, too much.  Help me to remember Micah and the Walters family and embrace my burdens and allow you to transform them into blessings.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What do you think?

This week I was reading the book of Colossians.  When I got to the 21st verse I stopped,
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds...
Whoa, what does that mean to be a enemy of God in your mind?  I picture enemies of God as fighting against him, disobeying his commands, rebelling, going their own way...  I never knew you could be an enemy of God in your mind.
Ephesians 2:3 says that all of us at one time were gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following it's desires and thoughts.  Romans 1:28 tells about a people who did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  Later, in Romans chapter 8 we see that the sinful mind is hostile to God.  It doesn't submit to God's law, nor can it do so.
So what can we do about our minds?  It's much easier for me to control my behavior than my thoughts.  2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we have to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. As a follower of Christ, I don't get to think about whatever I want to.  I don't get to indulge in thoughts of lust, judgement, criticism, complaint, or worry.  I can fool the people around me, but I can't fool God.  He searches the heart and examines the mind (Jer.17:10)  He knows my heart and my anxious thoughts (Ps. 139:23)  And what I think about MATTERS.  For as a man thinks in his heart, so is he.  (Prov. 23:7)
You are what you think.  
So what should we think about?  Paul answers that question in Philippians chapter 4; whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  
One of the greatest gifts Anna's life and death gave us was to set our minds on things above.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
Does that mean that all I think about is Heaven?  I WISH!  I struggle with taking my thoughts captive just like you.  But for today, I will try to honor God with my thoughts.  I will try to take my thoughts captive and replace  judging and criticism with what is excellent and praiseworthy.  I will  exchange  anxiety and negativity with truth and admiration.
I will think about what I think about.
Love the Lord your God with...all your mind (Mark 12:30)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Lunchroom Adventures

I wear lots of "hats" these days.  Today I wore my lunch-lady hat as I volunteered in the cafeteria at Will's school.  My job mainly consists of opening Gogurt packages and answering the question, "Whose mom are you?"  Today there was some extra excitement as apparently the "special" of the day did not sit well with one of our patrons.  That didn't seem to stop him as he lost his lunch and then proceeded to line up with his class.  The kids at the closest table (which happened to be Will's) raised their hands and told us what happened.   The official lunch lady (she has a whistle) asked, "Who did this?"  Will and his friends yelled, "It was the guy in the camo pants!"  She quickly found the culprit and whisked him away.  Meanwhile I was left to deal with a table full of 10 year old boys and a puddle of used lunch.  The custodian saved the day and sprinkled a magic substance on the puddle which changed the aroma from super-sour to super-sweet.  Soon all the kids were sitting with their shirts pulled up over their noses.  The rest of my shift was spent directing traffic around the freshly mopped floor.  It was like the scene in Bugs Life when a leaf falls in the path of the ants and they have to be re-routed.
(Did you notice I told that whole story without using the words "vomit" or "throw up"?  I didn't want to make anyone sick.)