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Monday, March 29, 2010

Make a Statement

So over the weekend, my daughter Jenna (an aspiring makeup artist and photographer) decided to turn my almost 12 year old, Kira, into a couture super model. She made her up in amazing face made up and, looking much older than she is, she was off to the photo shoot. After coming home and "working her magic" on some of the photos - I found this one. The caption is very fitting - don't you think? (and no - her hair was not that color, it is computer magic)

Today in my Chronological reading of the bible, I finished the book of Joshua. YAY! One of the verses in chapter 22 stuck out to me and seemed to be very fitting it says, And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. Joshua 22:10. I know, you're thinking what in the world does that have to do with your baby getting made up like an emo child and getting her picture taken... The verse says " made an alter of imposing size." Based on the other things I have read about the journey of the children of Israel, this must have been some alter - cause they didn't do anything small.

In a nut shell the story goes like this: The children of Israel (12 tribes) were told God would give them the land of Canaan. 2 1/2 tribes decided they liked the land on the desert side of the Jordan river and asked for permission to have that land. God said "Yes, on one condition, all your men have to go to the other side and help fight for Canaan. Then you can return to your side." So that happened. they fought many battles and won and were finally allowed to return to their inheritance. So on their way home, on the Canaan side of the Jordan, they decided to build this "alter of imposing size". The other 9 1/2 tribes got freaked out when they saw it and thought the 2 1/2 tribes were turning to idols worship so they called them out. In actuality, the 2 1/2 tribes had built the alter to serve as a reminder to all their descendants and the descendants of the 9 1/2 tribes that they worship the same God and they should never forget that.

Not back to the picture of Kira. The caption says, "Don't be afraid to stand out." In this case, they went for broke. Funky makeup, flaming red hair, the whole thing! I am sure people took and will take notice when they see this picture. (I am already fielding comments of how I could let my 12 year old look like that, and would it bother me if she decided to dress like that every day.) The point I am trying to make here is that if we are going to take a stand for the Lord, GO BIG! Don't be afraid to look different than those around you. Make enough of a statement bout who you are in Christ that when they see you, they see and alter to the Lord of "imposing size", one that can not be shaken or toppled easily.

I hope that's what people see in my life when they look at me and I hope that for my children as well, makeup and fiery red hair and all! (and in case you're wondering - I LOVE the picture!)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

My favorite people in the bible are not usually those who had a firm grasp on who they were. They are the men and women who fill the pages who believe they are supposed to be one thing when God has a whole different thing in mind. He calls them to go above and beyond what they believe they are capable of and raises up gifts in them that allows them to be used for His mighty purpose. Here are just a few examples:

Noah - mild mannered husband and father - called to save the world by building a ginormous boat before the earth had ever seen rain.
Moses - speech challenged loaner/shepherd - called to bring God's chosen people out of the land of Egypt and lead literally millions into the promise land.
Gideon - unremarkable farmer - called to lead a VERY small army of men to defeat nations and once again free the Israelite people.
David - family sheep herder/youngest of the boys - called to defeat giants, become and mighty warrior, king of Israel and a man after God's own heart.
Ester - niece of a humble Jewish man - called to be a queen in a foreign land and save her people from annihilation.
Peter - lowly fisherman with plenty of "rough" edges - called to be a disciple of Christ, one of the 3 chosen to witness Christ's most personal events and catalyst for the beginning of Christianity as we know it.

The list could go on... The bible is actually full of examples of people who were not, on their own, equipped to do great things but through Christ in them - changed the world.

When I look at my life and the reality of who I am (smudges and all), I fall into the trap of believing that I will never be a world changer. I am not overly intelligent, I didn't go to college to study a specific trade, in fact - when I look in the mirror, I don't see anything remarkable at all. Until I ask God to reveal what HE sees in me...

You see, God sees things that He made us for that we can never have clear view of (there is probably good reason for that in most cases - fear, pride, other assorted distasteful traits.) With Christ in us, His power working through us, His mission on our minds and His vision on our hearts - we can all be world changers in some way.

Has He given you something to do that you feel ill-equipped for? Has he laid a vision on your heart that you just can't accomplish on your own? If the answer is "yes", you are right! You are ill-equipped and can't accomplish it on your own. So lean on Him and He will give you all you need. If you answer is "no", you may not be seeking Him enough for what He wants to accomplish in and through you. So go to it. Get alone with Him and let Him go to work transforming you into who He knows you can be.

How are you going to change the world today? It starts NOW!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Stubborness and Grace

Today in my reading though the bible chronologically I am in the book of Numbers. It is the story of over 600,000 Israelites trying to make their way to the "promise land" of Canaan that God promised to them after He delivered them from Egypt. You really should read it yourself but here is the Spark Notes version....

People oppressed in Egypt and made to be slaves. They cry out to God to save them. He hears them and delivers them out of that horrible existence they were in. He leads them to the desert on the way to a land of their very own that He promised them. He feeds them and makes sure their clothes don't wear out. He provides wise leaders for them on their journey. He, Himself, is among them like no other time before or since. He shows them the fruit of the land they will inhabit. They get scared, cause they don't trust Him to conquer the people that already inhabit that land (they were really BIG!) 600,000 people get tired of waiting for someplace to call home. They get tired of not having meat and fish to eat. Wahh Wahh. Wahh......

The God of the Universe who has preformed countless miracles and lives among these people has promised them a land that has grapes so big 2 men have to carry them and was flowing with milk and honey. A land they should be eager to possess and yet they didn't trust Him to give them what He promised. Instead they chose to grumble and complain.

So, they made God a little hot under the collar and, amongst other things, were condemned to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, until all the grumbling, ungrateful people were dead and the new generation were able to posses the land. Of all those people, only 2 (Joshua and Caleb) were allowed to live and enter the promiseland.

How much are we like the Israelites? How many times do we grumble and complain when we get wrapped up in the circumstances we can see around us and discount what God may have planned for us in the future. He gives us manna, but we want meat. He shows us the wonderful things He has for our future but we complain that it is just to hard and don't trust His plan to get us there.

After reading how God dealt with them, I am reminded afresh that He is WAY BIGGER than we allow Him to be in our minds and in our lives most of the time. He is God and deserves not only our love but our awe, respect and even fear. I mean, He got so fed up with the complaining that He just sent fire down from heaven and burned people up. Nuff said!

So, today I am thankful for Jesus and His sacrifice for me on the cross and the grace that that provided for me when I am grumbling and complaining about my circumstances. If not for Jesus, I would have probably been burned up with fire a long time ago!

So even as I find myself through deserts of my own making due to poor choices, I give thanks for God's love and provision for me. I ask Him to teach me what I need to learn and trust that He will take me to the place He has laid out for my future and will conquer any giants that stand in the way through His power and might.

How about you?