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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fire & Ice

As I sit in my kitchen at the end of my day, being warmed by a small but powerful space heater - I think about the start of my day yesterday. I woke up to go in to the office to "demolish" the Christmas set  from the stage. As I prepared to go outside, I check the weather and went back to get a thicker jacket. Walking out to my truck, I saw the familiar traces of the beginning of a Texas winter as ice formed beautiful patterns on my truck's exterior doors and windows. There was not enough to have frozen the doors shut, but definitely enough that I had to break out the ice scraper for the first time this year to clear the windows so I could create a clear space to see to drive. 

As I pulled out of the driveway, I noticed I was in desperate need of gas so off I went to fill up. I quickly discovered it was to cold to wait for the pump to decide to move fast enough to fill my tank, so I hopped back in the truck to let it finish. I sat there and saw what was left of the ice from my window rather quickly melt down the window and disappear as the sun's warm rays made themselves known.

I was struck with the thought that just as the sunlight melted away that ice that was preventing me from having a clear view of the world around me, God does that in the frozen over places in my life. I my driveway, my windows had been completely shielded from the Sun and it's warmth. They became covered and kept me from functioning, but as soon as the sun hit them, the ice began to melt and I could see again. When I hide things from the Son (or think I do), the become frozen over and can cause me to not be able to function in the way God designed my life to function. When I let the light in to expose those dark and cold spaces, His light melts away the ice and can make me whole again.

This reminds me of one of my favorites song lyrics (not a perfect analogy, but you will get the correlation):

Lord now indeed I find 
Thy power and thine alone 
Can change the lepers spots 
And melt the heart of stone 

Jesus paid it all 
All to him I owe 
Sin had left a crimson stain 
He washed it white as snow 

Lord, as I end this year of 2010, reveal the frozen/stony places in my life that keep me from being who you want me to be for your glory, honor and fame. Melt them away and make me new again.

Friday, December 24, 2010


If you follow my blog, you know that over the last months, I have been embarking on a journey that I have never been able to complete successfully in the past. I am reading through the bible in a year. Well, with about a week left in the year - I am happy to report that I am 95.3% complete (right on track according to my reading plan in YouVersion.) 

I can tell you that the ONLY reason I have bee able to complete this task (which at times was daunting) was that I had a accountability partner. Someone who was not only on this journey with me, but got an email once a week telling her how I did. Together we are finishing this race and together we will do it again next year. So, here is my challenge - if any of you want to get in on it with us, make a comment of send me a message via Facebook or email and I will put you on a list and send out instructions. It's gonna be great!

Today, my reading took me to 2 Timothy. A letter from Paul to Timothy that was written while Paul was in prison in Asia for preaching the gospel. Timothy was a young man and Paul continually encouraged and taught him in the faith of Jesus Christ. A true "mentor-mentee" relationship. In many ways that mentor legacy still lives on, many centuries after his death, as I learn and grow from reading his words in the bible. Here is what I learned from Paul today.

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 2 Timothy 2:20-21

When I read these verses I thought I knew what they meant, but just to make sure - I looked them up in some commentaries.  Here is the gist of them: In the church there are some people who are set apart to so special things, have special impact and special purposes (gold & silver). They are set apart from the crowd of people who call themselves Christians but have little to no impact for Christ in the world around them (wood & clay.) In my mind, I picture all those who look one way at church and totally different at work or at a restaurant or at home or where ever, the rest of the week. This passage says they are common.

I guess I always knew this principle, but it is the last past that really stuck out to me - "Those who cleanse themselves from the latter (being common, being like everyone else in their day to day lives) will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master (Christ) and prepared to do any good work."

I am not sure why this struck me so powerfully today. I think maybe it is because I am becoming more aware of the people around me that are quite possibly in the wood & clay category. It makes me so sad to see and yet it makes me examine myself all the more to make sure there are no places in my life that would put me into that category. I want to totally cleanse myself of those things so that when I am looked at by God, he sees me as gold & silver, set apart for a special purpose, made holy and useful to Him.

I hope that you too want to be gold & silver in the house of the Lord. I know that each and everyone of us has things in our lives that are wood & clay. Things that hold us back from being useful for Him.
My prayer is that as we close out 2010, enter 2011 and take that backward look at our lives, as we so often do this time of year - that God would show us all those things we need to "cleanse ourselves" of to be wholly useful to Him as we go forward in our faith. I pray that He would reveal to us the special purposes He has set us apart to do and that we would jump in with both feet, no matter how daunting the challenge. 

Refuse to be normal and common in 2011. If we are joining the likes of Paul and Timothy, being different is not all that bad!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Completely Unqualified

Today's topic may seem trite and something that every believer knows deep down (or maybe even on the surface). It is something that most of us are quick to spout off in situations where we serve, and yet - I find myself one more time, acutely aware of this well known Christian mantra. 

Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

A verse that many of us can say is one we actually have memorized. (That and John 3:16...) A verse that comes so easy to the tongue and yet seems so hard to actually remember to live out.

Today, I find myself once again in that place of stepping back and looking at the tasks that God has set before me and being a little more than overwhelmed. Being a wife and mother. Programming services for a fairly large (comparatively speaking) suburban church who is poised on the brink of multiplication, which no doubt will effect the scope of my job. Leading the fledgling Internet Campus we have just birthed to reach people for Christ that traditional church may not reach. Growing and mentoring the people God has placed in my life for that purpose. Etc. Etc. Etc. 

Today, I step back and look at what is sure to be only a partial list and realize a fresh that what I so quickly take on as things I can do in my own strength - I actually can't do by myself at all and have it be worth anything. I am unsure why, apart from my humanity, I ever fall back in to this place of self-sufficiency, because it always ends the same way. God gently, or sometimes not so gently, reminding me that I am just not as good as I think I am and I need His help.

Today, I cry out with fresh abandon and conviction the words of Philippians 4:13 and say "God, I know I can do all things ONLY through YOU who gives me strength."

Are there things that you need to surrender today that you have been trying to do in your own power. Join me now in giving them over to the Lord to do in His power.