Food For Thought Friday

Coming Clean

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Swiffering. Is that a verb these days? It’s like sweeping and mopping and dusting  – all rolled into one satisfying chore. Or at least that’s what the advertisers would have us consumers believe.

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When you have 3 furry creatures roaming around your home, however, swiffering may not be ‘enough’. I learned this the hard way last night. As you can imagine, this past month of moving into our new home, unpacking the boxes and furniture from 42′ of moving truck plus several car loads, deep cleaning hasn’t been our focus as much as unpacking and getting rid of the thousands of boxes that have been invading our home. But having 3 pets kind of trumps your plans for what’s on the ‘to-do’ list and so, when I traveled into town (yes, I have to say that now) to run errands, I knew that Wet Swiffers (the lavender scented ones are my favorite) had to be added to the shopping list. The fur was beyond the limits of my Zyrtec.

So I got home, unpacked the car and began cleaning. First, the toilets (yay! all 3 of them!) had to be scrubbed down – that’s ALWAYS THE FIRST THING THAT GETS CLEANED! Yuck. And then the dishes…(Getting used to well water and not having a disposal is taking some getting used to…) And finally, the swiffering.

But as I began swiffering the kitchen floor, I noticed it was a mere smattering of seconds before my wet moppy pad thing was unusable.  It was full of fur and dust and living in the country. So, I switched it out for a new one…Repeat process. Several times.

Eventually, my kitchen floor was clean and smelled wonderful, but it dawned on me…Next time, I need to sweep first and then swiffer.

That might seem obvious to many of you, but understand I am new to 2 things:

  • Being a ‘stay-at-home’ (mostly) wife
  • Having ALL hard surface flooring

Cleaning can’t be done with a quick fix to be done right. Cleaning is a process.

And so it is with allowing Christ to change us from the inside out.

We don’t become perfect people overnight. As a matter of fact, we don’t reach that state of grace until we go to live with Jesus at the end of our earthly lives. On earth, He is constantly molding and shaping us into the Christians – the Christ followers – He has planned for us to be.

I was brought up in a Christian home. I grew up knowing the Lord. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of Him. He was no longer at the forefront of my decision-making. He became like a long-lost friend: I knew Him…but we hadn’t talked in forever and even though He was making the effort to keep in touch, I wasn’t responding to His texts.

I remember rekindling our relationship.

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It didn’t happen overnight. I didn’t go from the party-scene to youth ministry in a moment.

First, God grabbed the broom. Then, He showed me the dustpan…and we began. He started with one room and eventually swept the entire house. Next, He dusted. Room by room…And the swiffering has only just begun.

He is the Potter. We don’t become a beautiful piece of art overnight.It is the process of sanctification which molds us into that which He has destined for our lives.

Don’t seek out the ‘quick-fix’. Cherish the process with Him.

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Thirsty For Christ Thursday

Redeeming Love

Thursday

Have you ever read a book that just CHANGED YOUR LIFE?!?! Getting to know the Lord more fully through Scripture is utterly life-changing, and certainly has proven so for my life, but in the past several months, I read another book that really got to me.

So much so that I began recommending it to every person God put on my heart. You may know how much I LOVE Goodwill shopping and I began praying before all of my shopping expeditions for the Lord to place a copy of this book on the shelf so that I could share it with more people. (And He provided!!)

I talked about my LOVE of the Book of Hosea yesterday, and this book is actually a version of that piece of Scripture, rewritten in a more modern setting.

You may, or may not, know this, but Hosea is a short book in the Old Testament about a prophet, by the same name, who God asks to marry a prostitute…and to continue loving and pursuing the prostitute – his wife – no matter what she does or how unfaithful she is…no matter that she has (at least) one child while they are married by another man…no matter that he ends up having to pay to purchase her out of slavery…no matter what.

And as you may have drawn by your own conclusions, the account of Hosea and his unending pursuit and relentless love for his unfaithful wife, is ALSO a picture of the way God loves us.

Think about that.

How many times have I run in the opposite direction at full-speed away from God? How many times have I prayed for forgiveness, only to make the same mistakes over and over and over again? How utterly LOST have I been that I couldn’t find my way back to Him, and yet, He purchased me out of slavery when no one else would have?

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Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

That is amazing grace. His truly redeeming love does not ask us to be the finished product to win Him over. No. He pursues us just as we are, and molds us into His creation.

Read this book. Read Hosea in the Bible. Discover the unrelenting love He has for each one of us, no matter how far we have strayed or how unfaithful we have been.

God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he’s rich in love. He doesn’t endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs (Psalm 103:8-10 TM).

I — yes, I alone — will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again (Isaiah 43:25 NIV)

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son… (John 3:16)

His love, my friends, is so unsurpassing we cannot even begin to wrap our little minds around it.

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What's Up Wednesday

All Our Fruit Comes From Him

Wednesday

One month and counting in Maine, and we have been BUSY. Church events, planning a youth ministry from scratch and this house. Y’all. This. House. I can’t wait to share our finished product. And honestly, for the changes we are able to make now it shouldn’t be too much longer before we can do the big reveal! Wahooo!!!

One blessing, though, in our move is substantially bigger than the updates we are making toward making this house our home, and all the other activities we are involved in – it’s time with the Lord. What an extravagant gift! I’ve had the privilege to be involved in an awesome women’s Bible study (‘Breathe’ by Priscilla Shirer – it’s awesome!!), and in my read straight-thru the Bible, I have just made it through Hosea. I am loving this beautiful land. This quiet. This time.

And today, God blessed me with a Word from Him He knew I desperately needed to hear. And honestly, it’s my new favorite passage of scripture:

Healing for the Repentant

Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
    for your sins have brought you down.
Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord.
    Say to him,
“Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us,
    so that we may offer you our praises.
Assyria cannot save us,
    nor can our warhorses.
Never again will we say to the idols we have made,
    ‘You are our gods.’
No, in you alone
    do the orphans find mercy.”

The Lord says,
“Then I will heal you of your faithlessness;
    my love will know no bounds,
    for my anger will be gone forever.
I will be to Israel
    like a refreshing dew from heaven.
Israel will blossom like the lily;
    it will send roots deep into the soil
    like the cedars in Lebanon.
Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees,
    as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.
My people will again live under my shade.
    They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.
    They will be as fragrant as the wines of Lebanon.

“O Israel, stay away from idols!
    I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you.
I am like a tree that is always green;
    all your fruit comes from me.

Let those who are wise understand these things.
    Let those with discernment listen carefully.
The paths of the Lord are true and right,
    and righteous people live by walking in them.
    But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.

Hosea 14:1-9

I stand in awe. His love is extravagant. It is all we need. HE is all we need.

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So many times All the time my prayers are asking and pleading and begging…and every time His answer is the same: I am the Lord Who provides.

How beautiful that His love knows no bounds!! He is even our SHADE!! (And on days as hot as today, I can fully appreciate that attribute – and I’m sure you can too!) We don’t just serve a god who makes us happy in this moment. We serve the Almighty God, the Creator who provides for our every need.

I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me. Hosea 14:8b

He asks us to follow Him, and He will provide. Stop for a moment this afternoon and reflect on that for a moment…Whatever it is you are worrying about and stressing over, give it up to God. Fully surrender to Him. He. Will. Provide.

Return…to the Lord…for your sins have brought you down…Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us [Lord], so that we may offer You our praises.

Hosea 14:1-2 (emphasis & editing mine)

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