Peeking Through the Windows

I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. (Psalm 101:2)

As I stumbled across this verse I began to wonder, who was watching King David as he “walked” in his house? Servants, who not only watched but experienced either the kindness and mercy or the fury of their master of the house. Wives…not “wife” but wives…who felt either the joy of a man’s sacred love or the sting of rejection as David delegated his time as a husband. Children, who were stirred to either admiration or disdain, peace or wrath, as David the dad brought out the best or worst in his children. A household was watching, and from a distance, the entire kingdom was watching, making educated guesses about David’s true identity based on the glimpses they were given into David’s life.

Who’s watching you “walk” in your house? Remember that some are watching from within the walls, while others are “peeking through the windows.” Sure, some are looking for something to criticize, but know that some are looking for someone to admire, someone who is trustworthy, someone who will inspire them to believe that it’s possible to live for Christ with a sincere heart.

 

With All My Heart

With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. (Psalm 119:10)

I’m one month away from celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary. One thing I’ve discovered is that love changes. Love grows stronger. Love grows sweeter. Love also becomes comfortable as the relationship becomes comfortable. The familiarity and comfort that develop over time can bring peace and security, but one must always guard against letting “comfort” in a relationship slip into a sloppy casualness. We must never take our love relationships for granted.

And we must never take our relationship with God for granted. Thank God for the comfort and security of His love for us, but on our part, we must nurture that love by pursuing Him daily and obeying Him with fierce determination. With all my heart…I want to live like I mean it.

Middleagedness

Yeah, it’s a word. Middleagedness. Middle-aged-ness. And it’s the new me.

I’m discovering that there’s some advantages to hitting a double-digit age with a four in front:

  • I feel more comfortable letting people see the real me. (Okay, it’s true. I like Rod Stewart.)
  • I am more certain of who I am. (terrible cook, disco queen, homework natzi, loud shower singer…)
  • I have fewer fears because some of the things I used to dread have already started happening, yet I find that I will survive. (wrinkles, reading glasses…)
  • My muscles are too tired to suck it in anymore, so I no longer feel obligated.(You are what you eat, and I’m a cupcake!)
  • I am better able to detect legalistic thinking within myself, and I’m throwing it off like an old garment.
  • And speaking of garments, I can still pull off some of the trendier clothing, but if I’m still fond of what has grown out of style, I say “who cares!” and go with it! (I’m not ready to start wearing knee-hi stockings with my skirts, but I’m just saying, I’m starting to understand the carefree attitude that allows my more “seasoned” girlfriends to sport their knee-his without apology.)
  • I’m closer to heaven than ever before.

And when the years pass and my eyes have grown dim, I will still trust the goodness of God. Though I am aging, the Timeless One is holding me:

Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry and will deliver you (Isaiah 46:4).

 

 

Squirrel in the House

My youngest son came running, hollering in earnest, “Momma! Momma! Squirrel in the house! He licked me! He licked me!” It wasn’t the sort of tone to indicate, “Cool, Mom, that squirrel made me feel special because he licked me;” it was more like, “I’m so totally grossed out right now that I can hardly stand to be in my own skin because I got licked by a squirrel.”

We found the squirrel, who was nothing more than a tiny little ball of fur, shivering partly from fear, and partly because (as I discovered later) he was wet from taking a swim in the toilet bowl. Bless his little squirrel heart, I’m sure we scared him to death as we showed him to the door as gently as we could, and then the clean up began. First, of course, was to see to my son’s ankle where the squirrel had licked (does everybody agree that that’s just weird?), and then I began a complete sanitation of anywhere and everywhere that baby squirrel had been in the house. Even though baby squirrel was out of sight, I knew that traces of his germs were still there, and I wanted the entire squirrel episode out of our home forever.

When we’ve sinned, we need God to give us a complete cleansing of our hearts (1 John 1:9). He can wipe away the sin and make us new again. But while the guilt and shame are removed, sometimes the temptation and weakness to repeat that sin still remain. We cry out to the Lord, “I want this problem out of my life forever!”, but it’s going to take more than our determination to overcome the seductive power of sin. We need God. We can lean on Him and His strength, and we’re wise to realize how desperately we need him. First Corinthians 10:12 warns, Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. When we think we’ve got our problems licked (no squirrel pun intended), we must take care not to rely upon our own strength and power but instead depend on God’s strength and cleansing power to give us a complete victory.

 

Cookie Crumbs in the Shower

Little boys do funny things.

I visited my mom one rainy afternoon, and we left my two boys to amuse themselves inside her house while she and I enjoyed a chat on the porch. And what inventive measures did they take to amuse themselves? They grabbed a fistful of cookies and ran to play indoor hide-and-seek. Mom said that the next morning she pulled back her shower curtain, only to find cookie crumbs in the bathtub. Hmm. Someone enjoyed a yummy snack in the perfect hiding place.

Tiny remnants of cookie don’t belong in the tub. They were so glaringly out of place that it was obvious my little boys had been there. So too,the loving actions of Christlike believers, the little crumbs of evidence of where we’ve been, should be very noticeable because godliness is certainly “out of place” in this world. The light of Christ will shine brightly and will attract attention, like crumbs in the tub, because the perfect love of Jesus just isn’t witnessed very often in this dark world. His love is amazing. His light is striking. His grace is fetching. Traces of Jesus stand out in this world.

Look around you for a moment. What sort of crumbs have you left behind where you’ve been today? Were they crumbs of worry and doubt? Crumbs of anger? Traces of selfishness? Or evidence of the Savior who lives in your heart?

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

 

Kitchen Counters

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:15

Do you have a “catch-all” space in your house? For me, it’s my kitchen counter. School papers, mail, car keys, artwork and more are scattered from one end to the other. Somewhere in the middle of the mess is a lovely plate rack, its beauty wasted amidst the clutter.

I noticed a peculiar pattern in my evenings lately. I can be in the cheeriest of moods, when in a matter of moments, I find my insides churning. My first thought (and may I add, my first hope,) was that I was having hormonal mood swings. Wouldn’t that have been a pleasant answer, letting medication bring a solution! But no, under closer examination of this mystery, I uncovered the truth: I was allowing my temper to flare up because by evening, the clutter on the countertop had reached its peak. I can’t stand messiness.

After a brief trip to fantasyland where I entertained the idea of training my family to put everything back where they found it on a consistent basis, I contemplated feeling sorry for myself. Woe is me; I’m stuck cleaning up after everybody else every night of my life. But then God stepped into my thoughts. School papers and artwork are on the counter? Those items are there because of the three children I prayed that God would give to me. Car keys? I’m blessed to have reliable transportation for myself and my family. One by one, the pieces of clutter became reminders of God’s blessings. And what’s more, the little bit of clutter on the counter doesn’t matter to God, but the lives of my husband and precious children playing in the living room are of eternal worth to my Heavenly Father.

As you encounter today’s clutter and frustrations, ask yourself: Does this really matter? Let your attention rest on what matters most to God – people – then you’ll likely find yourself giving each one of them a smile!

– from Soul Shaping
Check out chapters one and two for free!

Does God “Need” Our Help?

My son loves to help in the kitchen. He’s not so crazy about his other assigned chores, but he begs to help me prepare supper. So, I invite the little guy to stand at the counter beside me, and he begins to chime:
“What next, Mommy?”
“Can I stir that?”
“Is it almost my turn?”

I don’t really “need” my son to help in the kitchen. In fact, I realize when I invite him to be my assistant, meal preparation may take a little longer than if I had done it all myself. However, I delight in having him beside me and sharing this time together. We both enjoy having a mutual goal, and as a result of our teamwork, we both get a heightened enjoyment of the meal as we eat the fruits of our labors together.

Does God “need” our help to accomplish His work on the earth? There’s not a thing God wills to do that He cannot accomplish on His own. However, He delights in His children, and He knows that we are growing and learning as we get our hands involved in His work. And when we partner with God, He is giving us the blessing of rejoicing with Him as the fields of His kingdom are harvested.

God is inviting you to join Him in kingdom work. Will you join Him?

To Be Fruitful

Want to be fruitful? See what God says:

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:2-8)

What a promise! When you abound in faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, you will be fruitful in the knowledge of Christ.

But that’s quite a list, and none of these character traits are possible apart from Christ. Ask the Lord to reveal to you where He is working in your life, and pray for strength to yield to the Spirit as He molds and shapes you.