Thursday, September 30, 2010

and yes...here is yet another one..

September 30, 2010

Words

"With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness." James 3:9 (NIV)
         
Devotion:
A few weeks ago two of my kids were having a growth opportunity.  "Growth opportunity" is the new phrase us TerKeursts use for "fight."  It's like when people say pink is the new black. Growth opportunity is the new fight.
Anyhow, back to the two kids who love each other but didn't like each other very much in the heat of the moment.  I pulled out my proverbial soap box, got my hand positioned just right on my hip, and told these two young teens to look outside the window of our home.  I told them that outside our home a world exists of people who may or may not be nice to us. There are no guarantees.
"But, inside this house," I continued as I turned them toward one another, "there are certain guarantees.  Since the day I birthed you, I have preached one sermon about the words spoken in our home.  It is a simple sermon.  Before you part your lips to speak, you must ask yourself this question:  Are my words kind, necessary, and true?"
"If the answer to all three parts of that question is yes...proceed ahead."
"If the answer to any part of that question is no...stop the words from coming out."
Does that mean there is no room to address hard issues with one another?  No. But it will always be done with a spirit of kindness using only words that are necessary and true. 
I then ushered these precious teens outside to a bench in my front yard and instructed them to figure out their issues between the two of them.  But they were not going to bring words into our house unless they were kind, necessary, and true.  Thank you very much. Have a nice time on this warm little bench on this warm little day.
Be sure when reading that last paragraph to do it with the mama attitude.  I'll wait right here if you need to go back and re-read with attitude. 
There are some verses in James I'm considering writing on the palm of my hand.  Think of how handy it would be just to flash my palm up in the midst of my people's growth opportunities with this verse in bold ink: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in God's likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My people, this should not be" (James 3 9-10).
That same chapter of James goes on to read, "For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice" (verse 16).
Have mercy. I do not want disorder and every evil practice to be invited into my home.  And if envy and selfish ambition (which are where ugly words come from) are the key that opens the door for all that evil mess, then I will do everything with the power of Jesus in me to tame tongues. 
And all my Jesus girlfriends said, Amen! 
Dear Lord, help me to know how to teach my children how to be more like You. Help me to model You in my actions, my reactions, and in every word I say. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, September 24, 2010

i concur

Composed and Quieted


Van Walton

"O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me." Psalm 131:1 (NASB)

Devotion:



I watched the young mother deftly work in her kitchen, amazed at all she could accomplish with one hand. In her left arm she tenderly cradled her little one. With her right hand, elbow, shoulder and hip she opened drawers and shut doors; she pulled out cups, saucers, and spoons; she scooped coffee and poured water.

While Juan Valdez's aroma filled the air, she gathered pastries from her pantry and other refreshments from her refrigerator. When silence replaced conversation, she hummed a quiet melody into her baby's ear. Finally we sat down to enjoy our mid-day visit and I realized her tiny infant had slept through it all, mindless of the constant noise and swirling activity.


Oh, to rest in such peace while all around me chaos reigns. What secret lay hidden in that little heart?


The chapter which contains today's key verse offers the answer- such a short and simple Psalm, yet it says it all, "Surely

I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother..." (NASB).


I long for an escape from life's challenges. Sometimes the force and frequency with which my trials torment me threaten to undue me.


I've been tested and tried this year to the point that I thought, "If the barrage doesn't let up, I am a goner." I held up my hand in the stop position and screamed out to God, "No more! Have mercy. I'm undone! How am I supposed to juggle all this?"

In that instant God whispered, "Like a child rests against his mother, quiet your soul."

Then the Master Artist sketched for me the picture I described earlier. His reminder recalled a young mother tenderly and safely holding her baby, while all around, life's responsibilities increasingly swelled.


Sweet friend, do you feel like you are losing your footing? Are you struggling to conquer the chaos? If you are like me you are on the brink, throwing up your hands and screaming, "I give up!"


That's good! Give up.


Yes, that is what I said.

Give up and like a child in her mother's arms, trust and rest.


Some matters are too complicated for us to figure out. Let God open and close the doors. Believe that He will prepare and provide. He created you, His precious child. He is protecting you in the crook of His strong right arm.


Father God, Your Word assures me that You are a strong shelter. You don't give me more than I can endure. Out of obedience I believe You and rest. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

something appropriate for me, how about you?


I'm Not Good as New
"He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts, so they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn—and I would heal them."
John 12:40 (NIV)
         
Devotion:
Years ago, I decided to save money and learn how to cut men's hair. With four males in my home, I figured electric clippers were a good investment. They were. After a few "oops" and "uh-ohs," I got the hang of it and have been cutting their hair ever since.

Recently, after finishing a trim, I dropped the clippers on the floor, knocking the blades from the holder. A quick examination revealed a very small piece of plastic had been chipped away. But the blades seemed to fit on fine, so I cleaned up the mess, brushed the clippers, and stored them in their box. Good as new, I thought.

Time for the next haircut arrived, and I retrieved the clippers from their box. I put the cape around my son's shoulders, snapped on the correct guide and proceeded to turn on the clippers. However, instead of hearing the normal electric purr, we heard a metallic grating. Apparently, that broken piece of plastic was actually important. Without it, the clippers didn't work right.

As I considered that incident, I realized many of us are like those clippers. At one time we have fallen emotionally. We've been hurt, betrayed, left out, overlooked. We carry scars from past relationships, jobs and bad choices. Most of us have been trained to pick ourselves back up and move on. We've been conditioned to put on a smile and pretend we aren't broken. The problem is most things that are broken don't fix themselves, and they don't work right until they are.

In the month between haircuts, that piece of plastic never jumped back on the clippers. Likewise, a leaking faucet doesn't just stop leaking one day. Buttons don't sew themselves back on. In every instance where something is broken, I've had to attend to it with care.

Sadly, I see many people walking around broken, pretending they are okay. Instead of acknowledging hurt and seeking healing from the One who can give it, they ignore it. Instead of seeking professional help when needed, they bury the pain, and hope it's deep enough to not bother them again. But the pain never really heals. It always pops up. And it affects current relationships and commitments when it does.

The truth is, none of us is as good as new. We are ALL broken in some way. We all have hurts we've buried and tried to move past. But that brokenness doesn't completely heal by itself. Thankfully, there is good news if you feel broken.

We serve a God who loves healing and wholeness. He knows it's painful to deal with past hurts. But He's willing to help. While we will never be "good as new" until heaven, we can be emotionally healed here on earth. Maybe we need to pick up our broken pieces, carry them in tender hands and present them to Jesus.

It may not be easy, and it will probably take time. But emotional healing is possible. After all, the One who conquered death, can certainly mend our brokenness.
 
Dear Lord, only You really know the depths of my pain and desperation. I've tried to hide it, even from You at times, but I won't any longer. Today I openly admit my pain and hurt, and ask You to heal me. Please give me wisdom to know other steps I need to take. Thank You for what You are going to do in me and through me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.