For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. —Romans 15:4

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Where You Go

Ruth 1:16
But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 

In the book of Ruth, Naomi urges her daughters-in-law to return to their homeland after their husbands (Naomi’s sons) died. Orpah agrees to go home, but Ruth wants to stay with Naomi and follow her back to her country. By doing this, Ruth also chooses to accept God, who Naomi loves.

As a child I remember playing games like follow the leader and mother-may-I. The object was to mimic the exact movements of the child in charge of the game. If you did not repeat the actions correctly, you were booted out of the game, to sit on the sidelines and watch while your buddies tried to follow.

Chris Tomlin sings a song with a chorus that says, “Where you go, I'll go --Where you stay, I'll stay -- When you move, I'll move -- I will follow you.” He is singing to Jesus and making a commitment to follow wherever he wants him to. When Jesus asks us to follow him, he knows we may not mimic the exact steps that he does, and he knows we may fall. But he does not sit us on the sidelines; instead he picks us up and asks us to continue on our path with him. Where he goes I’ll go. I want to follow him.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Snow white

Psalm 51:7, 10-12
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; 
   wash me, and I will be whiter than snow… 
Create in me a pure heart, O God, 
   and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 
Do not cast me from your presence 
   or take your Holy Spirit from me. 
Restore to me the joy of your salvation 
   and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Living in southern Ohio in the winter, usually means at least one snowstorm that blankets the fields with pure white glistening snow. As I drove to work one morning after a midnight storm, the pure white fields flanked either side of the road. With no wind, the still snow lay quiet. The sun glinted off each individual flake creating a sparkling quilt.

A few days before the snow, that same field looked dull and dirty. Brown grass drooped over bare ground. I couldn’t help but think about my own life and the way God has covered me with his grace and made me whiter than snow. He promises that if I seek him in prayer and ask forgiveness for sin, that he will pour his love over me and create in me a renewed spirit. God not only covers our sin, he promises to remove it through Jesus. Trust God to cleanse your soul and restore your joy.  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Network

John 11:1-5

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”

When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

God created people to connect with one another. He has blessed me with a great network of family and friends. What I love about many of them is that they keep me accountable to my commitment to Christ. At times I struggle with depression; they surround me and lift me up. When I have cause to rejoice my “people” rejoice with me. In all the journeys of my life, God has provided folks who love him and love me.

Jesus loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha. He surrounded himself with the disciples and other folks who cared. Jesus had a social network. He reached out to people and they reached out to him. As followers of Christ, we need each other. I pray that God opens my eyes to the needs of the people around me and moves me to support and love them.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Too Much Time?

James 4:13-15
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

I was at a meeting talking with a friend and made the comment that I like calendars and clocks. I purchased three different 2011 calendars and was given two. I own several clocks (one with three faces that can be set to different time zones), a watch and a phone that shows the time, not to mention the clock on my computer and phone at work. I asked my friend what it means for me owning all these time oriented items, and she thought it must mean that I’m organized. I’m not so sure about that. But, I am beginning to think that I am just a bit obsessed with time.

Driving home from the meeting I was thinking about how God views time. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t wear a watch. We often talk about how events happen in God’s time and that he has perfect timing. James tells us that life is just a mist, the blink of an eye and that instead of focusing on when things will be, know that God has perfect timing in all that he does. I’ve heard the saying that “I make plans, God laughs,” he may not laugh at us, but he may shake his head and then reminds us that he is in control. Take time this week to praise and thank God for his knowledge of our life and his wisdom to guide us forward.