Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Cherished Treasure

Surely you've heard the line: One man's junk is another man's treasure. Keep that thought in mind.
Together, my husband and I are finally reading the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I'm not used to reading only one chapter in a book a day, but as he suggests, that's what we're doing, giving time to think about each chapter throughout the day.
Yesterday we read the chapter that drives home the idea that everything belongs to God, we are merely stewards or priviledged users of what truly doesn't even belong to us. Mr. Warren has given me much to contemplate in the first few chapters of his book - but I found this chapter particularly convicting.
I don't consider myself a materialistic girl. I could care less how big our house is or how new my car is or if there's a label on my jeans. Honestly, I often shop at the Goodwill Store for the bargains, you'd be amazed at what other people get rid of, many times with the original price tags still on them! (Yes, that's where I got my perfectly new looking copy of Rick Warren's book for only 75 cents!) Recall the thought: One man's junk is another man's treasure.
So, yes, everything belongs to God. Okay. I have no reservations about that. I'm good with it. But as I read through this chapter an emotional charge blasted away at my heart as I heard God speaking to me, convicting me and drawing me to repentance. Graciously, God has forgiven me, so there's now no shame attached to what I have to share.
My father in law lives with us and has for several years now. He's not a particularly likeable person. He's paranoid, unkept, has quirky habits and a disgusting past. He doesn't hear, so we write down everything we want to communicate to him. When we took him in I don't think I realized what a long-term responsibility this would be. I admit it, I have some very carnal-minded days.
But as I read, the words on the pages faded and gave way to the images permeating my brain; my whole demeanor fell.
I saw God holding my father in law in His hands, protectively as if holding the most precious treasure on earth. With a look of intent on His face He looked around His creation for the perfect place to put His treasure. He smiled with delight, almost giggling as He said, "Oh here! There's plenty of room in Dave and Helen's hearts." -And he deposited this man into our lives.
What I've shamefully found revolting is one of God's greatest treasures. My father in law. I'm humbled. God has entrusted this treasure to our household -to our hearts and I've resented it far too much for way too long. Recall again the thought: What was one woman's 'junk' is God's greatest treasure!
Believe it or not, after asking God to forgive me and love this man through me - something inside of me has changed. My hearts now breaks over this man. This man that won't even acknowledge there is a God, is one of God's favorite treasures. Pray with me if you will, for God's treasure: Donald Lee Williams.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Earlier this year I read a book by Erwin Raphael McManus called 'The Barbarian way.' It's an outstanding book, easy to read - and I recommend it to everyone! He says things that will challenge your thinking about God and shake up what you've been calling your faith!
On one page he says, 'God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so that your life would count, not so that you could count the days of your life.'
He does talk about martyrs and their faith, saying that 'They were not disappointed in God because they did not misunderstand who He was.'
He talks about the safety of being 'in Christ...' When talking about the apostle Paul he says, 'Somebody forgot to tell Paul how safe the center of God's will was...'
I wish I could type in here all the lines from this book that I underlined. But that would be far too much. Things like, '...Jesus' death wasn't to free us from dying, but to free us from the fear of death....'
'Your expectations of Jesus will change as your intimacy with Him deepens.'
'To know God in the Scriptures always went beyond information to intimacy.'
'His [God's] intent is never to domesticate us, but to liberate us.'
'I'm happy to say that while Jesus can wonderfully make you healthy, He has no ambition to make you normal.'
'The Scriptures are filled with stories of women and men who heard God speak and acted as if hearing Him were normal.'
'When we fear God and God only, we are no longer bound by all of the other fears that would hold us captive.'
' and sacrifice cannot be seperated.'
' is not the absence of pain. If anything, love is the promise of pain...'
'If our children are going to walk away from Christ, we need to raise them in such a way that they understand that to walk away from Jesus is to walk away from a life of faith, risk, and adventure and to choose a life that is boring mundane, and ordinary.'
'When our faith becomes refined, it is no longer dangerous to the dark kingdom.'
'If you dare allow God to unlock your primal spirit, He will unleash the raw and untamed faith within.
I recommend this book strongly to all who believe..... and especially to all who believe they believe..... if you take the time to read it (an afternoon or two is all it should take....) let me know your thoughts! I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nike Says It All

Some advertisers are exceptional at what they do. Nike sums up a hundred sermons and pep talks and motivational meetings when they tell us to 'Just Do It!'
Did you know the Bible clearly states that '...any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin.'? This is found in James 4:17 for those of you who may not believe me. That's the Amplified version, but check out a few other versions: The Message Bible says, 'In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don't do it, that, for you, is evil.' And the NIV says it this way: 'Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins.'
So what is our oh-so-exceptional excuse that will get us out of this mess? We have none.
True, God is ever forgiving, but He also says, 'My spirit shall not always strive with man' in Genesis 6:3(KJV).
God is not the God of playing games. Although He obviously has the most incredible sense of humor and totally enjoys His creations and authors fun itself, His purposes in our lives are not simply fun and games.
When He created us and gave us our purpose, it was ON purpose.
So many of us are 'waiting on God' - myself included. But we know that He too is waiting on us. The next move is OURS! Our pastor made mention yesterday morning that the trip from Egypt to the Promised Land was a 30 day trip that took the Israelites 40 years! Disobedience makes our journey longer and harder.
I've jokingly said that if there's more than one way to do a thing, the Marine Corps will choose the hardest way possible to get it done. But not so with God. God most definitely uses our stumblings around in the wilderness to teach us and prepare us for what lies ahead, but He's more than willing to take us through in the most timely manner, creating ease for us - if we'll submit to Him and obey. Just do it!

Yes, I preach to my choir of one all the time. I'm caught in this desert journey myself, knowing to do good, yet sometimes not doing it. Knowing to submit, yet sometimes rebelling. The Bible says, 'For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry' in 1 Samuel 15:23, yet we (especially us American Christians) find rebelling second nature and acceptable. God does not.

We're all accountable now. We know to do good, what is right in God's eyes... and that includes submitting to Him, completely. We're accountable to do it.
Submitting is NOT a bad thing, its His most freeing provision for us. If we're not completely free, we're not completely submitted to Him. Its really just that simple.

Merry Christmas to you! Let this season of focus on the Christ be a season of submitting to the Christ!