Monday, February 23, 2015

He’s A-Workin’ On Me

So, God spoke to me today while I was cleaning up the parking lot at work. The corners near the curb collect a lot of debris, especially after it rains like it did this weekend. In order to get most of the trash and to make the corner cleaner, I used my grabber to transfer most of the pile onto the mulch. As I began to pick through it and pull out the trash, starting with the bigger, more obvious pieces and then digging through for the smaller bits, I was struck by how this is exactly what God does with us.

He rescues us; pulls us out of the world (where we don’t belong anyway) and places us in His kingdom (where we were created to belong). Then, He begins to work on clearing all the trash out of our souls. He starts with the biggest issues (and what’s “big” varies from person to person) and then He begins to dig deeper and remove the “smaller” offences from our lives.

It is so easy for me to think I have to be perfect before I run to Jesus. When I become aware of a sin in my life, I am often guilty of trying to fix it on my own. I always feel like I need to clean myself up at least a little bit before I bring my problems to Him. But today He showed me, through a pile of leaves and litter, that He simply wants me to let Him work. I don’t have to somehow be good enough to run to Him, I just have to run to Him and be willing to let Him take out whatever needs to go, even if it’s something I’d rather hang onto. Yes, once He points out the sin, I must choose to follow His way not my own, but I don’t have to do it on my own. In fact, I cannot do it under my own steam. I need the Holy Spirit to be able to live a holy life. That’s the reason He was sent - to be our Parakletos (one who comes alongside to help, advise, and advocate for).

God knew what kind of mess He was getting when He called me. My job is to respond to the call and let Him have His way; because God’s way is always the best way. As the saying goes, “God’s will is what you would choose for yourself if you had sense enough to choose it.”

 “We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that he understands everything - and still loves us.”
~ A. W. Tozer

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Character Connections ~ Millie Keith

I’m rereading one of my favorite childhood novels. It is called Millie’s Unsettled Season and it’s an adaption based off of several of Martha Finley’s novels. Although Millie’s story is set in the 1830’s, I have always felt a kinship with her. I even remember a childhood prayer where I prayed to “live a life of faith like Millie Keith.”
This first book in the series that I am reading has Millie’s family moving away from the home where Millie grew up to the frontier. Nothing in Pleasant Plains, Indiana is anything like the life Millie knew in Lansdale, Ohio; the place seems empty and barren and definitely devoid of everything familiar and, at first, Millie responds with a temper tantrum.
Sadly, I did the exact same thing four years ago when we moved from everything familiar to me in Greensboro, North Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was years removed from having read Millie’s books and rereading now has me wondering if maybe I would have been better off if I’d reread this book as we prepared to move.
One thing that has me especially humbled is the fact that Millie was thirteen in her book. I was eighteen when we moved. You would think I’d have been much more mature than I was.
I’m sorry to think of the pain I probably caused to so many, and I’m sure being so bitter about the move didn’t help me to make any quick friends once we did move.
God has matured and used me in so many ways here in Louisiana that I never would have let Him in North Carolina. (And of course I never would have encountered the same people there that live here!) It is humbling to see how much more God cares about the person I can become -the person He created me to be- and the people He wants me to touch than He does about my personal preferences at any given moment.
I’m so glad that God is so good and so willing to use me and shape my character even when I am so stubborn about it!

“God is more concerned with making us like Him, with making us holy, than with making us happy.”
~Janette Oke

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
~ Romans 12:2

“…until Christ is formed in you.”
~ Galatians 4:19

Do you have a fictional character you feel connected to in a special way?
Have you ever seen in hindsight how the undesirable things that have happened to you were God’s hand at work?
Please share your stories in the comments! I love hearing them. It can be so encouraging to know one is not alone on this pilgrimage of life.

Be blessed, friends. :)