Monday, July 29, 2013

Influence and Becoming

"Why did you decide to become a hygienist?" I asked as the suction was removed from my lips.
"That's a good question. I guess I had a good relationship with my dentist growing up..."
"And hygienist?"
"And, yes. And I like to help people. It was a good fit."
I thought about that for a long time. She chose a profession based on repeated, positive experiences and a trusting, safe relationship.  That's very cool.
And as I thought about her life choice, I wondered if anyone would want to know Jesus because they knew me. Do others have a trusting, safe, positive relationship with me and want to know my Savior? Or do my words and actions repulse people?
The answer? The true answer? Yes and no. Some of each. And it's something the Lord is making me more and more aware of. To be like Jesus is to be kind, approachable, patient, understanding. At all times. And I am not.
Oh, to be more like Jesus. And, oh, to stop and apologize and ask forgiveness in those moments--those countless moments--and even afterward, when I am not like Jesus. When I am not patient. Or kind. Or loving. Or approachable. Or....
How thankful I am for God's patience and lovingkindness with me! And how incredibly wonderful that God doesn't need me--He calls and justifies and sanctifies--but chooses to use me. Ah, the wonders of God!

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved. Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1 NKJV)

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
“Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25 NKJV)


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

First Cry

Two young girls, hands clasping tracts, looked up for one last instruction. "What is the first thing a baby does when it's born?" I asked.

They hesitated. "It cries?" said one, looking to the other for support.
"Yes, it cries! And now that you are new babies in God's family, it's your turn. Find someone to tell and say, 'Hey, I'm alive!  Look! Look! I've just been born! Jesus gave me new life!'"
They took off out the door at a near run, smiles on their faces. And there was joy!

"... as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (1 Peter 2:2-3)

As we grow in the "training and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4), our speech will change.  More and more we will speak with wisdom and grace.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Colossians 3:16-17)

Friday, July 12, 2013

As You Wish

It's been an interesting couple of weeks at our house. We were still catching up with laundry and unpacking from a week at camp (2 of us) and youth mission trip (3 of us) when a thunderstorm led David to look for the source of dripping water in our kitchen. He ripped out roof and ceiling. Counter tops were rearranged. A tarp went up. Flies came in. Laundry, camp and mission trip items were replaced with Vacation Bible School preparation. Two of the girls' bedrooms were emptied and painted.
And this week, as each day fell and choices demanded decisions, the phrase, "As you wish," rolled through my mind, over and over.  "Lord, as You wish." And He has been faithful. Things I didn't want to do have gotten done. Things I have wanted have gotten done. And I can take no credit for the priorities or completion, because I realize they were not done simply by my say-so. God gave the desire, the time, the ability, the resources. He made it happen; He brought it about. He, my faithful, loving God is able to "will and work in me for His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13).
As I prayed another, "As you wish," last night, it finally clicked. The Princess Bride! In that classic movie, Wesley, the farm boy, responds, "As you wish," every time the young maiden, Buttercup, gives him a  task. Over time she realizes that, "As you wish," really means, "I love you." Thus begins a wonderful love/adventure story.
As today begins--and ends--may that be the prayer of our hearts. "As You wish."

"Roll your works upon the Lord ... so shall your plans be established and succeed." (Proverbs 16:3 Amplified Bible)

"Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass.
And He will make your uprightness and right standing with God go forth as the light, and your justice and right as [the shining sun of] the noonday.
Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him...." (Psalm 37:5-7 Amplified Bible)

"...that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life...." (Philippians 2:10-16 NKJV)