Saturday, November 17, 2012

Skeletons in the Bathroom

Gaunt and bare, like skeletons stripped of their flesh, they stand. High on the top shelf in the bathroom, squeezed almost dry, the tubes of lotion call to me. Each stands nearly empty: the lotion within, too precious to throw away. Yet, in my rush to lather on the lotion and hurry out the door, I don’t take time to squeeze out the last of it. So I use a new tube, and remind myself that I must later take time to squeeze the lotion from each of the nearly empty tubes. Maybe over the weekend I can find some extra time to use the lotion left in these tubes. But I get busy, I forget, and they stand as reminders of what I need to do. Today is Saturday, and the day is young. This morning I will find time to use the leftover lotion, and then I can, in good conscience, throw the empty tube in the trash. I need to do this so I can clear some space on the top shelf. 

Hmm, now that I think about it, doesn’t my soul need a little squeezing too? Perhaps I need to devote more time to my soul, squeezing out all of God’s wisdom and blessings, daily covering myself with the lotion of God’s love. Then I can throw out the empty, lifeless areas of my life that are not pleasing to God and clear more space for Him on my top shelf.

Father God, help me to place you always on the top shelf of my life so that my spiritual life will not be bare bones, but instead be vibrantly alive.

Psalm 26:6 “Test me O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; for your love is ever before me, and I walk continually in your truth.”

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Physician's Advice

Recently, I had an MRI.  As I lay inside the narrow cylinder, the machine whirred, clanked and peered deep inside my body.  It didn’t care how I appeared on the outside, only on the inside.   After the doctor reads the MRI, he will decide on an appropriate course of action to make me whole again.  It’s up to me to follow the doctor’s orders. 

Just as the doctor looks within the body in order to heal, so God looks deep within his loved ones for diagnosis and healing.  The great Physician doesn’t care how we appear on the outside; his only concern is those sins entrenched in the soul.  God sees deep inside, understanding all our thoughts and sins. 

Once God informs us what sin lies within, he gives us specific actions to remedy our spiritual ailments.  Forgiveness is a common prescription, as is repentance.  Instead of bed rest, the patient may need quiet time alone with God, in His word and in prayer.  Whatever spiritual ailments we possess, God provides the cure.  It is up to us to take our prescriptions and follow his bidding.

Master physician, as you look deep within my soul, keep my mind and heart willing to follow your spiritual advice.

Psalm 139:1 "O Lord, you have searched me and you know me."

Monday, November 5, 2012

Flowing Over the Obstacles

The stream meanders, making its lazy way through piles of fallen leaves, gray, barren trees, and rich, fertile earth.  My feet crunch the brown, yellow, red, and rust colored leaves as I walk closer to the little stream. Bending and twisting, it flows around the rocks and under the narrow walking bridge. Algae flourishes just beneath its surface, giving this little stream its green color.

 I find a flat rock near the edge of the stream where I can sit and enjoy its simple beauty. From my vantage point a few feet above the stream, I can observe its meandering path. As it flows from one bend to another, the lazy waters flow silently, peacefully, unimpeded.

 As I scan the length of the stream from my rocky perch, I notice how the water changes when it hits an obstacle: a rock, a fallen tree limb, or a constricted pathway. Then the smooth flow changes. The water roils, bubbling up out of its bed, falling back again, leaving a visible trail.

Even more important than the changed look of the stream is its changed sound. It flows ever so quietly until it hits one of those obstacles. It’s then that the silent stream gurgles. You know, that musical, joyful gurgling sound that water makes. Hmm…where the path is free and easy, the water flows silently. It’s only when obstacles lie in its path that the water sings.

How often I find myself complaining instead of singing when difficulties snag my way.

Lord, when the way proves tough, give me a song to sing.

Isaiah 49:13 “Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth, burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Light of the World

Isaiah 60:1-3 Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.  Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.


The Light of the World


Light—it is available at the flip of a switch.  Even in the darkness of night, we can light a room, an entire building, or the outdoors as brightly as daylight.  We have lights in every room, on nearly every street corner, and even our highways.  Businesses are brightly lit, even when closed; neon lights beckon us to shop, eat, repair, and relax. You name it, we light it.  With all of this electric light, do you think it strange that candles are so popular?  Didn’t they, after all, become obsolete when Edison invented the electric light?  A candle gives only a faint glow in a darkened room, not enough to clearly see across the room, nor to easily read.  Curious, isn’t it?  Today, when we light the whole world with electricity, candlelight is popular.

God’s Holy Word is filled with imagery of light.  When God created the world, He said, Let there be light and there was light.  In John 1:4&5, Jesus is referred to as light.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There were no electric lights when Jesus walked on earth, but the impact of His life was electric!  People flocked from miles around to see Him, to hear Him speak, and to witness His miracles.  The religious leaders were so intimidated, they conspired to put Him to death.  Their intent was to extinguish Jesus’ light.  For three days it appeared His light had been extinguished.

Jesus Christ came to light the darkness: the darkness of evil, the darkness of ignorance of His saving power.  He accomplished this by being born as a human, by dying at the hands of men, being raised from the dead and ascending to heaven.  After He ascended, what happened to His light on earth?  His spirit came to kindle a light in each of us.  Matthew wrote the following about the believers in Christ:  You are the light of the world….  Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven (5:14a &16 NKJ). 

Frequently, I have been the recipient of good works.  When my children were small, my husband and I were young and poor.  Others shed their lights on us in many ways:   gifts of food, money, hand-me-down clothing, time and assistance.  While each gift was small, together they dispelled the darkness of doubt, poverty, and fatigue.  More importantly, by reflecting God’s love, each giver revealed to us more of God’s light.  Over the years I have realized this: In sharing God’s light, I can chase away dark times for others by speaking kind words, sharing my time, and giving my money generously. 

God asks me to light the world so that they may see [my] good works and glorify [my] Father in heaven.  Now I don’t know about your light, but I know that my light is not electric!  My light is feeble, and at times it barely flickers.  I don’t have thousands of dollars to share, but I can share what I do have.  I don’t speak before millions on television, enlightening lives with Christ’s gospel.  Instead, my light is like one solitary candle, providing soft illumination.  When those who experience my small glow inquire about its source, I can fill their hearts with the lights of salvation and abundant life. 

Picture a room with one small candle burning.  Vision is difficult; there is more darkness and shadow than light.  But what if a second candle is lit? What if your little light joins with mine?  What if others, one by one, add their own little glow to our lights?  What if all Christians make a conscious decision to let the light of Christ shine through them so others will glorify Him?  Individually, we do not electrify the world, but together, our cumulative little lights chase away the darkness.  Soon we clearly see across a once dark room.  Soon the shadows flee; soon the light overcomes the darkness.  When, together, we let the light of Jesus shine through us, we create light enough for all to see God’s glory.  This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…won’t you shine with me?

Lord of light, remind me that my little light enables others to glimpse your glory.