Tag Archives: storms of life

Crown-worthy Preparation

2 Jul

My life took a tumble within the last few weeks. On top of surgery and recovery, I went through hard to swallow disappointments, discouragement, and dashed dreams. Paul wrote that I can rest assured that what I’ve experienced is not uncommon, so I know you can relate to me. Perhaps some are in the tossing, turning, and free fall of life right now. If so, take heart. God has a purpose.

Have you ever watched clothes in a dryer? Especially noticing your favorite shirt rolling up the side then dropping down, disappearing, catching a glimpse of it in the back before showing up again pressed against the glass? Knowing it will in the right time come out of the chaos dry and wrinkle free gives us patience to let it continue.

Recently, I read an article on how to polish rocks using a rock tumbler. I couldn’t help but see a metaphor for what I’ve been going through and of life in general, especially the Christian life. The rock polishing process begins with selecting the right stones. And once selected, they are scrubbed to remove surface crud. That may include knocking or chiseling off sharp protrusions before being put into the tumbler.

As much as we say we found Jesus, the fact remains he chose us–before the foundations of the world Paul tells us. And after our being joined to him, we often see much of our crud purged from our lives. Joy fills us when we realize for the first time how great it is to be free of those things.

When we think life couldn’t be better, we experience upset. Confusion, pain, and disillusionment tosses us like the shirt in the dryer and like the stones in the rock tumbler. Here is what to remember. After the choosing, scrubbing, and shaping, the craftsman puts several stones into the tumbler along with some hard grit and water. He then turns on the tumbler for a specific amount of time. At the end of that time, he turns off the tumbler, washed the stones, and checks their progress. Then the process is repeated.

Jesus is the master craftsman. He has a purpose for each one he chooses, a purpose far greater than scrubbing away our crud. He puts us together with others {we aren’t alone in our tumble}, uses the washing of the word and the power of the Holy Spirit to smooth out other imperfections. The stone-polishing process is repeated until the ugly rock shines with the brilliance of a precious gem. (Note: the gem was there all the time, but only the Master could see it.) And so it is with us. Jesus is changing us from “glory to glory.”

As Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:16-17 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…”
Perhaps the next time life is a jumble with no stable ground to stand on we can remember our heavenly stone polisher. Instead of fearing or complaining we can say, “I’m becoming what God sees in me and shown to the world–a gem suitable for being part of his crown of glory.”

Latest devotional published

3 Aug

Do you remember that song about those “lazy, hazy days of summer”? You do know those days are not limited to just suDSC_0128mmer, don’t you? They even creep into our Christian lives. I have a thought or two on those–the first being how much we desire them and how easily they slip in. As enjoyable as they may seem, beware of the hazards.

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Consider the flowers of the field

24 Jun

I love the fact that Jesus really does know what we face on a day-to-day basis. He knows our tendency to worry about everything–especially those things that might affect how others perceive us. But He told us not to worry even over what we wear because Solomon in all his glory was never clothed as gloriously as the flowers of the field. Here are some picturDSC_0129adjust72es I took yesterday. I hope we all can be encouraged by their glory.DSC_0126crop72DSC_0132crop72DSC_0127crop72DSC_0123crop72

Life from a new perspective

4 Jun

Do you ever have those times when you ask the Lord to fill your cup, fill it to overflowing and running over–and He fills your plate instead? Those can be tough times. We know. We are coming to the end of one of those, or at least we think the end is in sight.

We’ve had our times of moaning and, in all honesty, complaining about the pressures and the heaviness we have felt through this time. We would not have called it complaining, but in simple terms, that’s what it was. But in the scattered moments of quiet times my wife and I tried to understand what we were to gain from our experience. We found quiet places when we could get out of the house and take a walk. We talk about things as we walk that we can’t talk about with everyone around us. In that way we sort out our thoughts.

On one walk we agreed that the Lord was teaching us at the beginning of these last three years that He is our provider and that He really can do more than we can ask or think. In the last four months He has been teaching us to serve as our plate went from full to running over.

I shared with my wife that I awoke one morning confessing that it is hard to focus on the needs of others and serve them when our basic needs demand attention. That’s when God’s economic plan made sense: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you,” Matthew 6:33. And Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” Most people work with the paradigm that they will do for others after all their own needs are met–after all, charity begins at home. They will have time for others when all their work is done. That is man’s way; God’s way is to begin with serving others. That is what living in the kingdom of God is about.

Big Storm

1 Feb

A big winter storm is predicted for today. I mean a really big storm. It is said to have put 38 states on alert…38…that’s nearly 80% of the United States and 87% of the contiguous states. Yes, I would say it is safe to say that this is a big storm. Everyone is taking steps of preparedness, stocking up on supplies in case the storm is as bad or perhaps even worse than predicted. They are watching the news for all updates, checking for schools, business and road closures. Meanwhile, there is a war going on in Afghanistan, Iraq may fall prey to extremists as we pull out, Egypt is about to overthrow their ruler. But the news cameras are watching the coming storm.

Jesus said that when you see “these things” happening, look up because your redemption is getting close. That coming event (His return in the clouds) will so dwarf this big storm, but who is watching for it? The politicians are not because they would be accused of trying to establish religion. The media is not because that would not be tolerant of other beliefs. Sad to say but many if not most Christians are not because it does not fit into their schedule for the day. Who is? His Bride; she is making herself ready!

Luke 21:25-36 “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” -NKJV

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