Bursting the Bubble

Bubble – noun –anything lacking firmness, substance or permanence; an illusion or delusion.

Every day we get reminders our world is a dangerous place. Home invasions, car jacking’s, terrorist bombs are tragic and terrifying daily occurrences. Bomb sniffing dogs, home alarm systems, gates, fences, and security guards are in place to feed our cherished illusion of safety and security. We are shocked when these “foolproof” systems fail and rush to blame someone/thing/agency. Some of our safety nets are more ordinary and seem justifiable; investing for retirement, eating the right foods, not eating the “wrong” things, endless warning labels.

For three years Jesus had traveled, taught and lived in close and constant contact with his 12 disciples. He had told them His time with them was short; He knew He was hours away from betrayal and a horrific public death yet they still just did not get it (Luke 22:24 – 38). They continued to think Jesus was going to be a glorious and majestic King who would deliver the nation of Israel from Rome’s oppressive rule; their bubble was about to burst.

So they argue about which of them was regarded as the greatest (v24). Don’t you just love how easy it is to relate to these men? How quickly the “self” and pride rears it’s ugly head? We hear about a co-workers promotion and, to our shame, our very first thought is, “Oh but I work just as hard/harder than they do!”

Peter, the disciple most likely to put his foot in his mouth, boldly declares that he is ready to follow Jesus to prison and death (v33) but Jesus knows his weakness and, very soon, Peter will know it too. God allows trials and testing to burst our bubble of self-confidence, independence and strength; to reveal our desperate need to depend on Him and to increase our faith.

Jesus reminds Peter (v35) of the time He had sent him out into the world with nothing yet, Peter was taken care of; Jesus kept the twelve close, in a bubble of protection and provision, they did not fully understand all He had told them and were ignorant of the future. That is all about to change.

The disciples point out the two swords they have in their possession and Jesus ends the discussion abruptly, “It is enough.” (v38)

What is “enough”? The swords? No way can two swords deter the well-trained and armed Roman soldiers. Talking? Was Jesus angry at their thick heads and foolishness, tired of explanations? I don’t think so. As I read this story again it struck me in a new way.

Jesus death and resurrection burst the bubble of safety; the veil was torn and access to the most holy place was exposed for all to see. The torn veil, truth exposed, means the moment of decision is at hand and each person must choose to accept or reject Jesus. The disciples were about to be sent out into their world to pour out all that Jesus had poured into them for the past years.

Like these men, we can choose; we can stay within our safety bubble or pick up our weapons, step out in faith and follow Jesus.

We delude ourselves by thinking earthly and man-made systems, walls and fences, big bank accounts and airport scanners keep us safe and secure.   We often live as if doing the “right thing” (whatever THAT is) gives us a guarantee and complete protection. The bubble of people-pleasing safety, of shortsighted living, of trusting emotions instead of truth, of trusting myself is the greatest illusion.

Jesus’ abrupt “enough” is His instruction to take my great treasure (Jesus Himself) and invest my time and energy in the only real security and safety; my guaranteed eternity in heaven.  My weapons (the Word and the Spirit) will sustain the life of faith I am called to live and tools I can and should share with anyone and everyone.

“Enough” is my daily challenge. Oh Lord, show me how to live a life that demonstrates my belief that You are enough. Keep my heart and mind focused only on You!

“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

 

My Two Cents

Ever been inside a large, crowded casino? It is an assault on the senses – colors, people and noise. Slot machines dominate with music, bells, beeps and the sound of coins. Coins dropping into the trays below with every win – over and over and over…

Jesus is in the temple of Jerusalem (Luke 20), teaching and preaching the gospel to the people. The temple would have been very crowded; it was days before the Passover, the highest holy day for Jews, many would have made the journey to the city to remember God’s deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage with the Passover meal.

Jesus must be been in the Court of the Women, off to the side is the Temple Treasury. History records that the Temple Treasury was an area set apart to receive offerings. There were thirteen boxes set around the walls and each box had a large, trumpet-like opening; the faithful would put their coins into these trumpets. In my mind it must have sounded a lot like a casino floor minus the beeps and bells.   In the midst of all this noise, the press of people, Jesus notices a single woman (Luke 21).

A poor widow who puts her two tiny coins into the opening and walks away. The tiny tinkle made by her little coins was probably lost in the cacophony of the larger and more numerous coins of other givers yet Jesus sees and hears her. If the story ended right at that moment it would be enough for me because this incident is one of those that makes me love Jesus. Women in Jesus’ day were looked down upon, men did not speak or even look at women in public, they were on the edge of society but Jesus changed that – He spoke to women, He looked them in the eye, He treated women with respect and honor – I love this about Jesus!

Jesus also observed the rich putting their coins; He was watching HOW they gave. Many of them made a big show of their generosity; they wanted to be noticed and to be known as big givers. Jesus had just warned His disciples about these religious phonies who wanted the admiration of the people but “devoured” widows by taking advantage of their desperation.

Jesus commends the widow, not for the AMOUNT of her gift, but for it’s COST. Those two tiny coins were all she had to give and it cost her everything to give them. She gives in obedience and out of love, not seeking any notice or reward.  She had to work her way through the crowd to put her coins in, being jostled, and possibly scorned or mocked as she pushed up to the trumpet.

The widow’s gift causes me to examine my own heart towards giving. What is my true motivation for giving?  Do I only give when it is easy/comfortable? Do I give with a poor or begrudging attitude?   Is my gift for “show”, because I have to or because I want to.  Slot machines no longer accept or pay out in actual coins.  When you collect your winnings a paper receipt prints out which you can use in another machine or redeem for cash.  As the receipt is printing you hear the sound of coins dropping into a tray – it is an illusion, a sham.  Jesus saw what was phony, He saw what was real – Oh God, help me be real…

Search me, O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting…Psalm 139:23

 

Oh, Danny Boy…

Oh, Danny Boy!

Whenever we move from one year to another there are lists all over media…Top Stories, Funniest Moments, Most Influential People, etc. etc. you’ve seen them. I don’t mind confessing that I like lists; not only do I like these re-cap lists but I like the ones that tell you 10 Ways to Organize Your Closet, 6 Foods to Eat Now and I also like making lists. I make grocery lists, vacation lists, I have lists of restaurants I want to visit, books I have read, books I want to read – yep, I’m one of those!

Lists help me stay organized and focused, help me set personal goals, let me find things easily and, most important, remember stuff.   A well-written list is clear, exact, and brief. When life is very busy and chaotic, a list helps me feel like I have been productive as I cross off the “dones”.

Perhaps my little OLM (Obsessive List Making) may seem weird to you but it works for me and I think God must like lists too because His Word is full of them.  The Ten Commandments comes to mind as one of God’s most well known lists but recently I found an amazing list in the Book of Daniel.

As a young Israelite man, Daniel was taken to the land of Babylon to serve in the household of the king. He served for about 70 years and, in the Book of Daniel, he describes his experiences.

In Chapter 10, Daniel had been mourning, fasting and praying for 3 weeks.   He sees a vision of an amazing man dressed in linen with a face like lightening. The man speaks to him, calling him a man of high esteem (v11)…How did Daniel become “a man of high esteem”?!

Ready? Here’s the list, Daniel was:

DETERMINED – Daniel “made up his mind that he would not defile himself” – Daniel was a man of firm resolve, strong in mind, determined.

 OBEDIENT – He seeks permission from the commander to not defile himself – he obeyed earthly authority! He was bold, not afraid to speak to the authority over him when he knew he answered to God.

WISE – When the commander said he was afraid of his leaders, Daniel had a wise solution, “lets do a test!”

DEPENDED ON GOD – Daniel is asked to interpret the Kings dreams. By asking for time to consider the dream – he demonstrates wisdom. He consults his friends, he knows he needs support, together they ask God, he depends completely on God to supply. Chapter 2 has a wonderful prayer of praise to God, he was a man who knew the source of wisdom and blessing, he was humble.

GOOD INFLUENCE – Daniel’s three friends face a horrible test when they are ordered to worship a statue. Daniel’s example of strength much have been a good influence.  Shadrach, Meshach and Abnego refuse to worship the statue and are thrown into a raging inferno, they trust God to deliver them.

COMPASSIONATE – The king has a dream and God gives Daniel the interpretation. Daniel is appalled by the meaning of this dream and wishes, for Nebuchadnezzer’s sake, that the dream did not apply to him, a man of caring and compassion!

HONORABLE AND HARD WORKING – There’s a new king on the throne.   It was common for a new ruler to kill any servants that might possibly be loyal to the old king. Not only did Daniel serve well, he distinguished himself. Daniel was accomplished, and worked hard with excellence.

PRAYERFUL – When the order is given to pray to the King, Daniel is found making his usual petitions and supplication to the Lord. Daniel was a man of consistent and disciplined prayer.

GUARDED HIS TONGUE – Daniel never speaks against those who plotted against him; he was a man of honor. He does not cry out or plead for mercy when put into the lion’s den, he trusted his God. When the pit is opened, he still honors the king who put him in there and gives glory to God. Daniels example caused this pagan king to praise the one true God and give the order that all should honor God.

KNEW THE WORD – Daniel read the Word (Chapter 9 – he reads the words of Jeremiah). He was a man of prayer and fasting. He was a man of confession who humbled himself before God and confessed the sins of the people. He was deeply grieved over sin. He knows God has allowed these difficult days and knows that God has the power to because of His great compassion.

Daniel, the man of high esteem, is given a wonderful promise. The angelic being tells him to “go your way to the end, then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age.” Daniel 12:13

Daniel obeyed and honored God all his life. There is no record of his ever asking for anything for himself yet God gifted him with great wisdom, gave him favor with 3 different rulers/kings and preserved his life. Over and over Daniel consistently demonstrates wisdom, integrity, humility, obedience and devotion to God.

Want to be a person of High Esteem? Be a Daniel!

 

Twenty Three

Twenty three years ago yesterday I:

  • got saved,
  • surrendered my life to Christ,
  • became a Christian,
  • was born again.

There was a great cloud of witnesses present as my husband and I walked forward in response to an invitation from the pulpit.  It was not the first invitation that my ears had “heard” but it was the first one my heart truly heard and received.  Until that day God had been drawing me to repentance; I had been resisting His invitation; saying, “Not today, God, not today.”

God had been softening the hard soil of my heart, seeds were being planted, the roots and vines of His Word were twining their way through my spirit.  I saw Jesus as so desirable that day; I wanted Him desperately.  I had wanted Him for some time, I just didn’t know it was Him I wanted. My longing for Jesus was stronger than the sin and shame that encumbered me – I fixed my eyes on Him and His promise.  As I walked toward Him I sensed Him running towards me like the father of the prodigal, running down the path to welcome his son home.

Throughout my life there have been decisions I have regretted, things I wish I had done differently or not done at all.  The decision to follow Christ was one of my best decisions ever and it changed my perspective on any and all decisions made before and since.  I continue to run the race that has been set before me; my pace may vary but my eyes remain fixed on Jesus; He sets my pace.  The cross has grown larger, taking up more space in the range of my vision; the high cost He paid for me.  The author and perfecter of my faith, Jesus, no longer has to run toward me – we walk together now, as we have every day of the past twenty three years.  I am grateful today and will be grateful into eternity.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run withendurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1,2

If you don’t know the peace and security of being a follower of Christ you can give your heart to Him right now.  Here is web site that will help you:  Peace with God  If you prayed to receive Christ with a sincere heart today – Happy Birthday to You!  You are in for a great race!

Woman Without a Name

Prospective parents spend hours discussing and researching the right name for their little ones. Countless books and websites as well as friends and family are full of helpful  suggestions, opinions and ideas. Your name identifies who you are but actually tells very little about the whole person.   Due to marriage, divorce and remarriage, my name, like the names of many other women, has actually changed a few times. Unless a person is really important to you or it is someone you see frequently, their name is easily and quickly forgotten.

The book of 2 Kings, tells of a woman of Shunem. This woman is mentioned in Chapters 4 and again in Chapter 8; we are never told her name, she is referred to always and only as “the Shunammite”.

She is a prominent woman but we are not told how this came to be (2 Kings 4:8). She is hospitable, inviting Elisha to dine and building a small room for his exclusive use when he is in her neighborhood (2 Kings 4:10). She is content; when Elisha asks how he can repay her kindness she asks for nothing. She is childless and her husband is elderly; Elisha tells her she will embrace a son next year (2 Kings 4:16). She is courageous, calm, and determined, when her son dies, she tells no one and rides quickly to Elisha (2 Kings 4:20 – 27). She is humble and grateful; Elisha comes to her home, restores her son to life; she falls at his feet in gratitude (2 King 4:37). Some time passes and Elisha warns the Shunammite woman to leave her home and find a new place wherever she can; a seven-year famine is coming. She is wise and obedient; she does not hesitate, she leaves immediately and settles in the land of the Philistines for seven years (2 Kings 8:1, 2). She is bold, upon her return she appeals to the King for the return of her house and property (2 Kings 8:3). She is honest, the King, hearing about her, asks her to tell her story; her story matches what he had been told and the King not only restores her property but orders that she be given any produce from the seven years she was away (2 Kings 8:6)

In a time of plenty, the Shunammite is generous. In a time of sorrow, she is purposeful and controlled. Given a gift she is grateful, given advice she listens. During a time of want she is not afraid but takes practical and decisive action. She is known, recognized, recorded and remembered as a woman with no name but of vast integrity.  I believe God purposefully does not tell us her name because He wants the focus on what matters; on her actions and character. She could be “Anywoman”.  The story of this woman without a name makes me wonder how people would describe me.  I pray that my character is worthy of remembrance and imitation long after my name is forgotten and that God would transform me from the inside out, conforming me to His image. I know that when I get to heaven God will give me a new name, the perfect name – I can’t wait!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it. Revelation 2:17

Tri-focal – Now Choose

On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He healed on the Sabbath, so that they might find reason to accuse Him. But He knew what they were thinking, and He said to the man with the withered hand, “Get up and come forward!” And he got up and came forward. And Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to destroy it?” After looking around at them all, He said to him, “Stretch out your hand!”And he did so; and his hand was restored. But they themselves were filled with rage, and discussed together what they might do to Jesus.  Luke 6:6 – 11

When you encounter Jesus, you must choose and there are only two choices:

Come closer – the man with the withered hand came forward, he stood next to Jesus.  He turned away from the crowd and looked at Jesus with expectation.  He knew something was going to happen but he did not know what; he didn’t care, he just wanted to be near Jesus.  He chose Jesus; he chose healing and restoration.

Turn away – the Pharisees turned and whispered among themselves.  They rejected Jesus and rejected the truth of The Word.  They were full of rage and the trap they were hoping to use on Jesus revealed their hearts.  They chose to cling to their old life, a life of bitterness, anger, and self-righteousness.

Today is a good day to choose for yourself…

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve:” Joshua 24:15

Nothing Test

“i’m starving!”, you say when you walk in the door at the end of a long day at work or school.  Are you really starving?  Did you eat at all today?  Probably, but maybe not.  Did you eat yesterday?  Very likely.  The “I’m starving” complaint is quickly followed by it’s annoying companion, “There’s nothing to eat in this house.”  This is most often uttered in front of the wide-open refrigerator.  Are your shelves and fridge completely and totally bare?  Probably not but, possibly.  Is there breakfast cereal, some almost out of date milk? Then there is food to eat in your house, it’s just not the food you want to eat!

Hunger by choice or circumstance is a very real problem everywhere but for most of us in present day America, food is always available for purchase or can be found for free/low-cost.  We are told regularly and often the average American is eating too much and obesity is considered by many to be a serious health issue.

Now it came about in the days when the judges governed, that there was a famine in the land. Ruth 1:1

Famine is a devastating, extreme and wide-spread shortage of food.  There has never been a famine in America.  Gratefully, most of us don’t have any idea what it means to be truly starving.  In a time of famine, the cupboards are literally bare.  There is no food of any kind available to anyone for any price. Famine drives people to extreme lengths to obtain food for themselves and their children.

This famine drives a man, Elimelech, to leave Bethlehem with his wife and two sons and travel to the land of Moab.  Elimelech chose Moab, and while there, he dies, leaving his wife Naomi a widow.  His sons marry Moabite women and then, the sons die. Naomi is bereft of her two children and her husband.  Naomi, hearing that there is food in Bethlehem decides to return home alone.  Her two daughters in law insist on going with her and Naomi urges them to stay in their own land with their own people; one daughter in law agrees but the other, Ruth, refuses to be parted from Naomi.  The two women, mother in law and daughter in law travel to Bethlehem.  Naomi is so crushed in spirit, she now insists on being called ‘Mara’, which means, bitter.

Even in a time of famine and loss, there is blessing.  Naomi/Mara refused to see the blessing of her faithful daughter in law, Ruth who traveled with her, leaving her own people and culture behind.

When you are completely empty it makes logical sense to go somewhere, anywhere, to get full. God allowed the famine into their lives and he allows famine to overtake us.  Maybe your famine is the loss of a loved one, loneliness and sadness is crushing your soul. Perhaps you are experiencing a famine of work, you need a job desperately.  You just don’t feel connected to God, your prayers seem to go unanswered, a time of spiritual famine.  Whatever your present famine, be careful  where or who you go to fill yourself up.  Many things and people promise fullness and don’t deliver.  Elimelech chose Moab, a land of idolatry, it is much easier to turn to the world and things of the world in a time of famine, don’t turn to an idol, turn to God.

God will sometimes strip us of everything, allow the famine to test us.  What will we do when we have nothing left?  Will we turn to Him, depend on Him or look to the world or our own resources to “get us through”?  Trials are an opportunity and we have the choice to become ‘mara’/bitter or better.  Unlike Ruth and Naomi, who had no idea if or how things would work out, we know the outcome of their story.  The famine they experienced was not a coincidence and if you are in a time of famine, of being stripped to nothing, this is not a coincidence for you either.

Moving to Florida was, for me, a small famine.  I was stripped (by choice) of familiar people, places and things.  It forced me to look to God for comfort, strength and peace.  God was getting ready to do something amazing for them and through them. God has given my many new friends, a job and now I can find my way around pretty well in my new neighborhood.  God had a plan and a purpose in their famine and bitterness and He has a plan and purpose for me and you in our “test of having nothing”.  Naomi and Ruth did not see it – we rarely do – but God calls us to keep moving, take the next step and to rely on Him – it’s called Trust!

Feeling Foolish

In case you haven’t noticed the world is full of fools.  And, they seem to be multiplying!

Among fools there are several different varieties.  There are fools that are just plain ignorant and don’t know any better.  The “anything for a laugh” fool will go to extremes to get attention, loads of these fools on You Tube and Vine.  Fools have always been around, the Bible has a few stories about fools, Balaam comes to mind here (see Numbers 22 for his story).  And there are the fools who totally deny the existence of God, “The fool said in his heart, “There is no God.”  Psalm 14:1

But who or what is the worst kind of fool?  It is the fool who has made a god according to his or her own design.  “For a fool speaks nonsense, And his heart inclines toward wickedness: To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the Lord, To keep the hungry person unsatisfied And to withhold drink from the thirsty.” Isaiah 32:6 This is the fool who believes that there is a god and perhaps even believes in the God of the Bible.  The fool who lives by a set of rules that is an amalgam of personal feelings, preferences and God’s Word.  The fool who sometimes sits in church Sunday but then does whatever makes her/him feel good Monday through Saturday.   The fool who visits church after church trying to find the “one that fits” instead of the one preaching truth.  The fool whose life is a mess, who keeps on doing the same foolish things over and over and just cannot figure out why their life is a mess.  The arrogant fool who believes that he/she can pick and choose when and how to obey God and that somehow God will not only understand and forgive but bless.  God is so big, so powerful, so omnipotent, He does not fit our mold or conform to our image, we are to allow Him to transform us into His image as He renews our mind.  It is all Him and none of us.

But there is one more kind of fool.  The kind of fool who does not follow the standards and goals of this world.  The kind of fool who has decided to follow Christ fully; who is all in for God and His Word.  The 1 Corinthians 4:10 fool, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.

Being a fool is a choice.  Which kind of fool are you?  Which kind do you want to be?  What steps do you need to take to change?  I chose Christ’s fool, the one I want to be, hoping to be more foolish every day!

Risk Analysis

“You know, I got a hunch, fat man. I got a hunch it’s me from here on in. One ball, corner pocket. I mean, that ever happen to you? You know, all of a sudden you feel like you can’t miss? ‘Cause I dreamed about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this game every night on the road. Five ball. You know, this is my table, man. I own it.”

“Fast Eddie” Felson is about to risk it all in the movie, “The Hustler”.  The entire roll of cash, everything he has, in a game of pool against the great “Minnesota Fats”.  I love stories of gamblers, all kinds of gamblers.  The gamblers who risk their lives climbing mountains, gamblers who risk their lives exploring new places, gamblers who risk their reputation to follow a vision.  Many of our great heroes were gamblers – they believed so strongly in their dream, they risked everything to achieve it.  Every gambler makes an assessment of the risks versus the rewards by looking at all the elements of the game as well as each player, sometimes they do this in seconds, sometimes they spend years analyzing.  But then the moment of decision arrives, stay or go, bet or go home, do or not do.

Rahab was a gambler.  She is first mentioned in the Old Testament book of Joshua, and we learn a lot about her in her first appearance: she lives in the city of Jericho, she is a harlot, she allows Joshua’s 2 spies to stay in her house.  She is also a liar, the King of Jericho sent men to find these spies, when they show up at Rahab’s house she admits they were there but says she had sent them away.  In fact, the men were hidden on her roof among the stalks of flax.

When Rahab lied to the King’s men she gambled her own life and the lives of everyone in her house.  Kings had absolute power and there was no democratic process.  What convinced Rahab that the risk of hiding these foreign spies was worth the risk?  The answer is found here:

Now before they lay down, she came up to them on the roof, and said to the men, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed.  When we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the Lord your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath.

Rahab knew the Lord was giving the Israelites the land, she knew the people of Jericho were terrified of them.  She had heard the stories of how God had taken them out of Egypt and given them victory in battle and most importantly, she knew and believed that this God was the one true God the Lord of heaven and earth.

The spies promise to spare her life and the life of her family IF she keeps silent and when they conquer Jericho.  Notice (verse 15) exactly where Rahab lives, “her house was on the city wall, so that she was living on the wall.”  You probably know what happens to Jericho but if not, read Joshua chapter 6.  Rahab ties a scarlet cord to her window to mark and protect her house from the impending invasion.  This red cord was a vivid marker to say, “Here I am” and also to say, “I believe!”

The walls of Jericho fall flat but God preserves and protects Rahab and reminds Joshua of the spies promise to her.  Everything she owns and her fathers family are all spared, Jericho and it’s people are utterly destroyed.

But the story of Rahab does not quite end there, “she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.”  Joshua 6:25

Rahab is mentioned again in Matthew 1:5, only one of three women in the genealogy of Jesus, Rahab lives in the midst of Israel to this day.

In Hebrews 11:31, Rahab lived by faith, trusting in God for her life and future, when she welcomed the spies in peace, living in the midst of Israel to this day.

James 2:25 Rahab was justified by her works, gave evidence of her faith, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way, living in the midst of Israel to this day.

I love this story of a woman who gambled everything for her God.  And not just any woman, a harlot – this identity is used in every mention of her except Matthew.  God wants us to know that Rahab was a woman the world scorned, looked down on, gossiped about, and marginalized but look what God does with and for her!  Her story, her name, she herself, lives on in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

Rahab risked it all for a very great reward – an eternal heritage.  When the Kings men pounded on her door what went through her mind?  Based on her actions, I am sure she thought, “This God will save me.

She was right.  And He is still saving anyone, anywhere, anytime.  Just ask Him.

Header image from: Photo by James Barker. Published on 16 December 2008
Stock Photo – Image ID: 1002651

Snap Out of It!

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

In one my all time favorite movies, Moonstruck,  Ronnie (Nicholas Cage) has just professed his love for his future sister-in-law, Loretta (Cher).  In this classic scene she looks him in the eye, slaps him and yells, “Snap out of it!”

We all need a good dose of “Snap Out of It!” from time to time.

  • Are you having a little pity party because you didn’t get your way?  Snap Out of It!
  • Feeling grumpy today cupcake?  Snap Out of It!
  • Just not “feeling it”  at work?  Snap Out of It!
  • Don’t want to tackle that sink full of dirty dishes?  Snap Out of It!
  • Nobody noticed you got a haircut?  Snap Out of It!
  • Angry at getting caught doing something you shouldn’t?  Snap Out of It!
  • Jealous of your friend’s cute boyfriend?  Snap Out of It!
  • Complaining about grocery shopping?  Snap Out of It!
  • Disappointed with having to shop at thrift stores?  Snap Out of It?
  • In love with a person who is wrong for you?  Snap Out of It?

We put a lot of emphasis on our feelings and emotions and we can easily mistake feelings for reality.  I never “feel” like doing the laundry but I do it every week because I like having clean clothes and cannot afford to buy new ones all the time!  Life lived on feelings and not facts is a roller coaster you don’t want to ride.

There is no question life can be disappointing and frustrating.  Many things happen that we cannot control and did not cause but we can always, ALWAYS control how we respond to disappointment, frustration, betrayal and loss.  We can choose to respond honestly. focus on the lesson learned, and turn it back to praise.  Don’t bury the emotions but don’t dwell on them or let them define or identify who you are.  Find the help and support you need, remember it is not about you, ask God to correct your thinking, pull up your big girl (or boy!) pants, pray, a lot, and move on.

Sound too simple for you?

Snap Out of It!

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