Thursday, February 25, 2010

When the Kitchen Sink Backs Up

Last night I washed my dishes in the bathtub. That's because I couldn't rinse them easily in the basin -- my first choice after the kitchen sink.

Earlier that day, I'd worked on the plugged kitchen sink: baking soda, vinegar, hot water. Repeated applications. I got the bubbling going, but no real release of whatever the problem was.

So I pulled out the big guns and emptied my bottle of gel Drano. Some bubbling, but not enough.

I'd heard something that sounded a little odd in the garbage disposal, but didn't feel anything with a hand search. So I promptly moved on to the next thing.

The plumber arrived today. He had to do underground work: dismantle and drain the pipes, so he could solve the problem.

So like our spiritual lives, isn't it?

If there is a little thing clogging our relationship with God, we need to deal with it and keep the drains open. If not, it can attract other junk and lay dormant or hidden from view till it causes you an unpleasant STOP.

No wonder God calls us to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16), pour out our hearts to Him (Psalm 62:8), and ask for a clean heart and a renewed spirit (Psalm 51:10). When we notice something that's not quite right, we do well to look more closely, and as soon as possible, instead of hurriedly going back to our busy routines.

Regularly praying Psalm 51 makes us proactive in asking for God to deep clean and reveal what junk needs to be confessed, what attitude needs to be developed, and what fruit of the Spirit needs to be nurtured.

"Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin....

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me....

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Psalm 51:2,10,12 (NIV)

For Your Consideration

Is there some attitude that could harden into a block if unattended by you and the Holy Spirit?

Would you invite God's counsel on an issue that needs attention?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sponsor a Child - Compassion

Sponsor a Child - Compassion

This is Efrance, a young girl from Rwanda. Neither she nor I write regularly, but I appreciate her letters, and I expect she does mine.

I want to draw your attention to Compassion, a Christ honoring and effective ministry among third world families who need some physical help. Compassion helps the families and schools their children. It's been a blessing for us to sponsor Compassion children for several years now and I look forward to meeting them one day.

Do check out the ministry. The link (underlined) above will take you to their site and see some of the children waiting to be sponsored. You will also have an opportunity to support the work in Haiti, young leaders, or a child who might be waiting on your commitment. Your heart just might be captured and enlarged.

If you've ever wanted to sponsor a child, but procrastination got the better of you, now might be a good time for you to do so. They are in Haiti as well as several other countries.

If you can't afford to sponsor a child, perhaps you could pray for the ministry or make a one time donation.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Put your Foot in the Water

Last week, my devotional took me to Joshua chapters 3 and 4. My guess is that you may not read much from Joshua either, so I encourage you to read the passage for yourself.

When God instructs us to do something difficult, God will show us how to accomplish His goals. Even if it means crossing a river at flood stage.

We are like the tribes of Israel who were progressing toward their promised land. Unlike the tribes of Israel though, our enemies are often internal, like fear or procrastination. However, if we are attentive for God's voice, He will give us details for our next steps.

Crossing the river was the only way do what God instructed -- conquer the land of promise. But raging waters are no match for people, and they knew that. To take the precious ark and stand in swirling waters must have been dangerous. But God told them to do it, and they did.

God was the One with the power they needed.

The scriptures say that as soon as the priests put their feet in the water, God stopped the flood so the whole army could walk through on dry ground. Can you imagine their joy as they took stones from the river bed to build a marker for this miracle?

If God has spoken clearly, then God will take care of the consequences of our obedience. Even if it seems treacherous, God will take us across the river. After all, He has the power.

For Your Consideration

What might you be afraid of in taking the next step to following Christ?

What intervention do you need from God to obediently cross your river?

I found the picture of the Jordan River at an interesting site that develops many lessons from the account. Though I only scanned it, it looks meaty and worth a visit.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Feeling desperate is awful. Lonely. Scary.

Yet, as I've experienced the fruit that desperation can bear, I'm more easily able to thank God for how He will use my situation to transform me. So, by the grace of God, desperation is a door to a wider place.

Currently, in my circle of acquaintances, there are several people who are feeling desperate.

Death, economic pressure, job loss, personal failure, anger, fear, feeling out of control... these are some of the pressures we face. These are hard situations, not easy to solve.

I remember when I was a young mother. My husband was gone many days and evenings with his new job, and I, hundreds of miles from my family, was trying to be a good mother. I was doing a good enough job, but in my eyes, I was failing miserably. No matter how much resolve I mustered, I could not seem to be the even keeled mother I wanted to be.

During that time I became depressed, which, in turn, made me aware of my need for someone wiser to help me sift through the important things, and let the unimportant blow away. I was sweating the small stuff as I juggled being a young wife and mom in a new community with a yet undeveloped support group. In addition, in my public life I was trying to be the pastor's wife I thought I should be -- no small demand.

I cried out to God from the depths of my being. And God heard me.

"My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge" Psalm 62:7-8, NIV.

This was a good time to trust Him. As I poured out my heart to God, Mercy led me to a book, Women Who Do Too Much,(Zondervan,1992) by Patricia Sprinkle. God used it to pry me out of a rut and see my situation with new eyes. Then Grace lead me to Hosea 12:10 which helped till and water my fallow ground. I knew I had to camp there for a while, so I memorized the verse. The repetition and focus helped me absorb its truth.

"Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you"
Hosea 12:10.

From ground freshly prepared by desperation's vulnerability, I reaped a more consistent time with the Lord. No longer was it a good thing. It had become necessary: like breath for life or rain for parched ground. That was the lesson. And that led me to a daily, transforming interaction with the Word of God.

It was an opportune time to seek the Lord, and as I did, God came to me with soothing showers.

For Your Consideration
Is it hard to admit you are desperate?

Can you identify good fruit that God has grown out of your desperation?

Because you know God's love and mercy will bring good out of it, would you pause and thank God for a difficult situation? (Romans 8:28)