Thursday, April 1, 2010

Easy to Sow & Grow?

As an amateur Texan, I've tried to beautify my home with plants and flowers but the ground here in Fort Worth is hard to work. Because of the rocks and clay, I've had to struggle to get the plants to survive through one season, much less to come back for the next season.

Last night I was working in my huge planter boxes. When we built the boxes, I was so excited to have soft, easy to work with soil to plant in. I thought we'd be on easy street and the plants would just take off...and they did! Whew. Relief. Some section of my yard that I can control! Fast forward to last night. As I'm trying to clear the weeds I realize the downfall of my plan for "simple growth". Not only was it easy for my plants to grow, it was easy for the weeds to take the soft, loose soil hostage!

I begun to think about my relationship with God and when I've had the weeds of life take root. It's been in the periods of less struggle. When I've had the tough situations come up and had to struggle through them, my tendency is to seek God diligently until I find resolution. When things are easier, it's very natural to become complacent and less vigilant to make sure I'm firmly rooted and keeping the weeds out of my own garden. In those times, the weeds slowly take over, losing the fruit which we were all intended to bear. We have to remain focused on God in good times and bad. I've realized I'm good with the big stuff and have a harder time giving up control on the day to day. The good news is that each day is a new day where I can chose to grow.

So check this out from Psalms 92: 12-15.... be righteous and bear the fruit my friends...

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, "The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Rainy Day

So I've been in the middle of a personal rainy day. Not a thunderstorm, tornado or some other trauma, but just a rainy day where everything looks a little gray. While I can remember what the sun looks like, I can't get past the clouds and dreariness that are affecting me in this moment. Maybe others around me can see the sun, but for some reason it can't seem to break through for me.

As I think about this feeling of gray, I'm reminded of a flight I took recently. The sky was overcast and dark. As we took off it was hard to see anything other than the fog that overtook our plane. Within moments we broke through the clouds and there is was, the beautiful and radiant sun. In the moment of takeoff, the environment felt so far removed from the warmth of the sun. The reality was that the sun was always there to provide light and warmth, it was just beyond what I could physically see when surrounded by the clouds of the day.

Now back to my personal rainy day. God is still ever present for me, even though my emotions and attitude may prevent me from seeing His glory in my circumstances. My spirits can be lifted, if I can just push past those clouds and reach for God's warm embrace. In your rainy days I pray that you will find the strength to find the sun.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rise above the herd!

As we drove through the country on Sunday, I was wondering if I could recognize a prize winning steer in a herd of cattle. If I picked the best specimen I could find, how would I know if it were championship quality? The reality is, I know nothing about cattle or the attributes which make one better than another. I would be lost to chose one based on not knowing the standard of excellence.

I began to think about my own character and how I would be recognized against a standard of excellence. My first thought was that many people would recognize me as a good, moral, encouraging person. When judging myself against the standards of this world, I would guess that I'm above average. So here I am feeling pretty confident....but that's when God reminded me of the true standard of excellence, Jesus Christ. WHOA.

I find myself compartmentalizing my faith into certain aspects of my life and forget that I am called to live a life with the standards God has set for me. When I re-evaluate where I am in comparison to God's standard, I have SO far to go. This is both humbling and grounding.

It's easy to look around and feel like you are living life decently. It's hard to look God in the eye and be convinced that I am living in the fullness of who He has called me to be. After taking a look at ourselves in comparison to the ultimate standard it would be easy to get stuck in how short we fall, but that's where grace steps in...
"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" - Romans 3:23 -24

How encouraging, both to have a high standard for us to strive for and to have grace to catch us when we fall. Go ahead and STRIVE for what God has called you to be. Be strong and courageous! I'll end with the words of Paul to the Philippians. For my friends reading this, you will be in my prayers.

3I thank my God every time I remember you. 4In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy5because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:3-6