She’s So Smart

I hope to make this a short blog today, keeping in mind short for me and short for other people may not be the same thing, lol, after all I am almost 6 feet tall. But the blog is not about my stature, and I’m burning daylight.

Today, I want to share with you a quote I heard spoken from the lips of Kay Arthur this week on a Focus on the Family broadcast Wednesday night. I was driving over to a small group I lead. I hadn’t plan to hear a FOTF broadcast, I admit I’m not a regular listener–the radio just happened to be on and this woman was speaking–her story was pretty gripping. It was obvious I had missed quite a bit (turned out it was part two, and part two was half done) but suddenly she said these words about our culture today,

“the average Christian doesn’t study the works of God; they study the works of men, and get a second hand theology.”

And my immediate thought was, “She’s so smart!”

And she is. In fact, the woman turned out to be Kay Arthur, and Kay Arthur is more than smart, she is wise. And if you know your Bible, you know that wise is even better than smart, because wise is knowing how to use God’s heart to apply your smart. Kay Arthur knows God’s word, her life has been transformed by God’s word, and she is being used to bring transformation to others through God’s word. We would be wise to listen to her and apply what she is saying to us.

No doubt it’s easier to read a book, a blog, a tweet or a post, and it’s easier to listen to a telecast, broadcast, or podcast but the transformation is going to come when we start digging, and studying, and memorizing and applying the absolute truth of God’s word.

And if you need any help in starting that great adventure, talk to your church, talk to a friend, talk to me, and most of all, talk to God, and let Him teach you and change your life forever. Now that’s smart.

To hear her story you can check it out at Focus on the Family by clicking the links here:
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={DA8F5638-D4B1-4E62-AAD9-A82502CC66EC} part one
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={84923435-8F51-4AE4-8501-E677489A50F3} part two

Convinced, Convicted and Committed

In the past two weeks I have become even more convinced and even more convicted about such things as convincing and conviction. God is showing me almost every day that devotion and commitment to Him come from being convinced that He is who He says He is, convinced that His ways are better than mine, and committed and convicted to live my life and make my choices based on those truths.

Just yesterday I was preparing a lesson for a friend of mine who leads a local Girl Scout troop. Her girls are going camping this weekend, and I was overjoyed when she asked me if I could help her come up with a lesson for them because the girls had told her they wanted to have church while they were on their trip. They didn’t want to give up meeting with the Lord while they were on their camp out. We were both thrilled because this idea was initiated by the scouts. I wanted to choose a lesson that had a camping feel to it, and decided on Elijah and the prophets of Baal. After all, there aren’t many better camp fire stories out there than this one?? God has the best fire starting skills, EV-AH!!

If you don’t know the story, you can check it out at I Kings 18. But what I want to blow up before you today is how just before the big showdown goes down, Elijah says these words, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow Him.” At the heart of that challenge Elijah is asking them, “Who are you really committed to? Where do your convictions lie? It’s time to choose, people. You can’t keep sitting on the fence.” You see, God’s people were trying to serve two masters. They believed in God, but they believed in “gods”, too. And Scripture makes it abundantly clear in both the old and the new testaments that those who follow Him, do not have the option of fence sitting in this area.

And today, just like back then, we keep missing that truth. We continue to live in such a way that reflects we are people who are not convinced, convicted or committed. We think we can be devoted to everything, and we think it’s okay. The things we are living for, the things we are devoted to are useless according to the book of Ecclesiastes. The only things that will last are the things built upon the truth of Christ and our right responses to that truth.

“For what good is it if a man gains the whole world, but loses his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Or what good is it if you get the promotion, or your kid makes the traveling team, or has the best grades or you serve on every committee in the land if you aren’t devoted to Him.

I love how Elijah just laid it out there, “If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal is God, follow Him.” His words were then followed with the action and the power of God so that there would be no doubt in the minds of anyone who the real God was and who they should follow. Then, after the fire of the Lord fell, the people knew—yes, they were convinced, they were convicted and they were again committed as they cried out together, “The LORD—He is God! The LORD—He is God.” If you have, by chance, forgotten that truth, it’s time to remember and live out the cry, “The LORD—He is God. The LORD—He is God!”

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction. . . Or Can I?????

Almost two years ago I began reading through the Old Testament–in reverse. Somehow or other I meant to start rereading the New Testament, but found myself caught up in Malachi. From there, I moved on to Zechariah and then just got it in my head to start at the end and work my way to the Genesis!!

My method, desribed in a previous post, 20 minutes with Jesus, explains my slow trek. Every day I read a passage from Old Testament, one from the New and a Psalm. However, when I read, I read just until I sense God stopping me for something I need to see, see again, think over, etc. At that point, I write down what it is I believe God wants me to see and work to apply these things to my life, teaching and leadership. It’s a slow ride for sure, but well worth the time.

This May, I’ve found myself in Ecclesiastes. A book I know I have skimmed through before, but have never really settled down and spent any quality time in. So the things that I’m seeing this time are pretty eye opening to me. Hats off to any of you who are Ecclesiastical scholars, because I have to say, this book has some real treasures in it. Which of course, you who are scholars already know!

Pretty much the author, some say it’s Solomon, some say it’s not. . . .can’t get no satisfaction. Everything is a “meaningless” or a “chasing after the wind.” And he’s tried, and he’s tried, and he’s tried. . . .but he can’t get no . . .satisfaction.

Seriously, it’s so fitting for today. How many people do you know who are just never satisfied? We evaluate and evaluate and evaluate. We measure our successes by the guy next store’s successes, by the size of our bank accounts, our jobs, styles of our vehicles, and BMI. But Solomon (or not) brings us back to the truth that we can indeed get satisfaction when God is the center of our lives.

I love chapter 3, verses 12-14 where it says,

“I know that there is nothing etter for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaciton in all his toil–this is a gift from God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing can be taken from it. God does it so that men will revere Him.”

Can’t get no satisfaction? Yes, you can. Look to Jesus. It’s a simple as that. Whatever He does will last. Finding satisfaction is a gift from Him. Whether it’s work, or laundry, or traffic, or finances, or health, or whatever, you can find satisfaction when you begin to acknowledge and understand that we live and move and breathe and have our being because of Christ’s rule and reign, power and control, salvation and deliverance in our lives. To know that we have been given each day as a gift of life, when if fact, we deserve death and that we can live each one for Him so that men will revere Him is satisfaction guaranteed. Anything else is like, well, like a rolling stone.

Mouthguards for Kids

So what’s a girl to do when someone asks her to make a blog post kid sized? Well, make it kid sized, what else? This morning I wrote about how my mouth sometimes needs a little “changing of the guard.” (see previous blog post) Now I wanted to find another way I could make this all important truth kid sized? And sure, I know I could use the changing of the guard thing, but I kind of had another idea. So . . .

Let’s go with a mouthguard object lesson? Something like this maybe?

Start with your basic soccer mouthguard. If you don’t have one, or don’t want to go buy one, you probably have a kid or twenty in your church who will have one you could borrow. (Sanitize first, please!) I would probably get my own so I could put it in my mouth and talk all jibberishy with it in my mouth. Then say something like this. . .

“Hey, who knows why we wear mouthguards? Y’know, like what are those things for, anyway?”

They will probably say things like, “to keep your teeth from breaking,” or “to protect your mouth when you play sports,” or “my orthodontist and my mom say I have to!”

So you say, “Exactly. Mouthguards protect you. Wearing one will help keep you safe. Smart people know this.

And, King David knew how smart that was, too. In the book of Psalms, chapter 141 verse 3, he even asked God to put a guard over his whole mouth. And even though we might wear a mouthguard to keep something from going in our mouth, David wanted to be sure that his mouth was protected from anything that might come out of it. He didn’t want unkind words, bad language, or lies to come through his flower garden. Flower garden? What flower garden? Who said anything about a flower garden? . . . .Well he had two lips, didn’t he?” Bahahahahaha!!! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)

After the kids regain control from their fits of laugher, you can finish up with, “And what’s really cool about wearing a spiritual mouthguard is that it doesn’t just protect us, it’s protects others. When we guard what we say, we are helping, not hurting others. We are building them up and encouraging them, just like God wants us to. So what about you? Will you take the mouthguard challenge? Let’s agree today to put on our spiritual mouthguard before we go out and get in “God’s game” every day, whether that’s at school, home, church–wherever we go, let’s ask God to put a guard over our mouth like King David did.”

And then pray it out. . . . .

And that’s my kid sized blog post for today:)

Changing of the Guard

King David. His very name can conjure up a host of different images in your mind. Only a boy. Bear killer. Giant Slayer. Harp Player. Warrrior. Cave Dweller. Hesistant Lover. Fearless fighter. Mighty man with his own band of mighty men. Bathtub woman looker. Repentant sinner. God follower.

One thing I know, David understood the military. He understood what it meant to serve his post and lead others. We “want men like him on the wall” to losely coin a Jack Nicksolson line. He knew what it meant to guard and to be guarded. He knew what it meant to have the right men for the job. He understood well that life and death hung in the balance. So when David writes in Psalm 141, “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips,” I believe he is talking about the desire for some extreme verbal control here.

You see, where I live, a guard may be an underpaid retiree who checks on the local factory at night. But where David lived, a guard was, well, a guard. He was a Bonnie Tyler, “I Need a Hero,” kind of guard–strong, fast, fresh from the fight; sure, soon and larger than life. A guard who, when put on his post, wouldn’t let anything or anyone get by who doesn’t have the authority to do so, because if they did, someone may lose their life–like him–just for letting someone get passed.

David wanted a guard over his mouth that was going to do his job to help protect both David and those around him no matter what. He wanted a God chosen guard who would keep his “tongue from evil and his lips from speaking lies,” (Psalm 34) make his “prayers like incense” (Psalm 141) to the Lord, keep his “words few” (Ecclesiastes 5) and full of wisdom (Proverbs 10). David must have known what I am forced to re-learn everyday. I can’t do it alone, and I need a God sized guard over my mouth as well.

You may be like me and if so, friends, it’s time for a changing of the guard. Are you like me and, all too often, choose yourself as the guard over your mouth? And like me, are you often a lousy guard? Do you slack, sleep and slough off your real responsibility where tongue control is concerened? When I am on guard, all too often I allow sarcasm, biting words, critical thoughts, or inappropriate remarks to slip through my Burt’s Bee’s balmed lips. Oh, I have good intentions. . .(and we all know what is said about those), but, we need more than good intentions. We need the God ordained guard of the Holy Spirit set over these mouths that are the doorposts to our heart. It’s no wonder that God himself tells us that, “above all else ‘guard your hearts.'” (Proverbs 4)

It’s time to keep praying and to keep saying and to keep committing to allowing God to set His guard over our mouths and over our hearts. And its time to start trusting His ability to protect and stop trying to figure out ways to outwit him, like some spoiled child in a Disney movie.

I’ve had the privilege of witnessing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. There, of course, it is the changing of one royal guard for another. Never is one chosen for his lackadaisical, apathetic, underachieving spirit. Each man chosen models the character, responsibility, honor, integrity, valor and value of the King or Queen they serve, stand for and represent, allowing the world to catch of glimps of the the spendor of the Kingdom. This is exactly what I am called to do. Represent accuarately the character of the King I serve with honor so that the world can see His true splendor. A King-size task for sure, so today I pray as King David did,

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to evil, to take part in wicked deeds.”

Amen and Amen