Monday, February 22, 2010


Last night I met Donna. She was at the homeless shelter our church has the privilege of serving one Sunday a month. The moment I saw her I had a sharp pain in my chest. She reminded me of my Mom. Not that my Mom was ever homeless, but there was something about her that stabbed me. I couldn't wrap my mind around it until we were almost home. I have thought about Donna all day. My Mom too, of course.

I sat with Donna while she ate and talked to her. I learned a lot about her. She had been homeless for 3 years. Disabled for 9. She was beat up 5 days ago. She is on her fourth shopping cart in 3 months. They cost $35.99. It costs almost $60.00 a month to ride MARTA and they keep cutting bus routes. She misses the bus frequently because she cannot walk without her cart and her bags are too heavy to carry. Her glasses are missing a nosepiece and Walmart won't fix it for her because she didn't buy them there. She didn't buy her glasses at all, the Lions club provided them for her.....9 years ago. She has children but doesn't want anything to do with her family. Her dream would be to get back on her feet and buy a $50,000 house. She wants to get out of town, even though she has lived here for 30 years.

Donna was unkempt, disheveled, unhappy, and not at rest. She was not at rest. That's why she reminded me of my Mom.

Our last Bible Study was literally a Godsend. Ashlie talked about rest. Not the "I want to take a nap" kind of rest, but the "cease and desist" kind of rest. We learned that in Genesis 2:2, when God rested it was the verb "Shabath," which is where we get our Sabbath. God didn't rest because He was tired. God never tires. He rested because He was done, completed, and it was good. He got to marvel in His creation. We also learned about "nuwach" which is the kind of rest talked about in Exodus 33:14 that means to settle down or remain. Then there is the "anapauo" which means to pause in the midst of something. In Matthew 11:28 when Jesus says "come to me all who are burdened, and I will give you rest," He literally means "come to me in the midst and I will permit you to recover, pause, and collect you strength." Finally, there is the "katapausis" which means to rest and calm of the eternal kind. The kind of rest when we get to Heaven.

My Mom was never at rest. Even though she slept a lot, she never seemed rested. The last 8 months of her life she had a lot of turmoil. Even before that, I do not remember my Mom ever really being rested. We had a lot of conversations about finding peace. About letting her turmoil go. She had faith. She had a relationship with Christ. She just never sought rest from Him. She let herself get in the way of what God wanted to give her. It was easier for her to hold onto her turmoil and unhappiness than it was for her to "pause" in the midst and be restored. It is always easier for us to let ourselves get in the way. That way we still have what we think is control. Fortunately for my Mom, she now has the "katapausis." She doesn't have to even ask for it. :)

I'm tired. We all are. We need strength for our souls. We need to cease and desist. We need to be done. We need to be complete.

I didn't say goodbye to Donna. I couldn't. I didn't know what to say to her in her turmoil at that moment. I was just so sad. Now I know what I should have said. I should have told her to ask God for her rest. She can only get it from Him. I should have told her not to let the turmoil of her life get in the way of worshiping God the way He intended her to. I should have given her Matthew 11:28, the precious words of Jesus.

It is my prayer that we would pause and go to Jesus as He asks us to. He is our rest. He is our completion.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I am a procrastinator. I know it too. I do not do much about it, hence the procrastination. Sometimes think it is because I know I work under pressure. Sometimes it is sheer laziness. Sometimes it is because I do not want to do whatever it is. Lately it is because I forget. My mind has been a little taxed. Regardless, I am the procrastinator. Me and nobody else.

It always amazes me how I get in my own way. If you think about it, every problem or shortfall we have, ultimately is of ourselves. As much as we would like to blame somebody or something else, we are the ones responsible for our actions, reactions, thoughts, etc. The cure for my procrastination is simple. Don't procrastinate. Unfortunately, I don't want to work on my procrastination, because I'll do it later.
I am my own roadblock.

Bible study last week had nothing to do with procrastination, but it had to do with judging. Ashlie taught out of Matthew Ch. 7:1-6 which is Jesus telling his audience not to judge. Easy enough? Not so much. The word for judging is "krino" which is used in scripture in relation to three definitions. The first is to make a decision (Titus 3:12), the second is to judge by court (John 18:31), and the third is to expose a man's heart (1 Cor. 4:5, John 7:24). In Matthew 7, Christ is referring to the third definition. He is telling us not to judge someone's heart/character based on their actions. He is telling us not to worry about what someone else is doing, because we have enough of ourselves to worry about. A person's actions are based on their heart, but the intentions of their heart are not ours to be known. They are God's. (summary from Ashlie's Bible study)

I judge because of my heart, because of the disobedience in my heart. Maybe if I look at someone else's disobedience or what I perceive to be their disobedience, then maybe I'm not so bad after all. Maybe my judging is in response to my jealousy of someone else. Maybe it is because I just think I'm right and they are wrong. Maybe it is because I can be self-righteous. Maybe it is all of the above.

I think what struck me most about the Bible study last week, that I will continue to use as a filter in my life, is that judging is a roadblock in my sanctification. If God is growing me on the road to holiness, I need to always ask myself, is this a roadblock? If it is, it is me, and that is what I need to ask God to shed me of. I don't want to pass judgment on anybody else. I am so weak. I fail daily. I do not even deserve to compare myself or look upon someone else. My darkness is brought to light by God. God deals with each of our own darkness. Thank goodness, because we can't handle the darkness.

I hope the only decision we make will be to seek God. I pray that we will leave the judging to Him. I pray that we will see our roadblocks and ask God to make them into construction zones. I pray that God will make light on our road to holiness by revealing the disobedience in our hearts.

Monday, February 1, 2010


"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48

I have nothing on the windows on the back of my house. First floor only, of course. I like to look straight out the windows.
There is really not a house directly behind us and I figure since everybody else has blinds, why bother, they keep theirs
closed. Not like anybody is going to be seeing me run around in my skivvies.

So for the past year, there is this cardinal that drives himself into my back windows every morning. He is very loud.
He rams into our glass back door, picture window, and then goes down to our basement door to hit that glass.
For almost a whole year. Even on cold mornings. Repeatedly. Frankly we are amazed that the crazy bird is still
alive. He never looks dazed or confused. He is very deliberate at his attack. The only thing we can figure out
is that my windows are so perfectly clean (not) that he sees himself and thinks it is another bird and is trying to
defend his territory. Or he thinks my decorating abilities super-cede all other houses around here and he wants
to come live in our blissful home.

Bible study started last week at my house and Ashlie is leading it again. She is teaching about sanctification.
As I was praying about my blog, one of the things God confirmed was that I had a whole lot to learn about
sanctification, and He was about to teach me even more through an amazing teacher. Crazy enough, I knew
Ashlie was going to teach about sanctification before she introduced it last Tuesday. Love how God works.

We defined sanctification as a state of growing in divine grace, the process of being made holy by God,
resulting in a changed lifestyle. Holiness is the goal. Perfection is the end result. Perfection will never
be achieved until we are in Heaven with Christ, but that is the goal. Ashlie talked about how we are
constantly bombarded with the world by Satan to fill a craving or cravings we have to keep us from being
filled by God. Romans 6 talks about being slaves to righteousness, but verse 16 says that we are slaves
to the one we obey, either sin, which leads to death, or obedience, which leads to righteousness.

Which brings me back to the cardinal. Day after day, we drive ourselves into windows. Why do we repeat
the same sins over and over again? Six years ago I started praying that God would peel off my flesh so there
is less of me and more of Him. Six years later, I am still praying that prayer because my flesh was deeper
than I could ever imagine. Some of my flesh issues are exactly the same ones I have been dealing with.
Some have been peeled, only to reveal a deeper root.

Some of us haven't even began to be peeled.
Some of us are banging our heads against windows trying to solve things ourselves.

The window is clear. The answer is through it. The window is open. Let's stop running into it. Because
ultimately, like the cardinal, sometimes all we see is ourselves. If the bird couldn't see himself, he would
stop running into the window.

It is my prayer that we would have the desire to be made holy. That we would let Christ's righteousness
fill our craving. That we wouldn't run into the windows of this world, but continue on to the goal of perfection
that Christ desires and calls us to. That we would constantly be filled with the Word of God......

May the only thing we would drive ourselves into would be HIM, His WORD, His LIFE...... constantly.