Monday Minute: Give Him time

 

It was a rainy evening as we plowed through the highway puddles in his GMC truck. Troy and I had had a busy Saturday, and planned a date day for Sunday: brunch at a favourite bakery (reminiscent of Paris to me!) and massages.

As we drove home from dinner at his parents, I started to share about some of the heart work I feel the Lord has been doing. I’ve shared before, but over the past 2-3 years, the Lord has been bringing things from my head to my heart. The truth of the gospel and its complete and sustaining work has begun to take deeper root. And I just shared with Troy that that’s the one thing that has stood out to me the most out of all the teaching and reading and heart-searching we’ve been doing – is that God’s redemptive work is ongoing.

IMG_1340

I looked at Troy and said, “I knew God had saved me, but I think I felt like some of the sanctification was up to me.” Did I realize that? No. But some of my religious ways would testify that something was missing. Some things just hadn’t gone from my head to my heart. Only God can save AND change a heart. And when you finally start to realize this, you see both how far you have yet to go, but the weight of the journey is no longer on your shoulders. It’s actually so freeing!

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.”

Saved. Stand. Being saved (sanctification!).

And yet even in that, I have days, or weeks, where I feel the Lord is distant. And all I can think to pray is, “Lord, I want to want you like nothing else. I want to desire you and crave You. More. But sometimes, I just don’t. My heart can be consumed with other things.”

Timothy Keller says that when we finally can admit that we want more of God but don’t know where to start and are just not where we want to be, that that is the start of faith, redemptive work. If we walk around thinking we’ve arrived and are living high on faith, then we just don’t get it. (my paraphrase) And I have to admit, I’d agree with him.

As Troy and I talked, we realized one of the biggest hindrances to growth is time. Time. Time with the Lord. Time in the Word. Time in letting Him do His work. We miss out on His redemptive work in us if either a) we don’t spend time knowing Him b) don’t give Him time to do His work in us

So as you start this week, I challenge you to give God more time. Daily. And progressively, as He does His redemptive work in you. Because I can guarantee that if you desire is for Him and you continue to move towards Him, not away, that He is at work, in ways we can hardly imagine.

Advertisements

Monday Minute: Simplicity of beholding

880849bcac2b0c07a789de64ce404868Do you ever wish we could go back to what it was like before the Internet. Or perhaps, remember some of the simpler lifestyle we had before, and adopt it now. I know that ‘www’ has caused growth in gargantuan measures in every industry. I know that without Internet, there’d be no blogs (yikes!), no social media (oh no!), no websites for our companies (that would be bad) … but sometimes I miss the simplicity of being unreachable. Of savouring the moment rather than capturing it. Just, beholding what is, right now, right here.

I grew up on a farm, and so often our neighbours and family had the sweet audacity just to show up for a cup of coffee. No calendar date in Outlook. No pop up alert on the phone that they were coming in 15 minutes. Just unannounced. Sigh, how beautiful. I have many memories of my parents throwing the coffee perk on and sitting for two hours with unexpected guests while my sister and I listened around the corner, giggling at the handsome neighbour boy. Ah, childhood shenanigans.

When I was 23, and moving away again for school, I was dead set against getting a cell phone. No one really needs to get a hold of me at all times! Then a friend, who was working at a cell phone shop at the time, gave me his old one. He insisted. I’ll admit, it came in handy on the side of the road when my pink Ford Taurus broke down. Nowadays, I know where my phone is at all times and unless it’s dead and charging, I’m pretty much always reachable. My, how times have changed in such a short time. Sometimes I’d like to hide the device for the day. Or seven.

Rewind to a few years back, when I was slowly meandering through the Vatican museums in Rome. I could hardly believe the brisk pace of other tourists as they walked the halls, clicking their cameras upward. Do they even SEE what they’re capturing…to look at later? I wanted to savour. Take it in. Touch the tapestry hung from the walls. Then as my friend and I walked into the Sistine Chapel, we heard security guards loudly shouting, “No pictures! Ssssshhhhh!” Good luck with that, I thought. Within seconds of being ushered into that sacred room, my eyes welled up. Michelangelo’s nine-years of artwork was astounding and all we could do was bustle about taking a photograph. I had to just lean against the walls and behold. Remember it. The sounds. Oh yes, I also took pictures 😉

So my thought for this week is… I know we need our phones. I know the Internet is here to stay. I for one plan to keep taking pictures and texting and blogging.

But perhaps, just perhaps, we could do a little more beholding in our lives. In the moment, in front of us, within reach. Savour the very moment in our hands.

James 1:17 says that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of light, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” He gives us good gifts. Every day. Let’s not miss them!

Let’s behold more this week!

Monday Minute: Evidence to own it

I had a whole different Monday Minute planned, but to be honest, I just wasn’t feeling it. And this morning’s sermon on James 3 changed that. Our Pastor has been preaching through the book of James and with every passing Sunday, the words of James hit harder and harder. Joy in trial. Faith without works is dead. Taming the tongue. Patience in suffering. Warnings and admonitions.

So today’s “minute” is inspired by yesterday’s sermon 🙂

alice-in-wonderland-heart-kiss-lips-mouth-Favim.com-352128

There are days when, if I actually listen to myself, all I talk about is what I want to get done, how to make it happen, and how Troy can help me. Me. What I want. Blech. Even what I want from God!

And then there are sweet days. I’ve printed off these printable love notes that came from an online newsletter I was a part of, where it has “You are…” or “I love…” and you are to fill in the rest. Since we got married, Troy and I have enjoyed dropping those in little places where we’ll find them…often at the end of a day where our heart just bursts with love and thankfulness for each other.

One of the clear ways we can see what is in our heart is by listening to what we’re talking about. If we’re flying off the handle in angst about someone else, chances are there is anger, jealousy, hurt, resentment in our heart. If we are gossiping a lot, it shows areas of perhaps pride, jealousy, comparison in our hearts. And like me some days, I can just be consumed with what I want and how I want it. Blech.

In Luke 6:45, Jesus says to the people, “…out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks.”

Pastor shared how:

*words reveal our spiritual maturity; our discipline.
*words reveal our need of God’s grace. 

Paul expands throughout James 3:1-12 on how powerful the tongue is. It can set a forest ablaze; it can bring life or death. Both blessing and cursing shouldn’t be coming from the same tongue, because a “salt pond cannot yield fresh water.” (vs12)

So where does change of the heart come from?

This is where I personally would like a 3-step program, tips, or a concise list of how-to’s. I like those. I know what to expect, and what’s expected of me.

But no. No systems. The only way change of the heart comes is from the transforming power of Christ. Through the redeeming work of the gospel as it refines and heals us over and over, as we say, “Lord, I need you in this area. I want change, but I can’t make it happen on my own.”

Putting Him first in our hearts. In every area.

Lately, if I even hear the word gospel, I tear up. Even after being a Christian since I was wee little, there are still areas of my heart for God to reveal and say, “I can make this better. Whole. Let me love you through this.”

And I tear up. The gospel. I tear up. Sometimes I catch myself thinking, and saying to Troy, “I didn’t KNOW! I didn’t know.” The truth of the gospel is becoming more and more real to me, and I oh so love it, and need God’s hand in the process of peeling back the layers of ‘me’ so that more of Him can shine through. Because at the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, and all throughout the middle…I want more of Him than anything else.

He’s at work. Even when we can’t see it or have a 3-step strategy to check off our to-do list of obedience to the Lord. He’s at work.

We must own our helplessness. And our words are evidence of the state of our heart. They are evidence for our need of Christ’s transforming power.

So this week… let’s watch the words of our mouth. And let the Holy Spirit show us areas of our heart that still need to be redeemed. And trust that it’s His joy to do so.

Monday Minute: More than you thought

A few years ago I was doing a Monday Minute – a quick thought for the week. It’s baaa-ack. Partially for accountability to keep writing, and also because who doesn’t like starting their week with a quick thought or challenge for the week that you can read in one minute?

A couple months ago my mother-in-law challenged me and my sister-in-law to a 30-day plank challenge. As I looked aghast at the tag she posted on Facebook, I knew I couldn’t exactly say ‘No, I don’t feel like it.’ I told Troy about the challenge and he said, “Yeah, good luck with that.”

planks

Okay, challenge accepted 😉

For me, accountability works. If I know I’m doing something with someone else, or someone else is going to ask about a goal, I stick to it far better than without the accountability.

So. 30-days. I’d barely done a 30 SECOND plank let alone do it every day for 30 days! I’ve not ever been one to push myself physically, mostly because I’ve been blessed with a good metabolism and some general walking and light exercise is enough for me to feel good. But this. This was telling me that in 30 days I must go from a 20 second plank to FIVE MINUTES!!

I’ll get bored! Or crash!

Well, we started on the first of the month, and as each day passed I found myself panting, grunting, and nearly collapsing on the carpet every time. Troy counted for me one night and made me go 20 seconds longer than that day’s requirement and something clicked in me. Hey, you can do more than you think you can! As each day passed, I began to realize the challenge was so good, not just for my body, but for my mind. With challenge and determination, I can do more for me than I realized and I needed to challenge myself like this more often!

I am happy to say that I did planks the whole month (with a day off here and there), and made it up to three minutes, which I am super happy with. That is FAR more than I’d ever done or thought I could do! I found that determination actually spills out into other areas of life. One good habit or challenge actually breeds more good habits. I’ve actually continued to do planks about three times a week now!

So, this week, what one thing can you push yourself to do that you’ve never tried before? Prove to yourself that you can actually do more than you thought you could 😉 Try it consistently for a week, and who knows, it may turn into a new habit!

Here’s some suggestions to try for one week:

*no complaining
*cut out social media
*exercise more than usual (set your own goal that challenges you)
*cut out sugar (or whatever your vice is)
*find someone every day to speak life into. Genuinely.
*choose thankfulness in every challenging situation

*For me this week, I am going to write a minimum of 500 words for 5 of the 7 days. I’m not going to try and figure out the end from the beginning, but just let creativity flow.

Come back and let me know what you try and how it goes! I would love to hear 🙂

 

 

 

Monday Minute – Strip off the burrs

Have you ever wandered through a forest, park or pastureland and got home only to realize your socks and everything below the knee was covered in burrs? They are annoying, hard to get off and stick like a leech. It takes a while to pick off, and sometimes it proves better just to take the socks off throw them in the wash (or garbage if needed!) and be done with it. Walk around barefoot (my choice! 😉 ) or put on some new socks.

There are seasons of life when God wants to take us to something completely new – and give us fresh realization of the new nature we’ve been given in Him. But we can be trying to pick the burred socks when he really wants us to strip it off and start fresh. To put on something entirely new.

Ephesians 2:22-24 tells us to “strip yourselves of your former nature….which characterized your previous manner of life…And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind…and put on the new nature (the regenerated self) created in God’s image, Godlike, in true righteousness and holiness.”

I encourage you, and myself, to forget our old way of doing things when God wants to renew and remind us of our regenerated self that is created in His image.

Stop picking the burrs, strip off the old self, and let God remind you of who you really are in Him!