Wednesday, March 26, 2014

sun setting on a single cross with reflection on water
As water reflects the face, so one's life reflects the heart.  - Proverbs 27:17
I subscribed to 'ReThink Life: 40 Day Devotional through the YouVersion app. It is a 40 day devotional designed to get you to "rethink" seven of the most important areas of life. It has been a great devotional that I have made a point to start my day with, before anything else. The devotional is only a couple of paragraphs, a short prayer and a verse or two of scripture. Pretty short but pretty powerful. 

It's a lot like Children's Church. If you aren't familiar, in our church's traditional worship service we have a time where the young kids come forward, and an adult does a quick lesson with them that is usually tied into the message the Pastor will deliver in the service. One of my favorite things about this part of service is the prayer. It is a prayer that is fit for the children, but is so simple and true. It usually ends"...I love you God, Amen." I love that ending.

Today's devotional was about what you reflect in your actions and decisions. "People can't see our hearts, but they can see our hearts by the choices we make...Above all else, guard and protect your heart so that the outward reflection that others see through your choices in life is not you, but Jesus."

We have two dogs. Big dogs. A Great Dane and a Lab/Rottweiler mix. With big dogs, there is a lot of dooty duty. Trying to make the best of a stinky situation (sorry, couldn't resist), I put in my headphones and pressed play on my Christian playlist. I went into the situation with the thought to do everything with a joyful heart, and knew I might need some reminders from the playlist. It was a very nice day and I found myself singing along with the music. A few days later, my neighbor came over and we were talking about the underground dog fence. He asked me what I was singing while cleaning up poop. I don't know exactly what song, but was was on my playlist. He shared with me that he used me in his sermon about doing everything you do to the glory of God. Even if it's cleaning up dog crap. 

I was pretty excited to know that a simple decision to keep a positive attitude with the help of a song, effected those around me. I like that feeling. I am grateful that I made the decision I did. 

This was my devotional's prayer today:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness to me event when I am unfaithful. Give me the wisdom to make wise decisions that will honor you and allow my light to shine brighter for others to see. Thank you for your love and forgiveness that is always available to me even when I don't make the right choices in life. May my heart reflect Jesus in everything I do. In Jesus' name, Amen.
There is a song by Steven Curtis Chapman that is right on this topic: Do Everything.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

What to they see in you?


Last post, I talked about what we see when we look at others. This time, I am still talking about what people see, only this time it's what people see in us.

Tonight, I had the privilege of starting the Lenten season with my church's Ash Wednesday service. At this service, the Imposition of Ashes is performed. Our associate pastor looked into the choir loft, seeing everyone with the Sign on their foreheads, and said how special it was to see all the Signs and how she would love a picture. 

Part of me thought, that it would be nice to be able to see a sign for a fellow believer. Later, I realized that we are marked and we should be able to see that in others. Like the old hymn, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Would they?

Imagine someone breaking into your home while you were gone. They look through your home, rummaging about, not looking for what you think they are looking for. They are looking for signs you are a Christian. Do they find any? Is there evidence that your home follows the teachings of Christ? What about if they searched your Facebook page, your phone, or your computer? 

We all fall down. We all fall short. Luckily, we serve a God who is big enough for all of us. A God that does something we struggle with. A God that forgives and shares His love again and again through His grace.

Do we reflect that in our lives? I John 13:18 states,
Dear Children, Let us not love with words or speech, but with action and in truth.
How are you living with action and truth? There are opportunities all around us. The key is that we have to be open to seeing them. Sometimes our life is so busy, we don't take the time to look around us for opportunities to share the love of Christ...and that is a shame. Our partner with Project Honduras put it an interesting way. He described our lives as being so fast that we out-run God. That we are moving so fast that God is behind us. We need to slow down and let God work in front of us and actually follow Him.

During one of the nightly devotionals, we sang 'Population Me' by Matthew West. It's a song that talks about seeing a greater purpose and stepping out of what is your own little world. It was a great fit in Honduras, but the message is just as important here and now as it was then.