I have been offered rest

He Is My Good

But as for me, God’s presence is my good. ~Psalm 73:26, HCSB

We did a special event tonight in Awana. It was called A Walk In Their Shoes. As an attempt to help our clubbers understand how much we have as Americans and how much so many others don’t have around the world, one of our sponsors put together an interactive program. We explored several areas of life—housing, food, water and toys.

It was a reminder of how extraordinarily privileged I am in my lovely new home with indoor plumbing, two water filer systems and multiple flushing toilets. It makes me very thankful. But, as I sit here in all this prosperity, I realize that it also can make me distant from God. I’m not saying poverty is equal to godliness…likely as not, the writer of this Psalm was not impoverished. But I think my stuff—the things I call blessings, and they are—become my comfort. Or my attempt at comfort. If that is the case, no wonder there are times that I can’t find rest.

How often do we thank God for His “blessings” and miss the fact the HE is our good? Not the stuff, the benefits that often He extends, but God Himself. It’s like me saying that I love my husband because he has given me this beautiful home and a pretty nice car. That’s all good, and I am grateful, but I loved him before all this prosperity entered our lives. I love him now because he’s a good man. If all this stuff were to be stripped away, he’d still be a good man, and I’d still love him.

Can we say the same about God? I read a blog this week about this very question, you can check it out here. Caroline wrote it beautifully. God is good. Period. Good times, bad times, poverty, wealth. He is good.

He is my good. And when I strip everything else down to that truth, that is where I find real rest.

I am Useful

I am Useful: A Joint Post

But you [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9, NKJV

From Jen:

There are some interesting words in that verse…concepts that beckon a deep longing inside me. Chosen. Called. I looked them up in Strong’s, because I’m a writer and that’s what we do.

Chosen: eklektos in the Greek. It literally means ‘picked out.’

Called: kaleō, meaning ‘to invite.’

Makes me think of an elementary school playground. You know, when you’re going to play kick ball and the team captains go through the team selection process. “I pick Joey,” says blue captain. “Okay, I want Sally,” responds the red leader. Why did they pick those two first? Well, Joey has a punting leg and can send that ball to the fence, and Sally never misses a catch in the outfield, so any high floater send her direction is an automatic out. They’re useful to the team.

Peter tells his congregation that they are God’s called out ones, His special team. They’re useful to the Kingdom.

Useful? Me? But I’m just a stay-at-home mom. I live in a lovely middle-of-nowhere town. I don’t have any extraordinary talents. I live an ordinary life. Going back to the kick-ball analogy, I’m average at best, and probably closer to one of the last ones who would have been chosen for the team. How can I possibly be useful to the kingdom of God?

From Susan:

Because He makes me useful.  When God chose me, he gave me the Holy Spirit to empower me to be useful.  In elementary school, I was always the last one chosen.  And I do mean always.  I couldn’t kick, run, or catch.  I was not only “not useful”  to a kickball team, I was a detriment.

Not so on God’s team.  Everyone He picks, He empowers.  But the pitcher isn’t necessarily empowered to be the catcher, or vice-versa. God uniquely equips His children to work together to create a powerful team called the Church.

I sat in an organization meeting for Awana workers tonight.  I’m new at my church, and many of the people in the room were strangers to me.  I just listened as they hammered out the logistics, marveling at the logic of God’s team planning.  One woman was an amazing problem solver, coming up with creative, workable solutions to sticking points.  A man in the room was gifted administratively, offering to take care of all the paper work and point counting.   A third person voiced how much she loved the little ones, while another said he couldn’t work anywhere but with the older kids. They were a team… and every one of them was useful.

The Captain had chosen them all.

I have no lack, Uncategorized

Thirsty

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. ~2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV

Sitting in the library, working with some kids that I have in AWANA, time affords some interesting conversations. My daughter was working on verses that answer the question “What do I need to know about the future?” These, in particular, were addressing prophesies of tribulation and end times. Rote memorization means nothing without context, so I always make sure that the kids (whether my own or someone else’s) understand what we’re learning. So, with four or five other kids listening, as well as my friend, who happens to be the children’s librarian, we went over what the Bible says about the last days.

Tribulation? What does that mean? Hardship, a time of great trial and suffering. Why would God allow that? Explain that to ten-year-olds.

I think of thirst, but we’ll come back to that.

I have that conversation in my head this morning as I mull over our verse for today. Maybe not linear thinking, but this is how my mind wanders. Forgive me as I meander. I have everything I need for life and godliness. Cerebrally, I know this. But in the everyday stuff—huh. Why do I feel a lack? Not materially, but spiritually. So many days I lack vision, purpose. I feel void of passion, or rather, I quite honestly feel exhausted. But Peter claims that as a Spirit-baptized believer, I have all that I that I need.

So why do I feel insufficient? And how come, no matter what kind of goals I set or accomplishments I attain, am I ever seeking more?

Back to the idea of thirst. God designed our physical bodies to thirst, because we need water to live. We can choose to try to quench that thirst with soda, sugar drinks or coffee, but the reality is, what we need is water.

Why would I feel spiritually deficient? Maybe for the same reason our tongues get painfully parched when we are on the verge of dehydration. Thirst points to the need—and by its warning life can be saved. Similarly, Spiritual thirst acts as a warning, so that I am aware of my need for the Spirit’s life sustaining power.

Thirst points me to HIM—because it is in HIM that I have everything I need.

I am Precious

Mercy and Compassion

Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity And passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. ~Micah 7:18-19, NASB

Mercy and compassion. Two of the most beautiful words penned.

When I work with the kids in Awana, I have a practice of beginning with the bad news: we’re filthy in our hearts. We look together at Jeremiah 17:9 — the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it. Often times these precious ten and eleven year olds can’t seem to grasp the idea that all of us are hopelessly sinful. Dirty.

But me? The more I see of myself, the more I struggle with the darkness of sin in my heart, the more I grasp that I need cleaned. I desperately  need a savior. Here’s what I have a hard time grasping: because He delights in mercy He will again have compassion on us and remove our iniquities.

That kind of compassion honestly blows me away.

My son was recently sick. Puked all over himself and the carpet. Ew. I mean yuck. No one wants to touch that kind of mess. But I’m his mommy, and I love my baby boy. So, I put him in the bath, washed his smelly little body, got him some water and a fresh pair of pjs, and then put him back to bed. And then got to work on the carpet. Scrubbed it until the mess and the smell was gone.

I didn’t tell him to get to cleaning. I didn’t even expect him to help. Compassion washed over me as I tucked my sick boy into his bed. It stayed in my gut even as I set myself to the task of puke evacuation.

Nothing shows love quite like the willingness to clean up someone else’s nasty mess.

I often wonder what Jesus is thinking, feeling, when he cleans my putrid heart. This again? When will she ever learn? Or, This is the last time. I’m not doing this again.

No. Because He delights in mercy, and lavishes His compassion upon me.