As I reached to place my tax form in the mail box I realized that I was breaking with tradition. It’s April 15th, and for many years I have joined the ranks of thousands waiting in line at the last minute to hand my 1040 to the mail person for proper stamping. It has almost become a ritual, honking at the same people at the same post office on April 15th for the past several years, smiling at nameless faces of people I would not meet again for twelve more months. Breaking with tradition can be traumatic. I wonder if my fellow-procrastinators will miss me this year?
Tradition impacts us in many ways. When I became an adult, I evaluated my theology to determine how much was developed from tradition or if my beliefs were truly Biblically based. Whether born of procrastination, heritage, denominationalism or God's Holy Word, what we believe should easily stand up to such an introspective test. What is the basis for your beliefs?
GospeLines Prayer:Father, make me fearless in my search for Truth. Let your Word be the only source of doctrine for me. Amen and amen.
Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister of Canada, was visiting a senior citizen home one day. He approached one of the elderly residents and asked her if she knew who he was. She replied, "No I don't dear, but if you go up to the front desk, they will tell you who you are"
Christians occasionally forget, and become guilty of living a life which discredits our name, bringing shame to our Savior. It is a high honor to be the namesake of the Living God. No one needs to tell you who you are; you only need to go to the precious Word of God to be reminded.
·We are His beloved
·We are His adopted children and joint heirs with Jesus Christ
·We are His sheep and He knows our names
·We are His Temple
·We are the stewards of His Creation
·We are His Workmanship
·We are the heirs of Heaven
·We are His Chosen ones
·We are created in His image
·We are evangelists and missionaries to the nations
GospeLines Prayer:O Lord, my prayer is for those who are still trying to "find themselves," through sorcery, drugs, alcoholism, sex, and a myriad of ungodly means which only adds to their confusion. Turn their eyes toward the heavens and their hearts toward the Son. In their futile search for the meaning of life, may they find the richer meaning of eternal life through Jesus, our Lord and our Redeemer. Amen and amen.
In a recently released movie, “The Secret Life of Bees,” the author, Sue Monk Kidd, used bees as a metaphor for human beings. Most of the characters are not as they appear on the surface. Humans are much more complicated and complex. Even siblings, raised by the same parents, in the same household, may have different varieties of the truth.
Without totally divulging the story, I can tell you the protagonist, Lily, is searching for the truth; all the while bringing others to deal with their own truth as well. Lily carried an unspeakable burden, a secret, for the majority of her young life…
“Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now.” ~ Excerpted from The Secret Life of Bees
Many of us carry some secrets, heavy burdens, with us daily. But, like Lily, we need to admit facing the truth is far better than a “suitcase of lies.” And, while it’s often hard to accept the truth, God is there to catch us when we fall on our knees and He gathers every teardrop. Loss, betrayal, guilt and forgiveness are common threads that run through the fabric of our lives.
In the movie, Lily’s life was transformed from a lonely, shattered existence to a joy-filled one. Her journey, as ours often does, reveals that God provides what we need in most unexpected ways and His response may not come wrapped in the packages we expect. His love may or may not look like us, but we are “divinely” connected. Strong women were Lily’s lifeline, although the struggles of others touched her deeply too, adding a richness to her character.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I am reminded of Your transforming power through Your word found in Psalm 25:4-6 (New International Version)
“Show me your ways, O Lord,
teach me your paths;
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.”
My hope is in You, Lord. Like many of my contemporaries, I’ve searched the world for a lifeline and the weight has been unbearable. But, I have found my truth and it is within me… through You and Your provision.
Thank You, Lord for being the Way, the Truth and the Life.
In His Love,
≈ Devotional for Thursday, October 30, 2008
"Broken People Can Be Repaired"
One Christmas Eve, when my children were younger, I was the last shopper in a toy store at the mall. There were broken parts and pieces of toys scattered on the floor... dolls with hair missing, battered soldiers and smashed plastic cars! Have you ever wondered what they do with all those broken toys after Christmas? They weren't chosen by anyone because of their imperfect condition.
Maybe you feel like that sometimes when you become aware of reasons why you think people might not want to choose you. Like the broken toy, we are afraid that we will end up on the floor to be walked on and kicked aside. We know our imperfections all too well.
If God chose only perfect people His Kingdom would be empty!
God has a message for us this Christmas. No matter how bad life gets, no matter how many divorces, deaths, disillusionments we face…nothing is going to change the fact that God made us just like we are, and He made us really good! We can never become so damaged that He will disown us, uncreate and unredeem us as His children. Never forget! God knows more about you than you do. You've got to believe it even though it seems impossible at times. You and others see some of your weaknesses, but God knows ALL of your unseen strengths.
You are not too young, not too old, not too sick, not too guilty, not too alone, not too broken. Jehovah says to us from the lips of Isaiah, the prophet to Judah during the Babylonian captivity, "You are precious and honored… I love you… Do not be afraid, for I am with you." Isa. 43:4-5
GospeLines Prayer:Jehovah, when I am suffering in my own personal captivity, lost from everyone and everything I hold dear, I beseech you to raise my valleys and lower the insurmountable mountains; make the rough ground level, and I will give you glory forevermore.