Categories
Christian Living

Repurposed

I’ve passed the same dingy white cargo van on my way to work two days in a row now. Emblazoned across the back it says “Locksmith,” but the doors are bungee corded shut.

He can’t fix his own lock?!

But the second day I overtook the van I noticed more details. The word “Locksmith” is faded. And, as I passed him, I noticed the company name and phone number were scraped off.

Maybe this isn’t a locksmith’s ride anymore.

There was a time when I felt like that faded old van. At 18 I entered the ministry as a worship pastor. Later, a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s degree from a top seminary set me up for a life of fruitful ministry. Over the next 14 years, I served churches in three different states. But at the age of 32 my marriage ended and my God-called career came to a screeching halt.

The sparkling white van that said “minister” across the back now had the name and number scraped off the sides. And to add insult to injury, a tattered bungee cord was the only thing keeping the cargo doors shut. I felt like a complete and utter failure.

But God had a plan (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10).

The path back to wholeness hasn’t always been rosy, recovery from life trauma seldom is. Yet I stand here today happily remarried and 17 years into a successful career as a public educator.

Perhaps you can relate, kind reader? Your life, at some point, went off the rails—so to speak. But God is faithful.

Do I have a witness?!

“I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”

Psalm 37:25 (NIV)

God is the ultimate repurposer. Our “ride” may change, but if we’re still alive it’s not too late. So let’s stay on the anvil my friends!

“The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.”

Psalm 138:8 (NIV)
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Do you have your own “repurposed” story? If so, I’d love to hear it! Because stories matter. Comment here, or write your own post and tell me where to find it.

🙏❤️prayers and love.

Categories
Christian Living listening

Selective Listening

It happens every 4th of July – Independence Day here in the USA. In our little hamlet it’s perfectly legal for folks to shoot off fireworks, on the streets and from their back yards. And each passing year the relentless noise seems more startling to my sense of well-being. Time to break out the ear plugs.

So I’m sitting at the kitchen table (plugs in) surfing the net, when my wife comes in and starts rummaging through a cabinet drawer. She looks my way and says something unintelligible. I respond, “If you’re telling me something right now I can’t hear you.” She starts laughing, because she was chiding me (kindly) for misplacing the ink pen that goes in the drawer. Confession: I occasionally employ something called “selective spousal listening.”

This whole scene made me think of something God said to Israel during the prophet Isaiah’s time.

Don’t think the Lord is too weak to save you or too deaf to hear your call for help! It is because of your sins that He doesn’t hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship Him.

Isaiah 59:1-2 (GNT)

Here’s an experiment: Watch television for a week and count the number of times you hear the word “sin.” I suspect you won’t run out of fingers. Transgression of divine law isn’t something the world cares to talk about. But why?

Somehow we know instinctively there’s nothing wrong with God; the wrong is in us. Sin damages our fellowship with our Creator and disrupts the ability to communicate with Him. This causes even unbelievers to scurry for the shadows (John 3:19-21).

Have there been times when you’ve tried to talk with God, but it felt like He wasn’t tuned in? Me too. “Child, if you’re telling me something right now, I can’t hear you.” Of course the Lord isn’t deaf. But He occasionally employs something called “selective divine listening.” Our unconfessed sin plugs His ears.

Thankfully, there is a solution:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9 (NIV)

God always listens to prayers that start with, “Sorry, Lord. It was my fault…”

A Parting Thought:

Jesus often slipped away to spend time alone with God (Mark 1:35). He also led a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Is there a connection? You and I will never be sinless–this side of heaven. But we would do well to follow Christ’s example.

🙏❤️ prayers and love.

Photo by Khoa Vu00f5 on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Living Diligence

Confessions of a Reformed Doomscroller

There’s always a lot happening in the world. And, if we’re to believe the media, most of it’s bad. Some call this bent toward negativity in the news the “crisis crisis.” It’s a seemingly endless stream of hyped threats that are supposed to make us afraid–very afraid.

Let’s face it, most of the people clamoring for our attention are not focused on truth telling. Nope, their sights are set on things like ratings and ad revenue, or likes and follows. Why bother with ethical matters–like separating truth from falsehood? Negativity, mixed with equal parts uncertainty, SELLS.

On the other hand, it’s comforting to step out of the 24/7 news cycle and simply believe what Jesus says.

Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.

John 14:1 (NIV)

Christ said these words to comfort his disciples on the very night he was betrayed. And as my friend Jeff King said, in a post that inspired this one (Quote for 7/03/2021), “Jesus is as good as His word.”

A quick plug for Jeff. He’s a Christian guy who has been around the block a time or two and doesn’t mince words while talking about it. His site Jeffrey H. King’s Blog is well written, Christ centered and filled with absorbing thoughts.

Now back to my post. I used to spend a nonsensical amount of time doomscrolling through the latest happenings. But I noticed something. Often, after reading my favorite news feeds—for way longer than I care to admit—I felt an odd sadness. So when it came time to give up something for Lent this year, I decided to quit the “breaking news” business. Guess what? I never went back after Easter. And I don’t miss it!

The Philippians were a persecuted church with plenty to worry about. Yet Paul encouraged them to turn their anxious thoughts into prayers of thanksgiving (Phililippians 4:6). The pay-off, he said, was the peace of God guarding their hearts. A few verses later, he shares what I like to call the “Philippians Filter.”

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Please pardon my hand drawn illustration. I need a graphic artist!

Filtering sure beats doomscrolling any day!

🙏❤️ prayers and love.


Photo by Maria Teneva on Unsplash