A beauty tip

Psalm 34

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise always on my lips.

photo-on-9-7-16-at-8-06-amRecently a discoloration has developed on my lower lip. I should have it looked at by a dermotologist, but I haven’t yet. Believe it or not (hehe), I am self-conscious about it. I attempt to hide the spot by always wearing lipstick. Otherwise, I’m thinking you are looking at the spot on my lip and not at me. Wearing lipstick covers an embarrassing blemish and with my flaw hidden, I can take my focus off of me and enjoy being with you.

Does the Lord’s praise on our lips do the same thing? Does the Lord’s praise cover our flaws, so that we don’t have to attempt to cover them ourselves? hmmm. Does the Lord’s praise free us to consider the other’s interests, to attend to their words, their person? Does the Lord’s praise allow our beauty to shine? hmmm.

The dual faces of God

Isaiah 40:10-14

Here comes the Lord, are you ready for him? He is a strong ruler, when he comes he brings your reward and your payback. Will you welcome him?

Here comes the Lord, do you need him? He is a tender shepherd, he feeds his flock, he carries them when they can’t walk, he is patient with the cares of their heart. Do you want him?

There is none like God, he holds the waters of the seas in his cupped hand, he measures and rules the heavens and it’s contents, he weighs the dust of the earth and keeps in balance the mountains and the hills. No one can give God guidance, he is the source of all wisdom, why do you even try?

Which aspect of God do you need today? His power or his tenderness? He is both and wants to offer you his arm to lean upon or to strengthen you. Welcome your God.

Are you envious?

Thoughts on Judges 7:19-8:12
So Gideon and his handful of soldiers surprised the Midianite camp, put them in chaos and sent them running. He called the other clans to take up the chase. Ephraim was mad because he had not been included in the original clash and he took his gripe up with Gideon. Gideon calmed him down by stating that the work he had done in the conflict was essential and elevated. The work Gideon did in the fight was pedestrian, blue-collar. Ephraim’s work was elite and specific. Like a closing pitcher. He doesn’t play the entire game. His speciality is getting the last outs.

So what do I learn from this? Remember that what I do is mine to do. It’s special and necessary for the victory. Don’t get my panties in a bunch because I’m not the starting pitcher.

Living near the Fire

Thoughts on Isaiah 33:13-16

IMG_2683.JPGGod is a holy fire, consuming purity and everlasting flames. Who can draw near? Only those who strive for a righteous life. Living with integrity, speaking sincerely, living simply, one who doesn’t compromise her authority, doesn’t listen to gossip, isn’t entertained by evil. This is the one who find a home in the heights of God’s dwelling, safe and supplied. Amen

Our God is holy, he is pure oxygen; ignited and burning with such intense heat and unextinquishable flames none can approach him. I tremble with fear because he calls me to come near. How can I bear his holiness? How can I live along side such dread and beauty? Hear God’s voice and put on the garments that insulate and protect so that I can draw near and walk with the Holy.

I put on the undergarments of integrity. Next to my skin, covering and protecting the most private parts of my being I wear a commitment to live truly. This means I am always honest with myself about what I am experiencing, how I feel about what’s happening, what my thoughts are about interactions. My soul and my Lord may be the only ones who are privy to this conversation. These undergarments provide a filter that prohibits hurtful responses and permits healthy ones.

From my heart comes my words. I put on a dress of honesty, made beautiful by my sincere and truthful interactions with others. My words have eyes and ears that see the other, and drawing from the wealth of my integrity, offers encouragement to the fainting, hope to the despairing, loving correction to the lost.

My shoes are simple, functional and comfortable. They allow me to move toward fairness and away from privilege. I walk freely because I treat people and goods with the appropriate respect and value due them. I move easily because I am not tripped up by the snares of greed. I trample on the fear of scarcity.

I wear gloves that protect my hands from dirty deals. There is no contact with the temptation to use my authority and power to better my position. All are treated fairly and handled with respect. I live humbly in my station.

In my ears are earbuds tuned to truth. All gossip, titillating conversations, rumors are blocked out. I hear the music of love and kindness, of aid and comfort, they are the soundtrack of my life.

My eyesight is corrected by wearing the glasses of goodness and life. They see through the false facade and into the real. They filter out the harmful, blinding rays of lies. They give clarity of vision, to look beyond and see a glorious future.

These garments remake me into one who can bear the heat of God’s holiness. I dwell with God in the joy of His perspective. I am secure in the presence of God’s love. I live supplied with all that is needed.

Thank you and Amen.

God walks behind me

 The Angel who had been leading them, now went around behind them. Ex 14:19

This feels a little scary. Like God know longer leads me, like there is no destination to aim toward, like God is done with me. You go behind me and all that’s left for my life is to clean up after me. This makes me sad. Gosh, Lord. But I just remember how I guide the children into the classroom at Day school. I place my hand on their back as I guide them. I don’t march ahead, expecting them to follow, I stay close with my hand on their back. Lord, stay close and guide me. Amen

What kind of scarecrow are you?

The way I see it,” she said, “a person isn’t nothing more than a scarecrow. You, me, Earl Wickentot, the President of the United States, and even God Almighty, as far as I can see. The only difference between one that stands up good and one that blows over is what kind of a stick they’re stuck up there on.

Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees

scarecrow

 

In today’s crazy and worrying world, be a scarecrow stuck up there on God’s spirit of truth, peace and justice. May God’s power make you straight and effective, protecting the precious from the harmful. You may be silly-looking, but you are useful and needful in God’s economy.

One reason why you’re not invited to God’s party

The Psalmist asks, “Who is welcome to live with you in your holiness?” (Psalm 15) Then makes a list of those who are qualified to approach God’s holy dwelling.

The first on the list of invitees are, “those who walk blamelessly.” Blamelessly? Really? It seems you are disqualified from the get-go. Your life is not without blemish. You do wrong, sometimes purposefully, other times unknowingly. You are certainly not blameless. You’re off the list.

Hmm…another thought arises. Could it mean that you walk without blaming? Not holding it against anyone when they act wrongly. Forgiving all, including yourself, of actions done because “we don’t know what we do.” (Luke 23:34) Living compassionately?

Either one of these is hard to achieve, but they are targets for which you can aim. Do right by all. Speak your heart’s truth. A moral and kind life leads to God’s holy hill. I pray God forms such a life in you and me. Amen.

With you on the journey,

Debby