Monday, February 16, 2009

Get Out Of The Mud!

Although it’s a bit early for a season change, we’ve had some warm days, and at least one sign of Spring has become evident – mud!

Every year I go through the same ritual with one or more of my kids. The frosty white snow has melted away leaving a swath of brown squishiness the entire length of our driveway, yet they never seem to notice (or care about) this. They still walk (or run) across the lawn to the van and I find myself shouting, “Get out of the mud!”

On at least one occasion, I’ve been a fraction of a second too late and the child who didn’t notice the new, soft ground condition has had to get up and go change clothes after sliding several feet and losing the battle with gravity.

As a child, I happily played with mud for hours, making pies and planting seeds in old discarded dishes and cracked flowerpots. As an adult, I can appreciate the effort it takes to clean up the mess of that play!

Even if you don’t slip and fall in it, whatever mud has collected on your shoes is deposited step-by-step everywhere you go. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to get things dirty until you clean the mud off your shoes.

Mud is also difficult to walk in. The deeper the mud is, the greater the suction that is produced which tugs at your foot as you slog through it. If it’s deep enough, you might lose a shoe to its mucky pull. If it’s very deep, you may end up stuck completely and need help getting out.

And, as previously mentioned, mud can cause you to lose your footing and fall.

Rather than deal with the messiness and potential embarrassment that mud is capable of, I choose to avoid it if possible. For many situations, there is a very clear choice: walk in the mud or don’t walk in the mud.

But sometimes we find ourselves in mud through no fault of our own and we have no choice but to walk through it in order to get out. And then there are times when we just can’t resist and we choose to walk in the mud despite the consequences.

Well, guess what? Troubles and sin are a lot like mud.

The prophet Jeremiah was not a very popular guy when he told the people of Jerusalem that the Lord said they needed to surrender to the Babylonian army rather than fight. Some of the officials took him and put him in a cistern, which was used to collect water from a spring or from rain.

Jeremiah 38:6

So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

Jeremiah was in mud through no fault of his own; mud deep enough to sink in. He was in a little bit of trouble there!

Our troubles won’t necessarily involve literal mud, but we can feel like we’re sinking under a financial burden, a family problem, an employment crisis, or some other situation we have no control over.

We don’t choose to be in those situations, but everyone has to walk through some trouble in life. We can’t go around it and it won’t go away. We just have to go through it. If the trouble is too great though, we may need to call someone for help.

God is always ready to be that help.

Psalm 40 is referred to as A Praise for Deliverance. Here is what David writes:

Psalms 40:1-2

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

But, what about our problem with sin? Unfortunately, most of us continue to struggle with temptations and make bad choices regarding them. We still play in the mud, knowing very well that we’ll get dirty.

2 Peter 2:22

Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Is God ready to help us get out of that mess too? Absolutely! As soon as we cry out to Him and let Him know we want to get out of the mud, He reaches down to lift us up. David was confident of this, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked.

Psalm 40:7-8,11-13

7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." 11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me. 12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me.

Don’t wait another day!

If you feel like your troubles have you sinking or your sins are pulling you down into the muck, make a new choice today. Turn to the Lord, cry out to Him, and…

Get out of the mud!


Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th

Hey, it’s one of my favorite days of the year!

I love Friday the 13th because it reminds me that I am no longer trapped in the superstitious thinking of the world. defines superstition as “a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like," or "any blindly accepted belief or notion".

For instance, you may believe you’ll have bad luck if you walk under a ladder or if a black cat crosses your path. I grew up believing that bad things happen on Friday the 13th if you weren’t careful. My belief wasn’t based on reason or knowledge; it was based on the fear of “what if?”

Today I tried to find the origin of the ominous cloud hanging over Friday the 13th and found that no one really knows how it started, although many speculate that it has to with the Crucifixion of Christ on a Friday and the fact that there were 13 seated at the Last Supper and the first one to leave, the traitor Judas Iscariot, was dead shortly afterward. (You can read about that here:

You may be surprised to hear me say, “I’m not surprised!”

If there is one thing I’ve learned since becoming a Christian, it’s that the devil takes great pleasure in perverting the things of God.

The Apostle Paul urges us to “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) Other Bible versions use the word ‘schemes’ for ‘wiles’.

Some of his schemes include distorting the Gospel so even men will do his dirty work.

“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

So it doesn’t surprise me that the devil would try to distract us from God’s love and power with silly fears of bad luck happening on Friday the 13th that may be based on some of the very events of Christ’s life that show us God’s love and power.

Satan wants us to think that a certain day and date (or rabbit’s foot, or broken mirror, or salt thrown over your shoulder) has more power than the almighty God of the universe. If we blindly accept these superstitious notions held by the world, we are allowing Satan to blind us from the truth of the Gospel and the love and power of God therein.

The good news for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ is that, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) God in us is greater than Satan and all those who follow that devil in the world!

We don’t have to be afraid of a date on the calendar because God has not given us a spirit of fear (timidity, fearfulness, cowardice), but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, words in parenthesis mine)

Rather, we can confidently proclaim as the psalmist did, “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Happy Friday the 13th!


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Happy Birthday Darwin!

Happy 200th Birthday to Charles Darwin, father of the theory of Evolution, which, when studied objectively, causes the truth of Creation to be self-evident.

Thank you, Mr. Darwin!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coming and Going

Due to some changes in the lives of some family members, I’ve recently found myself in a new job. Chauffeur. This actually isn’t a foreign job to me – I am a mom after all, but I’ve never had to perform this task with such frequency in one day for so many days.

With one son in a cast (too young to drive anyway) and my college daughter in field training for Early Childhood Education (with no vehicle of her own), I’ve had no choice but to put on the driver’s cap and buckle up.

Here’s my schedule 3-4 times a week:
7:30 am - take boys to middle/high school
8:20 am - take daughter to pre-school
11:15 am - pick up daughter from pre-school
12:20 pm - take daughter back to pre-school
2:30 pm - pick up boys from middle/high school
3:30 pm - pick up daughter from pre-school
3:50 pm - take daughter to work
5:45 pm - meet husband at daughter’s work to leave daughter a car so I don’t have to pick her up again!
Whew! That comes to a grand total of EIGHT short trips in just over ten hours, not counting my own errands. I truly thank God for my cell phone. I have to set the alarm on it after each drop-off so I won’t forget the next pick-up!

The surest way to tell if I’m coming or going is by who is in the vehicle with me. If someone is with me, I’m going to drop whoever it is off somewhere. If I’m alone, I’m probably coming home. Still, all this running around can get confusing sometimes!

But God is not confused and He always knows where to find me. I don’t have to worry about Him losing track of me or needing to set an alarm to pick me up from somewhere.
Psalms 139:7-16
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God knows exactly where I am - in my van and in my life - and I am confident that if He knows where I am, it’s because He is watching over me.

Are you feeling like your life is so chaotic (physically, spiritually or emotionally) that God can’t keep up with you? Just remember what the psalmist wrote: there is no place that God isn’t! Meet with Him today where you are, whether you're coming or going.