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Archive for May, 2016

Squat, aluminum spaces enclosed by unwelcoming barbed wire or steel gates are located randomly around the city. Marked by such signs as Storage-R-Us and The Space Place, people like you and I gather “stuff”—undesirable items and maybe-we’ll-use-them-someday-things—and pay hundreds of dollars every year just to have a video camera supervise our favorite junk.

While storage units can effectively meet a short-lived need, they were never designed to store clutter for months or years at a time. Yet, 50% of all units are filled with unwanted castoffs—furniture, old toys, and unused clothing—secret places clogged by material surplus.

Clutter

 

Like a personal storage unit, my mind is often full of spiritual clutter. The uneccesary…the unneeded…. even the unwelcome. Misguided self-perceptions, worry, unkind words spoken by another, past sins I hold onto out of guilt. Like a jumbled collection of debris tucked away in a rented lot, my self-created storage space grows crowded. Sometimes I’ll dig through the mess and rediscover a memory.

You’re worthless.

The carefully guarded words reemerge from the past—taunting me.
What was I thinking? I can’t believe God could forgive me for that.

Self-accusation robs my joy and disregards the mercy of the cross.

The accumulated rubbish stands testimony to my inability to let go—to give the One my faults…my hurt…my self-accusation. Then, he gently reminds me. Stop holding onto this debris! It does nothing but fill empty space when I promise to fill your heart.

Let me take it—all of it– for you, Child. Let me have your spiritual clutter and I’ll give you freedom.

 And when I set aside the unwanted castoffs? I no longer pay the price of keeping a tight hold on the stuff of the past.

Instead?  I’m rid of the spiritual clutter.  Friend, let’s remember to give Jesus our mess!

Scripture for Reflection

he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 

(Titus 3:5)

 

 

 

LIVEFREETHURSDAY

 

 

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As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!” He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw. (Matthew 9:27-28 MSG)

 It was a journey. An agonizing process that at times seemed interminable. But, on a certain day in 2015, a prayed for…cried over…hoped for transformation occurred in the deepest part of who I was. God had scrubbed and swept the dark places, gathered the pieces of my brokenness into his hands, and reshaped that which seemed impossibly shattered into a complete, healed woman.

It happened. I could feel the difference—inside of that place where people are their most human.

This was no small feat—after more than forty years, 1,460 days, and 2, 102, 400 minutes—this was a miracle that defied explanation. I am convinced that God walked into the moment and heard my cries for mercy…grace…restoration.

In that moment, I became.

Now, I’m reading Christ’s words…feeling His heartache as He traveled from place to place.

“35 Jesus traveled around through all the cities and villages of that area, teaching in the Jewish synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And wherever he went he healed people of every sort of illness. 36 And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.

37 “The harvest is so great, and the workers are so few,” he told his disciples.38 “So pray to the one in charge of the harvesting, and ask him to recruit more workers for his harvest fields.”         (Matthew 9:35-38)

In every place, Christ encouraged…offered Himself…loved others—one by one.

The discarded? The helpless? The hopeless? These were God’s people! These were the one’s He stepped out of heaven to rescue—as they are today. And in a very personal way, Jesus changed lives. He’s changed mine.

Like the disciples following after Jesus—regular people surrounded by their own mess—I’ve experienced God do the unusual and the unexplainable. I just can’t keep Jesus to myself! How could I?

So I’m praying that in my touch-and-go following after Jesus I’ll imitate Him enough…care for others enough…offer love enough that others will see in my regular life the extraordinary, personal God who still moves…still works…still rescues—because the hurting and the lonely? The needy and broken? They need to meet Jesus, too—one by one—through me. Through you.

Will you join me?

 

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