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The Spider Web

Job 12:7-10 -“But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

I’m not too crazy about spiders. They don’t freak me out like they do some people, but I’m not in the habit of keeping them around and letting the big hairy ones live. 

But I do appreciate a well made spider web from time to time. Their intricately designed creation leaves me in awe. Now, walking through one gives me the willies and I don’t appreciate where they put them at times. But seeing them draped from a tree limb or power line with the morning dew glistening on the lines is truly a beautiful sight.

My mom was telling me about a beautiful spider web she had on her house. She said she had watched this little spider for days spin his web and create the intricate design. My brother encouraged her to take it down and get rid of it, which is not a bad idea. But my mom just couldn’t do it. She said that little spider had worked so hard that she didn’t have the heart to tear it down. A guy came to power wash her house this week. The little spider’s creation is gone. Mom is a bit sad.

Why do you think God created the spider to spin such an intricate and beautiful web? Couldn’t the little spider just throw some simple design up there and catch the same amount of food? Why are the webs usually so intricate, delicate and beautiful?

He has a job to do. Part of the reason that he creates his web is to glorify God. What do you think about that? Heaven declares the glory of God. The stars and the clouds and the crazy weather all give glory to God their Creator. Have you taken a look at the variety of animals lately? The other night when we were driving home from church, we saw frogs, raccoons and opposums. Everywhere you look you can see the beauty and variety in what God has created. When was the last time you stopped to appreciate the specific design of a grasshopper? When was the last time that the strength of an ant made you think? When was the last time that the dance of a lizard bobbing up and down made you smile? All of God’s creatures are amazing, even the ones we want killed – like snakes. I do not like snakes. But even snakes can give glory to God even if it is just in the way that they move!

What I want to get across here is that God is reaching out to us all the time through His creation. The animals have so much to teach us about Him. They are doing their very best to give glory to their Creator by living their life and doing what they do to show us that they were made with a specific job to do and they are going to do it beautifully. It is the same way that we should be living our life. We were put here on this earth with a specific job to do and we need to be consistently doing it. We need to do it to the best of our ability and show others around us the magnificent work of the Father in our life. 

So this weekend, take a few moments and look at His creation and see what He is trying to teach you. Find out what it is He wants you to learn about Him. And determine how you are going to let that knowledge impact your life. Happy Friday.

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Just like me…

Romans 12:3 – “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

I’ve been struggling with this concept the last couple of days – What if everyone acted just like me – in regards to family, church, work and community?

It’s what we want, isn’t it? We wish that everyone around us was as smart as we are, made similar choices that we make, and were as dedicated as we are. We see ourself without flaw, without blemish. 

But deep down, we know that’s not true. We know that deep down we get upset when someone does something different that we think that they should. We get frustrated when we have a plan and someone steps in and changes that plan all together. We want to throw a fit and yell at someone when their decision to stay out of things is not the option we would have chosen. We get all flustered when people don’t perform like we know we would in that situation. 

Pride. It’s pride that makes us feel that way. You see, whether it is at work, church or at home, the devil is doing his best to drive a wedge in our heart between us and God. If he can get us to look more at ourself and see only the worst in people and their decisions instead of seeing the beauty of variety, then he can get us to walk further and further from our Savior. 

And it’s so easy to do. It is easy to get frustrated when we don’t understand what is going on. It is easy to get mad when things don’t go the way we think they should. It is easy to want to yell at someone when their choices are wrong in our eyes. 

But here is the thing – we can’t control others; we can only control ourself. We have to trust that God has whatever thing we are dealing with under control. Staying awake all night worrying about it won’t make a difference. Getting mad and yelling at someone will not help the cause of Christ. Not doing your best as a punishment to those who are making what you see as a bad decision will get nothing accomplished. 

Jesus has given us all different gifts and talents. I’m not responsible for my husband using his gifts. That is his can of worms. I need to be focused on whether I’m using my gifts. But I can’t let my focus shift from me doing my best for His glory to me doing my best because I know I’m right. 

It’s hard, but you can’t let people have power over your decision to do things for His glory. Focusing solely upon Jesus will have far different reaches that focusing solely on you and what you do. Pride is an ugly beast that too often rears its head in my life. Pride is what makes you think your way is the best way. Pride is what makes you fail to see your flaws. Pride is what makes us want everyone to act like just like us. 

The week before

1 Peter 5:6,7 – “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

Do you ever dread a week? For me, the week before vacation is a dreaded week. I’m working like a crazy person trying to get everyone seen and all their paperwork completed that might be due while I’m gone. I’m thinking and making list after list about what I need to remember to purchase and pack. I’m leaving things out on counters so that I don’t forget them. I’m trying to clean my house because if I die, I don’t want people coming into my house dirty (I know, it’s morbid. I can’t help the way my brain works!). 

But here I am on Friday. One last day this week to get those people seen and get that paperwork done. One more day to get the items on that list. One more day to remember how God has brought me through this week. 

It hasn’t been a bad week. It really hasn’t been a rough week. It has just been a week. And as glad as I am that it is Friday, I’m really anticipating Monday at 2 – when work is truly finished and I clock into vacation mode. 

But God has got it between now and then. He sees my lists. He knows my potential issues and problems. He knows what all needs to happen between now and then. I’m not worried about it. God is going to take care of it. 

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

These are the words I’m claiming and have been claiming this week. I’m choosing today to lay my burdens at His feet and walk away trusting that He is going to make it happen one way or another. And I can do this because He loves me. He, the God of Heaven and Creator of all things and Savior of my soul, loves me – a sinner choosing to give my best by following after Him. 

So on this Friday, I want to encourage you to let Him love on you. Let Him take your burdens. Let Him hold you close. Let Him show just how awesome and amazing He can truly be. Happy Friday. 

Turn the page

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Today is the completion of a two year project – working at the nursing home. I have worked in a nursing home setting consistently for almost 10 years. That is a lot of people and a really long time. I have learned so much from all the people I have come in contact with. Some of them have nearly driven me crazy and some of them have truly touched my heart. 

But today, I am leaving a small group of people that have come to be my adopted grandmas and grandpas. Their antics have made me laugh. Their situations have made me cry. When you work with people the way I do, your heart gets attached to them. And leaving them leaves a hole that is very difficult to fill. I think the hardest part is this – even though I will go back and visit, there will still be some I will never see again. That is hard. 

But in reality, we face that every day. It is just more clear on some days than it is on others. 

I am moving on to another job that will still keep me in contact with new people that need my help and my skills. But these people at this little facility will always hold a special place in my heart. 

And by the way, it isn’t just the older people I will miss. There are fabulous people that I work alongside. They are kind and gentle and thoughtful and dedicated to making the lives of those around them as beautiful as possible. 

I know that the older ones will probably never read this but I want them to know today that I love them. And I want to say thank you for making an imprint on my heart. For the ones that I labor alongside, I want to say thank you for caring with me to hold up this older generation. Your labor is not in vain. 

We all need to remember that Jesus said, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40)  I cannot tell you how many times this verse has run through my head over the years. 

So as I turn the page today, I will remember that Solomon reminded us that there is a time for every thing. And today is my time to turn the page. 

My Life’s Sculpture 

1 Corinthians 3:11-15 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

So we talked about these verses in Sunday school yesterday. I was trying to get the kids to understand what these verses really meant. Now, I know that these verses were written in regards to service within a local New Testament church, but I feel that they also have a personal application. 

Every sculpture has a base – something it is built upon. Your life’s sculpture is built upon Jesus when you accept Him as your Savior. You build your sculpture with all kinds of things – silver, gold, precious stones, wood, hay and stubble. The actions, thoughts and words you speak that are positive and glorifying to God build parts with silver, gold and precious stones. The actions, thoughts and words that you speak that are self-glorifying and negative build parts with wood, hay and stubble. We build with all those materials every day – all of us. 

But at the end of your days when you stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ, what will your sculpture be built of primarily? You see, at this Judgement, all of our works will be tried by fire. Our life’s sculpture will be placed in God’s holy fire and only the good stuff will come out. 

What will your sculpture look like? Will it be beautiful and abundant or will it be small and puny? 

You see, this is what your gift to God will be. It will be a life’s work that will show Him how you truly lived your life (not that He doesn’t already know). This sculpture is how you will be rewarded. It shows what really went on. In this life, you can make your actions seem pure and righteous, but God sees what you are really building with. And in that fire, so will you. 

So, what are you building your life’s sculpture with? How will it withstand the fire? What will your gift to Him truly be?

Aww…sleep

Ecclesiastes 5:12 – “The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.”

I was able to do one of my most favorite things this morning – turn off my alarm. Tomorrow is Saturday – the one day a week that I can sleep in. And for that, no alarm. Sleep until I wake up. Love it!

As a whole, we are sleep deprived. Modern lighting has caused up to stay up way past when God intended for us to be asleep. We stay up too late and get up too early, all thanks to modern conveniences. But I will say this – I am thankful for the modern convenience of a dishwasher and washer/dryer! 

Anyway….

Why do I treasure my Saturday morning sleeping in so much? Work. Work. Work. All week long it is run here, run there, pick this person up, get this accomplished, remember to do that, be up early for this and stay up late for that. Wears me out just thinking about it. But you know what? I’m truly thankful for my busyness. Me being busy means that my family is healthy and active. It means that I have a job that pays me and a vehicle to safely transport me. It means that God has given me strength and ability to provide for my family. Busyness is good…most of the time. 

But there is another part of this verse – the part speaking of abundance. Now, I feel abundantly blessed indeed, but what is this talking about? What does this mean – “the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep”? 

Ok, here’s my take on it – there are some people who do not have to labor for what they get. They may have lots of money or not, but they don’t work for what they have. Being in this position provides no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction. Just because you have what you need to get by doesn’t mean you feel good about it. We all need that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction to encourage peace. There is a deep stirring of the heart when you know deep down that everything is being handed to you. There has to be. Why else would God Himself encourage us to work? He knows that we need to work for what we have. He put that desire in us!

And with hard work comes the need for restful sleep. It is the sleep that comes with knowing that you have done your best today. It is the sleep that comes with knowing that you have let God lead you and guide you and that you have done your best for those around you. That’s what God has placed in our heart and that is what gives us a peaceful night of rest. 

So today, work. Work hard. Be diligent. Be devoted. Do your best. And then tonight, when your head hits the pillow, rest. Lay your burdens down before laying your head down and be at an even greater place of peace. Work needs rest. Don’t forget to do it. 

Keys

Matthew 16:19a – “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”

Keys. We all have them. We have keys to our vehicle, keys to our home, keys to our lock box, keys to work – essentially we have keys to just about everything. In fact, some would even say that there are some that hold the key to your heart.

But what good is a key if it is not used? Really? No good at all.

Keys are used to safeguard something. We obviously want to protect something or someone if we have a key.

Every once in a while, however, we want to use that key to unlock and free something. We want to take a look at that social security card we keep locked away. We want to try on that beautiful piece of jewelry hidden away in a lock box somewhere. We want to go home, so we use our key to get in the door. We need to go somewhere, so we turn the key in the ignition.

I have a super cute key ring that I got in Hawaii. Great memories are associated with that key ring. But the most important thing about this item is the fact that it holds all the keys that I need in my life. I panic when I can’t find my keys. My biggest fear is being away from my husband and locking myself out of my car. That happened before – when the car was running. Bad day. Really cold. Don’t want to remember that day – moving on….

Jesus left us His keys. He has given us power and authority to do His will on this earth. We have a great responsibility associated with these keys. Perhaps that’s the reason we don’t use them very often. People might get offended if we use the keys. The power these keys have might be more than we want to face. See a trend here? Fear. Fear keeps us from using those keys. Fear keeps us from receiving the blessings from those keys. Oh, we like to jingle them around from time to time but do we really want to use them?

Maybe it’s high time we did. Maybe we need to go out on a limb and shake up the tree a bit. Whatever you’d feel the Lord leading you to do about the keys, do it. I promise His blessings will be worth it.