Smooth Edges

smooth edges2

Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Voice

One day during my devotional time I decided to let my Bible fall open and that is where I would read.  It fell open to the last page of the concordance.  The words “wrong” and “wronged” caught my eye.  It took me to scriptures in 1 Corinthians and Proverbs.  The gist of the scriptures I read was this:

  • Isn’t it better to be wronged than to have wronged someone else?
  • Love covers all wrongs

This gave me pause. I still had quite a few sticking points in my heart with some folks. They felt like rough ragged edges that my feelings would get caught on. It was a place of injury.  So I started to pray.  I started to ask for the characteristics of love.  I asked for patience, kindness. I asked to be able to rejoice in the truth, protect always, trust always, hope always and to always persevere.  I asked God to help me let go of all the junk associated with these ragged edges in my heart. I began to realize that I was not the only one injured.  I was able to lift others up in prayer too.

Father, show us where the frayed and ragged edges are in our hearts. Make them more smooth from experiencing and practicing Your love.

Proverbs 10:12, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 13

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Crash Helmets

Embed from Getty Images
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 NIV

Forgive: 1.To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. 2. To give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.). 3. To grant pardon to (a person). 4. To cease to feel resentment against. 5. To cancel an indebtedness or liability of.

Annie Dillard in her book “Teaching a Stone to Talk” said, “It is madness to wear ladies straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets.” The imagery makes me smile.

Have you ever ridden bumper cars at a carnival or fair? Everyone is driving around erratically bumping into one another.  It is an accepted expectation.  Everyone laughs as they crash into each other; slamming into each other – on purpose! And taking delight in it.

What if we entered into our Christian community fully expecting to crash into each other?  What if we were so aware of our own imperfections that we excitedly pushed the pedal to the metal playfully with one another? What if we take the blows like a crash dummy? I know that sounds farfetched.

Here is another analogy.  What about a huge school of fish?  They seem to move instinctively in the same direction, picking up cues from each other and their environment to change direction seamlessly.  They move in unison. How do they adjust direction and speed all at the same time?  It seems like it all happens in less than a millisecond and hundreds of fish all shift – seemingly without any communication!

These two analogies have one thing in common.  Neither scenario has any room for anyone to take offense.  The first scenario is playful and acceptably reckless.  The second is precision at its finest.  A multitude moving synchronously as one.

Maybe we can apply both to church.  Accepting our imperfections, we move forward.  The more we trust one another, we begin to crash into each other a little less and move toward synchronicity…in forgiveness.

Father, thank you for Your forgiveness. Help me embrace freedom in You. Help me delight in it! Rejoice in it! Give me the confidence to forgive others as you have forgiven me.  Make me ready to trade my straw hat in for a crash helmet!

Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:33, 6:12-15, 9:2-6; 2 Corinthians 2:5-7

The Lord’s Prayer

Embed from Getty ImagesThis post is an adaptation of a meditation on The Lord’s Prayer from Dr. Kieran Beville, Pastor of Lee Valley Church, Ballincollig, County Cork, Ireland. 1

“Our Father…

  • We belong to God; we are given a special audience; 24/7 access

…in heaven…

  • His power is unlimited and His love unrestricted. There is no greater authority

…hallowed be Your name…

  • Expresses a desire to see God’s name revered more; promotes and defends His name

…Your kingdom come…

  • Extensive dimension: we want to see the kingdom of God become more widespread
  • Intensive dimension: work toward a more mature faith to increasingly acknowledge God as the Sovereign ruler in our lives

…Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…

  • Acknowledges that our wishes and desires are imperfect; His will is preferable to ours

 …give us this day our daily bread…

  • The Lord starts with our physical needs before going on to the spiritual; our daily needs depend on God

…forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…

  • When we forgive we bear a family likeness to God
  • The forgiveness that God gives is one where there is reconciliation and restoration of right relationship
  • Unforgiveness robs us of joy

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…

  • Request from God to shield us and protect us from temptation preventative prayer – avoid temptation rather than overcome it
  • Be diligent in prayer (Mark 14:38)
  • Bring our desires under the scrutiny of the Lord so that our motives and ambitions are purified in prayer

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen”

  • Be preoccupied with God in prayer! His name, His honor, His kingdom, His will, His glory!

Matthew 6:9-13 KJV

1 “The Lord’s Prayer: A Meditation,” Rediscovering The Lord’s Prayer, Kieran Beville 2012

 

 

Smooth Edges

Embed from Getty ImagesLove is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what. Love will never become obsolete.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 The Voice

One day during my devotional time I decided to let my Bible fall open and that is where I would read.  It fell open to the last page of the concordance.  The words “wrong” and “wronged” caught my eye.  It took me to scriptures in 1 Corinthians and Proverbs.  The gist of the scriptures I read was this:

  • Isn’t it better to be wronged than to have wronged someone else?
  • Love covers all wrongs

This gave me pause. I still had quite a few sticking points in my heart with some folks. They felt like rough ragged edges that my feelings would get caught on. It was a place of injury.  So I started to pray.  I started to ask for the characteristics of love.  I asked for patience, kindness. I asked to be able to rejoice in the truth, protect always, trust always, hope always and to always persevere.  I asked God to help me let go of all the junk associated with these ragged edges in my heart. I began to realize that I was not the only one injured.  I was able to lift others up in prayer too.

Father, show us where the frayed and ragged edges are in our hearts. Make them more smooth from experiencing and practicing Your love.

Proverbs 10:12, 13:9; 1 Corinthians 13

Sufficient Grace

Embed from Getty Images“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

I am so very thankful that God loves us so extravagantly.  Time in prayer, worship and meditation on His Word are treasures to me.  Sometimes I can sense Him touching my heart.  Sometimes it feels like a vibration.  Sometimes I know there is some healing going on because of a burning sensation.  Most recently I was experiencing some heart ache.  I sensed Him working there.  I turned my eyes to Him and gave my heart to Him for safe keeping.

He just wants me to give it all to Him.  I realize more and more that we are not equipped to carry around heavy emotional baggage.  That is not what He intended for us.  He always intended to bear the burden and never intended for us to be inflicted with pain.  That is such a comfort to me!  Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I know that it’s time to retreat to Him.  Simply release it all and find peace in His heart.

Father God, Your grace is sufficient for me.

Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:25-27, John 16:33

Crash Helmets

Embed from Getty Images“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13 NIV

Forgive: 1.To grant pardon for or remission of (an offense, debt, etc.); absolve. 2. To give up all claim on account of; remit (a debt, obligation, etc.). 3. To grant pardon to (a person). 4. To cease to feel resentment against. 5. To cancel an indebtedness or liability of.

Annie Dillard in her book “Teaching a Stone to Talk” said, “It is madness to wear ladies straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets.” The imagery makes me smile.

Have you ever ridden bumper cars at a carnival or fair? Everyone is driving around erratically bumping into one another.  It is an accepted expectation.  Everyone laughs as they crash into each other; slamming into each other – on purpose! And taking delight in it.

What if we entered into our Christian community fully expecting to crash into each other?  What if we were so aware of our own imperfections that we excitedly pushed the pedal to the metal playfully with one another? What if we take the blows like a crash dummy? I know that sounds farfetched.

Here is another analogy.  What about a huge school of fish?  They seem to move instinctively in the same direction, picking up cues from each other and their environment to change direction seamlessly.  They move in unison. How do they adjust direction and speed all at the same time?  It seems like it all happens in less than a millisecond and hundreds of fish all shift – seemingly without any communication!

These two analogies have one thing in common.  Neither scenario has any room for anyone to take offense.  The first scenario is playful and acceptably reckless.  The second is precision at its finest.  A multitude moving synchronously as one.

Maybe we can apply both to church.  Accepting our imperfections, we move forward.  The more we trust one another, we begin to crash into each other a little less and move toward synchronicity…in forgiveness.

Father, thank you for Your forgiveness. Help me embrace freedom in You. Help me delight in it! Rejoice in it! Give me the confidence to forgive others as you have forgiven me.  Make me ready to trade my straw hat in for a crash helmet!

Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:33, 6:12-15, 9:2-6; 2 Corinthians 2:5-7

A New Fashion Statement

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“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13

As I read these verses, I started to imagine putting each of these characteristics on as if they were articles of clothing.  A beautiful gown of compassion with a robe or jacket of kindness over it.  Gorgeous custom boots of humility.  Dazzling ear rings of gentleness and a necklace of patience.  Then my make-up would look flawless with a foundation of forgiveness.  I really had to sit with that for a while.  It sounded regal and beautiful in such a stately and timeless way.  It made me think of all the money I invest in clothes, shoes, the latest face creams and moisturizers.  Closets of clothes are all over my house!  But God’s garments are timeless, ageless classics.  They never go out of style and their beauty never fades.

Lord, help me dress in these beautiful characteristics that reflect You.  Help me wear each of them daily and with joy.  Thank you for teaching me a new way to dress for success!

Isaiah 61:10, Ephesians 1:7-8, Romans 5:5, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 12:3, 7, 10