Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Puke it Out

It amazes me that we as people of God, of people of the Redeemed, still live like we do. We still wallow in our muck. Lying in our own waste, and puke. Never rising up and shaking off what Jesus came to set us free from. We all do this.

We all have baggage and the pat answer is 'it's because of sin in this world', but there is more.

Do we want to get set free? Do we ever want to let the Savior - The Great Warrior - set us free?

Or are we afraid to do that? Yes, it's scary. To let everything out and show it to the world. To puke it out and let the world see us with snot and tears and puke streaming down our faces. To see the blackness of our hearts.

We put this beautiful facade on for others to see....crowns of beauty, masks of 'I'm okay'. Costumes of what we want to show to the world.

We must take them off, the masks, the crowns, the costumes. They were put there by us, by the world. They are fake. They are conterfeit.

We must let Jesus take them off, if we are to be the warriors that the Bible says we are. We must, if we want to live our lives above the puke. We must be willing to let God do the surgery.

He came to set us free.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Root Canals

Goodness where does a month go? I just got a coffee drink and she asked where I'd been lately - and she finished with the obvious question. On vacation?

Oh, what I wanted to unload on her! No, not vaca. Far from it.

Dealing with a rental property that needs mucho work before it's ready to rent again. And with a dear mom-in-law, and going through all of her stuff with her after a mini-stroke. No vaca.

In many ways some of this is a victory. I am not going as far down as I have in the past when the last straw was the cat playing keep-away, and I'd go ballistic. I've only had one real meltdown and that was when the contractor that is helping us repair the house, pulled up the linoleum in the cupboard under the kitchen sink, and I saw the rot there. When a simple phone call telling me that the dishwasher was leaking would have meant a call to the Maytag guy. I walked away and cried. Each day, my sister and I would go to the Lord, asking for forgiveness for wanting to annihilate the renters, get set free again, and go back to the house and find another clue to this riddle. Another piece to this puzzle. Another repair that could have been avoided, if they had only learned to be transparent and call us. I'm not sure what the picture will be when we get it all put back together.

But I am sure about the good thing that God is doing in my heart. He is making sure that each little remaining piece of anger, hatred, unforgiveness, resentment, blame (thanks Pastor Mike!), etc. is pulled out. It's like a root canal. They have to make sure that each little piece of that tooth's root is cleaned out, because of the possible spread of infection. The dentist says that there is even a stink when they open the thing up.

I'm sure too that when I let God open the thing up in my heart, that there is a stench to God's nostrils. And I'm also sure that if I let Him, He will want to go in and clean every bit of the stinky mess out of my heart.

So use the renters, God. Bring it on. Bring on the whole stinky mess and open up my heart to heal, so I don't stink or offend You anymore.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gardening with sharp shears

It was spoken over me not too long ago about how Jesus is the True Vine and I am a branch. That as we are vitally united, He pours Himself into me to produce fruit in my life.

It was cool because I got such a physical sense of a filling with His Spirit and His love, pouring into me. But even better, how connected He wants to be with us. Bear with me as I write this out. I think it out as I write.

Anyone that looks at a tree or plant, will see the vine or trunk swelling with growth. And as a branch starts growth, it swells too, because of the sap flowing through the trunk, and into the branch. (I could get all scientific here, but I'm not going to, because I'm not scientific!)

I just 'saw' in my mind a picture of a movie-like shot of a tree all in one motion - growing from a sapling, up into a huge tree, complete with many branches. And into limbs and into the leaves on the ends of the limbs. Whoosh! Growth.

But okay this is nothing new. The vinedresser, the vine, the branches. Ho hum.

I was pulling weeds one day and noticed that many little weeds were growing out of an old cement and brick ledge. (Why can weeds grow anywhere in any conditions, but the plants that we spend money on die with the best of conditions!) Somehow a seed was dropped there and it took root.

There it is. The answer.

The roots. When I coldly pulled the little weed out, a huge long root followed it. No dirt. Just root.

So if a tree or plant puts out strong roots, it will grow, thrive, be able to withstand the storms and winds, and grow up huge and tall.

I love the verse, "For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spreads out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; but its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit." (Ampl.) Jer. 17:8.

The roots by the river. Who is the river? In John 7:37, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink!" Jesus is the River. So if I grow my roots deeply in Jesus, I will not fear when the heat comes and my leaves will be green and not wither. And I will continue to produce fruit in my life. I can even grow roots in the midst of cement and stone and brick in my life (have you ever been between a rock and a hard place?!)

But what about those gardening shears? You use those when you want to increase fruit production. You remove parts that are dead, or hindering true growth. He has removed businesses from my life. He has cut out people that are hindering me from growing. He has removed people that I was getting too tangled up with. You get the idea.

But there are branches not producing anything at all. A tree surgeon calls those dead. Duh. And they take the chain saw and down they come. The tree looks alot cleaner without them and usually within a few years, a new shoot will begin to grow in it's place. Ouch.

First of all it hurts to be severed from our Creator. But, does that mean that if we have come to Jesus, don't abide in Him, but choose our own way, we will be severed off from him? John 15:6 says "If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned."

Ouch, ouch.

Man, makes me want to hug my Vine.