Letting Go Is Hard (Hebrews 12:1-2)

I sit among boxes piling a bit higher each day as I pack my life up once again. I say again, but in the grander scheme of things I haven’t moved that often in my 33 years of married life, and since the kids were born, I have only moved three times until now. We will be renting for a while until we can find a place to land, so I am purging things much more robustly than I have ever done with any other move. Sorting through 33 years (plus some things I had before marrying) has been utterly distracting, difficult to accomplish, and slow to finish. Homes need things, and things need a home, but I am finding I have held on to far too much over the years. Letting go is hard. Stuff.  Too much stuff. Merriam-Webster defines stuff as “materials, supplies, or equipment used in various activities: such as personal property.” By this definition, we own what we need to DO something. I have done much the last five years while I have not been in the classroom daily. Pottery was the first thing that

Under Construction (All of the Bible . . .)

Do you remember the logic  🧩 (or riddles or analogies or challenges—not sure what to call the kind of word puzzle I mean) of childhood past where one was required to look at a grouping of words and figure out based on their arrangement what they meant together? Something like this one below: CONSTRUCTION soul The correct way to solve it would be soul under construction . If you notice, construction is weighty, and the soul is small under the burden of change. Maybe it has seemed quiet to you lately from this quarter. It is true that I have not written in a while, but it has not been because my soul has been absent of either noise or the quiet contemplation of time spent in the Word. I have been wrestling with myself, not with New Year's resolutions but with what I know about God, with the disconnect I sometimes feel between living out truth versus what my flesh wants in all its ugliness. There is the other side of wrestling, however, when it goes on too long without acti

Living Water Flows (Ez. 47; Rev. 22)

The Living Water is not meant to be contained in the sanctuary.  I t is running water that should seep out, then increase its flow until it saturates everything around it. As I read Ezekiel 47 again, the picture God offers Ezekiel in the vision of water flowing from the temple beckons deeper thought about my worship and its effect on those around me.  As Ezekiel’s spirit-tour of the temple nears its completion, he is brought to the door of the temple and sees water issuing out from under its threshold. It is made clear to him that the water is not only spreading in every direction but that it is also rising. The measuring by the man with Ezekiel is eastward, the direction of the gate that was to remain shut and not be used for foot traffic because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered by it (Ez. 44:1-2, ESV). God’s glory radiated from the temple when Ezekiel was taken around to view it by entering the north gate to the front of the temple, and he rightly falls on his face before th

The Word of God (Jn. 8; Ez. 17:22-24)

A WORD that seeks a home is not lost, but where does it go? Does it roost in the top of a tree looking for another soul? Why, Lord, do WORDS fail to lodge in one soul and find rest in another? The Father spoke through men with prophets voicing Truth. Men killed the prophets, but THE WORD that had spilled out of them was not emptied of its Power.  THE WORD accomplished its purpose. God sent His Son to speak HIS WORD  to the children of those who killed the prophets, And they either could not hear or would not listen to the Truth He spoke to them. “I came from God,” He said to them. “He sent me—the Great I AM—and I speak His Truth. Why won’t you listen? Why can’t you understand?” They then killed THE VERY WORD made flesh, raised Him up on the top of a tree  they had crafted f rom the wood God Himself had created.  THE WORD OF GOD willingly resting on the top of their tree, And salvation came pouring down upon men with the life blood Jesus freely shed for them. The Lamb

The World Sends Envoys (Is. 28-40)

As I read through Isaiah again in my quiet time, the reality of friendship with the world being enmity with God hits me hard. The middle section of the book is full of evidence that God is for His people and is working behind the scenes to get them to realize He alone is God, to submit to His authority, to rely on His strength alone, but they continuously slip back into the now comfortable patterns they have known for so long. But first, let me back up just a bit. Chapters 28-30 hold much woe and many cautions about living like the world around us; even if they are directed at Ephraim and Jerusalem, we too can learn from them. God’s Word is faithful and true; hear these warnings: Viewing truth as stupidity: The “worldly” leaders of the time saw God’s words spoken through Isaiah as stupid and rejected God’s attempts to instruct them in the way they should walk, resulting in their coming destruction (Is. 28:9-13). Scoffing truth and delighting in delusion: Not only did they reject G

Hungry Little Eyes (Heb. 12:2; Luke 18:17)

We forget so quickly what it is like to be a small child, to have the faith a child has so naturally, to look up to the ones we love and want to imitate them, to be just like them.  Last week, my husband fed a friend's catfish one afternoon for him, and since my oldest son and his family were with us, we took them, too, and let them see the fish feeding. Right now, we are in the middle of an extreme heat wave (yes, even the Deep South in August has heat advisories), but the uninitiated might have a hard time appreciating how miserable that can quickly get. All that to say it was hot! But we went and fed the hungry fish as quickly as we could and still let the little ones take it in. As we walked onto the pier, we held tightly to the boys. The oldest grandson wanted to help feed the fish and do everything his daddy and his granddaddy were doing. He imitated them, watching closely, receiving instruction, and then with his own flair, throwing food to the eager catfish until it ran

Pondered Paths (Proverbs 4-5, 1 These. 4:3)

All Christians struggle at times to know the right thing to do in a particular circumstance whether it is job-related, relationship-related, or service-related. This year, knowing God’s will has been one of those topics that keeps popping up in and around my life.  As our women’s study group finished up 1 Thessalonians earlier in the spring, we encountered Paul teaching about knowing the will of God, and in chapter 4:3 he boils it starkly down to this statement: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification” (ESV). Lest I ever wonder what God would have me do, my first question should always be how the thing in question would affect my conformity to His will, which is for me to be like Him, to accept the work He is doing in and around my life. My job is to simply obey Him, showing my love for Him and letting His grace wash me clean, not to walk in the way of the world or my own will; so I am to ask, “How will doing this sanctify me?” The problem often is when "simple obedien