The most valuable building materials are not hiding on the other side of the world. There is no need for trucks or airplanes to get them to you. No, the most valuable building materials can be found right next to you; in your place and time. For, what you may see as mere rubble; cracked and broken pieces that can’t possibly amount to anything, God sees as gold. He sees promise. He sees the perfect stockpile of building materials from which to build new life and new hope. Our job is simply to hand Him every single broken, splintered piece; every fragment, no matter how wrecked or small. Indeed, no matter what it was that created such disarray in your life, God—the glorious and almighty Creator of all—is waiting to help you put it all back together and to build something beautiful, something better; a life that reflects Him; a life of purpose that brings you joy and brings Him glory. As His child, this is your birthright and the legacy He intended for you since before Creation. Let the remodeling begin. Thank you, Jesus. Amen and Ehmen!
And the Word of God Says…
Ephesians 1: 4-5: “For He chose us in Him, before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will.”
John 6:12: “…he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.”
Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Writer’s Note: I have always hated stormy weather. I always found it frightening, and still do to some degree. However, about a year ago, as I sat outside on my patio and watched as a summer storm took over the skies over my home, God gave me these words and this “vision.” Makes me smile. 🙂
The darkness rises up from the horizon as if all the demons in hell are readying for battle. Rapidly they advance into the heavenly realms and the world beneath grows dim. The clouds loom darker as the sounds of battle begin. Thank God, the enemy has obviously met resistance. Thunder rolls as angels hurl lightning bolts at the aggressors and the sky lights up with instantaneous flashes of hope. The good guys are winning. They always do. And just as He has always promised, from the darkest of circumstances, the living waters of Heaven rain down on the earth. Thank you, God, for this day; for this storm; and for the beautiful things that will grow because of it. Amen and Ehmen. Have a beautiful day, y’all and embrace both the sunshine and the storms. Much love, Brenda.
Purposeful Pondering: Faith does not allow anyone to live above reality; it is instead a continuous fight. What distinguishes people of faith is not how rarely they hit the dirt, but how often they get up again. Just know that when the enemy flees to his corner, he is only preparing for the next round. Your job is to keep putting on the gloves. Do that and, no matter how bad those punches hurt, your rewards will surpass imagination. Have a blessed weekend and keep those gloves up! Amen and Ehmen!
Purposeful Pondering: Faith is not a requirement to gain God’s love. Faith is simply an avenue to completely FEEL God’s love; to experience it; to bask in it. Truth is, God loves you even when you feel unworthy. He loves you when you doubt Him. He loves you when you know you are traveling the wrong path and choose to travel it anyway. He simply always loves you and Faith is the wisdom to KNOW that! Have a blessed day. Amen and Ehmen!
I am finding more and more truth in the old saying, “time flies” these days. In fact, the older I get, the old tick-tock seems to sprout bigger and faster wings, hijacking the moments and carrying each and every one of them far, far away. If we’re lucky, the good ones land somewhere in the recesses of our memories to be retrieved and enjoyed many times in the future and the not-so-good just keep floating into the dark abyss of time never to be recalled again or, better yet, they wind up in God’s toolbox where He repurposes them and turns each into something useful.
Actually, the truth is, God promises to always use our stuff. He says so many times throughout the bible and most expressly so in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to his purpose.” Notice, He says ALL things; not just some things, but ALL things. All He really wants in return is our unwavering love, another fact that He reminds us of throughout His word, such as in Matthew 22:3, when Jesus himself spoke the greatest and foremost commandment of all: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
My prayer today is that all of us learn to love God just like that—with all our heart, soul and mind—for I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is that kind of love that leads to full trust, obedience and dependence on Him and full dependence leads to guaranteed fulfillment of the purpose for which our Father created us. And that, my dear friends, will ultimately lead to the words we all long to hear straight from the lips of our Awesome God: “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!” Oh, how incredible that will be! I know it’s almost July 4th here in the United States, but this year, I say let’s forget Independence Day and start celebrating Himdependence Day!
Amen and Ehmen!
Don’t you just love that sometimes the most awesome things in life are those that defy logic; those that don’t necessarily make sense; those things—like God and Heaven—that require Faith; things like the moon, the stars, the sunrises and sunsets which you don’t have to understand to enjoy; things which require you only to be? I hope that today, no matter what is going on, that you find time to just be and to thank God that you are. Amen and Ehmen!
Writer’s Note: I was one who had always spent her life living on the surface, surrounded by a host of family members and friends that I wouldn’t let go past my first couple of layers—my safety barrier, of sorts. And, while that’s sad, it isn’t near as heartbreaking realizing you’ve done the same thing with God. Sure, I had been saved. I was baptized at age 12 and then as an adult in college I had prayed the prayer of salvation. But, that’s where it stopped. I invited God in, but then I didn’t really doing anything else with Him. Instead of letting Him be my Father, I was treating Him more like an acquaintance, perhaps a distant relative; somebody I might seek out on special occasions or think about in passing. I just didn’t fully get it. I was still living for me. In recent years, however—and most especially within the past decade—I finally began getting what it means to have a relationship with God. A true relationship. Not just the bare minimum I need to get into Heaven. Not just a bunch of religion and rules, but instead a true and honest relationship with the God of our universe, my maker, my father, my friend. And, once I had a taste, I just couldn’t get enough. I just wanted to go deeper and deeper. It’s like being in love. I’m so full of joy and things that worried me before, all of a sudden hold no power over me. Sure, I still had problems. Still do. In fact, for the longest, my life didn’t change a bit externally. But, inside, I was completely changed. And I knew that, with faith, the external would eventually change as well. This is an entry from my personal God Journal’s and today, once again, I invite you into my personal journey as I truly began to walk with My Father; the beginning of a love story that just keeps getting better. I hope that today you are enjoying your own love story with Him. There is no better story that will ever be written. Amen and Ehmen!
God, the day I was baptized, I invited you into my heart, but, unfortunately, that’s about as far as it went. I was only 12 and was really following the lead of my friends and family that had gone before. Of course, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they led me to you. It’s just that I didn’t truly get what it meant to be saved and baptized in your name, and though I had found you, I didn’t know what to do next and certainly didn’t know how to follow you. I guess you could say you were just an acquaintance I had made.
Then, when I got to college, my roommate—the daughter of a preacher—shared with me at a time when my mind and heart were more in tune, more open to you. This time, I went to a park where you and I could be alone. I sat under a tree and I earnestly prayed the prayer of salvation. And, in an instant, I felt transformed. I could feel the change inside and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you had given me the gift of eternal life.
Yet, even with this wonderful gift knowingly in my grasp, I still didn’t truly get what it meant to have you living inside of me. The gift remained wrapped. To my credit, instead of treating you like a mere acquaintance this time, I began treating you more like a guest—someone that I would invite to hang out with me from time to time. For years, decades even, I continued—out of sheer ignorance—to live for myself; to be as independent as possible and take care of everything all by myself and to invite you back only in times of desperation.
And, though I forced you into living in the background, the very shadows of my heart, still you remained steadfast and stayed with me. Regardless of how I treated you and despite my ignorance and stubbornness, you continued to shape me and bless me. Still, you called me your child. Still, you protected me. Still, your love and grace remained unfailing, unending, unconditional and absolutely unparalleled.
I just absolutely didn’t realize it—until a few years ago.
Shortly after the heart-wrenching devastation of Sept. 11, 2001, I began to realize that not only had I been holding you back in my own life, I wasn’t properly introducing my child to you either. I was keeping the greatest blessing you had ever given me away from you and I became compelled to do something about it. We began visiting churches, but much to my dismay, they didn’t feel all that welcoming and they reminded me of my childhood church that just seemed so riddled with hypocrisy that once I was old enough to choose, I chose no. I didn’t yet understand that the church wasn’t a building or that simply attending wouldn’t make me a good Christian. I didn’t yet understand that not all people that go to church are faithful servants; that many of them are just playing church and were just as confused and lost as me; that it wasn’t necessarily hypocrisy they exhibited, but the same ignorance and stubbornness I had been carrying for years. I also didn’t really get that a pastor couldn’t just dip me in some water or wave a magic wand and make me a good Christian. His or her job was really just to be a teacher, a shepherd that could lead me in the right direction, but it was totally up to me to actually get into your word and begin developing a one-on-one relationship. I didn’t yet realize that it was people just like me that are to be the church—your church.
So my search for a church home continued. In looking for something a little different from my southern Baptist upbringing, I tried Episcopal, Lutheran, and even non-denominational, but none felt right. Then, one day, just driving into town, I saw a billboard. On that billboard was a toddler sitting in front of the biggest bowl of English peas that I had ever seen with the slogan of “Now that you don’t have to.” Man, it was like that billboard was designed just for me as growing up I had spent hours upon hours sitting in front of bowls of English peas just like that…just staring at them and hoping they would disappear. Well, actually, as I got older, I came up with some tricks like raking them back in the bowl when everyone left the room. I had tried putting them in the trash, but got busted. And, I’d tried slipping them to the dog who, unfortunately, didn’t like them either. I could indeed relate to the kid on this billboard.
Now, don’t be mistaken, even though it was then my choice, I still chose not to do those little round green peas. But, I was intrigued enough with this billboard to try the church it advertised. The church was Harvest United Methodist and from the moment I first stepped into the Ramada Inn where it was meeting, I knew I was home. It just felt right. The people were welcoming, the message was relevant and not threatening to a still new, unformed Christian. And, the congregation was diverse, something important to me. That was almost eight years ago. (In 2015, it will be 13 years)
Today, all of those things still hold true, but I’m no longer a new, unformed Christian. And, God, you are no longer a mere acquaintance or part-time guest in my life; you are now a permanent resident, the sole landlord of my heart.
Thank you for sticking by me and for giving Billie and I such a wonderful church home. Amen and Ehmen!