I just so happened to marry a fix-it guy who thinks it’s fun to spend our weekends slowly renovating our home. The first time he suggested we “scrape off the ceiling popcorn”, I was incredibly confused. Is that allowed?
But, as I’ve found out, with time and being married to my opposite, I have grown in my capacities to such a level that I can actually decipher what odd-looking tool he’s asking for and I can hand-trowel a wall with the best of them.
We’ve rooted up old tile and laid new floors, textured and painted, constructed elaborate tree forts, knocked down walls and created new ones and I’ve grown to be incredibly familiar with our local hardware store. I no longer have panic attacks when he cuts a hole in a wall. He’s quite adept at patching it and I’ve seen it so many times, I’m fairly confident I could manage it myself. (Although, I’m happy to leave it to him and sit down with a good book…just saying.)
And in the meantime, God’s been working through these renovations to make some changes within me as well. We rip apart our home, slowly and with hard work and intentionality, in order to make it better reflect our tastes and preferences. We live here…working and resting…playing and crying…this is our central location.
So it’s become in my walk with God, that over the years, He’s smoothed plenty of rough edges and retextured the walls of my heart. He’s painted over and knocked down walls and installed lovely new windows so that as time moves onward I actually reflect more and more of Who He is. He’s so intentional and willing to put in the work because He’s chosen to live here…not just once a week for church. He’s not an occasional visitor that I have to start tidying up for. My heart is where He kicks up His feet and relaxes and tells me about His day and listens to me tell Him about mine. It’s home. And it wouldn’t be home without Him here.
Now, just as my house is under perpetual construction, so am I. Even now, I look up to see a long wall in our living room awaiting a final coat of paint. And I see our fireplace that my hubby dreams of ripping down and completely overhauling someday. We’re not done and, I suspect that we likely never will be. (I’ve finally figured out that this was a silent clause in my marriage contract…”I promise to stand by your side with hammer, paintbrush and trowel in hand, till death do us part.”)
And just the same way, I know God will continue His work in me, just as He hopes to work in you! Don’t worry about tidying up before you open the door to His knock. He’s got His toolkit and He’s up to the task.
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So I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking today and yesterday about a variety of topics all related to high school in some way or another…
Yesterday I was at Liberty’s football game, having fun with my friends, when out of the blue I get a text message from my little brother saying that one of his friends was killed in a hunting accident earlier that morning. I was stunned. The boy was in 8th grade. My brother, Will, had just talked to him the night before at the football game. My heart just goes out to the family and the friends of this kid. I’m not 20 years old and I have only lost one friend and that was this pst spring. It was so difficult, it still is, and I know that I have hope in Jesus Christ that I will see Rosa again in heaven. As I sit here I cannot imagine being in 8th grade and losing a friend or being a parent and losing my child at such a young age. It makes me truly realize, again, that we too often take life for granted. It is but an instant within an eternity. We have the choice to spend eternity with our Father, our Creator, the Lover of our very souls and yet we take life for granted and don’t spread the news of His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness when we are given the opportunity. Why? Please don’t think I am not including myself in this. I know I fall so short of God’s glory and need His forgiveness on a regular basis. It intimidates me when I think about sharing the Gospel, particularily in the US yet so often I have experienced God putting the words in my mouth when I have no idea what to say. For example, right now…this isn’t exactly where I was planning to go with this note but it’s where God took it. How awesome is it He that He directs our paths, our hearts, out desires, our words when we submit ourselves to His authority?! Oh how I love Him. I cannot do it without Him.
On a slightly different note, but still connected to the topic of high school, man, my heart just breaks for the generation behind my generation. Oh. How far from the path are they going to stray before God rudely awakens them?? When I hear about things going on at the high school (via my brother) I just am appalled and just heart-broken so often. I see pictures of kids, yes they are still kids, dancing trashy, dressing immodestly, etc I just want to run to them and say, “why? Why are you doing this?” And yet, as I sit here and think through it, I know that my generation did not set the most stellar example for them. And the generations before the failed to set a standard of Godliness. Guys, come on! Let’s make a difference in the lives of our peers, our elders, those who are younger and looking up to us, and those who are yet to be born now! We are called to live lives worthy of the calling of Christ! I think it is high time we do that and bring about an awakening among not only the US and Canada but the whole world! We must fulfill the Great Commission and set an example for the believers in speech, conduct, love, faith, and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12). 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” For those of you who are young and reading this, stick 1 Timothy 4:12 and 2 Timothy 2:22 in your minds and do not forget them. Live by them. Meditate on them. Ask God what He would have you do. 2 Timothy 2:22 has become a life verse for me. I want to live life with those who love God and are passionately pursuing Him. I do not want to grow complacent in my walk with the Lord. Jesus didn’t get complecent. He fought the good fight. He ran the race. Like Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, I discipline my body so that after I have run the race I myself will not be disqualified from the prize. Let’s be disciplined and fulfill what God has called us to.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that what kills me the most is that my little brother is in 8th grade and I’m not going to lie, he is a super talented, great kid who is just about the cutest boy I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I just want to fight his battles for him and tell all the punk little girls to get away! (yes, I know I am a slightly overprotective older sister but I love my little brother like none other. I’ve been through high school and hated it with my guts and here I have to sit and watch him go through it.) I’m sure many of you have younger siblings and can relate to this. So in conclusion, can we just commit to pray for this next generation? There is so much junk that goes on that is even worse than what we dealt with. We need to be interceeding on behalf of these kids! Man, pray that God would come into the schools, that there would be revivals, that the kids who know and love the Lord would be bold in their faith and not back down, that teachers would take a stand for what is right in the eyes of God and would call kids on the rug when they are out of line, and that we, as an older generation, would set a Godly example for these kids. We need to take kids under our wing and pour into their lives! Read Titus 2. It talks about the older men teaching the younger men and the older women teaching the younger women. Now, I know my generation is not “old” but we are older and more mature than the generations below us, so get to teaching/mentoring. Pray for and with them, talk with them, listen to them, and LOVE them!
Emily Bundy – Student
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
This doesn’t mean the temptations get easier but may get harder as we get stronger in Christ. As babies he shelters a bit more and as adults we should be able to handle more so those temptations may only get stronger. So what do we do about it? Sit and cry out for more protection? To me that would be like reverting to diapers every time I felt the need or urge to use the restroom instead of handling it as I can.
God equips us with an incredibly enabling Holy Spirit and a suit of armor second to none. Doesn’t that mean we should advance in His security rather than retreat because of our flesh?
We are no longer slaves to sin. Temptation has no hold on us. It can only reach out to attempt to pull us down, but as scripture says we should not and cannot give the devil that opportunity. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:24 ESV
This isn’t just about anger but a multitude of situations. Just a thought, is it possible that you could extend grace to yourself through talk, “good for building up, as fits the occasion?” I think so. So next time you are faced with a temptation that seems overwhelming extend yourself grace by building yourself up in Christ instead of submitting to your flesh.