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Like a Little Child

 “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 
Luke 18:17 NIV

It is while wearing two of my hats, military wife and mom, that I speak to you today. As some of you have experienced, military life requires going where the Army says to go at any given time. Even if we are happy, content, and rooted where we live, we must go, and uprooting always causes my mind to spin with ‘why’ questions that have no answers. Therefore, when there are unknowns coming up, I like to line up plan A, B, C, D, and then D2, D3, and D4 because of my human need to be in control.  Reality though, will inevitably involve something I didn’t even think of (such as buying a house in Colorado just to find out that our orders were changed to Georgia). I think though, that this military lifestyle is a lesson in how to surrender to God. I must remember that God is bigger than the Army (and if He is sending me to Georgia then there must be important kingdom work for me to do there).

My kids on the other hand, don’t need to worry because they trust and depend on me. As I schedule movers, declutter, change dentists, and transfer school records, they have the freedom to play outside, run, pretend, and imagine without knowing all the answers because it is their job to be curious and enjoy life. My kids don’t need to plan and schedule because they know that I will take care of them.

I need to remember that for me, as a child of God, there are plans in motion that I can’t even see and a future that I can’t even imagine. God has me in his hands. I can trust and depend on Him and (this is the hardest part) surrender my ‘why’ questions, my worrying, and plans A, B, C, D, and even D2, D3, and D4 to Him because He is in control, not me. Hebrews 11:1 NIV says “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Similarly, 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV says “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” This means that God doesn’t even want me to try to handle it myself, for if I have faith, and admit that I can only succeed with God, then his glory is shown. Luke 18:17 NIV says “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” We are required to surrender our worries, and then enjoy the freedom of not knowing all the answers! (and then go play with our kids)

Your sister in Christ,

Erin Tabor

                                                                                  

Shifting Sands

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell – and great was its fall.” 
Matthew 7:24-27 NASB

As a visual learner, the above Scripture passage has been one of my favorites due to the clear image my mind creates when I read it. The destruction that storms bring can be devastating, but a structure built on a firm foundation has a much better chance of surviving.

Last year, while vacationing in the panhandle of Florida, the boardwalk pictured here caught my eye. It literally was out in the middle of the sand dunes with no beach in sight. Over time, and I’m sure many windy and wet storms, the entire topography had changed. The sands had shifted leaving the boardwalk tattered, abandoned, and useless.

As I thought of how out of place the boardwalk looked, the above Scripture passage came to my mind. Jesus is speaking these words to the crowds. They begin in chapter 5 of Matthew with the sermon on the mount and continue to the end of chapter 7. His teaching covers everything from personal relationships to false prophets and everything in between. His instructions are clear and simple – act on/do/follow/obey – my words, and you will stand. Disobey and you will fall; and great will be the fall.

To withstand the storms of time, one must have a sure foundation. That base is Jesus Christ. In my experience, it’s the consistent, less severe trials of life that chip away at our foundation leaving us vulnerable and unprotected. Like the boardwalk, one day we find ourselves ragged, vacant, and ineffective for the kingdom of God.

But praise God, all is not hopeless. There is forgiveness and cleansing with Jesus. He can bring transformation like no other. Return to Him and let Him rebuild and renew you for His glory. Make it a priority to spend time with Him, to learn His ways from the Bible, and to put them into practice. Those shifting sands will be replaced with a firm foundation that will cause you to stand!

[Digging deeper – Luke 6:47-49;1 Corinthians 15:1-2; James 1:22-25]

 

Standing firm because of Him,

Beverly <>< 

 

 

Photo Credit: photo by Beverly Lussi

 

Good Intention—Bad Idea

“They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart.”
2 Samuel 6:6. NIV

In 1885, Karl Benz gave our world the first gasoline powered automobile, and manufacturers have tweaked his confounded contraption ever since. More than three-quarters of a century later, Ford Motor Company tried to rally baby boomers with the slogan, “Ford has a better idea,” and replaced the “o” in Ford with a light bulb to symbolize inspiration and encourage sales.

Free enterprise has made our nation great, but a product that has “new and improved” stamped on its package doesn’t always mean it is. How often have you tried a new and improved version only to return to the tried and proven one? Some things are so timeless, recognizable, and ingenious that it doesn’t make sense to try and improve them. It’s hard to perfect the paper clip, a #2 pencil, Post-It-Notes, chap stick, or the fork and spoon—although some have made a stab at it with the spork. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

During the reign of Israel’s King Saul, the Ark of the Covenant (a gold-covered wooden chest made to house the Tablets of the Law and seat the Glory of God) rested in the home of his son Abinadab. When David became king, he vowed to return the Ark to the Holy city of Jerusalem. Instead of the Levites carrying it with poles on their shoulders as God had initially instructed Moses (Exodus 25:12-14), they attempted to transport the Ark by a Philistine method and placed it on a new cart. When the oxen stumbled, Uzzah, the son of Abinadab, took hold of the Ark to steady it. Instantly, God in his anger struck him dead with fire.

Whoa! God’s response to Uzzah’s good intention seems harsh, but no matter how innocent, his irreverent act violated God’s command not to touch the Ark. Thankfully, we live in the day of God’s grace, or any one of us could go the way of Uzzah. “What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means!” (Romans 6:15). We must continue to revere God and honor his Holy ways.

When was the last time you failed to heed God’s instructions? Became impatient with his timing? Tried to help him out? For me—it’s not been that long. 2 Samuel 6 with its “hands off” message quickly came to the forefront. Regardless of what I thought—I didn’t have a better idea.

I heeded God’s warning. Not because I feared an untimely demise, but because I knew meddling would hinder the work of the Spirit in my situation and result in the death of God’s best.

No matter how good our intentions, attempting to tweak perfection is always a bad idea.

-Starr Ayers