In an English class in college, we were challenged to write a story using the “cut-up” technique (“dècoupe” in French). It’s a style of literature where you write a linear story, but then cut it up and let the reader rearrange it however he or she sees fit. Although the content is always the same, when the reader rearranges the order, it personalizes it to him or her.
What a wonderful parallel to the Bible! Although it was written over 2,000 years ago to the world, when we pull out a certain passage or phrase, meditate on it, and insert it into our lives, it’s astounding how it speaks to our individual circumstances. It’s as if God penned a person letter of guidance, support, and love just to us.
Yet, far too often, we leave those letters unopened and unread, and it breaks His heart.
I was pushed hard, so that I was falling, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:13-14
When Mason started high school a year-and-a-half-ago, it made me realize how much he’s grown up. Yet, my heavy involvement in his academic life was keeping him young. Sure, being involved gave me purpose, but it wasn’t doing him any favors. It was time to push him out of the nest. Should he fall, I was still there to be his soft place to land.
So, push him out I did. It took everything I had to resist pulling him back into the nest as his grades plummeted. Despite his video-game privileges plummeting right along with them, he just couldn’t find his wings. It’s been a LONG and painful year-and-a-half.
“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:17
When I worked at a retirement community before kids, we had a “Decisive Dates” list. It was a month-by-month list of all the events we hosted, routine maintenance that needed to be done, and all the other tasks it takes to run a place that is home to over 100 seniors.
Once I became a home owner, I started my own version of that list. Like everyone knows, we have to keep up regular maintenance on our houses and personal lives too. That list worked great, until it didn’t.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
I can be stuck in my ways. I like to think of it as loyalty and commitment – staying true to what I like and what works for me. But too strong a stance in any direction can make us stubborn and inflexible.
For years now, my grocery store has been inconsistent in how it stocks its shelves. There can be a product and brand I’ve bought there for years, and suddenly, they don’t carry it anymore. It drives me nuts! Throw in the supply chain issues and I’m all out of sorts. Ultimately, I have to be grateful I have access to what I need even if it isn’t what I like.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. Romans 7:15
Jocelyn’s been bit by the cleaning bug lately, but it’s manifesting itself in very unique ways. When she should have been going to bed last night, I found her cleaning the outside of the washer and dryer, as well as the space between and around them. Yet, when I walked into her room, it looked like a bomb went off. Her clean and dirty laundry was everywhere, and every surface was cluttered with something.
This isn’t the first time there’s been a contradiction in her actions. It seems she hyper-focuses on something that’s beyond her realm of responsibility, and completely overlooks that which falls within her domain. I think there’s a whole host of reasons why: avoiding/rebelling against what she feels she’s forced to do, a need to still be perceived as doing the right thing, a sense of satisfaction when she goes above and beyond, etc.
I can’t help but see myself reflected in that mirror.
He was driving out a demon [that was] mute, and when the demon had gone out, the mute person spoke and the crowds were amazed. Luke 11:14
I believe that the emotions we view as negative can still be gifts from God if we keep them moderate. Fear keeps us alert to danger so we recognize and avoid it. Guilt is an excellent check and balance if we use it to question our behavior and keep us on the straight and narrow. Sadness helps us recognize the contrasts of life, making us mindful and appreciative of the times when we feel joy.
Therefore, when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. John 2:22
Hindsight makes for excellent 20/20 vision. There’s something about waiting for the haze of our emotions to lift to see things clearly.
In John 2, Jesus had just made a whip and was using it to drive out the sheep and cattle from the temple. His anger rose to such a degree, He even flipped the money changers’ tables and drove them out too.
You’ve got to imagine His emotion spread to the disciples. They’d never seen the gentle and compassionate Jesus lash out in anger before. I’m sure they felt His fury, and it caused fear and turmoil in them.
“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.” Job 22:23
Our mailbox is hanging on by a thread – literally! Somehow, over time, the holes in the granite post grew too large for the bolts that secure it. Our interim fix was to tie the box onto the post with a rope. That “interim” fix is how we’ve left if for over a year.
Consequently, the door to the mailbox is askew and doesn’t always stay closed. During a recent wind storm, I noticed it had blown open. I knew my credit card payment was in there, and I should have gone and re-secured the door, but I was just too darned lazy to do so.
“Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:27
School vacation week snuck up on us this year. I guess life has been too busy to even see that light at the end of the chaos tunnel. Once my husband and I realized it, we quickly booked a night away at a family resort up north.
We chose this resort because they have an outdoor heated pool, family activities, an arcade, and a restaurant on site. All you have to do is park your car and experience the fun they offer. Or so we thought…
Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. Matthew 8:26
Our home has an open floor-plan. It seemed like a great idea when our kids were little. I could be cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and still see and hear my kids while they played in the family room. Now that they’re teens and a tween, however, that open-floor plan can be a challenge.
It seems every time my husband and I finally sit down in the family room to watch a movie or show, my kids suddenly become busy and noisy in the kitchen. Without fail, every time there’s a pivotal moment when one of the characters is about to say something profound and story-altering, one of my kids turns on the ice machine, or drops a pot or a pan, completely drowning out our ability to hear, even when we turn the volume up to 100.
I’m starting to see the same thing happening in my spiritual life.