Blog, Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Perfection Averted. You’re Welcome.

Good morning, peeps!

This is really a weird way to kick off our “Masterpiece” study series, but I’m sure you’ve come to expect that from me because I’m weird.  I know this.  I fully embrace my weirdness.   I want you to see this PrintScreen I did a few moments ago:

masterpiece1

Note the time on that.  That is 4:31 A-TO-THE-M.  4:31 ante meridiem, which means “a time before anyone with good sense would get up”.  Don’t quote me on that.

When I logged-on my computer, that scene absolutely blew me away…that is, after I looked at the time which is in a larger font than everything else.  If you stare at the 4:31 long enough, it will start to pulsate.  Look at the scene, though.  Isn’t it beautiful?  I thought, “God, what an awesome way to start off my morning!  Look at all that You created!  So perfect!  A masterpiece!  Ha!  And here I am about to talk about masterpieces!  Thanks for the sign!!”  Can you really blame me for my excitement?  Look at the beautiful colors of the sky and how everything seems to just flow together – perfection.  After I looked at that for a minute, I started typing away – good stuff – and I cannot wait for you to read all that I typed… tomorrow.

Tomorrow.

Halfway through what was supposed to be the first installment in this series, God said, “Look at the picture BEFORE you cropped it and tell Me what you see.”  Okaaaay…

masterpiece2

In the background, you will see a portion of my home screen which is a picture of my favorite t-shirts.  I used this image for a blog titled “The Perfection Among Us”.

Ha, ha, ha, God.  You ain’t funny. 

This will be the intro into this series.  It’s a continuation of that blog, but we will only focus on Peter this time because he is the inspiration of “Masterpiece”.  I’ve copied the blog entry below.  Happy reading!

*******

The Perfection Among Us

Look not on his countenance…for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7 KJV

Jamie looketh on my outward appearance that night and saw a real-life, in-living-color saint.  Bless her heart.

During the summer months, a few churches in my town take breaks from some of their weekday activities so that families have more flexibility with their schedules.  This may include mid-week bible study.  That was certainly the reason why I had a few new faces in class the night I gave my intro to “Faith & Messy Humans”.  I was like, “Who are these people??”

By the way, this is the intro to our series.  My bad.

Among the new faces was a pretty and bubbly woman named Jamie.  She sat in the second row and she gave me her undivided attention.  As I went through examples of how you can’t always run with your first impression, I noticed her eyes land on my shirt occasionally and I knew that the impression I was trying to give that night worked.  Got ‘em!

Note the pink shirt.  That’s what I had on.  (We’ll talk about the “pure” shirt in the next class.  It. Is. Hilarious.)

20170620_060043

At the end of my intro, I stressed the importance of not judging your walk by what you see others doing.  You don’t know their life.  I told them to check out my shirt, like they hadn’t been staring at it for the last 45 minutes.  What impression does it give?  It makes me seem all socially-conscious, charitable and such, doesn’t it?   I am, but the shirt really is doing the most.  Plus, it’s bright pink.  “My shirt is fighting world poverty.  What’s your shirt doing?”  Yeah!  In yo face!  What yo raggedy shirt doin’, son??  Jamie thought she was being taught by someone super special. No wonder God was using ME to teach bible study: I was wonderfully amazing!  I am not just fighting poverty, but I’m doin’ it worldwide, baby!!   And she sat there judging herself because she wore a Cubs shirt that night.  Seemed a little half-steppin’ next to mine.

Girl, bye.  I bought that shirt during the 67-cent sale at the Salvation Army.  The cost of my shirt barely covered tax for a 4-piece chicken nugget meal.   It would’ve gotten its butt beat down in a fight against world poverty.  Please.

Whatever my shirt originally contributed to the fight is long gone, sis.

One of the things we humans tend to forget is that we are walking among other humans.  And dogs.  Yes, we are.  Humans who are just as jacked up as us.  And I mean “jacked up” in the nicest way possible.  Flawed folks.  Issue-laden people just trying not to drown in their own messiness.  And I’m not talking about the unchurched right now.  I’m talking about followers of Christ – us.  Believers.  Those who are at the church house every Sunday and Wednesday.  Those who wake up at the crack of dawn (and tell you that they do) to spend “precious moments with Jesus”.  The ones whose well-worn bibles have pages that are tattered from years of fervent study.  And speaking of fervent…man!  Their prayer game is on point!  Those who have every “I’m a Christian” t-shirt ever screenprinted.

Those people…them right there?  They are flawed.  Mess-eee.  Oh, for the day when perfection kicks in!  (I just said that like it’s puberty or something. Ha!)

I’ve got some news for ya:  the men and women of Hebrews 11 were flawed, too.  And we’ll find out more about that as we dig into their lives a bit over these next few weeks.  Check it: Abraham, known as the “Father of Faith”, was a liar.  David, best known for killing Goliath (and his fineness), was also an adulterer and accessory to murder.  Peter…hmmm.  Peter, Peter, Peter.   Peter was one of Jesus’ boys.  He walked with Him daily and took part in many of the miracles that Jesus did.  I’m pretty sure he wasn’t trying to set Jesus up for another miracle when he cut dude’s ear off.  Oh yeah: there’s that denial thing too.  Also, he quite the temper. Ear? Slice and dice?  Did you see that?  And you thought Jesus kept Peter close because he was so holy and spiritual.  My guess is that He had to keep Peter with Him at all times because He knew how much trouble he could get into if He didn’t.  MESSY!!

Let me say this before we start: this is not a bash-fest.  My goal is not to dig up dirt just to say, “See.  I told you they weren’t about nuthin’.”  (double negs…gotta love ’em)  I want you to get that God does great things through not-so-great people.   Really, that’s all He has to work with!  I mean, He did say He’d use a rock if He had to, but I know none of us want that.

God does miraculous things through messy people.  Like, you and me.   The purpose of this study is to encourage you and to let you know that who you are and what you’ve done doesn’t take a lick of power away from Him.  Your mess doesn’t render Him ineffective.  He doesn’t look at you and say, “Great.  This is what I have to work with?  Ugh.”  Nope.  Your mess is what makes the miracle a miracle.

Y’all ready?  Let’s dig in.

 

Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

Peace In.

Good morning, peeps!

Oh, I’ve missed you! Would you like to hear what I’ve been doing during my hiatus…or would you rather see the results of it? Most mamas answer their own questions and I am no different: you’d rather just see the results. I heard Dr. Tony Evans say something a long time ago and it has stuck with me ever since:

“No one goes to a football game to watch the team huddle for 3 hours. You go to see what the huddle produces.”

Ev’ry day I’m huddlin’, huddlin’. Ev’ry day I’m huddlin’, hud—….no? Okay.

Yesterday started off rather rough for me. You know, it was one of those days when you say, “Okay, Imma go back to bed and start this again.” Anxiety, dread, and all kinds of crazy stuff hit me upside the head before I even stood up. So, I came for it. You want some, fool? Okay. I began to say who God is: Father, Alpha and Omega, Almighty, I AM… I went in, y’all. And then I pulled out the heavy artillery: I started reciting the fruits of the Spirit. Not in a quiet way, either. I declared them because I knew the only way to combat what was obviously not of God was to hit ’em with the things that ARE God. You do know that fruit is indicative of the tree, right? So God IS peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

Whatchu got to say now??

This morning is a brand-new day, peeps. I woke up with the idea that I would wear my freedom t-shirt to work. Y’all know I love printed tees and I just got the okay from my boss to rock them at work. YESSS!  I love this shirt. It says “freedom”. And it’s soft. And it’s grey. And I’m wearing it with dark jeans with my pale yellow cropped blazer. I’m about to be too cute!! Free AND cute! As I was ironing the shirt and looking at the word on it, God reminded me of what comes with freedom. There’s power – duh – but something else: PEACE. Say what?? So, I sat down with my bible and looked in the concordance for a scripture that had the word “peace” in it. Sure, I can recite plenty of ‘em but I wanted a scripture that I didn’t know off-hand.

What happened next blew my mind.

You all know how concordances are set up, right? The word you want – PEACE – will be atop a column and below it will be a list of the occurrences. Well, most of them. It’s usually just a snippet for the sake of context, with a “p” in bold. “P” for the word “peace”. As I scanned down the list, I heard in my spirit, “Read it out loud and say the word “peace”.” So I did.

Y’all…I felt something shift in the atmosphere. On everything.

I want you to do that right now. I am going to fake a concordance – I don’t have time to type the book and verse – and I want you to say each of these out loud with authority and BELIEVE EVERY SINGLE THING YOU SAY. Here goes:

And give you p

My covenant of p

Proclaim p unto it

Lay me down in p

End of that man is p

And a time of p

P been as a river

The way of p

Saying P, p

Shalt die in p

They shall seek p

To send p

P with one another

The way of p

On earth p

P be to this house

P I leave with you

Ye might have p

P from God

The way of p

We have p with God

The gospel of p

Live in p

For he is our p

Preached p to you

The p of God

The p of God rule

P among yourselves

The Lord of p

King of p

Follow p with all men

Depart in p

Let him seek p

P be multiplied

Question: have you ever noticed that the gesture we make for peace with our fingers is the same gesture people make for victory?

It’s good to be back. Have a great day, peeps.

–d

Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Just Wretched.

(This is the final installment of our “Fighting Dirty” devotional series.)

Good morning, peeps!

“I’m saved, but my face isn’t.”

When people say, “Well!  Why don’t you tell me how you really feel??”, my face has already said it.  *sigh*  I don’t have to say a word.  Nope.  It’s already been said.  Every time I see t-shirts with the phrase “I’m saved, but my face isn’t”, I think about filing a lawsuit because that saying has obviously been inspired by someone’s encounter with me and I want my money.  Surely that’s an infringement of some kind.  This face…lawd.  She needs her own “come to Jesus” moment.  Just backslidden.

I think she’d be okay if she didn’t hang around my right eyebrow all of the time.

Sometimes I can rein her in, but then there are times I just give up and put her in timeout: I’ll have a blank expression on my face. This is not a good look and I’m not very good at it either.  I can pull it off sometimes, though.  Let’s take yesterday, for example.  I was in a meeting with my boss and and someone went completely off-subject.  As we were walking out, my boss said, “Deone, I wish you had a ticker on your forehead so I could know what you were thinking because your posture did not match the blank look on your face.”  I said, “Well, in that case, you already know”, but my thought was, “Man!  Now, my body ain’t saved either!”

“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” – Romans 7:21-24

I am a wretched (wo)man.  I love the Lord, but I am wret-ched.  And I am so wore out from fighting my wretchedness that I don’t have the energy to fight anyone else.  This war with me, myself, and I has been going on for years and these sistas are not backing down.  We go toe-to-toe every day!  Every day it’s a fight to see who will be in control.  And you want me to fight a whole ‘nother enemy, God?  I can’t even win against myself!  I thought about this a few minutes ago, and what came to me was “verse 25”.  Romans 7:25 reads, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Y’all, I’ve been doing the copy/paste thing on Romans 7:21-24 for this entire series and I never thought to read the last verse.  My bad.  The mind.  Hmm.

In a war, a country is only as strong as its infrastructure.  Our mind is our infrastructure.  If it’s not strong, there’s no way we are going to win this war between our flesh and spirit – a war that will continue on until the day we die.  It’s not going anywhere.  Another law will always be at work in our members.  We just have to be stronger than it.  That’s where the mind comes in: we’ve got to build it up.  This devotional series is really not over.  Part 8 is the segue into a new series that will jump off on Monday called “What Doesn’t Kill You”, using James 1:12 for reference.  This verse is about temptation, but we’ll focus on where that starts: in the mind.  We’ll tackle the who, what, where, when, and how of temptation and learn how we can come out victorious.   We’ve got a war on our hands, peeps, and I look forward to fighting it with you.  Have a great day.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional, Long Read, Spiritual Walk

What’s Your 20?

Good morning, peeps!

By the way, “what’s your 20?” is radio-speak for “what’s your location?”.

Let me give you the backstory on Peter: I have none.  I know, as bible scholars, we like to delve into people’s past to figure out who they are and what makes them tick.  I’m not going to do this with Peter.  I’m not going to start off with some cleverly-worded intro into this man’s life.  Y’all know I could, but I’m not.  Nope.  I am going directly to the Word and starting right where Jesus meets Peter.  Jesus didn’t do a background check on Peter – He met Peter right where he was. He meets you right where you are: your “20”.  What was Peter’s “20”?  Have a looksee.  All of these passages are KJV.  We’ll begin with this and I’ll see you next week.

Matthew 4

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Mark 1

14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. 16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.

Luke 5

And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.

Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.  And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:

10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

This is where we are today.  Doin’ some reading.

 

 

Blog, Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

A Magnificent Pile Of Ruins.

Good morning, peeps!

I am a magnificent pile of ruins.

That sentence came to me yesterday as I thought about a conversation I had with a friend recently. I told them that it was on my heart to start doing bible studies in my home. God’s been blowing up my phone trying to talk to me about that for a minute. I kept hitting “decline”. Don’t judge me. We began discussing how I taught bible study at a church I used to go to and when I told them that I never used any published material but only what God impressed upon my heart, they asked “Well, how do you do that? How does He speak to you like that? I can barely hear Him. I can’t be quiet enough.”

I am a magnificent pile of ruins.

Our first bible study series of 2019 is called “Masterpiece”. I struggled with the title for this one a bit. I was thinking of “3 Strikes”, “The Comeback Kid”…and “Oops, I Did It Again.” Inspired by Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples, we’ll take a hard look at what seemed to be a life ruined. I don’t know how much more “you blew it” a person’s life can get: dude denied Jesus. Jesus. Talk about a life ruined. Or maybe not. (We all know his life wasn’t ruined, but just go with me on this one. Act like you don’t know the comeback part.)

We’ll dig in deep on this one. I know I say this for every study I do, but this one is going to challenge us a bit. I will interweave a bunch of stuff into this, probably pile a couple of items on top of each other at the same time, and we’re going to discover some things about the way we view ourselves, our purpose, and our Creator. Here’s just a snippet:
I love home improvement shows, especially the ones that involve fixer-uppers. I’m not talking about homes that just need a new coat of paint on a wall or maybe a new kitchen. No. I mean the ones that would look great with a wrecking ball in the living room. The ones you look at and say, “What’s the point? This is beyond repair. Let’s just clear everything out and start over.” Jeremiah 30:18 states, “…and a city shall be rebuilt upon her ruins.”
I am a magnificent pile of ruins.

Let’s dig in.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional

Fighting Words.

This is the final installment of our “An Awkward Stance – a study of Daniel” series.

Good morning, peeps!

If you ever want a fight to jump off, tell a mother that her labor pain was nothing compared to yours.

What’s that quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”? Naw. Comparison’s gonna be the thief of your teeth…especially when it comes to comparing your pain to mine. I remember telling someone that I actually slept through the 16.5782 hours of labor I had with my first child. Do you know what they said? DO YOU KNOW WHAT THEY HAD THE NERVE TO SAY???

“It must not have been that bad.”

What I didn’t tell them and now I wish I had, was that I’d been in extreme pain for 10 years. I had the most horrific 7-day-long cycles. I’d be in so much pain that I would writhe on the floor and there was nothing over-the-counter that would help. Pamprin and Midol were candy to me. My uterus was so scarred, I was told that I would never have children. All that thang was good for was shedding. That’s it. You’ve heard of Hot Pockets? I had a Pain Pocket. So, I’d had 10 years of building up my tolerance for pain before the task of bringing Alex into this world began. My contractions felt like someone was poking me in the side…with their finger.
Daniel 3:12-22 KJV:
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

After I typed the last blog, I wondered if Shad, Mesh, and Abed felt any of the heat from the furnace they were tossed into and if it hurt at all. Fire is hot, folks. There’s no such thing as fire that isn’t hot. I looked it up. A “cool flame” is about 400 degrees Celsius (752 F). Um, that’s hot. There are a lot of people who believe that the furnace wasn’t very hot and we’re making too big of a deal about what SMA experienced. Some have suggested that the boys must’ve found a cool spot in the furnace to stand in. What?? Who would’ve had time to find a cool spot?? Plus, if there were some cool spots, you first had to get through the burn-em-up spots. Shall we talk about the entrance? If the heat at the entry of the furnace was hot enough to snatch up the guards who put them in…c’mon, son.

I know what you’re going to say – they had God with them. Yes, they did. A lot of us do, but guess what? Stuff still hurts. The song “Even If” by MercyMe was on repeat in my head this morning as I thought about how much I wanted today to be Saturday. Not the entire song, but just a few phrases…

“…even if You don’t, my hope’s in You alone…it is well with my soul”

Fighting words: it is well.

We all have our own fiery furnace(s). I will not waste my time trying to compare them. Mine will not look like yours and I don’t need to add “and it doesn’t mean it isn’t just as hot”. Truthfully, if I am your sister-in-Christ, I hope it isn’t. My furnaces have sucked big time and I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have went through. Nope. If you come to me with what you’re going through, I’m going to listen and scrunch up my face like “Deg! That’s messed up!” and let you get it all out. I will never say, “Yeah, but that ain’t nothing compared to what happened to me.” That is something I will never do.

What I will do is encourage your “even if”…because I know the power of “it is well”.

In Hebrews 12:1, it says “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses…” This is how important that passage is to me: I actually typed it. I usually copy/paste from Google, but this time, I have my bible right next to me and typed it. Whenever you see “wherefore” or “therefore”, it means “for this reason” and that reason is found in the verses prior to that statement. PLEASE read every stankin’ bit of Hebrews 11 this morning. Please. I will copy/paste (’cause I need to leave for work”) verses 33-40:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Wherefore…

I am a part of that cloud of witnesses for you. I can encourage your “even if” with my “it is well”. I’ve faced my own fiery furnaces and had to make the choice to say “even if” and believe that I would come out on the other side looking nothing like what I went through. Because I knew “it is well”.

Because it is well. Believe that through all of your “even ifs”. That, my friends, is the choice we have to make. The choice to believe that God is with us, in us, and working through us. The choice to believe that we are who He says we are and can accomplish what He has created and called us to do. The choice to be believe that even when we feel the heat of the furnace on our faces and can see the flames flickering, we will still approach it with confidence, fully willing to say “even if” because we know that so many before us have said it too.

Because they believed that “even if He didn’t”, it is well.

Love you all.

–d.

Blog, Daily Devotional, Spiritual Walk

Taster’s Choice.

Good morning, peeps!

This will be a 2-part final installment in our “An Awkward Stance” series on Daniel.  This is not what I planned to write about this morning, but you all should know by now that God likes to rearrange my plans all of the time. 

In the last intallment, I said that the next thing we’d talk about would NOT be the fiery furnace.  That is what I said.  Guess what was put on my heart to talk about as soon as I typed “Good morning, peeps!”?  The fiery furnace.

“Here’s the deal about ‘iron sharpens iron’: you don’t get to pick the iron.” – me

20181128_060009

I sure could’ve used this on November 1st.

I muttered those words a few weeks ago before the start of a meeting I had with a leader – I’ll call him ‘Bob’ – who was being very unpleasant right from the jump.  I thought, “Naw, bruh.  It’s too early in the morning for this mess”.  So I stepped out into the hallway to whisper a prayer, hoping that God would help this man out real quick-like and give him a miraculous attitude adjustment.  He didn’t, but I went on with the meeting as if Bob was the most pleasant person I’d ever met.  When the meeting was over, you KNOW I had a conversation with my Father.

“Um…what was up with that?  Didn’t You hear me when I prayed ‘Come, Holy Spirit’?  I said it twice!”

“Yep.  And I did come…to help you.”

God is hilarious.

Yesterday, I thought about my encounter with Bob and started laughing.  God really is funny.  Two things came to me:

  1. the thing about ‘iron sharpens iron’ is that you do not get to pick the iron, and
  2. it’s hard to be the change you want to see if you don’t change.

More often than not, the situations/encounters we are presented with are there to change us first.  I know we are supposed to be the “light of the world”, but if we don’t approach that “world” with the right heart, someone’s getting burned to a crisp.  Bob, are you reading this?? 

(Note: before I hit ‘publish’, I looked at “approach that world” and realized that some of us are cool on the approach-the-world tip, but don’t handle the interaction well.  Think of it like this: road rage doesn’t happen in driveways. We have to do better.  It’s not enough to have good intentions when you start out – you need to be able to carry it through.)

So let me be perfectly honest. When I prayed “Come, Holy Spirit”, I knew that my attitude was getting a little funky.  Okay, it downright stank…on a Pepe’ Le Pew tip.  I physcially felt the shift in me.  Not wanting to be funkdafied was the sole reason I decided to excuse myself from the conference room, but somewhere between the utterance of the “t” in “Spirit” and my entrance back into the conference room, I decided that it was Bob who needed to change – not me.  Hmph!  Does he not know who I am??

Burn, baby, burn.

One of the cool things about God is that He knows better than we do what is needed every single second of the day and that morning at approximately 6:49, I needed a little sharpening.  He used Bob.  Sure, I would’ve liked it to have come another way, but God didn’t really ask me.  I mean, it’s not like I had a list of preferred sharpening tools at the ready, but I could’ve thought of something.  Just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  I’m sure a fiery furnace was not on their list.  Can’t we just have another meal to turn away?  I’m sure the untimely death of children, siblings, parents and friends is not on your list.  Or illness and financial ruin.  I’m sure a lot of us would prefer not to go through pain and heartache or even little annoyances to be sharpened.  There has got to be a YouTube tutorial we can watch instead.

We may not get to pick the iron, but we do get to choose who’s holding it.*

–d.

*At the beginning of this series, I said that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego made a choice.  There it is.