Oxymoron

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Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen. Psalm 41:13

As we were driving through town, I noticed a sign that had a funny oxymoron. I love an oxymoron because I feel like life is one BIG oxymoron – that and I always remember what they are unlike other types of grammar. I commented out loud and the kids quickly picked up on this new and strange word – oxymoron. I explained it was a two words that are put together but mean the opposite thing. That was still a little confusing so I took the example route: bittersweet, pretty ugly, freezer burn, alone together . . . Then they began coming up with their own. It was a fun game and as we continued I began to consider all the Biblical oxymoron’s that we encounter.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

The two biblical oxymoron’s that require the most work, faith and obedience for me are: resting in God and finding joy in your suffering. Rest is defined as “ceasing action, inactivity or sleep”. I don’t know about you, but it takes work for me to rest in God. It takes a very active trust, it takes effort on my part to go to Him in prayer, study His word and seek His peace. When I look back at that sentence I see a lot of verbs – go to, study and seek. Those actions bring me rest, but let’s never forget we find rest through a working relationship with God – not an stagnant one. When we feel like God has abandoned us, we can’t hear His whisper or feel isolated from His truth we are to blame – not Him. We must look to ourselves.

“Count yourself blessed every time someone cuts you down or throws you out, every time someone smears or blackens your name to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and that person is uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—skip like a lamb, if you like!—for even though they don’t like it, I do . . . and all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company; my preachers and witnesses have always been treated like this. Luke 6:22-23 (The Message)

Find joy in your suffering. OK, this is certainly an oxymoron, but I want to argue the case that the closer we grow to Christ and the more we practice “skipping like a lamb” during times of trial the more we take the oxymoron out of this one. And let’s face it, there is no way I can forgive those who talk about me behind my back, survive the grief of losing loved ones or endure any hardship with a smile without God. However, when I face the challenge with God and endure with grace and hope it makes heaven applaud and makes Christ shine through my life. I can’t think of better win-win situation!

Father, may we all take on the challenge of resting in You and finding joy in our suffering so that Your light shines in this dark world through us and the hope only you can give. Amen.

 

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Gillette Man

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Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created, Psalm 148:5

For the past several days, I have used my husbands deodorant. That may be TMI (too much information for some of you), but it’s not like I’m wearing his underwear. Anyway, I have smelled like a Gillette man. I like getting a whiff of my husband here and there, but this isn’t something I will continue to do – promise! It’s just until I make it to Target. This scent wasn’t meant for me. It’s for a man. Let’s face it, just because I am happily married and not looking for a date doesn’t mean I want to smell like a man. Stay with me. I really do have a point here. After all, this blog is about finding God in the ordinary.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
It occurred to me, that in life sometimes we substitute things that were never meant to be substituted for. We try to make a career, a spiritual gift or temperament our own because we admire it in someone else. We try to adopt those characteristics and then we get frustrated because it doesn’t work out, bring success, happiness or joy. We are trying to put the round peg in the square hole or in this case – wear a man’s deodorant. But, it won’t work. It isn’t us. It isn’t our gift, skill or temperament. I’m not saying that with God’s help we can’t all be loving, kind, peacemakers. What I am saying is that some of us are going to make great CEO’s and some of us aren’t. Some of us are going to run an organized family and others are going to run organized chaos. No one way is right or wrong, but we must learn to identify the gifts, talents and personality strengths that makes us special and unique in God’s eye and honor that within ourselves. Lean into it instead of fighting it. Embrace it rather than trying to avoid it.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

I’m convinced that if we were good at everything  – we would be bored.  We would get stagnant and stale. We would never need to cry out to and lean on  God to give us more patience with that whiny child. More insight into His word. More faith in His plan. More ___________________________ (you fill in the blank). Plus, we would all be fighting for the same job. That could get ugly. I’ve seen my kids fight over the zipline and the computer. Trust me, we don’t want to go there! Embrace who YOU are in Christ. I pray He gives us all a peace about our weaknesses and a humility about our strengths. May we come along side one another, love and encourage – not judge.

I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. Romans 1:11-12

Sojourner

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Last week, we were able to take our first family trip in several years. It was wonderful to experience a different country through the eyes of our children, who had never left the United States, until this trip. We were sojourners looking forward to a temporary stay in a very distinct and wonderful place, but very unlike our own. The food, smells, scenery, language and culture were all unique to this country and amazing to experience, but like we all say, “It’s nice to visit, but even better to come home.”

“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers. Psalm 39:12

Over the past several months, I have felt this same way about this life. Our culture, the media, politics, hate crimes and  . . . .  I could go on and on. I have been feeling very out of place in this world. In fact, the more I learn about Christ and grow in my relationship with Him the more I feel like a sojourner on this planet! Let me say here, that I am FAR – FAR away from being anywhere near where I could be in my relationship with Christ, but I feel more and more like my body resides here and my heart in a galaxy far far away.

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!My soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times. Psalm 119:18-20

God is showing me that following Him makes you feel this way and in my “uncomfortable” I am growing. Growing stronger in my faith, stronger in my love for the Lord and stronger in my trust of His plan for my life instead of my own. I pray that we all begin to welcome this “uncomfortable” feeling. We try so hard to fit in, but I’m beginning to realize it means more when we don’t!

“Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:5

Daughter of the King

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What woman doesn’t love a handbag?! (Even my 9 year old wants this one! – Thanks for modeling, Emma). What makes it even better are the scriptures and bright colors. I love surrounding myself with Bible verses as visual reminders of who I am and whose I am.

It was tough to choose a favorite, but I adore Isaiah 51:11 so this beautiful bag caught by eye right away for two reasons.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Isaiah 51:11

One, because I am the daughter of a Mighty King. Created by Him, for Him and try to live to glorify Him. Many people ask me how I write and stand up in front of others to share my testimony and encourage women. I say, “Jesus did the hard part. I don’t have to get up there and die on the cross. Being obedient is the least I can do.”

Second, is because of a very special group of girls that I meet with once a month called the King’s Princesses. They are high school girls that come together to read and study God’s Word to help them live their lives in a way that glorifies their Heavenly Father. I know that this group of young women is supposed to look up to me, learn from me and be blessed by our time together, but it feels like I am the one who admires them for their courage as young women living in such a modern day Babylon. Every time we meet, I am reminded that no matter our age – we are all daughters who are seeking unconditional love, mercy, direction and peace. I am the one blessed by our time together. I am the one who learns from young women of strong faith. No, they are far from perfect – just as you as I are, but they are striving to live as a daughter of the King. A princess. A child of God.

As young girls we dream of being princesses who will be carried off into the sunset living happily ever after with our charming prince. What if, like these King’s Princesses, we realized we already are princesses. Princesses who have been redeemed by the Ultimate Prince. The Prince of Peace. Imagine how our lives would change – our actions, beliefs, words and desires if we started living as true daughters of Our King!

*DaySpring provided this bag at no charge in return for my review. I hope you have a daughter of the King to give one too! Check out this and all their other (in)spired DEALS by visiting their website at http://www.incourage.m/category/deals.