Monthly Archives: April 2016

God is Green

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“Mom, why don’t we recycle anything?” My sweet boy asked me one day.

“Oh golly honey, I don’t need another job.” I said, as I threw away a plastic container.

“I’ll help.” He said, his blue eyes imploring me with the puppy-head-tilt.

“Oh, okay, Bubby. I’ll work on it.” I said, reaching into the trash to rescue the slimy jug.

I jumped off the recycling wagon many years ago. But when my ten year old son turned “green” on me, I decided it was time to start washing out my trash again. In the process, I unexpectedly redefined myself as an artist.

In a home bursting with children, my art world had shriveled to a few shelves in my laundry room. Diapers and home schooling curriculum took precedence over expensive art supplies. Occasionally, I would ferret a few minutes to a create something on top of my dryer. But, frustration often hindered me.

I prayed about it and realized I was not being content. My focus was on lack, instead of gratitude. I decided to be more inventive. The Lord mercifully yanked the blinders off, reminding me of the cliche’— Necessity is the mother of invention.

I began to visualize the artistic potential of vibrant candy foils, broken dishes (we have a lot of those), old jewelry and a myriad of other things I’d overlooked. Rinsed out salsa jars became up-cycled mosaic vases. I painted over tired artwork from thrift stores. I collected junk mail and free magazines for collages and altered books. I home schooled myself in the art of mixed media via YouTube and the library.

I soon recognized that God is “green” too. He doesn’t throw us away just because we’re a mess, or old, or broken. If we’ll let Him, He’ll clean us up and re-purpose us. He uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). He reinvents our lives, transforming us into works of splendor and meaning. Beauty for ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) That is the heart of our awesome God.

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Practice, Practice, Practice.

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Philippians 4:9 (NASB)
“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me [Paul], practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.”

My children and I recently attended a birthday party at a skating rink. I am forty seven, y’all. It had been a while. But we laced our skates and up we stood. My older children whizzed passed me, full of boldness. But my youngest clung to me like a barnacle. Sacrificing control of my body, glued to a child with zero experience, terrified me. I reminded myself I had done this before, a hundred years ago. With sixteen wheels beneath us, we clutched tables and benches and inched toward that wooden floor. Time for practice.

Our skating scenario depicts, in the natural, what happens in the spiritual realm, as we believers journey through life. We all begin the same, but our paces differ. Our practicing varies. Sometimes, we need help to stand up or to keep going. We cling to things or people so we won’t fall. When we do fall, we need a lift. Nobody has this Christianity thing down perfectly, except Jesus.

So when Paul says to practice what he taught, practice listening to the word, watching his example and practice receiving, I am encouraged. I can practice.

I’m no master skater. People whizzed passed us. The novelty wore off quickly. Joe’s whining amplified and my attitude spiraled. But I had to keep moving forward, pick him up, and maintain my balance.

As the hours rolled by, something happened. My legs remembered. Joe loosened his grip then let go. He began his lone journey beside me. I found my old groove. We were both still practicing, but our confidence emerged. By the time they called for “last skate”, we had conquered fear. We had overcome. We had peace. And we couldn’t wait to go back and practice some more.

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, and do our best, we grow. Practice doesn’t make us perfect. But who cares? He is. And so is His peace He gives us.

Our Part

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“But the unbeliever does not welcome what comes from God’s Spirit, because it is foolishness to him; he is not able to understand it since it is evaluated spiritually.”                                                                                                      1 Cor.2  Holman Christian Standard Bible

“Ewww… stop!” My children groan when our book trespasses the borders of romance. A chorus of fake barfing sounds drown me out.

“It’s God’s plan.”

They don’t care. Cooties still reign.

It’s the same thing when unbelievers squirm at the mention of Jesus. They’re still spiritually immature. They just don’t get it. He grosses them out.

I used to strategically inject Jesus into conversations with lost family members just in case they might listen. They’d reject Him, but I’d have to overcome offence. Eventually, God showed me I was in His lane.

It comforts me that some members of Jesus’ family didn’t listen to Him either (Matt 13:57).

It’s God’s job to soften hearts. He prepares them to receive the seed of His word. Our job as believers is to listen and obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Some hearts are already soft and we get to sow. Others, we water or weed. Occasionally, we get the thrill of ushering a soul into the Kingdom.

The few times I have led someone to Christ, they needed no convincing. They were so ripe I could’ve made banana bread out of them.

Many people invested in my heart before I recognized God’s voice. None of them were present when I accepted Christ. But really, they all were.
God will do His part. Let’s do ours.

Questions to ponder: Has God placed someone’s heart on yours? Does He want you to sow, water, weed or usher in?

Prayer: Help us decipher our part, Lord. Then help us to do it. We trust You with the rest.