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DON’T FIGHT THE HAMMER

“This is how the lamp stand was made:  it was made of hammered gold—from its base to its blossoms.  The lamp stand was made exactly like the pattern the Lord had shown Moses.” Numbers 8:4 NIV

It’s not my imagination!  I feel the pounding blows of a hammer!  A big hammer.  Blows that leave bruises and shake my foundation.  Blows that hurt.  Blows that knock me out of my complacency and force me to focus on what really matters.  But at the same time, these blows are carefully aimed to create an object of beauty, a work of art.  They are not cruelly delivered without purpose.  Every blow is measured against the template of His loving plan for my life.

I want to be that golden lamp that reflects His light. I want to be better than I am, more beautiful than I think possible.  I want to be such a reflection of Jesus that people notice.  If it takes more hammering, I’m willing.  I’ll endure the process that makes me more like Him.  I’ll not fight the hammer that transforms my life into the pattern the Lord has chosen, that breathtaking work of art that speaks to my world.

How about you?  Are you fighting the hammer?

Dear Lord, please give us wisdom to see what you are doing in our lives and help us cooperate.  Amen

 

 

Home Improvements

Then I, Zechariah looked up and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand.  I asked, “Where are you going?”  He answered me, “To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.”  Zechariah 2:1-2 NIV

 At first glance, this passage holds negative connotations, like I need to “measure up.”  In my fallen, human condition I can easily list many areas that need improvement.

But at second look, I’m reminded how a carpenter measures a room, not to condemn it, but to implement an expansion project.  Carefully, that carpenter measures the rooms, locates the supporting walls, and considers where the foundation might be expanded.  The carpenter’s goal is to improve the structure, not to criticize it.  He finds the areas of weakness in order to make it better.  He breaks down walls to create a more open and beautiful space.

The measuring tape brings no condemnation, only opportunities.

Come Lord Jesus, we gladly welcome your measuring line, knowing you seek only our good. Amen 

 

Jesus Has Won the Victory

Believe this

Even in your

struggles

despite all your

defeats.

Then you will

experience

His Victory.

                                                 ~Basilea Schlink

 

 

 

 

God Tramples Our Enemies

Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless.  With God we will gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies.  Psalm 60:11-12 NIV

Here it is Friday—already. I planned to post this blog at the beginning of the week.  Somehow the days slipped away. I let other things take higher priority. I’m not alone. It’s a universal problem with humans.  Maybe Friday reminds you of things undone on your to-do list, too.

When I read the above verse, I recognize familiar foes:  laziness, procrastination, fear, perfectionism, busyness, disorganization, and self-doubt.  These enemies make me feel like giving up instead of doing those things that are important in my walk with God.

You face these or other enemies, too.  God promises to help.  Let’s ask him together.

Dear Lord, Trample our enemies and bring us to the place where we can overcome every setback.

 

 

 

Lessons from a Labyrinth

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While on a writing retreat at Annunciation Monastery in Bismarck, North Dakota, I had the opportunity to walk a prayer labyrinth.  I’d heard of them only in magazines and learned that a labyrinth is not a maze where one must decide between two directions, but rather a single winding path in the shape of a huge circle.  The labyrinth at the monastery was made out of field stone and lay in the midst of beautiful green prairie. The goal is to pray while walking to the center of the circle.

A labyrinth is an ancient pattern that is to remind us of our spiritual journeys.  When I first walked up to it, I had a surge of confidence.  It looked easy.  I wasn’t too far into the journey when it took a sudden turn and took me in the opposite direction of where I wanted to go.  I later found out the entire labyrinth is a mile long though it looks much smaller.  I followed the winding trails, tried to quiet my impatience by focusing on the journey rather than the destination.  I found a robin’s egg shell and enjoyed the lovely song of the meadowlark.  The evening sky showed blue against the green grass of a wet prairie.  Puffy white clouds drifted across the heavens.  And then I was at the center, the place of my destination.

So much like life.  Always harder and longer than you expect.  Many twists and turns that can either discourage us to the point of giving up or else teach us to enjoy the journey rather than focus too much on the end result.  It reminded me of  Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress, my own spiritual marathon, and Jesus who leads  every step of the way.  Though we may think we will never reach our goal we may be sure that eventually we will–as long as we follow the path one step at a time.  And it helps to do it prayerfully!