“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones.” (Ephesians 5:28-29)
A few years ago my sister-in-law and I put on a skit at a ladies retreat. I was the “face” and she was my arms. She was hidden under a sheet and could only feel her way around the table. I could see everything that was going on, but the only control I had was to use my voice to “steer” her in the right direction. We had a “spa day” which included a coffee mask, some exfoliation and lots of laughs. I ended up eating a lot of my mask due to the difficulty of using arms without being able to actually see what they are doing. It made for a very entertaining evening.
As I read this scripture, I was reminded of this skit. The verse refers to marriage, but also mentions that we are His body. We (the church) are His hands and feet. It often strikes me as so crazy that the God who created the universe chose to use us. He uses me as His hands and feet. But, oh, how often I feel like the hands in that skit! Fumbling around and trying to make something work without being able to see the whole picture. I am reminded that although He does use me, so much more importantly I NEED HIM. If I am without His direction and guidance I end up “eating my mask.”
My relationship with Jesus is just like the marriage it was being compared to. We must walk together, beautifully in sync. I must follow His leading. I need to be listening for even a whisper. If I truly want to impact my world, I need to be hands that are effective, which is only done when I am in perfect sync with Him.
Prayer: Lord, I desire to be used by you! Guide me into your perfect will. Lead me so that I can be effective hands in this world that so desperately needs your touch. Amen.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 KJV)
Years ago I got a frantic call from my little sister. She was making cookies and something went wrong. She explained that she had followed the recipe, but the dough was “soupy.” So I advised her to add more flour. She said she did and it didn’t change the consistency. I told her to add more, the same outcome… still soupy. I started asking more questions about the ingredients. We finally came to the conclusion that she had used powdered sugar rather than flour! No matter how much more powdered sugar she added the dough would not form.
When I think of the scripture “all things work together,” I am reminded of this story. When we truly seek God’s kingdom, He will be the master of our life’s ingredients. If we ask God for only the “sweet” things in life, we may never be what He intended us to be for His kingdom.
While I am not an expert baker by any means, I have followed a few recipes. Never have I encountered a recipe with only sweet things. What would 2 cups of sugar, 1 cup of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar make? Nothing edible. In life we sometimes forget this principle. We go through a trial or a bitter time in life and we plead for God to let it pass. All the while knowing that in the natural it takes the sweet and the bitter to create some masterpieces. Baking soda, although very unpleasant to eat, is a necessary ingredient in baking. Flour, although bland, is often a key ingredient. Even butter, which makes so many desserts decadent and flavorful cannot be eaten on its own. So, when baking we diligently mix these ingredients, knowing that all the ingredients will work together.
Prayer: Lord, the baking soda bitter moments in my life are not pleasant, but I will trust You. I will trust You have a plan and that all things will work out for good when I seek You. Give me patience and perseverance while I go through theses times. Remind me of Your plan, and if You throw a couple of chocolate chips in my day I wouldn’t mind. Amen.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” (1 Peter 5:8, KJV)
My four-year-old thinks I am quite talented. He was in awe when I knew he had been eating a cookie he hid under the chair. “How did you know Mom?”, he asks in utter amazement. My daily work is with children and it is almost comical when they get caught doing something because they lack the learned art of hiding. Sadly, as we grow, we do learn that art and as humans we are often tempted to hide things like children. We hide things we are ashamed of; we hide secrets that could get us in trouble; or hide aspects of ourselves that are unlike Christ.
As I thought about this tendency to hide things, it reminded me of the classic game of hide and seek. One person hides and another seeks. The Bible says Satan is a roaring lion “seeking” whom he may devour.
The problem with hiding is that we seclude ourselves. That seclusion is exactly what the enemy desires. When we are secluded with our shame and guilt, it puts us in a perfectly vulnerable place for attack. That place is the opposite of where God wants us. He wants us in the light. Forgiven. Filled with grace and covered with love. Instead, we hide and the enemy finds us. He does not whisper words of encouragement and redemption. He whispers words that are divisive, words that ultimately cause bitterness and more hurt.
Let the Lord give you the strength to quit hiding today. When you truly surrender and fall into His arms, He will speak words of forgiveness. Let Him shower you with grace and love. Let Him lead you into the light and begin to feel the forgiveness and love that only He can offer.