…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Earlier this summer my good friends from Kansas came for a visit and they brought a beautiful plaque for my mantle with this verse from Joshua on it. I love this verse! Last night as I was peeling through the living room like my hair was on fire, the plaque caught my eye and stopped me in my tracks. Ya see, I was zooming around trying to get supper ready, paperwork for meet the coaches night finished, laundry off the line, the kitchen floor swept and a dozen other odds and ends tied up before we had to leave the house. In all my rushing and cramming…I don’t think I was doing so hot in the “servin the Lord” department. Truth be told, I was muttering under my breath and spittin and sputterin about the amount of dirty socks my family could produce, the proper identification of the petrified food on the inside of the microwave and about how much less sweeping I would have to do if we could just blacktop the lawn! It was probably not a scene endoursed by the Heavenly Father!
In this passage from Joshua, he made a strong declaration about who his people would serve. That statement should be the same one we are willing to make today, but let me tell ya…there’s more to it than plopping a plaque on your mantle. Being a house that serves the Lord is easy when things are calm, everyone is cooperating and things are going according to schedule. Ok, stop laughing…that COULD happen! God tests us with challenges and trials every day, He wants to see how much we’ll talk to Him, trust Him and ask for His guidance. I think we could all agree that the tests and challenges we face are far easier to deal with than wandering in the desert, facing a seven year famine or being plagued by frogs and gnats. If some of God’s early children could survive those hardships and make a declaration about who they would serve, surely my house can do a little better job serving as we fumble through car pools, barn chores, ball games and a small mountain of laundry!
When I crawled into bed last night feeling like a big ‘ole heap of wilted lettuce, I thought about my house and what our “serving the Lord” looked like. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t just about what happened inside our house, but it also included what we took with us when we walked out the
front door. Phew, I was comforted by that thought because I don’t often mutter to people other than my own husband and children about tracking in mud and barn straw or leaving cabinet doors open. The bottom line is, we teach each other how to serve the Lord by the example we set in our own home. Each new day gives us a chance to ask God to help us become better servants. Our constant effort toward this end does two great things. First, it tightens up our relationship with Him and second, it sets an example for those we share our home with. The best way I can think of to create a society that serves the Lord is to start with some houses that do!
I got a picture this week from a college freshman showing her beautifully decorated dorm room. The caption read “My new home”. On the wall I saw a crucifix hanging and I was impressed that in her “new house” she was already preparing to serve the Lord. I smiled and thought of her parents and realized they were definitely a family that lived this verse. I was inspired!
A seed to plant: Find a plaque or make a card with this verse from Joshua to share with three people. Together we can remind each other of this important commitment and flood the neighborhoods with houses that “serve the Lord”.
Blessings on your day!
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:27
Earlier this week I made a quick trip to Kansas to present a teacher in-service. As I was sitting in the airport in Chicago, I was enjoying some people watching. One guy walked past in a T-shirt that read, A blood donor saved my life. After he passed by, my mind began to wonder if he had been in an accident or if maybe he had been afflicted with an illness. Lost in thought, the T-shirt made me grateful for the generosity of people, especially those who donate blood so others like this man might be alive and healthy.
A few minutes later, I saw the same guy walking in the opposite direction and I caught a glimpse of the back of his T-shirt and it displayed the words from Matthew 26:28, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I thought that was an amazing T-shirt!
Once again, my thoughts drifted to gratefulness…but this time for the ultimate blood donor, Jesus. I was thinking how cool it was that he wore that T-shirt in the most public place I could imagine. I suddenly got the urge to tell him how cool I thought his T- shirt was and I heard my mom’s voice in my ear saying “If you’ve got something nice to say to someone, you’d better spit it out cause folks need to hear good stuff.” I decided to find him and tell him…but then I realized that by the time I packed up my laptop, grabbed my suitcase and headed out of the boarding area, I would literally have to run through the terminal to find him and the vision of a chubby woman with a cup of coffee trotting through the airport tugging along a floral print suitcase behind her might be more than the good folks gathered at O’Hare airport were ready for on a Sunday morning! So, I stayed put, said a quick prayer for the guy in the cool T-shirt and went about my business.
A few minutes later I was reminded that God has an excellent sense of humor because the empty seat beside me was soon occupied by none other than the guy with the great T-shirt! It was all I could do not to laugh out loud! I told him I loved his shirt and that led to an amazing conversation that inspired and uplifted me! The gentleman told me that he knew he’d be spending the whole day in airports so he chose an outfit with a message. As he tugged on the T-shirt that morning he thought if one person noticed the message then he’d made a good choice for Jesus. (I’m not sure that has ever been the criteria on which I based my outfit choice…but it just might be someday.) As we sat in conversation, I was impressed by this man’s faith, his trust and his optimism. Both he and his wife had recently lost their jobs thanks to our current economy and in addition to raising their 15 yr. old son; they had recently and unexpectedly become guardians of their 11 month old grandson. He spoke about the way he felt God working in his life and about his expectant hope in God’s good plan for him and his family. He had every right to be frustrated, angry, anxious and cranky but he chose to put on a great T-shirt and God’s peace instead. He truly lived these words from Galatians and “put on the clothing of Christ”. He dressed himself in Christ both spiritually and physically! The situation started with a comment about a T-shirt, and ended up being a lesson in God’s love and grace. Who knew???
A seed to plant: This one is a double challenge! First, one day this week, purposefully wear or display something that will specifically draw attention to Jesus. Maybe it’s a T-shirt with a great message, religious jewelry or a sign in the rear window of your car. Second, take my mom’s advice and each time you think of something good to say…be sure you spit it out…let someone hear you say something good!
Blessings on your day!
For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good
works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
I have been surrounded this week by a lot of good works! For the 12th summer in a row, our home for one week in July was at the Clinton County 4-H fair. Some of our families’ favorite memories have happened there. For our oldest son, tomorrow will close his final fair. As I look back over the past 12 county fairs, I can’t help but recognize all the places God has gently touched and abruptly thumped not only his life but the hearts and lives of all the kids and families who are a part of the fair. Sometimes, He touches with the sweet happiness of victory and sometimes, He touches with the sting of disappointment. The one thing that is certain though, He uses those kids and animals and projects to send a very precise message…if we look for it!
In order to get a livestock project ready for the fair, the work begins many months before they tie it up or put it in a pen on the fairgrounds. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of hours a 4-H member spends feeding, training, grooming and walking their animals! I’ve watched year after year as kids have walked into the show ring leading an immaculately groomed steer that weighed 5 to 10 times what they did. I’ve watched kids walk animals they were too short to see over to the wash rack and the show ring with a confidence and pride that is impressive and inspiring. I have seen kids who were too shy to talk to their own shoe-strings, learn to become confident and articulate because a judge was going to gently bombard them with questions that would greatly influence their standing in showmanship competition. I’ve watched kids carefully (and usually without much enthusiasm) prepare their financial statements and records, designed to develop an awareness of real world basic economics. On many occasions, I have stood at the end of a barn to look down the center aisle and watch dozens and dozens of hot, sweaty, tired kids laughing as they worked. Countless times, I have seen kids walk up to a judge and present a project. That project is a representation of time, talent, ability and pride and in the end; it becomes subject to the judgment of one set of eyes.
The “good works God has prepared” are evident at the county fair. Not many of the 4-H members at the fair will go on to have a career in production agriculture, but they will take the messages and lessons with them no matter what path God puts them on. God was at the fair teaching patience, trust, confidence and compassion. He was there teaching the value and blessing of caring for another living being. He was there flooding kids with the Holy Spirit when they needed the right words. He was there when they needed the grace of strength and patience. He was there to teach that people don’t always see “justice and judgment” the same way. He was there molding and forming the character of His children, showing them that the value of hard work, dedication and responsibility doesn’t always come with a purple ribbon and a champion title but if it is done in His honor, the prize is so much greater! God was at the county fair, I hope people saw Him and felt His presence!
A seed to plant: For the next week, wherever you go, make it a special assignment to look for God. What is He showing you, teaching you and reminding you?
Blessings on your day!
Click on the items below to expand the options available to you to explore the Joyful Words blog.