Saturday, August 24, 2013

Barefoot 2

Summer is coming to a close and our feet have been free from boundaries. Ever since the jump of the thermometer I have painted my toenails and savored the grass and even gravel under my feet. Now with autumn on the way, I look at those winter shoes and know that they will feel tight.

It has been 4 years since my last post about being barefoot. It is indeed a physical manifestation of a spiritual change...when you have put your mind toward seeking God, He removes the boundaries of your "walk". Like Moses, the sandals are off because we are on Holy Ground.

Have you ever noticed when you injure your foot (usually a toe or two) that your walk is immediately affected? People notice and will ask, "What did you do?" If you injure a finger or bonk your head, it's not immediately visible. But your feet...they are where the world touches your life and it shows if something is going on.

If you have ever caught your pinky toe on a chair, you know what I mean. That little appendage rules the whole body and sets you into writhing and spouting unintelligible language. Time stops for that tiny ruler on your foot and all means of placating it are put into action: ice, elevation and aspirin. The pinky toe is a master at stopping people in their tracks. Sometimes it is best to keep moving, the pain subsides a little more quickly that way. Focusing on the pain sometimes magnifies it.

Once I stepped on a wasp barefoot. Let me tell you, they are sneaky little devils hovering in the grass. When you find one with the soft arch of your foot, it's like stepping on an electrical wire. The jolt to your system is immediate and you look for that sizzling copper wire jutting from the ground, only to see a black wasp zipping away into the sky. Unlike honeybees, wasps will live to sting another day. Even a dead wasp can sting you. Some people find this life threatening and if they don't receive immediate medication, they can suffer anaphylactic shock and die.

So how's your walk lately? Have you frolicked in the sun barefoot and boundary free, enjoying the time you've set aside for building your spiritual walk? Or have you been sidelined with an injury that seemed to come from nowhere? Did that injury come from a clumsy move that splayed your life into a painful turn? Are you too focused on the pain? With Christ you will get through it. The trick is to keep moving forward with Him.

Beware of the spiritual wasps in life. It's not the trips and falls that are dangerous to your walk. The Bible talks about the sting of sin. (1 Corinthians 15:56-57) Much like a wasp, sin has a sting that can lead to death. And hanging on to that sin, it will only continue to sting and put your life in danger.

Time to let go what's bugging you dear reader. Let's walk in that pasture with our Shepherd and beware of the sting that waits in the cool grass. I have people to hold me accountable to my you? Maybe it's time. Summer is ending and a new season is arriving.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23 (NASB)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beauty Secret

The World is an annoying suitor. He is pushy and thinks he knows what is best for you.

Can I tell you about two beautiful ladies who avoided his advances and discovered the Love of their life?

The first one is Lilly. I met her for lunch the other day and was struck by her radiance. You see, she had just returned from a missions trip--her FIRST--to Africa, to South Sudan! The glow about her was unmistakable. She had changed.

Later, I was able to put what I saw into words. She had the look of being in love for the first time. You see, she had answered the call of the Lover of her soul to come away with Him to Africa. There, Lilly found herself pulled out of the American barrage of "buy this, eat this, take this and you'll feel better". Instead, she saw the clear night skies with jeweled heavens that pulsed with God's glory. She met curious children and babies needing to be held and plenty of people who needed her smile. She was tasked with menial jobs at a clinic and felt like she could do anything for God.

She discovered who she was in Christ out there in the quiet heat and my friend blossomed in the desert.

The other lady is Ann. She retired from about 30 years in a cubicle office accounting job. Surrounded by numbers and bills, she made sure checks made it out on time and things balanced. This delightful lady also answered a call to her soul. (You are never too old to fall in love with God.)

This friend was not going overseas, but to some people she might as well be. Her call was coming from prison--to minister to those the enemy has locked away. When I saw her stop by work the other day, the glow was so evident on this lovely lady as much so that it had erased many years from her smile. She shared all the Savior had led her to in just one week of retirement--she was simply giddy and giggly and beautiful.

Christ is a patient suitor. He calls our name and waits for an answer. He bids us to come to Him with what is in our hand and heart. And He takes it, breaks it open and lets loose an amazing soul-perfume that draws others to Him as we work in His will. You could be a Mom doing dishes or a woman counting pills in an African clinic...He is in it all if we just let Him. (1 Corinthians 13)

He is not like the World that chases us with offers of finer things, fancy cars, better jobs or titles. Once the World catches someone, they find themselves tied to something that practically sucks the life out of them. The promises fade into tattered lies and they waste away in dead end jobs or "the next big deal".

Some chase the Hollywood camera only to find a trap door to a glass house that has no privacy or peace. The only comfort they do find is in numbing the pain with medication, alcohol, or worse. Sometimes that camera is a carrot that leads them to selling more than just their image on a magazine cover.

Still, even for them all is not lost. Jesus calls them as well! As long as you are breathing, there is still time to answer His call on your life. What are you waiting for? The invitation has been given. (Matthew 11:28)

The best beauty secret I know is to step into the will of God for your life. Christ is calling, and is waiting for you to come away with Him. Where do you think He will lead you? I guess you'll never know until you answer.

If you find the World standing there instead, with his rumpled suit, convenience store flowers and an offer to take you away from "all this". Tell him, "No thanks. I'm already taken...for eternity!"

Better yet, let Christ answer the door.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away,
 for behold, the winter is past;
    the rain is over and gone.
 The flowers appear on the earth,
    the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
    is heard in our land.
 The fig tree ripens its figs,
    and the vines are in blossom;
    they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
    and come away.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 (ESV)