Are you God’s rag?

Are you God's rag?

When you need to clean up a spill, what do you reach for? You grab a rag. You don’t clean up a mess with a gold ring. There are times when only a rag will do — to clean up an oil spill, broken eggs, or even a puppy’s accident.

How many times do I want to be a brilliant diamond trying to do the job of a scrap of cloth?

A rag does what it’s user asks of it, no matter what the task.  And when the job is done, the rag gets tossed into a corner, out of sight, and idle until its master has need of it again.

Can I be the Lord’s dirty rag? Can I respond willingly? Can I stay put?

Isaiah 64 says that all our righteous acts are but filthy rags. Our best efforts compared to God are nothing. But when his strong hand picks me up, I am useful.

To clean, restore, luster… or even bandage a wound.

Let me be your hand rag Lord. Use me as you will.

And when the time comes you will cleanse me and ring out all the dampness.

By your hand, I will be white as snow again.

Image source (image altered by Vincent Chough).

Stop running

Stop running.
Just stop it. You don’t have to keep going on like this anymore.

Don’t you see how much you are loved?

He gives it all to you.
He takes it all from you.
All your pain and trouble.
All your shame.

Your tired weary soul can come home again.

He waits for you,
Today.

All the rest you seek,

Find in him.

rest in him

 

Image by GollyGForce (cropped and text added by Vince Chough).

GollyGforce – Living My Worst Nightma

Being Faithful

Desert footprintsBeing faithful is always about relationships. I have often traveled far from the essence of faithfulness. 

If you are faithful, you are loyal. Are we not moved by the mother who pleads for mercy as her son sits in judgement before a jury? The son may be a killer, but his mother’s heart cries out for him. No matter what, she is on his side.

Faithfulness provides a deep trust, built over time, bringing a sense of peace and confidence. When that trust is broken, your heart bleeds.

There are obvious signs of infidelity, but many times the less obvious ones are just as painful. When we are unfaithful we go against the other person. We go against God or against a loved one. Either way it is opposition.

But when we are faithful, we are on their side. This does not mean being weak, but it does depend on our attitude. How many times do we misguide ourselves thinking that we are faithful when we really just want things our way?

How many times, in the name of fidelity are we unfaithful?

When you say, “Things are going to be fine!” should you really be coming clean?

When you say, “Be careful!” a thousand different ways, is it just so you can feel calm while your listener is stressed to death?

When you say, “I need to give him/her some space,” are you denying the truth that you must get closer?

What is our concept of fidelity?

It means, in your heart, being on the side of the ones you love. No matter what.

And at some point, it hurts. No matter what.

It’s not just knowing what is right for another person, but also doing what is right by them.

Give up that attitude or action that stings your heart and makes you unfaithful. Anything that is a barrier between two persons should be brought down. Actions and words make a difference. Most of the time it means leaving things behind rather than adding. It means sacrifice. This is how we can be faithful.

I’ve wandered through the deserts of unfaithfulness to my God and my family. It is a lonely journey of the heart. But God is always faithful, always on our side. His great fidelity was proven by his Son’s sacrifice.

It cost God dearly to be faithful. He knows how much it hurts.

If you are lacking faithfulness, go to him now. Ask him to give you a faithful heart. He will respond. No matter what.

He who promised is faithful

Desert track image: Attribution Some rights reserved by Guilherme Jófili
Water image by Geralt. Image adapted by Vince Chough.

Why is it? Rant.

Why is it that freedom fighters always end up sitting on thrones and oppressing their brothers?

Why is it that even the tiniest bit of comfort must be satisfied before even thinking about filling the mouth of a hungry child?

Why is it that the flimsiest rationalization keeps us away from God?

Shake these chains loose now.

Before you adjust your thermostat even one more time, find a way to feed a hungry person.

Do. It. Today.

If think you are too busy, then ask God to give you a merciful heart.

Can you take time out of your schedule to save a life?

Do. It. Today.

Can you take time out of your busy life to save your soul?

Do. It. Today.

Please.

The most radical thing you can do

How can we say we don’t live in a crazy world? How can we look around us and think that there is no crisis facing humanity? When some of the world’s most lucrative businesses continue to be the trafficking of drugs, weapons and humans, how can we say that we are advancing as a race?

Our response is typically fear. We get scared and take a protectionist stance. There is no mystery in this. When there is danger, your family comes first.

But as Christians, what do these troublesome times call for? It seems like, more and more, many circles call for a radical Christianity.

Unfortunately, the term “radical” has become flimsy and overused – and the main point gets lost in the hype and slogans. Christianity requires no marketing. It relies only on the Spirit.

Some believe radical means standing on a park bench and preaching God’s word. If the Spirit has led you to this, then you should obey. But it is not radical.

Some believe radical means holding prayer marathons and invoking the hand of God to descend from heaven to set things straight. If the Lord answers these prayers, then his will be done. But this is not radical.

Some believe that radical Christians give up all their worldly possessions and live on providence alone. They go to the farthest reaches of the earth to spread God’s word to every man, woman and child possible. They might even risk or give their lives for this mission. This is a response to a higher calling, but it is not radical.

Some believe that being radical is going out and serving the poorest of the poor – helping the outcasts and the lepers. This is noble, just and part of our responsibility, but it is not radical.

All these things can be ways in which God uses us, but they can also become idols where we secretly puff out our chests in pride for being good servants of the Lord.

The most radical thing a follower of Jesus can do is imitate and appeal to God’s greatest act of love.

Forgiveness.

Ask to be forgiven. Repent.

Have you asked God to forgive you? Have you recognized the sin that is destroying you? Have you asked God to pour his mercy out upon you? Have you repented?

This is radical.

Forgive.

Who has wronged you? Who has harmed you? Who annoys you? Which politician makes you red with rage? Do I rejoice when I see those I disagree with shamed… or do I ask God to give me a merciful heart?

Forgive them. Forgive them all as Christ did. Ask God to forgive them.

To forgive is to love. All other Christian activity is meaningless if we do not continuously strive to complete this most basic and essential task.

This is radical. It requires the most tremendous effort fulfilled only by God’s Spirit. When we forgive, we are truly Christ-like.

Go. Be a radical Christian. Forgive your parents, your brothers and sisters. Forgive your children. Forgive your enemies. Ask them to forgive you. Here you will see God’s great glory working upon you.

From this seed, all other acts of mercy and service receive their divine spark. From this love, your hungry soul receives life.

Love is patient

Image credit: © Copyright ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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(I cropped the image and added the text.)