Friday, March 6, 2009


These are signs at my work.

One is on my desk...

And the other on my mom's...

My sign faces toward me, all day long as I work, it's there as a reminder of what my attitude ought to be. It's sitting next to the paper clip jar that I am using all day long, putting things together, taking them apart, again and again, I see the sign, "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

My mom's sign on the other hand faces outward. As you sit across from her at her desk, anyone who comes along can read it for themselves. "My boss is a Jewish carpenter." As she speaks to you in her office, it has been clearly stated, she is a Christian.

I started thinking about these signs, and they inspired enough thought it led me to bring my camera to work to document them.

It's interesting how in life, these two signs are ones we ought to carry in our hearts and in our demeanor and not just on our desks.

Whatever we are doing, we ought to do it with the thought and intention of glorifying God through it. Whether the task is monumental or mundane, we want to do it in a way that honors God. Whether we're preaching to the masses or changing a dirty diaper in the church nursery, we should do it with an attitude of service, and an attitude of worship.

I have a lot of mundane tasks in my life, in my job and my role as a mom. From helping with homework, to filing invoices, from scrubbing the toilets to making collection calls - all jobs I'm called to do, not all jobs I always have the best attitude about. But the verse says whatever you do... I wonder if it isn't the truest sense of worship when we have the best attitudes about the littlest, and perhaps least enjoyable tasks.

I think perhaps if we truly live with a heart attitude of the first sign, perhaps the second sign will be more clearly reflected in our lives. I wonder if my affinity to Christ wouldn't be more obvious to those around me if I wasn't living to greater perfection the first sentiment.

That is my greatest desire after all, for the world to know the One I serve. But I want it reflected in right manner. I want the world to see the difference in me because of Him.

I also think perhaps if we cannot accomplish the attitude of the first sign, or if we aren't at least striving towards it, then perhaps for the sake of His name and the sake of the gospel, we shouldn't "wear" the second sign at all. We certainly don't want to bring disgrace to his name by our attitudes and actions.

I remember once, a long, long time ago when Neal and I were new Christians and we went out with a couple of friends. One was a Christian, the other was not. The Christian friend "wore his sign" that day by wearing a Christian t-shirt. Then he proceeded to spend the whole afternoon acting like a letch. Both friends were making vulgar comments about women, ogling them, etc., but this one friend did it with CHRIST emblazoned across his chest. I was mortified.

There is a great responsibility to those of us who are Christians. We have to remember Who we belong to, that our "boss is a Jewish carpenter" and that because of that whatever we are doing, we must do it "to the glory of God." What a wonderful cycle - because "my boss is a Jewish carpenter" I do "whatever" I do "to the glory of God." And because "whatever" I do, I do "to the glory of God," the world will know I serve Jesus.

Just something to think about. What sign are you reflecting, or hoping to reflect in your life today? As for me, I'm going to try to focus a little better on both of the above today.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sleep Not

"Friend, live near to the cross,
and you will not sleep."
(Spurgeon - updated.)

"You are all people who belong to the light and to the day. We do not belong to the night or to darkness. So we should not be like other people who are sleeping, but we should be alert and have self-control. Those who sleep, sleep at night. Those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But we belong to the day, so we should control ourselves. We should wear faith and love to protect us, and the hope of salvation should be our helmet. God did not choose us to suffer his anger but to have salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:5-9

Sleep is my friend, but I never seem to get enough of it. There were the two babies in a year - sleep eluded me for a long time after that. Lots of sleepless nights, or repetitively up and down nights, shooting off cat naps just to get by. It was hardly enough. I remember at some points being so exhausted that if I sat still I would fall asleep. I know for some people that was common, but it wasn't for me, and I hated it.

The longer I went without getting consistent rest the riskier it became. I remember being in the living room, holding Victoria in my arms to nurse and keeping an eye on Ethan playing on the floor and staying alert was hard. It was always better when Jacob was around because I at least had another set of eyes to help me, to tap me on my arm and say, "Wake up Mommy."

I worry as I look around about Christians and a different kind of sleeping. It's a spiritual sleepiness that is attempting to overcome us as a people. We are surrounded by compromise and enticements to draw us away from the cross. The further we wander, the less alert we become. Suddenly we find ourselves in a spiritual "sleepiness," having lost our vigor and passion for Christ and the truth.

People are being drawn away, almost hypnotically. Some by compromise, others by temptation and enticement, others just through carelessness and lack of diligence. I don't say this in judgment with pointed finger, I say it as a warning all of us must heed. Where are we allowing ourselves to not be "resting" in Christ and the truth, to keep our minds sharp and our hearts committed.

Though any one of us could be at risk to become spiritually sleepy, many of us are standing strong. And to those another responsibility arises, the responsibility of "keeping watch," and like my son Jacob when he was little, tapping those on who look like they may be at risk of "dozing off" on their proverbial arm and encouraging them not to drift away.

The key of course is remaining ever close to Christ on the cross and remembering what He did there for you personally. For those of us who have accepted his sacrifice for our salvation, we no longer belong to ourselves, we have been "bought at a price" and therefore have to live out our lives in the framework of that commitment to Him and Him alone. If you are a Christian, it is no longer "your life" to live as you please. It must be lived to His glory and for His purpose and plan for you.

Be alert, and stand watch at the foot of the cross.

Monday, March 2, 2009


You know it when you see it. I saw it this morning, and in sort of an interesting place. There was this man and he was walking his bike across the street. He he was older, and he had his helmet on, and he had a grin that literally reached from ear to ear. And his countenance - was full of joy. As I drove past him, he caught my eye. He was just a lone man walking along on a relatively busy street. He wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary, but his joy was unusual, and it drew my attention straight to him.

Joy is different than happiness. I've heard it said, "happiness is based on happenings." And it's true. You can be having a great day, and a flat tire, or a rude person in customer service or the like can make your happiness dissipate or even disappear. But joy, joy is different, joy remains.

Joy is something resident, deep down within one's soul. It comes bubbling up from within, instead of being created by what is from the outside.

You've seen joy too. Perhaps you've seen it in children, they often seem to have a corner on that market. Their peals of laughter are often evidence of it. Think of the littlest ones, and a good game of peek-a-boo sends them into absolutely joyous giggles. Perhaps like me, you've even been guilty of trying to squash it in your own kids with a few too many "settle down's" or "not now" responses. But even when we manage to subside it, it still faithfully rises back up.

I've experienced that too, joy rising up, at interesting times. I can think of more than one occasion when I have gone to the Lord in prayer with my list of complaints and my pity party hat in place. I'm praying and I'll get to my griping and grousing about what I don't have, or what I don't think is fair or just (come on, I'm not the only one...) and then I will feel on my face this irrepressible smile. The corners of my mouth turning up in their own will. I know what it is, it's joy, bubbling to the surface. A lot of times I end up laughing at myself, right before I get over myself.

Joy abides.

Actually, joy comes from abiding. It's a fruit, a fruit of the Spirit that is. See...

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

So, how do you get joy? Why by bearing fruit! So how do you bear fruit, you ask?

Jesus answered that question in John 15:5 when He said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Aha! Kingdom math! I LOVE Kingdom Math! The blessed if/then principle!

ME + Abiding in Christ = MUCH fruit... and fruit = joy!

I want to be like that guy on the street today. I want my joy to be so evident people see it from across the street.

We live in a time where happiness is hard to find, but joy is ours to be had.

Circumstances look dire. The economy is in BIG trouble. Jobs are being lost, taxes are going up (especially here in Southern California) they want you to pay more while you earn less... (I could go on and on, but why should I? This can't possibly be news to you.) It's hard to be happy about or in the midst of what's going on.

But really, if you had the choice between happiness and joy, which would you choose?

I went to a prayer meeting Friday night, and I was there with a group of ladies that I know at are intimately familiar with the joy of the Lord. We prayed for a lot of things, including the state or our nation and the world.

I have to confess that a lot of my attitude had written off these things as deserved judgment on us as a nation and a world. It's had me very focused on the happenings, and my own happiness in it. I hadn't slipped completely down the slippery slope of self-pity or anything, but I had sort of labeled the whole process as left to be ridden out, somewhat hopeless.

As I listened to some of these ladies pray I suddenly saw it from another viewpoint. What about the opportunity it will bring to share true riches with others who are hurting. I was talking to Neal yesterday, and I just told him (and he agreed) even if the worst possible scenario played out and we lost our jobs/business and home, but we still had the Lord and each other, that would be enough. The Lord is enough. And when I am right minded and abiding in Him, I know that, and I have great joy. I might not be happy about the circumstances, but nothing can steal my joy if I don't let it.

As we suffer through these hard times as a nation, those of us who are Christians should be abiding in Christ like never before. We need to have our hearts firmly where the true treasure is, and when those around us are suffering too, and they see our joy, it will draw to us and we can share the Lord with them. How awesome is that?

Psalm 16:11 says this, "You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."

The joy that is so desperately needed is in the presence of God, and we as Christians have not only the opportunity but also the commission to bring as many people there into His presence as the Lord presents. We have the answer... we have the stimulus package that will not rust and cannot be stolen, and not only that but will last an eternity. It is the investment of all investments!

Do you believe that? If you are a Christian, you should. When Moses spent time in the presence of the Lord it caused his face to shine (Exodus 34). I think likewise if we are abiding in Christ, and spending time in His presence, joy will radiate from us. Hurting people will be drawn to us, and we will be able to share the Light of the world in the midst of these dark and dire circumstances.

There's this song that we sing at church called Break Through. The bridge (I think, non-musical gal here) sings like this, "You are brighter than my darkest night -Stronger than my toughest fight -Just one touch from You my King my Friend -And I'll never be the same again."

It's truth, the Lord is the answer, He is the Light bright enough to lead us through these dark days. He is the one strong enough to give us the strength we need to face whatever we may face these days. It is in Him, that we not only find light and life and hope and joy, but it's where we bring others to find the same eternal wealth. It's the right thing to do.

Be encouraged today. Take your eyes off of your circumstances, and let happiness go by the wayside, plug in and abide in your Savior who loves you and let your joy grow... not to mention love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It's Kingdom Math! You can count on it!

Finally I leave you with the words of Paul from Romans 15:13-16

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another. I have written you quite boldly on some points, as if to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me 16to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit."

Get out there and share the wealth! Stimulate! Be blessed in Jesus' holy name!