Remodeling — “Into the Word” Week 1

What is it about Pinterest that makes me want to remodel everything? Ten minutes of browsing lead me to an acute dissatisfaction with my shabby living room furniture, the white paint blanketing my walls, and the total lack of symmetry. If only The Nester could come decorate my house, my world would be a happier place. My parents had their kitchen completely gutted and re-created this past month, and I openly confessing here on this blog that I envy their sparkling stainless steel appliances, hand-crafted cabinets, and marble counter tops.

You know what really holds me back from a personal “home makeover”? A remodeling project requires some serious sacrifice. Mom and dad had “passionately debated” about how to best redesign their kitchen for quite a while. Plans were drafted, painstakingly refined, and re-drafted. For the last month, dust covered every inch of the house. Microwaved meals got served on paper plates, and boxes of appliances and corningware were piled high in every corner. Their bank account took a big hit — bigger than first estimated. Not fun at all, if you ask me. If only I could click my ruby shoes together and instantaneously make it to my Utopia, then I might begin. But, this Dorothy has grown accustomed to her comfortable Kansas, and the yellow brick road seems full of potholes and peril.

Spiritually, this same mindset leads me to a stagnant pool of mediocrity. For the past week, I have been digging “Into the Word” and examining the heroes in the Hall of Faith. Hebrews 11 is packed with people who put a lot of sweat equity into their faith walk. Just thinking about Abraham makes me freak out a bit — the man followed God, but didn’t know where he was going. Then, he lived in a tent surrounded by strangers. Yeah, that is a bit scary. I don’t do tents. I am a big fan of air conditioning and my nice mattress. Yet, Abraham’s willingness to follow God into the great unknown lead to an amazing legacy. His faith walk changed not only his family’s destiny, but the destiny of a nation.

The truth is that I can continue to pray, pray, pray for God to change my circumstances and move in the lives of those that I love, but not much may happen if I am not willing to put in some elbow grease. How can I practically put my faith into action this year? The perseverance and “gumption” of Abraham, Moses, and Rahab in Hebrews 11 inspire me to remodel. Hebrews 13:7 echoes this idea: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.” The Bible maps out the blue print for me to follow. Will I?

How about you? Are you purposing to remodel this year? I would love to hear about your plans….

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.” Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.

 

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“Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy”

My BFF traveled to Philly this Winter to introduce her daughter to a little American history up close and personal. During her visit, she witnessed a  young employee at a local store have an explosive public meltdown. This poor woman verbally vomited out her anger regarding her work schedule for everyone in the store to hear — an ugly response with a self-centered focus.  The memorable part of the experience, however, was the reaction from an older lady who was diligently working to stay on task despite her young coworker’s outburst. This unflappable, wiser woman responded by shrugging her shoulders and simply stating: “Ain’t nobody gonna steal my joy.”  Don’t you love that attitude?  These two “Jesus Chicks” are adopting this statement as our battle cry theme for 2012.

Today, in an effort to set my spiritual compass,” I started working my way through Anne Graham Lotz’s study “Into the Word” and rediscovered a verse that ties into this theme:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the Champion who initiates and perfects our faith.  Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).

The word joy in verse 2 comes from the Greek word chara, which here means to rejoice with gladness of heart by focusing on the eternal reward that God has prepared for us. This sweet fruit of character is produced in us daily as we choose to focus on Christ, take up our cross, and follow Him.

As we pray and plan for 2012, what joy killers do we need to lay down so that we can be more fruitful this year?  What is weighting me down that I must lay at the foot of the cross?  Ain’t nothing gonna steal my joy this year, my friends.  That dead weight simply must go.

Every Monday we will be working our way through Anne Graham Lotz’s 52-week study “Into the Word.”    Hop on over to the 3dLessons4Life Blog Facebook Page to join us as we dig into God’s Word together.