Thursday, May 31 2018
Watching “Master Chef” last night. It was “audition” night. Each home cook had a limited amount of time to prepare their “signature” dish in an attempt to win an apron from one of the 3 judges to be in the competition. I am always amazed at what people make. Often thinking, “I want to eat at their house every night!” What pressure. Everything they do is being scrutinized. Many heard, “it’s too rustic”, “not restaurant quality”, “too simple”, “poor presentation” and the list of what was not to their liking continued. At one point, Chef Ramsey says “Is this dish good enough to be in Master Chef? I am not sure.” To which the home cook replied, “I hope so.” Hope. Had he done enough?
I think many of us are familiar with Gordon Ramsey. His flair for dramatic, drive for perfection and of course, his choice of words. As I watched, I thought of how God views my “signature dish”. My life and what I bring to His Kingdom. Many times I get stuck in the comparison trap. Thinking “I am too simple, to rustic and definitely lacking in presentation finesse”. Listening to the enemy of my soul tell me how disappointing I am to God, I have blown it, and am not worthy to be in His kingdom. I will not be receiving the prize.
I had to take this stance of “I am not enough” and give it a good scrubbing. Remove the layers of limiting beliefs, self-worth, deception and how I view God so the truth can clearly be seen. God doesn’t run His kingdom as a competition, waiting to be impressed by what we do and ready to send us packing when we miss the mark. Everyone is welcome. The door isn’t locked, you just have to open it and walk inside. There are no separate qualifications based on if we are smart, thin, young, elegant, or simple. It is not about our talents but our willingness of laying down our life, picking up His cross and following Him. I don’t have to outperform someone or strive for perfection. I am enough because HE is and I am His! It’s all about Jesus. Jesus said, “Believe in Me.” “I am the Bread of Life”. “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Those, my friends, are the necessary ingredients for my “signature dish”, a surrendered life. The prize waiting for us isn’t a place in a competition, it is eternity with our Creator, it’s hearing “Well Done!”
Tuesday, May 29 2018
My garden is a mess. I am amazed at the wildness of it. My once beautiful fenced in patch devoted to an abundance of vegetables is unrecognizable, overrun, and unusable as it is. How did this happen?
Last year I decided not to do any gardening due to my busy schedule. I would enjoy the abundance of others at the farmer's markets. I did not work in my garden. None! I just left it. Throughout the summer I commented on the height of the grass that was growing and the weeds that seemed to be appearing overnight. Still, I did nothing. I missed the raspberry harvest because they were hidden by the jungle. Last fall, I thought, “I should have this tilled for the spring.” I thought the same thing a few months ago but didn’t. Today, I just want to plant a few tomatoes and zucchini and my garden is not ready. Not even close! I am paying for the months of neglect of the space.
I fenced my garden in to protect the space from the hungry critters that roam my yard. Added chicken wire to deter bunnies and a gate to keep it secure. The fence did its job. The fence was not designed to protect the soil.
As I worked in my garden, pulling weeds, I thought of the verse in 2 Cor 10:5, where we are told to take every thought captive. What am I allowing to grow in my mind? Am I focusing on whatever is true, lovely, pure and just? Am I wearing my helmet of salvation? Renewing my mind? I think the enemy comes at us like a weed in our mind. Am I ignoring it? Do I even notice it? Or am I actively digging at it to get all of its roots so it cannot grow back? The grass in my garden has a crazy root system that seems to go on forever. The enemy is prowling about seeking whom he can devour. Seeking where he can send the roots to infiltrate, invade and crowd out what should be growing.
In Proverbs 27:23, we are told: “To be diligent to know the state of our flocks and attend to our herds.” Most of us do not have flocks or herds of animals anymore. But the truth of this remains today, we need to be paying close attention to what we need to be paying close attention to. The flocks and herds were their livelihoods. They had to be on the lookout for predators. Know the terrain they were in and navigate it for the benefit of all they were responsible for.
Fast forward to today. In our jobs, homes, and families, we must be diligent to know our “terrain” so we also can navigate it well. What is the status of our home? Our family? Our finances? We must be on the lookout and recognize a weed from the enemy and pull it out.
Romans 12:2 “And do not be conformed to this world ( this is the fence to protect you) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind ( protect the good soil of your mind and watch what is trying to creep in) that you may prove what is good and acceptable and perfect will of God ( this is the fruit you are called to bear).
No weed the enemy plants can withstand the Cross. Be diligent and aware.
Weed on, my friend! Weed on!
Friday, May 25 2018
We get many calls into the office of our painting company from people who want their kitchen cabinets refinished. They want to update their kitchen but the cost of new cabinets are more than they want to spend. I get that. New cabinets are about the same as a new car.
What happens, invariably, is the response of “I just want them painted. Why does it cost so much?”
We respond to God the same way. We ask God to change us, make us look different. But what we really want is for Him to just put a fresh coat of paint on our old self to make us look new.
In reality, the painting happens last. Each cabinet door is handled 10 times before the painting process can begin. First the doors are removed and labeled with their position on the kitchen. They are now taken to the shop where the cleaning, sanding, repairs, and a special primer that keeps any lingering stain from coming through has to happen. Last, once the finish of the door is as close to “factory” as possible, the painting can happen.
We need to let God remove us from our old self, clean us, “sand” us and repair us. We need to sit and let the blood of Jesus cover us so our old stains are gone. It is all part of the being transformed into the image of Christ. It is then we are ready for the Master Artist to complete His work.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.