Saturday, May 19, 2012

This Might Hurt a Little

Ever have a sticker (or as my granddaughter calls them a “pokey”) get embedded in your skin?
Those of us living in the Sonoran desert have more then likely been stuck with our share of these sneaky little barbs. One minute you are walking along unsuspectingly and then, “ouch!” Crossing paths with a cactus quickly gets your attention and sends you on a search for the instrument of choice: the tweezers. 
Over the years, I have dug these thorns out of more then a few places on myself and my kids.
Sometimes though, one of these prickles will be just far enough beneath the surface of the skin that you can’t get to it. Though you may initially feel it’s snag, in a day or two that sensitivity disappears and you think your battle with the brier is behind you. 
But, in reality an altogether different story is being developed in the microscopic world or your cells.
Your body has been designed to really hate intruders. (a good thing). When attacked, it rallies its defenses to get rid of the bad guys. In order to ward off further tissue damage, a protective shell begins to develop around the foreign object.
However, if more time passes and this hardened core of sticker and membranes are not removed, infection will eventually set in.
The symptoms of infection are painful. Designed to get your attention. Inflammation swelling, tenderness, all signify the existence of the visible sign of infection: pus ( sorry, there is just no other word for it) Just saying it is gross, as it is a word that sounds like what it is. An oozing sickly liquid.
When your’e at this point, all you can think of is getting rid of it..quickly!
No longer can you ignore it’s presence and sometimes medical intervention is necessary to lance the area and allow the wound to drain.  And drain it will-sometimes for what seems like forever until the initial intruder and its protective layers of calloused skin are removed.
Then, an amazing thing happens. As soon as that core is out, healing begins to take place: pain begins to subside, the wound begins to close and angry red skin returns to it’s natural color. Truly we are fearfully and wonderfully made; for, our wise and loving Creator has built this mechanism of healing into our bodies.
Bitterness is like this.
A thorn in the form of a painful event, a sharp word or a misdirected deed stabs our heart and we are left wounded.
Not every strike against our soul ends in an infection of the spirit, but those left to fester will. Pain in inevitable in this world, but bitterness is a disease of choice.
Like the process that occurs in our physical bodies when a splinter deeply pierces our flesh, if we try to deal with the offense by ignoring the real issue and dealing only with the surface ones, we will eventually have a mess on our hands.
The pain will be so crushing that it will be all we think about. Coloring every word thought and action with it’s poison.
The symptoms of bitterness cannot be concealed, for It begins to effect everything and everyone we encounter.
We begin to snap at people.
We suspect other’s motives.
We say certain people’s names with a venomous tone and have a twinge in our gut when they are spoken of.
Perhaps most damaging.... we kill joy.
We must deal with the core to get relief: Why are we so bitter?
We didn’t get what we wanted, in life or in a relationship.
Someone else got what they (and you) wanted.
Another didn’t do what we expected or did something unexpected.
These are real issues. Serious sore spots. It’s the world that offers you the bandaid of advice, “Toughen up and get over it!” -Worthless medicine for curing bitterness. 
Our Savior on the other hand, sees and understands each painful point and offers you healing balm, paid for with His own pierced palms.
Let The Great Physician get out His tweezers and remove the splinters from your heart.
You enemy loves to have you live in a vague feeling of misery. Lance the wound by talking to Your Father specifically and honestly about what really happened and how it has affected you.
As you do, you will begin begin to see the bane of bitterness flow away from your spirit.
Disappointment, jealousy and their ugly stepsisters will flee as the defense system you have built with stones of self-protection is shattered. With just the right amount of pressure, He touches you with His unconditional love, soothes you with His promises of protection and empowers you with the strength of forgiveness releasing you from from the burden of bitterness  Ahhhh relief.
Perhaps a scar will remain from your struggle with the splinters of strife, but it will only serve as a future a reminder of the fact that the Lord has visited you and removed the sticker. You are free.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15
Enjoy the song of the day!
The end is the best part, I encourage you to listen all the way through!

Sunday, May 6, 2012


I've always loved the account of Peter walking on the water to Jesus.
Bolstering his faith, Peter steps out to follow in his friend and Master’s footprints, only to find himself sinking beneath the waves that surround him just moments later.
Life can feel like that, can’t it?
One minute we are riding the waves of faith in the light of the face of God and then suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a flood of disappointment, distress or disease crashes around us, threatening to hide His beautiful face and our hope begins to drown. 
Now you may think, “why do you love this account, Lisa?..I mean, Peter is failing!!!”
Ok. But, while this picture of Peter paints a portrait of a plunging person, it also reveals  the strength of our Savior.
For, it’s in turbulent times that we become ever aware of our frailty. Just like Peter, we realize that the only thing that was ever really holding us up was Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 says that He is “upholding all things by the word of His power.”
All things. This vast universe. This gigantic galaxy. This immense earth. And your life.
The greatness of our God is recognizable to those who know they are not.
Peter, rapidly succumbing to shipwreck, cries out the three words that define who we really are and who Jesus really is, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Matt. 14:30
He is God
I am desperately in need of someone to save me
He is willing and able to stretch out His arm and rescue us
“..And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him.” Matt.14:31
This is the heart of our God. To save all who call upon His name.
To show Himself strong on their behalf.
Psalm 46:1-3 says:
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.” 
Whatever winds or waves may be rocking your boat today, consider that only fear and doubt are terminal.
By reaching out and taking hold of His hand in faith, we can experience the power and presence of the only One who can truly calm the storms of life.
“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, and Your glory above all the earth;
That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and hear me.”
Psalm 108 5-6