Who are we reflecting?

We had just finished our last class of the morning for this year at one of the schools. It was the grade 6 class, and our last chance to share the Word of God with them ever at this school because exams start in a week or so. Although the children who are sponsored we will see again for different events between now and the end of this year, it will not be in a classroom setting. In February these students will begin high school should they decide to go.

Dale prayed over them before we left their classroom one last time. As we were leaving their teacher spoke up and admonished her students to show a little respect. Some of the children were talking while Dale was praying. They were distracted and not really listening. She basically told them that if they don’t have respect for God then they are not going to have respect for anybody. She went on to say that the way they were behaving was a reflection of their parents. Ouch!

I got to thinking about this… The Bible tells us in Genesis 1 that we were made in God’s image. So what are we reflecting to the people around us? Our family. Our neighbours. The taxi driver or motorcyclist who cuts us off in traffic. The clerk at Walmart. The people that we work with. Do they see someone who exhibits the fruit of the Spirit? Do they see someone who is patient, kind and good…or do they see the opposite? Someone who is easily angered, impatient, and mean? Could we like Paul, say to those around us “ And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ”..?( I Corinthians 11:1)

I think we have all heard the saying that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and it’s true. I see traits in myself that I see in my parents…not all of them are negative mind you, but honestly speaking I am not sure I would want people to follow me around and imitate me all the time. I have some bad habits that at least one of my kids have picked up on. For example… growling when I am annoyed or frustrated at certain circumstances. I was a bit floored the first time I heard my daughter do that and was about to reprimand her for the bad attitude when I realized…that’s me!! I am working on not doing that but some habits are tough to break.  But all joking aside; should our lives not be a reflection of what is on the inside? And if Christ is in us, should others not see him in us? Whose image are we reflecting?

 

Ephesians 5:1 The Message Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behaviour from their parents.

Romans 8:29a For he knew all about us before we were born and he destined us from the beginning to share the likeness of his Son..

Proverbs 27:19 NLT As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

Lesson from a broken lamp

I have been participating in a fun photo challenge on Instagram where each day there is a different photo prompt. Today’s was black and white. So I took a photo of a lamp in our home and shared it. It sits on a table in front of a window in our office.

We are still in the throes of rainy season. It has seemed a lot worse this year for some reason. A couple of times now there have been strong winds that have knocked the lamp over and off the table. The last time, Dale looked at it and said that it was completely broken and that he wouldn’t be able to fix it. There was no way the shade would snap or twist back onto the base. We thought we would have to throw it out…disappointing because that had been a special purchase that we had saved for.

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However Dale had an idea. He took a couple of clothespins and was able to re-attach the flimsy lamp shade to by clamping it to the base… good as new. You can’t tell by looking at it that is broken.

 
I was thinking about that today when I went out for my walk, how at times our lives are like that. Storms and winds come and knock us down, and things happen that break us. Financially. Emotionally. Spiritually. We may feel beyond repair. But them God lovingly puts us back together again. Like those clothespins on our lamp, God is the only one who can hold us together when those winds come. He is the only one who keeps us together when we have fallen apart.  And we all feel like that at times.

It is actually a good reminder for me  because lately I have been in a bit of a funk. I am not even sure if that is the correct word. Basically it’s just been a season where I have felt fragile, discouraged and at times a little lonely. I can’t really pinpoint it to any one thing per se, but maybe a culmination of stuff. In recent months there has been a lot of change, loss and trauma in our lives and I haven’t felt like doing much of things I used to really enjoy…writing being one of them. We recently moved and while we love the new, smaller place and community, and being able to walk to Walmart…the few neighbors we have don’t venture outside much. Although they do honk and wave if we are out walking the dog…so that is a start I guess!

Psalm 119 :107 I have suffered much, O Lord; restore my life again as you promised.

Psalm 14:3 He heals the wounds of every shattered heart.

Jeremiah 17:14 God, pick up the pieces and put me back together again. You are my praise!

Psalm 119:116 Lord, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Don’t let my hope be crushed. Sustain me and I will be rescued. Then I will meditate continually on your decrees.

 

I Thessalonians 5:18 And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.

Staying Connected…

The other day we were teaching at one of our schools when Dale went to use his phone and noticed that battery was almost drained. Apparently it had not been charging overnight. It was basically useless. What good is a phone if the battery is dead?

 

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Our lives are like that. We need to take the time each day to stay connected to our source of power, to be filled and recharged and stay connected to Him. He is our source of power. How he wants to have relationship with us. I was reading this verse the other day and this verse sort of jumped out at me, even though I have read this Psalm multiple times.

 
Psalm 27:8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

 
But sometimes we get busy and our quiet time gets pushed aside or put on a back burner or something we do eventually when or if we have time. I have noticed in my own life that when I get out of my normal routine, like for instance summer when I can sleep in a little or when we have an extra busy week that I don’t spend as much time as I once did because of all things I need to get done that day or my busy schedule.

 
Lisa Whittle says in her book,” I want God.” “In the everyday moving stream of life, even we who love God the very most get swept up the rushing current of jobs, parenting, school, carpool, laundry, vacations, and yes even ministries. As we are numbly floating at a swift pace, it is only the occasional debris—a scary health diagnosis, a relationship wound, an injustice on the TV news—which obstructs us long enough to notice that we haven’t talked to God or paid much attention to Him in quite a while and man, now we could sure use His help moving forward. We want Him to please hurry and get us unstuck so we can keep up with our to -do list. We act like children, stomping our feet and carrying on when He doesn’t hurry as fast as we think He should. And we wonder, lying in bed at night, staring at the ceiling fan, why God seems to like everyone else better. Our selfishness blinds us to what has become of us as we have drifted down the stream of life: We have turned into the Isrealites. And God, who has been the always- faithful Father to us (Psalm 86:15) mourns and weeps that we have moved away from Him to the point that our love has become divided, tarnished, forgotten. He won’t stop being faithful, nor will He stop loving, but He will still grieve.”

 
We have an enemy who will conveniently make sure that we stay busy and don’t have time to charge our spiritual battery because he doesn’t want us to be effective. He was us to be powerless and unconnected with our batteries drained. How can we withstand when the enemy attacks us…and he will… if we are unconnected? If we don’t plug in to our source of power, we will be powerless. Vulnerable.

 
1 Peter 5:8, 9a Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him and be strong in your faith.

 
John 15:4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot bear fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

 
Even Jesus spent time alone with His father. His cousin, John the Baptist had just been beheaded. He tried getting away, to be alone but the crowd followed him and instead of just sending them away, he had compassion on them and healed those who were sick and then later that day fed 5000 men, not including all the women and children. I am sure he would have been tired and weary and heavy hearted. Yet, He knew where to go to be filled. He knew where to go to find strength.

 
Mathew 14:23 After sending them home, he went up to the hills by himself to pray. Night fell when he was there alone.

 
So, I close this by encouraging you to find that time each day to stay connected to Him. Don’t let your spiritual battery drain. Don’t let the distractions of every day get in the way of spending time with the One who loves you and wants to spend time with you. The One who wants you to remain connected to Him.

 
John 15:5b For apart from me, you can do nothing.