Thursday, July 17, 2014

What do I love?

This thought is more philosophical than my brain normally handles.  And I can't get over the feeling that some famous quote somewhere already said this, and so my brilliant idea for the day is rendered...well... not so brilliant.

Regardless, here's my thought for the day:

I read this verse in Hosea today:
"they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame,
and they became as detestable as that which they loved."  
Hosea 9:10b

Now I realize that Hosea is not in general a highly encouraging book - although if you can get past all the death and destruction God promises to His people for leaving Him, His revelation of His unfailing love for His sinful, rebellious, purposely-running-in-the-wrong-direction people is jaw dropping.

But this verse in particular seems pretty depressing.

I don't know what Baal-peor is for sure, but it seems bad.  Shame.  Detestable.

However, it started me thinking.

We image that which we truly love.

Just stop and think about that for a minute.  I did.

We image that which we truly love.

Not only that.

We are slaves to that which we truly love.  

These Israelites spent so much time at Baal-peor that they imaged the detestable things happening there.  They didn't mean to.  It wasn't their goal walking in.  Subtly, seductively, Baal-peor became what they loved.  And it smeared its shame on their souls until it came oozing out of every thought, every action, every intention of their hearts.

This is slavery.  Baal-peor controlled them.

This challenged me this morning.  I want to say I love the LORD my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might (Deut. 6:5), but do I image Him?  Do I do what He has asked me to do as if I have no other choice?

What have I let into my soul?
Have I spent so much time looking at Pinterest and Facebook that I crave that thing those people over there have?
Have I so attached my emotions to the well-being of a character on my favorite tv show that I am consumed by what might happen next week?
Is the outcome of my son's baseball game the thing I can't stop talking about?
Am I constantly self-promoting?
Do I see the pretty things in Target and plot how to fit them into the budget?
Can I not walk away from my job long enough to engage my family?

Whatever my issues are.  As soon as I devote my heart to anything besides Jesus, it boils down to one thing.



This was the sin of Baal-peor.  The Israelites devoted themselves to something other than their God.  And they forfeited their access to grace and love and mercy and joy.  Their idolatry reaped for them a harvest of unimaginable devastation.

So what am I imaging to the world around me?

What other things are trying to sneak their way into my heart?

Destroy my love for anything but You, Jesus!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"I will do something new"

In January, God gave me this verse as my verse for 2014.

Isaiah 43:18-19
"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.  Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth.  Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

Have you ever been in the wilderness?  Stumbling aimlessly around the desert?  Have you given up hope that you will ever find your way out?

I have been there.  I spent a good majority of the last year there.  And when God gave me this verse, I had nothing but my brokenness, a desperate faith, and a very great and faithful loving God.  Nothing in my circumstances looked any more hopeful than they had the day before.

And, I think, I was finally exactly where He had wanted me the whole time.

I began to read this verse over and over.  I thought if I consumed myself with it, maybe I would believe it.  Maybe I would believe that God had promised it to ancient Israel and also - incredibly! - promised it to me in my dark valley.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past."  Walk away, Melody.  Don't look back.  Look forward.  Fix your eyes on Me.  And let go of the hurt and pain.  Give your wounded heart to Me because I Am the ultimate healer of shattered hearts.  And I paid the price for all the selfishness that got you into this mess.

"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth.  Will you not be aware of it?"  Look at Me!  I am doing something!  Something new!  Will you notice when I move?  Will you give Me the glory when it happens?

And I did a fair amount of asking, "When is "now", God?  Like today would be nice!"

"I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."  Really?  A roadway in my wilderness?  A river in my desert?  I don't think you realize how bad it is here, Jesus.  Are you sure you are big enough and good enough and love me enough to care for my issues?  After all, what seems impossible and hopeless to me pales in comparison to the mother with no food to feed her babies in Africa.  So many truly life or death problems in the world.  Do you really have time and energy to spend on my broken heart when there is so much despair in the world?

And I am here to tell you today that God has done something new.  Something unexpected and so obviously from Him that I can do nothing but stand in awe of His grace and His endless LOVE.  He has made a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.  In ways I could never have even imagined to ask.

Are all my problems instantly solved?  My every desire satisfied?  No.

But I KNOW that what He has given has come directly from His hand.
And I trust Him to be good.
And I feel so perfectly loved.
And I have learned to trust.
To pour my hopelessness out to Him and then walk away from the hurt and watch my God act.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Challenge

Sometimes I think I've given up.  Maybe it's just four kids home all summer that destroys my sense of being able to plan to do something and actually get it done?

Or maybe I've gotten too used to going to bed with dirty dishes in the sink because I'm too exhausted from shopping clearance at Hobby Lobby for Christmas presents to care.  =)  (In my defense, I grocery shopped too!  With two little girls...)

Or maybe I'm just so used to the back side of Christmas wrapping paper hanging on the mudroom wall that I forget that actually I have real stuff to hang up there!

I see things that aren't the way I want them, but they've been that way so long, I start to look past them.
So I know the "carrots" in the garden have been completely drowned out by weeds.  And I know there's a layer of dust over every piece of furniture in the house.  But if I pull the weeds and dust the furniture, the weeds and dust will be back tomorrow.  Really, everyone knows it's a losing battle.

And I know there's mud on the mudroom walls.  But it's a mud room!
That's what it's for!

And there is so much laundry to fold!

But some people are so productive!  Like my husband yesterday.
He worked a full day from 8-5.

Came home and mowed most of our overgrown, jungle-imitating yard.  I had been trying to mow that yard for weeks but had only managed to mow the front yard twice.

Then he came inside, put the girls the rest of the way to bed, and wanted supper.  Only the dishes were piled in the sink because of my exhausting shopping trip.
He doesn't handle messes well.

So he happily cleaned my kitchen at 10:00 at night and ate a peach and some yogurt for supper.

 Have I told you lately how much I love this man?

And so this is my new goal for the rest of the summer.  (Is it possible that school starts again in a little over one month??!?  And why does this make me panic worse than the approaching summer did in April?)

I am going to wash my mudroom wall.


And fold the laundry.

And put it away.

And I will wash my own dirty dishes by 9:00 tonight.

Sounds like it should be easy enough, right?

But for this unorganized, not-clean-freak, morning person (who has now lost half the productive hours in the day typing on the computer and talking on the phone until 10:14 in the morning!), and mother of four who would rather be baking chocolate chip cookies, this is quite the challenge!  =)