Posted in Christian Living, Christianity

The Water That Smooths Our Rough Edges

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A waterfall is a beautiful thing to experience, in part because it can appeal to all of your senses. You hear the roar of the water rushing over stones long before you can actually see the falls if you are hiking to one. You smell the clean, crisp scent of water that is always in motion, constantly renewed. You feel the spray of that moving water as you near the falls, the gentle mist like a caress. Finally, you see the water tumbling, foaming, cascading into an otherwise still pool. Depending on the situation and your fortitude, you might even decide to risk a taste of the pool’s “pristine” waters, imagining the clean snow from above you that has melted, cut through mountainside, and tumbled to the falls, its taste still cold to the touch.

It is one of the wonders of nature that stone, such a hard, ungiving surface, can be so easily defeated by the persistence of running water. Even a steady, slow drip can manipulate the hardest granite over time. If you have ever seen the Grand Canyon, which was formed in large part by the rush of water, you can truly appreciate this molding facility of something we humans need a bucket or glass to get a handle on. Have you, after all, tried to hold a handful of water?

Christ told us that in His kingdom, the weak are strong and the least greatest. Water, essential to life, is a wonderful example of this principle. At first glance, it may seem a very weak substance. There’s a reason young children look for puddles to land in, sending sprays all around them and making the puddle disappear. But, when you take water into account in its full force, as in a flood, it can be the most destructive force imaginable. Still further, it only takes a tiny drop at a time to form and cut away entire caves and canyons, given enough time.

It’s appropriate that Christ chose water as His medium for baptism. Not only does water literally wash us clean, we can see in its effects on stone that it also forms us. The forming is not always a violent one. More often than not, it is like the falls, water sweeping over stone through time until the rough edges are smoothed.

For those of us who walk with Christ daily in the baptism in water that continues through the Holy Spirit, we too are smoothed over time of our rough edges. As long as we do our work to allow the Holy Spirit to wash over us through our lives, as the water flows over the stones of a falls, our own rough edges will be hewn to a shiny mutuality that will help us appeal to others concerning the value of a life in Christ. Like a beautiful falls that appeals to all the senses, we can be the peaceful, restorative place for those who have not yet found Him.

The Bible is full of verses that flow like water and smooth away the parts of us that stand in the way of our full relationship with God. Pray to see His word in truth and according to His will, and you will find that your Bible study will reward you in ways you hadn’t even realized. The mist of God’s love is waiting in the pages of His word. Now is as good a time as any to begin your walk with God, to continue it, or to begin again.

I’ll meet you by the water.

Posted in Christian Living, Living

Don’t Let Time Get Away From You

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Have you heard the phrase, “self-fulfilling prophecy?” When I was a child, my dad explained it to me with an example. Once, in junior high school, he was transferring a science project that involved him carrying a liquid-filled jar up a set of stairs. A tiny voice in the back of his mind kept saying, “You’re going to end up spilling this.” Well, sure enough, he wound up tripping on a stair and sending the jar flying.

I’ve always approached the self-fulfilling prophecy from the negative, so to speak, stopping myself from dwelling on bad things that might happen as much as I can to keep from actually subconsciously making those bad things happen. Sheepishly, I admit that I am just now getting around to the empowering idea of thinking about positive things so that I might be able to take advantage of the self-fulfilling prophecy rather than being hurt by it.

I’m not talking about the kind of positive thinking that some people use to try to become rich or be famous. I’m talking about creating self-talk that is in alignment with God’s will for a Christian life. I’m talking about taking advantage of two of the most powerful words on the planet: I AM.

The first powerful use of I AM occurred by the Almighty Himself, when He introduced Himself to Abraham as I AM. In those two words, He declared His omnipotence and purpose. As children of God, we should pay particular attention to our use of these two words ourselves.

For example, if we go around saying to ourselves, “I am tired; I am depressed; I am unhappy with my marriage; I am unworthy,” how can we hope to be anything except exactly what we have declared ourselves to be? When we say something about ourselves enough to ourselves, we really start to believe it. Then, we start to say it to other people. Finally, those people start to believe this about us as well.

On the other hand, what if we started self-talk that is what we hope to be, even if we don’t feel it in the moment? For Christians trying to live the life God intends for us, phrases like: “I am open; I am love; I am kind; I am happy; I am thankful; I am peaceful” make powerful mantras.

Using self-fulfilling prophecy to our advantage also involves really being observant, but not judgmental, of ourselves. I realized this as I thought about my New Year’s resolutions this year. At first, I resolved to tell myself “I am strong,” as often as possible, especially when I was feeling most weak or sad or depressed.

Then, I had a sort of revelation one morning as I was doing my Bible study. On a recent trip, my husband had asked me, “Why do you say OK when I tell you to let me carry something (like the luggage), but then you just keep carrying it yourself?” He’s right. I do do that sort of thing all the time. Why? I think it is because I need to be in control or something. So, do I really need to be telling myself, “I am strong,” when trying to be the strong one all the time keeps me from letting others lift the load every once in a while? No wonder I am always tired!

If I don’t let my husband help with the luggage, can you imagine how I fail to let God help me with the day-to-day challenges I face? When I realized how often I fail to lean on God for the tiny things (He’s too busy for the little stuff, right?), I realized that my mantra for 2013 should be something like, “I am leaning on Jesus,” instead of “I am strong.”

Do you realize how strong I will really be when I master leaning on the One who can handle everything, even the tiny stuff?

So, what’s your self-fulfilling prophecy for 2013? Remember to observe your life, not judge it. Remember to pray about your conclusions. Remember the power of I AM.