All Washed Up

girlonadventure.com

When we pulled into the truck wash, a group of tattooed, bandana toting, life-lived-hard men descended on our truck and travel trailer. Brushes in hand, they worked vigorously, scrubbing every inch of its surface. Water sprayed, soapy bubbles cleaned, and the mud ran off. They made quick work of the dirty job.

It’s good to start out clean, don’t ya think? We are off on an adventure of uncharted waters. Newly retired, my husband and I are going to start with a bit of wandering across the countryside seeing things we have never seen. Perhaps it’s a bit symbolic to start this new phase of our lives clean, shedding of the layers of the old life’s demands that don’t belong on this journey.

This reminds of another fresh start,

a new beginning that would change my life forever. I decided to ask Jesus to save me from my sin. My initial decision, if the truth be known, was made because I recognized if hell was real, I didn’t want to go there. It was a start that allowed me to travel into a new life that would take me places I never imagined.

One thing that is not lost on me is the fact that there were a bunch of people in my life with scrub brushes in their hands. I know that it is Jesus who provided the forgiveness of my sins by His death and resurrection, but there were many who prayed, encouraged, and taught me along the way. They had hard-life experience and knew how to lead a wayward, teenaged girl to Jesus. I thank God that they did.

There is a story in the Bible in Mark 2 . . .

about some friends who would not let their friend go on with his usual life. You see, he was paralyzed and unable to do anything different than live his paralyzed life. The friends were not having it. They knew he needed healing, so they loaded him up on a stretcher and delivered him to Jesus. It was no easy task. Before the night was over, the man’s faithful friends would need to claw their way through a roof to get him face-to-face with Jesus. I imagine their bloody hands and knees were forgotten when their friend was forgiven and healed. It had all been worth the effort.

This story is one I learned in Sunday School as a kid. I have always pictured four friends carrying their buddy off to see Jesus, but the text actually says, “Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.” This was a lucky man to have friends that cared so much.

If you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter,

you have seen that I have been encouraging people to do something meaningful to change the world. This falls into that category. When was the last time you prayed for a friend to find Jesus? Most of us have a list of those who we know that need to have a face-to-face with Jesus but they are paralyzed and can’t get to Him. Are you willing to risk some bloody hands and knees to change their lives? It was because of the friends’ faith the man was forgiven and ultimately healed. Don’t waste any more time. Get the stretcher and haul your friends to Jesus.

“Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’”

Mark 2:3-5 NIV


Who do you know of that took the time to bring you to Jesus?

I have a list of the ones I suspect were instrumental in getting me into Jesus’ presence. I have been thanking them when I can for their faithfulness to changing the world for this once rebellious and unruly teenager. If anyone needed a good scrubbing, I did.

Check out this post about the benefits of showing gratitude—Navigating Customs: Give Thanks

 


 

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Counting the Days

Number Our Days Meme

An end to another decade.

The birthday that is on the horizon will be my sixtieth. It seemed so old when I was younger. Yet now, at this perspective not old at all. Life has been long and short at the same time. I raised adults, buried parents, and greeted grandchildren. I have enjoyed celebrations and grieved disasters side-by-side. The years have brought with them a knowing that life is too short to hold all its lessons in a simple annual counting. We must number our days.

On my birthday, I will have lived 21,900 days. If I live to the age of the last three generations of women before me, I have a mere 7,300 days left. That’s it. What I do with these days invokes within me a feeling of urgency. I want them to count.

So here’s the thing I have learned from the other 21,900—I cannot live well without God’s influence in my life. In fact, if each of us embraced God and lived well, encouraging others to do the same, much if not all that is wrong in the world would simply disappear. The world would be changed for the good. But it will take all of us.

This is where the moans of, “I can never make enough of a difference,” begin to be heard and precious moments are lost on self-focus and chants of “Woe is me”.

Stop with the excuses.

Make your days count.

I know that embracing God for yourself is easy, but when it comes to telling others about how they can do the same, well. . .it can be a bit intimidating. Don’t let that stop you. This is really good news and you need to share it. Here, let me go first—


With all the crappiness going on in the world around us, I think there is a solution that maybe we have overlooked. It’s Jesus. You know the guy. He lived and died to give us the option of living life a better way. He is not only the answer to improving our lives and our family’s lives, but the whole world as well.

You may be thinking (at least that’s my hope), “This is really good news, but how can I get in on this better way?”

It’s a simple shift of direction—away from the path you are on to one that follows Jesus. Let me tell you how it has changed my life. . .


So that’s it. It’s all you have to share when called upon to influence others. Not too intimidating and very doable. Use your own words and stories.

If your friends want more, point them to the Bible. That’s where you find Jesus’ story and how people were affected by His life and teaching. We can know why He came, how He lived, and what He valued. And we will read how He died to make things right between us and God, and how He has gone on to prepare a place for us in heaven. The Bible reveals these things and more, like how He did it all out of love for us.

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us. . .”

1 John 3:16 ESV

World change will come from each of us living each day in a way that celebrates the life and death of Jesus. The people around us will see, and hopefully hear from us how our lives are better because we follow Jesus. Why wouldn’t they want in on something that will change the world?

Make your days count.

Tell others about Jesus.

(I just did. You can to.)

Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. … Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us;  yes, establish the work of our hands!

Psalm 90:14, 16-17

 

For Goodness Sake

 . . . make every effort to add to your faith, goodness. . .

2 Peter 1:5

goodness – the state of being good – pure, moral, conscientious, meritorious, worthy, exemplary, upright, beneficial, having admirable, pleasing qualities


Danny, the leader of the Hands of Mercy building project, teared up as he stood watching his team congratulating the little family on their new home. Handshakes, hugs and comments on the success of the day passed throughout the group. Although dinner was waiting, no one wanted to break the moment.  It had been a good day.

I am so glad I was there to witness this life changing event for a young mother and her children.    At the end of the day, theirs were not the only lives that were altered. A team of twenty individuals had answered the call to do something good and this would have a lasting effect on them as well.  That is the way of things when you put your faith into action by practicing what is good.

The word goodness from the focus verse in 2 Peter, is the Greek word areta which means: moral excellence; a virtuous course of thought, feeling or action. This step of adding goodness to our faith is a strategic one. Now that we have put our faith in God, aligning ourselves with him, Peter says, “Add goodness.”  It makes sense that we would follow God in his ways by choosing to do what he does- do good.  It was his own goodness, after all, that has called us out of a life of “corruption. . .caused by evil desires” and “has given us everything we need for a godly life.” 2 Peter 1:4

Romans 12 gives a Goodness Plan for our lives, calling us to become “a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. . .” by being “transformed by the renewing of our minds.” It gives us a way of seeing things differently by thinking and acting in a way that is good. And in this way, we are “not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

That, my friends, points to a major reason to add goodness to our faith – It overcomes evil. Goodness is something definitely needed when it comes to living a godly life. It also allows us to participate in the divine nature which gives us a deeper knowledge of who God is.

The challenge set before us is to continually choose good in everything we do. We not only will be changed by doing good, but it also has a way of affecting others in the most positive way while bringing attention and glory to the Father. So, for His sake choose goodness.

God’s definition of doing good –

     “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think on such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me–put into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.”

Philippians 4:8-9

            ”You are the light of the world…let your light shine among others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify the Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16


Hands of Mercy

            Hands of Mercy, a non-profit based in Redlands, California, whose mission is to strengthen the Body of Christ by discipling families and individuals of all ages to love others in tangible ways through building loft houses. A loft house is prefabricated in church parking lots in the US then assembled in Mexico. Though not luxurious by any definition, a loft house gives some basic protection and shelter from the elements. A loft house is a 12-foot by 12-foot structure with 4 windows, a lockable door and a second story attic loft for sleeping that is reached by interior stairs. The kit-house consists of prefabbed panels made from simple building materials, widely available at most home improvement warehouses: 2x4s, 2x6s, plywood and tar paper roofing. The house has a raised wooden floor, covered with linoleum, built on concrete piers. This speeds construction time by eliminating extra days to pour and cure a cement slab. Work teams can build loft houses on land that would not be suitable for slab construction. For about $4,500.00, these homes exhibit a visible testimony to the love of Jesus to the new home owners and their entire community.

Hands of Mercy Loft House

Hands of Mercy Loft House

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us.

We should also lay down our lives for our brothers.

1 John 3:16