Article : Cleaning the Clutter

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Article:  Cleaning the Clutter

A few years back, I heard Pam Tebow, mother of the famed quarter back and now baseball player Tim Tebow, speaking at an event.  “What’s Your Mission?” she asked.  She explained that if you’re a mom with young children, your mission is to be a mom.  It’s an important role.  There is great value in it.

I would add, if you’re a wife and mom, then your #1 mission is to be a wife and mom!  But, we know that women are multi-faceted and great at multi-tasking.  Sometimes God puts something else on our hearts to do; other ways to serve Him – maybe in a job or area of ministry.

For me, I’d say my “purpose” is to encourage all people to read their Bibles and pray daily.  I’m trying to weigh out every opportunity that comes my way and see if it falls under that umbrella.  If not, it could be an idol.  I may be putting it ahead of God’s will for me.

I have not yet read Lysa Terkheurst’s book, The Best Yes, but if it’s about what its name suggests, then I think I “get” it.  I need to decide what to put my time into.  If I’m not investing in my family or in my purpose, I may just be hoarding a bunch of clutter that needs to be chunked.

Spring officially ended seventeen days ago, but it’s not too late to do a little spring cleaning of your schedule.  Get In His presence daily with Bible reading and prayer and listen carefully to what He wants you to do.  Then, make sure you do it to the best of your ability without letting other things steal your energy and talents.  Shoot for what I call “Chic fil A” quality.  And believe me, you’ll be saying, “My pleasure,” when you hear God say, “Well done.”

Article: You are a Part of God’s Story

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You are a Part of God’s Story

Think about your favorite book.  Who wrote it?  God wrote a book too.  It’s the Bible, of course.  But, I believe what we have on earth is only part of the much bigger book God’s written and keeps in heaven.

His book contains the stories of Noah, Samson and David, just like our copies.  But, I believe His expanded copy also contains the story of the random soldier in Gideon’s army, Jesus’ neighborhood friend, and the girl sitting in the back at the church where Paul preached.  And, I believe your story is in His Book too.

In fact, since Jesus hasn’t come back yet, our stories would fall somewhere before what Revelation describes as the end of the Book.  I believe your story has already been written, beginning to end.

In Genesis 15:13-16, God told Abram about the Israelites becoming slaves in Egypt. He told him they’d come out with great possession.  He further told Abram he would live to a ripe old age and die in peace.  That’s exactly what happened.  The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and after the plagues, Pharaoh allowed Moses to lead them out and the Egyptians gave them silver, gold and clothing as they left.  (Exodus 12:35-36)  The story had already been written and God told it to Abram long before it happened.

God’s written your story too.  As each page in your part of the story turns, more details are revealed – even the bad things He allows for purposes only known to the author.  It’s a story scripted with a good future and full of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

You Can Edit Your Story

When an author finishes a manuscript, he or she sends it to an editor.  It’s the editor’s job to make the story the best it can be.  The editor talks with the author often and asks lots of questions like, “What did you mean here?” or “Is this what you intended?” or “What should I do with this part that doesn’t make sense?”

What if an editor received the manuscript from the author and then decided he was not going to consult the author and instead began to make changes and do things his own way – scratching out the parts he didn’t like and adding what he wanted it to say?  The book would turn out nothing like the author intended!

In Genesis 12:8-20, Abram was in Canaan.  This was the land of Promise.  (Genesis 12:7) When there was a famine, Abram decided to move his family to Egypt.  Just before entering, he told Sarai they are going to tell everybody she’s his sister (not wife).

It appears that Abram had edited his story.  But, God still loved him.  God sent plagues to protect Sarai.  Pharoah realized what was going on and sent them on their way.  In Genesis 13:1-4, Abram winds up right back where he was at the beginning; to the “place of the altar which he had made there at first.”

We can be editors in our own stories.  We can make our story lines better or worse.  In order to make them better, we must first talk to the author often.  We must ask questions like, “What did you mean here?” or “Is this Your will?” or “What should I do with this part that doesn’t make sense to me?”  God limits His power and allows us to participate in our own storyline through prayer!

Second, you can also find out more about the author.  Read the story written by Him – the Bible.  There are some things all the characters in His story should know; promises for all of them; instructions for what they should do, etc.

The third thing you can do as an editor in your own story is to hang around Christian friends. J.R.R. Tolkein and C.S. Lewis, two amazing authors of The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia respectfully, were friends.  They would meet together regularly and read each other’s stories, making suggestions.  They would encourage each other.  If part of the story didn’t seem right, they would advise each other.  Christian friends can do the same.  They can encourage you and advise you when something in your story isn’t quite right.

Why Write the Book?

It’s interesting to find out why famous authors wrote their books.  For example, Roald Dahl wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  because he went to a boarding school that happened to be next door to a chocolate factory.  The school children were the taste testers.  Dahl always dreamed of creating a new candy, so he wrote a book about it!

Have you ever wondered why God wrote the Bible?

The Bible includes many genres such as self help, romance, fiction (parables), crime, poetry, architecture (ark and tabernacle), humor, adventure, etc.  But, I’d describe this Book as a love story.

It’s the greatest story ever written and instead of beginning with, “Once Upon a Time,” it begins like this…

“In the beginning…”

The author wrote into the story that the wage of sin is death.  That’s part of the story – in black and white.   The Protagonist in the story created a beautiful place.  Like all good stories, there’s an antagonist – a bad guy.  And then, people were created.  And the bad guy tricked the people and they chose to listen to him.  But, the Protagonist loved them still.  Later in the story, many more people are introduced into the storyline, and they chose to listen to the bad guy too.  But, the Protagonist pursued them.  The author wrote about a character named Noah, who built an ark and a remnant of the people were saved.  The people resisted the bad guy for a while.  Then, they chose to do wrong things again.  And on and on the story goes.  Until…

The author introduces a Main Character.  Actually, He had introduced Him before at the beginning, but it was brief many reading the story miss it.  “Let Us make man in Our image.”

He is the Hero.  He is introduced to solve the problem – that the people are condemned to die.  He takes their place by dying on the cross for all the people – past, present and future.  In a climactic event, three days later, He rises from the dead and moves to live with the Protagonist.  A new Character is introduced who stays with the people and helps them. (Holy Spirit)

In the next part of the book, the Author included letters.  People wrote about what they saw or heard the Main Character do.

In the final chapters of the Book, the Main Character returns.  He grabs the bad guy by the collar, so to speak, and throws him into a pit, forever!

And the people live happily ever after for eternity.

This story has a happy ending for every one of the people who is a Christian.  But, for those who are not, the story does not end happily.  You see, some people will live in hell with the bad guy.  It will be a terrible ending.

If you want to make sure you are among the people written into the story who experience the happy ending, you can find out more about that below.

 

How to become a Christian:

God loved the people He created and even wrote into the story a Main Character named Jesus to pay the wage for sin.  One line in the story says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)  Another line reads, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 8:28)  Still another line says, “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   That new Character introduced is the Holy Spirit.  He will help you realize that you are sinner.  If you want to turn from your sin and you believe that God sent Jesus who died and rose again and paid that wage for your sin, you can pray and ask God to save you and give you a happy ending.

 

(I shared this at Camp last week and wanted to share it with you here.)