The Tried and True God -- A Repost

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Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
— Isaiah 28:16

I can't tell you how many times I've read and heard that verse. To say that it's been at least one hundred would not be an exaggeration. But each time, I missed a vital part of the verse. I focused on the foundation and corner stone, and let me tell you, it's a blessing to know that my "house of faith" is built on a solid foundation--one that weathers the storms of life and hold secure no matter what. But in that focus, I overlooked another principle that is equally as wonderful--"a tried stone."

The word "tried" is defined as something that has proven effective or reliable before; tested and proved good, dependable, or trustworthy. Oh, yes! That's my God! He has proven Himself effective and reliable. His faithfulness and power have been tested countless times, and He has always shown Himself to be dependable and trustworthy. Just ask Daniel in the lion's den or the three Hebrew children in the flames. Ask Noah as the ark tossed about on the sea or Moses as he strolled through a different sea. Ask Jonah, who came out of the whale's belly or Lazarus, who came out of the grave. Pick a character within the pages of God's Word, and you're likely to hear a testimony of how God came through. That's just how He works in the lives of His children!

How I could have overlooked something so wonderful, I don't know, but I'm certainly glad God allowed me to catch it now. What a treasure to cling to when life has us down. God has been tested, tried and found faithful. He is tried and true, dependable to the end. And we can trust, without a doubt, that if He came through for His children back then (and we know He did), then He'll come through for us too. After all, God is not a respecter of persons. He doesn't play favorites. Furthermore, the Bible tells us that He never changes. So, if He was faithful yesterday, He'll be faithful today. And in that knowledge, we can rest easy and wait for God to prove Himself reliable once again.

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Mud Covers a Multitude of Sins

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We knew when we started this home renovation that one of the biggest tasks would be the ceilings. Before we got our new metal roof a few years back, we had an old, leaky roof that caused water damage to the ceilings throughout the house. The leaks were now gone, but the evidence of their previous presence remained.  

Additionally, our ceilings were done in a pattern. Think popcorn ceiling with more pizazz. The problem is this type of decor is seriously outdated. Buyers now want beautiful, smooth ceilings, which is why Jason has been slaving for several days to fill, sand, and paint the ceilings. They’re looking great, but it has taken a lot of work, especially in the water-damaged areas.  

Yes, these spots took some extra mud (which is like putty yet somehow different) and a lot of extra time and patience. Fortunately, my husband’s efforts have paid off, and onlookers can no longer tell that the ceilings were once damaged by water. They look like new. As Jason and I surveyed his latest work, he cleverly commented, “Yes, mud covers a multitude of sins.” Witty, isn’t he? His statement got me thinking, and my mind wandered to the source of his comment.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
— I Peter 4:8
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
— Proverbs 10:12

In the Hebrew language, the word “cover” carries with it the meaning of forgiveness. Just as the mud covered the faults and stains on the ceiling, so does our love cover the injustices or offenses done to us. We choose to let them be hidden. It doesn’t mean the deeds or words were right or that they didn’t hurt us, but instead of allowing ourselves to get angry or bitter, we choose instead to forgive. We place a covering over it and hide it. From ourselves. From the offender. And from any other onlookers. That’s just what love does.

I’ll admit, I struggle with this. When someone does me wrong, my natural tendency is not to cover it up but rather to blow it out of proportion. I make a big deal out of it and make sure others know how I’ve been hurt or offended. Sadly, forgiveness rarely enters the scene until the Lord has thoroughly convicted me about my poor reactions and prompted me to make things right. In the meantime, I’ve made a mess of things, and sometimes the mess cannot be cleaned up.

How much better off would it have been for me to forgive? By failing to do so, I only proved how incomplete my love truly is. And you do the same when you fail to allow love to cover up the faults of others. We’re not talking about a license to sin or to mistreat others. Let’s face it, we’re all human; therefore, we all make mistakes. Let’s recognize that the next time a fellow human messes up and give him or her the benefit of the doubt. In other words, let’s not sweat the small stuff. Instead, let’s cover it up and hide it away, never to be seen again. It’s better that way. . . just like our ceilings.

Keep, Give, or Toss

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I’m amazed at how much stuff Jason and I have accumulated over our lifetime. Even more so, I’m shocked at some of the junk I’ve uncovered while delving into the deep corners of our attic. Yes, as it is with so many attics, certain items have been up there since the day we moved into this house nearly nineteen years ago. Why, oh why, did we feel the need to keep so much stuff?

I’ve spent the past week going through the myriad of items in the attic, and I’ve uncovered everything from precious keepsakes to dead rodents (oh, how I wish I were making that up!). It’s been a process to decide what to do with everything. Some things are obvious, but others—not so much. So, day after day, I’ve waded through long, lost items and pondered, Keep, give, or toss?

Obviously, I long to keep things that have a purpose or sentimental value. Then, there are those items that I feel someone else may be able to use. Those, I place in boxes to pass on to family, friends, or even the local thrift store. Lastly, there are those things that need to be discarded. They no longer have a life or a purpose. Keep, give, toss—my motto for the past week or so.

But as I thought on it, I realized it’s an excellent motto to repeat to myself every single day of my life. Not just when dealing with a lifetime of possessions but also when dealing with a lifetime of—well—life. Let’s face it, over time, we all become weighed down by the “stuff” we’ve picked up along our journey. Some of it is good and has helped us in our walk. But some of it we would do well to give away or toss.  

The good things we’ve acquired in our journey may be salvation, relationships, skills, accomplishments, health, or a good job. They serve a purpose or have great value. We treasure them, and rightly so. These are the keepers.

The junk we’ve picked up in our life often includes pain, guilt, negative thinking, bad habits, bitterness, and a critical spirit. These things drag us down and wear us out. They steal our joy and peace, trip us up every step of the way, and create a dark place in our souls. The best thing to do is to throw it out. Cast it away. Junk it! It has no place in our lives, and it’s taking up the space that could be used for something positive and productive. Get rid of it.

The last category is the trickiest because it’s not quite as cut and dry as good or bad. It’s more a matter of good or best. Some things in our lives were good for us for a time, but as seasons changed, we changed too. Now, we no longer need those things, and it’s time to pass them on to someone else. Or, the thing that suited us for a time may have become a stumbling block to us, and the best thing for us to do is to give it over to God.  

As difficult as it is to sort through the stuff from my attic, I’ve found it’s even more challenging to sort through the things in my life, but it’s also more critical.  A junky attic is a mess, but a junky soul can be a menace. My friends, it’s time to do some sorting. I urge you to examine your life today—and every day—and determine what to keep, what to give away, and what to toss. You’ll be glad you did!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my boxes. Fun, fun!

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. . .A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
— Ecclesiastes 3:1,6