From Broken to Set-Apart

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When I began meal planning, I bought an awesome set of 32oz BPA-Free deli containers to store freezer meals in. Initially, I made them peel-off labels with contents and dates. After several months, the novelty wore off, and my inattentive-type ADD declared my labeling system was too complicated. I surrendered to my weak flesh and fell into just shoving the leftovers in the freezer without labels. When not labeling stored food led to irritating problems, I got out my Sharpie and wrote on one tub, thinking it’d be permanent. To my delight, it washed off, after all. Victory, an efficient labeling system that accommodates ADD! (Note: using a Sharpie is the right way to label leftovers. I had made it too complicated.)

Anyway, awhile back, I bought a new dish drying rack that lacked a silverware compartment. I missed that feature and decided to make a silverware drying tub. So I took one of my deli containers and poked holes in the bottom with a sharp knife, pictured above. Presto, the wet silverware goes in, and the water drains out the bottom.

Recently, the Holy Spirit nudged me about that tub. If it could think, it would conclude it is broken and useless, but it isn’t. It’s been set apart by its owner for a specific purpose.

Of course, we’re not really talking about my hacked deli container. When we have a condition like ADD, we feel broken and may even fear we’re useless. But God uses our brokenness to set us apart for him.

Quick caveat—I have put other deli containers to use as tools to organize my kitchen stuff. I have pierced none of my kitchen stuff holders. Yet they are just as set apart. You don’t have to be “broken” to be separated to God for a specific purpose.

Still, our brokenness is useful to God. If we seek to stop surrendering to it and let God use it to teach us to depend on his power. As 2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV) says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

[tweetthis]“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2Cor.12:10 [/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]Feeling broken and useless? Be encouraged. God can use our brokenness to set us apart for him.[/tweetthis]

[tweetthis]From Broken to #SetApart: What a Christian homemaker with #ADD learned from a deli container.[/tweetthis]


Affiliate links are included for your convenience, in case my enthusiasm for these nifty tubs is contagious.

Confessions of a wimp

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Hi, my name is Andrea, and I am a wimp. So many people suffer so much worse than me, with bravery, faith, courage, hardly even seen them cry. Yet a little back pain and I want to rush straight to Heaven. A little pain in the ribs, where a deep breath hurts, and I succumb to tears, let it interfere with my work, keep me from accomplishing everything I should’ve done today.

Whining, grumpy, snappy, all things we should never be. A little pain in the flesh and the fruits we should show–love, peace, joy, kindness, self-control–they seem to evaporate. It shouldn’t be. I should be stronger than this.

Forgive me, God. Forgive me, brothers and sisters. Everyone deserves better from me than what I’ve been today. Lord, help me to endure. Help me not to invert, focused on self and the silly, insignificant hurt of my day. Help me to be there for others who are going through so much worse, to patiently understand, to listen, be there for them. Help me to continue the work you’ve called me to, no matter what.

I pray I’d seek you and walk according to the spirit, not the flesh. Help me to be there for others in need. Show me what you’d have to do. Lead me. Give me the strength to bear up. To not let anything stop me. I am weak, Lord. You are strong. Grant me wisdom, to know to do. Faith, to walk in the way I should, even when it’s dark. Love, to put others first, even when the flesh is weak and hurting yet overpowering my soul. Change me, God. Make me better than this. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

The God who Sees me, Strengthens me

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27 Jacob, why do you say, and Israel, why do you assert: “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my claim is ignored by my God”? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. 29 He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. (Today’s Reading is from Isaiah 40, HCSB)

At times, it feels like we are all alone and that no one sees our ways and what we’re doing, that there is no justice if we are wronged and no consequence if we cut corners ourselves. Here we are both comforted and warned that God is an everlasting God. He is great and mighty and he created and rules the whole Earth. No corner of it is beyond his reach or his authority. His understanding is unlimited–he sees all, he knows all. He sees the whole picture. He never grows faint and weary, he never falls asleep on the job.

We may not understand why God allows suffering, we may be tired and in pain, men may not do justice on this Earth, but God will in eternity, and he stands ready to strengthen the weary and the powerless to go on and to do right. No matter where we are or what is going on, He is on the job and ready to provide what we need to make it through the day.

Lord, we thank you for being so awesome. Strengthen us this day to believe you are what  you say in your word. Increase our trust in you. I pray we would remember in the hour of temptation that you are watching and you do see and that you are there to give us what we need to stay the course in you. Open our minds, to understand more of reality and see a bit more clearly, as you do.  Imprint your image on our hearts and transform our thinking to be more like yours. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Feeling Defeated? Rest in the Conquering King

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“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Troubled? Christ tells us we can turn to his speech in John 14-16 any time and receive comfort and peace from knowing the Father himself loves us and that someday he will bring us out of our present sorrow and deliver us to joy. He promises us hardship and trouble and travail in this life and that the unbelieving world will hate us if we are truly walking with Him, and has indeed often killed the saints, and many do so thinking they do God service as Jesus said.

But we are to take heart: he has overcome the world. Victory is secured for us. Keep holding the line, keep walking the walk. Stay the course. The battle rages on, but no matter what its outcome, the war is already won.  Let us abide in Christ and rest in Him. Let him fight the battle. Trust and obey him. He’s the conquering king and his enemies are defeated and routed, including the sin or the fallen condition you are struggling with, and even the great enemy, death itself, has been mortally wounded and will be only a distant memory sooner than it seems as we struggle in this life.

Turn your eyes to Christ’s cross and His empty grave and be encouraged, brothers and sisters. It is finished. God has prevailed and He will prevail in your life if you do not lose heart and desert him for his already defeated foe. So put away doubting, put away your own understanding, and trust in Him today.  Give to him any weight that hinders you from trusting him, be it sorrow, be it hurt, be it anger, be it the trust others have broken, and any nay-saying voice, be it real or imagined.  Confess it, express it, but release it into His victorious hands.

 

What Weights Keep You From Running Well?

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“ Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1)

This verse refers back to Hebrews 11 and the “hall of faith,” which commends the saints who persevered and fulfilled God’s calling on their lives despite adversity and without seeing any sign of the promise being fulfilled in their lifetimes. Now Hebrews 12 depicts them as spectators to ancient Olympic games, all past winners who ran the race and finished well, who now are in the stands cheering us on as we shoot out from the starting line or struggle to keep going as we reach the dead stretch where we’re exhausted and tempted to give up and quit.

Here we are encouraged to take inspiration from them and their testimonies, seek and lean on faith and strength given to us from God, and keep going. It also urges us to identify everything clinging to us that weighs us down, tires us out, and keeps us from being everything and doing everything God called us to do. It appears to point out that not all of these “weights” are sins and hence specifically forbidden by scripture for all runners in the race. Some of them might well be things that would be neutral or even beneficial to other runners in the grand mystery of the diversity of God’s creation.

Let us each be attentive to God’s spirit and seek discernment from him. Lord, we thank you for the testimonies of the saints who have followed you before us. Strengthen us today, that we might also run well and finish the race. Open our ears to hear your voice, show us what hinders us specifically and grant us the will to obey your conviction of our hearts and cast off everything that keeps us from a closer relationship with you and hinders us from being the godly, holy person you created us to be, and which keeps us from fulfilling our calling. Change our hearts so we might love you more than what causes us to stumble. Check us also, Lord, from assuming what hinders us is wrong for everyone, where your word does not specifically forbid it. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.