Thursday, July 23, 2009

lovely hands

I admire the woman who not only works hard, but manages to put effort into making herself groomed and lovely as well! My great-grandmother was that sort of woman. To most people she probably looked like she never worked a day in her life, for she always appeared well-kept, polished, and classy; however, those manicured hands often held a scrubrush, dishrag, broom, and skillet.

Here's a manicure that'll get those hands lovely in no time!

The loveliest hands are the ones reaching out to serve.


Monday, July 20, 2009

dirty hands

The southern country is home to beauty, rich history, values, and good, hard-working people. One can't afford to mar their reputation, for a good name is valued above great riches here. Once lost, it seldom can be redeemed. Actions indeed speak louder than the most eloquent speech. These people look at the fruit of a tree to determine it's character. So what could they mean when they say something like, "Dirty hands account for a clean heart"?

There is something about simple, down-to-it, hard work that has a soul-cleansing effect. With my sister soon to be having a baby any day now, I have come to stay with her on her farm to help out with everyday duties while her husband is overseas. If anybody has an excuse to lay around and do a lot of nothing, she has. Despite that, she has been doing everything she can to get things together for her husband's return: scrubbing walls, vacuuming out vehicles, organizing shelves, you name it! She pulls me into her little schemes, and together we get it done.

Hard work, the kind that requires you to press past the feelings of the outward man (the flesh), the kind that brings on real sweat, the kind that you do because it needs to be done (not because there is necessarily some reward or benefit), is the kind that produces the strengthening of character, restful sleep, and a clean conscience, because it causes you to deny yourself- Score! One more point for the inner man! :D

In Ecclesiastes 4:5 we read, “Fools fold their idle hands, leading them to ruin.” I think that complements are southern saying pretty well. So dirty hands, in the case of our saying, means hard-working hands. A hard working person doesn't have much time to get into trouble, and works honestly for what he has. Also in this case, clean hands figuratively (and literally sometimes) can be a sign of idleness. They may look nice on the outside, but what do they say about those who possess them? So risk breaking a nail, and go get those hands dirty, girl!

Need motivation? Check out Colossians 3:23, "And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men;." Need fuel? The joy of the Lord is your strength! (Neh. 8:10)


Sunday, July 12, 2009

what's it all about, really?

I don't know about you, but there are many a times when I find myself getting caught up in little scrapes and bruises and totally ignoring the bigger picture- like a life-threatening disease! It's called nit-picking; worrying about things that don't really matter in the long hall or, over time, learning, and growing, will work themselves out. Worrying so much about the nitty-gritty surface is a sure way to get yourself into joy-stealing legalism, and sadly, I have been there.

I visited a good 'ol Baptist church in the rural south today, and was so refreshed by a preacher who spoke with the accent of a farmer, but with the authority of a representative of Christ Himself. Before he began to share, he made it clear that he was a nobody, that his only boast was in Christ, who had radically changed his life.

His sermon was simple, to the point, and easy to understand. He spoke about grace- the saving kind. He talked about a real repentance- the kind that brings about restoration. He spoke about redemption, the life changing kind. The kind that gives you so much joy that you can't contain it, and that causes you to not care if you make a fool out of yourself for Christ's sake. The kind that makes a visible impact and change, not only in your heart, but in your lifestyle. That's the Gospel I know! That's the experience I remember!

I remember the joy, the growing experience I had in the Lord, the way He took away all my bitterness, insecurity, and desire for sin. I was so blessed to have someone from the outside notice what a change I had. He told me how different I now was, and what a wonderful transformation I had made! I went from an obviously insecure, sad, hurt, and even depressed state, to joyful, loving, bright, cheerful, and glowing with hope state! And that, friends, is a more powerful testimony than sharing all the facts, why's, and details of what Christ did. Those things are important, but what opens a heart to accept it? It's seeing something in a person who knows the Lord, something that person wants. You may call it a glow. A glow that comes from being free of guilt and shame by the precious blood of Christ, and having that hope of eternity with Him. Praise God!

Close to when I first came to know the Lord, I was so on fire and in love with Him! He was all I could think about. At that time I served as a waitress in my family's southern homestyle restaurant. A Mennonite couple came to eat one night close to closing time, and at one point, believe it or not, I found myself sitting at their table chatting away. We discussed everything from their marriage to God. The Mennonite man told me something I will never forget. He said, "I noticed something about you, and it's something no amount of makeup can create." What was he talking about? He saw Christ in me! It was that glow. Some people don't even have to say anything, and it seems like you just know that they walk with the Lord.

All of that is to say, let's not nit-pick people. Especially those who don't know the Lord. The scrapes and bruises I was talking about was a sinful lifestyle, and the life-threatening disease was that of a heart unreconciled with Christ, headed for eternal separation from God in a lake of fire. Be a vessel to heal the disease first, by leading them to the soul-mending Physician, and then let Him worry about those scrapes and bruises.

Get your glow on! Spend time with the Savior who loves you so much, and just let it shine!


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