Use What You Got!

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Every year, usually around Spring or Summer time, I start to desire change.  I tend to get bored with what I have and want something new.  Sometimes that includes things such as changing my hairstyle or hair color, new paint colors on the walls in my home or something as simple as a just buying a few new outfits.  This year, I decided that I wanted to switch things up a bit in my living room.  Nothing too extreme, just exchanging existing furniture pieces for new ones – and so the shopping began.

I immediately visited one of my favorite furniture websites in search of new end tables for my living room.  I found a few options that I liked and was trying to determine which set I wanted to purchase.  It was hard to decide, as they were all so nice.  I was trying to imagine what new end tables would look like in the room, and it was a little difficult.  You see my existing pieces were not end tables at all. They were cabinets and each a different size and shape, so it was hard to imagine something completely new in that space. Suddenly, I remembered that I had end tables in my guestroom and thought they were probably the right height, so I could at least get an idea of what the new tables would look like before ordering them.  So, I brought them down and put one on either side of the couch.  Voila!  They were perfect!  In fact, they looked so good that I started to question whether or not I even needed to purchase new tables at all.  I mean, yes, I would be taking them from the guest room (which was hardly ever used anyway), and yes, that would leave that space empty, but they looked great in the living room.  I stood back and even took a picture with my phone and couldn’t believe how wonderful they looked in the room.  It made the space look a lot bigger than what it is and the color and style of the tables was perfect for the room.  Not to mention, I saved myself $400, which was the price of the new tables that I planned on purchasing.

Shortly after putting the tables into place and getting them cleaned up and decorated, I posted the old pieces of furniture for sale on Craigslist.  A young couple, who had just moved into their first apartment came by a few days later and picked them up.  Yay!  Everyone wins!

As I thought about this experience, I heard God say something to me, “Use what you got.”  He began to show me that I had those end tables for years and all they did was collect dust in the guest room.   I never even considered bringing them down to the living room, but when I did, what a difference it made.  Not only to me, my home and my family, but it also benefited the couple who was able to find cute affordable furniture for their first apartment.

I wondered how many people already have what they need and don’t even know it.

Many of us are praying for something, not realizing that we already possess the answer. We ask God for answers and solutions to our problems, but many times, God has already supplied us with what we need, we just aren’t using it.  In fact, we may not even realize it’s there. So many times we believe that we need something NEW, when really we just need to use what we already have – possibly in a new way!

My guest room tables were collecting dust for years, ignored and unused. What a waste!  Those tables didn’t look nearly as good in the guestroom as they do in the living room.  In fact they were a little too large for the bedroom, but in the living room they were the perfect size.  Now they have new purpose.

What is it that you need?  What is it that you have been praying for?  Is there something that you have been asking God to give you, send you, or provide for you?  Is it possible that you already have what you need?

I am not only referring to furniture pieces and our other belongings (although that may be the case for you as well), but also the hidden things – the strengths,  gifts, talents, and abilities that we have on the inside of us that remain dormant and underutilized.

What is it that you already have, but are not using?  Or what do you already have that may need to be re-purposed and used in a new way?  Maybe the answer to your prayer or problem is sitting somewhere collecting dust.  Go get it and put it to use!

Just a little reminder that our answers aren’t always found in something new.  Survey what you already have, and who knows, you may be surprised to find that you had what you needed all along!

Love,

Melissa

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Pre-cleaning Not Required

 

Ah….the dentist.  The guy so many of us love to hate.  I actually don’t mind going to the dentist for teeth cleaning appointments. Our family actually had our bi-annual cleaning appointment recently. Before we left the house, I brushed and flossed my teeth like I always do.  When my husband saw me brushing, he looked at me with a very puzzled expression.  He asked me why I was cleaning my teeth. He continued to say, “Isn’t that the reason we are going to the dentist?” I laughed.  He was right!  Why was I cleaning my teeth right before I was going to get my teeth cleaned?! I never really thought about it before, but when I did, it seemed totally ridiculous. I guess my reason was that I was somewhat ashamed for my dentist to see me with dirty teeth. Since his specialty is teeth I always want him to see mine in their best condition – cleaned, flossed and freshly rinsed with mouth wash. I feel a little embarrassed admitting this to everyone, but it’s the truth. 

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this is similar to what many of us do when it comes to God.

Have you ever met someone who says that they aren’t clean enough or good enough to come to Christ?  I have. I have witnessed to and invited several people to church that have told me they are not ready. Many people say that they have ‘work to do on themselves’, or that they have to ‘get things in order’ before they can approach God or have a relationship with Him. Some people have even told me that they won’t even enter a church building until their ‘lives are right’ out of fear that something bad would happen. I get the sense that most people feel this need to clean themselves up before having a relationship with God. I’m not sure where this idea comes from, but it is not true. In fact, it is quite the opposite – we go to God to get clean! 

Many people don’t realize or they forget that God created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.  He sees everything that we do, think and feel whether we acknowledge Him or not. Avoiding Him doesn’t help us at all. God knows just how imperfect we are and loves us still – unconditionally. He knows our hearts and our deepest thoughts. He knows our flaws, failures and insecurities better than we know them. He desires to have a relationship with us anyway. More than that, He wants us to trust Him.  He does not expect us to clean ourselves up before we come to Him.  He doesn’t want us to fix ourselves before getting to know Him. In fact, we are actually powerless to do so. God, is the only One who can change us completely.  We can try (kind of like me trying to clean my teeth ahead of time), but our ways do not work.  Sure we may be able to make ourselves look pretty on the outside, but God sees past the outer appearance to the deep places of our soul.  We may even be able to change certain behaviors with a little discipline, but that doesn’t deal with the root of the problem – sin.

When I brush my teeth, I am able to get some of the dirt off and my teeth may look a little nicer, however, there are things that I am unable to see, such as plaque, tartar, cavities or worse! It takes a specialist to thoroughly clean my teeth and repair these things by using his special tools and wisdom. In the same way, God is the only One who is qualified to remove our sin, clean us up and deal properly with the deep issues of our heart.  He is THE EXPERT!

Even when I do my very best to clean my teeth before my dental appointments, my dentist always seems to notice something – usually something that I am trying to hide.  At every visit, it never fails, he’ll ask about my coffee consumption. Ugh!  I sit there hoping that I’ve done good enough job cleaning so he doesn’t notice, but he does, because that’s his job.  Do I need to feel ashamed and hide this from my dentist?  No. Seems a little silly doesn’t it? 

It is the same way with God. He sees everything that we would like to hide from him.  He wants us to come to Him, so He can help us. We do not need to attempt to clean ourselves up before having a relationship with Him.  The whole purpose of Christ’s visit to Earth was to do the work that we couldn’t do ourselves.  Once we accept that – God does the rest! 

I know that God can be intimidating.  After all, He is holy.  Do you know what else?  He is love.  He loves us so much and invites us to simply come.  Come to Him as you are.  Come with all of your stains. Come with all of your imperfections, your mistakes, your shortcomings and your baggage.  He wants to do an amazing work in us if we’ll let Him.  He just wants YOU! 

For those who feel unworthy, ashamed or just too messed up to come to God – come anyway!  Stop trying to fix yourselves on your own, and give it all over to the One who cares for you and longs to make you a new creation. Come to God and be healed. Be changed. Be clean.  Be free! The first step is to accept God’s Son, Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Allow Him into your heart and spirit.  I promise that He will do such an awesome work in you – something beyond what you can imagine. 

Maybe you already know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, but have not allowed Him to reign in a certain area of your life. Maybe there is something in your life that you have been trying to manage, fix or clean up on your own. Stop!  Stop trying to fix [by yourself] what can only be fixed by the Expert. Give it over to the One who can truly help you. Run to His throne of grace and allow Him to do what only He can!  

So please remember that while some things in life may require some prepping, pre-cleaning or pre-treating, it is not so with God.  We can come just as we are – no matter how dirty.  

I hope that you find this little word encouraging today.  

Isaiah 1:18 ~ “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
2 Corinthians 5:17 ~ Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Love,

Melissa

ISMS

So many people have chosen to dismiss what God says about matters and have adopted this “free spirit” philosophy that says, “I will choose my own way”.  It has always been around since the beginning of time, but it seems to have become very trendy these days. Ecclesiastes 1:9 ~ ….there is nothing new under the sun.

We hear phrases like “I have my own spirituality” all of the time.  What exactly does that mean?  I believe it means that a person has decided that they are not going to listen to what God says, but instead do what they want to do; what “feels right” to them.  They refuse to believe the truth, because it does not fit in with their lifestyle.  They refuse to accept God’s ways, because it is not convenient for them.  The truth of the matter is….it is simply idolatry.

God is holy.  The Bible talks about God’s holiness many times, and even says that God is holy, holy, holy (now that is holy!).  There is no other word in the Bible that describes God three times (Isaiah 6:3, Revelation 4:8).  God is love, but the Bible never says that He is love, love, love.  God is just, but it doesn’t mention Him being just, just, just.  Holiness is God’s prime (or first) attribute.  He is holy first, before anything else.  Holy means perfect.  This means that God is perfect, as are His ways.  This also means that His standard is perfect.  By you saying that you will not do things God’s way, but instead, come up with your own beliefs, you are basically setting yourself up as god.  You are saying that “your ways” are better than God’s ways.

Isaiah 55:9 ~ “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts”

Exodus 20:3 ~ “ You shall have no other gods before Me”

Another common phrase I hear these days is “I don’t do organized religion”.  Whatever that means!  This is another way of saying that they choose not to go to church or follow any rules other than the ones they set for themselves.  Hey, I am all for not conforming to the world, and not doing things just because everyone else does.  I am also not a fan of ‘religion’, but I have found this to be just a cop-out or a way for people to try to excuse the fact that they are not living the way God called us to.

This sort of lifestyle and state of mind has many names (disobedient, rebellious, self-centered), but I like to call this the ‘ISM’ way of thinking .  This applies to people who have decided that God and His Word are really of no importance and that it is up to all of us (as humans) to find our “own truth”.  Most of the time, these people have taken bits and pieces of other ‘religions’ (the things they like of course) and then mix a bit of their own ideas in and there you have it…they’ve made their very own ISM.  I usually like to add their name to the front of ISM, for example if your name is Bob, it would be “Bobism”.

One example that I think everyone will recognize is Oprah Winfrey and her “Oprahism”.  It is probably one of the most popular beliefs out there.  She has collected ideas that she likes about different belief systems over the past 25 years, and disregarded the things she doesn’t like in order to create her own religion.  She also has many followers too.  Now, I don’t have anything against Oprah personally.  I think she is very bright, funny, generous and super successful.  I do however, disagree with her philosophies and get saddened by the fact that she has influenced so many people with wrong teaching(s) over the years.  She has promoted a variety of people, books and beliefs that DO NOT line up with the Word of God.  And that’s a fact.

Which brings me back to this whole idea of each of us having our “own truth”.  That phrase doesn’t make any sense.  Truth is truth.  There is only one truth, there cannot be many truths.  A matter is either true or false, it can not be both.  And what happens when you have several people claiming the truth, and those “truths” contradict each other.  What then?

John 14:6 ~ Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me”

The fact of the matter is we are all pretty creative human beings (because we have an awesome Creator), and could come up with our own ISMS if we wanted to.  However, God has given us the TRUTH, or in other words the RIGHT (and best) ANSWER.  There is no need for us to try to come up with our own ideas about God and ‘spirituality’.  Trying to create our own ISM is similar to a 4-year-old choosing their own meals.  The meals would probably consist of chocolate milk, ice cream, cookies, mac n cheese, candy and pizza.  All the stuff they like, and that tastes good.  However, if they did so, they would end up sick in no time.  Which is why it is our job as parents to choose meals for our children. We know what is best for them; for their health now and in the future.  We love them and want them at their best.

God works the same way.  He loves us and has created the right answer for our lives, to include the plan for salvation.  God never intended us to be ‘religious’.  It is not about being a part of a ‘religion’.  It is about having a personal relationship with God.  He tells us, just as a loving parent tells their children, what is best for us.  He lets us know how to stay out of harms way.  The key is to LISTEN to Him.

What ISMS have you created in your own life?  Are you ready to lay them down and seek the ONE who has the answer that you’ve been looking for?

Contact me if you are interested in learning how to do so.
melissasbeehive@yahoo.com