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What do I have to fear if You hold tomorrow? I trust You to turn me from wrong, to guide me through confusion and to provide all that I need. Help me, Lord, to set my heart on doing the next right thing. Ps. 66:20; Matthew 6:34; 1 Peter 4:19

Dirt in Your Face

With permission from Jorn Burger

“Benaiah’s eyes wouldn’t work – the Egyptian had thrown sand into them. He tried to shake off his surprise at how fast the giant moved, he knew he should have remembered from before.”

That was the first thing I read this morning¬† from “Day of War” by Cliff Graham.

Normally, I don’t grab my Kindle first thing in the morning, but I’m nearing the end of this book and I reached for it before I even got out of bed. It’s made me think a lot about battles and enemy tactics. The story fills me with courage and inspires me to be bold. But this morning it also illuminated the difference between what the world offers and what God desires me to have.

The enemy likes to throw dirt in your face. It’s your past sins and failures, or the failures of those around you. It’s your fears too. When thrown into your eyes it’s very effective for momentarily blinding you. Then your enemy can charge in for a deeper wound.

I wasn’t thinking about this on the way to drop off my daughter at her high school. We were talking and listening to the local Christian radio. Rachel Lampa was singing, “You Are My Remedy,” in between songs, the DJ was sharing verses of hope. We stopped and Hannah got out. “Have an great day, Hannah.” She turned and smiled. “I love you,” I said, “and I’m praying for you.”

“I love you too, Mom. Thanks.”

As I pulled away, I changed the station to a secular one. I like the music on this station, but a song had just ended. “Up next,” the DJ broke in, “get your daily dirt! Find out all the trash talk they are dishing out on your favorite celebs!”

I scoffed and switched back. Get your daily dirt here. Let me throw it in your face. Let me remind you there’s nothing grander to live for than to hope your doing better than the next idiot. Let me entertain you with the meaningless things of life and the stupidity of someone’s vain pursuits. Let me get your eyes off the battle. Let me help you forget God wants you to conquer. God wants you to win.

How sharp the contrast! The Scriptures offer so much hope. They constantly remind us there is more to live for. They constantly warn us to trust in God’s strength and not our own. To rely on Christ’s covering and not our feeble efforts. “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling,¬† the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18

What dirt is the enemy throwing in your face today?

The Accuser

“What are you thinking?” Dale asked.

He could tell I was thinking something because the drive had been mostly silent. And after 16 years of marriage, he knew the various rhythms of those silences. Exhausted quiet sounds much different from thoughtful quiet. And strained quiet is as loud as a cannon. For months, the cannon had been booming.

“Nothing.”

Now, I’m not one of those women who punishes her husband with tense “figure-me-out” moods. But the last three years had been brutal and I was all out of coaching tips. How could I tell him what I really thought? We were on our way to meet with our pastor and a successful author who attended our church. What I was really hoping… thinking… entertaining… was the thought of getting published.

Becoming famous.

And leaving him.

I knew why he was suddenly investing himself in my life. Money.

The praises of our friends and family over my book had ignited dollars signs within his dark brown eyes. Lord knows nothing else could get him to give me THIS much time. Hours and hours of editing the manuscript, formatting it on the computer, helping me design logos and letterheads – he was hoping I would make it big. He was pinning our financial recovery from a disastrous try at small business back on me.

And I had been stuck enough.

We sat through an hour and a half with Tom and Jon – each of us for different reasons – as Jon laid out the complexity of the publishing world. One by one, my balloons popped. I could count on months of searching for an agent. Years of looking for a publisher and then maybe, MAYBE, if I was really lucky, I’d get signed with a 10 to 15,000 dollar contract for one book. In the meantime, we would need to spend money to make some. Conferences – where I might meet an agent; workshops; agents packets; website; professional editing….

The trip back in the car was even quieter. This time a deflated, zero hope, dead dream quiet. We had no money and no time for me to invest. We couldn’t even afford postage for 300 query letters, much less the cost of printing materials for agent packets. I breathed in, “I guess I need to get a job and drop this stupid idea.”

“Why do you say that?” Dale asked, surprised.

“Because it’s obvious we aren’t going to make any money at this anytime soon.”

“I never thought we were,” he answered.

Silence. This time the cannons, my cannons, were all aimed at me. I blinked back tears. “But I thought….”

Dale stopped the van and looked at me. “I’ve never thought we were going to make lots of money off this. I’ve just liked seeing what it’s done for you. I’ve enjoyed learning about you by reading what you write. You’re talented, honey, but even if you never sell a book, I want you to keep going.” He smiled, “I know it’s scary, but I’m going to get us out of this. We’re going to make it, okay?”

“Okay,” I breathed out.

And we did.

 

 

 

 

Extra Easter

I discovered last night it’s not easy to communicate outside in the dark amid three thousand people taking communion. Tangled whispers with my husband resulted in both of us getting communion for my eighty-six year old mother. Only he beat me back to the seat.

For a moment, I stood there, cup and cracker in both hands, wondering what to do. Mom had her portion, and everyone else around us did as well. I couldn’t very well return to the table. It would cause too much disruption for others. Then it hit me… I had been given a double portion of grace.

I sat down and stared at my hands ladened with the reminder of God’s provision through Christ. Both hands were filled. There wasn’t one holding on to the Spirit and one holding on to the world, both were covered with evidence of His rich love. Verses ran through my mind, “My grace is sufficient for you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) “Where sin increased – grace abounds.” (Romans 5:20) and I started to weep.

How tender God’s love is for us! How it never fails! He doesn’t give us a tiny drop to smear over an ocean of sin. He floods us with the grace of Christ, changing the salt lakes of our hearts to rivers of life. Never does He regret making the sacrifice for us, but is glorified eternally because He loves us consistently. And every time we ask for His mercy, He gives. And gives. And gives.

Do we go through trials? Does anyone need to ask? Do we suffer for our choices? Deeply. But even through trial and consequences the truth prevails –¬† Jesus saves completely those who trust in Him because He lives to intercede for us. (Hebrews 7:5)

This is your year for extra Easter. Take and drink His love.

 

If you were weak, O Lord, how could I count on you? If you were powerful, but cruel how could I depend on you? But you, O Lord, are powerful and you, O God, are faithful in unfailing love. You are all I need. Psalm 62:11 -12

Today is made for you, beautiful God. Show me your character and cause me to radiate your light as I walk through your plan. Help me to rest in your goodness and be your envoy of peace. Genesis 1 and 2

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