Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Shoot the Foxes

As I wrote about last week, my first New Years resolution is to declutter (physically and spiritually).

My second resolution goes along with the first.  Namely, shoot the foxes.  No, don't call PETA.  And I'm not taking up hunting. I saw Bambi one too many times for that.  :)

We still may not know what the fox says, and I have no interest in talking to it.  I am only interested in what the fox does...

"Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes." Song of Solomon 2:15 

There are foxes.  Sneaky and crafty little critters that seem insignificant.

The Hebrew word for "fox" is shuw'al, which means burrower.  A fox digs holes and dwells underground.

The holes it digs destroys the roots.

What are the foxes in your life that are digging holes?  What are the foxes that are underneath the surface, that have dug down deep destroying roots?  You can't see it.  You can't see the root being destroyed.  The result comes in the form of fruit shriveling up and dying.

The Hebrew word for "little" is qatan, which means little, insignificant or unimportant.

These foxes seem small.  They seem unimportant.  Watching a movie here (and I'm not even talking R! Some PG-13 movies are just raunchy!).   Listening to a song there.  Little.  Small.  But destroying the root one scratch at a time.  The scratches are so small they seem insignificant. But they add up.

I'm not trying to be legalistic here.  I am just tired of the compromise.  I am tired of the cussing.  I am tired of the sex.  I am tired of viewing the sin. And if I watch those movies, am I somehow saying I approve?  You don't have to agree.  I.  Am. Just. Tired!

I crave purity.  I crave innocence.  I crave holiness.

And it goes beyond media.  However, our culture is bombarded with media, so these foxes seem to be everywhere!

The Hebrew word for "spoil" is chabel.  Chabel means to bind, ruin, or spoil.  The little foxes spoil the vines.  They bind up our souls and ruin the fruit.  I am convinced they are anything but insignificant and small.

For our vines have tender grapes.  The tender grapes are where the fruit of our lives blossom.  Foxes also eat the grapes and devour the plants.  They either kill the root or just eat the fruit.  Either way, the vine is spoiled.

These foxes are not easily caught, which is why I say, just shoot the varmints! We want them gone, not in some cage to let out at a later time.

I am on a quest this year of decluttering and detox.  These foxes have to go.  We may still not know what the fox says, but as far as I'm concerned, he can just say, "Bye-bye!".    

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Declutter Me

Declutter.  This is one resolution for this New Year.

It didn't happen all at once.

We have been in our home for seven years.  Seven years of living.  Seven years of collecting.  Seven years of unnecessary items finding places to rest out of sight.

Clutter has built up over time.  Tuck this away here.  Hide that little trinket there.  Until the mess under the surface screams too loudly to be ignored.  Its voice beckons from under the neat facade.

I hide away clutter pretending it's not there until one day when I open the cabinet door and it all falls out onto my head.  In that moment, there is a choice: cram the clutter back into the cabinet and pretend it isn't there (this is the one I often choose), or acknowledge it, deal with it and toss it or give it away.

Our hearts are the same.  A little sin tucked away here.  A seemingly small compromise over in the corner.  It adds up.  Until one day it all comes crashing down.  There is a choice that must be made.

Keep it hidden or toss it.

We need to toss the clutter to the Cross.  We need to give it away to the One who can take it and use it for good.  He is the only One who can make any use of it.

If you were to come to my house, you might comment how uncluttered it is.  I. Cannot. Stand. Clutter.  However,  if you were to look into my cabinets and drawers, you would find a different story.  Everything might look neat and tidy on the outside, but what is on the inside?

"The Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7 

And sin isn't always obvious.  Sin is often disguised as quite useful.  Worry.  Pride.  Self-righteousness.  Selfishness.  Those are the ones that often hide the best.

Clutter crowds out room for crowns.

When our cabinets are full of useless space-robbers, there is little room for what is necessary.

When are souls are full of useless nothingness, there is little room left for Christ.

And the only necessary thing is Christ.

The nothing allows for thorns to grow, choking out the Word of God (when it is heard) and robs our hearts of the richness of God's presence  (Luke 8:14).

Just as I won't know all that is in my cabinets that needs to be cleared out until I start going through them, I won't know all that is in my heart that needs tossed until I let Christ clean it out.

And I won't lie, the process can be painful. Sometimes digging into the deep corners takes some muscle. There may even be some smelly moldy bowls that need to be removed.

However, even if it isn't all pleasant, it is better to toss the mold than to have it hiding in your heart.

"Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me."  Psalm 51:10 

Let that be our heart's cry.   

I pray that in this cleansing process, there will be a decluttering of me to make more room for Him.

It is an ever-going process that won't be completed until Heaven.

(Hopefully decluttering my cabinets won't take quite as long!) ; )

Lord, declutter me.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Week of Resolutions

Happy New Year Living Free in Him Readers!!!

This week as we continue our first full week of the New Year, I wanted to share three resolutions I feel the Lord gave me for this year.

They aren't your "typical" new years resolutions.

Before I share mine though, I thought I'd share a few of my nine year old son's news years resolutions.

His resolutions included:

1.  Drink less apple cider.  (He hardly ever drinks apple cider.)

2.  Not to use the bathroom past 5 o'clock.  (Ummm....that doesn't sound like a good idea.)

3.  To not blink for 15 seconds. (Let's not even try to understand why.)  

No, he doesn't quite understand the concept of New Years resolutions.  Upon further investigation into his reasoning for these "goals", I discovered that he thought "New Years Resolutions" were only for New Years Eve.  In his mind, these were goals for him to achieve that day only.  He didn't understand they were meant to be goals to improve his life for the entire year.  And by his choices, that is pretty clear.  {smile}

However, even though his understanding of New Year's resolutions was skewed, most people may approach theirs with the same mentality.  They set them with low expectations of follow through for the entire year.

I don't judge.  I've been there.   At least there is a goal in mind, even if it is short lived.

"Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrew 12: 1b-2a. (emphasis added) 

The key words I want to emphasize are "looking unto Jesus".  

The main reason for failure, I believe, is our earthly effort and our striving to achieve in our flesh.  Our flesh is incapable of success.  Only the Spirit of God inside of us can achieve success.

Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, but let us do it by looking unto Jesus, who is the author and finisher of our faith.  It is only by looking unto Jesus that we can finish the race.

And there will be moments of failure.  However, when you keep looking to Jesus and not in your own ability, His grace gives you the strength to rise up and continue even after a fall.

One failure doesn't mean the race is over, it just means you have stumbled on the path towards the goal.  The race is only over when you quit running and get off the course.

This week and into next week, I will share my three resolutions for this year.  I am sure I will fail along the way this year, but my intention is to run the race with endurance looking unto Jesus to help me finish.  And I believe I will be closer to the finish line at the end of 2015.

I just have to keep running.

And unlike my son, I will be blinking my eyes as much as necessary with plenty of apple cider and bathroom breaks!