Friday, January 29, 2010

Good Things in Our Feeders

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for men,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things. (Psalm 107:8-9 )

As I shuffle out in bathrobe and slippers to feed the birds, they sense the winter storm on its way. As it was “rescheduled,” it is slower to arrive than originally thought. But it promises still to come.

As cardinals, titmice, chickadees and other bird-types hungrily munch the seeds, I am praying to God about my day. Whatever I am going to need, he has already put in my feeder.

Though God doesn’t wear a bathrobe or slippers, and he has never “shuffled” once in his eternal existence, he always moves ahead of me, anticipating and meeting my needs.

Thank you, God, for all the “good things” you put in my feeder every day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Live Is Sheila?

Paul was a man with a single focus: "For me, to live is Christ..." (Philippians 1:21).

How easy it is for me to live by another focus: "For me, to live is Sheila." When I approach life with this focus, everything revolves around my comfort, my convenience, my desires, my time, my opinion, my sleep.

Much like the sea gulls in the movie Finding Nemo, my heart cries, "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

I love Paul's heart as it cries: "His! His! His!"

My heart is never more at rest than when I offer myself as a living sacrifice to the one who gave all for me...when I realize that "for me, to live is Christ."

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Seen by an Unseen God

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)

Jesus warns us not to do our acts of righteousness to be seen by men. Then he goes on to assure us that we will be seen by an unseen God. I love the interplay with the word “seen.”

He basically says,

“Do not give to the poor, or pray or fast to be seen by men. But just know that in your quiet obedience, your unseen Father is very aware of you; he sees your heart and your sacrifice.”

God is never interested in deeds apart from a pure heart. We cannot buy our way into his graces. But he never misses any nuance of a giving heart.

This passage always challenges me. Am I content to know that God sees and affirms me? Or do I have to make sure other people do too? Do I have to be recognized, applauded, lauded, lifted up, shouted-out, praised by others to feel a satisfaction in being obedient to God?

Or am I encouraged to know that the unseen God, who sees what I do in secret, is saying to the angels: “That’s my girl!”