A Sink Full of Dishes

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Despite the looks of this “kitchen” sink, I hate dirty dishes.  One of my biggest household pet peeves is a sink full of dishes (especially coming home to it).  Yet, this seems to be the continual state of my sink.  We all know how this pile starts: one dish at a time.  I was running late and left without enough time to clean my breakfast dish.  Next, I forgot to pack lunch, so I ran back to eat something and didn’t have time to clean that dish either.  Then I came in late for dinner and didn’t feel like cleaning up after such a long day…and so the cycle continues! After a couple days of letting dishes pile up, washing dishes becomes quite the chore.  Instead of being able to quickly scrub down a bowl of oatmeal, I now find myself having to wrestle with each dish.

This week these dishes seem to be an appropriate reminder of sin.

Like dishes, sin starts small.  We justify that first dish, saying, “It’s just this one morning.  I’ll wash it when I get home.” Similarly, we justify that first bad thought, saying, “It’s just this one time.  I won’t let it go any further.”  But without intentional redirection (repentance), that one dish (or one sin) quickly piles up.  A week later, that one dish (or one sin) is now a mountain that seems impossible to conquer.  Now satan whispers, “Why even bother?” or “You can’t get out now.”  My first semester in New Orleans, a girl graduating literally contemplated throwing away all her dirty dishes rather than washing them to move back home.  As ridiculous as that sounds, that’s the mindset we so often adopt when considering sin.

But let this graduating seminarian be an example to us.  First, she was vulnerable with her friends.  She didn’t just secretly box her dirty dishes up and take them to the dumpster.  She told her friends about her struggle, which was undoubtedly embarrassing.  Second, she took her friends’ advice with grace.  She didn’t throw the dirty dishes back at her friends, she washed them.  She began conquering the pile the same way she started: one dish at a time.

This week, a professor here died because of sin he let build up without confiding in anyone.  Died.  Although I still believe this man is in Heaven with Jesus based on his relationship with Him, his actions had irreversible consequences.  Instead of sharing his struggles of pornography and depression with his friends, he chose to walk in darkness alone.  He took his own life as a result, leaving tons of grieving friends and family behind.  Finishing a well-ran race poorly.

Whether your dish is a thought, image, relationship, or something entirely different, please share those things with others.  Do not live in secrecy.  And let us become a Church filled with sponges, ready to help our friends clean their sinks with Jesus (the Soap, the only One who can make us clean).  Ready to forgive, embrace, and empower those who confess.

Waiting for the Thunder

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One thing about lifeguarding in New Orleans is the likelihood of weather.  Most seasons are pretty mild here, but summer is not.  When it’s not raining, it’s hot and humid.  When it’s raining, it’s pouring.  While rain may have a cooling effect in some places, it only intensifies the humidity here.  One thing that does cause me to look forward to the rain is lifeguarding in a thunderstorm.  If there’s just rain, that makes for a miserable shift.  If there’s thunder or lightening, the pool’s closed for a period of time.  I don’t like it when these closings cause kids and families disappointment, but I do like it when they allow lifeguards to go in the air-conditioning for a little while.

On days when there’s an occasional sprinkle or dark clouds, listening for thunder can be a bit of a mind game.  We’ll hear a train, car, or plane and wonder if it’s thunder.  Suddenly, someone’s stomach growling or phone vibrating will be cause for us all to listen hopefully.  Waiting for thunder can be almost maddening.

The same can be true about waiting for the Lord.  His timing is perfect and love relentless, but waiting can still be maddening to my finite mind.  A Bible study leader once told me that if I don’t know clearly what the Lord is telling me then I’m not reading the Bible enough.  I would urge anyone needing clarity to spend more time reading the Bible and many times my Bible study leader’s statement is correct.  But I also think there are times when we’re just called to wait on the Lord—where we don’t clearly know our next step or our next step is simply waiting.  Like waiting on the thunder, these seasons can be maddening.  I’m usually ready to jump at anything that could resemble the Lord’s voice.  I have to remind myself to wait and be patient.

Waiting seasons also remind me how often I don’t wait to hear the Lord’s voice.  My eagerness can quickly lead to my own demise if I’m not careful to pay attention to the Lord’s calling.  The Lord needs to be the thunder that motivates my activity each day.

The Dawn of 26

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Well twenty-five days of memorizing a chapter-a-day of the Bible is complete and age twenty-six is right around the corner! Within the first few days of this challenge, I could already tell the Lord was going to do amazing things to finish this year. The reason Scripture memory is such a challenge for me is because it requires so much focus. It’s difficult for me to sit and focus that hard on something for that long. Memorizing that much requires me to basically think about Scripture all the time. I caught myself reciting passages over and over all day, which was definitely the point. I wanted my mind to be ready for 26.

Through this journey, I learned a ton.  The Lord made me aware of how much time I waste thinking about things other than Him.  He also made me more aware of His presence.  Here are some pictures that represent things I learned while meditating on these passages:

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Thank you guys so much for your support, prayers, and encouragement. I definitely had ups and downs of motivation, but I still memorized more Scripture at one time than I’ve ever memorized.  The Lord used you to help me memorize 15 Psalms in 25 days (which was significantly less than my goal, but still the best way I could’ve spent 25 days). I was constantly a day behind (sometimes more…hence, I feel great about 15 chapters) and I doubt I could fluidly recite all the Scripture on the spot.   Regardless, I’m still closer to Him than I was when I started. Twenty-five has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging years of my life, but finishing saturated in His word has been a bigger blessing than I can describe. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with 26!

Also, if you’re wondering what chapters I memorized, here you go:

Psalm 128, 130, 126, 127, 121, 123, 124, 125, 6, 15, 16, 47, 17, 57, 19. (I also started to memorize 52, 43, and 13, but I definitely wouldn’t want to claim those are memorized.  19 is questionable enough.)

I memorized them all in the NIV84.