Walking Past The Lucky Penny

Do you stop and pick up every penny you see lying on the ground or do you only pick up the ones that are heads up?  Supposedly if a penny is found heads up it brings good luck but if you pick it up when it’s tails up it brings bad luck.  I’m not sure how a piece of metal has that much power, but if we’re being honest there are times where I stop and pause.

Does the position of the penny make it any more or less valuable?  If not then why does it matter which side is up or down?  Why do we put our trust in something that is metal, cold, not breathing, not life giving?

What are you putting your faith and trust in?  Your job?  Your self?  Your kids?  Church?  Friends?  They are all going to fail you.  They are all going to let you down, be unreliable, hurt your feelings, fall through at the last minute.  There’s only one true source that we can trust.  Only one true source who will never let us down, never leave us, never abandon us, never show up late, never talk back and refuse to eat their dinner.  God is consistent.

God loves us no matter what.  It’s safe to be messy with him, to let our guard down, to let our real self be made known.  He already knows the ugly sides of ourselves and loves us anyways.  God will never fire us, he will never not show up when we need him, he will never lose the football game or fail to call on our birthday.  He is our one true constant, our always and forever.  Our knight in shining armor.  He is always there to love on us, pour into us, direct us, correct us and encourage us.

Next time you see a heads up penny stop, think in whom or what you should put your faith and trust.  Then keep walking.  Who needs a lucky penny when you have a supreme God instead.

Hebrews 13:5 – Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Matthew 6:25-34 – “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, not about your body, what you will put on.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air:  they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  And why are you anxious about clothing?  Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown in the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?  Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 23: 1-6 – A Psalm of David.  The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.  He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 139:7-10 – Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?  If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!  If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

 

The Secret Sauce

We love a good steak in Texas.  Maybe it’s a Southern thing but steak is king here!  The bigger the better of course, after all everything IS bigger in Texas.  You can get a 72 oz and even 85 oz steak if you want.  That’s almost as big as a child!

There is much debate about how your steak should be prepared though.  Medium rare or medium well?  With spices or no spices?  Herb butter anyone?  And the biggest debate of all: sauce or no sauce?

The sauce debate is a heated subject here in the South.  Those that rally against the sauce claim that the sauce ruins the steak.  It masks the flavor of the steak so you are only tasting sauce and not the true essence and goodness of the meat.  You should see the heated conversations at the dinner table when the waitress brings the steak and someone reaches for the A1 sauce!  Or even worse, the ketchup!

One thing that you never need sauce for is God’s word.  It is good and pure and amazingly rich and meaty without anything added.  God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us on a cross, an awful, excruciating death, to pay the penalty for our sin.  Three days after his death Jesus rose from the dead conquering death once and for all.  We can have everlasting life with Christ when we confess our sin, repent (a 180 degree change in direction), and believe that Jesus is our Lord and Savior.  He loves us just the way we are: messy, medium rare, just plain us.  No sauce needed.

Romans 10:9-10 – If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Revelation 22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” and let the one who hears say “Come!”  Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Perfectly Imperfect

Don’t judge this post by the paragraph you’re about to read; read it to the end!  I promise it’s not the judgmental assumption you think it is.

You know those perfect moms who have it all together and their kids are perfectly dressed?  The kids whose hair is not only brushed but styled and topped with a crisp bow?  The mom whose outfit is perfectly coordinated, is beautifully accessorized, and who carries a different coordinating purse every day?  The kids never misbehave, and her day is always going just perfectly perfect?  Yeah, that’s not me either, totally cannot relate.

My kids clothes never match.  Their hair is rarely brushed, and when I say rarely brushed I mean like never brushed and Big Bertha knots that take up the entire back side of their head sticking out.  (No, I am not exaggerating).  I don’t think they brush their teeth either.  I draw the line at smelly though.  Messy, unkempt, ratted hair, mismatched clothes, unbrushed teeth?  Cool.  But smelly?  No.  No stinky smelly kids, at least not around me.

My days are never perfect.  I never know if I’m coming or going.  No one ever gets my full attention.  All of the boxes are never checked.  The work is never done.  The clutter is never fully cleaned up.  I don’t have a meal on the table once a day much less three times a day.  My personal appearance is usually good enough to pass for whatever role I’m filling that day (work, mom, wife, slob, etc) but rarely noteworthy.  You will frequently find me in public with no makeup, hair not washed in 3 days and in pajamas at 4:00 in the afternoon.  I have no shame.  I am messy.  I am perfectly imperfect.  I am real.

Be you.  Be real.  Be transparent.  If that means your kids are usually put together, do it!  If that means you’re lucky just to have made it to work that day, do it!  Kids are messy, stinky slobs, do it!  God made you exactly as you are.  He made you perfect even with your human imperfections.  You are beautiful just as you are.  The you that you are doesn’t need to change for worldly standards.  Love yourself, love others and let the light of Christ shine through you.

1 Corinthians 10:23 – Just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.  

James 2:1-5 – My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.  For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand oer there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil throughs?  Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

Luke 5:32 – I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

Psalm 139:14 – I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

John 6:37 – All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

Tired and Over It

Where does one even begin?  Life is so messy.  There are some phases where you feel invincible and that you can weather any storm.  Then there’s other times in life where you feel completely knocked off your feet, unable to breathe and that there’s no way you’ll ever be able to see straight again much less return to life as normal.  Life has a way of breaking you in the most unbreakable ways.  Sometimes you’re just tired and over it.

I’ve had some incredible waves of messy life in my life but some of my friends and loved ones have had way worse.  The horrors of what people walk through in life: the loss of a child, battle with cancer, abuse, addiction, homelessness, domestic violence, and on and on, makes my life look pretty peachy in comparison.  When you love others through the messiness of their life it makes you more thankful for your own messiness.

Sometimes (not always) the greatest cure to pulling us out of the throws of despair from our life circumstances is to get some perspective based on the experience of someone else.  How transparent are you being about your messiness in life?  Are you being genuine when people ask “how you are doing” or do you always answer a general “I’m okay”?  What happens if you’re not okay that day?  It’s sad that as a society we don’t feel that we can be vulnerable with each other to lean on each other in times of need and grow from each other through times of hardship.

Be the catalyst to change.  The next time someone asks “how are you doing today” on a day where you aren’t doing well, tell them the truth.  Tell them “I’m tired and over it.”  You’ll see their walls and defenses come tumbling down.  Maybe they needed to hear about someone else’s messiness of life to put theirs in perspective.  Maybe God will use your words and transparency to cause change and growth in their life.  Who knows how God would use it.  But what harm can it do?

So if you want to ask me, I’d tell you I started my day as a mess, tired and over it.  I ended my day feeling incredibly blessed and highly favored by God.  Not because my day got better as it went, but because God put people in my day to strategically show me that my messiness is a gift, not a burden.  He is showing us that he loves us through our brokenness, through our bad choices and through the broken world we live in.  He is bigger than all this mess, and we should rejoice in that.

Be a blessing to others today.  Be transparent.  Let God use you.  You are blessed and highly favored by God, even in your messiness.

Luke 6:38 – Give and it will be given to you.  They will pour into your tap a good measure-pressed down, shaken together, and running over.  For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Philippians 4:19 – And my God will supply all of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus

1 Peter 5:7 – casting all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10 – Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 

Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels

Spilled Blue Paint

All the walls at my house are painted white.  Frosty White, color SW6196 at Sherwin Williams to be exact.  It’s faintly grey but looks white.  So white in fact you can’t tell a difference between it and the ceiling color, which is actual white.  The floor is also white, white porous stone.  White everywhere.

White walls and floors are impossible to keep clean though.  Anytime there is a spill it stains almost immediately.  We have to be diligent and clean up spills as soon as they occur.  With two kids that means constant cleaning!  Every few weeks I scrub dings and scuffs from the walls to try and keep them looking clean and new.

While cleaning up around the house last week a bottle of blue nail polish dropped, on the tile, and shattered everywhere.  Blue nail polish splattered and sprayed to the four ends of the earth (at least it felt that way!)  Blue.  Everywhere.  Walls, floor, baseboards, coat closet door, everywhere.  The more we scrubbed to clean it up the worse and worse the mess got.  There is no cleaning it up.  It will never be white again.  And it is right at the front door entry area so anyone who walks into the house will see the explosion.  There’s no hiding it or covering it.

Sin and salvation are like trying to clean white walls.  We all desire to live a good pristine life but that isn’t possible with our sin nature.  As spills and dings occur we do our best to clean them up, and can even make it feel as though the sin never happened, at least for a small time.   Its impossible to keep our white walls and white floors white.  Sometimes we do big spring cleanings, going to church every Sunday, doing our best to pray each day, but the season ends and we are back to our sinful ways.  In most peoples lives we have a blue nail polish moment.  Sin explodes everywhere and we will never be the same.  It’s a life changing path altering experience.

In that moment, in that experience, embrace Jesus.  He is our creator and He died for us so that we would be washed white as snow.  Our salvation in Christ is the only way for our blue walls, blue floors, blue baseboards, blue everything, to be wiped clean and made white again.  We can’t clean it ourselves, only a relationship with Jesus can.  Pray daily that your blue would be made white.  Confess, repent, and live knowing that you are saved and made new.

Acts 3:19 – Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

John 3:3 – Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Ephesians 4:22-24 – You were taught, white regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in the true righteousness and holiness