Thoughts for the Week

Archive for August, 2016

You Know the Rules

Do you hold unique standards in life? Maybe you only mow the lawn on weekends, shop at a certain store once a month, only drink soda for special occasions, or never watch R-rated movies.

Personally, I find it helpful to keep my Sundays as clear of work as possible. That way, I can focus on God and have a good day of rest. Keep in mind I can’t always stick to this standard, but I try.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with placing standards on myself. It’s good to have structure. But it becomes a major problem when people turn their standards into God’s standards.

The Pharisees did this. They made new standards to worship God, and scolded Jesus when he healed a man on a Sabbath (John 5). To them, there should be no work on the day of rest. It was a standard they agreed on, but turned it into something that they thought everyone needed to follow.

It’s sad that these spiritual leaders let their power go to their heads as God clearly stated in Deuteronomy “You shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you” (4:2 NIV).

Because he knew better, Jesus didn’t let them pull him into their standards, and continued doing what he knew God wanted him to do. Don’t let people convince you of their additional guidelines and rules and focus on the ones God has given us.

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You’ve Got to Dream Bigger than That

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This is a story about a funny conversation I had with God over little cheesy crackers.

Growing up, my favorite snack was cheddar Munch’ems. They ran through the 1990’s until approximately the early 2000’s when they were discontinued by the manufacturer.

I remember snagging a box of these delicious little crackers, toting them outside, and watching the fluffy summer clouds drift by as I chowed down. I have many good memories about this simple snack.

Fast forward about fifteen years and I was thinking about how Jesus said he’s got to prepare a place for us in heaven because his Father has many mansions (John 14:2).

Well, a mansion needs a kitchen, right? And if there’s a kitchen, there’s got to be a pantry. I smiled and shot up a little prayer. “Hey God, I know you’re a loving Father, so I have a request. Can you stockpile some cheddar Munch’ems in the pantry of my mansion, please?”

Then he responded to me. Now, whenever God speaks to me, I have not heard an audible voice, but I usually get impressions on my heart that I know are not my own thoughts. So he said something along the lines of:

“Oh honey, you know I love you so much, but when it comes to what I’ve prepared for you, you’ve got to dream bigger than Munch’ems!”

I then prayed back “What! Bigger than Munch’ems? I didn’t think that was possible!” And laughed.

It may have been a funny little prayer request, but on tough days, sometimes God talks to me and sends me little reminders that go something along the lines of “Don’t get discouraged – remember I’m waiting here with Munch’ems for you.”

Which sounds so comforting and brings me back to a beautiful childhood, just watching the clouds go by.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor. 2:9b, NLT).

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