Reconciling Correctly

balancingcheckbookI don’t like reconciling bank accounts. I don’t find it difficult, just tedious. I’d rather deal with words than numbers. Perhaps it’s because I can use my creativity. There’s not much creativity to matching pennies.

But reconciling needs to be done. And it needs to be done correctly. I recently encountered some discrepancies on an account at work. I had to talk to someone at the bank to get it straightened out. There’s a right way and a wrong way to reconcile.

I have to reconcile what I have with the bank. I don’t walk in and demand they correct their entries to match mine. (Yes, banks can make errors, too, but my guess is that people’s errors far outnumber bank errors.)

We have to reconcile with the bank, not the other way around.

It’s ridiculous for us to think that we are always right. Yet that’s what we do much of the time. I wonder which is more common: for people to reconcile their lives to God’s standards or project their own standards onto Him for their personal approval? Or perhaps ignore Him altogether? I know people who do that when reconciling with the bank. They believe what they think is in their account based on their own record keeping. Or they look at the bank balance and don’t consider what discrepancies might exist because of outstanding expenditures. Sometimes, we want to believe what we want to believe, and we don’t want anyone telling us we need to make adjustments.

But we need to make adjustments. Constantly. Each and every one of us. We need to check our balance. We need to acknowledge Someone might be more accurate and trustworthy than we are.

 

Worship Today: Open My Hands

I believe in a blessing I don’t understand
I’ve seen rain fall on wicked and the just
Rain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I believe in a peace that flows deeper than pain
That broken find healing in love
Pain is no measure of his faithfulness
He withholds no good thing from us
No good thing from us, no good thing from us

I will open my hands, will open my heart
I will open my hands, will open my heart
I am nodding my head an emphatic yes
To all that You have for me

Plant Well

are-you-still-growingThen God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” And it was so. The earth produced vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:11-12)

What have you seen grow in your life?

When might the seeds have first been planted and by whom?

What seeds are you planting today? With hopes of what?

Planting is full of promise. You start with a small seed that doesn’t seem to amount to much, but that seed is full of possibility. We often want instant growth, as if we could add a drop of water and instantly get a full-grown plant with perfectly ripened fruit, ready to be picked and enjoyed.

When my husband and I moved to a new house when our girls were small, he began creating a beautiful backyard. There was one type of flowering tree he really wanted, but it would take seven years to bloom. He didn’t want to wait that long, so he chose other options. Seven years later, he realized, “If I had planted that tree, I’d be enjoying it this year.”

He planted the tree, and we enjoyed it for several years when it matured.

My husband didn’t start with a single seed. He transplanted a small tree. However, he had to start somewhere. That’s what a season of planting demands—the choice to begin with something small in anticipation of growth.

Sometimes in our spiritual lives, we put all our plans in one plant. We plant a seed, then wait for it to grow. When it doesn’t become insta-fruit, we get frustrated. We watch time pass instead of using the passing time well. Spiritual life is more like a garden. There are many different things going on at once, and they are at varying stages of development. Some don’t do as well as we’d like, and some surprise us. Some of the things we didn’t think we needed or wanted come in handy, and some of our favorites become overused and worn out.

God is a good gardener—the best, actually. He’s giving you the seeds you need. Plant them.

What was something planted in your life years ago that you can now see the fruit of? What are you excited about planting right now? What are your hopes of growth? Be intentional about the planting process today. Take time to dig a little deeper, get your hands dirty, and water the fresh seed.

Sustenance

20140713-221711-80231874Sustain me as You promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Sustain me so that I can be safe and always be concerned about Your statutes. (Psalm 119:116-117)

Sustenance isn’t a minimal provision. It’s an abundant blessing God promises and provides.

We don’t throw God’s promise to sustain us in His face with expectations of getting what we want. Instead, we recognize and savor the sustenance He provides in His wisdom and timing.

He knows. We trust.

God’s Role. Our Role.

psalms_33_20_22_by_boughtbybloodme-d7ubuoxWe wait for Yahweh; He is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in Him because we trust in His holy name. May Your faithful love rest on us, Yahweh, for we put our hope in You. (Psalm 33:20-22)

God: helps. shields. loves. We: wait. rejoice. trust. hope.

How often do we overlook our own responsibilities and take on God’s?

No Matter What We Feel or Think

270c2c15a97b46580e5c893c68fdb5c6For His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor, a lifetime. Weeping may spend the night, but there is joy in the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Sometimes it seems the opposite is true: His favor seems more fleeting, His anger more lasting, joy temporary and weeping chronic. But our feelings and perspective can deceive us. When we claim God’s perspective and truth, we can claim and trust what is lasting and what is fleeting.

No matter what, God is God. He is faithful and trustworthy. He is merciful and just. He is sovereign. He created, cares, corrects, and comforts. He encourages, equips, and engages. When we know Him better, we know ourselves better. Because, really, it is more about Him than us.

The Questions We Ask

Why-PicWhy was I not stillborn; why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why is light given to one burdened with grief, and life to those whose existence is bitter, Why is life given to a man whose path is hidden, whom God has hedged in? (Job 3:11-12, 20, 23)

Oh, the questions we ask!

But questions are good. Job asked these questions of God. He wrestled with God. He trusted God’s perspective even when He didn’t understand it. He acknowledged His authority, even when He didn’t like it. Job continued even when He didn’t get the answers He wanted from God.

Don’t stop asking the questions that swirl in your mind and overwhelm your heart…but ask them of God. Continue to ask when you don’t get the answer you want. Trusting God includes trusting His timing. Acknowledging His authority doesn’t assume He will give you what you want when you want it, including answers.

Perhaps the search is much more important than the answers anyway, as long as the search is rooted in relationship and faith.