Friday, February 9, 2024

 . I was actually looking for a different image,  but this one   caught my eye .. and imagination! 

How often do we judge things with a false or twisted mindset or world-view!  We judge by our own standards, our own preferences, our own tastes or desires. 
And too often we voice those false judgments,  and words are powerful ... especially to children. We can all think of something someone said to us as a child that we have never forgotten and we still feel the influence of those words --- good or bad.  
If we follow the analogy in the image of the fish, think of that poor fish.  If it is told by a squirrel that considering how easy it is for them to climb a tree, they must be very stupid to not even be able to get out of the water  !!!  And the fish, seeing the squirrel run up and down the trees with such skill, concludes that the squirrel must be right ... and he must be very stupid.  
We are vulnerable, easily tempted to make us believe we are 'less than' we really are. 

My granddaughters' generation is into what they call 'thrifting'.   For those of you who are around my age remember how embarrassing it was to have to wear hand-me-down clothing.  Even purchased second hand clothes was only for the poor.   Yet today, it is praise worthy and a habit that is  enthusiastically embraced!  
Garbage used to be garbage -- all went into the one garbage can.  Today it's about how or what can be recycled and we have 4 different bins that garbage needs to be sorted into, plus the depot for what can't be put to the curb.  All because we have a cultural mindset of 'recycle, don't waste'. 
A good thing , isn't it ?  We have all heard 'waste not, want not' !!  

What got me thinking along this thought path, was learning something about the egg shell. How many egg shells have we all thrown away?  my friend Mary encourages everyone to crush the egg shells and use them as a very nutritious plant fertilizer, but I have never thought of them as an edible food item! 
My husband has recently developed some kind of stomach related medical problem -- ulcers?  inflammation of stomach lining?  I don't know, he hasn't been to the doctor yet.. though he does have an upcoming appointment. So I was searching the internet looking for natural remedies.   And to my surprise the egg shell was very high on the 'healing' potential list..  Boil egg shells for sterilizing, then dry them  .. then crushed into powder -- coffee grinder works great..   Then add a teaspoon to a cup of hot milk ... or mix into your drinks of choice. Who would have thought that we were throwing away a valuable part of the egg?? 

God is the original 'nothing wasted' recycler.  When you study nature everything has its place, everything plays a significant and important part in the ecosystem.  My response is -- well, except for mosquitos.  But then I researched that and found how very important they are and if they were eradicated the breakdown of the food chain would filter down to affect us !! 
You only have to look at a flower, to appreciate how every detail is important, how every animal is cared for in their given environment, how the seasons follow one another, how the ocean tide flows in and out ... on and on.. 
We read in Romans 1 how God created the earth to display His character.  It is so clear that no detail in God's sight is wasted.  
On the contrary, we tend to be  wasters ... Why?  because we don't see or recognize the value of something and throw it out. .  

We see God's 'no waste' rule even in scripture.  I love how every word is important -- hence the title of my latest book "No Word Wasted".  But it is also shown in the stories of the Bible.  The feeding of the 5000 from a little boy's lunch,  where the crumbs were gathered up,  the widow's oil and grain that lasted throughout the time of famine,   Joseph's story of the storing of extra grain so there was a  supply  for the famine years, even our tears he collects and keeps in a bottle. (Ps. 56:8)   
I love that even though God is not a waster, He is generous to the extreme!  God never heard of the popular saying .. "Less is more!"  He says 'more and greater is better !!" 

But I want to tie this back to the egg shell and mosquito.  If God created every detail of His creation to have an important purpose, then does it not follow that He would also not waste anything about His highest creation - man made in His image? 
Do you think you are the egg shell that is a 'throw-away-  or the mosquito that is an annoyance?  That is totally contrary to God's character, and His expressed love for His children all through scripture!  Yes, you are unique ... God intended you to be!  So don't compare yourself to someone else.  (remember the fish and the squirrel) 

Okay... so I've convinced you that you are NOT  a 'throw-away' or 'nuisance' in God's Kingdom.  But it goes much deeper.  
What about the details of your life?  What about the difficult circumstances, the tragic events?
Do you believe He is  in the midst of them , orchestrating them for good? 
 What about your sin,  your failings, your wrong choices and decisions?  Do you think He can recycle those too to 'create' something good on your behalf and for His glory?  
This morning, I was  reading  Paul's comments on this thought (Rom. 6:1).. "Wow! really? then let's sin some more so that God has more to 'recycle' into something good !!" (my paraphrase !! ) 
But he quickly lays that argument down and says ... "Of course not! if God can recycle even our failings, how much more will He use us when we die to self and live in His righteousness!" (again, my paraphrase) 

The enemy is always ready, to distract us and he plots for us to live in discouragement or despair thinking we have messed up.  How quickly God forgives when we come to Him with heart-confession.  Why quickly?  Because He is eager to begin the restoration - the 'recycling' process.   
Being a creative person , as many of you are as well, we understand the joy and fulfillment of taking something 'useless' in itself and creating something beautiful and valuable. That is a 'God-characteristic' that He gave us so we can believe Him when He says ... "I have wonderful plans concerning you,  I can make you into something beautiful !!"  (my paraphrase of Jer. 29:11)

The trouble is that many of us, at least at some points in our life,  are 'hoarders'!  Hoarders of guilt about past or present sin, hoarders of resentment.... of unforgiveness, of anger.  Hoarders of remembered offences.... we note and label every one !   
It's hard being a hoarder.   It fills up good spaces that could be used for something so much more useful and enjoyable. 
We can keep our 'garbage' , or give it to God for 'recycling'. 
Can we embrace, even get excited about the fact that God loves to recycle?  Remember that the material gathered for recycling is completely worthless in itself and has  very little value, It is the vision,  creative ability and skill of the one re-creating that is important to achieve  the oft surprising value and worth of the end result.   If we admire this gift in other human beings... how much more should we believe that God - the greatest Creator of all - would be able to take the worthless 'junk' we give Him and in His forgiving and restorative work turn it into something beautiful - something that causes  us to shine in His kingdom and give Him glory !  

Here are a few verses that speak to who we are in Jesus,... there are so many more!  Take note  when you are reading them to KNOW that they are meant for YOU, personally, if not you, then NOONE. 
 Jeremiah 29:11, Malachi 3:16,17 , I Thess 1:4, II Cor. 5:17, Eph. 2:10, John 1:12 Philippians 4:12, Col. 3:12 Rom. 8:1 John 15:16 , II Cor. 3:18

No comments: