What Smurf Are You?

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What a title for an article, right?  My goal is to take a simple question and draw out the deeper spiritual meaning behind it, and that is what I hope happens today when you read this article.

I love to ask questions. I always have. When my girlfriends and I would get together to have a ladies night out, it was my job to come up with questions for all of us to answer and discuss around the restaurant table. So today, you (the AMH community) will be my “girlfriends” and we will answer some questions together. Sadly, there won’t be any chips and salsa, but we will still have fun and maybe learn a thing or two about each other.

Today’s question was inspired by the recent movie, The Smurfs. I was having a conversation with a couple of friends and we were talking about the smurfs. During that conversation I joked that if I had to choose smurfs that described me I would choose Panicky and Vanity. We laughed at the time, but in all seriousness those two little smurfs do describe parts of my personality. Actually, more like parts of my sinful nature.

I chose Panicky Smurf because of my struggle with fear and worry. Fear has been a lifelong struggle/sin for me. God has helped me grow immensely in my struggle with fear,  but it still exists more than it should in my life. One reason I love writing for A Martha Heart is this website’s focus of sitting at Jesus’ feet daily. I have realized that if I am going to get rid of the sin of fear in my life, it will be because I have come to sit at Jesus’ feet.

I also chose Vanity Smurf to describe me. I may not walk around with a mirror in front of my face, but I do think about myself more than I ought to. The Bible tells us to think of others as better than ourselves. I am not able to do that when I am constantly thinking of what I need. If I had to pinpoint this sin, I would simply say I am prideful. Pride cannot have a place in my life if I want to grow closer to Jesus. Again, I need to take time to sit at Jesus’ feet and place my focus on Him, not myself. Jesus needs to be the one in my mirror.

Below I have listed names of some of the Smurfs. Look over the list and see if you recognize yourself in any of these Smurfs.

-Grouchy -Dreamy -Greedy -Vanity -Scaredy -Harmony -Lazy -Nosy  -Weepy -Pushover -Nobody -Gutsy -Panicky

I would love for you to leave a comment about what Smurf name(s) you would use to describe yourself. I chose to focus in on some of my struggles and sins, but you don’t have to. Just make it meaningful. If you can’t relate to any of the listed Smurfs, feel free to make up your own smurf name. Just make sure to list the smurf name and then tell the reason why you chose that particular smurf.

Blessings friends, and remember to spend sometime with Jesus this week. I encourage you to pray about this question and see what Jesus may reveal to you as you answer it.

“La, la la la la la, la la la la la”  (You know you want to sing the Smurf song now :)

 

 

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Jehovah Rophe

31 Days Day 15

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; and to grant to those who mourn in Zion – to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. – Isaiah 61: 1-3

Jehovah Rophe – Jehovah Heals, the Lord Your Health. Jesus is the Lord Your Health. He is the Great Healer of all things, and He holds healing from sin, physical ailments, emotional wounds, difficulties and scars of all kinds.

Come to Him and cast your cares, wounds, sickness and sin upon Him. He will heal you. Praise Him, bring glory to His name, for He is the Healer of all!

Thank you Lord for healing me of my sins and the scars they left behind. You are my health, the Great Physician. There is nothing in this world that compares to You!

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El Roi

31 Days Day 7

As a child, I remember thinking of God as the God who sees, El Roi.  I remember thinking that He saw me and loved me. Also, I remember thinking that what He saw caused Him displeasure for I was sinful. Perhaps also, He was waiting to “squash me” for my sin. Though it is true that I was sinful and still am sinful, I didn’t see God through the same lens as I do today–the lens that Jesus alone could bring.  He is the one who bears the reproach of my sin. He chose to see me and wear my every sin–then He conquered all sin–once and for all time! He came running after me.

Today I know God sees me–the good, the bad and the plain ugly.  Though He is saddened by my sinful choices–sometimes even my belligerent and willful sin–He also sees me as His own, beloved child.  He is cheering me on!  He understands what motivates me.  He is willing to change me, to meet me and chase me down to love me.  He will go the distance for me, just as He did for Hagar, when she ran away from Sarai.

You see Hagar, the servant, was pregnant with Abram’s first child (Genesis 16).  It was Sarai’s idea that Hagar go into lie with Abram. Then Hagar flaunted the fact that she was pregnant and Sarai was not–Hagar despised her mistress. Sarai told Abram and Abram told Sarai to do what she wanted. So Sarai mistreated Hagar and Hagar ran away.

Sounds like a lot of sin, doesn’t it? Then God met Hagar in the desert. He spoke truth over her. He told her how to live and what the future of her son would be. Then Hagar called God, “El Roi, the One who sees me.” She said I have seen the One who sees me.  Then she obeyed–returned to her mistress and bore Abram a son, Ishmael.

El Roi, the One who sees me and each one of us, I pray that this day we will allow you to speak Truth over what You see in each of us. I pray, LORD, we will see You, the One who sees us, in a right lens–knowing that you are FOR us. You are on our side and cheering us on.  I thank You, too, Jesus, that You chase us down and came running for us–that You still do today.  We are so thankful that You saw our sins and chose to bear them. We no longer wear or bear the reproach of them, for we are seen, known and loved by You–and that cannot be taken from us.  Praise Your Name!






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The Whole Crayon

Colorful Crayons

My favorite journey every spring is loading our kids and dog into Clifford the Big Red Suburban (aptly named by our Kylie) and driving up to Estes Park and into Rocky Mountain National Park. As we drive, I look for signs of new growth. I look for “critters.” Above all, I let my spirit find rest in the beauty of God’s magnificent creation!

At the supper-side of our journey, we always stop in downtown Estes Park at Bob and Tony’s Pizza. We order our pizza and the kids play Pac Man, Pinball or Big Game Hunter for awhile.  Then they sit at the table and use their small boxes of crayons to color the children’s menu. Finally, we travel home–feeling slap-happy-and-worn-out-tired.

One spring, we had gotten home from our usual trip. I began the laundry the next day, as I always do.  I washed and dried and washed and dried. When I got to folding, I found a stain on my new, white t-shirt I had gotten at Estes Park. I set it sadly aside.  Then I went to fold the next item–a stain–and the next and the next.  The stains were multicolored–red, blue, yellow and green. Hmmm…the crayons!  The crayons had been washed and dried! Immediately, I am thinking I have just “set in” the stains by drying them.

Grabbing my handy-dandy stain remover, I tried to remove the stain and NOT dry them this time.  Again and again, I washed these items of clothing–to no avail. The stains were SET FOR LIFE.

Oftentimes, I believe we look at our sins this way.  We believe some sin can be washed away by Jesus’ magnificent stain-remover, His own blood. Then we look at the “heavier” sins.  Surely those sins are set in for we have flagrantly steeped in them long enough.  So we ask for forgiveness–over and over–never living like we believe we ARE forgiven. Like those crayon-stained items of clothing, we truly believe that these sins cannot be washed away and we are set for life. 

We ask forgiveness. We walk away. We may feel free for a time, but then we inspect it more closely.  We still see the stains.  Surely we should feel different, right?  So we must have not asked forgiveness properly.  We try again…and again…and again, trying different approaches. Our focus is on our sin, our stains, how we feel and we act like it’s all about us–me-mentality.

Sadly, we leave out the most important fact in the whole scenario! Jesus’ blood covers and washes away ALL sin–not just the little sins (as we might see it), but every single sin.  In fact, and this is for you Pharisees (rule keepers) like me, every sin is abhorrent to God–sin is sin is sin. The lie. The adultery. The rage. The greed.  In God’s eyes, it is all sin–all abominable before our Holy God. Our relationship with Him is broken.

The WONDERFUL NEWS is this: God forgives each and every one of them, if you ask Him.  He forgives the first time you come repentant and asking.  He forgives over and over for repeated sins. He forgives completely. He restores our relationship–it’s about Him and us together.

One thing you must know–your heart before Him must come in humility (not humiliation) and certainly not with pride and rebellion (Isaiah 63:10).  He sees the difference. Honestly, you know the difference.  How may times have you heard someone say, “I’m sorry” and their tone does not reveal nor reflect sorrow, repentance or a humble spirit.  In fact, it is spit out.  And what they are sorry for is that they got caught and {big sigh}, “I guess I better say sorry, so you’ll get off my back.” Right?  We know the difference in how it sounds, so we know when we repent before God if we came in humbleness and not pride. There is no need to rehash and rewash it.  That sin is forgiven!  Those stains are gone–as far as the east is from the west!  God loves you and has compassion on you. (Psalm 103:11-13)

Now go and sin no more, as Jesus told the woman caught in adultery–repent, turn from your sins and follow Jesus (John 8:2-12).

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IN THE WASH

French laundry

Being surrounded by men children of varying ages, I see a great deal of laundry with stains.

Stains that made their way home from my husband’s job.

Stains left over from my youngest boy’s dinner the night before.

Grass stains from my oldest man child’s most recent football game during recess.

I deal with lots of stains. I sometimes think about the stains on my life.

Stains left behind by tears, both joyful and sad.

Stains left from hitting my knees in prayer.

Stains left from sitting on my pockets in doing nothing when called to action.

Some of them resemble blood left from a wound. More than I care to count are self-inflicted stains. Even this past week, as I have been told about my upcoming 20 year reunion, I saw some old stains of anger and shame.

I will freely admit I am not a stain removal expert. If you saw my kids, they would probably still have grass stains on their knees. My husband will most likely have oil stains somewhere on his pants. The same is true for my “life” stains. I cannot remove those. As hard as I may try, I am unable to take back hurtful words I spoke or received. I can do nothing to wash away the stains I left on others when I acted out of fear. The tears I have cried; their salty residue is still there.

If your “life laundry” seems to be inundated with stains you can’t seem to remove, I have good news for us both. We don’t have to remove them. Jesus Christ already has.

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,”
    (Revelation 1:5, NKJV)

If we know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, He washes those life stains in His blood.  He washes us clean, from the stains left by others and the stains we have given ourselves. If you don’t know Him as your Savior, you can. The pile of stain-ridden laundry you have been toting around in your life can be washed white in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 7:14). The enemy of your soul no longer has the authority to throw your dirty laundry back up in your face. You can be, and are in Christ, cleansed from all your sin (1 John 1:9).

It will all come out in the wash–a saying my mama has quoted to me many times. The truth will come out. She is right. When you and I give our lives to Christ Jesus, it does all come out in the wash. In the washing of our sins in His blood, the truth of who He is becomes made known. In the washing of our lives in His blood, the truth of who we are in Him comes out. With each and every stain He removes, the truth of the enemy’s limited power is revealed.

If you are feeling rather stained, for whatever reason, take yourself quickly to the laundry room of the Lord. Let Him wash you with His love, with His word, with His grace and with His blood. I promise you, on the very Scripture He sent us, it will all come out in the wash, and you sweet sister, will be standing spotless before the Lord God.

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