Friday, April 24, 2009

A Lesson from an old carpet

Yesterday, my girls and I pulled up the carpet in our living room (because it was Thursday and Friday is trash day). As I was ripping up that old, dirty, worn out carpet and exposing the beautiful wood floors underneath it made me think of this passage in Colossians:
"But now, you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,...Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; " Colossians 3: 8-10,12
I don't know how far you can take this analogy, but that old carpet was like the old man. I was so ready to get that disgusting stuff out of the house and onto the curb. I was pulling and ripping with all my might to get it out as soon as possible. That was a good picture of how I should think about putting off the old man. I should be passionately ripping and tearing at him and thoroughly disgusted by what remains of him in me. I should be eager to reveal the true nature of the new man that is who I became when I was born again just as I was so excited to see those shiny wood floors that had been hidden under that old carpet. Before the carpet was pulled up I often kept the curtains closed and hated to turn on the "big light" in the living room. We sat in partial darkness most of the time illuminated only by a couple of lamps, but once that old stuff was out I was thrilled to open the windows and see the sunlight bouncing off the new clean floors! Oh how I want my life be clean and beautiful, reflecting the light of my Lord!
The note for the Greek word "put off" in the MacArthur Study Bible (NKJV) says "put off. A Greek word used for taking off clothes...Like one who removes his dirty clothes at day's end, believers must discard the filthy garments of their old, sinful lives." And for the word "put on" he says, "Because the old man died in Christ, and the new man lives in Christ-because that is the fact of the new creation or regeneration (2 Cor. 5:17)- believers must put off remaining sinful deeds and be being continually renewed in to the Christlikeness to which they are called."
What a lesson to learn from and old carpet!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Diligence vs. Hastiness

Well, I did some major work today in the kitchen and I am so happy and soooo exhausted! I borrowed a DVD recently from my cousin Rhonda that teaches you to organize by creating zones in your house according to where you do certain activities and storing all the necessary items in each zone. She compared it to a kindergarten classroom where there's a block area, a painting area, a dress up area etc. So today I created zones in my kitchen and it really is a good way to organize! I thought of the major things that I do in the kitchen and came up with baking, dishes, and food prep. I designated a counter space and the cabinets above and drawers below for baking. Then I did the same for the dishes zone. My cabinet by the stove is the food prep area where I chop vegetables and get things mixed up to cook them on the stove. I also made the food prep area the drink "station" so the coffee pot and blender are there as well as tea bags, coffee, sugar, straws, kool aid packets, and pitchers. Dividing the room into these zones helped me figure out where to put things logically where they would be easy to get to and use. I know this isn't all that exciting to read about, but this was a huge accomplishment for me and I am so thankful for the information I received that helped me get it done.

I was reading this morning in Proverbs and came across a verse that stumped me. It says, "The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty surely to poverty." Pro. 21:5 As soon as I saw the word "diligent" in this verse my little antennae went up because I've been praying to learn diligence and put off laziness. What stumped me was the positioning of diligence against hastiness. I had been thinking that the opposite of diligence was laziness, which it is in many ways, but hastiness? I couldn't figure out the connection. Then I read John MacArthur's note at the bottom of the page and he explained that the idea of hastiness in this verse is similar to a "get rich quick" scheme. Ah hah! The light bulb went on! Hastiness is the opposite of diligence because it seeks a quick fix, an easy way out, more results with less effort. Isn't that the essence of laziness as well? So I started to think about my desire for diligence. I had become frustrated because it seemed like I'd been working so hard and there was still so much left to do. I was overwhelmed and feeling like it wasn't worth it. This verse made me realize that I was looking for a "get organized quick" scheme. I wanted to work really hard for a few days and then coast when I was all done. The truth of this verse is that the diligent persevere! They continue taking one step at a time, one day at a time, never throwing up their hands in frustration, but always being faithful to obey the Lord and waiting patiently for the promised reward, not demanding instant gratification.

So now I have the picture. Laziness wants the easy way out. Diligence does the hard work and reaps a future reward. So I will pray now for perseverance, and I will strive to be obedient as I pray. Thank you Lord for Your amazing Word that always brings us to the Truth that sets us free!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sweet rewards

One very sweet reward after all that work was finding beautiful wood floors under our old carpet in the dining room! The Lord has been so good to give me energy and motivation to glorify Him in my home and now He has blessed me "over the top" with this wonderful surprise! Not only is the floor gorgeous, but it will much easier to keep clean! The living room and hallway have the same floor under the carpet so they are next on the list!


Here are some pictures of my most recent effort to organize and simplify my home. My kitchen, which is always a mess, was my first battleground. This Thursday, I cleaned both refrigerators and moved one from the utility room into the kitchen where I would be more likely to use it to it's full capacity. I then made "maps" for both refrigerators complete with little drawings of what food belongs where. I did this not only for myself, but for the kids as well so that they would know where to put the groceries when they put them away. I'm sorry I didn't take any "before" pictures, but you can use your imagination! My next project is to go through the kitchen cabinets.

Floating Housewives

Well, my first blog post is going to be a description of my reason for starting this blog. I have been aware for many years that I had serious issues with organization and housework and just keeping my life straight in general! I have finally come to the point that I am ready to do battle with myself by putting off my laziness and putting on diligence. I have asked many fellow believers for prayer about this and I thought that keeping a blog would be a good way to record my journey.
Now, to the title of this post. I've thought for many years as I observed other women successfully keeping their homes and serving their husbands and children that they must have some special skill that I wasn't born with because it appears to be so easy for them and so unbelievably hard for me! I pictured them happily floating through their beautifully organized and perpetually clean homes humming as they went with their hair and make up done. They would dance through the kitchen as they prepared breakfast (a meal I have not yet mastered) and give their husband and each child a kiss as they sat down to eat. They always seemed ready for guests and happy to open their homes to them. This was the picture in my mind of how other women lived and my excuse for why I couldn't do the same. It just comes natural to them. I'll never be able to do what they do! Then one day for some reason I was thinking about athletes and figure skaters in particular. I thought about the way they seem to float across the ice and fly through the air. All of a sudden I remembered that they spend hours and hours every week training to strengthen their muscles, and falling painfully on the ice to finally acquire the ability to skate so beautifully. This brought me back to my picture of the floating housewife. I realized that my friends appeared to serve their families and keep their homes so gracefully because behind the scenes they were exerting huge amounts of energy and time and often falling painfully in their attempt. I remembered what I was called to do. I am called to "put off" the old man and "put on the new man which was created according to God, in righteousness and holiness." Eph. 4:22-24 And I remembered that the goal of all of this was not to be a good housewife or mother, but to be made like Christ and bring glory to Him with my life. This realization woke me up and caused me to desire to fight the old lazy nature that still clings to me and replace it with diligent effort. So now I begin, one step at a time and this blog will be a record of it. I anticipate many failures and slidings back into my indulgent ways, but I also know that in Christ I am no longer a slave to sin and have the ability at every point to turn from my sin and choose to follow Him in obedience. And as I attempt this by His grace, I want to continually remember that none of my exertion or effort earns me one ounce of favor before God, but that I stand accepted and forgiven ONLY because of Christ's perfect life, death on behalf of my sin, and fully victorious resurrection, and that I can know that what He has begun in me He will complete! So come along with me as I wage this war and hopefully we can encourage each other as we walk together with Him and look forward to the time when we won't have to fight with our sin anymore!