Her Name is Duchess

There’s a woman who works at a local store where I go to run errands on occasion. Her name is Duchess and I have never seen someone in such a monotonous job with so much joy. I don’t think Duchess is a Christian, though with the way her eyes sparkle when she looks into mine, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Duchess is convicting to me every time I see her because no matter how busy the store is or a customer has a problem, she keeps her cheerful demeanor and takes everything in stride. I don’t know if I have any Christian friends working a secular job who have so much genuine joy while they work. And what’s more, I know Duchess well enough to have seen that she is consistently like this — even when she’s going through a tough time.

Paul admonished the Colossians to do everything in word and deed in the name of the Lord. How can I get offended in the name of the Lord? I can’t! How differently would I be viewed by the world if I really lived these words:

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him…And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Col. 3:17,23-24

Lately, I have been actively pursuing a gracious heart. It’s something that I lack and I desire to show others that God is a gracious God who looks past their weakness. I am realizing more and more how much I need to focus on myself and my problems instead of others’. It’s so easy to take the above verses and say, “So and so should read this, they are so ______.” Instead, I want to see the areas where I am not showing Christ and change them.

I want to live out character and joy instead of just being selfish when I don’t feel like responding well; I want to be like Duchess.

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My First Blues Concert

I will never be asked to play music for the mayor of Roseville. It just wouldn’t happen. I’m sure he wouldn’t like spontaneous prophetic music even if he did want a concert of local musicians playing for him.

But let’s create a hypothetical scenario: I’ve been asked to play awesome blues on my cello for the mayor of Roseville (Lord willing I will be able to play awesome blues someday. For now I will be content with my hypothetical scenario.). You bet your hiney that I would practice night and day for that concert.

Without drawing out my imaginary blues concert for the mayor of Roseville, I’ll get to my point: when do we musicians who play 4-5 times a week for God practice to become excellent? How do we challenge ourselves so we can become the best? I mean, isn’t that what we should be, since we play for the most important person/audience/God?

And yet, in our carnal man-pleasing spirit, we see more value in being excellent for man rather than God. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus is our great High Priest. I want to be one who plays with excellence, always improving, so that I can be worthy of that great High Priest. It’s not about a performance mentality, it’s about getting a new theology of grace. Do I come before God’s throne because of grace? Absolutely. Does an understanding of grace mean that God doesn’t want me to grow? No. He accepts me as I am — immature and selfish — but I don’t want to stay there.

The Worry Behind Your Eyes

Ugly wall of worry

To some extent, we all put up a wall in our minds and hide a thought process behind it. Hopefully you don’t have many of these walls keeping your thoughts from those around you, but don’t lie — you know what I’m talking about.

I don’t want to get into the issues of shame and fear of man, though they’re common walls. What I’ve been meditating on is a big, ugly wall so many of us are hiding behind: worrying about money.

I’ve heard a lot of stories lately about how financial big wigs and missionaries alike are getting hit with the effects of the economy. Two IMs at my HOP had their phones shut off recently. It’s that bad.

So last night I was asking the Lord about His promise in Malachi:

“‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.'”
Malachi 3:10

I started to cry as I told the Lord I hadn’t seen the fulfillment of that promise (I have seen blessing, but not to the point of “not enough room to receive it”). He actually said to bachan (test) Him in His faithfulness.

So maybe this is an encouragement to all of you that God promised He would provide, maybe it’s a shout out to Him that I want to see it in my own life — or recognize it if I just haven’t noticed — I don’t really know. All I know is that God keeps His promises and this is no exception. It’s just hard to see sometimes.