Sharp Paynes

Never a dull moment…

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Sharp Paynes

To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; – Eph 3:8-9 NKJV

To me, Paul says.  Grace was given to me.  Grace that led to prison, to isolation, to a life of hardships and rejection from his own.  Paul considers it a gift of grace to be chosen for this dirty work, this preaching of an open invitation to the ‘least of the least’.

And he considers himself less than the least?  The pharisee of pharisees.  He puts himself lower than those who remained, by law, in the outer courts, the court of the Gentiles.  A servant always lowers…

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Re-posting for the first time today, so we can focus on packing and cleaning and… trying to stay focused.

Sharp Paynes

…finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.  ~ Ephesians 5:10

Pretty much anything goes these days.  People can find a way or a personality to justify anything they might dream up to do or say or wear.  “Restricting” they say.  Following God is restricting to my personality, my freedom.

Amen.

Restricting, like the walls of my home.  Like the rail on the bunkbed and the rules of the road laid down by the law.  Confining and smothering like the skin I wear and the helmet Ethan wears and the seatbelt we all wear.

 Terribly protective, our God is.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;  The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The…

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Tending Sheep

“When God speaks, many of us are like people in a fog, and we give no answer. Moses’ reply to God revealed that he knew where he was and that he was ready. Readiness means having a right relationship to God and having the knowledge of where we are. We are so busy telling God where we would like to go. Yet the man or woman who is ready for God and His work is the one who receives the prize when the summons comes. We wait with the idea that some great opportunity or something sensational will be coming our way, and when it does come we are quick to cry out, “Here I am.” Whenever we sense that Jesus Christ is rising up to take authority over some great task, we are there, but we are not ready for some obscure duty.” ~ Oswald Chambers

I get lost in the fog of small, obscure tasks.

Today I want to do them for His glory, with the awareness that He is in every detail.  To do them without  the anxious longing for the next thing, the big thing, the thing that surely pleases God more than this menial task.

I have laundry, meals, packing, and more packing to tackle today.  This threatens to fog me, but not if I do it with ears open.

Moses was just tending sheep in the desert and I don’t think it gets much more mundane than that.

So if he can hear over the bleating of sheep and mind-numbing solitude, surely I can hear over the hum of the washer and the sound of Babe the pig entertaining my ‘helpers’.

Are you doing the obscure and the mundane today?  Watch for the burning bush.

Not too Comfortable

The text came in the evening, telling us that our brothers and sisters were running.  On the other side of the world, they serve Christ among the hostile and unreached and among mobs that form in the thousands.  Mobs that use violence to make their point.

We stopped as a family to pray, our hearts heavy for the little boys they would have to whisk away, the newly acquired home they would have to leave, the disciples hurting and confused.

It bothers me that today I have to make a decision about carpet.

Today it’s unlikely that anyone will get hostile over my faith.  I probably won’t be forced to grab my kids up and run from an angry mob.

I will probably just sit in my comfortable home and pray.

There is hope that persecution will grow the church, but would I ever tell them I prayed with thanksgiving for their persecution?  That I sat with my morning cup of coffee in my cozy and unthreatened home and thanked God for the scattering?

I remember this:

And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us  – Act 17:26-27 NKJV

I am here and they are there, and we all have to seek, to grope and find Him.

So as I record our family’s thanks for the week, I add this – thankfulness that the God Who sees it all and listens close, He knows every need in every place.  Mine and theirs, ours.

We are half a world apart but God came down to unite us all, and if nothing else, I can pray.

And I can use this space to ask you to pray, also.  Pray for your brothers and sisters, for these precious people pouring their lives out across the globe.

And pray, too, for the ones in comfortable homes.

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 So we don’t stop giving thanks for small things while we pray for big things.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. – {Jam 1:17 NKJV}

233. good dreams

234. God’s word (this one written in a child’s hand, and this mama treasuring it in her heart!)

235. Ethan – I am thankful that the Roberts’ bought our house

236. Quiet mornings

237. friends that really want to help

238. a wife that is funny and smart and…

239. mercy and grace

240. foggy morning walks with everyone

241. violin

242. mommy’s doodles : )

Saturday…

Image

The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.  

Isaiah 32:17

Five Minute Friday: Good-Bye

Friday already, and I link-up with Lisa-Jo and write breathless for 5 straight minutes.  I love this prompt every week and the places it opens up…care to join the fun?

We have made it past the diaper stage and the feed-me-now stage and the sleepless nights.  We have officially said “good-bye” to pull-ups and wet beds.  Everyone can buckle themselves, brush their own teeth and hair, make themselves toast, and at least attempt to make the bed.

So we’ve said good-bye to the Age of Dependence.  Right?

Not so much.

As much as I wanted to be done with that age, the next one is not any less difficult.  That’s what they all told me, back when I was sleep-deprived and vomit-covered.  The ones who’d gone before tried to tell me to enjoy all that, to tell me that it only gets harder as they grow.

I laughed inside, thinking they had just simply forgotten.

But now I’m that one, and I reminisce on the days gone by and they don’t come back around.  Each day is spent and so am I.  Exhausted more emotionally than physically, and clinging to grace like never before.

They still are so needy, we are needy.  The sleepless nights are replaced with late nights, feed-me-now has become don’t-stop-feeding-me-I’m-starving, and now that they can all buckle-up, one of them wants to drive!  Lord, help me.

Wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I only want to revel in it, to soak it up, do it well and gracefully, and say good-bye to regret and selfish longing.

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What do you miss most from your kids’ younger days?  I miss toddler footsteps and fingers curling hair, sloppy kisses, freshly washed baby smells, and nap time.  Definitely miss nap time.

 

 

Making Time

She sacrificed time yesterday.

Her house was in piles, the leftovers of a busy and fruitful weekend spilling over into midweek.  She had intended to tackle those mountains and get a fresh start on the remainder of the week, but I interrupted her.

I had questions and thoughts to sort out, and you know how sometimes you just need someone to hear?  Not to come up with answers or methodically cheer you on, but just listen.

And she would tell me if I was crazy.

She said the house would wait and that I was more important.

She bought me coffee and she listened.

I stammered and spoke in broken sentences and grasped to get thoughts out into coherent phrases.  Why is it that thoughts perfectly formed get all disfigured when they are spoken?

I twiddled fingers and I think I managed to get everything out, managed to convince at least myself that what I was thinking was right.

When I asked what she thought, she replied with her own question.  What does your husband think?

She sacrificed her opinion, really.

She gave wise counsel and different perspective, as always, but she was careful not to overstep the bounds of friendship and sisterhood.  Because so what if she thinks I should or shouldn’t do x, y or z?  I value her opinion but what if it’s the opposite of my husband’s? What does he think?  She knew how to be a sounding board for my anxious thoughts and how to allow room for God to shape things.

And she did encourage me, said we serve a big God and she called me by name.  Why does it mean so much when someone calls me by name?  Catches me and lifts me and she could have just spoken generic words, but she chose words for me, for Tresta.

I came away more confident, certain that she was praying and if I was crazy and she was too nice to tell me, she would pray that I’d hear it from Him.  Or my husband.

What a dear friend.

Today I took her example, left grammar and math and laundry behind for something more important. For someone who needed the sacrifice of my time.  I rush by my own children on the way to the next task, day in and day out, and though I hear it a thousand times, I stopped short and remembered again today.

The laundry will always be there, the house will always need cleaning, the phone will ring and emails will pile up.  “The tyranny of the urgent” my friend had called it yesterday, and I throw off the tyrant again and again.

I throw it off and call someone precious by name, try to listen well, pray hard, correct gently.

Get a Job

Ethan put a sticker on Bailey the other day that said, “Good Job!”.   He slapped it on her hand and proclaimed, “Here you go, Bailey.  Get a job!”

He is a new reader who sometimes gets in too much of a hurry.  The work of decoding words and sounding out phonograms is bothersome for a little boy who has places to go and things to do.

Get a job.

Was that encouragement?  The sticker was supposed to be for commending a job well done, for congratulating someone on their accomplishment.  Wouldn’t it look nice at the top of your paper?

Of course he didn’t mean it to be offensive.  He wasn’t telling his sister that she was lazy and unproductive.  I don’t know what he was thinking, really.  Why would “Get a job!” be a nice thing to put on a kid’s sticker?

She covered it with grace and laughed when she shared the story with me.

But you know how sometimes we hear the wrong thing?  Someone intends to ‘help’ us but their words, they just sting?  In some twisted audio-conversion, a compliment can even turn into criticism.

Dinner was delicious tonight mysteriously becomes It’s about time we had a decent meal.

I like your hair  is translated I’ve been waiting for you to do something with yourself.

I really like so-and-so’s mom  is rendered  I wish you were more fun,  like her.

We are having some communication breakdowns in our home today, and I wonder how many of them have been birthed from misunderstandings and bad hearing?  Relationships are most important, but I wonder if the stress of the day has left us with too little time to decode words and search out hearts?

As people called to relationship, brothers and sisters called to live together in harmony, maybe we aren’t giving enough time for  encouragement.

Maybe our meaning gets lost in translation, or past offenses stop up our ears.

You’ve probably heard of the ‘sandwich criticism’, giving your criticism sandwiched between two compliments?  Wouldn’t it be better to just naturally be so encouraging that you didn’t have to plan out soft landings for your criticisms?

How would my kids respond if encouragement was plenty and nagging was rare?

Someone, everyone, needs encouraging words today.  A tired  traveller can go a long way on one or two encouraging words, and aren’t we all trying to get somewhere?

I’m trying to get to a place where my correction is received because my children know that I see good in them, that Christ is not done with any of us and just because you make a mistake, doesn’t make you  a mistake.  It’s so easy to see what’s undone, but I don’t want to be the one undoing with my words.  I want to be a builder.

The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands. – Pro 14:1 NKJV

And I also want to get to the place where I receive criticism without  offense (praying, “Lord, show me the truth in this.”), and where I hear compliments as just that, not as veiled criticism.

{How about you?  Do you struggle to receive correction?  Do you hear compliments as veiled criticism?  How does this affect your walk with the Lord?}

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Our family’s thanks continues, #225-232

 So many offers of help with our move that we’ve lost count

Derek coming to help finish the flooring with Dad

Coffee

Christ is risen!

Music

Fellowship

Sunrise service on the  mountaintop

Chocolate and coffee

A Good Friday, Indeed

Light

The enemy thought he’d silenced our cries

And ended our Hope for all good.

Stuffed all the Light where the dead body lies,

But defeat Him that death never could.

They buried Him there and sealed Him up tight;

Hope, it went down in the tomb.

Brought Sunday morning back into light,

 And Life springing forth from the womb.

Love that would seal us, free us and teach,

Carried away in the shroud.

Look for Him, find Him there, just within reach,

And coming again in the cloud.

Light, it breaks forth, and no one can take

The hope that so safely resides

In breasts beating light and hearts that must make

Him Lord, and none other besides.

Sunrise service, New Delhi 2011

This started as a five-minute prompt from Lisa-Jo, but I confess to spending a little more time than that.  It’s Good Friday, after all.

And what makes this any better than last Friday, or next?  Why do Christians celebrate a gruesome death, an execution, really?

It’s not so much the Friday, but the Sunday that’s coming.  Sunday will be awesome.

I’m not big on celebrations or traditions.  We have a few, like our Christmas Eve slumber party and our birthday treasure hunts.  I guess that throwing the aluminum-foil balls at each other when we have baked potatoes is kind of a tradition.  But we will for sure be making these Saturday evening, and we may even eat them before breakfast because what better to wake up to than sweet, empty calories/tombs?

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. – Rom 8:34 NKJV

Good Shoes

He comes to steal peace.  To shake the foundations and stir-up doubts, discord, anything to deflect our gaze.  He comes all wily, all destructive and pretending to be all-knowing.

We know better.

And Paul warns us against his schemes, tells us to clothe ourselves and to stand.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. – Eph 6:11 NKJV

How many times have I fallen all limp-kneed and weak-fleshed, giving in to the thoughts and the juicy tidbits of fruit that leads to rot?  I determine to stand, but the whole spirit-flesh conflict is wearing me thin.

I paint my toenails blood red for this picture, because I want to remember what He said here.

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— – Col 1:19-22 NKJV

What the enemy really wants is to take Christ’s work and nullify it, remove it from my mind, add it to the list of things I forget daily.  He wants to steal the peace I have with God.

The redemption that brings me peace and settles my anxious and guilt-ridden thoughts, it only comes from the blood of His cross.

And when Paul says that with all the armor we need good shoes, I think he must mean to remind us that the gospel of peace is reconciliation with God.  We are reconciled – holy, blameless, above the reproach of the accuser.  Great peace.

…having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; – Eph 6:15 NKJV

He changes my thinking this morning about this gospel of peace.

I have always read this verse as a call to be ready to share the gospel, shoes on and ready to go.  And surely we ought to be ready for that, but to stand, stand, stand as Paul repeats here…we need good footing.  We need the security and certainty and never-changing-no-matter-what peace with God.

The gospel of peace is His blood bringing us into security, never shaken or taken.

This thought process is not over for me, but I am in a good place when I stand reminded of the blood that brought the reconciliation that brings the peace that stands against the accusations.

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