My youngest child is an adventure every day. He is fun, unique, and a lot like his Dad and Grampa. He has many traits that I love, but there is one trait about him that is my favorite. He is teachable.
Gabriel is a sponge! He loves to learn new things. Right now he is learning piano from his piano teacher. He is learning how to be a better artist from his sister. He is learning about tools, bicycle repair, cars, and machinery from his Dad. From me, he is learning how to cook, how to be a better writer, and how to make good outlines. His heart's desire is to be a pastor one day, so learning to make good outlines would be a handy skill.
Psalm 25:4 "Shew me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths."
When I read Psalm 25, I was amazed at how many times it mentions the word "teach". The word "teach" is used five times. The word "shew" is used twice, and the words "lead" and "guide" are each used once. One of David's greatest traits was that he was teachable. What makes a person teachable?
Our God is a willing Teacher. Why? Because He is good and upright!
Psalm 25:8 "Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way."
I love when Gabriel comes in the kitchen and asks if he can help. What he is really saying is, "I want to learn how to do that, Mom." It thrills my heart to take those moments and work with him. It brings great joy to a teacher when a student has such a willingness to learn. God is the same way with us. He greatly delights in teaching us. He loves when we crawl up in His lap and say, "Teach me."
On the flip side, there is nothing more frustrating to a teacher than to try to help someone by teaching them when they are convinced they know everything they need to know. As a teacher, it literally pains me to watch someone struggle unnecessarily when they could simply humble themselves and admit they don't have all the answers. I wonder how God sees me when I refuse to look to Him and learn instead of struggling on my own path with my own plans, ideas, and logic. Know-It-All Christianity is a painful road.
How teachable are we? Are we hungry sponges, soaking up all that we can as He teaches? Or are we convinced we already have all the answers?
Psalm 25:5 "Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day."
There is an adorable little girl in our church. We love her so much. She is around 4 years old, and she is the cutest little thing you have ever seen. There is a small problem, though. She is undisciplined, so she can get into trouble quicker than you can catch her to stop her. One of the nasty habits she has picked up is rummaging through other people's bags at church. We guard our pocket books closely because if we don't we will find her wandering around the church carrying our sunglasses, water bottles, or wallets.
I have chosen to use the opportunity to teach her authority and respect for the property of others. When she goes to reach in my bag, with a firm but loving voice I say, "Dina, no. That's mine." Inevitably, she reaches in the bag again every time. I grab her hand, firmly push it away, and again say, "Dina, no. That's not yours. That's mine." Sometimes I will bring things to share with her like a toy. I will wait until she is looking and then I will reach in my bag. I grab the toy and give it to her. "Dina, here. Take this. You may play with this."
Sometimes she gets a pen from someone's bag. As I am sitting in church, I turn to see the young girl wielding the mighty object of destruction. With a songbook as her coloring book, the young child happily makes her mark in the world. I jump up and take pen and book from her. "No, Dina. That's not good." She must learn to take care of other people's things.
She is learning, but it will take time. She is worth the effort.
Psalm 24:1 "The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein."
I am sometimes am just like Dina more than I realize.
Everything in the earth is the Lord's. It all belongs to Him. Sometimes I want to take things that are His, and He says, "No." I get upset and keep trying because I really want it. He continues to push my hand away and says, "No. That's mine and you may not have it." Honestly, I really would love a dishwasher, endless supply of cheddar cheese, Krispy Kreme donuts, and vehicles that never break down. I would love my oldest child sitting at the Thanksgiving table, and to hear my Dad's voice once more. But those things belong to God. He has chosen to say, "No, you may not have it." Do I keep grabbing at those things like Dina grabbing in my bag?
Sometimes He lets me have some things to "play" with. They are still His, though. Sometimes He finds me destroying His property and not taking care of it like I should. I think of my time. It's actually His time because I belong to Him. Sometimes I waste time. Much like Dina coloring in the hymnal, I abuse His property of time.
I think of my husband and children. They really don't belong to me. They belong to Him. Am I treating them with the respect I should? I would never color in the church hymnals, but do I color on the hearts of my family with my words?
I think of the home He has allowed me to live in. Am I taking care of it? Am I using it for His glory?
I think of the ministry. It's not my ministry. It's His. Do I give my best? Do I do damage to His ministry with my actions?
The "fulness" of the earth is His. That means whatever is in the earth belongs to Him. Do I respect His property? Do I take without permission? Do I damage His property?
Just as I think Dina is worth the time and effort to train, God also thinks that of me. I want to be teachable.
Years ago when we lived in the States, we owned a house. It was an old home that took a lot of work to get it looking nice. We added a master bedroom suite, remodeled the kitchen and main bathroom, added a deck, changed the siding, and more. One day a huge storm came through the area. There was thunder and lightning. There was also hail-- very large hail. It pounded our roof and damaged the shingles. When the storm was finished, my husband knew we better act fast in getting the shingles replaced. If it rained, there was a possibility of water damage from a leaky roof. We called the insurance company, and then we called a roofing company. The roof was replaced and our house was ready for the next storm.
A few years ago, our family faced a different type of storm. Its impact was intense. We endured a major earthquake of 7.8 magnitude. Our family faced months of rescue and recovery efforts. The physical, emotional, and spiritual strain began to take its toll on our family. We were drained. We needed to be restored desperately. It was at that point we chose to take a time away from ministry for a couple of weeks. We knew that if we faced another storm at that moment, we would not be ready. The potential for serious damage was greatly increased in our weakness. Just like when we took the time to replace the roof on our house years before, we took the time for repairing ourselves and our family. Just like we could not replace our roof on our house ourselves (we had to call a roofing company), we also could not repair the damage done during the storm of the earthquake. We had to call out for help.
Storms in life can drain us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The Lord refreshes us physically.
Psalm 23:2 "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."
He knows when we need physical rest.
The Lord restores us emotionally.
Psalm 23:3 "He restoreth my soul..."
Storms in life can leave us emotionally drained, raw, or even numb. He knows how to heal it.
The Lord revitalizes us spiritually.
Psalm 23:3 "... he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake."
He can get us back on the right path when spiritually we become weary in well doing during a storm.
Why is it so important to make sure these areas are well maintained? Why do we need to take the time to inspect the damage from storms? Why do we need to take it so seriously? Because the next storm may be just around the corner.
Psalm 23:4 "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
The fact is that there are storms in life. How do we get through them? How do we survive? In our own strength? That would be like my husband and I climbing on the roof of our home and replacing the roof ourselves. I can promise you that if we replaced a roof, when the next storm came the house would be a disaster! No, the only way to survive storms is to call in the Professional. He prepares us for the storms of life and then leads us through the storms of life. (I will fear no evil: for thou art with me!)
As you go through storms, pay attention to the condition of your "roof." If you are physically, emotionally, or spiritually drained, go to the One who restores. Do not delay. Get alone with Him. Take time to be refreshed, restored, and revitalized. Prepare for the next storm. And when that storm comes, don't fear. He is with you.
There is something I miss more than I thought I would.
When we moved here, we knew life would be very different than in the States, but there are some aspects of life in the States that we just didn't realize are a large part of our culture and habits until we didn't have access to those things.
(I know. Silly to miss that, eh?)
As a mom, no matter what country I live in at the time, I am busy. In the States when I was busy on the go running errands, it was nice to drive up to a fast food window and order something. I really liked the pharmacy drive-thru window. When you have a sick kid with you it sure is handy not to have to get out of the car. But here? The closest I have to a drive-thru window is my fruit lady's little roadside shop. I can pull over to the side of the road and call out, "Can you grab me a dozen bananas?" She is kind enough to save me from having to get out of the car or off the scooter, and she delivers the bananas three whole steps across the sidewalk. I love my fruit lady drive-thru "window."
Psalm 23:2 "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters."
The fact is, we can't always lie down in green pastures. There are times when we need to stop everything and rest, but the majority of the time we must be busy about the Father's business. How can we find rest and peace when we are always on the go? We have dishes to wash, mouths to feed, floors to sweep, shopping, and teaching Sunday school. It's not like there is a drive-thru window where we can pull up and order rest and peace to go. Or is there?
Actually, there is! That's what this verse is talking about. Sometimes we lie down and find rest and peace. Other times we are on the go, and we can still find rest and peace. The key is following where He leads. He takes us beside the still, quiet, peaceful waters. There is rest and peace when we follow His lead. Our problem is that we get ahead of Him, or we veer off on a path He isn't leading us down. When we stay right there with Him, letting Him lead, we can rest peacefully knowing that no matter what the terrain looks like around us, those still waters are right there. He will take care of us.
Do you feel like the waters are raging around you? Instead of still waters do you hear the gushing of whitewater rapids? Do you have the busy, on-the-go life and you struggle to find the still waters as you go? Check to see how closely you are following the Shepherd's lead. It may be that you are trying to lead. It may be that you have veered down the wrong path. It may also be that you have forgotten to roll down your window and order a Rest Combo Meal, Biggy Sized with a side order of Peace from the Still Waters drive-thru window. It's there for the asking if you are following His lead and trusting Him.
He leadeth me beside the still waters... are we following?