On Being a Hobbit

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Gentle Reader,

We’re going through some changes in my department right now, due to the retirement of a coworker. And you know me – I just love change. I just love it when things are up in the air.

Please infuse those sentiments with appropriate sarcasm.

There’s been some back-and-forth over job description and qualifications. I don’t know all the ins and outs, but I sense that it’s been a frustrating process. We all feel the tension; it’s been an uphill battle to maintain the flow of materials, working constantly shorthanded. It’s important to get the right person for the position, I know, but I do wish the process would speed up.

Amid this discussion of candidates and what they need to know or possess, I find myself thankful that God doesn’t have a checklist. I’m glad that He doesn’t require a college degree or a certain amount of experience. He doesn’t turn anyone away. Any who fall under the shadow of the Cross are welcome into His family, no matter who they are or what they’ve done.

Tonight, as The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey plays across the television, I reflect on this fact again. My husband and I joke that, if I were part of Tolkein’s universe, I would be a hobbit – living quietly, appreciating good food, enjoying the company of close friends and family. There are other, flashier characters – elves, dwarves, wizards, kings. But their glamour doesn’t mean that the hobbits are any less. Each one has an important place in the story.

Be encouraged tonight, my friend. Wherever you fall on the fickle yardstick of the world, there is One with whom you always measure up.

My journey to faith. (15)

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31 Days of Brave: Closing

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Gentle Reader,

How to put a bow on this?

I don’t know when fear became the marker of my life. I don’t know why I chose to buy into those screeching lies. Maybe they were easier to believe than the truth. Maybe I got tired of fighting. I guess the why and the when don’t really matter, difficult as that is for me to type. What matters is that my story doesn’t have to end the way it began.

Neither does yours.

The Enemy wants us to believe that bravery is impossible. The walk with Christ requires courage. We can’t make the choices we need to make, say the things we need to say or believe the things we need to believe without it. Take out courage, take out the person. Satan can’t take our salvation away from us, but he can certainly keep us from walking in victory and freedom.

If we let him.

That, I think, is my big take away. Bravery is all about choice. We forget that we have choices. I’m not usually emotionally demonstrative, but as I’m writing this I’m feeling the lump rise in my throat. The Cross and Resurrection did everything for us, and that everything includes restoring our power to choose. We’re not helpless. We’re not permanently inclined toward selfishness, brutality, fear or whatever else marked us before. Before the forgiveness of the Lord. Before the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.

God Himself defines us. And He says that we are brave. He says that we have the power that raised a man from the dead within us (Rom. 8:9-11, Eph. 1:19-20). He says that we are not just conquerors – we are MORE than conquerors (Rom. 8:31-39).

So let’s end with this:

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;
Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!
Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.

Teach me Your way, O Lord,
And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.
Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;
For false witnesses have risen against me,
And such as breathe out violence.
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

– Psalm 27 (NKJV)

My journey to faith. (15)

For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.

31 Days of Brave: Ur

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Gentle Reader,

I’m working through the She Reads Truth: Women in the Bible plan right now, and the focus is on Sarai. There are so many things I’d like to know about her. And Abram. How did Sarai react when Abram told her to pack up the house because they were moving…somewhere? How did Abram know that this really was the Voice of God? Did either one of them have any previous knowledge of or experience with the Lord? What about their neighbors and family members – did they laugh? Scoff? Reflect?

So many questions.

What strikes me most deeply is that Abram and Sarai couldn’t stay in Ur and be obedient to God. The two things were totally opposed. Even though bravery can mean staying, like we talked about yesterday, it can also mean that you get your gear and go. No matter how it feels. No matter what other people say.

And really, that’s the call of God. Move forward, into the unknown, and trust that He is there. He issues that challenge to His children every day. The specifics look different for each of us, but we’re all on the same journey, putting that one small foot in front of the other, believing that He’ll reveal the path before us. It doesn’t have to be a physical leaving. It can be walking away from bitterness, gossip, our own plans.

We start out in Ur, but we’re not meant to stay there.

My journey to faith. (15)

 For all of the posts in the 31 Days: Brave series, go here.