If You Don’t Like Me as I am Hang On

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My husband in his spare times likes to build things. He has built furniture for me and it is a treasured piece of work. He will also take a piece of furniture and rebuild it for me.
 
I was reading my devotions one morning and I came across this scripture, “God began a good work in you and I am sure he will continue it until it is finished when Jesus Christ comes again.” (Philippians 1:6)  After I finished my devotion God gave me these thoughts to help me understand it better.
 
When my hubby builds something it is usually to give away. He never has sold anything. He works on it continuously until he thinks it’s perfect. Nine times out of ten he still sees a flaw when it is given to the owner. He is not happy with the way something looks or works on it. He always sees a flaw. I look at it and tell him it looks great and the flaw is not noticeable. If I am not given the item the owner (usually his daughters) will tell him how beautiful it is. They will not see the flaw nor do they care. It is a character mark as they say. They instantly fall in love with it and are very proud to show it off.
 
I believe that is the way it is with us. God works on us while we are here on earth. Every day God is sanding, polishing, and cleaning us for the day the owner comes to claim us. He works on us steady just like my hubby does. He finds a flaw in us and works on that one. He gets it fixed and then another pops up. He is continuously working on us making us as perfect as we can be in this fallen world. I think one day when Jesus Christ comes we will either be made perfect or Jesus Christ will be so thrilled with us he will never see the flaws we think we have. He will love us just the way we are.
 
One of the things that came to mind is that when may hubby is working on a piece of wood he has his way with it. Wood is an inanimate object. The wood cannot speak for itself. It can’t refuse to be worked on. We on the other hand have the freedom to allow God to sand us, polish us or clean us. We also have the freedom to walk away from God and do as we choose. It’s our choice. God never forces himself on us. Neither will he do anything that we don’t allow or ask for. We have to want God to change us from the inside out. We have to allow God to make those changes we ask for.
 
There are things I do I don’t like; there are times I say things and it comes out all wrong and then there are times I just refuse to do what I should do or what I know is best. I can either continue down my own path or I can go to God and ask for a good cleaning or sanding or polishing. I may not enjoy the work God does on me, but I know in the end the finished project will be something the owner can be proud of.
 
I may not be an inanimate object, but I do know that I want more than anything for God to take me sand me, polish me, clean me and remove as many flaws as possible before the rightful owner comes and claims me.
 
I am reminded of the children’s song, “God Is Not Finished With Me Yet”
 
If you don’t like the way I am, don’t judge me yet just hang around 
God’s not finished with me yet 
Now I’m not what I used to be, there’s still work to do in me 
God’s not finished with me yet 

He’s working on my feet so they will walk straight 
He’s working on my heart to keep it pure 
He’s holding my hand so he can lead me and teach me to endure 
When the going gets tough I get frustrated and I start to forget 
Then I’m reminded that God’s not finished with me yet 

One day I thought I had arrived till the good Lord brought me down to size 
He said I’m not finished with you yet 
Now I am on the potters wheel he’s molding me to fit his will 
God’s not finished with me yet
 
 
How about you? Are you allowing God to work on you? Are you still finding flaws in yourself? Well, don’t worry God isn’t finished with either one of us just yet.
 
Dear God: I do want to be sanded, polished, and cleaned. I might not like the process, but I know it needs to be done so that I can be made perfect when the rightful owner comes to claim me. Take my life and do as you see fit. Amen​

Really? That’s What I Am?

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It’s Friday! I just realized something about myself. I am a surface cleaner. Now I know many of you are asking what a surface cleaner is. I clean the surface of my house. I dust when I think people are coming over or might stop in. I keep the house picked up. I sweep when it is necessary and I put things away. On the surface my house is pretty clean and ready for company, but if you look really good you will find things aren’t so clean. In the corners you might find some dirt or the baseboard might not be up to perfection, the windows (and oh by the way I have those easy to clean windows) need washing inside and out and you might just find a cobweb or too if you look hard enough. When people see them I gently remind them I am getting a jump on decorating for Halloween. I am short in stature so do I look at the top of my refrigerator? Can I see the top of it? Not hardly, but once I had a sister-in-law tell me I really needed to clean the top of it because it was really dusty and needed cleaning. Really? Who cares when you are short and can’t see it? I just figured that was her problem not mine; simple answer: don’t look up there. She was tall so she could see it. She shouldn’t be so tall. That is a surface cleaner in my book. You do what is necessary to please people or make the place presentable. 
I was pretty smug with myself. I know what I am so what? Who cares? God simply asked this question of me: Are you a surface cleaner in your faith? Ouch! Well, let’s see. I go to church every Sunday to brush off all those things that stick to me during the week. You know those little sins that we don’t think are any big deal. Then of course I do my devotions every day, that’s kind of like picking up right? I mean I pick up on things that I should do to become stronger in my faith. I tuck them away for use later. Then there are times I go to church and pray with a group of wonderful people. That’s kind of like lighting a candle to make me smell good, like I do my house; hoping no one picks up on those nasty smells or scents. Then once a month I take communion; that’s like sweeping all the dirt up and making it go away or is it just sweeping it under the rug? Ummm have to give that some thought.
Then of course there is Sunday school and the sermons. When I get real energetic I try to discern from both of them what things are good in my life and what little habits I need to get rid of. Just like at home when I get ambitious and start cleaning out closets and trying to decide what to keep and what to throw out. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. 
Then there are times I read good Biblical books and they help me with the clutter in my life. I will read something that will make me stop and pause and look at the clutter in my life. I can’t stand clutter so I am pretty good about getting things in order and placing them in the proper place. 
But how many times in my year do I do deep down cleaning? How many times do I take the time to wash the windows of my heart so I can clearly see out? Or wash the windows of my mind so I can think more like God would want me to think?
It’s one thing to straighten closets or drawers, but how many times do I take those things that are no longer good for me and remove them completely? How often do I hang onto them thinking they might be of some good use in the future?
Once in a great while I will get down on my hands and knees and wash the baseboard along the walls. When is the last time I got down on my hands and knees and asked God to clean me and to get rid of the dirt and filth in my life?
There are times I take out the scouring powder and really get down and scrub the corners of the sink. I put some elbow grease to it. I pride myself in going on retreats and do just that…maybe once a year if I am lucky. I know the sinks need cleaning more than once a year, the baseboard needs more than once a year cleaning and so does my life. 
Spider webs are spun by a spider to entrap prey (according to my Thesaurus). Do I spin the truth a little bit so I may look good or so people will feel sorry for me? Am I always honest with myself and others? I laugh and tell people I am decorating early for Halloween, but do I really want spider webs decorating my life?
Finally, I laugh and tell myself it’s others fault if they find fault in me; they shouldn’t be looking so closely at me. I tell myself no one is perfect; maybe I say that so I will make myself feel better about myself. But, maybe I should heed others advice and maybe do some cleaning. Maybe I shouldn’t be so critical when they are just trying to help me clean up my life a little. Just maybe I should sit up and take notice. 
I have learned today I am a surface cleaner, but maybe I should spend a little bit more time doing some deep cleansing in my life. It just may be time to get down on my hands and knees and allow God to do some real cleaning on me. I am thinking it’s time to let go of the cob webs, and clean out some bad habits and wash the windows of not only my soul, but my heart and eyes too.  
The next time you come over you just might find my house is really cleaned and ready for you and you might find my life has been deep cleansed too and ready for service….well, at least for a little while. 
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2
No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered,
“Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” John 13:8
Dear God: I long to be a deep cleaner and not just a surface cleaner. I want those nook and crannies scrubbed of all sin and malice. Show me those areas of my life that I have neglected to clean. Help me to get rid of bad habits and not just hang onto them for later use. Help me as I sweep the dirt out of my life and help me not to sweep it under the rug to be found later. When others offer me advice let me take it wisely and be thankful for their guidance. Thank you Lord for cleansing my life with your blood; may I wash the windows of my heart so I may see to love others more deeply, may I wash the windows of my mind so I can gain knowledge and may I wash the windows of my eyes so I can see you in others. Amen.