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A Beautiful Opportunity

God is teaching me something right now and this thought is so new to my life that I only have one testimony to share with you. It is a subtle shift in perspective that has the potential to drastically shift our responses and I think the best way I can share this new idea with you is just to let you in on a conversation I had with my heavenly Father last night and this morning. I hope and pray this new perspective will take root in my heart and that it will be helpful to you as well! (The Lord's voice will be depicted in bold italics - although this doesn't show up on my iphone for some reason. iphone readers - just do your best!)

Scene 1 - late at night in the kitchen

(I head down to turn off the kitchen lights and realize the dog has eaten a cupcake that one of the kids left on the table and now our floor has turned into an overnight feast for ants.)

"Why didn't the kids put that away? Why isn't Ben watching the dogs?"

I feel cranky because I already cleaned the kitchen 6 times today. I'm about to throw a pity party.

"This isn't fair."

"This is an opportunity."

"For what? More dying to myself? (said in a snarky voice)

"This is an opportunity to give me a gift - to bring me an offering that costs you something."

"Hmm. I'm listening."

"Every time you want to choose yourself but you choose someone else instead, you are loving Me."

"But they are taking advantage of me! How many times do I have to clean up after my family each day?"

"It's not for them, it's for Me."

"It's for You. This crumby kitchen provides an opportunity to give You something You enjoy."

"Exactly. Will you give it a try?"

"I'll try."

Scene 2 - Early this morning:

(All three kids are sleeping. Our dog barks and wakes me up.)

"I survived 3 babies to be awakened by dogs...grrrr."

"This is an opportunity."

"Oh yeah. That's right. Okay, as my first conscious act of this day, Lord, I'd like to offer you this gift. I choose love."

"Good girl. Come to the window, I have a gift for you too."

(Enter beautiful sunrise followed by a happy husband who is surprised to find me awake and staring out the window and greets me with a smile and a kiss.)

"Well that scene could have been much less pleasant if I had chosen to complain..."

"This is better."

"This is better."

"I don't want to say I told you so, but...I literally told you so over and over again in the Bible." (said with what I imagine to be a wink)

"Alright, take it easy. Thank you for the sunrise."

"My pleasure. Thank you for your obedience. It's just want I wanted."

Note: I like the analogy of giving the Lord a gift because that is easy for me to understand, but of course, this analogy breaks down quickly because everything we have is God's already and even the desire to obey and to choose His ways are desires that comes from Him. Still, we know from scripture that the Lord desires obedience and worship that is costly and that He is a Father who enjoys His children. It is not a perfect illustration but it is a shift in perspective that is helping me. I hope you and I both will be looking for opportunities today to bring God "just what He's always wanted."

But the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will buy it from you for a price. I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

2 Sam. 24:24

My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways.

Prov. 23:26

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice,

and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Col. 3:23

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