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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Crooked Picture

Photo Credt:  jjulian812 from
Over the summer, we rearranged the kiddos’ rooms, did a little painting, and hung some new pictures on their walls.  My son’s room is all things fishing and one of the paintings absolutely, positively would not hang straight.  Of course, a lot of it had to do with the fact that it was hung by a single nail because that was just easiest at the time.  So, when he opened or closed the closet door, the picture moved.  Every.  Single.  Time.

For many, a crooked picture isn’t a big deal.  Some probably don’t even notice when a picture is tilted on the wall.  Others are like, “What picture?!”  However, as much as we tried not to notice, my son and I couldn’t help it.  Something had to be done about the picture.  He would climb on his chair every evening and straighten it out.  I would have done the same thing if he hadn’t already done it.  Apples don’t fall far, do they?

A few days ago, I got out the hammer and nails and I hung a second nail.  This required a little more work because the two nails had to line up.  Otherwise, we’d be back to square one with a crooked picture.  So, a few nail holes later (shhh, don’t tell the hubby what’s under the picture), we had success.  We had a painting that could now stay steady regardless of the forces against it.

The painting was secure, strong, and firm in its place once it had a second nail to support it.  Do we have a second nail in our life?  Who or what is it?  I thought of Jesus.

When we have Jesus beside us, we too can find the strength to stay steady regardless of the forces against us.  So, where can we find Jesus?  For me, He’s everywhere, if I remember to truly open my eyes.  If I don’t see Him or feel Him, it’s because I’m the one who moved.  He didn’t.

For some, God is found in people and day-to-day life.  For most, He’s there when reading the Bible or words of inspiration.  For several, God is felt through nature.  For many, God’s presence is strongest while sitting in church.  I read a great post by Pastor Andy Schroer about church and wanted to share a few wonderful reminders from him. 

Pastor Andy says, “We don’t go to church primarily to get, but to give – to serve our Savior God and others out of love and thanks for all that God has given us.  Being a member of a church means more than just parking your posterior in the pew on Sunday.  Don’t just go to church.  Be the church.  Participate.  Serve.  Give.  The amazing thing is, as you do, you too will be blessed.”

“There is no ‘I’ in team, but there is a ‘u’ in church. (I just LOVE that, Sunshines, don’t you?!)  As you serve God and others in church, as you participate in worship, as you hear God’s Word and receive His Sacraments, you too will be encouraged.  You will be strengthened.  You will be blessed.  As you give, God promises you will also receive.  Being a member of a church means serving and being served.”

I enjoyed the reminder to BE the church.  We need God and we need to be the church because, let’s face it; life can be downright tough at times.  We need a second nail to hold us steady when we feel like faltering.  We need a second nail to keep our eyes fixed in the right direction.  We need a second nail to balance the “crazy” that sometimes happens in this thing we call life.

I need a second nail for the inner peace that I so desperately crave.  As Pastor Andy also says in this awesome post about peace:

“Jesus promises peace.  But what kind of peace?  He doesn't promise us a life of tranquility here on earth, free of problems and pains.  He doesn’t promise us that if we just believe or pray hard enough, that all our hurts here on earth will suddenly disappear.  God doesn't promise us that kind of peace.”  (Dang!)

“‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14:22). Our road to heaven will pass through cancer and heart attacks, heartbreaks and hurt.  We will see the greyness of death in the faces of people we love.  We are forced to face our own mortality.  The peace God promises isn't the absence of pain and problems here on earth.”

“The peace the world cannot give is the peace of knowing that, because of Jesus, God forgives you and loves you even though you have said and done terrible things in your life.  The peace the world cannot give is the peace of knowing that, because of Jesus, the tranquility of heaven is waiting for us, where ‘there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain’ (Revelation 21:4).  The peace the world cannot give is the peace of knowing that our God will be with us, give us strength and carry us through every hardship and heartbreak we face.”

Pastor Andy says that the true peace God promises is the peace in the middle of the storm.  I'm thankful for that reminder because it’s easy to forget that we weren’t promised a life without difficulties on this earth.  We weren’t.  This is not our forever home.   

All too often we feel like God is letting us down when the storms of this life rage on and we can’t feel Him and we can’t see Him.  We wonder if He even sees us or cares.

However, we needn’t look further than His Holy Word.  “O God, have pity, for I am trusting You!  I will hide beneath the shadow of Your wings until this storm is past.  I will cry to the God of heaven who does such wonders for me.  He will send down help from heaven to save me, because of His love and His faithfulness.  He will rescue me from those who are so intent upon destroying me.”  (Psalm 57:1-3)

It’s a great feeling to know that we can anchor ourselves to God’s Word and the Sacraments for comfort and to remind us of all His promises.  I truly believe that we can weather the storms of this life if we’re anchored to the right Rock! 

Just like the crooked picture, it needed a rock (er, nail) to lean on.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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