Monday, January 24, 2011

Standing Before God

The other day, I was having an 'encouragement' talk with one of my girls.  She was struggling with something and I need to help her find a new way to think the situation through.  The old one was corkscrewing her into the ground.  You know the type.  I get a bee in my bonnet and off I go corkscrewing myself into the ground.  I just want to stop, but the bee just keeps buzzing in my bonnet.  I can hear it, but I can't find it!

So there we were talking about how it all started.  I asked her some questions to help her see how our heart's will devise a plan without us really be aware of it.  I could refer back to my bonnet, but I think you get the picture!  This is where I must be the most diligent in my own thinking.   Proverbs 4:23 'Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs of life.'

Our discussion was sweet and personal.  I shared my own struggles in this area and I won her conversation for it. 

As the conversation progressed, I realized a position in my thinking I hadn't really considered.  We were talking about what motivates the heart to do what is pleasing in the sight of the Lord.  We covered hiding His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him, looking to the work He freely did for us on the cross and the huge thank you we desire to give Him for what He did even when we had not asked.  This eventually came to talking about standing before the Lord to hear those sweet, sweet words..."Well done, my faithful servant." 

Then it hit me.  Why do I put that at the end of the time line of my life?  Am I not standing before Him right now?  Why would I put that at the end of her time line too!  It was a sweet moment to share how God is with us every moment.  I am standing before Him now, tonight, tomorrow and until I see Him face to face. 

Live for Him everyday...you will hear Him say...Well Done, Faithful Servant!    

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

They are Watching. What Do They See?

I just hear a sermon this last Sunday night on Revelations 3.  It was covering the church at Laodicea.  I had to think how that is really our churches in America.  The city was located in a the major hub for trade and industry.  Fashion,money changing (early banks) and health were highly regarded in the area.  Even their medicines were cutting edge.  Made me think of the City of Vanity from Pilgrims Progress.

They had placed so much of their confidence and faith in the things around them.  I had to wonder how much I do that.  Do I count on my abilities to buy nice clothing or even the security of money in the bank?  Am I really show my children what is important about this time on earth.

Of course, I like to dress nice and have the security of that magic amount. in our bank account to cover three months of bills...just in case!  These are my earthly comforts and quite frankly can be my safety net in my heart.  Is that a formula I can count on?  Are things going to work out because I calculated what my perfect comfort zone is?  Wow!  I bet God has a tracker beam on my idol and has placed a spiritual bulls eye right on it!!

The passage goes on to a pretty famous verse in Revelations 3:15-16  "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth."

Have you ever drunk lukewarm water.  Not yummy or refreshing.  The people of Laodicea knew what the messenger was saying.  Geographically speaking, there were two aqua ducts that merged.  One came from the North and the other one from the South.  One had cold refreshing water great for drinking water and the other had what we would understand as a sulfur springs(Hot bubbly water).  When both of the waters arrived deep into Laodicea,  they were mixed and seemed neither good for drink or other uses.  So it was with them and God takes it seriously.  So did I that night!

It just has me thinking.  Do I really want to place my trust in God and what He can accomplish in time, money, relationships, and even my thought processes?  Or am I placing them in things and money like this church in Laodicea?  Here is my plan to find out the temperature of my heart for Christ.

  • How do I respond to having to deny getting a sweater that looks so darling?  Is that imortant in light of eternity or better yet, is it better for my girls to see my attitude of letting it go and still be happy.  I can appreciate something and not possess it. After all, I have eternity!
  • How about when my hubby is out of work or between jobs.  Do I worry?  Yes...Can I do something better than that and much more effective and useful.  Yes!!  I can give my cares to the Lord in prayer and be an example of one who puts my trust in Him.  How would it impact my children to see me in a joy, unaltered by circumstances?  Would they see Him as faithful, true and the only source of true joy?  Would not this be the BEST I could give my kids?
  • How about when someone is speaking coldly or indifferent?  Do I plan an attack?  Oh, the flesh loves to war.  Can I be of any better use than that?  Have I placed my earthly mission above my heavenly mission?
These are just some things that spin about in this puny brain of mine.  The word of God can effectively do this and more in the thinking of such a wretch.  Making me aware that it is not just about me.  It is my relationship to Christ and the testimony of that love for Him.  Grace, Mercy and Joy!  We have this in abundance and I probably don't share it like I should.

The Pastor said at some point, it would be far better that a small group of people on fire for the Lord represent Christ than to have a bunch of people lukewarm saying they follow Him.  This just made such an impression on me.  I want Hot not Cold nor Lukewarm lest I be spit out...What if believers were just Hot for Him.  We all know it...It would be an amazing testimony about God in our lives.  What would an unbelieving world say if we were Christ-like in all respects.  Willing to love when wronged, are not glutinous towards the things of the world, helped, shared, cared, prayed for, even suffer for other believers in this world.

John 13:34-35 says 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Are we so different?  Do we need to be?  We are here but for a pencil dot on the time line of eternity. Study the word and know it that you can live it out.  This is my prayer for me.  I pray it will be for everyone who loves our dear God.

They are watching... our children, extended family, our neighbors and co-workers.  They are watching.  What do they see?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mission is to Show Them God!!

All of us have conversations with people.  Confess...for the believer those conversations that rock our world are always when God's word is in the middle of it.   The word can be expressed in so many ways.  By peoples actions, the imagery in a story they are retelling or the very scripture itself!

There are people in our lives that give us the big picture and some that show us the corners of our lives.

You know the corners are the places where dust collects and needs straightening up due to neglect or ignorance or sin.  Some times the things in the corner just need to be throw out.  These are the things that are hidden to the general visitors of my home because corners are out of the way places.  Then some one who loves me, says something about the pile I in the corner.  I love these people.  Really.  They desire my good.  They are looking at my testimony for Christ and do not wish the word of God to be maligned.  The Titus 2 woman is very much like this.  She desires to see your life give glory.  Not in petty things, but in the care and love of family.  Is my corner filled with wasted time, lack of diligence, managing my god given role or the all too famous need for more sleep.  I am afraid I could sleep my way to the gates of heaven only to look back and see what a waste of my God given time. 

The big picture people say something that gives me a broad stroke of myself here on earth.  I love when I am talking to someone and they don't even know they are speaking to my heart.  They are just sharing what God showed them or what someone shared with them.  Recently, I was so touched to hear a momma talk so fondly about her four boys.  The oldest was 7 and the youngest almost 2.  Someone had told her that God had entrusted her to have all boys.  That she was raising the next generation of leaders for the church.  Wow!  Now that just gave her such a blessed responsibility.  That how she saw it and she loved the thought that God would use her in such a way.  Her awe and joy was infectious! 

I don't have four boys but that message still rings in my ears.  I am raising girls and boys for the future church body of Christ.  Lord willing, He will touch each one of them for His use and glory. 

I love hearing things like this because I have all the tool I need in scripture.  I am just reminded how sweet and wonderful the mission is.  The mission is to show them God!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Will I Live This Life For Him?

Today is another day full of God's mercy and grace towards me!!!   When days where Christ is my focus and my dearest thought,  I have had the most wonderful experiences.  May my mouth love the Lord and do very little to care about my circumstances, interruptions to my day and the deeds the flesh so desires to do on it's own behalf.

You know how it goes...you get on the phone or your start cooking a meal and then you hear it...the unsettled issue in the next room.  The slow burn of whispers that turn into the full words of anger. Your children are at it again.  

You don't have to be yelling to achieve the goals of anger.  You just have to let those fleshly words pour out and annihilate the ones you have sovereignly been placed with by God.  If that relationship is a husband and wife, parent to child or siblings, we have the ever present chance to place our fist up to God and say this is not good enough!!  I want...

You can all fill in the blank. We all can.  I know I can!!  Every time my girls have a disagreement, I sit with them and hear all they have to say about the matter.  Truthfully, I am annoyed sometimes at what I hear.  I realize that all their excuses and reasoning are folly before the Lord.  At the same time, the faithfulness of the  Holy Spirit is convicting me of my own folly in my marriage and relationship with my own child.  Excuses and reasoning I tend to lean on like a life saver instead of the lead weighted anchor that it really is.

I can look at this in one of two ways. 

My flesh can tell me that I need to have what I want just like my girls in their disagreement.  We argue for and about things, that I can not for the life of me tell you what I fought over six months ago.  What seems so important at the moment is really a false sense of meaningfulness. 

OR

If  I really sought the real meaning of such trials and inconveniences it would be for me to fall on my face and worship God.  To seek His face and ask Him to mold my heart to conform to the peace and promises within His word and  to be about the business of glorifying His name. How I focus on the comforts of life and the ease I believe it will afford me, instead of how wonderful it is to bless my Savior.  To live in a pleasing way for Him.  To show Him my love in the light of the love He showed me on the cross. 

When I think of the power of the gospel and the love of God, I can't help but think He has made me for Himself. I have one life to live. Will I live it for Him?     

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Season of Colds and Bad Attitudes

When the fall season appears on the scene, we start planning for the Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We write really, really tiny on our calendar spaces because we have so much on that day to do and more could present its self.  Exciting as it all is to visit friends, plan for family and decorate for the big day, we must keep our goals in check.

There are the "do it all" type person.  Others are a "if asked" or "if  needed".  I am all these.  To my detriment!

Please do not think it is not a wonderful journey of service and love  pored out to those along the way.  Can you just hear a BUT coming?

BUT, this is also flu and cold season. January 1st and one child is sick, then three days later another...Being stopped in my tracks due to a sickness can change my attitude. I admit it.  IT was not what I had planned.  My child is sick and grumpy and I need to be the mommy to the one in need. When I am sick, I  become tired and that leads to being grumpy.  Sin with an excuse!  That is what that is!

I know the all night, no sleep, feeling a little of the sickness yourself, cleaning up the throw up, changing the sheets, laundry, laundry, and more laundry are not the glamorous moments.  I know during those moments I have just prayed to get through them.  With my attitude in check and my 'will' lined up with the Lord, I can weather these moments without regret.  But what if I can even make more out of these moments.

The results of our fallen world includes sickness.  Do you think my child would feel and understand that just a bit more at this time.  How we need Jesus to help us through the trials in life that are a product of a fallen world.  Praying together, reading  (a good christian book!! maybe with a character that has more trouble then they do).

If I can see that God has given this to me, I might actually use it to grow and be blessed in the Lord.  How many times could I talk about the Lord with this little one while coloring a beautiful picture with them (distracting them from actually feeling "sick - technique").  Serving up home made soup (previously frozen for such a time as this).   Who knows, we might have to frame the art to remind us of the memories of such talks.

Let us find ways to nurture our families. Share with each other the productive time when we have been sick. Don't let the schedule run us into the ground, but look to the reason for the season we just enjoyed.  Be inspired to be like the One who loves us and sacrificed for us because of His deep love for us.