Monday, January 8, 2018

A Bruised Reed

I often wonder if God gets frustrated with our ignorance.  Does He at times desire to walk away from us to spare Himself from our idiocy?  Does he get exasperated and close Himself in His chamber for a moment to collect Himself after dealing with our cluelessness?  Does He smack Himself in the forehead and say, “Oy vey!” when we just don’t seem to understand?  I am certain that if God’s patience could be pushed to such limits I would be the one to get Him there.

Thankfully God is nothing like me.  I believe that as high as the heavens are above the earth so are His thoughts above my own.  He said so.  I also believe His patience and His love are that much greater.  In fact I bank on it, because it has become clear to me after all these years of following Him that I am simply not able to match His step without stumbling and tripping like I have two left feet.  Yes, I am that girl on the dance floor.  You know the one.  She wants to dance, and she’s smiling like an idiot while trying for all she’s worth, but she just hasn’t got the rhythm nor the coordination.  

My reason for writing this morning is to hopefully encourage you all.  In a world full of scoffers and naysayers it is very easy to feel like the one in the corner with the dunce hat on your head.  Let’s face it, the world is full of people who are less than gracious when they see our flaws and failures.  It seems that even the ones who bear the name of Christ are prone to mockery, ever ready to pounce upon each other, pointing out mistakes and making spectacles of each other’s failures.  It happened to me just this morning.  

In a very brief conversation, if you could call it that, my confession of a bad decision I had made turned into an all out scornful mocking by someone who completely missed the point I was trying to make.  I already knew that what I had done had had a huge negative effect in my life, but this person wouldn’t hear me for that.  Instead she insensitively seized the opportunity of me taking a breath mid-sentence to begin her tirade of how she knew all along that my decision was completely stupid.  Yes, she used the word stupid.  But it didn’t end there.  In trying to defend myself another barrage of hurtful insensitive things were said and all for what?  So that this woman could have it be known by me that she knew better?  That she was wiser and called out the calamity long before it came to pass?  Anyway, I’m not usually a pansy, but her harsh words hit my already bruised heart leaving me to feel like the fool she made me out to be.  The whole conversation took place in less than three minutes and it ended badly with her being dismissive and insinuating I was just being sensitive and then telling me she would call later, to which I replied, “don’t” and I hung up on her.  Yeah...that was not so Christ like of me.  If she were anything less than the woman of God that she is, I might expect her to bitterly phase out of my life.   But I have no concern about that with this woman as we have through the years disagreed many times and because Christ does rule each of our hearts, He always brings us back to peace and joy with each other.  That’s how it’s supposed to be.  But the whole situation got me thinking about Jesus.

Isaiah prophesied about Jesus saying, “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3).  There is more to that prophesy, but this is the part that I’ve been pondering.  It stands out to me that often people are ever so ready to pounce upon those who are already down.  Like this woman, they think nothing of the pain someone is already suffering for their sin or their mistakes or their poor decisions and they jump headlong into their tirades of scorn and condemnation.  But Jesus wasn’t like that.  He wasn’t one to break the bruised reed.  How often we fail to incorporate this attribute into our repertoire of Godly emulation.  Then it occurred to me.  This failure on the part of this woman is just a misstep in her dance with Jesus.  I’m sure she feels that she said and did nothing wrong...this is her MO after all.  But how she behaved was tantamount to her being the girl on the dance floor, smiling like an idiot, trying for all she was worth to dance in the steps of Jesus only to look as though she had two left feet, no rhythm and zero coordination.  And since I’ve been that girl all of my life, I can only offer the same patience and love that God has for me when I don’t get it right.  The good thing is, I know that by the time we all get to that great Wedding banquet, we’ll be dancing like pros and not one of us will miss a step.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

If I Should Die Before They Wake

I wouldn't consider myself a morbid person.  But I am aware that at any given moment God may call me home.  I'm not in any way guaranteed another day or moment to spend with those I love.  Knowing that I may not have the time to "work up the courage" to broach the subjects of God and eternity, I tend to be direct and speak freely about these things.  I am not embarrassed about my faith.  I am not shy about it.  There is no good reason for me to hesitate in sharing the truth that I know.  I just do it.  As vocal as I am, I often think to myself, 'I need to foster more teachable moments with my kids.'

This song, written by Jennie B. Wilson, is titled,  "Hold To God's Unchanging Hand".  It perfectly reflects my prayers and wishes for my children save for the second line in the last verse.  When I sing this song I change it to say, "Trust in God who has been true".  

Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught of earth unmoved can stand.
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God's unchanging hand.

Hold to His hand, To God's unchanging hand
Hold to His hand, To God's unchanging hand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand.

Trust in Him who will not leave you,
Whatsoever years may bring
If by earthly friends forsaken
Still more closely to Him cling

Covet not this world's vain riches
That so rapidly decay,
Seek to gain the heavenly treasures,
They will never pass away

When your journey here is ended
If to God you have been true (Trust in God who has been true),
Fair and bright your home in glory
Your enraptured soul will view.

God knows how deep my love runs for those He has placed in my life.  I long for the day when they awaken to the knowledge of the truth.  But, If I should die before they wake, I want to be sure that I took advantage of every opportunity God has given me to tell them about His love and justice.  I want to be sure I took every opportunity to show them His love.  And when I stand before Him, may He be pleased.   May it be so.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dare To Be Preachy

Sooner or later I'm going to die, unless of course, Jesus comes back and takes me to heaven before that happens.  I'm rooting for the latter.  I don't fancy that my life has impacted many except for my own immediate family.  There will be no monuments to my name, no great hall of fame, no television dramas or movies when I die.  There will only be my witness to those my life has touched.   There are songs that I've written that I hope have blessed others and maybe inspired them to trust the Lord, but when my body is cold, likely the memory of me for most people will be cold too.  If I must die, however, my hope is that those that I leave behind who know me, will be able to say with confidence, "She loved the Lord with all her heart and she also loved me."

Those who really know me know that the shallow things in life hold little interest for me, save for issues that deal with bettering our health and wellness physically.  Most often my mind has been on eternal things.   I have allowed God's Word to shape my life, my opinions, my sense of justice, my morality, my politics and my parenting.  Because of that I'm sure I've lost a few "friends" along the way.  But I'm not so mournful about a relationship lost when the relationship itself is so shallow that it can be lost.  I've learned that I can only do my best to love and be faithful, and if in the end a person is intent on going in a direction different from the one I am going, it is best to hold lightly and leave them in the hands of the Father, who's Spirit alone can draw them to the place on which my heart is set.

The entire world is hell bent on invalidating and making impotent the idea of an eternal God.  Since my childhood I have listened to hostile people hurl accusations against God's faithful.  The intensity of their hatred has only grown throughout the years and where there at one time may have been a line that no one was willing to cross, in these latter days that line is now gone.  It's a no-holds-barred society of vicious, teeth-gnashing hatred and violence toward the Truth and anyone who would share it.  Those hostile to the gospel reject any kind of testimony,  scornfully accusing Christians of being "preachy" in an effort to shut them up.  Even the quiet Christian who minds his own business in the work place is made to feel intimidated by hateful coworkers who disapprove of his unwillingness to join in their wicked banter, because even the Christian's silent witness is too loud for the wicked.

We are intentionally being pushed back, forced to retreat to closed doors and soon, I fear, shuttered windows.  But for now, in the United States of America we have a freedom to speak.  And no one here who knows the truth should let themselves be intimated into silence.  It is our freedom and our responsibility to speak.  Because the truth is LIFE.  And there are many who would yet choose eternal life if they only had the Truth shared with them.

I'm not going to say that there is no cost in sharing the Truth.  There is.  And sometimes you will lose people you love because of it.  Our Enemy is not gentle in his battle against us.  It is his goal to hurt us in the most painfully personal way he can.  Family and friends are fair game in the battle to silence and disempower the Children of God.  Consider yourself warned.  But also consider how greatly powerful the testimony of redemption is!  It is totally worth it.  There is no system that will allow us to know how a person will react to hearing our testimonies.  There is only the hope that maybe someone will hear what we have to say and believe.

Teaching God's redeemed that they can live holy lives is also a worthy endeavor.  It was the hope in this promise that freed me from the bondage of sin after I believed.  Satan doesn't just want to keep us from being saved.  He also wants to keep us from being over-comers.  I think I've had more resistance to the message of holiness from people than I've had to the message of redemption itself.  People, even Christians, don't like to think of themselves as sinners who need to change.  For the unbeliever, this message is impossible because they do not have the power to change.  But for the believer, they have the very power of Christ Himself to overcome any sin. God does not suddenly sanctify our evil deeds making them not evil just because we believe in Him.  Sinning is still evil and God has equipped each of His Children with the power to break what ever bondage we might be in.

In my opinion, preaching the truth is one of the most loving things a Christian can do.  The world, and even people in church may accuse you of being "preachy" attaching a negative connotation to it.  That is merely a tactic used to silence the message of freedom in Christ.  If you live in the United States of America, or any other country where you have the freedom of speech, please do not waste this freedom.  Speak up!  Dare to be preachy!  Let them hear the truth from your lips and see the good deeds that accompany your words so that they will believe!  Give others the same chance Christ is giving you right now as you read my words.

When I die I'll walk through those pearly gates with the hope that I did my best and took every opportunity to speak deep things to you...eternal things that matter.  And I hope that someone, anyone will choose to worship Jesus with their whole heart because I dared to be preachy.  To God be the glory!