Tuesday, September 30, 2008
One of the definitions of disease is listed as:
Any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society.
You can guess how this fits in. Despair, hopelessness, desperation and all feelings like it are a morbid condition for us Christians. They prompt us to make bad and rash decisions. Decisions we wouldn’t have otherwise made if we had prayed, read our Bibles, and spent some quiet non-verbal time with God.
19but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, 20who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. 21By Him ye believe in God, who raised Him up from the dead and gave Him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Peter 1:19-21)
That our faith and hope might be in God! There is never cause to feel desperate or hopeless if our faith and hope is rooted in our never changing, all powerful, loving God.
It is hard, I must admit, when the circumstances staring us down are grim. That’s when our minds need to immediately focus on God. We need to condition ourselves as Christians to have God be our foremost thought when anything good or bad happens.
How do we condition ourselves? It is like any other conditioning method. If we want to run a marathon we don’t simply enter ourselves and go there on race day with some Gatorade and expect to finish. It takes months and months of hard work and training to prepare for something that big.
In our walk with God, we need to condition and train by being in constant communication with Him. Praying, reading, and meditation are all essential. I find myself thinking I have everything under control. I run ahead of Him only to find I am out of shape and have to stop for a moment to catch my breath. That stop I took cost me precious time, time I could have spent in communion with Him. Instead I end up playing catch up, pouring my remorseful, sinful heart out to Him. It’s a setback that should have never happened. I took my eyes off the prize and had a false sense of confidence that I could do it on my own. We all know what happens when we attempt things on our own. I’ll leave you with this.
24Know ye not that those who run in a race all run, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain it. 25And every man that striveth for mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible.26I therefore so run, but not with uncertainty; I so fight, but not as one that beateth the air. (1 Corinthians 9:24-26)
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Life, at times, is a strange thing. It confounds us. It’s a mystery, a woman leading a man on a merry chase. The man enjoys the chase enough, but what’s driving him is the prize at the end. The thought that he will attain the goal, get the prize. In the man’s case the beautiful woman is something he thinks will satisfy him. Life does this to us. It leads us on many merry chases, chases for fame, fortune, and freedom. Fast cars and pretty houses are things that if we could just grasp even for a fleeting moment will fill us up and leave us…satisfied. Not true though as so many of us know, because behind it all is an ugliness that we’d rather forget exists; the ugliness of our human nature, the drive to get what we want, when we want, and how we want it.
The aforementioned freedom is an elusive thing. It can mean many things to many people. It depends on your position in life. To the inmate it simply means no set schedule, eating when and what you want, and being in a space larger than 8x8x12. To the abused woman it means being free of the daily fear for your life or the life of your children. Being away from the prison her mate has created and that she has felt compelled to remain in. For others who aren’t in as extreme situations it might be freedom from being broke; the prison of pennilessness. It might be freedom from the bondage of pornography, adultery, gluttony, anger, mental illness, depression. Well you get the picture. There are a million things that conflict any one of us at any time and it changes moment to moment. It changes so often it’s hard to keep up with ourselves let alone those we love and care for.
Self-centeredness is a terrible thing. It lies to us. Not only does it make us the center of our own worlds, but it makes us believe that we deserve to be there. Everything important slowly fades from view. It’s a gradual thing of course, as most things are that we wish we could change in hindsight. We never realize it’s happening until we are so deep in we look up and can’t see the light above. When we take a breath it is tainted with the truth, the truth that we have allowed ourselves to be consumed. Consumed by this world we were commanded not to love.
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life - is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15)
As Christians this balance is difficult to achieve. We are in fact in this world. We are here to minister and witness to God’s never ending glory, mercy, and grace. We also have to go to work every day and participate in the mundane trappings of life. I call them trappings because they become a trap.
“1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1&2)
This race we are running does in fact take patience. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. With the fast food mentality of our society today we expect instant gratification. Not only for the things which we desire, but for the results we desire. We desire instant triumph at the things we venture to try. Our relationship with Christ is obviously the most important. Despite the fact that we don’t have to be good, we try to. We try to succeed at it when we indeed already achieved the ultimate accomplishment. We succeeded the day we decided to accept Jesus Christ as our savior. The day we realized we were beyond redemption without the shedding of His blood made us victors over sin, this world, and our life. I’ll leave you with this:
“55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:55-58)
I would know the Bible inside and out. The minute anything happened good or bad I would immediately thank and/or pray to God. I'm ashamed to admit I don't already do that consistently. I'm praying that I let God consume every particle of my being. That I not be so easily distracted. Like a kid in a candy store or a toy store. Every shiny bauble catches my attention.
It's a good thing God loves me the way He does and that His forgiveness isn't conditional.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I pray about it, but it doesn't go away. I know why it won't go away, I don't want it to.
I am the type of person that once I start something it utterly consumes me. I don't know how to do things in moderation. When I get a book I have to read it all in one or two sittings. I think the fear with my writing will be that once I give over to the impulse to really write I will complete the stories that have been plaguing me. Then what excuse will I have? None!
Getting published is in God's hands, but I would be lying if I said that's not what I wanted. I do want that, but if it doesn't happen the rejection would be hard to take. Writing is so personal. The stories and characters are such a part of me. I know them. If they reject the story and characters they are rejecting...me.
I feel I am on the precipice of something. Like I am standing at a fork in the road, standing there in indecision, but not really sure of what decision I'm supposed to make or what the decision is regarding. Odd huh?
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
--Robert Frost (The Road Not Taken, stance 4)
Friday, September 5, 2008
Derek has been in Seattle the past 2 days for training and it's going well. He is really pleased with the job so far and I praise God for that. He has been in jobs the past couple of years that he wasn't thrilled about and now he gets to do something he likes and is good at. God not only provided the essentials, but also blessed us with things our hearts desired. He is so good!
Thank you for all of your prayers. We greatly appreciate them. I love having family around. My kids love playing with their cousins and seeing my mom and sisters.
We went to church this past Sunday and I can't explain the utter peace that stole over me. There was a point during worship where everything faded and it was just me and God. It was a completely perfect moment. My kids enjoyed Sunday school which blessed my heart to no end.
My BFF came over yesterday and spent the night. We stayed up talking until 3 a.m.! It was worth every bit of lost sleep. She was recently married and I couldn't go to the wedding. It was wonderful to get to catch up with her. She and I are perfect for each other as far as friends go and I missed her so much while I was in Montana. I'm probably not making any sense, but I've also only had 3 hours of sleep so you can't blame me.
We've been here for a week and a half and we just now got phone and Internet. Qwest screwed up and we had a challenging first week here, but again God provided us with good neighbors that let us use their phone a couple of times.
While I'm sitting here detailing this all out for you it is blessing my heart all over again to see how God has been more than sufficient through all of it.
We had so much help during the move. My sister's mother-in-law was here while we were unloading keeping an eye on the kids and she vacuumed my house! That woman is a real blessing.
Now that you are all caught up on my life I am looking forward to catching up with all of you. I hope you have all been well while I was away.