Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Deadly...

My grandma had her six-month check-up this week....
 It has been 19 months since she found out she had cancer, probably two years since she was feeling herself.
Strange, the twists and turns life takes.
At this moment, we are awaiting the results of her tests - so far, what's come back has been good!

You know, cancer and Christianity make an interesting comparison...

Surgery and chemo took care of my grandma's cancer. Jesus's sacrifice and our trust in Him take care of our salvation. Unlike her cancer, though, we don't have to worry about our old nature "coming back."
They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
It's dead.
The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
Sometimes it seems like it's trying to -
The good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
But we know
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
That which Christ Jesus apprehends, He does not let go.
No man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.

Although my grandma's cancer is gone, her fingers and feet still feel "asleep" - opening, buttoning, sewing, etc. are difficult or impossible for her to do. Our sins are gone - taken away as far as the east is from the west. However, we still sin, and the effects of our sins linger with us.
It does not have control of us though - just because my grandma can't do certain things easily doesn't mean she doesn't try to do them. And the difference between her now and the day my grandpa took her to the doctor because she could barely get up is huge!

Had she gone to the doctor immediately, though, instead of waiting until she was so weak she could not hide it anymore, it would have been so much easier... I'm mixing my analogies here a little bit, but cancer has been compared to sin many times. Its creeping, subtle influence... the unnatural attacking of that which is good and right, turning it into something dangerous and deadly...
My grandma is one of the strongest women I have ever known. She has always been able to outwork most people around her, she cooks amazing food, and has lived a pretty healthy life. She does not have only physical strength, either. I don't know how to describe it, except that she has come through much in her life, and only allowed it to make her better. Anyway. I <3 her. :D
She still got cancer.
(Forget all that stuff about eating cabbage and broccoli... you can do all that and still need chemo! :P)
No matter how much we do right, we cannot prevent the sin from being in our lives. We need Something Else, Something outside ourselves to come and give us new life and save us from the sin that is killing us. And the sooner we realize that, the better it will be. She could have waited too long. Thank God that there were other people in her life who insisted she go see a doctor! Which is a reminder:
We can make more of a difference than we know. Insist that those around you go see the Great Physician. Don't let them continue on, sin sucking the life out of them. The longer they wait, the worse it will get. Perhaps they are strong, doing (they think) perfectly fine without God. Maybe they can go a little longer than others, but it will still conquer them. Drive 'em to the Doctor. Be there when they need you. You can't make them "get chemo," but you can tell them how you were cured.
You can "Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee."

Seeking Him,

Monday, July 19, 2010

Simple

Now, this may be obvious to some people, but to me, it was a very helpful illustration, so if you go "duh!" it's a personality difference, ok? :) I am a quieter person, tending to silently listen rather than vivaciously talk. I'm not the type of person who feels a need to tell everyone everything I know or think.
(My mom, on the other hand, is the kind of person who will go up to complete strangers in a grocery store and say, "Hey! Did you see the great sale they have on cucumbers in the next aisle? You really should go check it out!" I just figure, hey, if they want cucumbers they can probably figure it out themselves. I do miss all the "Oh, thank you so much for letting me know!" reactions, but I also miss all the "Yikes, weirdo lady," responses, too.) :)


Anyway. I recently watched a movie that I really liked. I immediately began thinking which of my friends would enjoy watching it, who I could share it with, who had probably never heard of it, etc. I was excited to let them know about something that they'd like, and that was that.

Bam. It suddenly hit me that this was what witnessing should be like. Spontaneous excitement over how amazing God is and how incredibly much we need Him... thinking about "Who do I know that doesn't know about Him?" Or even "Who can I tell what God has just taught me?" (which of course can be anyone, including those who know Him very well!)

If I care about the people and care about God, there need not be any "Oh, how will I bring this topic up in conversation?" worries. I didn't have to plan on talking about the movie, or figure out how to work it into the conversation, or anything. It was just uh, normal?

I realized I tend to think of talking about God as harder than it is. I try to figure out what to say to people, how I'll explain what I believe, whether or not to say something when someone takes the Lord's name in vain, how I can work something into the conversation... Wow. Why don't I just relax and let it come into the conversation naturally? Why don't I ask God to make me so on fire for Him that I can't help but speak of Him? Why don't I get so excited about my wonderful Lord that I can't wait to tell others about Him?

Seeing it that way made "witnessing" seem suddenly so much easier.

So simple.

As simple as telling someone about a fun movie.

Only so much more powerful.



Seeking Him,

Friday, July 16, 2010

do they know?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Deadline...

Two days ago, my grandparents took off for parts unknown (or at least undisclosed to the world at large), leaving me home to do lots of school work. They also happened to leave on the day I was going to clean bathrooms... which I promptly decided not to do, since they were going to be gone for a few days. :) Nor did I scrub the floor, which I had also planned on doing. I kept thinking, "Oh, I need to clean the kitchen," but I never really did. It was just going to get dirty again... and they might not be back until Friday or something.

Then, yesterday evening as I was working on Spanish (I'm almost done with Spanish I! Yay!), my brother got back from work. "Well, they're going to be here in a few hours," he said.

!!!!!!!!

So, I jump up, make supper, he goes off to prayer meeting, and I start cleaning. Office, foyer, kitchen, dining room, living room, sitting room, and three bathrooms - floors vacuumed, swept, or mopped, some rooms more than other rooms. (Kitchen especially. Everything needed scrubbed in there, plus dishes and dishwasher.) Then I filled the cookie jar (Chex works instead of Wheaties and ranger cookies are good with currents added to them and no one will notice if you cut the butter by nearly 1/2) and got ready for bed. And they got home, just as I came downstairs to wash my clothes! (They liked the cookies, btw.)

That was about three hours of cleaning, and they got home with perfect timing. The funny thing is, I knew I was going to do that. I kept thinking I needed to do this or that, but until I actually knew the deadline, I didn't make myself do it. (And now you can be properly shocked that I did not just keep it in a state of perfect cleanliness the whole time. I know. Me too.)

Flying around, I realized something.

There are all these things that must be done before Jesus returns. I know about them, I see them... but because I do not know the deadline, I act like I have all the time in the world. I don't have the same sense of urgency about His return that I had about my grandparent's - and I didn't get that until I knew when they were coming home.

I've actually often wished that I knew how much time I had, simply for that very reason. Deadlines energize me, kick-start me, and make me finish what I need to on time. If I knew I only had one hour until Jesus came back, I wouldn't spend five minutes of it paging through a magazine I won't remember looking at tomorrow anyway.
But - I didn't know the exact time of my grandparent's arrival, either. I did find out it was soon, and I cleaned as much and as fast as possible.
And although I don't know the day or the hour of my Lord's return, I can take a pretty good guess.

Soon.

When ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Luke 21:31

Not yet, but it is near and getting nearer.

Do I have enough time to accomplish all that He wants me? I hope so - but I certainly don't if I'm not doing it!

What is my "to do list"? What must I do before He returns?


Well, first of all:
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. II Cor. 13:5
I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. I Cor. 9:27
Self-examination is not very fun - but am I a child of God? Have I been adopted by Him, my sins washed away into oblivion by the cleansing blood of Christ so that God can accept me at His table and in His home forever after? Sometimes when I see how very awful I am, I wonder - yet even that shows that I am His. The more I know Him, His power, glory, majesty, and perfection, the more I realize my need of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and redemption. Did my salvation depend upon me, there would absolutely not the slightest chance for me. But it depends wholly on my Savior, and I can rest on His promises. I am His. Yet - I must still bring my body into subjection to Him, becoming like Him as He perfects me.

So what else?

Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. James 1:25

Looking at the law, hearing God's word, and doing the work - what does this entail?

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Mat. 6:33
(You knew I had to put that one in there.) :)

Walking with Him, doing justly and loving mercy... so what are we doing? How do we seek His kingdom?

Once we know we're going to heaven, our job is simple: get as many people to come with us as possible.

I need to start with my family. Does every person in my family know my Savior, as far as I can know? Am I living a good example for them? Am I praying for them? Is there something else I need to do?
Then on to who God has placed in my life. Who do I go to church with? Do I know them? Are they saved? How can I either show them their need for a Savior or encourage them in their walk with Him? Same for work (no job at the moment), school (not yet, but soon!), or anything thing I happen to be in. Where do I go? Where do I spend time? Do I know people there? Do they know who I really am and what my life is really about? Or am I doing a pretty stinkin' good cover-up job?

So often we act like we've been sent to work as under-cover spies for God, instead of as ambassadors for a Heavenly country!

I find it all to easy to put off what it is vitally important I not put off. He's coming back soon, and I need to get on the job. Sure, eating, drinking, breathing, sleeping, school, etc., all need to be done too - but how much more I could be doing than I am! Even to spending time with my siblings: when I talk to them, am I listening to them? Do I know what their needs are? Do I pray with them? Simple things... that I've been forgetfully ignoring lately.

This is something I seriously need to work on and, if you think of it, your prayers would be appreciated. Thank you!

Seeking Him,



Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Friday, July 9, 2010

Shimmering Sparkles

I got to see fireworks in two different towns, two different nights this year - once on on a boat on the river and once sitting on the shore of a lake. Both were lots of fun, and I've been trying to think of a post about them ever since, lol. :D

I love fireworks. There's just something
spectacular about them. Something huge and amazing and almost glorious. (Yes, I get carried away.) ;)

Watching them (and thinking about them later), I thought about being lights in the world.

Look at the many different colors, shapes (we got to see hearts the other night!), sizes, heights, sounds, and differences between fireworks. Yet all have been preprogrammed, set up with a certain amount of ingredients and timed to go off at an exact time.

Every person is different - every Christian is different. There is no "Christian temperament" or "Christian personality" - we are all made in God's image, and I think we all show a little bit different part of Him. But we've all be created by Him, given abilities, gifts, and a time and a place to live.

Fireworks have one purpose: to go off. If they don't, they're useless and worse than useless - they could be dangerous.

We were created for one thing - to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (Sounds like two, but for the Christian, it isn't.) If we aren't doing that, we not only are not serving Him, we are probably damaging those around us. God can still use us (look at Pharaoh, etc.), but we certainly won't be lighting up a dark world for Him!

The thing that really stuck out to me however, happened after the grand finale. Boats were racing away before us, people were hurrying for their cars in mass droves... we still sat on our blankets, talking and waiting for the rush to slow.
Suddenly two more fireworks exploded into the sky, surprising us all. We watched a minute for more, then kept talking. A little bit later more went off. And more! None of us had seen that happen before, and we all thought it was a little odd.
Then I realized how like me those last few fireworks are. I'm in the right place at the right time - and the right spark just never goes off. I have an opportunity to say something to someone, be it plant a seed, give an explanation, be an encouragement, or share a Bible verse, and I keep silent. I just don't quite think of the right words or know quite how to say it. So I wait, and miss that perfect moment. Then, when I do think of what to say, I realize I've missed my opportunity and I never do say what I knew I should.
But those fireworks... apparently they had everything necessary to work. They should have simply gone off at the right time. They didn't however. But do you know what? They still went off. No, it wasn't perfect timing. No, most people had already left. Yes, we thought they were a little weird for going off late.
But some people did see them! And enjoyed them! And were glad that they did go off eventually!

As I work on giving "a word fitly spoken," I hope this reminds me that I don't need to wait for the perfect phrase. Speak when something needs said. If I miss the first time, though, I should take the next chance. I need to keep away from the "speak now or forever hold your peace" kind of thinking. I need to take every opportunity to light up the darkness with the bright colors God has given me to show for Him.

Seeking Him,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Feeling Ugly Today?

Please don't.







Sometimes our very idea of what beauty is has been tampered with, don't you think?
I have a cedar board in my closet with the words By Design on it. It was originally the bottom of a hamper, but one day I looked at it, and knew I needed to see it more often. (Not that I never empty the hamper, lol, but the hamper broke.) :) Simply remembering those words helped me so much.. Seeing them every day and being reminding that I was designed by God - and that He finds me beautiful!

Psa 45:11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Ecc 3:11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

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