Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Estate



I spent all day today running errands... food, clothes, shoes... I've never really been "back-to-school" shopping, really, so this month has been interesting! :D

One place we stopped, though I stayed in the car working on some school, was an estate sale.
When everyone came back, they mentioned several things they had seen, things the person kept their entire life, which were now being sold off to whoever walked into their house.
.
Estate sales always interest me because of the glimpse they give you into another person's life.

You walk into their house after they die, and you learn things.
You find out how much stuff they had.
What kind of books they read, and if they loved to read or not.
What type of music they listened to, and the type they preferred.
What movies they watched, which ones were their favorites.
What kind of clothes they wore, and how they took care of them.
What pets they had, and sometimes even how much of their life involved those pets.
What kind of furniture they owned.
What style of decorating they preferred.
What was important to them.
And even how much their children valued their parent's possessions, by what things they left in the house to be sold!
It's fascinating to enter into another person's life like that.

I listened to my younger brother talk about something this particular person had, and thought of the Judgement Day.


Kind of like an Estate Sale, everything that was in our lives will be there, on display for the Judge to see. He will not see the clean version of our house, picked up and spiffed for company. He will not even see the family version of our house, the way it looks when no one happens to be coming and we go to bed tired after a long day away. He won't even see the we've-all-had-the-flu-for-three-weeks-and-we're-moving-do-you-mind version of our house. Of course, He already knows exactly what we're like, but in that Day everything hidden will be made known, and people will be able to see our life as we lived it. It will be easy to see what was important to us, and what things mattered to us.

Which makes me think... is there anything in my life that I'd really rather not be there when it comes time for my "estate sale" and everyone can walk through my life and see what I valued?
What do I value? Am I making sure that those things are well taken care of?

Say I did die, and people were really going through my things down here. What kind of person would they think I was? What would they see as most important in my life? What would they leave talking about?

It gives you something to think about...


Seeking Him,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I'mb Sick!







Ok, it's not that bad. :)


But, coughing, stuffy, tired, crabby... I ignored it for a while, but when it drags on and on, it's hard to pretend nothing is wrong. I hate being sick with a passion, and  I've been sick for about two weeks, and getting royally tired of it. :P


So today I started wondering if there was any kind of spiritual parallel to the common cold. And of course, thought of something right away. :)


There have been several times in my life when I have caught a spiritual "cold" - where for weeks unhappiness would cling to me, and I would be dogged by unrelenting thoughts that seemed determined to make me miserable while following Christ. I wasn't deathly "sick" - I don't think I've ever been flat-out depressed, and I doubt anyone around me could even tell that something was wrong, except for what I told them. But people have died from colds that turned into something else, and there were times when I was very afraid. I thought it would never end, but, like a cold, I would wake up one day and realize I was better. Each time it happened, though, it was worse. 


The last time it happened was several years ago, and it was probably one of the worst times of my life. The thought kept coming to me that I did not truly believe in God. Knowing it was not my thought, but an invention of the enemy that wants to destroy me, I ignored it and answered, Of course I do. I've been saved for ten years. But the how do you know? kept coming back, and I had no reply. How did I know? What proof did I have? Every answer I tried did not work, and I was lost. Over and over I told myself that my feelings did not "affect God's facts" - these were things I simply knew and believed beyond a shadow of a doubt - but my feelings were certainly affecting what I was thinking. How much of what I believed was simply because my parents said so? How much did I truly know for myself? On and on... Even when I refused to agree that I did not believe in God - I knew I did - the lack of answers I had frightened me. I figured I would simply wait it out, as I had before, and eventually I wouldn't worry about it anymore. 


Which ended up being more or less what I did. (He that endureth to the end...) This time, though, it was a little different. For the first time I realized how very weak my faith was, and how utterly, absolutely, incredibly helpless I was without God. I actually saw that, without His saving me and keeping me, there was no hope for me. I think before there had always been a little bit of "I chose Him" in my heart, but then the awesomeness of that "He first loved us" overwhelmed me. I do believe we have a responsibility to turn to Him - but He made us, He loved us, He died for us, He calls us, He draws us, He saves us, He keeps us. The one instant where I did stopped struggling against the overpowering current of His love and asked Him to save me, compared all that He has done... There is no comparison. There is nothing I have ever done or ever could do that would save me. 


After I completely threw myself upon Him, realizing that without His mercy I did not even have the ability to believe in the reality of an obvious Creator God and His historically known Son, and was completely dependent on Him, it began to get better. And I determined more than ever that I wanted to Know Him - to know Him and be more sure of His existence than I was of my own. To see His hand at work all around me. To be living and breathing abiding in Him.




Why am I telling you all this? Because since that time I have learned the truth of "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man." I asked God why He would allow me to be bothered by such stupidity and silliness as my thoughts and feelings dragged me into - and then someone came to me, asking for prayer, and I knew instantly what they were talking about. I could say, "I've been there. Here is what helped me." And I was so glad that I had been there before them, that they did not have to think themselves alone, as I had. 


It's hard to explain to someone whose personality would never be affected like that... Much of it, I think, was from not seeing rightly who God is - the more I learn of Him and about Him, the less the devil can tell me lies about Him. The reason I felt so miserable was because there was not really anyone that I dared talk to about it who understood - since, after all, it was more of a wrestling with my feelings than anything else. And since those around me did not understand... something had to be seriously wrong with me. 


I do not think I will ever forget the day I sat with about fourteen other girls, all of whom had been raised in Christian homes and gone to church their entire lives, and listened as they went around the circle, giving their salvation testimonies. Almost every one of them telling how they had gotten saved at a young age and then gone through a time of doubt and questioning their salvation as they entered their teens - and how they were afraid to tell anyone else, because they thought no one would understand and everyone would think them absolutely terrible. Seeing all these girls, many of whom had know each other for years and years, and realizing that they all went through something at least somewhat similar to what I had, and that they had all been afraid to let others know really opened my eyes. Had I been more open with my struggles and tried to explain them better, perhaps those "colds" would not have lasted as long as they did. Don't be afraid to tell people what you are going through. Someone else has had the same experience, and does understand, even if those around you right now do not seem to. Satan's biggest goal is to separate us, from others and from God. Stay connected.




So there, a simile that morphed into a testimony and then into a wandering explanation of several different points and ended up as a very open (for me) :) post... hopefully some of which will make sense to you. :) 






Seeking Him, that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings... 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bread


guillotine.gif

Music again...

What can I say? I love music. :)

This weeks simile is pretty simple... merely a thought I had while listening to some songs about the French Revolution.

I've always found the French Revolution fascinating, from learning that Lafayette's son was forced to flee to America for safety, to searching for connections between the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre and the violent years that followed.

If you've ever read In The Reign of Terror, The Scarlet Pimpernel, A Tale of Two Cities,Scaramouche, or any similar books, you have some idea of those times were like (fiction though those books may be).
If you have ever shuddered at the "knitting women," or cried at Sidney's, "It is a far, far better thing I do," - then you know where I'm coming from. :)

When you see the insanity that was unleashed, you wonder how people could do such things. But they were starving - for food, for protection from those who would take from them and kill them, for the right to live. Almost everyone knows the "Let them eat cake" quote - can you imagine what constant hunger will drive people to do?

The song I heard was pretty awful, a song from the mobs to the aristocrats they were murdering, but when I heard it and thought of what had brought them to that place - decades, centuries even, of abuse and cruelty from those who could have helped them... I realized something.



Those who had freedom, money, and food, kept it for themselves.
They did not see the starving multitudes about them.
They did not care enough to save those who died from the awful conditions in which they lived.
They did not give as they had been given to.

When their judgement came, it was terrible.
An estimate 40,000 people died during the Reign of Terror.







Jesus said, "I am the bread of life."

Do you realize what happens when we withhold Bread from those who are starving for it? When we, who have been given so much, do not do all that we can that others might also eat of that Bread?
Do you see the direction the world is going?
Do you see hate increasing and people's love for each other growing cold?
Can you feel tension building?

We know that without that Bread, people will die.

Did you ever stop to wonder how much more you would do if you realized that if you did not share that Bread, you yourself would die?

if the guillotine was just ahead of us, would we see the urgency of doing right?

If we saw, not only the misery of a life without God and the horror of a death without Christ, but our own lives depending on how we obeyed God and allowed ourselves to be used of Him to change people's hearts to keep them from killing us, would we do more to share Him?

I hope not.

But I wonder...




Thinking about His Kingdom,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sugar:

sweet... delicious... addicting...

german chocolate cake
fudge
sugar cookies
vanilla ice-cream with chocolate sauce
butterfingers
peppermint patties
banana cream pie
brownies
7 layer bars
biscotti
blueberry milkshake

So... yeah.


I'm not eating sugar this month.

All month.

Nearly 4 1/2 weeks.

31 days.

744 hours.

44640 minutes.

2678400 seconds.


Do I sound addicted?


That's what I thought.

If I eat a little, I want a lot. So I decided I just wouldn't eat any.

Not that I'm going all crazy about it. I mean, everything has sugar in it, and I'm not going to not eat coleslaw just because there's sugar in the dressing. Or in cereal. Or in bread. Or in milk. Or in fruit.

Mostly I guess, I'm going without dessert. Which, living at Grandma's house, is painful, to say the least.



Ok, I know. I'm making kind of a big deal about nothing. But see... it made me think of something.


Because I don't believe sugar is bad.

God promised to bring the nation of Israel into a land flowing with milk and honey. The word sweet is in the Bible 103 times.

It's a good thing.


But we all know about too much of a good thing...

And I've been eating way to much sugar lately.

So I just quit.

And then thought of how many other good things there are.

Music.

Books.

Movies.

Friends.

School.

Sports.

Sleep.

Exercise.

Whatever.

Many good things can become dangerous when they are misused. Good things can be turned bad by doing too much of them... or even twisted into something they were never meant to be.
(Like corn syrup - that stuff is not good for you, in any way, shape, or form. And it's in everything you eat, too. Not that I'm going to stop eating SpecialK Bars because of that, but that's beside the point.)
Sometimes things that are fine for one person are not fine for another.
(Diabetics should not eat as much sugar as non-diabetics. At 5'2" and quite done growing, if I eat as much sugar as my 5'8" teenage brother, I'm in trouble. Etc.)
And sometimes we just need to take a step back and evaluate.
Am I using the good things in my life the way they should be used?
Or am I doing way too much of some things?
Or even turning something good into something bad by how I am doing it?
(Sunday night church was really good - going over Proverbs 6 and having really great discussions on lying, being a false witness, situational ethics, and when truth is used to sow discord among brethren. Even something God loves as much as truth can be turned into something bad when used for, say, gossip.)
Especially, though, is something good taking the place of something best?
That's when it gets really dangerous.

Because sometimes... too much of a good thing can kill you.

Don't let something good strangle the life out of your Christian walk.


Seeking Him,




Well, here's hoping that a little discipline in the area of eating will carry over into other areas of my life...

2 days, 20 hours, 16 minutes, and 46 seconds down.

14 seconds, 44 minutes, 4 hours, and 28 days left to go.



;)

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