Monday, December 9, 2013

Three Words

Four years ago today, December 9th, 2009, I heard 3 words no one ever wants to hear - three words that will change your life forever.  That day, a doctor looked at me and said, "You have cancer".  It confirmed the feeling that this was something God was going to allow to occur in my life.  But I knew I wouldn't be alone.  God was with me.  My awareness of Him and my need for Him was magnified in such a way that I came out better for the experience.  He does indeed work all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.  I believe that with all heart.

Today, I consider myself blessed.  I unashamedly praise God for the grace He has shown me in this journey.  My perspective has grown and allowed me to see through more spiritual eyes - eyes dependent on the God who has saved me.  I have discovered that life is short and the things that are important should be the things that I am about.  For me those important things are God, family, friends, and a world that needs to meet the Jesus who came to save us all.

On this day, I think Jesus wants us to hear 3 different words that will change our lives forever.  He said these three words as He hung on a cross, suffering and paying for the sins of the world.  The three words?  "It is finished"!  That means, no matter what we have to go through in this life, He has paved the way for our journey to end up in heaven for eternity.  Yes, it is finished, and I am so grateful to hear those three words!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The stuff we "write" isn't always the "right" stuff!

Today's blogosphere and various forms of social media offer any number of valuable, and also not-so-valuable, opinions on everything under the sun.  A post can make me elated because it has a feel-good factor to it.  Or a post can frustrate me because my opinion is so very contrary to that of some writers.  Yet, everyone has a right to their opinion and I guess that means everyone may "write" their opinion.  Such is our freedom of speech, to a limited degree, I guess, in this great country.  My own posts are proof of that multi-flavored pudding, I suppose.

Yet, when I read, or write, various posts, I'm reminded of what the bible has to say about the attitude we are to have in expressing ourselves.  2 Timothy 2:23-26 says, "Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will".

Human nature is such that we don't all agree, but godly nature, for those that aspire to have it, dictates that, even when we don't agree, we remain kind with our words.  I sometimes see that principal displayed, but, most often, not so much.  It even happens in the "Christian" world.  People who identify with the person of Jesus Christ as the One they love and follow, can sometimes be difficult to identify by what they do, what they say, or what they write.  It's disheartening, but it rings true that people's perceptions vary and their ability to put others before themselves, or to surrender to God's way over their own choices, is a constant challenge.  Therein lies the problem of most writings and opinions, as I see it.  When it is "my" opinion, it may become so self-focused, according to my likes and dislikes, that it becomes irrelevant to the tastes of others, or even to real truth.  In other words, we all tend to have a selfish nature, unless we allow God to keep us in check and reveal those things that tend to glorify ourselves, and the ideas we fancy, instead of pointing people to Jesus and glorifying Him.  The nature of selfishness is indeed rampant in our self-serving culture of today.  I think we must make God mourn with our little agendas and campaigns.

People, including myself, have opinions on everything from worship preference to social justice, from parenting to personal choices.  Our ideas have become our own and it's often difficult to come down off our mountains - even if we proclaim that we will die there!  I have found my own stubbornness to be a little silly, really.  And I have to inquire of God, "Is this me, or is this You?!"  A lot of times, it's been me.  Only one Person's sacrificial death on a mountain ever carried enough weight to make an eternal difference - and He arose three days later.  I think He should remain the King of the Mountain.  All other amateurs should dismount; cease and desist, if you will, from our little pilgrimages of self-proclaimed know-it-all-ness.

So this leaves me in a quagmire.  When someone writes about worship, as if it's all about them, and the Holy Spirit, or the heart of God enters nowhere into the equation, will I become frustrated or will I ask God to reveal to them who or what they really worship?  After all, it's His job to be God - not mine.  When someone is so completely wrapped up in their own version of WWJD "differently"in today's challenging culture and world of injustices, will I carve a path of my own new and revolutionary ideas or will I revert to the path God laid out for us so long ago?  After all, He never changes and His ways are not our ways.  He is still able to use the truth, love and grace of yesteryear to heal the problems of today.  If I take a different path, I'm denouncing that the path of Jesus was always enough.  It was enough then and it will always be enough.  I think the problem is us recognizing that.  We want to play God when we already have one that does His job very well.  He doesn't need our little ideas.  He just needs our obedience to His wisdom and will.  Unfortunately, I think He spends a lot of time in damage control for our follies and for our attempts to wear a crown that only He can wear.

So, in conclusion, let my words and thoughts be kind to those with whom I may not always agree.  But may God reveal to us ALL His way of doing things as opposed to us thinking our ideas and opinions will change the world.  They just might - if He is at the center of them and we defer to Him.  Yes, it's time to come off our mountains if He didn't put us there in the first place.  I pray that my opinions honor Him and point people to Jesus.  If they don't, they are simply not worth sharing.  The stuff I "write" may not always be the "right" stuff.  Yet, the stuff God wrote is eternal.  I should have a clue as to WHO is right!