"When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" Erma Bombeck
At Bible study the other morning, a lady mentioned that her son was heading to Iraq soon. She said her son stated to her, "There's nothing going on in Iraq." His statement indicated to her that he would much rather be heading into action. She was okay with him heading where there's "nothing" going on, but he had more in mind.
This comment has been on my mind alot since Wednesday. This son is trained and he wants to go where he can put his training to the test. I was challenged by his desire to go where the action is. Although I am not in the armed forces, I find myself on the battlefield over and over again.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:10-12
In my life as a servant of Jesus, trained in His Word...do I seek out opportunities to reach others with the Gospel? Share Christ's love with others? Willingly go where life isn't so easy? Love unconditionally like my Savior loves me? Tough questions to answer honestly sometimes. Moreover, do I stand up for God and His truth when I see or hear someone offending Him and His laws? Knowing I should do this and putting what I know into action is so different. Having the desire to do such things is a start, but actually doing them...that's where it gets interesting. That's where it gets personal. Investing ourselves in the lives of others for the sake of a cause greater than we can even fully understand...what glory that brings to our Father in Heaven!
So many opportunities await us as Christians out there in the world...sometimes as close as our own neighborhoods...to take the Gospel message to people who need to hear it. It requires sacrifice on our part...and sometimes it requires separation from the ones we love for a time...but, I can tell you from personal experience that once you taste the extraordinary, ordinary is no longer enough. You will want to be a part of the action...and when you're away from it, you will hunger for more.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:13-20
Let's go where the action is. It won't be easy...but it will be worth it!
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Roadtrips give me lots of time to think. I like this. About halfway into my 12 hour trip home from Michigan, I started thinking about all the little things I find myself repeating to the boys, wondering why they just don't seem to remember them. This came after the infamous phrase, "For the hundreth time..." flowed from my lips. Ugh! I said it. Now, let me interject here that my boys are great travelers. I have nothing to complain about for they handle long car rides and airplane trips like seasoned travelers...and having been traveling long distances since six weeks old, they are seasoned travelers. In this moment, however, the trip got the best of me and I lost my patience.
After it was all said and done and an apology made for my lack of patience, I thought long and hard about how easy it is for me to "forget" in my own life. Finding myself with little patience, harsh words, judgement on others, selfish motives...the list could go on and on with my shortcomings. "For the hundredth time, Janet...", it could be said. I don't deserve the patience and kindness that God extends my way, but He offers it over and over again when I come to him with a repentant heart. God is consistently good and just...not to mention, merciful. God sets the standard. Now it's up to me to strive harder at meeting it so that I set a good example for my boys and for anyone witnessing my walk through life.
One thing I know: God is forgiving...more than a hundred times over.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I am mezmerized by desert dwellers of all kinds...
people, plants and animals.
This trip has been wonderful in so many ways and I'm so thankful for the moments spent here. It is soooooo FLAT out here - for miles and miles you can see and then your eyes capture a mountain range which could have catci and rocks or pine trees and snow on them. It's warm and yet there's snow up in the higher elevations...craziness! Back to the flatness for a moment...it's not just the terrain, but all of the houses and buildings are all relatively the same height and not many are higher than the brush and cactus plants that are everywhere around them. No yards in Tuscon to speak of...barely a driveway by my definition. Rocks, sand and cactus then a house is planted in the middle of it all, but they are all low to the ground and blend in together. I would have a hard time without a "yard" to play in...to even walk in for that matter. :) My mind just couldn't grasp what life must be like in the desert...no touch football games happening in the backyards of Tucson.
In the mountains, the rocks and cliffs are just astounding. Breathtaking views all around and they are constantly changing depending upon the sunlight and angle at which you view them. So awesome...and somewhat chilly. 70's at the bottom...40's at the top. We saw deer tracks in the snow when we stopped to play in the snow on the way up Catalina Highway just north of Tucson. The area was called "Middle Bear" and there were signs indicating "bear crossing" in the area as well. Glad they were still hibernating or at least too busy to come and join us on our journey through their woods.
The people I encountered along our journey were very nice. I did notice that everyone drives slower and less intense than in Atlanta. Kind of a slow paced lifestyle all the way around, but we were only here for a few days. Lots of people out biking, walking, and hiking...I didn't think much of it until two fox came out of a "yard" in a residential area onto the highway in front of us. One grabbed squirrel roadkill and then off they ran back into the direction from which they came without missing a beat. Not too much later were two women out walking in the same area. Yikes!
In Phoenix, we met up with Scott's great Aunt Pat and Uncle Walter Roth. What an extraordinary couple! Married 65 years come August of this year. An inspriation to me as I listened to the stories of travel, people, and events they have experienced in their lives. I can tell they adore their grand and great grandchildren, too. The boys enjoyed looking at their pictures and talking with them. What gracious hosts they were to us while we were there...can't wait to return for another visit one day!
A spontaneous trip that will go down as one of the best! So relaxing and enjoyable. Next trip out...bring on the Grand Canyon!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Thursday, February 4, 2010
“And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever." 1 Chronicles 28:9 NLT
"O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you. I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things have I given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Israel, keep this desire in the hearts of your people forever, and keep their hearts loyal to you." 1 Chronicles 29:16-18
God knows my heart. In times when I don't even understand myself, this is a comforting thought. I am finding such peace in this truth as I continue on my pathway of refinement. He knows the good, the bad, and the ugly of my heart yet will be found by me when I seek for Him. What a loving God...not to mention forgiving, just, merciful, and gracious! He knows the joys and sorrows held deep within me...and He cares about each one of them.
God knows my heart. A comforting thought, yet also a high calling to remain pure. He knows everything...every plan and thought (NLT)...every motive behind the thoughts (NIV)...all the imaginations of the thoughts (KJV)...every intent of the thoughts (NAS/NKJV). However I look at it, the message is clear that God knows me intimately. He desires for me to trust Him, follow Him and serve Him wholeheartedly. He's going to know when my heart's just not in it...when I'm in it for myself...when it becomes more important to me than He does. Yes, He knows all about it...and then some, probably.
The other night when God and I had our little "conversation" (see earlier blog "trust me"), He reminded me of something I read from Corrie Ten Boom's book, The Hiding Place..."I've learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!" God knew what I was hiding in my heart and holding onto so tightly...He reminded me that if I offered it willingly to Him and trusted Him with it, it would hurt less than if he took it from my clutched fists. How lovingly He reminded me of something that I have often used to get a point across to others. Very fitting and needed, indeed. God's good like that.
In my heart lies memories, dreams, longings...He knows them all. He knows how they will fit in my life...or if they won't. When they are from Him, He will delight in granting me the desires of my heart. Until then, I trust Him with all that my heart holds...watching and waiting to see how He will work all things together for good.
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28