Saturday, March 30, 2013

God Started It!

I've had more than just a few people ask me about my faith, recently.  Some were quizzical, some were  combatant and some were just curious where I stood on certain issues.   Let me say up front, that everything in my life revolves around my relationship with the Lord.  Now, don't get silly and ask me if I pray about what color to wear and what type of pasta to buy....   Understand that there are simple areas of life that I can take for granted simply because of the Lord's provision!  However, I thought I would share a few spiritual thoughts running around my head and heart, this day before Resurrection Sunday. 

Our families, past, held the Lord in high regard with preachers, missionaries and everyday believers abounding midst struggles of several wars, The Great Depression, a house fire, physical and mental illness and some untimely deaths,   Our families, present, have had some difficult roads to traverse but still with preachers, missionaries and everyday believers with God holding us up in spite of our downfalls. Our families, future, look forward to that Blessed Hope, being raised to everlasting life in Jesus Christ! The future is ... somewhere out there ... there's still time for thought, reason, action, *changes of heart and mind, decisions but one thing is constant and that is our salvation in and through Him.  Only one thing we can't change; *once saved, we can not change our mind.  If we have trusted Him as our Savior, we can not "be plucked" out of His hand.  

We need to have the desire to be sinless and make a conscious effort to sin less. Sounds rather obvious, but we are to avoid sin. Not just avoid it, but to flee from it. "C'mon, Peg, you're being a bit dramatic." Really? Run as quickly as we can!  Why?  Because it can grip the believer just the same as the unbeliever. FLEE!  Do we?  No! We think about it, consider it, rationalize it; NO! FLEE IT!  As Paul the Apostle asked (and answered), "Should we continue to sin that Grace may abound?" ...  Certainly not! Once we have made the decision to trust Jesus Christ as our Savior, our past is forgiven, our present is comforted and our future is secure. We may take our eyes off of Him, we may back slide, we may let the wave of popular opinion sway our thoughts, we may even start doubting our decision and even try to run away from Him, but He will still be there.  

I LOVE the "never alone" part of being a Christian! He is always with me. I got a kick out of the new "Footprints" cartoon and saying that has been going around the internet.  I would have posted it here but don't want to break any copyright infringement. It shows Jesus and some dude walking and Jesus says, "My child, I never left you. Those places with only one set of footprints is where I carried you." and the next picture shows them with Jesus continuing to talk, "That long groove over there is where I dragged you."  I can not tell you how true this has been in my life! HAHA!!!   Even in times of struggle, where I have been dragged, almost kicking and screaming, I have had a sense of His presence. Only once have I ever prayed and FELT God being silent. That's the only way to describe it.  It was a silent feeling ... as if He just stood back to watch ... and that was in the face of evil, where there was a battle going on for, I truly believe, the soul of a loved one. It was a very short period of time and it was a very long time ago, but I have never forgotten it. It would appear that the battle was won by the Lord and there is even earthly evidence (answer to prayer)  to back up this spiritual victory!

I cut my own hair last night....ooooohhhh... I know; it could have been a really bad scene, me with scissors in front of a mirror, but we're good :-)  Today, I got to thinking. We were created in His image; not that we look like Him in the physical sense, but we are His design AND we are to REFLECT Him. So in that sense, we SHOULD look like him ... at least in a spiritual way!  It is my desire and prayer that others see Jesus in me. 

Not too long ago, I had someone curious how I could justify my "celebration" of each season, as the pagans do, with my dependence on and devotion to God. They mistakenly thought that since the pagans celebrate these things, Christians weren't suppose to. Wrong. Since nature proclaims His handiwork ... and at the end, even the rocks are going to cry out, as a Christian I get to enjoy it all and I can celebrate each season, the weather within them, and I even get to see and appreciate everyday miracles, just as the pagans do! Why? Pagans do not have a monopoly on God's creation! The biggest difference in this respect, between me and pagans, is that I have a relationship with the Creator and they don't. He is my Father and I will give Him the glory!

One of the kids in Bible Club at church, asked our "Question Man" (Pastor George), "If God knew we were going to turn out to be sinners, why did He bother to create us in the first place?"  Good question!  (I love these kids!) God wanted a "people" (not spirit beings, like angels) to be a part of the earth He was creating.  In order for these people to return His love for them, they would have to be able to choose to do this. We are not Christian puppets.  I've got news for my pro-choice friends.... God was Pro Choice before you were! ;-) He chose us to be part of HIS creation and as soon as we chose to go against God's rules, sin entered the world. Was God surprised? "...Oh NO! How could that happen?  I never saw it coming!..."   He knew. He was prepared. Read John 1.

Some thoughts (and mental images) on the consequences of sin. First off, it separates us from God; like building a wall. Pretty soon, we're so used to doing what we want to do, we can't even see God any more because of our wall.  Happily, God has a big sledge hammer and with one prayer can break the wall down.  On the other hand, those sledge hammers can send debris flying and we (the sinner) can get hit with the shrapnel. It hurts to be wrong. It hurts to be corrected. But it hurts even more to be left to our own devices. To wonder and wander on our own instead of having God to guide us. The Bible says in Romans 6:23  that the "wages of sin is death."  Wages is what we are paid ... so for all sin, we are paid ... death.  Well, that's not a pretty painting! I thought God was love?  Oh, no! This must be one of those contradictions my unbelieving friends talk about!  Not at all. God loved us so much He had already made a way to redeem us. See, the 2nd part of that verse says that the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  I call that LOVE!

The Bible also shows us incidents where He stepped in and took back authority so that others would not be led astray; so that His people would be preserved. He stands presumably "idle" just so long. When sin was rampant (Old Testament), God dealt with it and it wasn't pretty. I could name specific instances (but I won't)  that are referenced in the Bible and I'm sure there are many more that aren't recorded but the bottom line is, He fulfilled His promise (New Testament) to send Messiah to be our Savior. Those who trust in Him are not only saved from the punishment of sin, but get to experience the comfort and joy that only the Holy Spirit can give. 

Now, it is my heartfelt desire that those who question my faith, might "test the waters" and pray to the Living God, and read His Word instead of just looking at my words and blowing them off. So, go ahead; you've tried other ways. Ask God for an understanding heart, then for starters, read John, chapter 10...I love this verse where Jesus is speaking: "The thief (that would be Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."  Is my Christian life perfect? Of course not. Is my walk with the Lord where it should be?  Nope.  Does He still love me and want me to turn from sin? Absolutely! Living my faith does not make me a good person, but it does make my path and convictions clearer.  I am who I am (sounds like Popeye) and God met me where I was and He will do the same for you!  

He has more to do, by the way ... Lots more.   Happy Resurrection Sunday! May it be a day of joy and reflection!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge Once Again

1. My real life friends came through with another question this week so thank you real life friends. When you've eaten in a restaurant do you complete their comment card? Do you take online surveys highlighted at the bottom of store receipts? 

I will fill out survey cards at restaurants, but not the "online" surveys. I get too much junk e mail as it is! If I am contacted via e-mail for a survey (motel, purchase, etc) I may or may not respond.  
2. The (US) ban on women in combat was lifted at the end of January. It will probably be next year before specifics are worked out, but its been reported over 200,000 front line positions will eventually open up to women.  Your thoughts? 

I don't believe women belong in combat.  

3.  In looking back at all the blog posts you've written, what's your favorite posttitle

I'd have to actually look back ... probably one of my poems.  I'll leave that to my readers!  Just check the side bar for "poetry" and it should bring them all up!
4. What's worse-overly permissive parents or overly protective parents?  Did your own parents lean more to the permissive or the protective category?  If you're a parent where do you fall? 

Well, this is a hard call!  I'm going to go with overly permissive parents being worse. Their children tend to get  into more trouble at an earlier age than others. Children of permissive parents often expect other people to be permissive as well and this does NOT go over well at school! These children also tend to be spoiled and spoiled children have a hard time making good friends. Overly protective parents end up with rebellious children, but I think it's easier for them since they get a reprieve at school for 6 or 7 hours a day!  My dad was permissive, but my Mom was not. Therefore, I needed to ask my mom for permission for everything! What made it ok for me, was that I was not a demanding/rebellious child and was content most of the time :-)  ...MOST of the time!

5.  Candlelight-moonlight-firelight-bright lights in the big city...which one's your favorite? 

Ahhhh... decisions, decisions...    I'm leaning towards firelight.  We don't have a fireplace, but we do have bonfires several times a year.  I LOVE to sit out by the fire with or without my marshmallow stick, Hershey Bars and Graham Crackers!  I also love candlelight, but my husband is allergic to most fragrances so we use them only on occasion.  Moonlight in the winter is pretty cool, though ... we've taken winter walks in the moonlight! Bright city lights are pretty, but we can't usually afford the theatre, dinner, etc that goes along with them.

6. Dr. Seuss's birthday was celebrated on Saturday. What's a favorite book you remember (Seuss or otherwise) from your own childhood?  Did books play an important role in your growing up years? Explain. 

I love books. Sometimes as a teenager, I felt they were my only friends. I loved reading about horses, nurses, mysteries (but not scary things).  Besides my Bible (with pictures), the very first books I remember were, MIss Frances' (Ding Dong School) about a birthday cake;  and a Little Golden Book, called , "Out of My Window"   ...  From memory, the last verse of that book is: 

 "Out of my window, I can see 
the sunset as the sun goes down, 
the lights come on all over town 
and my Daddy coming home to me. 
That's what I see from my Window."

It's making me smile all over again...  :-) 

7.  To quote Dr. Seuss...

"From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere." 
from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

Share something funny you've recently read, seen or heard.  

I work with little kids mostly, and they are a never ending source of funny comments.  Just today as I was tying a little boy's sneaker, he asked, "Did you take a shower this morning?"   LOL!!!!   I asked him why he asked and he smiled and said, "Because your hair still smells like shampoo!"    Love those kids!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I probably won't be doing Wednesday Hodge Podge next week because we are going on vacation :-)   We go every winter... here's a sneak peek!