Thursday, June 25, 2009

How much must you hate someone?

A while back a youtube video circulated through the online Christian community of famed magician Penn Jillette talking about a touching experience he'd had with a "good" man during one of his shows. Jillette is a known atheist. He seems to be just as devout an atheist as I am a Christian. However, during this show this "good man", as Jillette often referred to him, offered Jillette a Gideon Bible.

Instead of being offended by the gesture, Jillette was touched. Though still passionately denying the existence of God, he said, "If you believe there is a heaven and a hell and that people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life or whatever and you think that it's not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward," he continued, "how much must you hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?"

Those words have pierced my heart. How much must I hate someone not to tell them about Jesus and how He has changed my life and what He wants to do in theirs? While I am a believer and I strive to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God, I do not often stop and preach the gospel to the unbelieving while going about my daily duties.

Jesus will return for His bride, and each day we grow closer to that moment. As I told my children just last night, the rapture could take place today or a million years from now. When it happens isn't important. What is important is that we keep our lives in right standing, that we wait and watch for Christ's return, and that we take as many people with us as we can.

We as Christians need to be busy about our master's business. It's not enough living a good life. We need to be actively proclaiming Jesus as Lord everywhere we go. I'm not talking about getting in people faces and screaming, "REPENT, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND!", but rather as the Holy Spirit nudges to share in love with someone the gospel of Christ. Instead of shying away from what could be a "socially awkward moment," we need to be caring about other people enough to share eternal life with them in a kind and loving way. I would rather spend five minutes of my life on earth feeling rejected for sharing the gospel with a stranger than an eternity knowing I could have been the difference between heaven and hell to just one person but was to embaressed to put forth the effort.

In Acts 5 an angel of the Lord freed Peter and John from jail and spoke to them saying, "Go, stand in the temple courts, and tell the people the full message of this new life." As the chapter continues the men are brought before the Sanhedrin and flogged because of their testimony. Yet the chapter ends saying, "Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." Even in the face of persecution and opposition Peter and John were not deterred from doing that to which Christ had called them. Neither should we be.

Father, give me the boldness to proclaim your gospel shamelessly to all people through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus name, amen.
To see the Penn Jillette video in its entirety, click here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Lord's Lullabye

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

(This verse has been on my heart this morning. I wrote about it a few years back but needed to be reminded of the message. I hope it speaks to your heart as it has mine.)

A few nights ago after having lulled Connor to sleep I was flipping through my Bible when I came across this verse. It has long been a favorite of mine, but I guess because of this season in my life it had new meaning to me.

As I read it I pictured myself a baby in God's arms. He rocked me back and forth gently patting my back to quiet me. As He did this He sang a lullaby to sooth my soul. He says, "Child, you are mine! I have called you by name." (Isaiah 43:1.)

How great is the love of God for us. He is ready every moment of each day to let us climb up on His lap to be comforted by His love. He is truly my Abba Father.

As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you...
Isaiah 66:13

From Mama's Musing archives. Originally published 10-06.

For more Word Filled Wednesday visit The 160 Acre Woods.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - Celebrating God as Father

Over the past several months God has shown His love as Father to me in a new light.

It has been said that it is common to equate God's love as Father with how we perceived or observed love given by men who have served an important role in our life. While I always knew that He was indeed my heavenly Father, I often looked on God as a disapproving judge rather than the loving, attentive Father that He is. After reading "The Shack" by W.M. Young earlier this year, my life and perspective of who God is and who He wants to be in my life changed drastically.

I began observing my husband with our children more. He is kind, loving, always ready to give them attention, always ready to play or wrestle, always looking for ways to bless them in some small (or sometimes large) way. He works ten hour days with over a half hour drive each way, but still comes home and is interested in what has happened with our children during their day. When our children misbehave, he disciplines them. He is fair and just. He knows it is his responsibility to mold them into the people God created them to be and knows sometimes that can only be done by providing them with boundaries.

Tommy's relationship with our children isn't much different than the relationship God wants to have with me. He controls the entire universe but is never too busy to let me crawl up in His lap and tell him about my day. He continually looks for ways to bless me... sometimes in a big way but usually in a small way. Sometimes I get out of line and He lovingly corrects me - not because He is a harsh disciplinarian, but because He is sovereign, and He wants me to be who He created me to be.

Tommy isn't perfect. He is human. He makes mistakes. But he loves his kids with his whole heart.

God is perfect. He isn't human. He doesn't make mistakes. And he loves his kids with His whole being.

I'm so blessed to have a Godly husband.

I'm so much more blessed to have a loving Father who is indeed fond of even me.

Matthew 7:11 -
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

John 1:12 - Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

1 John 4:16 - And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stuck in a Rut

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:10b

It has been a while since I have blogged, and many of you have been wondering where I have been. The answer is: stuck in a rut.

I love my life. I have a wonderful husband, and four amazing children. I am blessed beyond all imagination and yet here I am, stuck in a rut.

Is it any wonder that I have become slightly discouraged as this year has raged on? Besides having been filled with endless doctor's visits due to an insane amount of accidents and injuries, and all of the unexpected things that pop up on a daily basis, my house seems to have taken on a life of its own and is working against me. My best efforts to become more organized and to teach my children some responsibility and discipline has ended in defeat and despair. Is it any wonder that there are days that I cry, "Calgon, take me away!"

It was not until I read my devotion this morning that I realized that I am indeed "stuck in a rut." But Praise God I don't have to stay here. And Praise God that I am already on my way out.

In the words of Patsy Clairmont:

"Life is full of stuck possibilities. In fact, when you think about it, we are kind of stuck here on planet Earth until further notice. If, as my hymnal puts it, "Till the Roll Is Called Up Yonder," it makes me think we better make the best out of stuck lest life turn into one big rut.

I hate ruts. Ruts are common, unimaginative, and oh, so boring. I know because I've spent time in them. Actually, I even took up emotional residence in a couple. To make them comfortable, I even decorated them. I adorned the walls with excuses: "I can't," "I tried," and "I don't wanna." Those are just a few of the plagues, I mean plaques, I hung in my ruts.

Have you ever observed excavators? First thing they do is send out surveyors to assess. This is where the Holy Spirit and several of your wise friends can assist. The Holy Spirit can reveal to you why you are stuck, and He can empower you to change. Your friends can help strengthen your resolve and pray for you in the process.

Now just imagine what might happen if we were to step out of our old routine and deliberately walk in His ways. Why we might even do a little break dancing on our way up and out of that hard place.

C'mon, sister rut-dwellers, boogie out of there. Risk life!

Jesus, you lead; I want to follow. Amen."

I am resolved to risk life and boogie my way on to life abundantly! Thank you, Jesus!!