Monday, January 31, 2011

No Rubbernecking!

After taking off almost a month from blogging, I’m back, and so happy to be!

If you’re a subscriber, first, thank you so much! And, if you haven’t actually been to the blog lately, I want to invite you to come back and check out some changes, including new songs on the playlist and some great links. I’ve also added a box where you can suggest blog topics that I’d love to have you fill out. This blog is for you and I pray you are encouraged in the Lord by it. Now, let’s dig into the Word!

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“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.”
Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

Every now and then you see a news story about someone driving off the road and into another vehicle that has stopped off to the side. At first I think, didn't they see that car?  But the odd thing is, when a driver becomes focused on something on the side of the road, he will actually begin to veer off the road toward that object.

As I write this, there is a lot going on in the world that we can begin to fix our attention on—violence in the middle east, and most recently, anarchy in Egypt, a sky-rocketing U.S. debt, increasing acceptance of sin to name just a few. Even in our own lives, and more personally, many times in our own hearts, there is conflict, pain and uncertainty.

When we begin to focus on these things, our minds will follow and at first that will cause us to slow down our progress on the path the Lord has set us on—following and serving Him.  Eventually, we'll veer off onto a wrong avenue and begin a journey down a dark road of despair. Soon we'll look back and find that much of our peace is gone.

But we have the sure promises of God.

God has given His children the promise that if we keep our minds focused on Him we will have peace. If instead of focusing on problems, we immerse ourselves in His Word and let it penetrate into our hearts, continually praying to Him for wisdom and strength, and allow Him to take care of the battles that rage around and even within us, we will find that He is faithful, we will learn to trust Him more and more, and His peace will reign in our hearts.

It’s not always easy to do, especially when we get blindsided with difficult news or we encounter a turn we didn't anticipate.  I think we have to begin our journey every morning making a new commitment for that day to focus on the Lord. And one day our journey will be over and we’ll greet the Lord and say, “I’m home!”

God bless!

Photo attribution to Stuck in Customs on flickr.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Time Out

Well, this is going to seem like odd timing considering I just started the Facebook and Twitter pages for the blog, but I'm going to take a break for a little while.  If God puts it on your heart, please pray for me.  Thanks for your support.



Monday, January 3, 2011

How's Your Love Quotient?

I saw an interview with Aron Ralston, the mountain climber who, in 2003, went for a day hike and instead spent 5 ½ days trapped by a very large boulder that had dislodged, falling onto his right forearm and pinning him to the side of a canyon. He was in a very remote area, leaving him alone with only his camcorder, his hiking gear, and his thoughts.

He attempted to free himself first by trying to push the boulder off his arm, then by using a knife to try chipping away at the boulder. Neither worked. He sipped on the little bit of water he had and when that ran out, he hydrated himself by drinking his own urine.

When the days slipped by and he lost hope of being freed, he carved his name, date of birth and the date he believed he would die in the canyon wall next to him. He videotaped what would be his last will and testament and last goodbyes to his parents in hopes that someone would eventually find his body and return the message to his family.

And then, the last night he spent in the canyon, he had a vision. The vision was a scene of himself, sitting on a living room floor, playing with a little blonde-haired boy. Though he wasn’t married and had no children, he somehow knew that little boy was his own son. And the immense love he instantly felt for his son gave him the courage to begin to free himself by cutting off his own arm.

Through intense pain, he cut through the skin and nerves and muscle all the way to the bone but then realized the knife was too dull to cut the bone. He would have to break his arm. And so, using some of the hiking gear, and the boulder as leverage, he broke the bones in his forearm, cut off the rest of the arm, and freed himself. As he walked the several miles back to his vehicle, he crossed paths with a couple who called authorities and he was rescued by helicopter.

During the interview, Aron spoke about the vision he had of the boy he knew was his son, and the fact that it was the deep love he felt for this child that gave him the courage to do what had to be done throughout his staggeringly painful ordeal. He said that there was nothing like the love between a parent and child. He knew he had to survive for his son.

As I listened to Aron, I couldn’t help but think of Christ and the fact that what kept Him held in the arms of His captors, what kept Him standing before Pilate, being sentenced by a mob to a cruel death even though He was innocent of any wrongdoing, and what kept Him held to the cross despite unbearable pain, was His love for us.

His love for every one of us and His overwhelming desire to purchase our freedom from the penalty of our sins far outweighed the love He had for Himself.

His love for us knew no bounds even when that love kept Him bound.

So, why do we, as children of God, do what we do? Why do we get up every day and serve others? What motivates us to turn away from all the world’s attitudes of selfishness and greed? Why do we go against common sense and love our enemies? What keeps us going through trials without sinning either in deed or attitude?

If we forget that it’s all about our love for the Lord and glorifying Him, we will lose sight of why we’re going through it and that will cause us to forget how to get through it. As our focus on the Lord gets smaller, our trials will seem overwhelming in our eyes. We will forget to entrust our lives to the loving Lord who died for us. We will get so focused on the trial itself and on ourselves that we will forget that God is working all things together for our good.

We may not always know the exact reasons why we go through very difficult and painful adversities, but God, Who loves us more than we can imagine, does. If Jesus would put Himself on a cross for the reason of purchasing the freedom of the ones He loves, why would He not have eternally praiseworthy reasons for allowing us to go through our momentary afflictions?

Have courage, my dear friends, we are loved by the King!

“let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Hebrews 12:1b-2

Oh, and by the way, Aron married Jessica Trusty in August of 2009, and they had a beautiful baby boy in February of last year. His wife has blonde hair.