Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I'm Ready

Patrick had inventory last week. Basically, that meant that I hardly got to see him at ALL last weekend. He was at work at 7 AM and did not get home until 12:30 AM. What did I do during this time? I shopped.

Actually, I drove to Aberdeen and arrived at 7:45 AM (long story there). Later, Mom, Krista, Gianna, and I traveled to Delaware to go to Ross. I got some cool stuff for the house. We then went to BJ's and got some tax-free grocery items that I can't buy at the supermarkets near me. After all this, we went home and had dinner.

Since Patrick had had band practice on Thursday night in Frederick (I went with him) and hadn't finished until 11:30 or so, we spent the night at his parents house. This meant that we had to leave their house by 6:00 AM on Friday morning so that Patrick could get to work on time. Needless to say, I was REALLY tired on Friday night. It was around 9 PM when I decided that I needed to drive home or else I wasn't going to make it home at all.

It is this drive home that has driven me to write this blog. To help keep me awake, I popped in a CD--the Avalon hymn CD, to be exact. My car doesn't have cruise control, and my speed definitely fluctuated. Had I been pulled over, I probably would have been in trouble because I would have made a crazy sight. I was singing, and I was overcome with emotion. Tears streamed down my face. While a police officer probably would have thought me an awful wreck, I know that that was not how God saw me.

During that time, I felt so close to God. It felt like every fibre of my being was consumed with praising Him. One thought crossed my mind: I'm ready. I was ready for the Lord to return at that very moment. I realized that THAT is how I want God to find me when the last trumpet sounds--praising, worshipping, and serving Him.

So often in my life I sin . . . and I do things that I would be ashamed to have Christ find me doing. The truth is--He DOES find me doing them every day. The thought is so convicting, and I am determined to put on the Armor of God and to wage a serious war on my sin.

Christians often put a lot of emphasis on liberty. I'm tired of this in my own life. I want to stop focusing on the silly, trivial things and put all of my energy toward serving God, striving toward holiness, and finding out how I may better please Him. Just because I can do X,Y, or Z does not mean that I should. How would God want me to spend my time?

This past Sunday we went to the nursing home. I almost broke down when I saw a woman (not one of our regulars) dancing in her bed as we sang praise to God. She could not get up, but she could move her body . . . and move she did as she worshipped God and let her joy overflow.

The truth is that I was tired, and I had to force myself to go and serve others instead of staying home and taking a nap. It was well worth it. What I want to do often seems to be the easier, more fun, cool thing to do; however, what God wants me to do usually turns out to be the better thing, the thing that brings me the most encouragement, fulfillment, and joy.

By the grace and help of God, I want to strive to put down my flesh and what I want to do and to race toward the light and doing what God requires of me. In doing this, I hope that I will be found doing His will and delighting in Him when He returns that I may be a good and faithful servant to the Lord.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Your Sin Will ALWAYS Find You Out

My mom is a pretty wise woman. Wiser than pretty much any other woman that I know. For the past week, I have been thinking about something that she always told us growing up: "Your sin will always find you out whether in this life or the next." And it always did . . . in this life for some reason. I don't think that it had anything to do with her having eyes in the back of her head or ears in every room of the house (benefits of being a mom, I guess). Rather, I think that it had something to do with the following verses:

John 3:20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

Eph. 5:13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

God is light, and He will expose sin. You may think that you're getting away with something, but God has other plans.

Deu 32:25 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in [due] time; For the day of their calamity [is] at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.

Now this is probably one of the most infamous verses in the Bible because of Jonathan Edwards' famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." While this sermon generally has a bad reputation because of bad American lit. teachers in public schools, it is actually a fantastic sermon . . . and one that is very much true.

The following excerpt from Edwards' sermon (in italics) is both interesting and poignant:

The expression I have chosen for my text, their foot shall slide in due time, seems to imply the following things, relating to the punishment and destruction to which these wicked Israelites were exposed.

  1. That they were always exposed to destruction; as one that stands or walks in slippery places is always exposed to fall. This is implied in the manner of their destruction coming upon them, being represented by their foot sliding. The same is expressed, Psalm 73:18. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction."

  2. It implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction. As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in Psalm 73:18,19. "Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction: How are they brought into desolation as in a moment!"

  3. Another thing implied is, that they are liable to fall of themselves, without being thrown down by the hand of another; as he that stands or walks on slippery ground needs nothing but his own weight to throw him down.

  4. That the reason why they are not fallen already and do not fall now is only that God's appointed time is not come. For it is said, that when that due time, or appointed time comes, their foot shall slide. Then they shall be left to fall, as they are inclined by their own weight. God will not hold them up in these slippery places any longer, but will let them go; and then, at that very instant, they shall fall into destruction; as he that stands on such slippery declining ground, on the edge of a pit, he cannot stand alone, when he is let go he immediately falls and is lost.

Observation number three is especially interesting to me. It is easy to be tempted to bring down others who have wronged you, and perhaps this would be something that God would have you do (one would have to be sure that it was done for pure reasons and not those of revenge). However, the Bible and Edwards make it clear that God does not need our help to bring down the wicked. They will bring themselves down, whether in this life or the next. Anytime somebody sins he is walking on slippery ground (or treading on thin ice). As anyone knows, this is very dangerous. It doesn't take much to slip on ice or on slippery ground.

I am reminded of my honeymoon in Mexico. Mid-July, 115 degrees in the shade, 90% humidity . . . and I was wearing worn-out Old Navy flip-flops that had absolutely no tread. I stepped off of the public bus (Patrick and I were on our way to do some shopping), and my foot slipped on the slippery pavement--I almost had a nasty fall. Or think of when one is on ice and begins to slip--if you reach out and grab the person walking with you, both of you are likely to pull each other down and fall. It only takes one tiny misstep, one little mistake. The consequences of a fall on pavement or on ice are likely to be a painful tailbone and will only last a week or so. The results of a tumble down the slippery slope of sin, however, could be life altering and last forever.

Don't tread the path of sin . . . and don't walk with men who do--they will take you down with them with no thought for you, your well-being, or your family. Your sin will always find you out. Rather, GOD will always find you out. Instead, seek the truth and sell it not. Forsake the company of evil men. Follow God, and He will never lead you astray. Remember, God might not use other men to reveal/expose your sin--it could be the slipping of your own foot.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Family IS Cool

As I sit here, exhausted, waiting for Patrick to get home from work, I am missing the company that was always to be found when I lived at home. Not that I would trade being married (because I wouldn't!), but my family has something special that can be difficult to find, even in Christian circles. My family is like a brick wall.

We are all a little different, but we are very much alike. While we are all fitted into different places, we are a part of the same structure. Connecting us is cement. I don't mean the "we're stuck together whether we like it or not" kind of cement, I mean the "one for all and all for one" kind of loving cement. It's pretty neat.

My mother, sister, and I are pretty much like one brain in three bodies . . . living in separate towns and homes . . . but like one. There have been times when I have been on the phone with my dad and have heard my mom and sister saying the exact same things at the exact same time as I. Weird, right?

And my two youngest sisters think that they have the same kind of thing going with each other. "Jinx! Jinx! Jinx . . . jinx . . . jinx . . . haha! JINX!" can be heard coming from them on a daily basis as they each try to guess what the other is going to say before she says it so that one of them can shout, "JINX!!!" It's not quite the same thing, but it's a start.

People have tried to divide our family before . . . and it didn't work. It only made us stronger. I pray that we will always remain that way.

In the Bible, it is pretty clear that God finds family units to be very important. God covanented . . . with families (for you and your children). He saved . . . families (Noah's ark, anyone?). And He created . . . families (like Adam and Eve). So it seems to me that there should be a strong emphasis on families in our daily lives.

Too often I see families pulled in a million different directions and spending way too little time being families. Family time should be a priority. The family that _______ together (you fill in the blank), stays together.

When I was growing up, I was so not in the cool crowd. Neither was my sister. Whether it was the way that we dressed (it screamed: home schooled!) or what exactly I don't know, but I do know that the cell phones we didn't have at fifteen and thirteen weren't exacting ringing off the hooks. Instead of changing ourselves to become people who we were not, we had fun being ourselves with our family. We did just about everything together. Sometimes this was cool, other times it was not. Looking back, those days, though difficult, were amazing because they knit me and my family very close together. Technically, we are still NOT cool . . . but we have the coolest family. Other than my husband, my best friends are my family. I wouldn't have it any other way.