Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bekah's Insights

We were doing our devotion this morning and somehow ended up on the topic of Jesus returning and what it means for those of us that are Christians.  It will be no fight, it will be a complete victory for Jesus!  WOOHOO!  Bekah said she had this picture in her mind of a stairway that led to heaven.  The first step was out of reach, but there was Jesus lifting us up to put us on that first step.  Then we climbed up to heaven. 

Wow- from the mouth of a 6-year-old!  We talked about how as sinners we cannot get to God.  It is only through Jesus that we are able to be with God.  He is the only One that can place us on that first step.  I was just in awe at how God was speaking through my little girl.  Listen to the kids.  They will say stuff that will blow you away!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lessons from Laundry

Last night I began my least favorite chore of all- laundry.  I try to do it as little as possible, which means that usually there isn't just a mountain of laundry to be accomplished but an entire mountain range.  As any good Type A personality does, I sort my laundry into about 10 different piles that are not only done by color but also clothing type and whether or not they have to be hung up after they dry.  OK, so it is no wonder that Tim doesn't want to help sort laundry.  I have my own system!  Anyway, I just bought a new package of white socks.  They have yet to be blemished by our wonderful Georgia clay and my floors that aren't clean 24/7.  So pretty and white.  I threw in another pair of socks into the basket that I thought were still pretty white.  Boy did they look dingy compared to those new pretty white pair.  I never realized how dingy they really were.  Now, you can imagine how bad the ones that my kids have that anyone with half an eye can tell aren't white anymore! 

This got me to thinking.  I look at me and think "I'm pretty clean.  I certainly am not 'dirty and dingy' like that person."  Therein lies my problem.  I'm comparing myself to another person, not to the One that is truly "clean"- Jesus Christ.  I compare myself to the Holy One, and it is quickly and painfully obvious that I am "sin-infected, sin-contaminated. (My) best efforts are grease-stained rags." (Isaiah 64:6, The Message).  Wow, so even my best efforts are worse than the dingy, clay stained socks of my kids.  That is very humbling!  Praise the Lord that he promised "'Come now, let’s settle this,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.'"  No amount of bleach can make my kids socks white, again.  Praise God that He makes me white and clean and pure through His Son Jesus Christ!  I guess you could Jesus is the ultimate bleach- he doesn't even weaken the fabric when He cleans but makes it stronger!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Confession Time

Can I let you in on a little secret?  I know this is going to be a shock to the one or two of you out there that actually reads my blog posts.  Ready?  Here goes- I don't know it all and can get a bit apprehensive about what is going to happen at times.  There, I said it.  The stereotypical missionary may know it all (at least regarding the Bible) and have no apprehension (aka worry) about what is going to happen, when, and how, etc, but fortunately, I don't think those stereotypical missionaries exist.  Yep, God takes regular people to be His missionaries.  OK, that is not how I would do it, but I just confessed that I don't know it all.  I just like to think I know it all.

This morning I was reading my Bible and everything I read God was teaching me and reinforcing the lessons I needed TODAY!  I've started going through the One Year Bible and have finally made it to January 8th.  This Bible is set up where you read a passage from the OT, a passage from the NT, and a portion of Psalms and Proverbs every day.  The jury is still out as to whether I like that format or not.  In the past I've gone straight through starting in Genesis.  I've even used a chronological Bible, but not the different passages.  This morning I read about how God's faithfulness to Abraham saved Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  Then I continued to read how Lot's daughters got him drunk, so they could get pregnant by him.  The two babies that were conceived and born were the ancestors of two of the enemies of Israel.  And people think the Bible is boring!  Anyway, it got me to thinking about my kids.  What type of influence is our culture having on them?  Is there more I should be doing to protect them and surround them with Godly influences?  So this starts to add to the stress and apprehension that I've already been dealing with these last few weeks.  Then I start reading the section from the New Testament. It was the famous passage from Matthew 6 about not worrying.  I really loved how the NLT puts the passage:
"So don't worry about these things, saying, `What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need."  Matthew 6:31-33

So, where is my focus, what is dominating my thoughts? That was my question this morning.  Too often my thoughts are dominated by earthly concerns- How will my kids transition to living overseas? Am I sheltering them too much? too little? Is homeschooling the right thing for them?  What do I do when someone in our extended family is sick, and I can't do anything to help? Are we going to raise all of our support? Where are we going to get the money to get us and our supplies to PNG? Is there more I should be doing? Am I really qualified to be a missionary? You get the point.  Did you notice lots of "I" in those concerns?  When I begin to focus on me, my focus is not on God and the worry begins to dominate.  Today, I give these concerns to God and seek Him above all else.  He is going to provide EVERYTHING we need- food, clothing, shelter, wisdom, peace, love, strength, etc.  I remind myself "...the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult and only a few ever find it."  (Matthew 7:14).  Oh, but the reward is LIFE and not just any life but a "real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of"!  (John 10:10, The Message)