When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
Charles A. Beard
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.
Charles A. Beard
Interesting how we find ourselves reacting to the unexpected and how often a startling occurence can make us temporarily senseless. I say this because last night was one of those nights. I was lazily watching television and sipping ice water, laptop and cell phone nearby since even tired and blurry, I need to have my finger on the “pulse” of cyberspace. Lol Sadly, it is during those times that my ability to type and worse yet my ability to proofread my efforts suffers greatly. Oh, dear. “Oh, bother” as Pooh would say. So, when the phone rang I jumped. Literally. A dear friend called to say he’d injured himself and thought a trip to the emergency room was called for. As I drove down familiar streets I realized that my tax rate is lower here than where I used to live because they DO NOT HAVE NEARLY ENOUGH STREET LIGHTS. Not only that, but THEY RARELY CONSTRUCT ROADS WITH SIDEWALKS, and worse yet THEY ALL HAVE CURVES AND TWISTS. Okay, the curves are meant to slow us down as we drive through the neighborhoods, but lights would be helpful, particularly since our pretty neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks . . . I don’t drive at night too often. The economy, both the nation’s and my own, requires close watching of expenditures so being home at night is recommended over being a party girl about town. I thought of all this as I drove down streets which just hours before seemed beautiful, bright, and beckoning. All this came rushing to my mind as the friend inches away from me said “oh, crap” and realized he was REALLY bleeding at that moment. We got to the ER. We waited a long time, then he was taken to be stitched and I waited and waited and watched. Interesting how folks handle waiting in ER waiting rooms. One or two go off alone and hold tattered newspapers without reading them and jump every time they hear footsteps. Most others sit close to the strangers around them, make occasional small talk, giggle over nothing in particular, and take some relief in the presence of other humans playing the same waiting game. There are also a few who’ve made this late night trip and played this waiting game so often that they just get comfortable in plastic chairs, sip coffee brewed hours ago from foam cups, and have their own books and such from home to read knowing the “routine” entirely too well. “I’ll be fine” my friend said, with a bandage much larger than the cut that was just stitched. Smiling and tired, his pain shot hadn’t worn off yet and I hoped he’d be asleep before it did. Minutes later he was home and so was I. This morning those same streets are well-lit with the late summer sunshine and the dark skies are now an amazing shade of blue. I’m sipping coffee once again but it’s freshly brewed. My “good sense” or what passes for it has been restored. The wound will heal. Life is good.
Okay, this may not be my most blissful post, but it’s heartfelt and honest. Please know that when you are focused on the Lord and His path for your life and when you give your heart to Him, the evil one will do all he can to prevent this. Hey, did he not try this with the Lord Himself just before the crucifiction? This is true. Read all about it in Matthew’s Gospel, Matthew 4:1-11.
Well, my friends, if the devil tried to win the heart of Christ, surely you don’t think he’ll stay away from trying his ways with us? We’re without a doubt easier targets than our Lord. I say this knowing that it’s true because my life in the last two weeks has been full of the Holy Spirit and full of an awareness of the love that Jesus has for me and full of a new hope in a future that I’ve been seeking for over 3 years now. Naturally, Satan chose someone close to me to say things that would plant a seed of doubt, steal my joy, and IN THE PAST possibly cause me to take the easy way out and quit.
When we are in a life changing situation and in a close walk with the Lord, that’s exactly when Satan works hardest and he can be really convincing about how wrong we are. He will plant seeds of doubt in your mind that you’re not listening to the Lord correctly. You’re not hearing what He really said. Don’t listen to Satan. Pray, listen, and follow only Christ. You will know His voice – it’s the voice of LOVE.
If you could also pray for me, I’d appreciate it. Have a prayer request of your own? Comment with it and I’ll pray for you as well. Thank you.
Okay, if you thought this was an article about a romanic and passionate experience I had to share, you’ve stumbled upon the wrong blog . . .
Passionate it is, though! I’m hearing a line from a favorite praise song in my heart and head just now. I must say it’s delightful when my heart and head are on the same “team.” It’s not always the way. I was not exactly “high on life” earlier today and remarkably – rather than stew for a while and eventually think of praying, I prayed right away and then got involved in doing some things that needed doing. Wish I could say that this Christian is just so focused on the Lord that this is simply a common occurance, but being human brings with it a host of imperfections and yup, I’ve got ‘em. Like a broken watch, though, I must say I get it right twice a day anyway . . . at least that . . . I hope . . .
When we surrender ourselves to the Lord and say “use me . . . fill me” we’d better be ready to receive our “honey do” list fast. He hears a willing heart and He says “sign up! Here’s your first job! Go to it!” It’s funny, but shortly after I prayed the words I prayed, I found myself blessed not once but three times! First with a lovely conversation with a stranger, then with finding myself say to someone “you need to let it go. It’s not yours to worry about. Give it to the Lord. He’ll handle it and enable you.” Then I heard myself telling someone else “It just takes a willing heart. God will provide the ability.”
These things took place in under an hour from the time I felt “off” and prayed about it and are all direct answers to that prayer. Just further proof, if any is needed, that He loves us totally and completely and He so desires us to “get close and personal” with Him. I’ve said this many times since my friend Rick “used it on me” and I’ll say it again. Our Lord does not call the enabled – He enables the called! Thanks be to God!
Hmmm . . .
What was it like in the garden that day? What was the weather? Was it seasonable? Were there people about Gethsemane? Did they have any idea of what was to come to pass? Were there dark clouds in the sky as though a storm was brewing? Was there an odd stillness in the air? Did they catch their breath in an uneasy sense of “something just doesn’t feel right?” Without radio, television, newspapers, computers and the like, how much was known of what was planned? There was no water cooler down the hallway where “everything important” was shared among those who clustered and whispered there . . . were there children wandering about happily playing? Was it a pretty day with blue skies and sunshine and a gentle breeze? What was in the minds of those who were there?
What was in the minds of Jesus sleepy companions that night? Were they confused? Did they anticipate that “something” was up? When Jesus awakened them and spoke to them “can you not watch and pray with me for an hour” did they have any inkling of something life changing that was to come in just a few short hours? Was it a dreadful night or a beautiful one? Did they sleep well or toss and turn, their souls in an uncertain and undefined distress? Did they think their world was coming to an end? Did they know their friend and Savior was about to die to save them and grant them eternal life with Him? Did they think it was “just another day?”
If you use a search engine with the keywords “let your light shine” you will find 238,000 hits. If you then search “darkness” you’ll get a shocking 75,900,000 hits. We, as Christians have much to do. Those numbers – so sad. But, look at Matthew 5:16 and we have our commission! Reminds me, too, of my days as a church school teacher. I first taught 5th grader and I myself was just in the 9th or 10th grade at the time, but Mom was in charge and knew what I could do, so there I was. Taught ‘em the Ten Commandments. It was priceless because as I tried to break them down to examples and dialog that they could understand and broaden things so they’d see there’s more to it than perhaps they thought, they’d then ask me if “when Mommy does this, isn’t that again this commandment?” Later in another parish when I was in my twenties i taught the first and second grade and they were so adorable. They were also drawn to the most “goolish” (is that a word?) parts. Interesting comparison though. The little kids – the 1st and 2nd graders – they had such strong faith. Oh, yes they could be fresh and all but usually they were fighting to see who sat next to me as I “told stories” to them. There was a pure faith so clear in them, but less evident in the 5th graders I’d taught before.
This ties into the “let ur light shine” as our commission as Christians. We are born naked and we’re full of God and full of faith. As we are “exposed” to the world, our nakedness becomes an embarrassment and our faith becomes weakened by the world and the fact that it’s impurities take away our trust. It’s our job, as Christians, to enable folks to be in the world but to restore them to their earlier faith by reminding them that they are not OF this world. That’s really all there is to it. It really is rather simple. Or, to state it another way, check out Isa 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You.”
We make it harder than it is. WE do. It doesn’t have to be.
Okay, I admit it. I’ve always thought sheep were cute. I’ve also thought of them as wonderful suppliers of wool! As one of my favorite art forms is fiber art, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. It came as a surprise to learn that sheep were rather stupid creatures. I suppose Psalm 23 should have clued me in, but quite honestly, I always thought of it as pretty poetry and never really thought of it as a lesson about the intelligence of sheep or lack thereof. Having recently read things that made me pause and consider, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions. The wool supplying creatures, left on their own, really don’t have a clue how to stay out of trouble – actually would in fact walk right into the enemy territory and likely end up being “dinner.” They are also ALWAYS in the company of a shepherd who is there to tend to their every need. They are never out of his sight. He has taken on suffering to save them from trouble, to elmininate stress from their lives, to provide them with comfort, with food, and with a life of joy. So why then do we read of “lost sheep?” Obviously they do not all follow where the shepherd leads them. Well, there you have it. Sheep are dumb. Obviously, we wouldn’t do such things, right???
How’s your life going? Stress free? Do you sleep well? Eat well? Keeping out of trouble? Okay, come on . . . think about it. Is your life “easy” to manage and comfortable and full of joy? Really? If you think about it, most of us struggle to achieve “good enough” and are seldom without stress of some sort. We consider ourselves intelligent, so how can this be? How much of your life is spent hunting for those green pastures? The still waters? Seeking comfort? Have you walked through “the valley” and felt alone? Scared?
Think about those sheep again. Most of ‘em don’t get lost. There’s always that one or two who foolishly think they know better than the shepherd. Are you shaking your head in dismay at the thuoght? You really shouldn’t. The sheep have a human shepherd. We on the other hand have the Lord. His Holy Spirit is with us every moment. We have free will, so we can stumble about like those lost sheep, or we can call upon Him. He will carry our burden. He will lead us to those places of rest, will feed us, will provide for all our needs, will protect us. All we have to do is ask and wait and listen . . . Seems to me most of those sheep, the unlost, aren’t really so stupid. That’s what they did. They waited, they listened, they followed. We tend not to, though. Ah, but our Good Shepherd, like those tending the lost sheep, is always there. When we get ourselves into a mess of trouble, He’s there to rescue us and carry us though. So, look in the mirror. Do you see a sheep looking back at you? Seems to me those sheep are onto something!