Monthly Archives: May 2013

Hard Work and Humility

“But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.”  II Kings 5:11

“One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, ‘Do you want to get well?'”  John 5

Jameson did a lesson last night on these passage and talked about how we all, like Naaman, want God to answer our needs and desires in an instant magical way.  We don’t want to put in the hard work ourselves to bring about change.  Did the man who was an invalid for 38 years really endeavor to put in the hard work to get to the water?  Probably not.  And like him, we put forth a little effort, and then we want someone to help us, we want God to swoop in and do a miracle and fix things for us.   It really got me to thinking.

I have things I have been praying about for a long time.  Yet how hard am I working on bringing about the change I want?  I am in a holding pattern, making some efforts, but also tolerating my situation.  I keep thinking that at some point God will change my circumstances to an environment where change is more possible.  Every day, I procrastinate putting in a concerted sustained effort, or even planning to put in a concerted sustained effort.

About 5 years ago I was in a spiritual swamp.  I wanted to be sharing my faith more and studying the Bible with people more, but I couldn’t seem to really change.  Finally, once day I said, “I am going to make this the most important thing I’m doing.  I am not going to do anything else until I share with one person a day.”  And when I did that, I met someone who wanted to study the Bible!  And then, from places I didn’t expect, three more people started studying the Bible.  God was working, but I needed to start putting in the intentional effort.

Continuing with this blog entry, I am combining these thoughts with my study of Ezekiel.  I have been sporadically reading through the prophets in chronological order, and I am up to Ezekiel 21.  The people Ezekiel prophesied about were complacent.  They knew they were doing wrong, but they thought God didn’t care much.  They tolerated their current situation.  They procrastinated on changing.

But God’s wrath was coming.  And for all time, there is absolutely nothing as powerfully terrifying as God’s wrath.

Yes, I will cut off both the righteous and the wicked! I will draw my sword against everyone in the land from south to north. Everyone in the world will know that I am the Lord. ”  (v. 4)

I groan because of the terrifying news I have heard. When it comes true, the boldest heart will melt with fear; all strength will disappear. Every spirit will faint; strong knees will become as weak as water.”

Although Jesus averted God’s wrath for us, it’s good to remember that there is still the threat of wrath today:

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.”  It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  (Heb 10:30-32)

I’m not fearful of suffering God’s wrath because of my procrastination.  But the point is, my choices DO matter.  How the Israelites lived their lives mattered, and how I live my life matters.

It takes a lot of energy and motivation to change.  I think that is why I put it off.  It seems overwhelming.  And I don’t want to get busier, I just want to be able to identify and focus more on what is important.  This is something I CAN do:  take some time to prioritize.

Yesterday I was reading Joshua Becker’s blog on “Becoming Minimalist.”  He says, “busy has become the default state for too many of our lives.  But is the state of busy really improving our lives? Certainly not. . . Busy, in and of itself, is not a badge of honor. In fact, directed at the wrong pursuits, it is actually a limiting factor to our full potential. It is okay to not be busy.”

Becker’s advice is to, “Become more intentional with your priorities and pursuits in life. Determine again what are the most significant contributions you can offer this world. And schedule your time around those first. Busyness is, at its core, about misplaced priorities.”

What a great way of saying it! Business can be a type of laziness.  I fill my life with things to do, because I don’t want to have to put forth the effort it would take to do the really important things.

Although it is finite, time is a commodity given by God. He allows me the hours I have in the day.  I need to budget my time and use it wisely, just as I would my money.  And every day I need to pray about it and invest some time in the most important goals.

And then I need to trust the process.  God will help me change, but He probably will not bring about the changes in the way I want him to bring about the changes.

Take off your jeweled crown,

for the old order changes.

Now the lowly will be exalted,

and the mighty will be brought down.”

God works through humility. His plan has been brought about with weakness, so that people would see that it is Him working, and not them.  God chose people like Gideon to carry out his work, and won battles with reduced armies.  He revealed his word to little children.

It’s always a balance.  I need to make myself think seriously about life, pray, and have a concrete plan of action I commit to.  But then I need to relax and trust God, knowing my efforts may not seem to pay off as I expect, but that He is always working in His way to bring about the answer to my prayers.

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Filed under Ezekiel, Topical

A New Rhythm

It’s very strange

There is a new rhythm to life now

A slower one

A contemplative one

And I keep fighting it

Feeling guilty for not getting as much done.

I make lists

I try to dream dreams

I try to be the person I was

I want so badly to run around

Sparking with new ideas

Inspired, excited

Bouncing from one endeavor to another

But I’m not happy when I do that anymore

Instead I listen

And I hear a slower beat

And it fills my soul

And every hop of the bird on the fence has meaning

Every flower bloom is bright

Is right and good

And I don’t see the dust in the corners

And the weeds that scream at me

That life is a chaos which will never be tamed.

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Patience

Whew!  It is so hard to be patient with people!  At least it is for me sometimes.  I am self righteous.  I am selfish.

So I have found all of these verses on patience.  They remind me that God is by nature patient.  And that he has been, and is, very patient with me.  So I must be patient with others.

“And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”  Ex 34:6

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”  II Peter 3:9

“As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.”  James 5:11

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”  Ps 103:8

“Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.” Rev 2:3

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”  I Thes. 5:14

For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” I Thes 2:11-12

“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.”  James 5:8

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.  Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.  At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.  But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.  His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.  Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.  This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’”

Here is the thing:  Jesus died for this person that I am impatient with.  He thought they were worth giving time to, worth loving, worth believing in.  Remember, the first description of love in I Corinthians 13 is:  “Love is patient…”


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Water for the Birds

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There are so many things to be done

They press on me

They nag my conscience

And I feel empty inside

Like a suitcase after vacation

Everything is put away and I don’t want to pack again

Every day I change

My agenda changes

The summer weighs on me

Waves of humidity and laziness resonate in me

The sun slows me down

Even though I am inside

So I go outside

And I pour water in the birdbath

And succumb to the quiet

I sit in the swing

And watch the wasp circle and land on a leaf

I see the fly in crisp detail on a spike of pine straw

The pill bug crawling

The cat folded on the lawn chair

A red and grey bird dips into the birdbath

And gradually it all makes sense

I see what I need to do today

And I am at peace, looking forward to the day.

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Meaningful Moments

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Usually, those moments don’t last long; they come and go like ocean breezes.  But sometimes, they stretch out forever.”  From “The Last Song,” by Nicholas Sparks

I just had an incredible weekend, and it has left me with deep conflicting emotions.  It was over too quickly.   I feel impotent.  Did I do as I should have done?  No, I want to get rid of the word “should.”  Was I in sync with God?  Was I effective?  Did I leave a footprint?

What remains is the memory of moments.  And I just hope that I invested myself in these moments enough to make them meaningful.  Because if they are meaningful, they will somehow last.  The weekend will have been worthwhile.

So I recall the moments to impress them on my memory.  And if I articulate them, they take shape as not just phantom impressions , but as landmarks —

*Relaxing outdoors with the family while the kids play, the colors so bright, the breeze blowing.

*The incredible encouragement of young disciples who are enthusiastic and passionate.

*Small moments of connection to new and old friends.  Talking one-on-one on the porch.  Putting my hand on someone’s shoulder.  Bill smiling proudly over his Brunswick Stew.  Tia so happy.

*Ken playing the guitar while we loaded up the table with a bounty of fresh grilled chicken, corn and vegetables.

*Talking a prayer walk with my daughter, a sacred miracle of being together with God.

*That last song at church, where we were all dreamers, members and visitors alike, mature disciples and young ones, yearning to bring more people to the inexpressible goodness that is Him.

*Eating dessert at the Crepe Myrtle, and it seemed like everything came together and we enjoyed life’s sweetness.

Life can deplete me, but meaningful moments restore me, especially moments with God, when I am outdoors, away from everything, surrounded by green foliage, the sound of birds and a stillness of the wide open sky that always speaks of hope.  In that spiritual quietness I can heal and hear whispers of the Spirit that inspire me.  “Your compassions never fail.  They are new every morning.”  (Lamentations 3)

It is the best time of the day, the time we take to pray.

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”  Mark 1:35

I believe Jesus also relished his private moments with God.  In addition, I believe he was strengthened as well by meaningful moments in his ministry.  After he talked with the woman at the well in John 4, Jesus said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”  It was sustaining to him.  He treasured the spiritual awakening of this woman, and of the Samaritan town.

I must commemorate the moments of spiritual awakening that I see in others.  A night ago I heard some incredible statements by someone who is coming to know God and see Him more and more.  I can’t take this for granted.  It is sacred, a miracle I participate in.

Here are some other scriptures I’ve thought of —

“And he said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  Luke 22:15  Jesus needed to have meaningful moments with his disciples.

“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’”  We can destroy the moments God wants us to have by being distracted.

I think why I get the deep conflicting emotions is because it is so hard to hold onto the moments.  They slide so quickly through my fingers, and though I try to drink them in, I am worried and distracted and I only catch a glimpse of them before they move on.  I am left with a jumble of impressions and unresolved feelings.

So I look back over the pictures, the physical ones I have taken, and the ones in my heart.  I catalog them, enhance their meaning.

And I resolve to prioritize and try to focus on the most important things, that I will sit at Jesus’ feet and soak in the moments.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

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Competence

lazy eye

“Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God”  II Cor 3:5

Competent:  sufficient, to attain.  In this use it means that our inner resources are not sufficient.  No matter how talented we are,   we’re not smart enough, wise enough, powerful enough, etc. to attain true effectiveness in life.

Claim:  I reckon, count, decide.  We can’t add up our strengths and conclude that we have the resources we need.

Competence:  ability, power.  The things that make us effective as a Christian come from God.  It is all Spirit, and thus we need infusions from the Spirit to be competent.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant–not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”  II Cor 3:6

My job as a minister of the new covenant is to work with the Spirit to give life to others.  My tools will be the tools of the Spirit:  the Word, prayer, love, and Godly wisdom.  I will need to rely on divine guidance — His plan, not mine.  The only way to get this is to pray for it daily and often.

Thus, I cannot live in myself and be effective.  I must die to self daily in order that the Spirit can work.  That is how His life is at work in me, and how I can have His life to share with others.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair ...For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”  II Cor 4:8, 11

It is also why I must go through trials, to remind me to rely on Him, and not on myself.  It is so my spiritual muscles can be strengthened.  It’s kind of like having a lazy eye.  It will always rely on the good eye to see unless you put a patch over the good eye.  God allows our “competencies” to be hampered so we have nowhere to turn but Him, and we must be strengthened in Him.

Lately I am seeing so much how I need this spiritual strength.  I need it to invite people to the block party I want to have.  I need it to be outward focused when I am running errands today.  I need it to have the talks with others I need to have.  I need it to set the right agenda for today.

I am listening right now to a message about the prophesies about Jesus.  One point the speaker makes is that Solomon thought that he would be the one who fulfilled some of these prophesies.  He thought they were written about him.

But he was not the one because of his worldly orientation.  He had riches, his wives caused him to stumble.  We think of him as the most wise man who ever lived, but his wisdom did not help him in the end.

In the same way, if I seek to build my competence, my wisdom, and rely on that, no matter how great it is, it will not help me.  What I really need, what we all really need, is to die to self and rely on God for each breath, for making each plan, for guiding every act.

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Prayer

sprouts

Prayer

Is standing in the

rich, fertile soil

that is God

And knowing it is the

only place

That your dreams can grow

 

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Pathway to Peace

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I was refreshed this past weekend by a vacation in the Jacksonville Beach area.  It was a good time to be away, because I was completely depleted, and discouraged about some things that were going on in my life.  As I sat by the beach on Saturday morning and wrestled with my discouragement, talking to God about it, the following verse in II Cor 1 came to mind.

“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.”  II Cor 1:8-9

This scripture has so much in it!

Under great pressure — The wording evokes the idea that they were trying to carry a burden that was way too heavy.

Far beyond our ability to endure — The troubles they experienced were not just beyond what they thought they could tolerate, they exceedingly surpassed their limits.  No words were great enough to express enough how hard it was.  They did not feel that they had the inner strength and resources to do what they needed to do.

So that we despaired of life itself — Feeling utterly without resources, there could see no solution, no way out.  They saw no way they could go on living.  The wording even suggests that they had possibly lost the desire to go on living.

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves, but on God —  Because of the experience of being completely at a loss, so obviously without the resources to deal with their trials, it became absolutely clear to them that they had to have something more than themselves to be able to cope.

All of this speaks so perfectly about what I had been going through.  I had felt at the end of my rope of endurance, and it seemed the things I  was trying to help weren’t enough, so it was discouraging.

Now, MY GOAL IS TO RELY ON GOD MORE, to draw upon His resources more, to get down on my knees more during the day and ask for His strength and guidance, instead of trying to gut it out.  I have to draw on the pure wonderfulness that is Him.

It is the wilderness of the mind, the desert wastes in the heart through which one wanders lost and a stranger.  …..having lost the springs that nourished us…..Eternally, woman spills herself away in driblets to the thirsty, seldom being allowed the time, the quiet, the peace to let the pitcher fill up to the brim.”  From “Gift From The Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

I need to take the time to be replenished by the quietness, the sacred closeness of God.  Let me remember that the time I take to pray is the best time of the day.  Let me feel His arms wrapped around me in warm embrace as I talk with Him.  Let me not just feel the negative flow of needs as I heap petitions on Him.  Let me bask in His glory and dance in His grace.

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”  II Cor 1:5

The sea tumbles objects around in its surf.  I walk on the shore and my feet are not cut by the shells.  Their edges have been worn by the constant motion of the sea.  They may be broken, but they have been polished and each shell has a pristine beauty to it.

So life also tumbles us about with many a challenge, and we are polished.   I cannot fear the tossing I undergo, or that I see about me.  It is a part of God’s process.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

….Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” II Cor 4:7-10, 16-17

 

 

 

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Addicted to Control

atlas

I read some excerpts today from “Made to Crave” by Lisa TerKeust.  She talked about how from the very beginning, when Adam and Eve were in the garden, Satan has tried to get us to crave something other than God.  She mentioned the rich young ruler and how Jesus asked him to give up all of his money in order to inherit eternal life.  She said the point of this story is that God wants us to give up anything that we crave more than him.

The same theme was magnified to me in the lesson at church last night.  Jameson taught on the story of Elijah at Mount Carmel.  He talked about how we all have our idols that we pour our lives into, trying to make them fill the empty hole in our souls.  We long for the American dream, for success, for a romantic partner, and so on.  Like the false prophets, when our pursuit of these things doesn’t fulfill, we just “dance” more, pursuing them even more desperately.

“Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  (I Kings 18:21)

Jameson stressed that we often waver between two opinions.  We want God, and we want success, or whatever our idol is.  And it doesn’t work that way.  We need to give everything to God, and trust Him to meet our needs.

This all is really hitting home with me today, because I have seen so much in myself lately a huge craving for achievement and order.  I want so much to accomplish things.  I don’t want to just spin my wheels and be ineffective.  I am jealous of others and their accomplishments.

And I deeply desire my life to be orderly.  I want the house to restful.  I am driven to fix up my yard.  I was compelled to go out and by new place mats and decorations for my table, because I felt that I just couldn’t look at the old stained ones any longer.  The disorder around me screams at me all day long.

I am reading a novel that I really like, “The Laws of Gravity” by Liz Rosenberg.  It is about two cousins who grew up like sister and brother.  One is dying of leukemia, and the other has a store of the umbilical cord blood from the birth of his son, which could be used in treatment and possibly save the one dying.  But the cousin with the umbilical cord blood refuses to give this to his cousin in order to save her.  He is too afraid that his own children will get sick, and then he won’t have the blood to treat them.  He loves his cousin, but he is completely addicted to being in control.

And that, I think, is the lesson for me.  I am addicted to being in control.  The need for accomplishment and order are but two symptoms of this.

I thought to myself last night, “Why do you think you have to be this proficient wise person walking around all the time?  You’ve grown in spiritual maturity in your relations with others, but you can’t approach God this way.  You still need to approach him like a child.”

So this is what I am starting to do.  I picture myself going to God as a child, being honest with him, saying, “Show me, guide me.”

What has helped me most in the past when I have struggled with my need for achievement is to remember what I came from, and how God rescued me.  I wrote:

At that place where I was so full of anger and hurt that I couldn’t think of something good, that place where I was full of melancholy and there was no way to feel better, at that place where lust was taking me places I shouldn’t go, at the place where I didn’t want to be with anyone or give to anyone, at that place where sin was in full bloom, at that place where I was so far from being worthy of saving, like a despicable criminal on death row, the slime of the earth, evil in heart, only selfish, reveling when others have bad happen to them, being provocative and leading others to temptation, unfaithful, foolish, willfully selling my soul to Satan, that is where I NEEDED AND NEED A SAVIOR and Christ saved me.

I was in a slimy pit from which there was no escape.  Every time I tried to climb out, I’d slip right back. Jesus came and rescued me from that pit, but the only way he could help me get out was to give his life, to be mangled, pummeled, spat on, whipped to shreds, crushed in spirit.

And if I seek after achievement and order, I am climbing back down in the pit all over again.

Psalms 40 says it well:

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,

a hymn of praise to our God.

Or even better, Psalms 18:

The cords of death entangled me;

the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.

The cords of the grave coiled around me;

the snares of death confronted me….

He reached down from on high and took hold of me;

he drew me out of deep waters.

He rescued me from my powerful enemy,

from my foes, who were too strong for me…

He brought me out into a spacious place;

he rescued me because he delighted in me.

Let me just bask in Jesus.  God, show me how your love can fill my deepest cravings today.

When my heart was grieved

and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;

I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;

you hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

and afterward you will take me into glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart

and my portion forever.  (Ps 73:21-26)

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Indecision Brought Me Here

Here is the question.  Why would God not make himself more obvious?  Why is he not more visible?

After I watched “The Passion” again last week, I thought of something that might be the answer — that God is looking for those who will put effort into their lives, not just take the easy way.  I thought of this because when I saw Christ’s life, the amazing way he gave and sacrificed, I saw how much I still am shallow and comfort oriented, in spite of all my good intentions and efforts.

Ken and I were discussing classical music and how there isn’t a large audience at classical concerts in Columbus.  Ken said, “People just have so many things that they can do now — phones, game systems.  Listening to classical music involves more effort to listen, so people don’t want to do that.”  People don’t want to put in the extra effort.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with people who don’t listen to classical music, I am merely observing that people want to take the easy way.

The iconic dancer Martha Graham once said, “The only sin is mediocrity.”

Jesus said the most important commandment is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  (Mark 12:30) 

God expects us to give all we’ve got.  There is no honor in living a shallow, self-centered life. God is looking for those who will look outside of themselves and see that there is more to life, that there is a higher power, and there are others who are our brothers.

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”  (Romans 1:19-22)

It is easy to go about life completely engrossed in our own affairs.  It takes an intentionality to realize or remember that there is a God, and that what we have comes from him.  It should be natural to think of this, but we are so fond of thinking of ourselves.

I was talking to someone yesterday who grew up as an atheist, and has been coming to faith.  She said that she sways between one philosophy and another.  Christianity sounds good one day, and then she reads a secular book and follows what it says.  I told her she has to decide what is true and best, and then decide to live according to that.  The rest of her life will depend on what she decides.

But most of us don’t put the thought in to decide.  We’re too busy putting out fires.  Or we are busy earning a living and raising a family, and then we don’t want to think, we want to have fun.

I wrote a musical about the book of Ruth, and in this musical Naomi sings a song about  her life when she lived in Moab.   Here is one verse of what she sings:

I let myself procrastinate

My mind was so unclear

Lost in the distractions

Day by day, year by year

Never stopping to consider

Didn’t let my conscience steer

It was too late when I realized

Indecision brought me here.

Who will live with intentionality?  How many of us will get outside of our egocentric constructs and see what is true and best, and make a decision to live according to this?

“My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest.”  Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”  Abraham Lincoln

“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” ( Luke 13:24)

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