and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Three Days- One Song

       For the last three days I have had the chorus to one particular song pop up in my head many times during the day.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve really been pondering lately how much we are able to fully give ourselves to God and still live in this world.  I used to hear the words, “He/ She’s sold out for Jesus” in the 80’s and 90’s, but you don’t really hear that anymore.  I digress… Here’s a portion of the song ‘All to You’ by Lincoln Brewster.

     I'm living my life for You
     And I'm giving everything to You
     Not holding back, from every part
     I'm giving it all to You

       I think a lot of us desire to live our lives for the Lord, we just don’t know what that truly means from God’s perspective.  We do know that He considers the two most important things to be to love Him with all our being, and to love others as ourselves.  So we try to fill those two things in the way we think we should do them.  But God’s mind is not our mind.  He often sees more in us than we see in ourselves and so we shortchange the Lord by doing only what we think we can do.

       Like the song, we need to give everything to Him.  Not just our words and actions, but our hopes, dreams, reputations, skills, really- everything but most of all our willingness to do what He wants us to do, even if we think we can’t do it.  Have you ever noticed though, that no matter how often you say you give it all to Him, that you are still holding part of you back?  I have, and I wonder why that is.  Is it selfishness, lack of commitment, fear, pride, lack of knowledge, or am I simply expecting more of me than what the Lord expects?  That has been my contemplation of late.

One thing I do know, and this is from another part of the song…
     You are the Lord of all I am
     And, I'll never be the same again
Twenty some years ago when Jesus became the Lord of my life, I changed- for the better.  It has been a long and often treacherous journey so far, but the journey from who I was to who I am today has been astounding.  Life with the Lord is never boring.  He is here waiting for me every morning and He continues to work in my life.  He doesn’t mind when I question things, but leads me on His path (Pr. 3:5,6) one step at a time. (2Cor. ; Pr. 16:9)  I am aiming to give my life completely to Him, from His point of view, and so I will follow Him (John ) on the path He has laid before me trusting that His light (Ps. 119:105) will guide me along the way.

and I will continue to be transformed…
(Rom. 12:2)

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Joyful Noise- Praise

       When I was a young adult, I used to help in the children’s ministry in my local church.  We always started out with lively and God honouring worship led by a great team.  One day as I stood among the kids during worship, the lead singer stopped to speak about making a joyful noise unto the Lord.  How no matter what we sounded like, if we put our hearts into it, God would enjoy it.  He then asked for those of us on the floor to come up to the front.

       After we got up there, he shocked us by saying we would be leading the next song.  I was horrified!  None of us had any musical experience- or musical talent at all.  He handed me a guitar: I’d never played a guitar!  And my singing was out of tune.  ‘This was not going to be pretty,’ I thought.  The worship team left to stand amid the kids and they informed us when to start the familiar song we were supposed to sing and play to.

       Totally unskilled and making an un-tuned cacophony of noise we did our best to worship God.  Everyone joined in if I remember right... and overall it didn’t sound as bad as I originally thought.   I truly thanked God that it was only one song, and we were relieved of our positions.  The lead singer came back and spoke some more about making a joyful noise to God and how it was sweet to His ears even if it wasn’t to ours.  I’ve never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.

    O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Ps. 47:1
-clap, sound an alarm
     …Sing aloud to God our strength; shout for joy to the God of Jacob.  Bring a song, and give the timbrel, the pleasing lyre with the harp.  Blow the ram’s horn… Ps. 81:1-3a TIB
-sound an alarm, shout, sing, play the tambourine, harp, lyre, horn (purpose of shofar- to give alarm or signal)
    Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Ps. 98:4-6
-make a joyful noise- shout, split the ear, sound an alarm, break out in joyful noise, shout, make music, use trumpets, horn
    Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. Ps. 150:3-6 
-praise- boast, rave about, celebrate: blast of a horn, lyre, harp, tambourine, dance (yes, it really says dance!), stringed and wind instruments, differing cymbals.

       As you can see, worship can be joyful, noisy, full of differing musical instruments and can include clapping and dancing.  Sing with all your heart whether or not you think your voice is good: if your heart is in it, God will be pleased.  Worship is a time to praise our great and holy Lord for all He is and has done.  Let’s celebrate Him by making some noise!

       J  !!! PRAISE THE LORD !!!  J

Thursday, October 27, 2011

If I had a million dollars…

       Did you ever have one of those fantasy thoughts?  As I was driving in the car this morning, I thought of it.  What would I do if I had a million dollars?  Ever practical me, immediately I thought I’d buy a new (meaning good used- to me) vehicle.  Ours is getting old… Next I could pay off the mortgage and our debt, and then I could get the two bathroom walls fixed that are literally falling apart.  Suddenly it struck me that I hadn’t considered the Lord at all, and that made me kind of sad.

       Why was He not my first thought?  Why, at least, didn’t I think that I would start by praying and asking what He wanted me to do with the money?  Instead I had already planned what to do with my blessing without even consulting the Lord who would have given said blessing.  We say we long for more of the Lord, to be closer to Him, to know Him more, but when it comes to our daily activities, we don’t often consider Him first, if at all. 

       So the big question on my mind, is how do I change my whole thought process to consider the Lord first, or at the very least sooner than I do now?  I guess I’ll start with prayer for all the many believers who want more of the Lord.

Rekindle our love for You, set our desire on fire so that our longing for You cannot be surpassed by anything or anyone else.  Stir up our passion that lies dormant under the cares and stresses of this world.  Let us awake to thoughts of You and feel Your Spirit with us through each moment of our days.  You who are mighty and all powerful help us in Your mercy and Your grace.  Thank You for being so long suffering with us.  All glory and honour to You forever.  Amen

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Time Trilogy 3

       Back in my later teenage years, a couple years after being saved, I worked part-time in a fast food establishment.  Often there was a blond girl I worked with whose name I do not remember but I do recall she did not like me very much.  I was a happy person back then, enjoying my work while working hard and trying to get along with everyone.  After months of working with her she asked me one day, “Why are you always smiling?”  That was my opportunity to tell her about Jesus.  

       With only a few words out of my mouth she told me to stop, saying that she had enough from an aunt and uncle who were always telling her she was going to hell.  Though I thought maybe they were not using the best approach, I couldn’t deny what they said was true, so I just said that if she had questions or wanted to talk about it I would be willing.

       Eventually she did ask questions, and I tried never to be ‘preachy’ but to answer to the best of my ability.  (Thank God for His mercy because I’m sure my theology back then was not so good…)  Though I left that job a few months later, I occasionally wondered if she ever responded to the Lord- still do.

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.  Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Col. 4:5,6 

       Walk/ deport oneself in wisdom toward the unsaved world, ransom (Strong’s)/ diligently observe and improve (Mat. Henry’s Com.) the time.  Let the things you say always be acceptable/ beneficial/ favourable prepared with salt that you may be aware in what way you ought to respond to every man.

       Cooking is not my talent.  Though I make edible food, it is rarely tasty.  My problem is that I have no skill for seasoning; either I put too little or the wrong stuff.  And I hate recipes.  I mean, what is a pinch of salt anyway.  On the TV cooking shows a pinch is five-fingers grab worth to several of those.  To me, a pinch is one two-finger grab.  Salt is one of the oldest, well known seasonings that used to be considered a critical necessity.  Today, we try to avoid it.

       Those of us who are born again are the salt of this earth.  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing,” (Mat. )  We should be bringing out the flavour around us.  We do this by utilizing just the right amount of salt, not too much or too little.  So with our words and actions in the world.  They should be just the right words and actions at the appropriate time; we should ‘be aware of what way we ought to respond.’

       I like to think of my words and actions being like Jesus; but do you know why He acted the way He did?  It was because He genuinely loved each person.  He acted with love, kindness and mercy to each ‘sinner’ and with tough words to the religious hypocrites who did not recognize themselves as sinners.  He was the salt that each of them needed.  We are supposed follow* Him. (*to be the same way- Strong’s) (Mat. 8:22)

We must learn to redeem the time for it is short and many perish.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time Trilogy 2

Therefore, He says, “Arise, sleeping one, and stand up out of the dead ones, and Christ will shine on you.”  Then watch how carefully you walk, not as unwise, but as wise ones, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  For this reason, do not be foolish, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is debauchery, but be filled by the Spirit,  Eph -18 TIB

       Those who sleep/ rest need to stand up out of the dead ones (unbelievers) and Christ will give us light.  Look that you walk/ deport yourself- with steady application and care; not carelessly or negligently (Webster’s), not unwise, but wise.  Buy up the time because the days are hurtful/ evil.  Be not mindless, stupid, egotistical, rash, unbelieving (Strong’s) but understand the desire of the Lord.  Don’t be drunk with alcohol, but be completely filled with the Spirit.

       We are supposed to get out of the spiritually dead of the world.  This doesn’t necessarily mean not living/ working beside them, but to stand apart from them.  We should stand out as being different from them.  I don’t think that’s the case much anymore.  Most people wouldn’t even know a Christian from a non-Christian, and that’s a shame.  Christ’s light can’t shine through us if we are living like the world.

       We are to ransom (Strong’s)/ diligently observe and improve (Mat. Henry’s Comm) the time in these hurtful and evil days.  In other words, we’re not supposed to be wasting our time doing things that we shouldn’t or God doesn’t want us to do.  We are to serve- our God, serve our local body, and serve the world.  But we need to be wise and serve where God wants us to.  “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:” (Ps. 127:1)  We are to observe our lives, improve our efficiency, and always do what God has called us to do.

       Understand the Lord’s desire.  There is only one way to do that.  Spend time with Him*.  I think that is the one thing we easily give up every day for lack of time, yet it is the one thing we need most.  How can we understand what He wants in our lives when we don’t even spend time with Him?  How should we live: read verse 18:

Be completely filled with the Spirit.

*Reading the Word. Praying. Listening to His voice. Ask Him what He wants us to do.  Thanking and worshipping Him. Repeat…

Monday, October 24, 2011

Time Trilogy 1

       There are never enough hours in the day…  Isn’t that what we often say, but is it true?  Thomas Edison said, “There is time for everything.”  Who is right?  It certainly seems like I can’t get done everything that I want to get done.  Perhaps “that I want to get done” is the problem.  I rush around trying to get all the tasks done I need to- but are they truly necessary?  It is interesting to note that if a task is important enough in my estimation that I will suddenly ‘find’ the time.

       It hasn’t been easy the last couple weeks.  I know the Lord wants me to do this blog.  For a time I had a good schedule going, writing in the evening to post early the next day, but lately it seems impossible to get it done at all.  My body has been aching, my in-law visiting, parent teacher interviews, driving kids all over, mucho cleaning, and doctor appts, etc, etc.  Sitting here typing, I’m even thinking of other things I could be doing (and eating).  Why do we fill our lives up with so many tasks?  Has the Lord called us to do all the jobs we do, or have we set our own hands to tasks He never desired of us?

Think about this.  If you only had one month to live, what would become your priorities?

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time (the hour) to awake out of sleep>: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision (forethought supply) for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Rom. 13:11-14

       We need to awake up out of our >spiritual torpor- numbness, inactivity, loss of (power of) motion, loss of sensation, dullness, laziness (Webster’s) for the end is closer than when we first became believers.  Throw off the acts of darkness, the worldly ways, and let us be clothed with the tools of light (Jesus is our Light).  Let us walk honestly as in His light not sinning in the dark, clothing ourselves with Christ and not always thinking of supplying our bodily needs and wants (food, drink, nice car, beautiful house, toys, success, status, power, attention, passions, admiration- to name a few). 

       How are we supposed to do this?  One step at a time- the first step is getting off the spin of this world and stepping out into the Spirit.  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)  It’s not so easy to do, giving up on the way the world says you need to live.  They’re going to try and make you feel bad just for getting off, but we have a new, higher calling: to live for the Lord.  That doesn’t mean continuing to live like the world, or live how we think we should, but to live for Him doing the things He wants us to do.  How will we know what He wants us to do?  By spending time with Him*.

       I keep trying, and I keep falling, but I’m going to keep getting up until I get it right.  The Lord is moving me in a new direction and I think to myself, ‘if I can’t do the small amount of tasks I have now, how will I manage more?’  Well, perhaps if I release some of the things He doesn’t want me doing, I’ll have the time.  Since I am not sure what to let go of, I think I’ll just try to follow what He wants each step.  For me that will be easier- I hope. 

Walk in the Spirit Vicky…

*Reading the Word. Praying. Listening to His voice. Ask Him what He wants us to do.  Repeat…