and the One who walks with me on it.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Driving in the Rain- Part 2

       We are to keep ourselves “unspotted from the world.(Jm. 1:27) yet as we ‘drive’ through our lives we get muck splashed at us from the world.  So how do we keep from getting spotted?  Here are some of the important ways: 
Stay spiritually healthy.
   -Study the Bible. 
We are to follow right and wrong by God’s standards, not right and wrong by the world’s standards. (Rm. 12:2)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2Tm. 2:15 KJV
also- Dt. 11:18-20; Ps. 119:11; Ac. 17:11; 2Tm. 3:16,17
   -Pray and listen to God. 
Prayer should be like breathing- an automatic response to continue our life.
Continue in prayer and watch in it with thanksgiving, Cl. 4:2
also- Ps. 6:9; Is. 55:6; Mt. 26:41; Php. 4:6; 1Th. 5:17
But He answered and said, It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Mt. 4:4
also- Mt. 4:4; Jh. 10:27,28; 14:26; Hb. 4:7; Rv. 3:20
   -Meditate on the Word, on God, on righteous things.
(about right living) Meditate on these things… 1Tm. 4:15
also- Ps. 1:2; 19:14; 105:5; 119:15; Is. 26:3; Php. 4:8

Remove spiritually unhealthy or ungodly influences from our lives.
   -Throw out, flee those things that are contrary to God’s Word.
We are to be separated from the world's schemes; their motives; their desires, and all their foolishness.
The world seeks to live for their own desires; true Christians seek to live for God's glory.
Abstain from every appearance of evil. 1Th. 5:22
also- Am. 5:14,15; 2Cr. 5:17; Gl. 5:1,16; Cl. 3:5; 1Tm. 5:22; 6:11; 2Tm. 2:22; Jm. 4:7,17

Obey the Word
as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance, but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct, 1Pt. 1:14,15
also- Dt. 11:26-28; 12:28; Pr. 3:1,2; Lk. 11:28; Jh. 14:15; 15:10; Ac. 5:29; Rm. 6:16; Cl. 3:16; 1Jh. 2:4

Avoid the I’s of the World
   -I want                Tree was good for food (Gn. 3:6)   TV, treats, food, money, sex, alcohol,
                                                                           new clothes/ shoes...
   -I must possess     Fruit was pleasing to eyes          Technology, new car, nice house,
                                                                           collections, computers...
   -I must be            Would make wise like God           Successful, powerful, in control, rich,
                                                                          intelligent, happy...
because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1Jh. 2:16
also- Lk. 9:23; Cl. 3:5; Gl. 5:16; 6:8; Php. 2:3; Hb. 13:5

Live in Christ
O Jehovah, I know that the way of man does not belong to man; it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Jr. 10:23
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, Cl. 2:6
also- Gl. 2:20; 5:16,25; Ep. 5:8; Php. 1:21; 1Pt. 2:21; 1Jh. 2:6

       Only in relationship with Jesus we can be truly unspotted and live a life that’s unspotted by the world.  Though doing is important, it’s way more important to be.  Doing alone only leads to a legalistic focus on rules and regulations, and ultimately in self: what am I doing for God (I being the key word here)? Whereas being focuses on He who made the rules: Jesus Christ, and being with Him. The focus of being therefore is Him. (Katrina Marti)

       The point is this.  We cannot remain spotless on our own, but can only remain spotless living IN Christ which actually entails all of the above.  We need to know Him, His Word and His will for our lives and then follow Him (Mt. 4:19), knowing that we will fail often, but that He will give us strength to get up and try again.  And when the muck of the world gets splattered on us, we’ll go to Jesus to clean it off again- and for a while we’ll see more clearly…

(Jesus said)
“I can do nothing on my own.”
Jh. 5:30
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Php. 4:13

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Driving in the Rain- Part 1

       It doesn’t bother me to drive in the rain, even when it is pouring, as long as I have wipers that wipe fast enough and good tires on the wheels.  It is annoying after the rain though, when the roads are still wet and my windshield gets splashed with muck.  Those are the times you need to have full washer fluid to keep washing your windshield off just so you can see.  You just finish cleaning it when a pickup drives by, cuts in front of you and ‘Splat!!!’ you can’t see and have to clean AGAIN!

       Dealing with these kinds of issues is one of the countless problems we have to get used to when driving, and we DO seem to need to drive.  Work, school, shopping, appointments, lack of bussing all keep us driving the streets.  There are always places to go, people to see and things to do.  Problems, including dirty windshields, are part of the driving package; just like temptation/ sin is part of the world.

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. Jm. 1:27

In the world means we WILL get splashed, but we don't need to remain spotted.
       We are constantly ‘driving’ through this world to get to where we need to go, so how is it possible to keep ourselves from getting ‘dirt’ splashed up on us?  Can we actually remain unspotted?  I don’t believe so based on the simple fact that we are human and prone to sin.  Temptations and sin are all around us and we aren’t very good at keeping them out of view/ hearing.  Then when we succumb, we get mad that we’ve failed again, but we failed because we neglected to stay out of the path of temptation!

       So, how DO we remain unspotted?  I’m sure there’s more helpful ways besides these, but here are a few important ones: stay spiritually healthy, remove the unhealthy from our lives, obey the Word, avoid the I’s of the world, and live in Christ.

(Come back to read the details of how to remain unspotted in the next post...)

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

An Unwelcome Reunion

       I met up with an old acquaintance this past weekend at the campground- one I was not pleased to see.  If I get too close to her she strikes out at me with a vengeance like there is bad blood between us, yet I’ve done nothing to deserve her acerbic temperament.  Once more she decided to torment me with lingering distress.  Normally I get along with all those I meet, but not this one; I fully admit to having a huge dislike of her.  She’s like the old adversary of Batman, you know, the one who wore green leaves and called herself Poison Ivy. 

       Oh, wait… that’s her actual name!  Her leaves of three simply don’t agree with me… ever.  The problem is I didn’t really know what she looked like until this weekend, and though others claimed it was not her, after the telltale rash with itch appeared around my ankles with a few scattered on my legs, I knew she had attacked me once again.  (Now armed with the knowledge of her appearance, I hope to avoid her touch completely.The funny thing is that after researching remedies to help with the intense itch I have discovered some interesting facts:

   -The rash is called "urushiol-induced contact dermatitis"; urushiol being the chemical released by all parts of the plant and which people consider poisonous.

   -The oil is not actually poisonous at all.  The problem lies with us.  Fifty to eighty-five percent of us are allergic to the chemical and therefore react to it (usually by itchy and/or painful rash).

   -You can get the telltale rash by touching the plant or touching something that has touched the plant (for up to 7 years).  This means it can be transferred from one person to another by clothes or skin. It is particularly dangerous if inhaling the smoke from burning it.

   -Spots that come out later haven’t spread from scratching or such (the oil is already absorbed), but previous contact with the oils took longer to rash out or newer exposure from oil transferred.

       So, what have I learned from this experience?  Wear protective clothing in setting up camping gear and then bag it all to wash in hot water.  Wash with hot soapy water to get off any urishiol oils on my skin within 5 minutes of possible contact.  Treat it like the plague and avoid the wretched leaves of three (the middle stem is longer).  Hopefully I will never get it again.

       I think the same rules would apply well in the area of sin.  Wear protective clothing while in the world (Ep. 6:11-18).  It isn’t that we shouldn’t be there, but keep the ungodly oils from penetrating our skin.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…” (Rm. 12:2).  Once tainted by sin, wash with hot soapy water- Jesus, the Living Water- for the blood of Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins.  “…the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1Jh. 1:7) and we can go to Him to confess our sins and receive forgiveness (v.9).
       But of course, the best thing to do is avoid sin like the plague- just don’t go near it to start with.  Recognize it for what it is- bondage* and death*- and then stay away from it.  Abstain from every appearance of evil.(1Th. 5:22) No matter how good it feels at the time, or if it feels indifferent, the touching of sin leaves lasting repercussions that could cause us much grief.  We should avoid it just like the plague… or poison ivy! (Rm. 13:14; 1Cr. 6:18; 10:14; 2Tm. 2:22; Hb. 12:1; Gl. 5:16)

*Whoever practices sin is the slave of sin. Jh. 8:34
*when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death. Jm. 1:15

Monday, September 02, 2013

Sacred Journey

       Well, we just spent a few days at Pinery Provincial Park where there are lots of trees, trails, tents and trailers, clean beaches, and my favourite, beautiful sand dunes.  A few years ago I discovered one particular dune near our site that I went up to commune with God.  There we had some precious times, I learned more about Him, and worshipped Him under the stars that He made.  What magnificent times we had!

       This time we were only there for the long weekend and in a totally different area with family and friends.  As a result, I was nowhere close to the dunes and so it was Sunday morning before I got away to seek out my sacred place.  Mounting my steed (okay, my bicycle…) I rode off into to the quiet, early morning to seek out my special place with God.  Racing down the road uncertain of which specific direction to go in, I trusted God to help me find the place.

       The wind gently blew on my face, the crisp air relaxed my breathing, and the stillness of the morning made me smile.  It’s been a long time since I enjoyed nature that way.  Then I heard His voice.  His words went something like this, “Why are you going to this place?”  “To meet with You there,” I said.  “But I am here with you now.”

       “Yes, I know that Lord, but…”  Quiet.  Then in a flash I understood what we, as Christians, are still trying to do thousands of years after our creation--- find God in a special place, kind of like Moses going up Mount Sinai to meet with God.  We go to church to be in His presence, or conferences, to hear special speakers, or even alone in our rooms.  There is nothing wrong with any of that for it is important to meet with God those times as well, but God is called Emmanuel, meaning God with us, for a reason--- because He is always with us!!! (Mt. 1:23; Is. 7:14)
       He is with us through our work day, when we change our baby’s diaper, wash the clothes, cut the lawn, eat our food, go poop on the toilet (did I type that out loud!…), sit in class, drive the vehicle, talk on the phone, go to bed, exercise, and on and on.  See, in the beginning, God was with Adam and Eve in a physical way, probably daily (Gen. 3).  After the ‘fall’ of man, it was different and He rarely showed Himself, but He did still communicate with some men.

       Then the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ (Jh. 3:16), to come and show us the way of life (Jh. 14:6).  Jesus died for our sins (1Cr. 15:3), but before He did, He said He had to go so the Comforter could be sent (Jh. 15:26; 16:7-13).  Basically, He had to go so that His Spirit could dwell with us.  Here.  Wherever we are.  Now.  Every moment of every day.  God with us.

through the Holy Spirit given to us. Rm. 5:5
But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in youRm. 8:9
For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." 2Cr. 6:16 also 1Cr. 3:16
through the Holy Spirit indwelling in us. 2Tm. 1:14
The spirit that dwells in us… Jm. 4:5
Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwells in him and he in God. 1Jh. 4:15

       God is with us if we are truly His children.  We don’t have to go someplace special to be with Him for He is right here with us.  I’m learning more every day to commune with Him throughout each day, leaning on His help, wisdom and strength to get me through.  I’ll still go to our dune every time I’m at the Pinery, but He is here with me even as I type these words, ready and wanting to listen and to speak to me again.  Like the commercial, He is probably whispering:

Can you hear me now???