Monday, October 29, 2012

Complete the Joy

1 John 1:4 "We write this to make our joy complete". 

I have heard this verse many times and and have never really stopped to think it through.  I have always just kind of thought that it was when we get to meet Jesus.  Then it will all be complete.  But tonight I stopped and really read what it all said (and cheated a little by reading the footnote in my Bible). 

John is saying, here, that he cannot fully enjoy the knowledge of his salvation until everyone else shares in that salvation as well.  This made me think of my thoughts I had the other week on not quite being ready for Jesus to return.  I mentioned how I wasn't ready for the rapture because I knew that there were many of my loved ones who will miss the boat and I can't stand the thought of not having them in the right place for eternity.

I was so glad to read this and have my thoughts expressed this way.  It made me feel a little more validated in my hesitations.  My joy cannot be complete until I know everyone will be joining me in glory on that day.  It isn't that I will have any hesitations when I see Him that day, but right now, when I can't comprehend what it will be like, my human spirit still needs a little more to make my joy complete.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Little Off in La La Land

Moving right along in my New Testament, I started in 1 John today.  I think this is going to be a little bit different than the Peter I got used to over the last few months, but different is good.

So of course, I started off reading the introduction (the part I usually skim over since it is just some sort of "Hello"), and it got me day dreaming a little bit.

John talks about how Jesus had been around since the beginning of time, yes, something most all Christians know.  Then he goes one to say how 'we', apparently speaking of the other disciples/apostles, had seen with their eyes, looked at and touched with their hands the Word of life.  Now, John is not talking about the Bible here, but the Word Himself, Jesus.  Yes, again, something most Christians know.  The disciples spent time on earth with Jesus; that is why they were called disciples.

But, for some reason (aka the Holy Spirit spoke to me) I just really went of in "La La Land" thinking about how awesome that would have been to have been right there.  To be able to touch Him and see Him and hear His voice.  So often we just want God to give us the answer we are seeking.  We want the heavens to open up and declare the right answer.   Wouldn't it be great to know what His voice sounds like?  Wouldn't it be awesome to know if all the depictions we see of Jesus in paintings and such were accurate?  Wouldn't it be great to hold His hand and walk down a winding road and listen to His stories?

Ahhh.... All the wondrous things that we will get to experience someday.

But in the meantime, while we wait for that day, I am reminded that we shouldn't take the Holy Spirit living inside of us for granted.  We have the very spirit of God living right inside of us, and that is no small thing. 

Know and Grow

Well, I wrapped up 2 Peter and he closed up with this: "Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (3:17-18)

There has been a theme throughout the Peters on increasing your knowledge of God and I have really enjoyed the reasons he gives us for doing so.  For the most part, he tends to give growing and resisting temptations as the main reasons. 

He states it in these passages once again.  We need to be on our guard so that we don't get pulled away from God by lawless men.  When put so eloquently it seems a little less threatening, but it is a true danger.  It is so easy to get sucked into the ways of the world.  Lawless men seem to have more fun, more things, more freedoms.  It is not hard to see why Peter tells us we have to be on our guard against it.

But he tells us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.  It is with this grace and knowledge that we can be more prepared to resist these temptations.

Know the Word and grow with God and it is easier to stay on the right track.  Pretty profound, huh?  :)  Not an eloquent or profound way to state it, but very important nonetheless.   A pretty central theme that I have gathered from going through 1 and 2 Peter in the past few months, though.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Maybe I Should Try That?

"Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation..."  2 Peter 3:15.

So, we already covered that I am not a 'good little Christian' in the area of waiting excitedly for Jesus' return.  But after hashing through all that I discovered that I am more ready than I thought.  Other than the few reasons I gave for not being ready I am totally excited to see what heaven is all about.  So, in this sense I am impatiently waiting.

In the verse above, however, we see that God has a very good reason for giving us some time.  This is a re-state of verse 9b earlier in this chapter, but I just really like how he states it here.  "Our Lord's patience means salvation".  Love it.

God is waiting for you and him and her and that girl and that woman and that boy and on and one.  He does not want anyone to perish, but all to come to repentance (also from vs 9), so he waits.  He has been waiting for two thousand years.  It really makes me stop and wonder how long it will be before He gets fed up with our self-loving, self-indulging, self-centered society and just say enough already.

But that is me.  Impatient.  I don't comprehend how He sees it all.  I see all the filth in this world and just get exasperated.  I get sick of seeing the smut on TV and the sadness in too many nations and get angry.  I don't see how he can put up with it.  But that is me.

I cannot comprehend His patience.  He looks upon us with grace and love, not the human eyes that I have.  Maybe if I tried to have an ounce of the patience Peter is talking about here with non-believers or even those who have the 'head knowledge' but not the 'heart relationship' of Christ I would do a better job at leading others to salvation as well.  Instead, I think I know it all and have to get them to follow me right now and turn them away.

Perhaps if I tried the patience of God it would also mean salvation?  Something to mull over a bit.  But of course, you also have to keep in mind that we do not know when Jesus will come back and we don't want to use 'patience' as an excuse not to share the gospel.  We just have to make sure that we share it with the patience of God in our hearts instead of trying to set up our own agenda in getting others to come to salvation.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Not Quite There

I feel like a failure Christian when I read passages like 2 Peter 3:10-13 "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief.  The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?  You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.  That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness."

The "looking forward and speed its coming" part is where I fail.  While there are elements to Jesus' return that I entirely look forward to, (things like seeing the baby I carried and lost way too soon, being reunited with the mother I never got to know, finally realizing what heaven is and how to grasp eternity, and ultimately getting to see Jesus face to face) there are too many things my selfish heart wants to see finished here on earth as well.

Foremost, while I know at this point, that my children will join me in heaven, I selfishly want to see them grow up.  I want to help my daughters plan their weddings and be there for them when they have questions about raising their babies (things I desperately wish I had a mother to do for me).  I want to see the kind of husband my son will become and the things he will accomplish. 

Secondly, I know and love way too many people who will not join me on that day.  I know I have failed too many times with too many of them to plead the gospel to them.  It is verses like these that remind me of how I have no clue if I'll ever have the chance to share it again.  While there are others who know where I stand and even know who Jesus is, but miss the 'big picture' when it comes to their true salvation.  I don't want to see them suffer.  I do not want to be separated from them for eternity. 

So, I don't know if it makes me a bad Christian to admit I can't quite say I'm ready.  I am not at the point where I completely look forward to the day Jesus comes back. I know that once I am there all the selfish thoughts will disappear and it will be an eternity of bliss, but I am not there yet.  I still live in my earthly body full of sin and selfish ambition.

I guess that is something I need to add to my prayer list.  Do you have any tips on how to get there?  Any 'ah ha' moments or thoughts that helped you move past all of the things that held you back from reaching that point?  The point of being totally ready for Jesus' return at any moment?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tick Tock

Started yesterday:  I often pray to be able to use my time more wisely.  I am a procrastinator, a dawdler, a socialite and often lose track of time with which I should be doing more productive things.  Now, I am smart enough not to ask for more time, because I know I would not use that wisely either.  I'd waste it away just like the other.

So, I pray for better decisions, little reminders that the clock is ticking, and an organized schedule.  Now, if you know me, you know I am not a 'planner' person.  I love planners and their sleek and organized look and how it all makes sense.  I love to find adorable or fashionable ones and fill them up with dates and appointments and deadlines.  Then a week or two passes and I have no clue where said planner is, or it sits right in front of me, but I haven't opened it in days.  I am not a calendar person.

However, I have learned that in order to juggle my schedule, 3 children and a husband it does take some planning.  Thankfully, we have phones with calendars in them now.  I use that, but I digress.  God has told me to "number my days aright, that I may gain a heart of wisdom" (Ps 90:12) so He expects me to be meaningful with the time and tasks He has set for me to do.

But in the same sense He has told me that "my times are in His hands" (Ps 31:15) so He is in control of it all.  I can't be so caught up in planning it all that I try to control it all and forget to trust in God. 

Mainly, God doesn't need time.  He views everything in light of eternity.  Something my measly little brain cannot begin to comprehend.  Thus 2 Peter 3:8 says, "But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."  God doesn't need a little clock to keep track of things, it is all eternity to Him.  But He knows I need time.  He knows I need to use it wisely but trust that it is in His hands.

I can just see God chuckling at me when I am having a slight melt-down in a time crunch, when I send up a 'hail Mary" prayer asking for everything to go "just so" so that I can get it all done or make it there in time.  I can see Him sigh in disbelief when I waste away another hour doing mindless searching on the computer instead of folding laundry, doing dishes or reading books with my kids.  Heck He probably even lets out a quick laugh when I pray everyday that I would use my time wisely, thinking, "If only you knew, child.  If only you knew."

So, for us, time is important.  God asks us to be stewards of what He has given us.  Our time is one of those things.  But we have to remember that He ultimately controls it all and we have to give it to Him, for, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace." (Ecl 3:1-8)

God has given us time to use wisely and to trust Him to be in control of it all at the same time.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gentle Nudges

Sometimes God gives me "Spiritual Spankings", sometimes he gives me what feels like a slap upside the head and others it is just a gentle nudge.  You know, one of those things that you get the sense He just keeps sending little reminders to you about?  You might read it in a book, hear it in a conversation with a friend and then read it in your Bible.

I think God realizes that, with me, it takes a few time before I might catch on.  In the past week, my nudge has been on verse memorization.

My good friend, who I have the pleasure of meeting with weekly to discuss our quiet times, is amazing at this task.  In fact, in our discussion last week she mentioned how she memorized James last year.  James!  An entire book of the Bible.  She also stated that she was feeling called to work on a chapter of Romans.  A whole chapter.  And I whine and come up with excuses on a doing a couple of verses?  (She is such an inspiration.)  Anyway, my friend and I were not talking, in any sense, about memorizing scripture.  It was just something she mentioned as we were discussing something else.

Then, in my Bible Study book that I am doing with some fabulous gals at my church, the author mentioned memorizing scripture as a way to keep yourself "fit" spiritually.  This comment led to a discussion on the topic in our gathering last Wednesday.  We all stated the general excuses as to why we don't think we can do it or why we aren't any good at it and then moved on. 

Now, I read in 2 Peter 3:1-2 and I feel a gentle nudge once again.  Verse 2 says, "I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles"  So, I realize that Peter might not specifically be talking about memorizing the Bible here, but this was what the Holy Spirit whispered in my ear about this one. 

I am bad at memorization of verses.  Why?  Because I tell myself I am bad at it.  I don't put the effort in that I should.  I start off all in and then piddle out after a few weeks because I get 'busy'.  I don't commit myself to "hiding His Word in my heart" (I know verses but am terrible at remembering where they are from).

Remember my nice long resolution list?  Epic fail.  (OK so I have succeeded a little bit on some of them, but it is still quite disappointing.  Imperfect progress, right Lysa T.?? - reference from "Unglued")

Well, I am getting up, dusting off my pants and trying again.  I am also dragging my Bible Study gals in with me.  I started them off with the verse I started earlier.  "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  Psalm 119:11  A verse I know well from a song we sang in choir that contained it, but again, I had to look up the reference for it.  I plan on adding a new one each week for us to keep each other accountable on.  Hopefully, I stick to it.  :)

You just have to love those gentle nudges.  The times when you feel like it is all people around you can talk about, when all the books you pick up mention it, and you see it in writing in the sky.   OK maybe not that obvious, but you get my drift.  :)  Do you have these times too?  Pleas pray for me that I would hide His Word in my heart and stop coming up with excuses to get around it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gloom and Doom

OK, so while on my blogging sabbatical, I had been reading 2 Peter 2 which is part of the reason for my sabbatical.  Have you read it?  Gloom and doom.  "Their condemnation has long been hanging over hold the unrighteous for the day of judgement while continuing their punishment.....They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done...They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity...."

Do you see why I had a hard time coming up with anything? 

I have been reading it over slowly, trying to figure out what God is trying to teach me through it.  I have come to the conclusion that it is for me to figure out at a later date.  He wanted me to read it to know it was there.  I can guarantee that after these 10 days of slowly going through, reading and re-reading parts of this chapter in 2 Peter I won't soon forget where this information lies.

I think is is a warning that temptation comes.  It happens to all of us.  We see 'fun' in the world or the 'freedom' that is perceived by having no morals.  It is tempting to stray from God's will.  It is just easier to 'go with the flow' and fit in with modern society.  But those who do and ignore God's Word and God's ways will reap this gloom and doom and then all the 'fun' is over.

I think someday, when I am terribly tempted to put God "off" for a minute to just fit in with the crowd, these verses of 2 Peter 2 will come back to me.  They will remind me that "If {I} have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and {am} again entangled in it and overcome, {I am} worse off at the end than {I was} at the beginning. (vs 20)

I have to remember that I might not receive 'revelations' from the Holy Spirit for right here and right now every time I sit and read my Bible, but many times, God is preparing in advance works for me to do, (Eph. 2:10) and I just need to hide those words in my heart for just that time.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I have been on a blogging sabbatical as of late I guess.  Two main reasons 1. I have had to be on my computer a lot lately doing emails and such to coordinate different things going on in the organizations I am involved in and 2. I haven't felt like I had anything to journal/blog about in my quiet times the past few weeks.

Mostly, reason #1 has led Satan to be able to talk me into #2.  When he/my excuses keep me from journaling it keeps me from really connecting with what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach me. 

You see, for me thought processes happen during my journaling/blogging.  As you have probably been able to tell from reading many of my posts I can totally go off on a different subject/thought pattern by the end of my blog because the Holy Spirit has shown me something that I didn't think of at the beginning.  Usually I try to go back and make the whole thing flow as best as possible from beginning to end, but you can still see the evidence in many posts.  Sometimes I even have to change the title from what I originally started with.

Have you ever tried journaling through your time with the Lord?  It does wonders for letting the Holy Spirit speak to you.  It stops the just reading/thinking then moving on.  It forces you to stop and concentrate on the thoughts He is giving you from what you have just read.

I am sure you have seen the obvious evidence of this in many of my posts.  Pretty much all of the thoughts, revelations and life applications I have during my journaling process are not of my own, but what He has revealed to me through the Holy Spirit. 

Do you ever stop to ask the Holy Spirit for a little help and then really listen to what He is saying?  Sometimes you might not hear anything but if you really let Him work in you little thoughts and ideas that might just pass as just that [thoughts and ideas] are really little gifts from Him; answering your prayers. 

I rob Him of the chance to do this for me when I skip my journaling and I really rob myself of the lessons I learn and closes I gain with God. 

So, forgive me for my absence.  I tend to do this every once in a while and have to remind myself yet again why I need to stick with it, whether I feel like I have anything worthwhile to blog or not.