Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Concentrate on God

"Beware of any work for God that causes or allows you to avoid concentrating on Him. A great number of Christian workers worship their work. The only concern of Christian workers should be their concentration on God."
Oswald Chambers

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Soul Winning

I sometimes worry that I'm not doing enough to lead others to Christ. As a Children's Minister it's easy to say, "I'm planting seeds." That's true, of course, but does that exempt me from the Great Commission? Recently, I was reading Acts 8. It seems to me that this is a chapter about evangelism. The Good News was spreading. Phillip shared the gospel with the man from Ethiopia who confessed Christ and was baptized. God was adding to the church. When was the last time I shared the gospel with someone? When have I explained the scriptures more fully so that someone would come to know Christ? When did I last explain God's wonderful plan for redemption to someone lost in sin? There is a lost world out there. I tend to forget that. I bask in His mercy and grace without thought for those who don't know Him. I somehow don't think I'm alone in this! C.H.Spurgeon said, "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for." The words to a song come to mind: "Lord, lay some soul upon my heart, and love that soul through me. And may I humbly do my part, to win that soul for thee." That is my prayer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Life with Jesus

"The man from whom the demons had gone out begged to go with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, 'Return home and tell how much God has done for you.' So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:38,39

As a young girl I was fascinated by the story found in Luke 8 about the man from whom Jesus cast out demons. I could visualize the herd of pigs going over a cliff and into the water! This seemed quite funny to me! Of course, through the years other elements of the story took on significance. It's interesting to examine the different responses to Jesus by the participants in this story: the demons, the possessed man, the pig herders, and the people of the town. From them we see fear, recognition, gratitude and belief. This passage of scripture is a powerful example of the transforming power of Jesus.

But in my most recent reading of this passage the phrase, "begged to go with him" seemed to speak to me. There are times in my life when I long to withdraw from the world and "go with him." I yearn to spend hours alone with Jesus and His word. Let me retire from life and its demands, schedules, conflicts and endless activity. Let me hole up somewhere in quiet solitude and just be with Jesus!

But God did not call me to that kind of life! At least not yet! He does not call any of us to a life of monasticism. Instead he says, "go home and tell how much God has done for you." And God has done so much for me! I'm blessed to be His child; I should be shouting that from the housetops! Each and every day God is touching my life and I need to be sharing that with others "all over town." That's the life to which Jesus calls me. For now.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memories of Mom

My mother died one year ago today. I miss her. I know that she is in the presence of the Lord, awaiting my arrival, but I miss her presence here.

A few years ago my mother asked me how I was going to remember her. I didn't have a good answer at the time, but I thought about it a lot. One thing that I will remember most is her hands. They were gentle, compassionate, and productive. I can see her now preparing sandwiches for a tea, stitching a quilt, sewing beautiful clothes for my sister and me, and holding and rocking my younger brother when he was sick with asthma. When I called my mother's friend (our minister's wife from 45 years ago) to tell her mother had died, she told me that she still had some things that my mother had made for her and how pecious they were to her. Mother spent a lifetime caring for others. She opened her heart and her hands to those in need.

I will remember my mother's voice. She often told the story about the teacher that told her, "Wanda, just dance, don't sing." From that time on my mother was reluctant to sing when anyone could hear her, but she chose to "make melody in her heart." However, she sang to her children and I can't hear or sing the song, "When He Cometh" without thinking of my mother. And I can hear her singing it in my daughter's ear as she rocked her to sleep.

And lastly, I will remember her "momisms." "You have to suffer to be beautiful." "Beauty is as beauty does." "If you stick that lip out much farther a rooster will perch on it." (I was a pouter!) In recent years we heard some things over and over and over again, like: "Growing old isn't for sissies." "The only thing that runs anymore is my nose." "What is today?"

But the words I will remember most because of the frequency with which she quoted them are found in Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when it is come about, it is as a tree of life." The New Living Translation says it this way: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." I don't know why my mother quoted that verse so much, but I do know that in my own life I have needed the hope and the promise of it. And I thank God that mother passed it on to me.

My mother wasn't perfect: she was a flawed child of God, but my brothers and sister and I were blessed to have a "truly good woman" for a mother!

I miss you, Mom!