Thursday, August 19, 2010

Remember the Cross

Satan is so very sneaky. He takes the truth and twists it just a little and has us running around doing his bidding if we are not careful.

In talking with friends the past few months, one subject has come up more than once. It is the question, "How can I be sure of my salvation?" I am convinced that the question comes up because we have been listening to the little whispers from the Father of Lies. Do you remember when you realized that Jesus Christ was your Lord and Savior? You knew right then and there that He had come to Earth as a baby, lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and rose to sit at the right hand of God. What made you forget that or doubt it?

For me, it was the fact that I continue to sin. I want to do the right things. I want to be patient, loving, merciful, gentle, joyful, and faithful. I want to love my neighbor and my enemy, but some days I find it hard to love my own family. I still sin. The worst of it is that the more I learn about God, His character, and what holiness really is, the worse I realize that I am. I know that even though I am saved, I am still a depraved sinner. Somehow, I start listening to Satan when he says I am not good enough. That needs to stop. I am not good enough, neither are you. The truth is we weren't good enough that first day, but God chose us anyway. He picked us before the foundation of the world to become part of the bride of Christ. We weren't any good then, but we accepted the gift. Somewhere along the way, we decided that Satan was right and now we must start working our way to heaven.

Stop. Right now. Get on your knees and confess to God that you have been trying to earn your way. You took His free gift and attached a price tag to it. Remember the joy of His salvation and the peace that He alone can provide. "Eternal life is a gift from God, not by works, so that no one can boast." Continually visit the truth of the cross. Christ already paid for your sins: past, present and future. Stop doubting and grab hold of the truth. He doesn't need you to add anything to the work He has done. Rest in Him and know that you are His.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Getting Them Ready

I heard an old interview with Mickey Mantle yesterday. He was talking about the fact that even before he was born, his dad was planning on him being a baseball player. He was named after a player. Every day his dad and his grandfather would pitch to him so that he could practice hitting both right and left handed. It reminded me of the story of Hannah in the Bible. Weird, I know.

Hannah desperately wanted a baby boy. She prayed fervently for a son and promised that she would give him to serve the Lord all of his life. Samuel lived with her until he was weaned. In that time, I am sure that she did all that she could do to prepare him for the life he was to lead. When she could no longer teach him, he was brought to the temple to learn from Eli, the priest. She prayed for him before he was born, and I am sure she continued to pray after he left her care.

These stories reminded me yet again of my duty as a parent to prepare my children for their future. Yes, I want them to have a job they enjoy, a spouse to love and children of their own, but the most important thing is that they love the Lord and glorify Him in all they do. I can't make them love God. I know that. What I can do is teach them who God is and what He has done for us. I can model a life that seeks to put Him first, always. I can share my struggles, doubts, and questions. I can point out the many blessings that we have received from the Lord. There is much that I can do as a parent to prepare my children for true success in their future and there isn't much time to do it. I am so glad they are home with me so that we can use each moment. I hope that when they are adults, they will look back and see that even before they were born, God was getting them ready for an eternity with Him, and they will remember a mother who prayed daily that God would grow them closer to Him.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Beyond Opinion

I love listening to Ravi Zacharias, and I really wanted to get educated a little in apologetics, so I looked forward to reading this book. I think that I got more than I bargained for here. Although, I think that the authors did a fantastic job here, this book was a tough read. There is so much to learn and think about, so many questions to consider, that I was overwhelmed. I was hoping for a little education, but got very bogged down in going through the book. I appreciated all that was written, and I learned a lot from these men and women, but it was much, much more than I was looking for.
I thought the way the book was set up was great. The first section addresses questions brought up by different people groups concerning Christianity. This is very helpful, especially if you have been talking with someone asking those questions. The second section takes the reader to the questions behind the questions which is where I began to be bogged down. I would only recommend this particular book to a serious student.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Love Him, I Love Him Not

Ladies, it is our call to love our husbands. This isn't a conditional love that is based on his deserving our love. It is a command of God to love the man that He has given to us. Even if you did not seek God's input when you said, "yes", this marriage of yours is not outside the will of God. That is it. He is sovereign and brought the two of you together for better or worse. Now, it is up to you to choose to love your husband more than yourself.

I know that there are days that it is hard to love that man who strews his dirty laundry around the house, snores, and tracks mud on your just washed floors. It can be difficult to choose to love the man who never says,"I love you" back, doesn't seem to consider your opinion in anything, and never gives a compliment. It is a struggle to love the man who has no use for God, doesn't go to church, and takes the Lord's name in vain. When it seems beyond your abilities to love this man, remember that God is with you and will bear your burdens.

I encourage you to go to God on your knees and ask Him to let you see your husband as He sees him. A wise man once told me that if we could see the person next to us as God does, we would be so in awe of them that we would be tempted to worship them. At times it may seem unbelievable that you would be tempted to worship that man, but he is God's glorious creation. He does bear the image of the creator of the universe. Sit with God a while and view your spouse through His eyes. You will be glad you did.

Next, make a list of those qualities in your mate that you truly appreciate. Does he take out the trash without you nagging him? Maybe he goes out of his way to compliment you on those days you are feeling fat. Is he a good provider? great father? loyal friend? hard worker? Spend your time concentrating on those qualities that you admire in him. Read over your list each morning. Tell him what it is you love about him. In fact, tell others, too. As you dwell on those things, God will reveal more and more good qualities that you have overlooked. You will be reminded what an incredible catch your spouse really is.

In this world, nothing happens by accident. God is in control of all things. That includes your marriage. You did not meet by chance, date on a whim, or fall in love by accident. Nothing happens outside of the will of the Lord. If you lean on Him, God will use your spouse to make you into the woman that He desires you to be. Even if he doesn't know the Lord, you are called to be faithful, and by doing so, may lead him to salvation. If we, as Christian women, would take our job of loving our husbands seriously, we could greatly impact the world. The divorce rate in the church would diminish and the world would notice. They would begin to listen to what God has to say to them. Evangelize the world, love your husbands.