Friday, January 22, 2010

Jesus calls us to love one another...

I have a little habit of visiting Christian message boards. Often, I admit that I waste precious time visiting these sites. Time after time, though, one thing comes through. Christians can be unkind to one another, sometimes downright vicious. It does not edify and build up the Body of Christ.

Often unbelievers visit these sites. And often they turn away from Jesus because of what they see there. They see us acting no different than they do. They are searching....searching for the God of the Universe and we turn them away by our lack of love for one another. Jesus said very plainly: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this ALL MEN WILL KNOW that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
(John 13: 34-35).

I have to admit that one of my goals in this new year, indeed for the rest of my life,is to learn and apply what agape love truly is. First to my husband, my family, to the Body of Christ, and finally to all the world. Have you read what true love does in I Cor. 13? I admit that I fall way short of this every single day. But I am starting to get a taste, just a tiny taste of God's agape love toward me. And sometimes it will bring me to tears. That is what will give me the ability to love others, by viewing "what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge..." (Eph. 3: 18-19).

Even the Psalmist knew this when he told us the importance of loving our brethren. He writes an entire Psalm about it.

Psalm 133
1"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon, coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing--life forever."

God commands a blessing upon us loving our brethren. I ask the Lord for the rest of my life to truly show me what this means and for the grace to apply it daily.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

For Parents with Hurting Hearts

Are you a parent with a broken heart? It seems I have met so many, both online and friends I know. I am one myself. It seems that it is so very hard to raise your children in the Lord these days. Even if you homeschool, or send them to Christian School, there is no guarantee that one of your children will not break your heart. This world is so evil, there are so many influences out there that want to steal our children away from us, but especially away from the Lord. What is a parent to do?

I know good parents who taught their children the Bible. I taught my children the Bible. We took them to church regularly. We homeschooled. And yet we still ended up with a broken family. Yes, there are no guarantees that things will come out rosily.

But today I was reading in my time with the Lord from Andrew Murray's With Christ in the School of Prayer. I was so encouraged as I underlined and even wrote the date in the book because I felt God was speaking to me directly through the words of Mr. Murray. It was in Chapter 8, called The Boldness of God's Friends. He spoke of the parable of the friend at midnight in Luke 11: 5-8 and prayer for the perishing around us. God not only wants us to pray for ourselves but for those around us that have need. What about our children who may be lost to us? He speaks of the threefold cord of Scripture in this way: "Let us securely hold the threefold cord that cannot be broken: the hungry friend needing the help (in my case, my very own flesh and blood), the praying friend seeking the help (that would be me, or any parent that is in my shoes), and the Mighty Friend (Jesus Christ) loving to give us as much help as we need."

He then brought to mind the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. I read verse 18 where it says the prodigal "came to himself". The word for "came" in the Greek is (#2064 in Strong's Lexicon) "erchomai". It means to recover one's sense or understanding. My prodigal is not living in a pig pen right now, but this child needs to come to this understanding. It is something I cannot do, but the one thing I can do is to pray believing, like the friend at midnight. If you are a hurting parent, it is the one thing you can do as well. Mr. Murray says "even though I don't have what I need, I have already begun the work of love, because I have a FRIEND who will help me. WE DO NOT KNOW HOW EFFECTIVE THIS PLEA IS. When the friendship of earth looks in its need to the friendship of heaven, ...'He will...give him as many as he needeth."

This has been an ongoing trial for me, lasting many years. Yet it is my hope and prayer that in this trial not only will my faith be refined like gold, yet I may somehow be an encouragement to others, who are truly hurting as well. Pray for your children and don't stop until you hear from above. Our heavenly Father is a friend who truly hears and cares.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I stretch forth mine hands...

The first post for a new year! A new year, full of new beginnings, new possibilities.
Some random thoughts for the new year...

I came across some verses today that impressed me mightily in my spirit as I was considering the new year.

Psalm 143: 6 " I stretch forth my hands unto Thee: my soul thirsteth after Thee, as a thirsty land. Selah." In this year of so many distractions Lord, I want to stretch forth my hands to You. So many things bid me to pay attention, yet Lord you are the only thing in this universe that can give water to a thirsty soul. Indeed, Jesus only gives us water that will cause us never to thirst again. "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

And then I was impressed with these verses. In II Chronicles 13 we have a review of Rehoboam's life. Now Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived.
You think some of that wisdom might have rubbed off on his son, but sadly that is not the case. Verse 14 somberly tells us that "he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord". In the book of Ezra we have the opposite said of Ezra:
"For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach Israel statutes and judgements." (Ezra 7:10)

In this new year of 2010, though we are on the finished work side of history, we still can prepare our hearts to seek Him with all our hearts. What are some things we can expect if we do so?

The answers, once again, come from the Word of God. Luke 18: 29-30: And He said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in the present time, and in the world to come life everlasting." In the New Living Translation they will be repaid many times over.

And I Corinthians 2:9 tells us "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."

Maybe the idea of a nebulous treasure in heaven seems remote right now, but if it comes from the Maker of heaven and earth, who designed the beauty of a flower and the majesty of a galaxy, we have to take Him at His word that it will all be worth it when we stand before Him in eternity. Amen?