All posts in Christian Living

Dependent and Glad

 

So I have to admit that our church uses an iPod for its accompaniment.

There, I said it.

So when my pastor stated he’d left his iPod plugged in and it played the song, “I Need Thee Every Hour” for several days, it made me think.

Recently, I realized the truth in that. I couldn’t make it through a day without getting on my knees–sometimes three and four times a day–and saying or singing those words.

And now I know I do need Him every hour, every minute.

But sometimes I forget.

Have you ever thought of how much you and I both need the Lord?

Take for instance, breathing.

Or walking.

Or standing.

The fact is whether we know it or not, we need Him.

It’s like the iPod playing in the background. It’s playing, but we might not realize it.

There’s something else we need Him for–salvation.

Jesus said unless you come through Him, you cannot be saved. It’s that simple.

In fact, the first word out of Christs’ mouth was, “Repent.”

Paul says in I Corinthians 15:3-6, “For I delivered to you of first importance what I also received; That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”

So none of us is dependent for our life, and no one can depend on himself for eternal life.

Only through Christ.

So, I’m dependent and proud of it.

How about you?

 

 

Do What Pleases God

The four words hit me like a truck. Max Lucado said them in a devotional. In fact, he said them several times. But it was like I heard them for the first time.

 

Do what pleases God. He wrote a paragraph putting the reader into a difficult situation. How do they deal with it? Do what pleases God. He wrote another paragraph. Then another each ending with Do what pleases God.

 

He said it better, so here’s a link https://maxlucado.com/listen/do-what-pleases-god/

 

His words juxtaposed in my mind with my study in 1 & 2 Thessalonians titled, Children of the Day.”

 

Beth Moore (My new bff) gave examples of walking with God. I looked up references beginning in the first chapter of the Bible, when God walked with Adam.

 

Imagine that.

 

Then she tore through the Old Testament like my puppy tears through slippers. We visited Enoch, Abraham, and a few kings. We ended up walking with two despondent followers on the road to Emaus. Jesus joined them even though they didn’t know it. Their despair turned to delight. And hope.

 

Jesus has a way of doing that.

 

I want to walk with Jesus that way.

 

Beth goes on to say that walking with God is living in His presence.

 

In other words, Do what pleases God.

 

I’ve thought about those words this last week. I’ve prayed them. Meditated on them. Asked forgiveness for not doing them.

 

Sometimes, I make my Christian life a list of do’s and don’ts.

 

But the Great Gospel of Grace pushes me beyond duty to delight.

 

Delight in His Word. Delight in prayer. Delight in walking with Him.

 

Funny, when I do what pleases God, I’m pleased. Joyful even.

 

What about you? Do me a favor. Think about those words this week and tell me about it. I’d love to hear it.

 

In fact, I’m smiling even as I think about it.

 

Do what pleases God.

 

 

Jesus is My Mouthwash

Recently, while reading through the Psalms, I noticed the reoccurring phrase of how man is just a vapor, a fleeting breath.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always had bad breath. Serious. Bad. Breath.

It made me wonder what kind of breath I’d be if my life’s breath could be smelled and rated on say a 1-10 scale. Or for that matter, if all our lives could be rated on our life’s breath, maybe like the Olympics–cards would be held up with 7.5, 8.1, 6.3… (Of course the Russians would always be lowest.)

Some would say my cards would be high and my heavenly breath good because of caregiving or other good works, but I know better. I know my hidden thoughts and insidious pride.

I’ve thought about life’s breath a lot lately. One of my new friends in North Carolina died Friday. Her death came both suddenly and quickly. One day she was at church, and over the next few weeks, she went from the hospital to home to Hospice to heaven.

I miss her.

She wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. A rather ordinary-looking, middle 70-ish woman who of course drove a Buick.

She was the first to greet us in our new church. Each week I could count on her pleasant smile and kind words. She always asked about my bed-bound mom or how farming was going with us. Or how my son was doing in Florida.

But it never stopped at just words. Her actions backed up her strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

She called almost every week to check on Mom and update the prayer list. One evening, on a particularly difficult night for me, she corralled chickens and even helped me make a gallon of salsa for an event I attended.

There were other acts of kindness that I am not allowed to discuss because those were her terms. If she did something for us, Tom and I couldn’t tell anyone.

She had fresh breath. It was made fresh by Jesus.

Mine, too.

Our human effort smells foul to God. Isaiah stated that all our best works are like filthy rags. A negative number on the vapor/breath scale.

Yet, by Christ’s atoning work, he makes our life-breath clean. Pure. Acceptable to God.

I’ll miss my friend, but I’m not sorry she’s gone. She’s breathing heavenly air. Air I long to breathe one day.

Fresh. Eternal. Jesus-filled.

But for now, I’ve got to think about my breath here. Do I smell like heaven, or do people move away?

What about you?

 

 

Dying With Our Boots On

There weren’t more than 30 people at his funeral. He wasn’t famous. Not many knew his face. Nobody would have picked him out in a crowd.

But in God’s economy, Ron is priceless.

He served his wife, his children, his country, and his Lord. And in his last days, unable to walk, missing an arm, he ministered to others through encouragement, prayer, and preaching in the veterans facility that he called home.

Tom and I visited Ron and instead of us lifting his spirits, he lifted ours.

As I listened to his eulogy I thought of the movie, Secondhand Lions. Two old guys played by Robert Duvall and Michael Caine finish out  their lives on a piece of land in the middle of nowhere. They make a pact to “Die with their boots on.” And that’s just what they did. At 80-plus years, they accidently fly a plane into their garage.

In the car on the way home from the funeral, I looked at Tom, “Ron died with his boots on.”

He knew what I meant. Tom and I made the same pact when we moved to North Carolina to farm. We told our kids we’d work til we died and all we wanted was to be tilled into the ground. And after farming for over two years, if we are able to continue, that is probably how we will die. And maybe sooner than later.

But Ron’s life was more than physical labor.

The Apostle Paul states in his second letter to Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

Life isn’t about how much stuff you have or how famous you are or if only 30 people show up at your funeral. Life is about how you live and how you die. Our US dollar may be stable but God’s economy is eternal.

And His is the only one that counts.

In the end.

That’s the economy Tom and I want to invest in–eternity.

And we want to arrive there–you guessed it, with our boots on.

 

Finding Our Family

“Basically, we are on a quest to find our family,” my husband told his Sunday School class.

That phrase stuck with me.

Our job as believers, isn’t to attend church and put on programs or even to have fellowship. Our job, is to share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Take a look at I Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures…” ESV

That is our message. We aren’t responsible if people believe or do not believe–that’s the Spirit’s part. Our part is to share.

In the past, I sure have complicated the message. I got side-tracked. When I look back at it, I believe it’s spiritual warfare. Scripture says Satan roams about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. He loves nothing more than for Christians to have committees and spend their time bickering over carpet color and concentrating on who’s going to the Super Bowl or the World Series.

I know, because I’ve been there. Or what about when I complain about my circumstances when they are AMAZING. I mean, I know where I’m headed when I die, my life is hidden in Christ. I have the Holy Spirit, and God’s Word to guide me. I can work. I can worship. I can love. I can serve.

So I’m on this planet to tell others the good news. A message of grace–God’s unmerited favor. He sent His Son to earth to pay the penalty for my sins.

So I proudly lift up the name of Jesus. My Savior. My Lord. My King.

So I’m sharing it with you. Because who knows, maybe we’re family.

And speaking of family. Our Christian brothers and sisters are suffering all over the world because they name the name of Christ. Beheadings, crucifixions, and rapes are all part of the persecution that my family is enduring because they love Jesus more than they love this life.

Remember them. Pray for them. Ask the Lord to give you a burden for them. Send them money. That’s what I call my IIH stock. Investing in heaven.

It pays eternal dividends. And when we get to heaven, we’ll meet the rest of our family.