Friday, May 21, 2010

Who Is Douglas Adams?

Human beings,
who are almost unique in having
the ability to learn from the experience of others,
are also remarkable for their apparent
disinclination to do so. -Douglas Adams
Last weekend the sermon offered by our minister was one laiden with historical fact that I am sure to relay incorrectly, but I need to express a point from the sermon, so I will try to do so without falsely representing history, and I apologize in advance if I do. Well, evidentally, we have come to a point in the Old Testament during which God's people are divided into two separate nations, Judah to the north and Israel to the south, and over a period of time both nations failed to honor God and therefore didn't experience his blessing and support leading to miserable captivity in the end. Well, according to our pastor the northern nation was more advanced in reaching this point allowing the southern nation the opportunity to witness the results of living outside God's will as a nation, and the very good question that was raised asked, "Why did they not learn from the example of their northern neighbor and alter their path accordingly? Anyway, following this lesson striking a chord in my heart, I ran accross this quote from whoever Douglas Adams is, and I realized these two parallel teachings, if you allow them to be true for you, could nullify the usefulness of my writing altogether because, I write in hopes that someone, anyone will recognize the great treasure I have found in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, which is available not exclusively to me, and accordingly follow my example of living life to the tune of Jesus' teachings found in the Bible! Anyway, my point in this particular blog is to say, "please see what beauty and joy exists in my life in spite of circumstance as a direct result of my committment to follow Jesus, and don't be like Israel and totally miss your opportunity to avoid the disaster that life is without him by joining me in following him today if you haven't already!" Join me in taking note of the examples from which we are intended to learn and choosing to do just that...learn and live accordingly:)

Risky Business

The longer I am a parent, the more amazed and thankful I am for my Father-in- Heaven's eternal patience, grace, and mercy! As my 3-year-old whinily explains over and over in what she considers sound logic why she just CANNOT do what I have asked of her even though, I her loving parent have never steered her wrong, she just refuses to trust my advice and obey, anyway, as this all occurs and my patience wears thin to the point of insanity, I wonder how often I have done just the same thing to God, and after experiencing how completely annoying it is, I am totally humbled and amazed by his never-tiring, perfect patience! Let's share, what has God been asking of you for days maybe even years that you have been resisting because you, in your "sound logic" just know you will get hurt or embarassed? Is it forgiving and trusting someone who has hurt you in the past? I heard on the radio yesterday that the Christian life is risky, and yes, it does seem that way when we follow God's leading for our lives blindly, but I guarentee you its riskier to go your own way because our creator loves us, and knowing everything about everything uses his wisdom concerning us and our environment to lead us to the most desirable existence possible, so when we ignore him in order to avoid risk, we actually risk missing out on the peaceful, joy-filled existence he wants to lead us to, so I challenge you to risk it all, practice blind-faith, and enjoy God's blessing of peace and joy on your life!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ashley's Post

In a conversation with a friend yesterday concerning a hurtful situation her daughter was having to face, it came up that as parents we can't, as much as we may wish to, protect our children from everything, and as I have rolled the conversation around in my mind since it has occurred to me that, no, we can't, but be encouraged that, yes, we can equip them for everything, which brings me to writing on the topic of the Mother's Day speech I presented a few weekends ago at Alfordsville Christian Church. It begins with a scripture with which you are likely very familiar especially if you've been following along with this blog. If fact, I used it in my last post Matthew 7:24-27 in this passage Jesus is concluding a very challenging sermon including teachings that run totally contrary to our human nature, but he insists that if we want to love God with our lives we must live totally contrary to our human nature doing things like when someone has taken your tunic give him your cloak also and if someone forces you to go one mile, go two! Well, after blowing everyone's mind with these mind-shattering teachings, he says,"therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on the sand The rain came down, the streams rose and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash. Well, this is the key to equipping your child to not only survive but flourish in any tradgedy, disaster, or unfotunate event or circunstance she might encounter in the course of her life, and for the purpose of proving its validity, I must say that I am living proof that an individual whose life is firmly established on the foundation of Jesus's teaching stands in the storm no matter how strong the winds blow or how high the flood waters rise, and I give credit to my parents for helping me in the initial stages of building that foundation, so although they were unable to prevent me from suffering a stroke at age 28 only to survive with potentially life-altering disability, they were faithful to equip me for whatever life might bring my way by introducing me to Jesus and setting an example of the importance of living life by his teaching! So parents, take heart, it may be scary to send your kiddos out into the world/future not knowing what it holds for them while being completely aware that you cannot protect them from whatever challenges they will face, but you can prepare them to stand in the storms of life by introducing them to Jesus and encouraging them to put his teaching into practice in their lives.
The most effective way to teach them how to do this is by setting an example by doing it in your own life! For example, if your boss is giving you a hard time at work and you have vocalized this during the dinner conversation, before bedtime prayers pull out the scriptures and read Matthew 5:44 Unfortunately, I cannot type it out for you exactly because this page of my Bible has been torn out, so I will paraphrase, and you can check to make sure I'm correct later:) It says, " pray for those who persecute you!" After reading this scripture you could ask your child to pray with you for your boss as dificult as it may be explaining that it doesn't necessarily make sense to you, but you know that following Jesus' teachings no matter how crazy they seem is a way to tell God we love him, and since Jesus loves us so much, we know he would never give us any kind of advice other than that which is best for us and will lead to the best quality of life possible! This example could also be used more directly if your child is being bullied personally by praying together for the bully accompanied by a similar conversation. Obviously, in order to parent this way, it would be necessary to familiarize one's self with Jesus' teachings by reading and studying the Bible, which is also an excellent activity in which to include your school-aged child...I have attempted it with my 3-year-old, and although I still find it a valuable experience for her, as could be expected, we don't accomplish much:) These are both reminiscent of methods that were used to assist me in establishing my life's foundation on Jesus's teachings...thanks mom and dad! Anyway, you may not have the money to leave your child a huge inheritance or pay her way through college, etc, but you are completely capable of providing her with a spiritual inheritance that will enrich every area of her life forever and provide stability that will ensure she will stand in the storms of life. I must qualify here that, ultimately, It is a child's personal decision whether he or she will continue building her life on the foundation of Jesus' teachings and be a fully-committed follower of Jesus as she grows and lives her life, but the power of a parent's influence and example cannot be rivaled, and wouldn't it please you to see your 28 year-old daughter stand not only strong and resilient, but also joyful, peaceful, and contented in a collosal storm from which you were unable to protect her knowing that she is standing due to your faithfulness to pass on the great inheritance of your faith, and in a way, you did protect her from the GREAT CRASH Jesus spoke of at the end of 27 in the previously mentioned scripture:) Oh, and I have to add that if you know you neglected this aspect of parenting as your children grew, it is never too late to influence your children for Christ! As a mother or father of grown children, you can choose to make Jesus your Lord and Savior today, so you can effectively set an example of following Christ from now on that they will be sure to notice and be influenced by...parenting is a life-long endeavor!:) Here's to living for Jesus and equipping our children for all that life is today and will be tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Storm Shelter

If you have been following my posts, you may have noticed that I particularly moved by Jesus's use of the figurative storm in his teaching particularly in Matthew 7:24-27 where he details the story of the wise and foolish builders and how their houses weather the storm in direct relation to the builder's choice of foundation. Last Thursday during my morning quite time I came accross another scripture in Mark 4:35-41 referencing a storm that spoke to my heart of God's greatness. That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, " Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was,in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be Still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you afraid?" Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this?" Even the wind and waves obey him!" In this situation Jesus actually responded to his follower's concern by ending the storm that was troubling them, and I agree that his ability to do this is awesome, but i want to go even further by saying that I find his ability to draw us into the stern with him to curl up next to his secure warmth while the storm rages around us is an even mightier display of his power! I learned during the fierces storm I have incountered in my life so far that my God is so GREAT that he doesn't even need to calm the storm to bring me peace. He is so powerful that he can calm my fears in the midst of calamity, and having experienced the delight of curling up on the restful cushion with him while storm rages, I wouldn't have it any other way! Yes, being that the storm still raged, I sustained damages from the beating it gave, but even in that God has healed my heart and soul to the point of acceptance. Now, that is a powerful God that can turn memories of a nightmare into sweet, sweet dreams and what could have been bitterness and disappointment into beauty and destiny:) So I quote Jesus, "Why are you afraid?" He is awesomely powerful, able, and willing to take miserable circunstances and transform them into marvelous blessings! Rest with Jesus on the cushion in the stern while the storm rages! Yes, he could quiet the storm, but how muvh more awesome it id that he can quiet our fears, anger, bitterness, and disappointment during the storm! My God is an AWESOME God!