*** October 12th, 2008 A new sister in Christ was born.
*** October 16th, 2008 A new niece was born into the world. My only blood sister's only little girl (she has 2 boys)
*** October 19th, 2008 A brother in Christ passed on
There was joy in all of these events!!
God seems to be laying on my heart these past days how real life & death are.... spiritual life & death moreso than physical.
He has been doing something beautifully chaotic and free-ing in me this past year. The external changes & actions that those around me are seeing are just an overflow of what He has poured into me for a long time. I am blessed to be eternally-focused. I feel like I've always been a spiritual person... being very aware of things beyond the flesh/physical.... but intentionally and faithfully seeking Him out has changed everything. I care so much to please Him, I care so much for others to love Him and to know the love He has for them. I care so much to introduce people to Him and I am going to continue to. I will step in that gap and allow God to use me however He wants to, to 'build a bridge' as Pastor Kelly talks about... to give people the choice to walk over or not. I have made the decision to naively (faithfully) believe that God will use me and use whatever small decisions I take toward Him and toward others in big ways.
There is death & suffering going on all around us.... it seems moreso than ever that there is sickness. With all that's wrong in the world, people are looking more than ever for comfort, for Truth, for love, for a refuge. I truly deep down in my core believe that God is the one and only refuge from this world. I really believe that people are looking for the light, THE Light that only He can bring. Do you believe that He is the One that is the answer to what people are looking for? I do.
And because I have that light in me.... I would be selfish to not offer people what I believe they seek. I wasn't ready to do that for a long time though... I needed to get to know that Light myself. I needed to figure out who I was. I needed to lean on Him, not my own efforts. Because it's not our own efforts. It's not forcing conversations.... It's all about Him and Him working through you. It's not about in-your-face preaching.... it's not about condemning other's beleifs... it's not about arguments or debates..... it's about invitations. It's about inviting others to journey with us. It's about inviting others to seek the Truth along with us. It's about planting 'small' word seeds. It's about allowing Christ to work through us to offer hope, faith, help, encouragement, love in many forms.. to those that cross our paths.
It starts out with simply spending time with Him and getting to know Him so you can know yourself. Our life ministries start out in the quiet hours in our homes where we allow Him to fill us up.... and then when the overflow happens, it's time to reach out and engage in other's lives! Doesn't it feel like the Body has gotten away from this? That we have become passive, the live & let live type thinking.... but Jesus wasn't like that. He wasn't passive, unlike every other philosopher in His day... He was active. He was all about engaging people.
I want people to know that there will always be suffering & sickness, but there doesn't have to be death!
On Thursday morning this week, I woke up and starting reading my Bible. I was in Mark chapter 5.... where Jesus raised the little girl from death. I don't want to talk about physical healing in this post at all or raising from the dead... because I want to focus on our spiritual health, which I believe God cares a LOT more about.... but in this chapter what spoke to me was how Jesus referred to death. He referred to it as sleep. That really is what death is to us believers... a slumber. It's no more serious than slumber because we will all be together in Christ when He comes back.
Right after I read this chapter, I checked my email and received an email that Fred had passed on and that the service was to be that day. God's presence covered me as I reflected back on that passage I had JUST read.... I love how He does that. Almost every single day, He uses my readings in the morning in a very real, personal intimate way.
I learned two very important lessons that day....
a) the reminder that there is no real death for those who believe in Christ. Christ conquered even death for us. In Fred's passing there was such a peace around the entire room, knowing that we all would see him again. We all will have physical death --- but those who have accepted the gift of Christ, will live eternally in heaven with God
I get SO excited thinking of our dear new sister that will have eternal life because she accepted Jesus.
During the service in honor of Fred, there was a great reminder to me... that we are spiritual beings, experiencing this world for but a brief time... and there is so much to rejoice about for those that have Christ in us! There is SO much more to be joyful about than frustrated. So much more to have peace about than turmoil. Thank you God so much!!!!
b) The 2nd lesson was how important my daily time with God was. Spending time in the Word daily is so important. Not to be legalistic about it, not to create a ritual out of it... but to continually walk toward God in whatever small step that is, so that He will help us understand the true importance of His words. Help us value The Truth. Help us crave Him. God doesn't want to us to feel guilt when we miss times in the Word.... He doesn't want us to get discouraged... He wants us to move forward and make the decision to not be victims of circumstance... but to take control of our daily actions and just take small steps daily in faith knowing that He will give us the discipline and the faith to move toward Him!!
Just as we wouldn't expect new baby Irelyn (my niece!) to arrive into this world reading books, walking & talking ... God wouldn't expect us new believers to run right away... but to instead take baby steps & crawls toward Him. I pray people would recognize how the little steps do make all the difference. That this life is a journey, a process that takes a lifetime. It's all about holding on, clinging to Him, walking toward Him .... while others are letting go.
I truly believe God that you are the one and only Light people are seeking. I believe you are THE answer. Thank you so much for the freedom we have to speak this Truth to people around us in this country. Please God don't let them take away that freedom --- and don't let us take it for granted! Thank you God so much for the assurance that we will have eternal life with you. Thank you for my new niece, my new sister and my brother that made a difference in my life.
photo by MomMom