Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thoughts of Gain and Loss in Life

This morning's adult Bible Study class left me with many sobering thoughts. We always have lively discussions and many varied experiences that we share from our daily life. It's a large class...perhaps forty people...and this allows for some solid give and take. As one of the newer members of the group and one whose Bible knowledge is dwarfed by everyone, I often feel inadequate

We are studying The Secrets of the Vine by Wilkinson and it is an outstanding study which is serving to make one think about their relationship with the Lord. Already I have found myself convicted by the Holy Spirit on many of the things that the workbook and the video have cited. This coupled with some reading that I've done lately (and I've not been a big reader in years!) have helped to shape a personal world view that is, well, sobering in is scope.

I realize just how little I have been doing to be the kind of Christian that Jesus asked us all to be. I realize that I have guilt feelings that have been embedded deep into my heart that I have yet to address. I realize that the precarious thread upon which I exist is more tenuous than I had imagined.

Often, during the study, I find my thoughts drifting off into some experience from my past, or something that I remember seeing which further hones the impact of what being a Christian is all about. Needless to say, it really is not easy to be a Christian. The standards by which He asks us to live are nigh impossible! I am not saying that it was easy for Him when He walked this earth in His human manifestation but He is the Christ and He knew His purpose far clearer than I have to-date.

I think of those saints in centuries gone by who gave up or who lost everything to serve Him and His Great Commission. What would it be like to lose everything; to start over again; to face the next morning with no idea of how I would exist?

As Minister Bob Hill preached today in Pastor Morris's stead while he and his wife are away, we have hope. This hope is not the common perception of a goal that one vaguely wishes could come true. No, we have the hope that says that we KNOW that God will keep His word to us and that we should never ever think that we are alone in this world.

I am reminded of the news story on CNN during the Katrina hurricane disaster. There was a story about a man with four or five children who had just lost his wife to the torrent. She was holding on to one of her children and the waters were rising. She lifted the baby into her husband's arms and as she was being taken away by the raging waters, her words were "take care of the children" and she was gone...

I find myself welling up when I recount this story, just as the CNN news reporter was when she was bringing the story to us. The man was so matter of fact about it but it was probably because of the overwhelming situation in which he now found himself that there was no time for excess emotion. He had to be about his children and what the rest of their life would look like.

As a Christian, it is this hope that gives me peace of mind. I have no doubt whatsoever that He will see to my needs. I find myself secretly wishing for a tangible recordable miracle to show people just how awesome He truly is but the miracle is already here: me.

Many people remember how I was before my conversion and they see the changes that have been wrought. For many, that is indeed a miracle. But, for nearly all of them, that hasn't been "miracle" enough. And, that is because I still have not reconciled myself with my sins and confessed them to Him for resolution. I have also realized that I am burdened by something that someone has done to me for which I have not yet released forgiveness to them.

In other words, the miracle that I want people to see through me has been blocked because I, in effect, have not totally surrendered to Him yet, and many of us suffer from this. As our study has shown, the fruit that everyone can see...the fruit which I so desperately want to be so apparent to glorify Him, has been withheld by my own reticence, or even refusal to deal with the sins of my life.

The reason I think this blog entry is coming from me is the Holy Spirit is telling me that my temporal audition for Heaven as it were... could be over at any moment, and that I could fail that audition! Just as Jesus healed people instantly, my end could come in an instant as could any of ours.

God is a loving God...He has shown this and as such I do not fear Him. As our Bible Study showed today, I do need to fear his punishment for disobedience! Life on His terms can be so abundant and the hope that is there for me and anyone else can be assured by being within the Body.

These will be thoughts that I will carry forward into the upcoming week. I hope that they will help you to frame your thought process in such a way that you can be convicted of something that really needs to be purged.



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