Thursday, March 18, 2010

Reality Check

"Choose this day whom you will for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."  Joshua 24:15 (KJV)

I was shocked!  I simply could not believe it! Lacey got voted off American Idol last night!  She was my favorite...especially once I found out she was a preacher's kid (I am and my children are.)  She was a really bold (the color of a crayon) hair, heavy makeup, and a unique style of dress. (Now, I'm not saying that's how I dress...or want my children to dress...or color their hair.)  But her smile was so sweet, her eyes so sparkly, and her voice was very appealing.  Yes, shocked...and sad.  Well, as much as you can be over a TV show.  The thing was, as much as I hated it, I was a part of the cause.  I didn't do my part.  I didn't vote.  I made a choice to sit on the sidelines, enjoy the show, and not take a stand for my choice.

Yes, at my house, we enjoy reality TV...American Idol...Survivor...Amazing Race.  Now we don't approve of all of the music...or language...or social statements, but there's excitement in seeing people reach for their dream...take on great challenges...battle the odds...see the world.  I guess for us, it's some encouragement for us to consider our escape from the odds we battle in our daily lives...a chance to experience risk taking from the safety of our recliners...and to travel vicariously through those strangers.

You know, I will choose to root for some other contestant on American Idol.  I probably still won't vote.  I head straight to bed when the show is over.  But this has surely caused me to think about choices...and acting upon them.

God's Word makes it very clear that there are some critical choices we must make and actions that we must take...choices and actions that will impact our lives...and God's blessing on our lives.  Yesterday, He brought to my mind the verse in Joshua 24:15, "Choose this day whom you will serve...."  Everyday I have to make a choice.  Not for salvation...that was settled long ago, when I was seven.  But I must choose daily whom I will serve...who I will live for...who I will revere...who I will reflect.

Lately I have been reading from Deuteronomy.  Repeatedly we, as God's chosen, are commanded to choose...obedience that brings blessing...or disobedience that brings cursing.    (By the way, speaking of choices...He chose us!!!  He made a choice for us to become His very own treasured possession!  And His choice was one that came at great Him, not to us.  He showed grace.  No matter what we've done, no matter where we've been, no matter how much we've hurt Him, He died in our place.  He gave it all.  It was a sacrifice.  It hurt.  Yet, His love was that great!  1 Peter 2:9 says, "But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.)  And He gives us a and white...choose Him...or not.

Back to Deuteronomy, hear it straight from His Word.  "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach.  It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?"  No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.  See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.  For I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.  But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them,  I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.  This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live  and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob."  Deuteronomy 30:11-20 (NIV)

That's reality.  Reality that matters.  What's your choice?

Lord, I'm casting my vote!  I choose You!  I want my life to be about You.  I want Your blessing...for me and my household.  Help me daily to walk in obedience to Your commands.  I am in awe that You would choose me.  My heart overflows with gratitude for Your love...unfailing love...for Your sacrifice...for me.  I love you.


Friday, March 12, 2010

A Light in the Darkness

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."  2 Corinthians 4:6 (NIV)

A beautiful blown-glass angel sits on my dresser.  She holds a tiny candle on her delicate hands...usually.  The point of connection is so minute, that it comes off frequently.  Fortunately, because of the position of her hands, I can place it right back and it will stay...until the next time it is disturbed.

This morning I laid something beside the angel and it bumped her slightly.  The candle fell off.

It felt like me.

In recent days it seemed like my "light" was knocked off.  Circumstances have threatened to cast me into darkness.  I know all of the right stuff in my head...but my heart was troubled...and ruling my spirit.  Now, I carried on with life...and in God's strength walked through days that I really felt like just staying in the bed.  I prayed...sought encouragement in His Word...and prayed...offered a sacrifice of praise...and prayed some more.

Today He gave me these words in 2 Corinthians 4.

Treasures in Jars of Clay

1Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,"[a]made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken."[b]With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

He is faithful.

Lord, I'm believing Your strength and Your all-surpasing power!  Help me in my unbelief.  Help me to keep my eyes fixed on You...and not just on what I can see.  Help me to walk in Your light...and to allow You to keep my light burning.  Thank You for Your love and grace.  I love You.