Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sometimes as Christians, we get the idea that everything our world should be well-ordered and smooth, and when circumstances arise that create turmoil, this somehow surprises us. It shouldn’t. The Bible states repeatedly that this world is not our home and the people around us are humanly flawed.
When Jesus was preparing His disciples for the time He would be taken from them, He spoke clearly of the dangers of seeking comfort and peace from things of this world. This preparation is for the purpose of creating a longing within us for heaven as much as it is a warning against putting our trust in things that are temporal.
“These things I have spoken to you that you should not be made to stumble.” John 16:1
“Most assuredly I say to you that you will weep and lament . . . you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.” John 16:20
“Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and your joy no one will take from you.” John 16:22
Mark it down: people will disappoint you. People you thought you could trust will let you down. Circumstances will shift. Places you once felt at home will become strange and uncomfortable. Why? Because those people, circumstances, and places are not our source of peace.
Currently there is a situation that is grieving my heart. My spirit has groaned, my heart aches, and I’ve shed more than a few tears. I suppose that in my humanness, I want everything within my comfort zone to remain the same, and when things occur that cause upheaval, I am somehow taken by surprise. But God is never taken by surprise. He isn’t standing up there in heaven wringing His hands and agonizing over what to do. He knows the end from the beginning, which is why He gave us these scriptures. He knows about the hurtful things people will speak and the uncaring attitudes they will display. He knows about the rejection and feelings of betrayal. So He reminds us: your sorrow will be turned into joy.
Do not fool yourself into thinking people or places on this earth make up your comfort zone. Sharpen your awareness of the presence of God in you and your earthly attachments dim. Our joy and peace are in Jesus, and remembering that He is closer than our own breath washes that peace over us again.
"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world." John 16:33
Thanks for letting me share my heart.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
We could learn a thing or two from cats. Wait… all you folks who don’t like cats, don’t click the X yet. God really has used my cat to teach me a few things. It’s kind of like when your third grade teacher used visual aids to get your attention so she could impart some small tidbit of wisdom to you.
Sweet Pea came into my life as a tiny kitten—still too young really to be away from her mother. We weren’t sure she’d survive, but the tenacity she demonstrated as a baby formed her personality—er, that is, her CATitude. Her feistiness has mellowed a little bit over the past few years, but she still has her own special way of getting her message across.
1) She wants my undivided attention. When Sweet Pea is sitting with me at the computer and she catches me looking at the screen instead of looking at her, she bats my face with her paw. Makes me wonder sometimes if God would like to bat my face and remind me to pay attention and listen to Him instead of doing things my way.
2) She navigates all the clutter on my desk to get to me. Impressive really, she’s like a tight-rope walker as she threads her way around my laptop, my PC, mouse pads, notebooks, research books, dictionary, external hard drive, Post-It Notes, calendar, coffee cup, picture frames, telephone, tape dispenser, stapler—you name it—to come and sit directly in front of me and stare at me with an air of expectation. She doesn’t let anything get in her way. Then she gives me her undivided attention. Don’t you suppose we should do the same with our cluttered lives and hectic schedules, and find our way through the chaos to sit at Jesus’ feet?
3) She flees from “evil” – in this case, the vacuum cleaner, Jaws. All I have to do is drag Jaws out from his lair. He’s not plugged in yet, he hasn’t roared to life, he’s not even heading in her direction. But the moment she lays eyes on Jaws, she runs for cover, usually into the bedroom closet. I wonder if God wishes we would be so diligent to flee from anything that can damage our testimony, or interfere with our Christian walk, or come between us and Him. God’s word says to abstain from the very appearance of evil.
4) She hides when she needs to be alone. Sweet Pea has several hiding places in the house, most of which I’ve found. But sometimes I’ll check all her favorite places and I can’t find her. She comes out when she’s ready, or when it’s suppertime, whichever comes first. Sometimes the din of the world—the confusion, the busy-ness, out of control emotions, the clamor, the demands, the distractions—closes in on us and we need an escape. How can we hear God’s voice above the cacophony if we don’t take time to separate ourselves from the world, and just be quiet?
5) She knows how to REST. It’s true, cats normally sleep anywhere from 14-18 hours per day. When Sweet Pea wants to nap, anywhere is a good place. She’ll sleep on my desk, on the back of my chair, under a table, buried in a blankie, just wherever and whenever she pleases. Don’t you wish you could learn to TRUST the same way a cat rests? Anywhere, everywhere, anytime, all the time, if we rest on God, we’ll discover a deeper level of trust than we ever believed possible.
6) She’s jealous. Some cats live in a multi-cat or multi-pet family. Not Sweet Pea. She is the Queen and wants no other cats before her. She’s an indoor kitty, so when the neighbor’s cats come calling, she hisses at them through the window screens and scowls at me if I dare to go out and pet them. She wants me to adore her, and only her. When God gave Moses the ten commandments, He said, You shall not have any other gods before Me. There are a multitude of things that we put before God or assign a higher level of importance than God. Whether it’s something that steals our time, attention, money, or priority, it needs to be weighed in the balance with God.
7) She clings to me for protection. When we go to the vet, Sweet Pea rides in a carrier. She usually yowls in the car all the way there. But the moment we arrive and set foot inside the door, she hears the dogs barking and goes into panic mode. Once in the exam room, she wants to climb up on my shoulders and cling to me. She believes that I will protect her from whatever she perceives as danger. God never promised us a life free of adversity, but He did provide His special comfort and sanctuary for His children. When troubles come (and they surely will), cling to God for protection and comfort. Lift us your arms to Him and ask Him to hold you.
Excuse me, I have to go now. Sweet Pea says it’s time for her Yummies.
Thanks for letting me share my heart.