Friday, July 6, 2018

Who Do You Trust?

There are many people in this world that are followers of Christ but find it very difficult to share their burdens and their problems with their Christian brothers and sisters. These people are either very private or they have had the misfortune of being betrayed by someone they have trusted with their heartaches. These are usually the ones who ask for "unspoken" prayer requests. What a shame that we can't trust those in the family of God!



Other Christians not only share every heartache they have or have ever had, 
but they tell everyone they come in contact with. They seem to have no 
problem with everyone knowing their problems, but one would think they 
would become weary at some point. We must understand that some just 
have this need to talk through things.

Then we come to the third Christian. This one is selective about who they talk
to about their burdens, and tells only the ones that are believed to be trusted
to pray about it, which is the main reason to share. This is where yours truly 
fits in. 

I once was a long time member of a ladies' weekly bible study group. I was a 
new Christian, and also the youngest in the group. The rest of the ladies 
were older, wiser, and some had faced some of the problems that I was facing
at the time. I relied greatly on their insight and spiritual wisdom. There was
an average of about fifteen women involved in the group, so it was clear to 
me that I was taking a bit of a chance by telling these very personal problems.

One day I was passing the pastor in a hallway and we stopped for a short 
visit. At some point, I said something about asking for prayer in the group
about something. Pastor hesitated a moment, then said, "Shirley, I think you 
tell too much."

"Why do you think that?" I asked him.

"Well, you can't always be sure things stay within the group. And 
then sometimes they might discuss between themselves what you have
told them." You could tell he was trying to be as careful as possible not

 to accuse anyone, but just to caution me.

"I'm very aware that that could happen," I confessed, "and I've given it a lot
of thought. If anyone in the group feels the need to talk about me or 
my problems, and if they want to talk about me when they are together, I have 
no problem with that. Actually, it's not for me to deal with. What they do or say
is God's problem, not mine. I need prayer. My family needs prayer. So, I am 
going to share my problems where I should be able to share them, in my 
church family. I hope they pray for us. I think I know the ones who will, and 
the ones who won't. But, I trust God to remind them, and I know the faithful 
ones will pray."

"Well, I thought I should mention it."

And, of course, he should have. But, I will always be saddened by the fact that 
he needed to do it. It's very important that those of us who are believers 
remind ourselves that none of us has arrived yet. We are all still striving to 
attain that goal, but we won't be there until the day He takes us home. 
So, let's cut each other some slack, and then focus our minds on being
as Christlike as we can be. Taking care of me is quite enough work.

If you wish to keep your problems to yourself, then you should do so. 
But hopefully, you will find someone to whom you can share and ask to pray 
with you. If you choose to tell many, or all you know, again, fine. But, maybe 
just a little discernment would be enough relief. The question we should 
address is Am I Trustworthy? not Who Can I Trust? When we sweep our 
own front step, as my mother always use to say, then it's the first step in 
getting the whole world clean. If I'm taking care of me, and you're taking care
of you, that's when we are better prepared to pray for each other and share
our strength in support.

(As always, there are always exceptions and "what ifs" to deal with. Who you 
trust must be your decision.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

KINDRED SPIRITS

There have been few kindred spirits in my lifetime. I imagine it's that way with most people, but I've always noted mine to be few and far between. Not surprisingly, these are the people I admire most, with an exception here and there. My hope is that one or two of these kindred spirits would be available, and willing, to speak some sound words at a memorial service for me, if there should be one. It's not that I deserve sound words, it's just my desire.

If you're wondering what on earth I mean by "sound words", then you may not be the kindred spirit I thought you were. I believe you will know immediately from where I am coming. (I just love correct grammar.) And I am trusting completely in what you will say. My reference is this:

13Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 2Timothy 1 NASB

Jesus knows I have had such a struggle throughout my life with sound words. However, when it comes to scripture, I am praying that I won't be found errant nor lacking. God's holy words have been the most important teacher of my life, but I have been fortunate to have had other great teachers.

One of the first teachers I had was Galen Skinner who led me in the sinner's prayer, and for the next fourteen years taught me from the pulpit. I love this man of God who made me cry Sunday after Sunday for years as the Father spoke to my heart and weeded out so much. I wasn't much of a challenge for God, but I sure was for Galen.

I am told that not many believers have had the kind of mentors that I had all those years at Lincoln First Church. There was a room full of Christian women in a bible study class that taught me, supported me, prayed for me, and put up with me for fifteen years. They all had some responsibility for my spiritual growth, some good, some not so good, but two stand out as my stalwarts. They are Carol Rap and Lois Slaight; mighty warriors and prayer warriors. 

If I am still here in Georgia when I die, I am wishing for two speakers whom I reckon to be kindred spirits. One might be offended by that, but I've offended him before and he forgave me. I expect the same result now. If I were here at this moment, there would be good banter, lots of laughter, and at the drop of a pin all three of us could stop and approach the Father in adoration and honor, without a blink of the eye. This is what I mean by kindred spirits. Having fun, but knowing your priorities. I really don't know how else to explain it. I had this with one other person, Chris Abke, who has moved on and is no longer in my life, but still in my heart.

Tim Baker actually understands how I think, most of the time, which is quite frightening. I have found few who do. If I had to name another, I'm not sure I could. I'm not fond of small talk, I'm not good at it, and I don't like to get involved in things I'm not good at. It's so depressing to fail at something. But, if you want to talk about God's word or your spiritual walk, I come alive. Tim is very, very serious about scripture, and we have had good talks about it.


And then there's Karl (are you serious?) Alspach. I've always wondered if somewhere on a bathroom wall or restaurant table someone has written, "For a good time call Karl" and maybe some telephone number. Don't take that wrong! It's just that Karl has a wonderful, albeit weird, sense of humor. He's a hoot! I envy all the men that he is friends with because they get to enjoy him more often that I.  But, that wonderful humor is swiftly swept aside to honor his Savior and Lord. I adore Karl. I didn't really know God's word until I came to The Crossing. Karl has no qualms about hurting feelings or stepping on toes when it comes to delivering God's messages. This kind of teaching is a gift from the Father that many people don't appreciate and won't tolerate. 

Being a woman of many words on paper, I could go on and on. But my life is done, He's wanting me to be at home now, and quite frankly I'm more than ready, and it's someone else's turn to blow hot air at you. But keep it short, fellas.


========================================================================

at the memorial...

I like when people say things about how they have been touch by my life.

everyone singing, please, no solos.
Michael Alspach and band. no lead singer.

at the beginning:
BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL (10,000 REASONS)
THE LOVE OF GOD IS GREATER FAR

at the very end: clapping to the music is a good thing!
DAYS OF ELIJAH




Friday, March 9, 2018

Everlasting Misery!


There is a judgment to come, in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting happiness, or misery.  Matthew Henry re: Matthew 25: 31-33.

The consequences of "everlasting misery" are, I believe, the most misunderstood fact of Christianity in non-believers. If they would understand the depth of that misery, I sometimes think it could make them realize what's at risk for them. And, that misery is ETERNAL! FOREVER! NEVER STOPS!
Imagine having nothing, ever, to drink. Imagine not finding any food to eat, no grass even. Think of 100-pound hailstones coming at you, beating on you, and still time goes on. You will be totally, forever, separated from a loving God and all of your loving family. There will be no one to ease your misery.
But God is in control of that, as well. He hardens hearts to the truth as easily as He cultivates and draws them to His Son. Our job, as Christians, is to pray, love, encourage, befriend, and pile on more love. Leave judging to the Father, and love one another, even the unlovable. 

Women's Day?

When I was a young woman I was so proud of myself, proud that I could keep up with the men when working. I was so proud I even showed off about it. What a fool I was! 

I know better now, but I still have shameful memories of my behavior.  I know that the Father has little regard concerning my physical or mental strength. What's important to Him is if I live a life that glorifies Him, am I serving Him with my talents rather than serving myself. 

I have been a slow learner over the years. Thankfully He is patient and loving me until I finally get it. He's still working. It breaks my heart, and His, that we are so self-absorbed and look so little to Him for our strength.

Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:4

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mothers, Beware!

Deuteronomy 4:9
"Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.

One day long ago a very wise woman said to me, "Shirley, you do too much for your children." I was surprised to hear her say that. I had always thought that's what a mother was supposed to do, you know, take such good care of them.

Later, another wise woman told me, "I'll bet your bras and panties are old and tattered because you are giving to your children, but not being kind and generous to yourself. Don't treat yourself so shabbily, for you're teaching your children that they are more important than you, and they will end up treating you that way."

I believe they were right.

My children have always been good to me, but I did change some of my habits, and I'm pretty sure I went right out and bought new underwear.



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Monday, May 1, 2017

It's All for the Joy

I have a friend that came here to the states from Jamaica to live with her son and family. Her name is Thelma. I call her Ms. Thelma or Sister Thelma because we are sisters in Christ. I normally don't speak that way, but she does, and I do it to respect her.

Thelma tells me of Jamaica, of the beautiful white sands and clear blue waters. She describes these things to me with love of her former home. This gives her joy, and she tells me she wants me to go to see Jamaica. But I know that it is also very hot there, and I know that I will never be able to go. I listen with longing to see what she has seen and touched and smelled.

I live here in Georgia, but I came here about twenty years ago from Nebraska. I try to paint a verbal picture to Thelma of the rolling sandhills, the beautiful river valleys and farmlands, and the flat prairies from which you can see for miles and miles. She listens carefully, but can't quite imagine that kind of country. When I tell her something she can't quite fathom, she says, "Oh, true?" And I relate more to her because it gives me joy to talk about my beloved home.

When people share with one another the things they have seen, heard, and touched, the listener almost always accepts the stories as truth, perhaps desiring to experience what the other has described. Sometimes we share in awe with another what has been related to us, and announce our desire to encounter such things.

The disciple, John, says in 1 John 1:3 that he wants us to know,  what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. NASB

It gave John and the disciples joy to share their experiences. They knew Jesus, talked with Him, touched Him, traveled with Him and listened to His teachings. Unlike Thelma stories for me, everyone who chooses can know, see, and hear His teachings, all of which can change their lives. And, unlike other stories that are shared, the story of those who know Christ, have experienced Him in their lives, and have communication with Him are mostly rejected in the world. The world is willing, and even eager, to listen to the stories of travelers, adventurers, chance meetings of the famous or rich, even the fictional stories that writers put to pen or filmmakers to the screen. But, alas, the most important story that will affect one's eternal future, many in the world will reject. They blatantly and harshly affirm they don't want to hear it.

What makes us believe one person's report as true but reject another's as untrue? What makes us believe the most exotic story of UFO's or ghost sitings, but reject the Truth of a Living Savior who once walked this earth and sacrificed Himself to save us? The Good News! It's a way out of eternal damnation, free to those who will accept it!

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8. NASB


This is why.


Sunday, December 25, 2016

This Is Christmas

It was a nice enough Christmas eve worship. As the pastor said, it's not your grandparents' Christmas carols. Well, it was the same words, but the praise team had beefed it up a bit, and with the drums and bass guitar, it was different, but good. The message was pure gospel. The room was full of church members and visitors looking for a Christmas eve experience. Communion was taken. 


But when the lights went down, and we encircled the room with our candles lit, as we always do on Christmas eve, it was a reminder of what being a child of Christ means. Tt's a reminder that Christmas is about Jesus, and He came to earth to light up the world from the darkness of sin. nd the candles in our hands remind us that we are here to share Him with those who don't know. That's when the whole service comes together, and it's the very best part. We're the family of God, and we light the world with His love. And that's what Christmas is all about.



"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12