Good Morning! How was everyone's holiday? Looking forward to Christmas? Me too! Today I really wanted to share Damien's new song's lyrics they are at InstrumentInTheRedeemersHands.blogspot.com, newest post as far as I know, and they are really great. You guys know how eblogger is, so, if you click on the link for the blog it will probably take you nowhere but try search all blogs. Must be a bug in their system!
I really wanted to read Danielle's new blog too, but could not find it. Danielle, if you read this, send me a link ;)
Well, I have to confess that now that I know there are people other than my family and already really close friends who have occasionally looked at this blog, I am feeling a little embarrassed to post now. I know, pride! pride! I am telling myself " It's not about you, It's about God" , so here I am again.
Speaking of self-control, the subject of my last post also, I have been challenged lately with even more situations where I have been cast into the vast and rough ocean of temptation, given the opportunity to sink or swim. At times I have managed to just barely miss getting sucked in, other times I have started drowning, and God has been faithful to me in those times to reach down into the muck and pull me out of it.
All the time, I am aware of my old skin and my new skin. New wine cannot be held by old wine skins... 'No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize'...
I wish I could say that I am more often beating my body than letting it beat me, for now I am walking this tightrope, and it is a delicate work of balance. At times it seems I do not posses the skills needed to be able to succeed at this task, and when I fall God catches me and reminds me that I don't need to succeed at walking across this line, I only need to trust Him to not fall off. What a self-sufficiency killer!! It's not about me; the only thing I must do is choose to trust Him.
I am reminded of Jesus in the garden; he said ( I'm paraphrasing) would you take this cup from me, but if not, your will and not mine be done. How often do we start with the first part, and never get to the second part? How can I glorify God in a situation I'd rather not be in? I'm sure every one of us has had to ask ourselves that question at least once in life so far. For some, it is a daily question.
My nature is so different from God's ( shocker!), it is a struggle for me to conform to His ways of doing things ( another shocker!). Yet, here we are trying to live out this Christian life and it's not just for us that we need conform, at times there are other people watching us too! AAAHH!!
Pressure ! I'm reading this book a little at a time, and read this funny story in Love Is a Decision by John Trent & Gary Smalley, pp.66-67...
" Don't Look Now, But..."
My wife Norma always loved zoos. On the other hand, I have been through many zoos and have never gotten particularly excited about it. Then, it happened.
Halfway through this safari experience zoo, we drove right into a well marked danger-zone. And right when we were in the middle of no-man's land, Norma blurts out " What is THAT coming out from under the hood?" "Oh no" I groaned; white smoke was billowing out from under the hood. Glancing at the temperature gauge for the first time, I noticed that it was way beyond hot and into melt down zone!
I started to pull over, but Norma cried out. "You can't pull over here! Didn't you see that sign? This is a danger- zone!" ' No need to worry" I told her as gently as I could, " It says right here in the brochure that if we have any trouble in the danger zone, all we have to do is honk the horn and a friendly ranger will come right over and rescue us!" Norma frowned, but with the way the car was acting, it was obvious we didn't have any choice. So we pulled over, and I started honking the horn... and honking.... and honking...
I honked for forty five minutes!
While all my honking didn't attract a single ranger, it did notify every furry resident of the danger-zone that we were there - and that we might be a good lunch.
First, the wild burros ambled up and began nibbling at the top of the convertible. I got out of car eventually and yelled, chasing them away. I had just gotten back into the car when I looked in the rear view and saw an entire herd of huge, shaggy buffalo walking out of the woods and right towards us!
" Norma", I said as calmly as I could as they quickly surrounded us, " Don't look behind us, but..." just then, one of the buffalo came over to my wife's side window!, knelt down, and pressed his head against the glass! With those great big brown eyes and huge head about four inches from my wife's face ( the steam coming out of it's nose began fogging the window), it was obvious he was communicating with us non-verbally... " Got anything in there for me?"
Then he started pushing on the window, rocking the car as he did!! During the whole ordeal, neither of us looked up, hoping ignoring them would make them go away. " Listen to that thing breathe!" I said. "That's not him, that's me!!" said Norma. Finally, our hairy friends wandered off , and our car cooled off enough to move to the main gate for help.
As funny as it seems now, that entire hour trapped in the car together was actually a very tense situation. In fact, if it had been several years earlier, one of us would have reacted in a very different way. We could have easily used that tense situation to explode and in doing so weaken our relationship, rather than relying on an important principal that could strengthen it. Gratefully, we had finally begun to understand and practice an incredibly important concept in the scriptures....
I must interject here and add, wouldn't it all be easier if it were buffalo? Lol...
The authors then go on to talk about Proverbs 15:1 and Galations 5:23, scriptures that are easy to know intellectually, harder to walk out in challenging moments. The talk is about energizing ourselves and other people in the midst of stressful situations by applying gentleness and tender touch. One line says, "If you think softness as a way to energize a person sounds too easy to you, how often do you feel gentle in the middle of a catastrophe?"
Well, while life may not be a catastrophe every day, there certainly are challenges with others where these principals could be applied to glorify God.
I am reminded once again of my own struggles with self-sufficiency, particularly my bent towards lecturing my kids~ does this glorify God? I'm not talking about teaching and instructing solely, I'm talking about yada yada, you know you shouldn't have, think about the consequences, yada yada, why would you, yada yada How could You ( guess I'm totally forgetting our sin natures here) , on and on until the kids eyes are glazed over and it is obvious he is learning nothing. Ok, well maybe you haven't found yourself in that situation, but I have. This is just one area of many the fruit of self control must be practiced. I need to be saying less words, with more meaning, and practicing gentleness and tender touching far more often than I do in tense situations. Please pray for me that I will grow in this area of self-control, as well as in every area it is needed.
God's nature is so different than ours. I am grateful for the spirit that came to live within us when we were saved, because of it I have avoided many situations where a temptation to sin could have become full-blown sinning very easily if it were not for the spirit pulling me back.
He is that calm voice in the midst of temptation, or chaos. Though I long to glorify God, my nature does not always feel like being gentle when someone or something is applying the heat.
Much grace is needed; Thank You God That You Faithfully Pour Out More And More All The Time!!
I'm thankful for that, and for small areas of growth in my life as well as in the lives of my family and friends- though I am not where I would like to be, God does help us grow in this life, and I get to look forward to a totally Christ-like nature ( because I will be without sin) when I die and go to be with our father forever...