I read about Asa this morning,continuing my studies in the O.T. to pull out Bible lessons for Tyler & Joshua about the men and women of God. It was no accident that I read about Asa this morning, following last nights discussions in Care Group.
The two discussion questions were "How wouldyour reaching out to the unsaved look different if you were 100% thinking & doing for thier care all of the time (or at least as close to that as humanly possible)"and,"How do you get caught up in the small picture in life's struggles and forget to remind yoursef of the Big Picture?And let me tell you, those were good questions for me, as I am always having to remind myself of the Big Picture andI can always think of people I am not 100% caring for(self does always try and work itself in, as Corrie Ten Boom said~ quoted on the upper right hand side of this blog.)
I knew that, for myself,two names came to mind readily when Thom asked whose souls I needed to be caring for better, and what my interactions with them/feelings towards them would look like if I was caring for their souls 100% of the time. I immedietly thought of my son Tyler and my Grandafather, who is 84 years old and an Athiest. Why these two names? Because the difficulties for me come in when someone I am trying to share the gospel with is 'difficult' to talk to; i.e. they resist the gospel or resist me. Lol! I guess this is a fairly common difficulty, so I figured I'd blog about it this morning :) As you all know, if you have read this blog since the beginning, my Grandfather is an Athiest( his word) and is very resistent to the gospel message, although the Lord often pricks me to go and talk to him about Him every so often. And, Tyler is my oldest child-diagnosed by one neurospychologist as A/D/H/D and O/D/D (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and diagnosed by the Bible as rebeliious(aren't we all, to varying degrees.) Well, mine has an extra dose of rebelliousness towards any and all authority I tend to sum it up as, and the Bible is no exception. He loves God, and for now, this is still his bent. But I have faith that God will work in him and change him, just as He is always changing me. This message last night and reading about Asa this morning are stepping stones along this path of His helping me to change me...
The story of Asa spoke to me this morning on the heels of care Group's discussions last night because I can relate to Asa sometimes; his wrong turn came in the form of choosing what was easiest rather than obeying God completely even when it got very difficult to do so. Asa obeyed God and walked with Him for a long time, and he responded to Azariah (son of Oded's) prophecy when the spirit of God came upon him and caused him to say " Listen to me Asa! Listen to me all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay by him. Whenever you seek Him, you will find Him. But if you abandon Him, He will abandon you..." He ridded the land of Judah from all of it's idols following that prohetic word brought to him;slacked off in obeying God when the going got hard. Of course, this second decision brought nothing but bad news to him and to Judah and Benjamin. He also rejected God's correction, when He sent the prophet Hanani to show him his error and He refused to admit his failure to obey God. He took his anger about the whole situation he had gotten himself into out on his people, all the while feeling justified that " the end justified the means."
Have you ever done this in your won heart? I know that, in training Tyler to be a commited Christian, full of integrity and commitment, I can easily slide off into justifying these ends (teaching him)with a means that is less than God-glorifying; a means that is less than God's perfect commandment to bring them up in the admonition of the Lord, in love, full of mercy as God has been full of mercy towards us, always praying for their souls, spanking them as God has commanded us to do but doing so without anger or judgment or harshness but with love and patience and forbearing. I could go on and on about how The Lord has parented me, and how short I fall from parenting as He perfectly parents. For me there is sin; there is temptation to justify a little harshness(a little impatience,a little raising of the voice, a little hardening of the tone, a little exasperation and letting him know sometimes how sick I am of having to deal with the same issues with him, over & over & over, year after year.) Yet God does'nt have this attitude with me, he does'nt say "When ar you gonna get it, Stacey? C'mon! Hop to it, girl!!"
And there are times with my Grandafather, whom I also love to pieces,that I can feel that prompting from the Lord again to go and share the gospel message with him & how much it has changed my life...again...and I can feel this exasperation rising up within my sinful heart with that,"Again? No, please, it's not going to work..." arguing with God, as it is.
But it isn't always lack of love(though it really is)that makes us fail to reach out 100% in love towards our family members and friends or the unsaved. I love my children, and I love my Grandpa, but selfishness~ that's what creeps in. Sin, it colors it all. Every breath, every interaction, between us and other people. It is to be expected, so we have to fight it. So we can 'walk in a manner that's worthy of the gospel.' I have to discipline my body everyday; I have to discipline my mind most of all and I have to remind myself sometimes many times a day of the Big Picture:God's plan, and what he is seeking to do in our lives, the Ultimate Plan(it's not my comfort and ease, I know that. It's not my sense of accomplishment that He seeks to make happen.)It's salvation, to bring about His glory, to work changes in me and my family and friends and the unsaved that we all reach out to, and it's to show the world His love and mercy, and that there will be terrible judgment without it. There will be a life without God. I don't want that for anybody!
So, I need to remember Asa this year and remember the good questions posed by C.B. and Thom in Care Group last night, as I homeschool and raise my children for God's glory, and be a help-meet to my husband for God's glory, a friend to fellow sisters in Christ, a friend to the unsaved as of yet... there are so many hats us women wear, so many opportunities to help God bring about His glory. I love it!! But it is also hard work. It requires steadfastness and a willingness to put to death ALL selfishness. Selfishness and God's work do not go together at all; they are in no way compatable I have found. The more I yield to God, the more he can do for my family members and friends without me in the way. I will never forget that day that I was praying(again) for God to make Alan want to come to church with me (LOL!)
and this was obvuiusly before he was saved, and God spoke to my heart & my mind very clearly and He said " I won't so anyhing with this situation until you take your hands off of it."
That was a big revelation He gave me! And I need to remember it when I am dealing with praying for my children and my friends and family members, and the unsaved, too... God needs me to take my hands off it; do it His way. If I won't, I am useless to Him like a thumb that won't tuen in the right ways, and I need only imagine all that people in my care will miss out on because I was stubborn or selfish to make me want to run as far as possible from selfishness in my mind as I can. The best deterrent: The word of God. Thank You God, for your word and for leaving your Spirit with us so that we wouldn't be alone!!
I guess I will end this post now; I hear movement upstairs and I promised to make french toast with powdered sugar this morning when all the boys woke up- and we have a house full of them, which is great fun :)
Please continue to pray for my friend and her family as she is more unconcious then concious now and she is on a steady morphine and adavan(?)drip, placed in Hospice care at the hospital. I pray that she is taken up into God's arms in peace, as I know she will be. I pray for her family and her boys(6 & 10 y.o.) that they will feel God's hands all over their situations and for the boys future salvation.
Thank you God for caring about us, and letting us have peace from knowing that You care about us and our situations and are always so faithful and loving!!!