Driven to Distraction

You know, I don’t pay attention to many car commercials, mostly because I can’t afford a new car. But I was watching television over the weekend and one caught my eye like none has in quite a while.

Perhaps you’ve seen it: they ask eight or so people to sit in a room and watch a video on a screen.  You hear a verbal command something to the effect, “Please do not remove your eyes from the screen.  Watch the screen at all times.”

Then the producers send in cute puppies, Vegas-style show girls, loud singers, and a host of other distractions.  And of course, not one participant keeps his/her eyes on the screen.

It’s a car commercial with a target audience for those that feel the need to text while driving.  The car they’re advertising has a text screen located high on the dashboard so that you can text and keep your eyes on the road. Sorry. This makes me nervous. PLEASE DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE — EVEN IF YOU OWN THIS CAR.

The fact that I can’t remember many of the details of this commercial says something. I have to say I wasn’t enthralled by the commercial enough to even remember the make or model of the car. From the moment the commercial started, I heard the still, small voice of God whispering in my ear, “That’s you, Sandy.  You’ve been distracted from Me.”  After that, all I could think of was the spiritual implications of how I’ve been distracted from God.

We must never stop looking to Jesus. He is the leader of our faith. and He is the One who makes our faith complete.He suffered death on the cross. But He accepted the shame of the cross as if it were nothing because of the joy He could see waiting for Him and now He is sitting at the right hand of God’s Throne.  Hebrews 2:12 ERV

I am a writer, so distractions can be the death of an afternoon of hard work or even an idea. But you don’t have to be a writer for distractions to wreak havoc on your life.

Imagine cleaning your house and happening upon some really interesting television show (Discovery ID can do this for me). You sit to watch a few minutes and the next thing you know it’s time to make supper and do homework with the kids — and that inch of dust is still layered on top of the mantel.

Just about the time you sit down for your quiet time in the Bible and a moment to commune with God, a friend with whom you’ve not spoken in ages calls…and it just seems rude to hang up. Before you know it, it’s been two hours and you now have to rush to get to your doctor’s appointment.

Or, let’s imagine that you are at the grocery store with your list — your concise, nothing-else-needed list; the list that you diligently went through the kitchen cabinets, refrigerator, and the freezer to make; the list you intend to stick to because you’ve promised God to live on a tighter budget and contribute a little extra to the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign at church.   As you turn the first aisle, you notice Nutter Butters are on sale (Or Oreos!) and you counsel with yourself saying, “Just one little bag won’t throw my budget off too much.”  And by the end of the grocery shopping, you’ve “one-little-bagged it” on every aisle and your budget is blown.

“We must never stop looking to Jesus,” is the first line in Hebrews 12:2.

And I fail to do it every day. If you think I’m writing to tell you how well I avoid distractions, my dear Child of God, you are reading the wrong devotion in the wrong blog. It takes great practice to ignore the pleadings of the world and while I’d like to say I spend a good portion of every day practicing avoiding distractions, I don’t spend nearly enough. I get caught up in the drama of the world and let the rush of “being in with the in-crowd” wash all over me.

The point I want to share with you is that God uses worldly things to remind me just how distracted I’ve let myself become. In my gluttony, He shows me a young couple who is barely making it on their own. In my gossip-carrying mouth, He allows me to see or hear a bit of unkindness about myself so that I can lay my hate-carrying tongue on His altar for cleansing. In my impatience, He allows me to experience waiting in a way that will only point me to Him. If I’m carrying a grudge or hate in my heart toward someone, He somehow shows me that I have the same quality I dislike about that person.  I must humble myself and forgive that person or there will be no forthcoming forgiveness from God to me.

In my distracted mind, God shows me a car commercial in which the message isn’t that I can text and watch the road at the same time, but that I can’t remain close to God and let a distraction take my attention away. I must remain focused on my Lord as if the distractions of this world are nothing or I will miss the joy that is waiting for me.

Do you have a something you’d like to share in the comments?  Do you need prayer?  If so, you can leave a detailed request or simply write “unspoken.”

Don’t miss the joy of the Lord, my friends! And whatever our distractions are, rest assured that God is never distracted from us.

If you don’t know about the wonderful missions project (Imagine No Malaria) by the United Methodist Church, please click on the link above, and if you feel so inclined, a donation would be greatly appreciated.

shr

The Situation

Thank you for those that have been faithful and kept reading the blog’s archives while I was away.  I stepped away from the blog for a year because I needed a spiritual renewal. I felt that I couldn’t share anything worthwhile with you until I got my own spiritual heart beating in sync with God again.

During the past year, I’ve also concentrated on the writing course I’ve been taking online for the last two years.  I prayed for God to open the doors and promised that I wouldn’t hesitate to walk through them.  That was an epic fail. I vigorously argued with God in that arena. And lost. Decided I was wasting precious efforts in the arguing and have walked  through those open doors (mostly — hey, I’m human, which means I’m flawed).

The next open door is an invitation to write my first YA novel, one that’s been in my heart and mind since I was 12 years old.  I’m in the active planning stage (meaning, I’m writing stuff on sticky notes, putting up on a storyboard, and doing lots of research) instead of the “just thinking about it stage,” which is, itself, a job that all writers have.  But if I never write it down, revising and negotiating with my characters and their storylines, then it’s just daydreaming and not constructively moving me toward my goal. I have a wonderful Christian writer/editor, Mary Ryan, who is my teacher in the course,  and who encouraged me to go into the Christian fiction genre (one of those open doors I found easy to walk through).

On my personal seeking journey, I wrote the following devotional.  I wrote it for me, but I hope there are others like me out there who need a gentle prompting to be aware of God’s presence in every life situation.

You will find me sharing Scripture from Isaiah frequently. It falls among my favorite books of the Bible, including Jeremiah, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ephesians. I have been devouring the book of Isaiah for the past two months.

Seek the Lord while you may find Him. Call upon Him now while He is near. Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)

I became a Christian at the tender age of nine. I knew and believed the story of my salvation, but I was a “baby” Christian (seeing God’s Word in simplistic, juvenile ways) for a long while — even into my early 30s. I was fed a great deal of “milk” during that time because I couldn’t grasp the real, deep meaning of some of what God had written in His Instruction Book. And to be honest, I wasn’t looking too hard.

Having children changed that. Kids tend to ask a great many “why” questions — surprisingly-deep spiritual questions. At their young age, I could feed them “milk” answers, but in my heart I knew I was going to have to change if I wanted them to be more than “milk feeders”. I decided that I wanted to have a “meat and potatoes” kind of relationship with God — a hardy relationship that forced me into His Word and into His will.  It was hard, but I had the guidance of many God-fearing, scripture-quoting, patient teachers who helped me change my spiritual diet.

If you look at this verse from Isaiah, two questions may bounce around in your head:
Why do I have to find God; doesn’t He know where I am?
Isn’t God always near?

First, God knows where we are at all times, but the reason we often have to seek for (or find) God is because we’re on a journey manufactured by our own devices. We choose our wisdom over that of the omnipotent, almighty Father. We might be in the same BOOK, but not on the same PAGE as God. (Sometimes I was in the wrong LIBRARY in the wrong CITY in the wrong COUNTRY. I know what’s it like to that wrong!)

Secondly, when we are far apart from God, GUESS WHO MOVED? Yep. We did. Detours take us off the path of righteousness and lead us into the depths of despair, depression, and loneliness. BEING APART FROM GOD IS A PUNISHMENT THAT WE INFLICT UPON OURSELVES! God never moves! Thank goodness, He’s never-changing!

The great redemptive glory is the moment we drop on our knees and repent, asking for God to take over and to gather us into His warm, loving embrace — a hug, of sorts, for comfort and healing — He pulls up His “moving van” and moves us to his “home base” immediately.  If you’ll let him, he’ll leave all the extraneous, misguided misinformation behind and set you on a path of righteousness.

My life was completely changed when I gave God control and let Him lead me. I don’t always get it right, but I know enough to recognize the signs when I’m wrong — even when it goes against the popular choice of others. Not allowing God to lead you is like letting “the carrot lead the stick,” as my friend Pastor Eddie Brookshire would say.

I don’t know when He’s coming back, but Jesus IS coming back. It’s imperative that you seek Him while you still have time to find Him. That’s a call for URGENCY!

Calling on Him while He is near is a DIRECTIONAL REMINDER to only go through doors that are opened by God. It insures you will remain in His will and the promptings of the Holy Spirit will be easier to feel; the “still small voice of God” will be heard more clearly.

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A SITUATION WHERE YOU HAD TO LET GOD MOVE YOU BACK INTO HIS WILL? If so, please share your journey in the comments.

I’m praying for you! If you’d like me and my church to pray for you, please leave your request, with details if you’d like, or just leave the word “unspoken” in the comment space.

Have a blessed day. And remember, if God’s not changing your situation, He’s using your situation to change you!

shr

A Very Special Music Monday: Like My Mother Does

Image Source:  www.quotesandwishes.com

I love you, Mama.  We are so much alike it’s scary…but in a good way.  Linda Hall, you are my best friend and role model. You taught me to be a good daughter by watching how you loved and cared for your own mother, my Granny Mae.  You taught me that a mother-in-law can be a source of joy through the relationship I watched you have with my Granny Brook. I realize that because Betty died so soon after Kelly and I were engaged, I’ve missed having her as a source of strength, example, and faith.  Thank you for loving Kelly like he was your own son.  You’ve made such a difference in his life.

My children love you.  You did the job of two grandmothers because you knew that Betty couldn’t be here to share the task with you.  You have offered them your love and advice.  The fact that Claire still gets up on Saturday mornings to have her weekly shot of “Grammy” time is a testimony to the great love and respect she has for you.  The fact that Steven waited so patiently (okay — maybe not-so-patiently) for your rental house to become available so that he could raise his family in the place where he was raised is a testament to our family’s great love and support of each other.  And even thought Martin is still living at home, working on his education, it means a great deal to him to be able to walk over anytime and see you.  I know their adoption papers say that they are not blood-related to you, but your spirit flows through their veins and your influence has shaped the persons they’re becoming.

Four Generations:  My Mom and Joshlyn (center), Steven (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

I’ve watched you struggle with eyesight issues all of my life.  Of course, I didn’t know you were handicapped until I was in high school.  You could do everything, except drive, and I just thought Granny Mae drove us everywhere because she loved being with us.  You play the piano like a professional and have been the pianist at Judson Baptist Church for fifty-four years.  You worked as a teacher’s assistant in the Cumberland County Schools and touched hundreds of children’s lives with your love and Christian influence.

You’ve seen me through bad choices, rough situations, emotionally crippling times, and countless other faults and sins I’ve endured in my fifty-one years.  Although I didn’t always appreciate your advice when I was younger, the older I get, the more I realize that you were right more times than you were wrong.  Even when you were wrong, you admitted it, and that made an impact on me.  As a parent, I’ve made countless errors, but I always admit when I’m wrong because it lets my kids know that I am human and need forgiveness.  I’ve even begun to hear that phrase that is music to my ears:  “You were right, Mom!”

In wishing my Mama a happy birthday, I have to acknowledge two other very important women who added to my spiritual and emotional education:  Eula Mae Carter (my maternal grandmother) and Mary Alice Westbrook (my paternal grandmother). I lost them over a decade ago.  Granny Mae’s birthday would have been on September 5.  Granny Brook’s birthday would have been on September 7.  I believe that I have received wonderful traits from my “September Superwomen.”

She watches over her family
    and never wastes her time.
Her children speak well of her.
Her husband also praises her,
   saying, “There are many fine women,
    but you are better than all of them.”
Charm can fool you, and beauty can trick you,
    but a woman who respects the Lord should be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned;
    she should be praised in public for what she has done.                                                                                            (Proverbs 31:27-31, NCV)

My Granny Mae was a woman after God’s own heart.  She lived right beside my family as I was growing up.  My greatest memory associated with her is that she always had her Bible on the kitchen table and open to whatever she was studying.  I had the great privilege of having her as my senior high Sunday school teacher.  She lost the love of her life in her fifties and never re-married.  She worked hard all her life.  She loved me unconditionally but she never minded telling me when she thought I was wrong.  She was a woman who kept her opinions about other people close to the vest — not much of a gossip.  (Sorry, Granny Mae.  I’m striving to be more like that daily.)

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Three Generations:  Granny Mae (center), Mama (right), and Me (left)

Photo Source:  Reflections Photography/Diane Atkinson

She was the reason I was able to participate in any after school activities.  Because my mom was visually impaired (and I was not aware of the ramifications of this until I got my own driver’s license at sixteen), she and Granny Mae made sure I could stay for chorus, cheerleading practice, and any other activity where the school bus couldn’t take me home.  I cherish those times — the three of us coming home from school, sharing what kind of day I’d had with two of the three most important women in my life.

The thing I’ll never forget about her is that when Martin and Steven first came to live with us, she started making breakfast for them on Saturday mornings.  “I don’t know how long they’ll be with us,” she said.  “But we’re going to make memories while we can.”  When we found out that we could actually adopt them, the Saturday morning breakfasts continued and family from all over the neighborhood began to show up.  It was like a having mini-family reunion every week.  I miss that.

My Granny Brook was also a woman after God’s own heart.  She did not believe in mincing her words — you knew exactly where you stood with Alice Westbrook.  She lost her first husband when my father was two years old and married my Granddaddy Percy, who loved my daddy like he was his own child.  Living directly across the street from her while I was growing up meant that I could visit anytime I wanted.  She always had a garden and the best-stocked freezer!  Summer corn and butter beans in February was always a treat.  My husband says she made the best fried chicken, corn, and butter beans ever cooked on this planet.

IMGGranny Brook (left) and Daddy (right)

Photo Source:  Sandra Hall Rosser

The thing for which I’ll always be grateful is that she lent me the money to go college.  My tuition wasn’t much by today’s standards, but it was more than I could manage without a loan in 1980.  She loaned me the money, interest free.  She was proud that I would be the first college graduate in our family and that I wanted to be a teacher.  She loved my children and they loved her.  Martin and Steven got spend more time with her because they were ten and eleven when she died.  She and my grandfather used to take them to the Autryville Cafe for lunch.  Steven always called it “The Chicken House” because he always got a chicken leg and french fries for his meal.

Claire was only four when my grandmothers died.  Her memories are sketchy, so I always tell her stories.  My Granny Mae and Granny Brook considered her their “little princess” and no great-granddaughter was ever loved more.  I remind her that her middle name, Melinda, is a combination of her grandmothers’ names: “M” from Mary Alice, “E” from Eula Mae, and “Linda,” which is my mother’s name.  She carries a huge legacy in that name and she is proving to be a smart, strong, God-fearing young lady.

It’s my mother’s birthday.  I want to have her around for years to come.  The song I’ve chosen today is not necessarily sacred on face value, but the underlying meaning is sacred for me.  It’s generational in nature because I am what my mother is because she is what my Granny Mae was.

Happy birthday, Mama.  I don’t mind being told that I do things “like my mother does.”  It’s a great compliment.  I hope I make you proud.

shr.

Like My Mother Does” (Lauren Alaina)

Soul Survivor

There’s a reason the first three letters in the word DIEt are DIE.  Any diet I’ve ever been on has left me feeling deprived, alone, unhappy, and thinking “I’d rather DIE than go another day eating (or not eating) this way.”  I was always waiting, waiting, waiting for the day that I could ditch the diet meal plan and “eat normally” again.  I should add that what I truly meant was over-eat normally again.

My friend, Michele, and I did a Bible study together that started in January of this year.  This was the beginning of the new me.  If you’ve not read Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst, I highly recommend it.  It’s not a “how to” plan, so don’t look for recipes or sample menus in this book.  It’s all about gaining your “want to” where eating healthy is concerned.  This is a woman who has been in our over-sized pants!  She is a woman of God that decided that her temple needed better upkeep and discovered why she couldn’t do it with just will power — because it’s not about will power.  If it was about will power, then some people would do well from sheer determination and others would never leave the comfort of their easy chairs.

Do you want to lose weight?  And if you do, do you know why you want to lose weight?  Do you feel your current weight situation is unfair?  Do you feel like the whole world is conspiring against you?

As a Christian, I honestly have to tell you that my weight loss journey has not just been about the pounds, the food, or the exercise.  It’s mostly been about finding peace — the peace of knowing I am healthier; the peace of knowing that because I feel better, I can be more pro-active in my daily walk with God; the peace of knowing that food is no longer first place in my life and that God is.

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Image Source:  www.crosscards.com

Here are a list of questions I used to make my “soul assessment” at the beginning of our Bible study.  How many of these apply to you?

  • I think about food way too much.
  • My food choices are mostly high in fat and/or sugar.
  • I feel embarrassed about my weight and appearance.
  • The thought of changing how I eat makes me feel sad.
  • I’m reluctant to bring this issue to God.
  • I have gained and lost weight too many times to count.
  • I feel defeated and discouraged about issues that deal with weight or food.
  • I don’t have as much physical energy as I once did and wish I had more.
  • When I need comfort, I turn to food before I turn to God.
  • I say negative things to myself:  “You’re so fat” or “You will never change.”
  • I’m not sure God even cares about how fat I am.
  • I feel guilty or embarrassed about what I eat or the size of my portions.
  • I have health issues that are weight-related.
  • I eat foods that are considered unhealthy several times a week, every week.
  • I am an emotional eater.
  • I sometimes feel like food is more powerful than I am.
  • I sometimes eat in private or hide food.
  • I avoid physically exerting myself.
  • When it comes to food and weight, I feel like I am trapped in a vicious cycle with no way out.

Based on your responses, which of these statements is true for you?  (Remember — be honest because no one will know this but you and you cannot change what you don’t acknowledge!)

  • Issues with food are not waging war on my soul.  I am healthy physically and spiritually.
  • Issues with food are a threat to my soul.  I deal with some of these occasionally.
  • Issue with food are waging an all-out war on my soul.  I have no peace.

Dear friends, you are like foreigners and strangers in this world. I beg you to avoid the evil things your bodies want to do that fight against your soul.  (I Peter 2:11, NCV)

If you know your soul is longing for peace, then I invite you to pray this prayer with me.  It’s my personal prayer from my prayer journal, dated January 1, 2013.  I used to pray it every day and still go back to it when I allow myself to replace God Almighty, who made me to crave Him alone, with the god of food.  I invite you to make it your personal prayer too.

Dear Lord:  You made me, every part of me.  I am wonderful and beautiful.  But I have replaced my love for You with my love for food.  What I realize now is that this has left me empty and lifeless.  I cannot be the person You’ve created me to be because my life is consumed with the folly of Taco Bell, Cheetos, and Samoa Girl Scout cookies.  I am not living to find out what I can do for You, but how I pack ten pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in the outside freezer and then consume them without anyone knowing that I ate them all by myself — including the two I inhaled tonight.  I do not have peace.  I feel like Satan is hammering away at my sanity with this food obsession of mine.  So tonight, I give these things to You because I have proven to myself that I have no will power.  The only power I have is through You.  From the time I was a small child, I learned this scripture:  I can do all things through Christs who gives me strength.  (Philippians 4:13).  Until this second, I have believed that only in part.  When I get discouraged, remind me that I am Your child.  Remind me that I have all I need because of You.  Help me become the Sandy You created me to be.  I ask this prayer in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ, amen.

shr

Beautiful and Wonderful

If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and not liked what you’ve seen, you’re not alone.  I have spent a lot of my years being self-critical about my reflection.  I have always complained about the bump in the middle of my nose, my thin lips, my fat cheeks, and my thin, lifeless hair (which is mostly gray under the beautiful color job my stylist gives me every six weeks).  I’ve worried over freckles, wrinkles, lines, and dark circles.  I’ve cursed my fair skin and longed for tons of melanin so that I could be a tanned goddess.  (Although I do have a nice “glow” now as summer is winding down, my daughter had the same glow after two days at the pool.)

Image Source:  www.bing.com

I have to admit that I’ve kind of been aged-obsessed as well, and it started early on.  On my twenty-fifth birthday, my mom had this gorgeous cake made.  It was inscribed, “Happy Quarter-of-a Century Birthday!”  I freaked out and cried.  I refused to eat it.  To this day, I don’t know why.  I was twenty-five, for goodness sake!  I was obsessing over the fact that I was halfway to thirty.  Such a crazy, immature thing to do! (This is probably my most embarrassing admission to date.)

I have purchased magazines that told of facial exercises, beauty tips (and tricks), recipes for facials, and advice on the latest, make-up trends.  I wanted to be glamorous.  I’ve wanted to be the girl that turned heads. I’ve secretly wished to be movie-star-beautiful.  I’ve wanted to be anyone but the Sandy I saw in the mirror.

But I don’t feel that way anymore.  I have finally realized that I am beautiful.  In fact, I’ve always been beautiful — I just missed it.  I am beautiful because God made me beautiful.

I praise you because You made me in an amazing and wonderful way.  What You have done is wonderful.  I know this very well.  (Psalm 139:14, NCV)

The knowledge that I couldn’t achieve beauty in the Walgreens beauty aisle was a freeing realization.  The realization came with a peace that I’d never known.  I stopped watching the infomercials and started to read my Bible more.  I put God’s Word into action:  I started smiling more;  I started speaking to strangers and sharing Jesus; I started sharing hugs and telling people how much I loved them (even the ones who are unlovable some of the time);  I started checking up on the sick in my church and community;  I reconnected with people with whom I’d fallen out of touch.  Suddenly my life was full of OTHERS and less of ME.

And a funny thing has happened:  I’ve started getting compliments about how beautiful I am, how young I look, and how much thinner I am (even though the scale sometimes didn’t agree).  I learned that God has cornered the market on beauty and all I have to do to tap into that beauty is to let Him shine through me.  God has His own brand of charisma and because He lives in me, I have charisma too.

Image Source:  www.newdaywithchrist.blogspot.com

The lines, crow’s feet, wrinkles, freckles, and the bump in the middle of my nose?  They’re still there.  I just don’t mind them anymore.  And when I look at myself in the mirror and doubt starts to creep in (and it does), I just say a quick prayer of thanksgiving.  I close my eyes and count to ten.  When I open them and look back in the mirror, I see Jesus looking back.  How beautiful and wonderful is that?

What makes YOU beautiful and wonderful?

shr

Music Monday: Carry the Light

I have always loved my first name.  “Sandra” means “helper” and I’ve always thought that I was good at that — helping people.  It’s one of the reasons I became a public school teacher.  It is also what Jesus calls us to be — helpers.  One of the first lessons I learned as a child was that God loves helpers.  He calls us to serve others and we mostly do that by helping them.

My middle name, not so much.  My middle name is “Eileen.”  I have disliked it most of my life.  If people found out what it was, I got teased incessantly with the old (and not-s0-nice) joke, “Sandra I-Lean-Over-And-You-Kiss-My-Butt.”  I happily dropped the use of my middle name when I got married and used my maiden name instead.  Now only those really close to me know my middle name (and, of course, the whole blogging universe) and only one person still teases me with that awful joke from my childhood (Yes, Kelly Rosser, I’m talking about you!)

  Image Source:  www.bing.com

Just this year, I have embraced my middle name again.  You see, “Eileen” means “light.”  The Bible says many things about light.  Here are the two verses I love the most:

Later Jesus talked to the people again, saying, “I am the Light of the Light of the world.  The person that follows me will never live in darkness but will have the Light that gives life. ( John 8:12 NCV)

You are the light that gives light to the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  And people don’t put a light under a bowl.  They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house.  In the same way, you should be light for other people.  Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.   ( Matthew 5:14-16 NCV)

 That’s the other part of what Jesus calls us to be:  His light to a world of darkness.  Last week at Bible school, I got to interact with children of all ages and their parents.  I was able to fellowship with my fellow church members who taught along beside me and we had scads of fun.

But the question I faced this morning was this:  what are you doing, Sandra Eileen Hall Rosser, to bring My light to this world of darkness? 

There are many children who attended Bible school last week that do not attend our church regularly.  When we had our commencement ceremony Sunday morning, a great many of them were not present.  These are children and adults that I know are not in a regular church anywhere.  I know because I made it a point to ask.

What am I going to do about it?  I’m going to make contact with them.  I’m going to invite them to the programs I know they will enjoy.  I will start with the children and pray that the parents follow along.  (Many times we will do for our children what we wouldn’t normally do for ourselves.)  And I’ve decided to keep asking, checking, and inviting until they avoid my calls altogether, tell me never to call again, or decide to show up and give God’s house a chance.

After all, it’s my name.  It’s my legacy.  And even though your name may not be “Eileen,” it’s your legacy as well.

What about you?  What will you do to “carry the light?”

shr

Carry the Light (Various Christian Artists)

A Sodom and Gomorrah Kinda Thing

Wasn’t it a glorious Fourth of July?  I spent all day thanking God for my blessings, especially the freedoms that I enjoy because I live in the United States of America.  I am so thankful that men and women love our country enough to lay down their lives to maintain the freedom we have.

The following days were spent packing for vacation and actually getting to our destination — Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  So, when I took my Bible and stepped out onto our little balcony (which is poolside this year, and I really like that), I wasn’t expecting what God brought to my mind.  While expecting to start the book of Acts (this has been a goal of mine for two weeks now, but I’ve been sidetracked every single day by other scriptures), what my heart heard was “Isaiah.”

So I turned to Isaiah, chapter one and got no farther than verse two before I knew why God had sent me to this book.

Heaven and earth, listen,
    because the Lord is speaking:
“I raised my children and helped them grow up,
    but they have turned against me.”  (Isaiah 1:2 NCV)

As I read the rest of the chapter, I realized that Isaiah was speaking God’s truth to the nation of Israel; how they had walked away from their relationship with Him and what the consequences were going to be if they did not repent and ask forgiveness.

The heart-stopping scripture I came upon in verse ten:

Jerusalem, your rulers are like those of Sodom,
    and your people are like those of Gomorrah.
Hear the word of the Lord;
    listen to the teaching of our God!

The same little voice that whispered “Isaiah” to my heart now whispered, “Everywhere you see ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘Israel’ in this chapter, substitute ‘America.'” (I invite you to do this if you want to see the vision I had this morning!)

Knowing that your country is steadily declining is one thing.  Reading about it in the scripture is another.  When I think the absolute worst punishment God ever gave (other than the crucifixion of our Savior), I always think of Sodom and Gomorrah.  One minute, two cities stood teeming with life (albeit, sinful degradation, it was still life); the next, total demolition.  That, dear friends, is where our country is headed unless we quickly and completely turn about.

I sat, without moving, as people started filling the pool area at eight-thirty.  I thought of the music I had enjoyed on our drive to the beach yesterday and I knew what I would share for Music Monday today.  Listen to the lyrics.  Pray them for yourself.  Pray them for our leaders.  Pray them for our country.

God said:

Then if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, if they will pray and seek me and stop their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NCV)

Believe Him and pray.

Lay Me Down (Chris Tomlin)

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