September 26, 2008

To All Those Around 40... Give or Take A Few

Several places in the Bible, a generation is equal to 40 years. Now that causes me to ask a question: Does that mean I have lived exactly one generation? What happens to the next generation, when there are no children?

If you are around 40, you are probably starting to realize how fast time is going. And whether you have children or not, as I don't, you must know one or two from somewhere that are growing way too fast. I remember when my nieces and nephews were tiny. Now they are in their 20s. A couple are married, and one is considering marriage. This stuff is hard for me to get my head around. Just ask any parent, they will probably tell you the same thing.

With technology, busyness and all kinds of distractions, sometimes we just don't know where the days went and before we know it we find they're gone.

James 4:14 NAS says:
Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

A vapor. A mist... Maybe the spray of an aerosol can. Put up against or compared to the light of all Eternity, our small existence disappears about that quick. That is the time we have to make our lives count for the Kingdom of God.

Now that I have turned 40, and look back on my life, I can only trust in God to find something worthwhile to come out of this last generation... whether it be wasted or not. I'm not certain I could point to anything you might consider worthwhile, or noteworthy. I don't know for sure when I get "There," the last 40 years, whether they will be burnt up as wood, hay or stubble, or if they will be as gold, silver or precious jewels in the eyes of the King. I suppose the question I must ask is this: is the foundation of my life anything Christ could come along and build upon?

Now, of course as much as I would like to, I can't do anything about the past, but I can do something about the future. And somehow, reading this, if you look back over your last generation and wonder if there are any gold, silver or precious jewels, or maybe you're a little concerned that you might just have wood, hay, or stubble. Remember. You still have today.

You might wonder as I have, "But how? All I know is what I've done my whole life. The only example I have is my parents or my friends. What can I really do that counts for the Kingdom?"

My husband always hated questions that start with, "But how?"

Number One: Pray to the Lord Jesus, the Christ. Our Messiah, Redeemer, Deliver and our King. Ask Him to take over your life. Ask Him to fill you with his holy spirit and his love. Make him the Lord of your life. Translation: Creator, Ruler, Owner. Commit your way to the Lord and He will direct your path.

Number Two: Talk to the Holy Spirit. Ask him to fill you completely and show you the way that you should go. For as my pastor says, "How can you ever expect to export what you have never owned?" It's been said that we are unable to even praise or love God, the way that he desires, on our own... without the Holy Spirit, guiding us, telling us what the Father's heart desires. Jesus said apart from me, you can do nothing. And that includes everything you might call service to God, family, job, country, anything and everything! He likened us to a limb, cut off of a tree or a Vine. If we are cut off from the Source, we have no life in us.

Number Three: Understand that being filled with the Spirit is necessary for you to walk in the Spirit. The Scripture says that if you walk with the Spirit you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. Now, what the flesh desires may seem like more fun at first, but the consequences are not nearly as fun. The Scripture says sin is pleasurable, but only for a season. Then you will begin to harvest what you have sown. Some say you need to "sow your wild oats," while you are young. However, those who encourage that kind of behavior will not be around when it is your harvest time.

Galatians 6:7-10 says what ever you sow, that will you also reap.

You wouldn't go out for a battle without proper training. You wouldn't play in the Super Bowl without learning how to play football. And in either case you wouldn't be in either situation without first making a choice to join the Army or the football team, followed by showing up for practice. Day after day after day. Those training sessions, and those practices get you ready for when there's five seconds left in the game, or when the enemy is on all sides, and you don't have time to think. You just go with what you've learned!

In a way, it blows my mind that I'm even writing this. I used to be the first one to make excuses for my behavior. My tongue was so quick and so sharp, and then I would blame it on my nerves, medicine, or adverse circumstance. But over time, I began to learn that the name of Jesus is higher than any other name! That includes my health and medicine, pressures of life and all kinds of circumstances. There is absolutely Nothing, that can overwhelm the power of His Name, or a life that is submitted and trusting in His care.

Now, you may not like the word submit, or authority for that matter. To some people just hearing either one sends chills up their spine. But no matter what your experiences might have been, that kind of submission to the authority of the Lord Jesus and His Word has benefits that you could not even imagine. And until you are willing to submit to the Lordship and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, you will never know those benefits!

One seemingly simple example, from my life just yesterday. Now I'm not saying that I'm completely submitted in every area, but it is my desire to live the way Jesus wants me to and to seek and display His heart and to show others how much He loves them. Yesterday, He showed me again how much He loves me. And it's such a beautiful thing how, in the simplest ways, powerful words are spoken without spoken words.

I usually don't do well out in the heat. I have been known to get sick in the summertime. So I have to be careful how much time I spend in the sun, or humidity. My husband and I and our neighbor decided to go to the grocery store. It had been rather cool here recently, but I was not able to go out during that time. So now that it's back in the 80s, and that's when I go out to the grocery store. ;-)

As my husband was getting the car ready, I went out and immediately started to feel a little woozy. I went back into the shade and started to pray... for God's grace on our trip, and that He would order our steps and bless our journey for His Glory. I went out toward the Van and looked up in the sky. To my amazement, there was a cloud overhead, not much bigger than the sun. Brilliant sunrays were shooting out from all directions. Absolutely breathtaking! I turned to my husband and our neighbor and pointed to the sky. "Now there is a gift from God!" He gave me shade just in time for me to get in the van! And that is the way my beloved Jesus takes care of me. He always gives us what we need, if we trust Him.

That is all He And the choices we make are a reflection of how we trust Him or how we don't. Will we stay in agreement with His Word, or will we go our own way, thinking that we know better? Every day is a million choices to go His way or ours. This can be overwhelming except for one thing. If we commit our hearts to him and our way. He is faithful to direct our path. He loves you, he just wants you to know. And one day, maybe very soon, you might be the only reflection of Jesus and His beautiful heart someone else might ever see.

Selah... (Let's Pause and Think about That)

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