Join me...

Join me...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Abundance

Would we be willing to die for the gospel?  That was the question I posed to my dear husband this past weekend.  We had just visited the Bible exhibit at the "Christ of the Ozarks" in Eureka Springs, AR.  Our tour guide did a wonderful job of taking us through the evolution of the written Word of God.  We saw ancient writings on vellum (calfskin) and papyrus.  Amazing!  For a lover of history, I wanted to look at every one of the thousands of Bibles.  Especially the ancient manuscripts.  We heard the stories of brave men and a few brave women who risked their lives to translate and print the Bible in the english language.  Men who felt it was important that all people have a personal copy of the Word in a language they understood. 

Every time I hear stories of the sacrifices made before me that have enabled me to have religious freedoms, I ask myself the same questions, "Would I?"  If I am honest, I'm not sure.  I tend to love things comfortable.  For example, we stayed in a cabin during our little weekend away.  Now when I say cabin, I mean a tiny little cottage with gas fireplace, flat screen tv, and wireless internet.  Not a traditional cabin!  My idea of camping always includes air conditioning and a bathroom.  See what I mean!  Could I stand persecution?!

Maybe the bigger challenge during the age we live is living godly in abundance.  Maintaining intimacy with God when we appear to have every thing we need or want.  When there is no crisis.  When the world is literally at our fingertips.  How do we stay connected and intimate when we're not fighting for our lives because of sickness or desperate for the money to pay our next house note? 

There is no doubt that challenges and test tend to draw us closer to God.  These times deepen our dependence on Him and strengthen our faith.  So how do we live in abundance?  Part of the answer surely is by choice.  Maybe those times on the mountaintop are really a test too.  Will we still hunger for a deeper relationship with God "as a deer pants for water" when we are full and satisfied?  Will we still pray, read the Bible, attend church services, give of our time and talents?   Why must there be a crisis?!  Deuteronomy 6:10-12 gives this warning "When God, your God, ushers you into the land He promised through your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to give you, you're going to walk into large, bustling cities you didn't build, well-furnished houses you didn't buy, come upon wells you didn't dig, vineyards and olive orchards you didn't plant.  When you take it all  in and settle down, pleased and content, make sure you don't forget how you got there -  God brought you out of slavery in Egypt."  (MSG)   Be careful, don't forget what God saved you from.  Don't forget how it felt living in bondage in your personal Egypt. 

Where are you at today?  On the mountaintop or in the valley?  If you are in a valley, I probably don't have to encourage you to get on your face before God.  If you are on the mountaintop, enjoy!  Just remember to keep God close.  Just as you enjoy spending time with your loved ones when life is grand, so does your heavenly Father.  He's crazy about you! 

Until we visit again...
Live blessed,
Carmen

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mercies

My dear friend "K" invited me to attend a Mercy Ministries fundraising event this week - "Evening of Mercy - Celebrating hope and healing in the lives of young women".  It was an opportunity that I would not have had without "K".  I told her that it is nice to have friends with connections :).  It was a wonderful experience.

My week has been challenging.  A doctor's visit followed by lots of meds could have easily kept me home.  Top that off with the need to crawl under a parked train (wearing clothes that were not intended to facilitate crawling under trains) to get to the event could have discouraged those not crazy enough to go forth ! As one speaker said, "Satan was trying to keep as many away as possible".

The reward for such shenanigans was the opportunity to hear Nancy Alcorn, founder and president, share how her dream became reality in 1983.  More importantly, we heard two recent graduates give their testimony and one graduate from 22 years ago tell of how Mercy Ministries was used by God to save her life.  This graduate is now successful in the medical field and has the opportunity to help countless women in our own community.

What is mercy?  The Holman Bible Dictionary says, "On the human level it is best described as one's consideration of the condition and needs of his fellowman.  It goes on to say, "In both the OT and NT mercy is an action taken by the strong towards the weak, the rich towards the poor, the insider towards the outsider, those who have towards those who have not."  In the New Testament (NLT), 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Paul talks about mercy:  ...He (God) is the source (Greek - the Father) of every mercy and the God who comforts us.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.".  In Lamentations 3:22-23 (NLT)  the writer says this, "The unfailing love of the Lord never ends!  By His mercies we have been kept from complete destruction.  Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each day."

Have you been kept from complete destruction?  I have!  In my flesh, I would have self-destructed already!  I am so thankful that in God's mercy, He sent Jesus to save me from myself!  "He (God) comforts us so that we can comfort others."  Where is God directing you to be His comfort to someone else?  Give your testimony, give your time, give your money, give, give, give.  There are innumerable ways that we can show God's mercy to others.   In our own local congregation and local community is a great place to start. God has missionaries across not only this great nation but all over the world who need faithful support.   As the opening of Rick Warren's book "The Purpose Driven Life" says, " It’s not about you." 

I am so glad that God's mercies are new each day.  On some days, as I lay in bed that night, I think "I'm glad I'm getting a new supply tomorrow because I probably used up all mine for today."  Of course, I know the supply never ends but I love the reminder that He meets us everyday and supplies what we need.  Let's all get out of our comfort zones and shows some mercy.  God has given us mercy so we can show it to others.

Until we visit again...

Live Blessed,
Carmen