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Exploring the Adventure of Aging

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I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING….REALLY?

Morning
Morning
Around 7 AM this morning I set out to take Max and Emma for their first walk of the day. As they piddled around as they often do, sniffing every blade of grass as if that was the whole purpose of their walk, I stood still for a moment rather than rushing them along to get on with business.

Standing there observing the morning sky as wispy clouds blew across a magnificent pale blue dome, I whispered almost to myself, “I would give anything…” I stopped before completing the statement. The words intended were, “to capture that sky in paint, secure it to a canvas, sketch pad, or maybe to capture it in a photograph”. I stopped because as my husband has often pointed out, words often are prayers and my wistful expression needed examination before utterance.

Self examination serves to heighten personal awareness of thought patterns, motives, and actions. A step deeper is to allow the Holy Spirit to shine His spot light which reaches the corners and crannies better that self alone can do. What Would I Give Anything for?

Let me share some of the things I have said “I would give anything for…”

A cup of coffee
A soft bed
A decent meal
For the rain, or snow or wind or other weather condition to stop or start
For a bathroom
For a break…especially during a long meeting
To be able to sing
To be able to dance
A good medical report
For Christmas, especially as a child

I suspect you, like I reluctantly did, see a pattern, every single example I unearthed centered on SELF. Oh, I could spin them a bit and find some way of making them more altruistic, for example…”a cup of coffee, so I am kinder to others.” If it had just been me on this exploratory adventure, I possibly could have gotten away with some of that, but the Holy Spirit basically said, “Nah, its all about you.” He can be so stubborn about these character issues. He even suggested a few scriptures, pulled out God’s Word and highlighted it. One was:

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (‭Luke‬ ‭12‬:‭27-34‬ NIV)

Once that inventory was as complete as I cared for it to be (the list above is just a sampling), He nudged me to consider the word, ANYTHING. To consider that Jesus called his followers to “count the cost” of discipleship and to “take up their cross daily” and to turn from anything that kept them (me) from following him. And again, since I was obviously struggling yet again with these facts the Holy Spirit pulled out the Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬ NIV)

After that I carried Him with me to church by then He was being pretty silent as I mulled over what I had on the plate before me. At Babson Park First Christian Church this morning we had missionary guests, Vivak and Angela Lall with Mid-India Christian Mission. During Sunday School he spoke about their mission, the victories, the challenges, the political situation in India. He was a very interesting articulate speaker.

BUT it was his message during the worship service that hit me full force, which I suspect is what the Holy Spirit had in mind. The whole message seemed to address the conversation I had been having with God all morning, but near the end he quoted someone else as saying,

“If there is nothing worth dying for then is there anything worth living for?”

Shall I live clinging to my life, my family, my home, my health, my finances, my stuff as if I can actually HOLD them. Shall I hunker down in my little bunker terrified that I might lose something precious?

Or shall I open my heart, my hands, my life, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING. Shall I Seek First the Kingdom of God and trust the ONE who has saved me to keep His promises?Shall I trust the ONE who has loved me to love the ones I love?

Shall I give everything so I can live as if nothing weighs me down or holds me back?

Shall I love with abandon as God has loved the world and given his one and only son?

Then there it was again plopped before me:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1-2‬ NIV)

I would give anything to become a good and faithful servant of Christ my Lord.

What I Believe Makes Me Who I Am–Theology on an Icy Morning

I am not the most succinct person in the whole world, so boiling things down to a few words about something as all encompassing as “My Theology” is mind boggling. I could point to the Bible and say I find it there and be truthful, but even in there I find more to explore about the world, history, and people. God has planted himself everywhere, if only we could see. Paul wrote in Romans that God is evident in all creation, so none of us are without knowledge of Him.

I encountered a Aborigines’ account of creation and the fall of man in which the evil one was a bat! The Biblical account and this tribal story are remarkably parallel. No wonder that the symbol of death is the “Bat”. We also were visited by retired missionaries, the Eubanks, to Thailand, who shared the story of entering a classroom in Thailand to share Jesus with a group of children for the first time. The majority religion in Thailand is Buddhism. As they spoke to the children, Mrs. Eubanks noticed one child who listened closer, her eyes growing brighter and brighter until her body could not contain what she had to say. She waved her hand excitedly and exclaimed, “I know this Jesus! I just didn’t know his name.” The Eubanks expressed how God surprised them by already working in the hearts of the people of Thailand. He was there a long time before they arrived.

So, the enormity of God and of my meager theology cannot be boiled down easily, but as I consider His Scripture, I realize my basics from cover to cover are there. God’s Love, Justice and Mercy with which I form not only by theology, but my worldview. I am a Christian, but I am not the only Christian.

And so on this cold, December morning, Here is my paraphrased theology in a bursting nutshell:

In the beginning God created and it was good. God existed before all creation, before the beginning and in creating used the words, “Let us make….”, so the One God has more than one person. Human beings with free will sinned and while the good God created remained, weeds grew, blood was shed, storms brewed and sickness with death entered history. God chose Abraham to bless ALL the peoples of the earth.

Emmanuel
Emmanuel

At the perfect time in history The Word (Christ Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. Out of his life, death and resurrection we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

The Holy Spirit remains within for the believer and in the world to call non-believers to Christ. But this time, this earth has an expiration date known only by God. We are therefore called to be His witnesses to all the World. And until then I pray “Come Lord Jesus, Come.”

I know too that others seeking also to boil things down have done a better job than I. So I turn to “Creed” Rich Mullins’ theology song from the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ
His only begotten Son, our Lord
He was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
He was crucified and dead and buried

CHORUS:
And I believe what I believe
Is what makes me what I am
I did not make it, no it is making me
It is the very truth of God and not
The invention of any man

I believe that He who suffered
Was crucified, buried, and dead
He descended into hell and
On the third day, rose again
He ascended into Heaven where
He sits at God’s mighty right hand
I believe that He’s returning to
Judge the quick and the dead
Of the sons of men

CHORUS

I believe it, I believe it
I believe it
I believe it, I believe it

I believe in God the Father almighty
Maker of Heaven and Maker of Earth
And in Jesus Christ His only begotten Son,
Our Lord
I believe in the Holy Spirit
One Holy Church, the communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sin
I believe in the resurrection
I believe in a life that never ends

CHORUS

I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe
I believe it, I believe it

The Word became Flesh and Embraced me with Grace
The Word became Flesh and Embraced me with Grace

Should have just gone to that first, RIGHT? So At Christmas…Come, Lord Jesus, Come!

Here’s the Utube link: http://youtu.be/H-61MaWETiU

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