Yesterday in my CG meeting, a newcomer talked about his reasons for joining the cg. He gave a visual of a car driving at night along a highway in the middle of nowhere. Headlights can only reach so far in front of you, unknowing of what could possibly pop up suddenly. He then said that being in a community is like having a car right next to you on the road, which can extend the lighting over the road to several hundred feet, and even more so with more cars ahead. YES YES YES. A community of believers does help light the road ahead so that 1) we’re not alone; and 2) we have support along the journey.
and yes… every pun intended, because it was by another believer that shared this insight.
I have to admit, I have missed so much church in the past few months and have felt less guilty about it each time….
But I believe in immediate consequences, and I believe in long term effects, so as a believer, I know that God never turns a blind eye to my actions. In my entire life, I have known God to reveal Himself constantly to me in very effectual ways—in the midst of my sin, but also in my most desperate or perhaps, lonely moments.
These days, or should I say, this past year, I discovered that I developed a spine inflammation, a herniated disc in my neck, and a weak ACL. Of course I can attribute it to age, to sitting at a desk all day, to gaining 15 pounds so dang quickly, or to not exercising. And really, those are all contributing factors… but a part of me feels as if God has always used my physicality, or rather, my weakness in my flesh, to draw me closer to HIm.
It’s not to say that God is not merciful and that He doesn’t bring immediate grace upon His people, because I believe that He can and that He does, but for me personally, my experience has been that my struggles have related to so much of my own flesh.
With that said though, I made it out to service today and even joined my CG in their quarterly dinner meeting. I’ve been hobbling and struggling and groaning all day about my back. I’ve given it electro therapy, I’ve iced it, I’ve stretched it, and I’ve even slept on the floor to try to straighten it out… but to no avail. Even as I got up to sing songs of praise at church today, it was still tough… but then I forgot about it as service progressed. I stopped thinking about how much discomfort and pain I felt. I walked to dinner and back to my car, drove home, got out of the car, and then it hit me…. no. pain. Where’d it go?
I had a revelation. Good posture produces good results. During service, I sat in an old wooden pew with a straight back, trying to be conscious of how I sat, as to not cause any more discomfort in my back. All the while trying to position my heart before God in a church setting, seeing that I had not gone to church in two weeks… and here I am now writing this post with no pain. It paid off. Much like good sitting or standing posture pays off in your physical body, so does a proper posture of your heart, pays off in your spiritual body.
I know that I will continue to have physical issues as I age, along with an abundant of spiritual ones, but in this night, I am thankful for this lesson to be presented to me in such a tangible way.
Lord, help me to position my heart humbly before You, that I may lay down my burdens and become prostrate at the foot of the cross, knowing that Your being there is the ULTIMATE posture of humility, wherein doing so, You rose from the dead and now reign victorious as Lord and King.
…that I may conclude in my prayers and requests in this way: in YOUR name, I pray. Amen.
There is no one that boils my blood more than my own family members do, and yet they are the very people that are the hardest to get away from. I am not talking about physically getting away from, but mentally. I can always move far away from my family, but I will still be thinking of them. That’s the hardest part. Sometimes, I am so angry that I nearly feel as if it’s my fault for being so angry at them. Guilt settles in, and I just feel absolutely defeated and helpless. It’s such a vicious state of mind to be in.
The 10 Commandments state to “honor your father and mother.” Why does God start there? Because it really does start with the ones closest to you. The term “honor” doesn’t necessarily mean to obey, while that may be included in the definition. Honoring someone is sometimes even more difficult than obeying them. It is a state of mind, and it is a position that you take in every situation you are or are not with them. Honor is upheld in your heart and mind.
After having typed out that last paragraph, I’m realizing very quickly that I do not have the strength or even ability to honor my parents, let alone any of my other family members—not, at least, on my own. I need to draw from a source much greater than I am… and that is the Holy Spirit, the works of Christ, and the Almighty I AM. I am completely powerless without the outpour of the Spirit into my heart, to show me what true honor and true love looks like IN SPITE OF (not despite, but yes, IN SPITE) the disobedience and even, hate in my heart.
With all of that said, I still remain defeated, but alas… I am not hopeless, even if I may “feel” that sometimes.
I am thankful for this rest evening at home, and so so very glad that tomorrow is Friday.
"Continue in the faith."
Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not a beginning only in the ways of God, but also a continuance in the same as long as life lasts. It is with a Christian as it was with the great Napoleon: he said, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” So, under God, dear brother in the Lord, conquest has made you what you are, and conquest must sustain you. Your motto must be, “Excelsior.” He only is a true conqueror, and shall be crowned at the last, who continueth till war’s trumpet is blown no more. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a time, if she can but tempt you to cease your pilgrimage, and settle down to buy and sell with her in Vanity Fair. The flesh will seek to ensnare you, and to prevent your pressing on to glory. “It is weary work being a pilgrim; come, give it up. Am I always to be mortified? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a furlough from this constant warfare.” Satan will make many a fierce attack on your perseverance; it will be the mark for all his arrows. He will strive to hinder you in service: he will insinuate that you are doing no good; and that you want rest. He will endeavour to make you weary of suffering, he will whisper, “Curse God, and die.” Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep as do others, and let your lamp go out as the other virgins do.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these denominational creeds? Sensible men are getting more liberal; they are removing the old landmarks: fall in with the times.” Wear your shield, Christian, therefore, close upon your armour, and cry mightily unto God, that by his Spirit you may endure to the end.
We all go through our own recurring struggles. Mine have always been with my relationships, particularly in my friendships. While I have many a time, wished that I gave up on trying to make my relationships work, I am reminded that it is not about the strength or even the duration of the struggle, but it is instead of my response to it: Excelsior, is my reply.