Monday, October 24, 2016

Unborn Christians

I bet you read the above title and thought Doesn't she mean REborn Christians?

Nope. I mean unborn. These are Christians who don't know they're Christians...yet. At least until we talk to them.
Unborn Christians are those who don't know about Jesus, or kinda-sorta know about God, but don't know enough to claim His promises. That's where we come in.

Scary, isn't it?

You never know when you'll influence someone to come to God. It's not always about brandishing a Bible and praising God at the top of your lungs; sometimes it's that way people see you acting (and reacting) with your co-workers. Or family and friends. Or your children.

One woman is a homemaker. Her and her husband raised three kids in God's word, and when they were grown, they brought fifty-thousand unborn Christians to God through ministry. Is her job any less important because she only influenced three little people? What about her neighbors and friends? They saw God through her eyes and actions and came to Christ, and are now influencing their own kids in God's ways. One little homemaker influenced the future of thousands of unborn Christians.

Another woman works in an office. She not only influences her co-workers, but also the clients she works with. Not all of them come to God, but the few that do wind up influencing their co-workers, bosses, and clients, who them go home and talk to their husbands and wives and then their children...

You get the idea. There are a lot of unborn Christians out there- and all we need to do is talk to them.
Or pray for them. Let them see God through us.

Even though we screw up. Especially when we screw up. That's probably the hardest and scariest part of all because those who are usually the closest to breaking and finding God are our hardest critics, keeping an eye on every thing we do. You know those cynics are watching when a Christian messes up- just wondering what we'll do and how we'll act.

The funny thing is, if we act out of God's will, this is usually the opposite reaction that the cynics expect. And that's usually the best time to talk to these unborn Christians!

Your co-worker asks,"Why didn't you try to get out of it? You could have (list excuse here)...." Your answer will tell her everything about your Christian walk. And that it's not a walk of the perfected- quite the opposite in fact. People might not break down that day and give their lives to God, but you brought them one step closer because you acted in God's best interest.

Living life God's way isn't easy- not by a long shot. But unborn Christians need to not only see us triumph over the struggles of life, but triumph over struggles we're still going through. That is what gets their attention the most. I can't tell you how many times unborn Christians have gone up to my husband and asked, "How did you get through it?" His answers brought many into God's fold.

We both have our moments where God's light doesn't shine as much as it should. We both struggle with staying in God's sight. Honestly, he's quicker on the draw when it comes to admitting mistakes and learning from them, but he's teaching me as I trip along my merry way. Or should I say His merry way?

I'll be meeting a lot of unborn Christians by the time God calls me home (I hope), and I pray I'll be a good example of what God wants me to be. And if I'm not, I hope the cynics see a repentant heart, a submissive spirit, and a humble attitude. I want them to see God working through me.

Who knows how many people we influence each day? But wouldn't it be great to see those unborn Christians of today in heaven when we are called home?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

God's Hint and a Half

Have you ever had God tell you to do something and though you knew what He wanted, you still wanted to do things your way?

Have you ever had God remind you to listen to Him when your thoughts strayed from His will?

A while back I told you I fasted and prayed for an Answer- and God told me to write.
Write books.
Write all of them.
I did what He wanted. I was behaving. Until I saw our dwindling bank account.

Then a mild panic set in and I started brainstorming new ways to bring in extra funds, since I stopped driving for Lyft (for good reason) and the other driving jobs dried up entirely. As of this past Friday, I'd made a decision to call about a possible job driving special needs students to and from schools. I talked it over with my husband, and he thought it should be okay to go forward (because dropping off the kids after school would interfere in family dinner time.) We'd just have to adjust the schedule a bit, so I could drive. I could write and prep dinner in between pick-ups...right?

God decided I needed a hint.

Throughout the week, my bible readings were full of 'the people of Israel were told to do this, and they didn't listen'... 'the people of Israel were told to do that, and they didn't listen'...'Then God got mad and punished them, and they still didn't listen'.

All week God knew what I was thinking, and told me through scripture that His way was a better way. But I was looking at the bank statements and not Him.

So Sunday morning comes and God hit us with a hint and a half. The lesson not only spoke of obeying God, but will He not also provide what we need as we obey? God was blunt enough that even I understood His meaning, and after services My husband and I both talked and agreed that I should bide my time doing what God said to do. 

Besides, what if the journals and planners I'd been working on (as fast self-publishing books) was the answer to our financial dilemma? I would have missed out not only on the blessing, but lost experience practicing self-publishing! Frankly, it doesn't matter how He'll take care of things- it just matters that He will. Just like the sparrows.

I took the hint. I didn't want to know what God would do next if I didn't listen. He's not always so subtle- and I'd rather not find out what His not-so-subtle hints would be! Listening is a much better prospect, don't you agree?

So here I am, writing this blog and sending out my first planner through the vast cyberspace to be judged worthy of publication. I'd never have gotten to this point if God hadn't pushed me. 
I won't tell you that I'll never think another 'get an outside job' thought again- because I'm still human, with a stubborn will of my own. But God will be guiding my steps through it all, and I hope to completely trust in Him without those thoughts in the future.

And I won't stop counting the blessings on the way!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Smelling Myself

I was listening to one of the Pastors giving a small talk before communion. He spoke about how Christians can seem when posting online, but act differently in church. Sometimes what is posted can be misconstrued (and let's face it, it often is!), but it also can show the heart attitude of a person.
He asked for us to imagine our Christian attitudes as a scent. Is that scent pleasing aroma to God, or do we stink? Some people sit in church praising God while hating the brother or sister sitting next to them.

Ouch, Pastor!

One thing I love about my church is the diversity of our pastors. This one doesn't pull any punches and gets right to the point. I love that.

The moment he uttered those words, he might have been speaking directly to me- and from the expressions of most of the congregants, they felt the same as I did. Did my heart really stink?

So after church, I gave my inner self a sniff or three. Oh yeah, there was some stinkification in my heart. Fortunately, I knew what attitudes needed changing- unfortunately some people got a bad whiff of me a few weeks back, and it's something I can't change. There is no 'Undo' button. No 'Replay'. No 'Reload your game'. I screwed up and I can't take it back. That just makes my spiritual redo harder.

Though not impossible!

I smelled a lot of good things too, but those aren't my main concern. I need to clean the bad spots before I can improve the whole- like bleaching a shirt. A little spot cleaning here and there before you toss the whole thing into the wash.

And sometimes you need to rewash. More than once.

I've been reading Leviticus and Numbers, and God talks about 'a pleasing aroma' a lot in those chapters. God likes Himself a good smell! He's also willing to help us with the spot cleaning, so we smell good to Him again. Gotta love that...right?

When people want to know what a Christian is, I want them to give me a sniff and come away smiling, not holding their noses. Too many times I've seen unborn Christians (people who aren't Christians...yet!) with their noses crinkled as they passed by, not realizing I was the reason for their reaction. 


Help me be a pleasing aroma to You, Lord. Help me find the stink and eradicate it. Let my life in reality, online, and in my writing reflect You and glorify You in all aspects. I want to smell good not only to You, but to those around me too!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Forehead Swatting God

Sometimes I wonder why God puts up with us.

He made us. He gave us free will. We are His children. But instead of being grateful and doing what He asks, we tear off the diapers and run all over the neighborhood, screaming 'FREEDOM!' and flashing all of the neighbors.

This is when God swats his forehead. Free will...why did I give them free will??

It's happened throughout biblical history.

"I know You said not to eat the fruit, but the snake said..."

Forehead swat.

"I'm tired of manna- I want meat! We'd be better of being slaves in Egypt.."

Forehead swat.

"The land of milk and honey? But there are giants there! No way am I going in there!"

Forehead swat.

As I look back on my own life, I can tell you I probably caused God to swat His forehead more than I'd like to admit. Why is it so hard for us to listen and obey Him sometimes?

Because His will be done- not mine, And I have free will, so that makes me extra stubborn and selfish. I mean really- who is He to tell me what to do anyway? My way is so much better!

I also can't tell you how many times I sold myself on that bit of tripe.

So here I sit in my self-righteous misery, wondering why life is such a big, stressful mess. This is usually when I pray the hardest. The funny thing is, God still answers. The funnier thing is, I still don't listen because many times the answers aren't jiving with what I want!

When it happened again, I decided to actually try and listen- and obey. I tell you that last part has to be the hardest thing to do. Ever. 

I was given an Answer. 
I listened.
I obeyed. 
And I sacrificed what I needed to achieve His Answer.

Sweet cheese and crackers, Batman! what happened next had me completely flabbergasted.

I felt a peace I hadn't felt in a very long time (probably the last time I listened and obeyed!)
I felt calm for the first time in ages, despite the fact that my life wasn't matching my ideal.
I felt content. Do you know what contentment truly feels like? It's that small smile you make when you're doing something that you truly love. You feel satisfied, productive, and happy.

Because I knew if I listened and obeyed, God was going to handle the rest.

Now that doesn't mean bad things won't ever happen. It doesn't mean I'll never feel sad or angry. It means that no matter what happens, God will be there with me to get through it, whatever it is. I'm telling you, it's the most awesome feeling in the universe!

Looking back through my life, I can see God helping me stay sane.

When my mom and I were both out of work and we had no food in the house.

When my husband was severely burned in a work accident.

When my mom, my husband's mom, a cousin and a family friend all died within two weeks.

People still marvel over that last one, 'How are you not lying in a fetal position completely depressed?' people have asked me. 
Well, the truth is I did get depressed. Only God kept me upright and got me back on track again. All He wanted me to do was go to Him in prayer. I just had to ask and He was right there with me, telling me what to do.

Do I still want to tear off the diaper and run about the neighborhood? Absolutely! (Not literally people- Pampers doesn't make diapers in size Bodacious- besides, I don't like the crinkling noises!) But when I start feeling rebellious, I make myself look back and see His hand in everything good in my life, and instead of tearing off the diaper, I read the Bible and pray. Much better choices for me- and my neighbors!

Hopefully God will not have any more forehead-swatting moments concerning me, but let's face it- I still have free will and am still stubborn and selfish. 

But I know that when I cry out to Him, He will always be there.

Probably swatting His forehead.