Monday, September 7, 2009

Seemed like a good idea at the time

Holiday weekends are made for something different. My something different was to take a ride on a motorcycle to help raise a little money for Samaritan's Purse and Operation Christmas Child. (Yeah, I know. Suffering for the children) We rode through the beautiful mountains of Eastern Arizona, past Sunrise Ski Area through the towns of Eagar and Springerville and looped back to Show Low. Around here, we call it the great circle route. The only problem was that it was raining, not all the way, sometimes it was hailing. At the time it was hailing, I was behind the others a bit (rest area break) so to play catch up I was going fast. I don't know if you've ever encountered hail on a motorcycle, but little bits of ice pelting you at 75-80 mph is a very different experience. Oddly enough, the ride was still very enjoyable. It may be one of those things that you tell your grandchilderen about and embellish so that there are monsters and evil involved and yet we came out victorious. I told one friend who was riding with us to put on my tombstone, "It seemed like a good idea at the time"
We all have those moments in life where we embark on something with the noblest of intentions and whatever it is becomes more tedious than originally anticipated. We just carry on because the inconvenience is still not greater than the goal for which we strive. I wonder if Jesus thought that what he was doing was more than He originally bargained for as He carried that cross up the hill that day. Obviously not, for He completed His mission. I'm sure He was aware of the pain, the suffering, the horrendous sacrifice He was making even though there would be those who would not appreciate His sacrifice and gain from that noble deed even though the reward for acknowledging this incredible gift is eternal life. (Ok there's a little more to it than that)
It is always, at the very least, impolite to not thank someone for their gift to you. But so many, in their ignorance, go beyond that to even mock the Son of God and those who believe in that precious gift. How sad, especially when the gift was given for everyone who lives. My sincere prayer is that no one would meet Jesus one day (and we all will) and when He asks why you didn't believe in the gift of God your answer is, "Seemed like a good idea at the time." What an eternally wrong statement.
I was once on that side of the fence. I am so glad we serve a merciful God. You think about some very different things while on a motorcycle.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Becoming a disciple

Every once in a while we have the opportunity to both refresh and grow at the same time. This past week was one of those times for me. I spent the week at Salvation Army Officer's Councils which would in and of itself give the impression that we were preparing for war. And in the strictest sense of the word, we were. You see we understand that we " do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12) And because we understand that we prepare for the battle.
Time was spent rediscovering holiness and discipleship, without both of which, we are powerless against the enemy of our souls. I find it very difficult to live the life of a disciple, though, without first fitting into a life of holiness. God is holy and so expects holiness from his people. (1Peter 1:16) And what I had reaffirmed this week is that our personal holiness is only made possible by the presence of God.
When God told Moses to take off his shoes because he stood on holy ground, the ground had been made holy by the presence of God, and nothing else. I strive for His presence in my life and reach out for His holiness, not my own. He is able to make me holy and there is no other way to achieve it. No rituals, no nothing can bring me into His presence but if He is present with me at all times, then His holiness remains with me at all times and because of this, I am made holy. I don't believe that holiness in this sense means that we are "set apart" but rather that we are touched by the Lord God of heaven and made holy by that touch.
What an awesome thing it is to stand before the creator and be able to both speak to Him and to hear His voice. Renewing is necessary and not just once in a while, but every day so that we come to Him refreshed and alive, able to know that we don't have to wait until the next life to become Holy vessels used by God to do His will. It's a great thing to be used by God, but if we become disciples made holy by His presence in our lives, our use is magnified and He is better able to use our talents for His glory.