Thursday, June 9, 2011

Good Deeds, Gods seeds, God’s pleased

In this time of turmoil there are things that will make your heart break and there are things that will make your heart sing.  Yesterday my heart got to experience both joy, and sadness, and I got the opportunity to be blessed by proxy, and rest in the freedom of worshiping the One who cares for me.
It is such an amazing thing to have an active relationship with the living, active God. 
I am going to do my best to explain this.  I remember when I walked away from God.  {Saddest thing ever} I started living life for myself; I justified this many times by telling myself, ‘you just went through so much’ {another story for another day}, ‘just live a little!’  So I stood on this excuse instead of being steadfast and standing on the promises of God.  I let my life spin out of balance and started to trade the church scene for the bar scene, my ‘God time’ for a ‘good time’, I stopped speaking of a savior and started speaking to satisfaction, my excuses grew exponentially.
Oh, to know the truth yet choose the lie.  {Getting a little teary eyed}  To know the sacrifice that was made for me; the love it took for Jesus to take it all, and yet choose the creation over the creator~ shameful.
I remember when I realized I got in too deep.  My heart started to weep and the awareness of my solitude was overwhelming.  I remember sitting on my bed and turning my face toward heaven and trying to pray…but there was nothing…it was like my prayers were hitting some invisible Teflon ceiling and were bouncing straight back and hitting me smack in the face.  ‘Hello…anybody home?  God?  You there?  It’s me, Ronda.’   Crickets…
Verses panned through my head.  When you are a preacher’s kid you are in church A LOT, so I knew scripture.  You can know lots of scripture but still be a fool and not have a relationship with the author.  I was a fool, because even then, I knew why I wasn’t getting through.  I was out of order, I was not really seeking God, I was seeking the good feelings I had when I remembered the relationship I had with God.  I wanted my cake and I wanted to eat it too!  I wanted my life to change, but I didn’t want to change my life.
So I gave up.  I gave up talking to God and would say, “well, I hope I can get my life back in order before I die.”  I would actually say that!  I would actually toss a little prayer out there that basically said, ‘God, get me before I go, ok?’  This is the ultimate offense to God.  And I knew that too.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  Romans 1:21-25
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to renew them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and put him to an open shame. Hebrews 6:4-6
If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…Psalms 66:18
God didn’t turn his back on me.  He didn’t say, ‘wow, Ronda, I have really been through a lot with you guys crucifying my Son and all, I think I am going to need a little break for a while.’  NO!  He is longsuffering not willing that any should perish.  He loved us so stinkin much that he sent his one and only Son to die so that we could enter his presence and be with him.  Because he LOVES us!  I don’t understand it, but I sure am grateful.  If you read my post about my nightmare Target experience with the boys you can relate to the fact that we don’t like how our kids behave sometimes, but we don’t give up on them.  {Speaking about loving parents, because God is a loving parent}  We might have to give them a little spank, but we don’t abandon them.  We love them through it.
My parents loved me through this time in my life, they didn’t withdraw; they were there for me.  My Mom would cry, my Dad would counsel, my Brother David would call me and say “What the heck are you doin?”  Once I separated myself from God, it was impossible for me to return of my own volition.  ‘Ok God, I am back, got all this stuff I am going to move in here with ya, so would you mind occupying the back bedroom for a while…mmmkay, thanks!’  No, not how it works!
I hit my own personal ‘rock bottom,’ the realization that I NEEDED God, way more than I needed anything else, and I was DESPERATE for him.
I am going to take you now to a story, you have probably read it 100 times…DANGER, don’t get ‘used’ to it.  Let it be new and fresh and speak to your heart today.  It is a story for each of us to see the Love that God has for us despite how undeserving we are.
Oh God, minister to me through your word.  Don’t let me grow luke warm in my love and passion for you.  Kindle the fire in my heart so that it burns bold and bright; pour your energy into my life.  Thank you for loving me, thank you for forgiving me, thank you for not holding it against me, but thank you for letting me remember.
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons.  The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.  After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs.  He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!  I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’  So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.  So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.  ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.  But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.  But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
I don’t know about you, but I think coveting what pigs are eating could be classified as rock bottom.
This blog took a whole different direction today than I had originally intended.  But I think it is ok, I think it is a good thing.
God is real, and he is good, and he loves you!  You have to be willing to let him in and let go of the sin demand that you put on your life.  I had a sin demand on my life.  I owed my sin and was all tangled up in it.  It was through and to the core of my heart…I hit my own personal bottom and cried out to God and I said “I am not worthy to be called your daughter, so let me be your slave.  I will serve you, and I will let you cut the cords that I have wrapped myself up in.  I am ashamed of what you will see, but I can’t keep going without you.  I would rather have you see me and change me, then keep playing in the pig pen that is this world.”
Oh, the joy unspeakable that I just tried to lay down here for you.  If you don’t have a living active relationship with Jesus that makes you giddy {love that word} and excited to talk about, talk to me.  I would love to pray with you, I would love to pray for you, I would love to see how God changes your life like he did mine.
Let me share with you a good deed, God seed, that made God smile in Heaven yesterday.  I was blessed yesterday, not directly (well in this story at least), but I was blessed by my proximity to someone being blessed.
Kael and Caleb’s nanny, who watched them before the tornado, needed a ride to Office Depot to get some packing tape.  Missy, her husband Sebastian, and their four children are moving to North Carolina today.  They leave at noon to start a new chapter in their lives.  Sebastian just graduated from Messenger College with a degree in Pastoral Ministry.  Sunday May, 22nd they lost their home, all their belongings, and their truck in the tornado, but they all survived.  You would look at their house and not believe it was possible, but they did, and they praise God for that.
Missy and three of her kids got in my car and while she was sitting next to me she was opening mail that she had just picked up from the front desk at the hotel where they had been living since the tornado.  She was shocked when she opened her mail to find a $60 Visa Gift Card.  Considering that they lost EVERYTHING, for someone to send them $60 is awesome, and many people blessed their family by sending letters and cards, and gifts, but that wasn’t what she was shocked by.  She was grateful for the $60, but she was blown away because, “Ronda, I owe these people money!” She exclaimed to me as she held the gift card up so I could see.   “They sent me $60 when I owe them $2,000!  I have to pay them back,” she said.
Several years ago this couple loaned Missy $2,000.  Times got rough and when you are supporting a family of six and you are both full time students, coming up with $2,000 can be challenging and it was.  So a debt that would be paid off in a couple of weeks, turned in to a couple of months, turned into a couple of years.  They didn't hound her, didn't pressure her, didn't demand payment, they gave grace, unspoken grace and space.  When they learned that Missy and her family survived the F5 tornado with just the shirts on their backs, they sent the card with the gift, still never mentioning the loan, just their sincerest well wishes.  Talk about a blessing.

Read James 2:15-16, and Galations 6:9-10.  God loves it when we are loving and kind to one another.

Lord bless you!



1 comment:

  1. Tears running down my face right now. Thank you for blessing me! Well written powerful words. Thank you.