Monday, January 2, 2012

Out it goes!

6:43 p.m. Today's project was to haul the Christmas tree out of the living room. Last night I was casting about in my mind for a way for Steve and me to do it, but with my sore joints from putting away heavy boxes of ornaments and decorations, and remembering last year's confusion when Steve and my dad did it, that idea was a non-starter.

Despite my impatient attitude yesterday, the God the Holy Spirit graciously gave me the plan: have Steve's caregiver help with removing the tree! Aren't you always amazed at the way the Lord Jesus stoops down from momentous and universal events to help one of his children with a momentary household problem? How Jesus loves us! Hebrews 7:25 says of the salvation and watchful care we enjoy in Him,

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for us. 

Not only has Christ saved me, but He continually presents my "case" (my need for forgiveness ) to my Heavenly Father, the Judge of all the earth! when I ask forgiveness in Jesus' name, I come by way of, and with the perfect righteousness of the shed blood of Christ, and find forgiveness and grace at the foot of God's throne!

Jesus' compassion for sinners, His empathy with us because He walked this earth as a human being, gives us the courage to come to the Father for mercy, and for every need. Hebrews 4:14-16 tells of our privilege as believers who have confessed Him as our Savior:

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Strength was what I needed this morning, and God provided the necessary help to slide the tree out of the house on the sheets I had laid down, with no mess at all, other than some pine needles that Steve was able to vacuum up later. All that remains is for the tree to be dragged or rolled down the driveway for the green waste pickup on Friday morning.

Out went the Christmas tree and the year 2011 with it!

The living room will look a little empty for a while, but family, friends, and our Korean student house guest will soon occupy any available space. It reminds me of our hearts and minds when we become born again by asking Jesus into our hearts. In 1980 I remember thinking, "Since there's no more social drinking, smoking cigarettes and immoral living, what's going to take their place and keep me from getting bored? If I don't associate with the old badly behaved people, will I make new friends?"

Within a month, I made friends at Calvary Chapel Riverside (now Harvest) who are still friends today, by attending a home Bible study. My son Sean had new friends too, the kids of my new friends. We made friends at Sunday School, too. The teachers of Sean's four year old class I still count as friends. And I met  my husband Steve at that same Home Bible study. Bonnie, the gal whom I helped in kindergarten Sunday School, made my wedding dress and was my matron of honor.  She mentored me through the women's Bible study in the early 1980's, and the Lord made good on His calling when I began teaching the study on Tuesday mornings. Making scores of godly friends as a couple and gaining dear sisters to raise my babies with, gave me no time to think about being the "lonely only" Christian.   And worried about being bored? What was I thinking? Worshiping, praying, learning the Bible and fellowshipping with like minded people  left not a single bit of space in my overactive mind for boredom.

The Christian life is the most thrilling and rewarding life imaginable! As pastor and evangelist Greg Laurie often says, "Trading in your old life for the Christian life is like trading in a rusty roller skate for a Lear Jet!" 

So don't hesitate to rid yourself of everything that keeps you from focusing on Jesus. You cannot imagine the peace, security, joy and excitement that will be yours as the Lord reveals to you His plans for your life. Sad and difficult things will happen to you, as they do to everyone who lives on the earth. The difference is that  the Lord holds you and loves you through each incident, and gives you rich learning and depth of faith when you allow Him to take the lead. Proverbs 4:18 describes the life progress of the one who trusts in and lives in a way that pleases the Lord:

The path of the just is like the shining sun,
That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

And that perfect day, when we see our Lord face to face, is coming. With that day in mind, determine to

Live for Jesus now, and live with Jesus forever!

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