Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Perfect Patience Working In Me

by Rebecca Buchholz

"Consider it all joy, my brothers, whenever you encounter various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4

I like watching baseball and, being from Chicago, I have two great teams to choose from. I am probably one of the few Chicagoans who is a fan of both the White Sox’s and Cubs. I don’t really care, as long as I’m watching Chicago baseball. As much as I love my Chicago teams, I do have to admit; sometimes its painful to watch them play. Yelling at the T.V. over a bad catch, making gestures over a foul ball misplayed and other dramatic behavior over some bad baseball skills often erupt over the television set as a result. Watching Chicago baseball can flat out hurt, but at the end of the game, I know that all I can really do is watch. I can’t play baseball to save my life.

I used to nanny for my youth pastor’s family. All four of his children, between the ages of 4 and 12, could play twice as good as I. I can't go down to the field and kick-out the batter or pitcher who I felt was particularly horrible last game to take over his spot. All I can do is watch, faithfully turn the next game on and hope they'll do better today. 2010's the year!

Recently, I've been watching some dear friends go through their own issues, while God has been giving me a short rest from my own. I have discovered that watching my friends go through life’s trials can sometimes be twice as hard as watching any Chicago baseball game. I see something bad happening. I know just what to do. "I" know just how to deal with the problem. If it’s someone who I really care about it’s even worse. Not only can I empathize with them, I do. I get upset just knowing that they hurt. I want to rush in and “fix” it before things get worse, but it’s not my job.

God brings specific trials and tribulations into people’s lives. James 1:2-4 indicates that God brings certain situations and problems into our lives to test us and make us ready for anything. As much as I want to be their pinch hitter, I have to consider that stepping in for them might end up hurting them in the long run. Even worse, I’m meddling with God’s plans!

This not only goes for times when you see the trial coming, but during and after the trial as well. Sometimes the after math, the way the person deals with the results of the trial, is more important than the trial itself. Once again though, it’s not our job to fix it. It’s not our job to mess with the process. They have to go through sorting themselves out and dealing with the hurt in the way God needs for them to. It’s their own. Our job, as their spiritual family, is to come along side them, encourage them and help them keep their eyes on our Lord & Savior. Jesus is the One to get them through whatever and make them stronger, not us.

While I was thinking about this, in context of a friend who's having a tough time, I began to listen to Matthew West’s song “If You Ever Need Me”. The song so perfectly mirrors how I feel towards this friend but also how God had been feeling about me during my last trial. It’s definitely worth a listen. Maybe you might even know someone who needs to hear it too.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Simplifying the A.B.C.D.E. & F's

Over the years I've learned a thing or two about the process of going through a struggle, the a.b.c.d.e. & f's. Here it is in a nutshell. Never mind the word "nutshell" right now. I could take that word in so many directions in relation to this topic....lol. For now, I'll be nice and leave it to the meaning of summary.

Here's the order of what typically happens when something goes wrong/against our plans. We tend to ..a) freak out ..b) eventually get to talking to God about it ..c) eventually listen to what He says to us in our hearts and in His Word ..d) regroup and move forward ..e) can't believe we almost let one insignificant thing or issue knock us off course ..f) tell others about the time God lead us through something that seemed so _______ and ended up being a testimony to His love and power.

What's right and wrong with this picture? Do I have to say? Some other time, I'll go into the details of what's wrong and right. For now, I'll just break it down in the simplest form. I just started a college 'beginning algebra' course. Within the first lesson of the course, we're going over "simplifying numerical radical expressions". Reality just set in as I typed that mathematical term. "Simplifying", square roots in particular, has been a headache...lol. I'm learning though. I think I am. Aaaaaagggghhhhhh...lol. Too funny!

Anyway, here's how you simplify the a.b.c.d.e. & f's. Mess up or be messed up, turn to Him, listen to Him, do what He says, move forward. Shake it off and move forward. Of course the easiest way to deal with life is to just turn to Him before things go south. We should all practice doing that before we get to "a".

Any alphabetical wizards reading this? What comes before "a"? Is it possible to start with "b"? Should we, should I just move the Lord to where the "a" is? The Word does say He's the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 22:13). Isn't it about time we all just made Him that in our lives? Isn't that what making Him Lord is suppose to accomplish in us?...making Him the first and the last, the "a" and the "z"? If we just did that, I bet it would simplify everything.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Romans 6...Alive In Christ

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed, for the end of those things is death? But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."