Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lost Loved Ones?

This past Christmas, our family did something a little bit different. It was decided that we would buy one gift and then do a white elephant gift exchange. This is where someone picks a gift and then the next person can either pick a gift that has not been opened or steal someone's gift. I was not a fan of this idea, but since most others were, I went along with it.

I realized that this would be a perfect opportunity for me to do something I had wanted to do for a long time. I only had to buy one gift, but really wanted to get my siblings and parents something as well. So I went out and bought them each a devotional and a suitable bible. No one in my family attends church, nor is born again, so had I bought them bibles and devotionals as a Christmas gift in years past they would not have been impressed and probably disappointed. Since however, they were not expecting a gift this year, I figured they would at least appreciate the additional effort.

I was hoping that at some point in their lives, they would be led to pick up the bible and read it. Perhaps at a low point in their life, or at the birth of a new baby. I knew God could do a good work in the hearts of my family, and believed he was, I was just not as sure if they were ready or would ever be ready to surrender to that working.

So how shocked was I when my youngest sister called me a week or so ago, to tell me she had been reading the devotional and bible I got her and that she had some questions. I was astounded, and excited. She wanted to to know "what is it to YOU to be a Christian and then what is it to the bible, as far as stuff that is not suppose to be done or considered sinful" She also asked "So in your eyes in comparison to the bible is it a sin to have intimate relations before marriage - that's what I chose to give up for lent" This made me laugh but also overwhelmed me to see the way God was working in her heart.

A couple days later I got a Facebook message that she had gone to church on Sunday morning and then again in the evening, not realizing the evening service was a prayer meeting, which she said she really enjoyed. We talked some more and then she shared some of her journal entries. I asked her permission to share one with you today, because I think it is beautiful but more than that it is honest and real.

My devotional heading for today read " LIVE FOR CHRIST " I try to find meaning in today's reading but nothing jumps out at me. I put the book down feeling lonely, sad and then call my sister at 10:30pm who I was suppose to call at 6 but didn't. We talk a lot. I write down some of the things she says. She thinks I should read a book called THE SHACK by W.P Young and then she told me a story of how GOD spoke to her - going to look up the song Long Black Train. The only other thing that I wrote down that she said were these three words: Admit, Believe, Confess. I got off the phone with her and began to speak with GOD and came to the conclusion that I am not even ready to Admit that I can't live without HIM yet. I cried. I'm stubborn, and a control freak, and I'm not ready to relinquish control even though I want to. I tell HIM that I am on the path to trying even though the only thing standing in my way is me and my conflict within myself - My doubt or questioning. Due to crying I couldn't sleep so I picked up my book " God Knows My Name" The first thing I read was "Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord, your GOD, and cry out to the Lord" Joel 1:14. More tears flow as I think about my sister and the talk we just had. I read on "wake up you drunkards and weep!" drunkards suggests a self indulgent lifestyle pursued by those who value material things over spiritual. I then decide to begin writing and now you (my journal and GOD) have the first two pgs. on my journey to my ABC's

For some who may be shocked or even appalled that I suggested she read the Shack, I explained that it was fiction, and while not necessarily great theology, it painted a beautiful interpretation of the trinity, that she would appreciate and may help in understanding the persons of God.

I write today's post as an encouragement, for everyone who has friends and family who have not yet experienced God's saving grace. For those who pray and wait and pray some more that their loved one's would know in a personal and real way the love, grace and mercy of our Heavenly Father, keep Hope in your heart and Prayers on your lips. Never stop praying! More than the words you say, let them see your witness, of a life transformed, a life well lived. Know that God is at work and God's grace, the prevenient grace that draws all people, does not discriminate against anyone.

I also write this as a reminder to all of us who have been walking with the Lord for some time. May our hearts be as tender today as they were when we first heard His whisper. May we be authentic and honest, searching our hearts, eager to surrender any "sin" in our lives. May we be as bold and passionate today as we were when we first began this journey. May we remember that first love and may it invigorate us and spur us on to great things for God's glory.

There is much more to this story, God continues to work in amazing ways in not only my youngest sisters heart but in each member of my family, and I am excited to share those stories with you as they unfold.

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