Saturday, March 31

Pick Up Your Cross

Maybe I should rename this blog The Elisabeth Elliot Herald or something similar because I find myself posting her devotions over and over. She is so wise and practical, and I find myself drawn closer to the Lord when I read her words. So here is another great article of hers that was timely for me, as usual.

Pick Up Your Cross

Jesus invites us to be his disciples. If we choose to accept his loving invitation, we must understand that there are certain conditions to be fulfilled. One of them is a willingness to accept the cross. Is this a once-for-all taking up of one particular burden? I don't think so. It seems to me that my "cross" is each particular occasion when I am given the chance to "die"--that is, to offer up my own will whenever it crosses Christ's. This happens very often. A disagreement with my husband can cause an argument and harsh words, even if the matter is ridiculously small--"When are you going to get that dashboard light fixed in the car?" I have already mentioned the light three times. It may be time to keep my mouth shut, but I don't want to keep my mouth shut. Here, then, is a chance to die. A decision which affects both of us may be a fairly big one, but we find ourselves on two sides of the fence. One of us, then, must "die." It is never easy for me. Shall I make excuses for myself (that's the way I am; it's my personality; it's the way I was raised; I'm tired; I can't hack it; it doesn't turn me on; you don't understand)--or shall I pick up this cross?

Perhaps my illustration seems to trivialize the cross of Christ. His was so unimaginably greater. What cross could I possibly take up which would be analogous? Just here is the lesson for me: when Jesus took up his cross, He was saying yes with all his being to the will of the Father. If I am unwilling to say yes in even a very little thing, how shall I accept a more painful thing? What sort of practice does it take for a disciple to learn to follow the Crucified? A friend hurts us, a plan goes awry, an effort fails--small things indeed. But then cancer strikes, a daughter marries unwisely, a business folds, a wife abandons her home and family. The call still comes to us: Take up your cross and come with Me. With You, Lord? Yes, with Me. Will You give me strength and show me the way? That was my promise--is it my custom to break promises?

Friday, March 30

Our First Geocache

I heard about geocaching several years ago and immediately knew I wanted to try it some day. It's been rolling around in the back of my mind, and a couple weeks ago my hubby bought a used GPS from a coworker for $15 and gave it to me. I researched some local caches and was surprised to find two right in our own little city! We loaded the coordinates into the GPS and headed off to see if we could find them today. The first one was very easy (the description gave it away a bit), but we were still excited to find our very first one. It was only a log to sign, so the kids weren't too excited about it yet. We signed the log, took some pictures, and then went and looked for three more. We found a total of three, but got skunked on the last cache of the day.

We love to hike and enjoy our local area, so this adds an extra dimension to the "great outdoors." We even discovered a couple of trails we didn't know existed, one which we will have to hike again soon because we didn't find the geocache and have to look again. So if you're looking for some clean, inexpensive family fun, you might consider geocaching! But be warned, it's not as easy as it seems at first!

Wednesday, March 7

Growing through Affliction

Recently, I have had so many posts in my head that I've wanted to write, but our circumstances at present have just not afforded me the free time I need to do so. During the last several weeks God has been teaching me much about grace and love and obedience and walking by the Spirit. I still have much to learn, but I am grateful for how He has been using some difficult circumstances to draw me closer to Himself and to help me more effectively put into practice what I say I believe.

Elisabeth Elliot defines suffering as "having what you do not want or wanting what you do not have." On the continuum of suffering, my portion is miniscule, but like everyone else, I would prefer to be comfortable and free from all suffering. My flesh rails against the chaos, turmoil and unpredictability that has been our lives the last couple of months. It's not in me naturally to be calm and joyful in the midst of confusion and bedlam; I need His supernatural power. So like the psalmist, I am learning that I can thankfully say

It is good for me that I was afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)

In the past I have encountered trials that I have fought against, sulked over, despaired under and questioned God about only to come through them thanking God for having allowed them in my life for His glory and my refining. By His grace and mercy, this time around I am choosing to thank Him on the front end for this small portion of affliction and to allow Him to do with it what He will in my life and the lives of those around me.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Praying Scripture

I have been praying lately for some people but finding that I really don't know how or what to pray for them. So I was grateful for this morning's devotion from Elisabeth Elliot; it was timely and wise, as usual.

Power to Meet and to Give Thanks

Often I pray for someone whose circumstances or needs are unknown to me. There are many prayers in Paul's letters which may be used for almost anyone. One of my favorites is in Colossians 1:9-12. A part of this prayer asks "May He strengthen you, in His glorious might, with ample power to meet whatever comes with fortitude, patience and joy, and to give thanks to the Father" (NEB).

That seems to cover every possibility. It does not ask for instant solutions or reversals. It does not call on God for miraculous deliverance out of any trouble that might come. It asks for a truly Christian response, by the sufficient power of God: to meet whatever comes as a true Christian should meet it, with the Holy Spirit's gifts of fortitude, patience, and joy. It asks for the power to give thanks. It takes power, doesn't it, to thank the Father when everything in us protests? But we find in Him (not always in what happens to us) plenty of reason to thank Him and plenty of power.


designer : anniebluesky : blogu