Thursday, July 24, 2014

What Will It Take?

I don't usually enjoy documentaries, but yesterday I decided to watch one on the hunt for Noah's Ark.  Obviously, it was not portrayed from a Christian standpoint, and while the producers tried to sound neutral in their beliefs, it was quite evident that they did not believe in the existence of Noah's ark.  They treated it as a myth, legend or simple story.  Still, the facts about some of the different "ark hunters" were fascinating, and I found myself intrigued by the information.

What intrigued me the most, however, was the determination of some of the "experts" to contradict all the findings that indicated that Noah's ark did, in fact, exist.  When one explorer found a piece of petrified wood that matched the wood recorded in the book of Genesis, he had it dated and discovered that the dates also matched up.  However, when the wood was exposed to carbon dating, the facts no longer matched.  Another explorer found a shape that resembled the ark, and after taking precise measurements and performing a multitude of tests, proclaimed it to be the ark of Noah.  Still, the scientists found fault with the theory.  A third explorer is still searching the mountains of Ararat for Noah's ark, but the local trail guide seemed unimpressed.  Her statement was something to this effect, "He honestly believes that Noah's ark is out there.  He's even tried to convert me several times, asking me wouldn't I give my heart to Jesus.  He's trying to make a believer out of me.  So, I told him, 'If you can show me Noah's ark, then I'll believe.'"

Really?  A team of Christians from China discovered what they believed to be Noah's ark, packed tightly under some glaciers.  After clearing an opening in the ice, part of the crew went down into the cavern and filmed their discovery.  The film shows them walking through a large wooden structure that was divided into rooms.  The details found within match up with the Genesis record exactly.  But since the Chinese refused to disclose the exact location of their discovery, their video was considered a hoax.

It seems to me like the world is screaming for proof that the Bible is true, yet when the evidence is given, they deny it and use "other science" to disprove it.  So the question is, do they really want to know?  I think not.  But an even greater question is this:  What will it take for them to believe?  Another world catastrophe?  The death of a loved one?  The rapture?

I'm reminded of King Agrippa in Acts 26:28:  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.  Almost, but not quite.  It was as if Agrippa took the same stance as the trail guide at Ararat--"You show me what I consider proof, then I'll believe."  But will they?  The fact of the matter is that one day, everyone will believe.  Unfortunately, it will be too late for so many.

If you haven't made the decision to accept Christ's gift of salvation, I beg of you, don't wait another day.  Give Him your heart today.  Believe in His great love and sacrifice for you.  Surrender your life and your all to Him.  Don't wait for more proof.  Faith isn't about proof.  It's about accepting the unexplainable.  It is believing in the unseen.  You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.  Don't be an Agrippa.  Accept Christ as the Lord of your life today!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Hate It When That Happens!

Sunday was, well, an interesting day.  Sunday morning was the usual.  Hurry up and get ready.  Pack up the car, making sure I have everything I need for the church slideshow, my Sunday School lesson, the offertory, special music and so on.  Then off to church, and the rush continues.  Set up.  Play the piano.  Teach Sunday School.  Get to choir practice (although I actually missed this step).  Play the piano again.  Sing for special music.  Breathe.  Okay, so you get the drift.  Sundays are special, but they're also busy.

Jason's parents took us out for lunch, and after that, we dropped off some food for a family in our church that is going through some difficult times.  While there, Jason also did some repair work on their only vehicle, and by the time we finished there, it was less than two hours before choir practice.  From that location, it would have taken us thirty minutes to get home and then another thirty to drive back to church, so we thought it would be best to simply drive back to church and get some work done there.  This was fine, but by the time church began, my back was killing me.  I would like to believe that this was the cause of the attitude that came on, but I fear it was not.

On two separate occasions before church began, two different people complimented me in such a way that my head grew about two sizes.  By the time church started, my back was throbbing but I felt very good about myself and my abilities.  A little too good, it would seem.  Proverbs 16:18 tells us,  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  Pride had found a home, and unfortunately, the destruction and fall followed promptly on its heels.

As I was wrapping up my evening offertory, I realized that I had not prepared anything for the children's offering which immediately follows the regular offering.  The guitarist usually plays for that, but he was out of town, and I hadn't even thought about it.  So, I finished my offertory and flipped through my book for something light and upbeat.  Finding the perfect song, I pulled the music from the sheet protector (it's printed horizontally instead of vertically) and placed the two pages on the music stand.  As I neared the end of the second page, I realized that the song continued on the third page--the third page that was still in the sheet protector in the book that lay on top of the piano.  My mind rushed about, trying to figure out how to devise my own ending and finish the song.  The children were finished and returning with their baskets, so I needed to end.  I struck a chord and grimaced.  Wrong chord.  Flustered, I looked for a place to pick up the melody and salvage what was left of the piece.  It was as if my hands took on a life of their own.  Despite my willingness, they continued to beat out one wrong chord after another.  I willed them to stop.  I begged them to simply quit playing, but noooooooo!  They continued.  Until finally finding the ending chord of the song. 

I let out a breath and shook my head, and the entire church erupted in laughter.  The pastor looked at me and asked, "Was that a new ending?"  Mortified and trying to refrain from bursting into tears of embarrassment, I replied, "Yeah, I made that up myself.  Do you like it?"  From there, I hurried to my pew and tried to regain my composure.  It didn't happen!

Here, some kind people had tried to give me a word of encouragement, but I had translated it into, "Wow, I sure do have it all together.  Look at me."  Well, everyone was looking at me, and you know, it wasn't all that I thought it would be.  I guess I deserved a good dose of humble pie, and let me tell you, it wasn't tasty.

If I could leave you with one word of advice today, it would be this:  keep your pride in check.  No, we shouldn't be negative about ourselves and forever putting ourselves down.  There is a healthy level of self-respect, but keeping that balance can be a tricky thing, especially when people are telling you how great you are.  What I failed to do yesterday was to remember that whatever I am, I am because of God's grace.  It is He that works in and through me, and I can't take credit for any of that.  Please don't make the same mistake I made.  You may find yourself the center of attention, but like me, you may discover that the position is not all that it's cracked up to be.

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. - Galatians 6:3

Monday, July 21, 2014

Something Worth Singing About

A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song. - Maya Angelou

When I stumbled across this quote the other day, all I could do was read it over and over again.  Since that day, I've not been able to shake the thought from my mind.   It has blessed me, convicted me, bewildered me and encouraged me.

Sometimes in this life, I feel imprisoned by doubts and plagued by uncertainties.  I often bring my burdens to the Lord in the form of questions.  "Lord, how is this going to work out?"  "Lord, why is this happening?"  "Lord, what should I do now?"  "Lord, how am I supposed to pay the bills?"  "Lord, why can't I have what others have?"  "Lord, when will my work bring forth the fruits I desire to see?"  When?  Why?  How?  Where?  What?  Yes, life is full of so many questions.

And often, I convince myself that my happiness depends on having the answer to all my questions.  I tell myself that I would truly be content if only I knew the "hows" and "wheres" of my life's journey.  I don't know about you, but things seem easier when I know the plan.  I like to have a plan.  I'm not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of girl.  No, I like blueprints, outlines and note cards.  I find security in knowing what to expect and what to be ready for.  And when life doesn't cooperate, I find myself in a pity party that would put Eeyore to shame.

But I'm so thankful for a patient God, who, in the midst of my most recent pity party, took the time to remind me that I have a reason to sing.  No, I may not know all the answers, but I know the One who does.  And that, my friend, is worth singing about!

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. - Psalm 42:8

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sound the Horn!

Some things just strike me as hilarious, causing me to burst into laughter, usually much more laughter than what the situation merits.  One such occasion took place several mornings ago as I was walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  It is customary for those who are passing to let their presence be known by shouting out, "Passing on the left" or signaling the person they are trying to pass by horn, bell or whatever method is available.  When the trail first opened, everyone seemed to be really good about following this unwritten rule.  As time has passed, however, many have gotten lax, especially some of the bicyclists.  And let me tell you, there's nothing like having a bicycle come up behind you and zip past you at lightning speed, especially since some of those newer bikes make no sound.  There have been several times I nearly wet my pants because of some inconsiderate bicyclists zooming past me without any warning.  Not nice!  So much for a calming walk!

Anyway, on this particular morning, I was walking along, listening to the two men chattering behind me.  I could tell from the way they were shouting at one another and from the speed at which they were closing the distance between us that they were on bicycles.  I didn't need to turn around and look.  The closer they came, the louder their voices rang out.  At one point I was thinking, Good grief, dude!  Is it really necessary to shout like that.  But on the heels of that thought, everything went quiet.  Before I could enjoy the peace, the silence was broken by the most pathetic little bicycle horn I've ever heard.  Beep, beep.  The poor thing sounded like a goose with a head cold.  I couldn't help myself.  I just burst out laughing, as the two men passed me, looking over their shoulders and probably wondering if I was some kind of lunatic. (They might have a point.)

I didn't mean to laugh, but the sound of that horn was just so hilarious.  Add to that the fact that the one man felt the need to signal me after how they had been shouting at one another.  The whole thing just struck a chord in my funny bone, and try as I might, I couldn't pull myself together.  In fact, I was still smiling when I got home.  What a great way to start the day!

But you know what?  One day another horn will sound, only this one won't be pathetic.  It will be loud and majestic.  It will ring out across the entire globe and signal the return of Jesus Christ.  But on that day, only some will be laughing.  Those of us who are saved will be basking in the love of Jesus and enjoying merriment like we've never know before as we're whisked away from this earth and pulled into Heaven's embrace.  As for the rest of the world, there will be total chaos and confusion.  What happened?  Where did all those people go?  For you see, they didn't hear the trumpet.  They weren't ready.  They hadn't readied their ears, but more than that, they hadn't readied their hearts.  Jesus came, and they were left behind.

My dear friends, if you have not asked Jesus into your heart and life, I plead with you to do so today.  Don't put it off.  Don't wait for another day.  Prepare your ears to hear the trump of God.  Prepare your heart by receiving Christ's gift of salvation.  Please don't be left behind.  I guarantee you, it's no laughing matter.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. - I Thessalonians 4:16-17