Wednesday, March 28, 2012

One Moment

Having lived in Pennsylvania for 4 years it was not hard to understand the outpouring of strong emotions that surrounded the firing and death of Joe Paterno. Regardless of where you stand on the issue one fact cannot be disputed. For 60 years he dedicated his life to preparing men for theirs. Whether that was on the football field, the board room or being a dad, he expected excellence from their lives. Sadly, for some, his life will only be defined by one moment.

There are many who the public remembers for their one moment Pete Rose, Tonya Harding, Martha Stewart, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert. Though these individuals have moved beyond their infamous moments, when their names come up they are remembered only for their moments of poor judgment. Everything else in their lives are overshadowed.

We often do the same thing to those around us. While we love the testimony of the ex-gang member who was in prison for murder, who found Christ and is now and evangelist, we tend to look at the lives of those we consider “good” people and remember them only for their lapse in judgment.

Psalms 130:3 “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” The Creator of heaven and earth, who sent His own Son to die in our place, keeps no records of our wrongs, but we can’t seem to forget. We refer to each other as the girl who got into trouble, the man who cheated on his wife, the executive who stole from his company or the woman who lies.

Our moments should not define us. Each of us should view others in the light of grace. One of my favorite gospel songs says:
I'm just a sinner saved by grace
When I stood condemned to death
He took my place
Now I live and breathe in freedom with each breath of life I take
Loved and forgiven
Back with the living
I'm just a sinner saved by grace.

In my own life there are many moments I hope go completely undetected by others. Moments of anger, hatred, jealousy, rage. When these moments come I find myself deeply ashamed. Yet, even if no one on earth sees these moments my Savior does. 

He does not define my life by these moments so how can I define others by theirs?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

As Comfortable As Our Favorite Jeans

Proverbs, the  book of wisdom, guides us through wisdom in all parts of our lives. Proverbs 31:10-31 is the summary of all the wisdom in the book of Proverbs. We get to see what wisdom looks like in everyday life. Wisdom personified. Wisdom in dealing with people we encounter. Wisdom in handling our resources.

When we apply wisdom to our lives our children trust us. Our coworkers find us dependable. The cashier at the grocery store knows we are honest. Our friends depend on our counsel. Fellow Christians know we are sincere. Our reputation gives credence to those who associate with us. Our spouses have confidence in us.

Wisdom gives us a chance to live a life without regret. When we use wisdom we do not have to apologize for words said in haste. We don’t spend  time regretting decisions made in moments of weakness. When wisdom is part of our lives we boldly stand before others knowing that we have nothing to hide.

In our busy lives wisdom allows us to be our best. When we are our best we allows those around us to be their best. Wisdom allows our children to call us blessed. Wisdom lived out in our lives give us value greater than rubies. While we may age and lose our physical beauty, wisdom shines from us and makes us beautiful. Wisdom, when applied to our lives, should fit as comfortably as our favorite pair of blue jeans.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Roaring Lions

In 2007 my husband and I toured the Field Museum in Chicago, IL. We went for the purpose of seeing Sue the most complete T-Rex ever found. After spending some time with Sue we spent the remainder of our afternoon touring the rest of the museum. It was during the tour that we came across the exhibit of The Ghost and The Darkness.

In March of 1898, as Indian workers constructed the Kenya-Uganda railway bridge than spanned the Tsavo River in Kenya, they were stalked and eaten by two maneless Tsavo lions. The railway workers  tried everything to prevent the lions from dragging their fellow workers out of their tents and into the night. They set up guards, the lions just attacked them. They tried ringing their campsite with a fence of thorn bushes and bonfires. The lions dug through the bushes dragging the screaming worker into the night.

After several months of living in fear the workers fled the project. Lt. Colonel John Patterson set traps and tried unsuccessfully to capture the lions. After several months the first lion was shot on December 9, 1898. The second lion was killed 3 weeks later. The lions are attributed to the deaths of between 35 and 135 men. When the lion’s den was found it contained the skeletal remains of some of the victims.

In I Peter 5:8 we are told to Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Our enemy is just like these lions. We try to set up protection and he charges through seeking out our weaknesses. We have, in our culture, diminished the devil and his intents. We have made him a cartoon figure. Someone who appears on one shoulder when we are tempted. Someone whom is more mischievous than evil. Many movies have portrayed him as the seductive temptress or the scheming old man. But we should not fall prey to these images. The bible is clear Satan is a roaring lion seeking the utter destruction of your soul.

Think for a minute of the early church receiving this letter from Peter. Many may have witnessed friends or family members being devoured by the lions in the coliseum. If they had not seen it firsthand they certainly knew what was happening. And here Peter is telling them that the enemy of our souls wants to do the same thing.

In John 10:10 we are told that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I (Christ) have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Again we are told that our enemy has one purpose: destruction. Fortunately for us we already have a skilled hunter of lions on our side. While we may fall into the temptations of Satan our souls cannot be destroyed by him as long as we have Christ as our Savior.
Our war with the enemy has already been won. We may still have the occasional battle. Satan knows he has lost. He is just trying to take out as many as he can. But do not be afraid. We serve a master Lion Hunter and he has his prey in sight.