"How can we write the story if we don't know where we've come from?" Leonard Pitts recently ended a column with this question. Needless to say I started thinking about the number of times God stressed to the children of Israel "Remember Me!" When they forgot to "remember" they ended up going into captivity for 70 years. Then a mere 400 years later they were under Roman occupation, followed by a dispersion that lasted 2000 years. To over simplify, they forgot where they came from and repeated their mistakes because they did not "remember."
To remember is to be mindful and make mention of who we are and what has happened in our lives. The story I write is based on remembering the mercy that keeps me from receiving what I deserve and grace that does for me what I cannot do for myself. Repentance and forgiveness helps me to remember where I've come from. I remember I'm the captive He has set free! I am occupying until He comes by living an abundant life not being occupied with me, me! I'm firmly planted and in possession of God's promises not dispersed by the cares of this world. The chapters of my story have titles like, Hope Purified; Joy Complete and Love Perfected. As my story ends and He knocks on my life's door; I open it, He's smiling then says as only a dear friend can; "Remember Me!"
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I shudder to think I could hear Christ say, "Depart from Me, I know you not!" He didn't say; "You don't have enough faith," or "You didn't believe in Me." In Matthew 7 the Many remind Him that in His name they prophesied, cast out demons, performed many miracles. In Luke 13 the Many protest by saying; "We ate and drank in your presence; you taught in our streets!" He tells them "I never knew you... I do not know where you are from." The foolish virgins of Matthew 25 come unprepared and have to leave to buy oil. When they finally arrive at the wedding celebration He won't let them in and says; "Truly I say to you, I do not know you." So if doing all these things isn't knowing Him what is? I know faith without works is dead; so it's not going to work if I become so heavenly minded I'm no earthly good. How will He know me? It can't be just because of what I've done in His name, that I ate and drank with Him or was even invited to the wedding. The end of Matthew 25 gives me the answer I'm looking for; He will know me because when I saw He was hungry I fed Him, when He was thirsty gave Him something to drink, invited Him in when He was a stranger, clothed Him when naked and when He was sick visited Him. But the thing is I won't know I've done unto Him. If I'm rising to defend myself with "I did thus and so in your Name" then He doesn't know me. Because I respond with "but when did I ..." then He knows me. As a result the gate to the Wedding is thrown open when I arrive, His arms spread wide as He welcomes me with, "Truly, I know you!"
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
AARG! I hate unexpected annoyances! They come in the form of the vehicle breaking down, unwelcome company dropping by and/or a new washer acting up. The cliche of things happening in threes seems to ring true as I wait for the other shoe to drop. I'm vocal about my frustration, as the soul requires it, but then I wrestle with making the choice to continue to murmer, complain and wallow in these cares of this world. Or I can exercise free will and look at it as an opportunity to perfect the fruit of the Spirit, a much harder decision. After all I like feeling sorry for myself, why is this happening to me becomes my mantra. People express thier care and concern as I've made myself the center of attention, negating being Christlike in a world filled with much greater problems. Exercising free will helps me to make the word flesh by starting to think on "whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good report..' so that I can "be content in whatever circumstances I find myself in." My unexpected annoyances then becomes an opportunity to perfect the fruit of the spirit so that I can be "self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, patience, peace, joy and love" for the mechanic, unwelcome company and repairman. Perfecting fruit is not always easy, it goes against the grain of my human nature, but it will transform my AARG into thank-you Lord for ripening your fruit within me.