Oh Dear, the Departed

1 Timothy 4:1

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils….

I’ve heard this verse for years but never has it seemed more relevant than now.

The world is teaching us principles that are contrary to the word of God. Our children are being indoctrinated with the devil’s ideology. Many Christians are finding it easier to go with the flow than to take a stand for Christ.

Beware! You cannot depart from the faith and still remain a joint-heir with Christ. You cannot give heed to seducing spirits and retain the promise of eternal life.

Do not give in now. Do not become part of the great falling away just because it’s easier now.

Rest on the promises of God. Eternity is infinitely longer than our time on earth. Don’t lose your future with the Lord by bailing now.

Don’t depart from the faith….in your words, beliefs, or actions. Stand strong!

A Mother’s Love…times a billion

I love heart-to-heart conversations with my children. The older they get, the fewer and further between they become. They are, after all, young adults finding their own paths in this world.

Still, it’s a treat for a mom when one of her kids wants to just sit and share what’s on their mind. For me, it rarely happens on the phone but often does when we are together in person.

My middle daughter is a prime example.

She won’t reach out by phone but the conversations we have when I visit are deep and meaningful. They often end with her wondering why she didn’t come to me sooner.

Quite simply, I always understand. I made her; she’s a part of me. And my love for her holds no condemnation, no matter what the circumstances.

I wonder why she would even doubt that.

*************************************

Lately, I’ve been going through some trials. Some annoying (a floor that is in a perpetual state of being refinished), some frustrating (a car that took its last breath), and some scary (a needed surgery I can’t afford).

I’ve done my best to practice everything I’ve preached. Be patient; the floor won’t be like this forever. Be grateful; my husband has a new truck and doesn’t mind driving me anywhere I need to go. Have faith; the Lord can provide the money needed for surgery or heal it to where I don’t even need surgery.

But sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and I retreat into a world of fiction in books and television shows. The more I escape, the less I talk to the Lord. Then I become ashamed and retreat even more.

I found myself in this very place a couple of weeks ago. It had been several days since I’d prayed and I was scared. What will He say to me? Does He hate me? Is he disappointed in me?

I approached Him with great trepidation.

I ended the conversation with great relief.

It hadn’t been a one-sided conversation. I listened to the words He spoke deep within my heart. Words full of love and understanding. Words that made feel loved and understood. Words that soothed my troubled soul.

Why didn’t I do that sooner? What was I so afraid of? When has He ever not understood?

All of a sudden, I thought about my daughter. I’m just like her, I thought. When will I learn?

I understand a mother’s love. I’ve been a mother for over half my life.

It’s time I started realizing that the Father’s love is even greater.

For I Know the Plans I Have for You…

Of all the verses Christians like to stand on, this is a big one. And it IS a great verse, filled with hope and encouragement. However, it’s also one that people often take out of context.

Think of the word of God like a big buffet. Ideally, you’d go down the line selecting a little bit of it all. But if you’re like me, you end up with a lot of meat, some bread, and a dinner plate of dessert. Not very healthy, I’ll admit. But why would I fill up on vegetables when there’s much more appealing foods to choose from?

Unfortunately, we tend to do that with the Word of God as well. We quote verses like God’s plans are for me to prosper without taking the verses in full context. Jeremiah 29 says:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

This promise of God, His plans for you are when you diligently seek Him. He rewards His faithful children.

It is true that it is His wish that none of us perish. He wants to see everyone thrive and prosper and have eternal life. But you cannot be an heir of God unless you accept Jesus. Unless you seek Him with all of your heart.

This reminds me a little of my son in elementary school. He loved school, he loved his teachers, and he loved playing with his friends. He just hated doing schoolwork. If they gave grades for PE and Recess only, he’d have been a Straight-A student.

But they don’t. So every 6 weeks, post-assembly, he’d be upset as his sisters carried home ribbons and restaurant coupons for Honor Roll awards as he remained empty-handed.

“You can’t get the prize without doing the work,” we’d tell him. As a mom, my heart would break for him. As a teacher, though, I was a little indignant. I had my own students that wanted the same rewards as those who’d done their homework and class assignments, as well as studied for tests. This wasn’t about not being a good test-taker or having difficulty, this was about effort.

We have a society full of people with that same childlike mentality today. They want the benefits of Christ without any effort. They want God’s rewards for their life as they execute their own plans.

Sometimes I shudder to think what I’ll see when I see His Master Blueprint for my life. I’ve made peace with the years I strayed from Him but even now, as my entire life is devoted to ministry, I wonder how many times I miss the mark. How often do I end up seeking my own plans and not His? I am comforted by the fact that He would rather I do SOMETHING than nothing (Revelation 3:16) but I’d much rather know that I’m following His Blueprint for my life and not my own.

He does have big plans for you, for all of us. The question is, are you putting forth the effort to receive the rewards?