Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Here I Go Again..... on My Own?"

"An' here I go again on my own
Goin' down the only road I've ever known,
Like a drifter I was born to walk alone
An' I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time.
Here i go again. "

If you have never heard this song....well you must've missed the 80's! I recommend going to YouTube and looking for it....I hate to think anyone missed 80's bands!

Yes that's right. I'm discussing White Snake in my blog. Just listen to those words....all the more effective with David Coverdale (lead singer) belting them out.
Why else would this song be such a huge hit and still so well remembered 20 years later? (Wait a minute...20 years later??? Oh my goodness. I guess it's actually 25 years!!! This blast from the past just momentarily made me feel like a time traveler or something. Wow!)
Back to the question. I think the better question may be, "Who CAN'T identify with this song??" We've all been "just another heart in need of rescue" lol! I know we have all, at some point, been the ones "searching for an answer".

I'm pretty sure it's a rule....you can't NOT like the song. Still today, 25 years later, it gets stuck in my head periodically. I know, I know. Enough of the blast from the past....Make your point.

So here's the thing:
While the song is (obviously) awesome, and while it does give mention to calling on the Lord for help....I wouldn't say it was written with the same intention as say, King David, would've written one of his sonnets! :) Yet, there are times that we can certainly feel the pain of White Snake here in this song.

In a way, this may actually be a follow up to my last post. If you read my very first blog, you are probably thinking at this point that I should've named it, "Robin's Ramblings" after all!:)

Almost every time I pull up my homepage here lately, there's more mention, perpetuation, and acceptance of the deception out there that we couldn't possibly have a Creator. As I mentioned before, I understand their doubt as one who has been through the questioning period myself. Many exercise faith and don't call it that.....it's faith in themselves, faith in man and faith in science. Many others take Darwin's approach and say, "I wouldn't say I'm an athiest, I'd rather be called an agnostic". Which, in my opinion, basically makes them, while incredibly smart, also incredibly confused as they don't believe He can be proved or disproved. And THAT makes me sad. But, I'm not going to re-write the entire previous blog. (You're welcome.) :)
The thing is, after looking at the multitude of unbelievers out there,
how can we possibly explain to them how it is we believe....so they will too?? We're at deadlock. They think we're ridiculous and gullible and we feel the same about them.

I've come to the conclusion that, many times, we look at it the wrong way and therefore, go about it wrong or maybe even take it personally. It's not something an unbeliever can understand. There is no need in trying to MAKE everyone believe with our arguments over creation Vs big bang or any other theory. That tends to lead to walls being put up. We would also do well to remember, we don't have to be "right"...Its not about us. And let's face it...we don't have all the answers and i'm pretty sure we will never know fully all the mysteries of God. Instead, why don't we just live the thing out. However small or big our understanding is right now...let's live....it....out. Why don't we just commit to simple obedience? Committing our hearts and lives to whatever He impresses upon us; Commit to trusting Him, even if it's at face value at first, so to speak (Not sure but this may be what He meant by "faith as small as a mustard seed").

Because, I can testify that He is faithful to the least bit of obedience from a heart that is turned back to Him.  It's not that we become perfect...still far from it...but, there begins to be a change in us that essentially....well, completely changes us.  I assure you, a person who has the Holy Spirit flowing freely will look different than the rest of the world. They should.
Lets look at one instance where He referenced the lowly mustard seed:

Matthew 17:16-20
And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

When the Holy Spirit is allowed to reign in our hearts and lives, we no longer have to rely on arguments of our own. He is able to do what we could not possibly do. From the simpleness of much needed restraint to  the building of a church to reaching the hardest of hearts. I'll give you a recent example from my own experience that I attribute solely to the intervention of the Holy Spirit!:

It was one of those days. My patience was wearing thin and my voice had steadily gotten louder as the evening progressed. We were all at the table eating a late supper. It was nearing bedtime and my disposition showed it. Jude had just "mommy'd" me to death that day. "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy....and on and on". At the table, I was trying to converse with Steve and the boys while Jude insisted on being in the conversation, too..... "Mommy, mommy, hey mommy, mommy!" I said, not in a very inside/at the table voice, "Jude, you have GOT to be quiet!!", and I went back to trying to listen to the others and eat. Jude sat there for a few seconds quietly....got down, came over to me, started tapping me on the arm, put her little hand up to her mouth, and whispered, "psstttt, mommy....pppsstttt, mommy....hey mommy". I just put my head in my hands and, in a bit of a response that shocked me, burst out laughing. Typically, that would've been the point my nerves would be completely frayed and well....it wouldn't have been pretty. I'm pretty sure the Lord heard the prayers I'd been muttering under my breath that evening. Not only did He offer the restraint to not respond in a way I would feel bad about later, but He replaced that frustration with laughter.
I know the change in response won't seem profound to many reading this. But, it was to me and I am pretty sure it was to all at the table, too!
Peter talks about these changes as fruits of the Spirit and even says they are the assurance of our very salvation.

2 Peter 1:3-15
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self- control, and self- control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

I've alway been one to love and be moved by music. But, even though not set to music, these words move me.
Peter is saying: don't stop with a profession of faith....to your faith..add virtue, to your virtue..add knowledge, to your knowledge..practice self control, to self control..learn to be steadfast under trials, to steadfastness..add godliness, to godliness..add brotherly affection, to brotherly affection..LOVE.

He's saying we should look different. We should BE different and that when those things are present and increasing, not only do they confirm our calling to others, but they assure us of our inheritance to the kingdom of God. And all of those things are essentially fruits of the Spirit, the Spirit that is flowing in the life of a believer. From the simple, daily aspects of life to the life-changing circumstances:

When we would ordinary lose it with someone, and we don't;
When we would normally worry, and we don't;
When we would not normally dream of doing that, but we do;
When we say something that we never would've said, but somehow our mouths open and the words come out;

When we open our mouth to speak (or our pen to write), and something comes out that we weren't even thinking;
When we pick up our feet (or our family) and go where we would've never even wanted to go;

It's not just those things....but the peace in those things...that is OUR confirmation of God's presence. That's a benefit only believers receive. It's not only the assurance of the variables in our present circumstance, it's the very assurance of our salvation.

I have to tell you, as mothers, we need Him. I need His assurance. I need Him to overpower me more and more. I need His direction, His peace, and I most definitely need His restraint. But, I also need to remember that others desperately need Him, too.

We live in a sad, fallen world. When we read the news, look at the government, and even the people around us, without the Holy Spirit, it would be easy to feel as though we're walking alone. Sometimes after reading the news or even Facebook I just want to scream, "Is there no one who fears the Lord?" and we can easily revert to "woe is me, I am alone" blah blah blah.

Contrary to the song I love, we were not "born to walk alone". If we are a believer in Christ, we are not alone. He is ever present. The issue becomes whether or not we make any effort to seek Him in our daily lives. And, as a bit of a side-note, He also instituted the Church. By His design, we are suppose to be plugged in so we can grow and help others grow. So we can share in joy, sufferings and accountability. So we won't be alone!! Often times, as an added benefit, it's in the lives of others that we see His power that grows and changes us, too. As I heard Priscilla Shirer say once, "it's like eavesdropping on the mercies of God". I firmly believe we are suppose to be involved in a local body of Christ....but I will have to save that for another blog.

I do love that line "I've made up my mind...I ain't wastin no more time".
We could waste a lot of time spinning wheels, arguing to be right with an increasingly unbelieving world, or even in our churches.  We waste a lot of time calling ourselves believers but showing no fruit. Now, I know I won't be called on by scholars to write a commentary on this....but this is my theory.....We don't show fruit because we don't really trust. We haven't fully committed OUR lives to the will of this God we say loves us and created us. Then, we wonder why no one believes us, why nonbeliever don't "get it".
I think that's the conclusion I came to several years ago, by the grace of God, that we're just blowing a lot of smoke and greying the issue a lot of the time. And I don't know about you, but, "I ain't wastin' no more time".

So, what does that mean for us? I hate using sales type analogies but.... would you spend money on a costly medicine that the doctor says would make you all better.....but the doctor is walking around with essentially the same ailments and it didn't seem to work for him?
No. Well, belief in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is costly in today's terms. Most people ain't buyin' without the product being successfully tested on others.

Yes, being a believer is costly in today's world. There will be more and more times we seem to stand out or walk alone. It's uncomfortable, even painful at times. But, when we allow Truth to take root (like the mustard seed) and allow His Spirit to rule in our lives, there is no greater comfort.....or results for that matter. And as Paul exuberantly declares, "the sufferings of this world don't compare to the glory that is being prepared for those who love Him and keep His commands." That's ultimately what we want for the unbelieving world around us. Not to know that we were right....but to know HIM!

So, I would suggest for those of us who call ourselves believers to stop wasting time (time that some may not have) and start living the thing. So that, through the Holy Spirit manifesting himself in a life surrendered in obedience, others may see and believe.

The wonderful thing is, in addition to the assurance of our salvation, which is priceless in and of itself, we find that we really are not alone. After all, that's why He created us...not to walk alone...but to walk with Him. In Genesis, He literally walked through the garden with Adam and Eve. That is, before the original deception and sin entered. Now, talk about a blast from the past! How great would that have been. Only, its not really lost. He may not physically walk on foot through our gardens, but He is still willing and waiting to speak to us, guide us, and be with us every step we make, anywhere we go.

I wrote 90% of this post, up to this point, early Sunday morning, before church. I had stopped at the reference to Genesis and God walking with them in the garden. I came out singing "And He walks with me and He talks with me....and He tells me I am His own..." I figured I would do a spell check later, maybe even post the song at the end and it would be ready.

So, we went to church where we had a wonderful worship service, then the preacher began his sermon titled, "A Time Without Hope". He began by saying that there was a time when the world was a beautiful, peaceful place; a time when God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, could we even imagine that, etc. (I knew then my post wasn't as done as I thought). Then he went on to Isaiah 59 where the question of "where are you God??" had been asked by many. There was so much oppression, so much injustice, no peace, no light, no salvation....no hope in sight.  God again, through Isaiah, told them it was because of their own perpetual sin and blatant disregard for Him that He would not hear them. As Pastor Shawn put it, "When they called to Him, their sin answered back ." But out of His own steadfast love, to those who would turn from their transgressions, He promised them a Redeemer.

That Redeemer would later come. Some would still reject Him. Some would believe and be saved and finally know peace, joy, and hope. He is still the same Redeemer today. If we want this dark, increasingly unbelieving world to believe and be changed, we who claim to be believers have to start, in the words of Paul to the Ephesians, "walking in a manner worthy of our calling".

Let's just have a little confession time here... We all do it... We all pick and choose what areas we "agree" with God on and we let Him into those, but mostly on our terms. When the issue really isn't what we "agree" on. (Not that it matters to Him if we agree or not.) What we're really saying is we don't BELIEVE God on that issue or trust Him in that circumstance. Therein lies our problem. If we aren't walking as believers ourselves, adhering to some scripture but not others, praising God in some circumstances while not proclaiming Him in others, how can we fault unbelievers for their doubt in a good and sovereign Creator and Redeemer? Truth is, for many of us who call ourselves disciples of Christ, we are still that "faithless and twisted generation" that can't accomplish what we are sent to accomplish because we ourselves have little faith. The Redeemer was and is Jesus Christ. He took on ALL of our sins. He became all that He hated in order to restore fellowship with us. He desires us that much. The only sin He can't and won't pardon is our sin of unbelief.

Just as we wouldn't waste a lot of energy on fake, superficial relationships, He doesn't honor unsubstantiated professions of faith. But, the mustard seed of genuine faith, He honors and grows. We do not have to walk alone. In fact, if we lived with genuine biblical faith like that of Abraham, David, the Apostles, etc,  I have a feeling many unbelievers would see and be convinced. Its not about "having all the answers" for an unbelieving, ungodly world. Its about Him revealing Himself TO us in our daily walk with Him and THROUGH us in the life of a heart changed by and filled with the Holy Spirit.
I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on roses
And the voice I hear falling
On my ear
the Son of God discloses

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own

And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

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