Have you ever heard this phrase before? "Let go, and let God." It means to let go of our lives, our desires, our ambitions, our plans, and let God have His way in us. My preacher spoke along these lines in last night's sermon. He was preaching from the passage of Scripture where the angel announces to Mary that she has been chosen to give birth to the Saviour of the world. Odd verses to use on Fathers' Day, right? But, Pastor Minge drew our attention to the verse which states, "For with God nothing shall be impossible." He emphasized the fact that the verse says "with God", not "to God." The Bible isn't saying that God finds nothing impossible; it's saying that we will find nothing impossible if we work with God. And, usually, that means readjusting our sights to focus on what God deems important, rather than our own petty, personal goals. Pastor Minge challenged us to imagine what we could accomplish for Christ if we let go the tight grasp we have on our lives and let God use us as He desires.
There is another verse in the Bible that compares our lives to a vapor that is here for a short while and then vanishes away, a puff of smoke that lingers for a few seconds and then is gone. We humans, because we are human, tend to live as if this is the only life we'll get. In a way, that's true; we should live each day, each moment, as if it were our last because it very well could be. But, as children of God, we are promised eternal life---a new life that lasts forever in Heaven with God Himself. We should be so willing to let God have control of us here on earth, to let Him direct us in the paths that He chooses, to carry out His will and His mission.........knowing that a life everlasting awaits us once our time here on earth is spent. And yet we clutch our dreams and desires to ourselves and refuse to give God full control. We give God part of our heart, part of our week, part of our attention while chasing rainbows and following our dreams. Oh, I believe God wants us to work hard at whatever job we have; I believe He wants us to be diligent and hard-working and good stewards of our employer's time and money. But we should not have making money or climbing the ladder of success as our goal. We should not sacrifice time spent serving God for time spent serving self. We should not take time away from gathering at the church house and hearing His Word preached in order to spend time at the lake or work a double shift because that will impress the boss. We should not forego soul-winning time just to go fishing or catch the early opening of a new store. God expects to make out our schedule, not take whatever time we have left each week.
This goes for our daily activities as well. Sermons on giving God your all tend to address only the "big" things: church, soul winning, tithing. But God wants each minute of each day. He wants us to want to get up early in order to spend time with Him in the morning before we start our day. He wants us to let Him control our tongues, not our own minds or---in a lot of cases---feelings. He wants us to talk with Him throughout the day, making sure we stay aligned with His wishes and His will at all times, from the time we awaken to the time we fall asleep. I believe it was Dr. John R. Rice who was approached by some young men once, telling him they had heard about his ability to pray and wanted to follow him around one day and witness this prayer in action. Dr. Rice agreed and allowed them to shadow him throughout the day. He chose a day that he was on the road, traveling somewhere to preach. The young men were excited; they were getting the chance to see how Dr. Rice prayed! They observed him as he got up and prepared for the day, shaving and dressing. They watched him bow his head for a simple prayer before eating each meal. They viewed him as he dealt with his appointments. They waited rather impatiently for the time that he would push everything aside, drop to his knees, lift his hands toward Heaven, and address the Father. As the sun crossed the sky, the young men began to fidget and ask themselves, "When is Dr. Rice, this great man of prayer, going to actually pray?" The day began to wane and these young men began to feel ill-used. They had expected some dramatic, life-changing ritual of prayer that they could copy. They felt that they had wasted their time pursuing an overblown idea. Finally, as it was apparent that Dr. Rice was preparing for bed, the young men thought, "Here it is. Before he goes to bed, he will pray. Now we get to see it." But Dr. Rice merely reached out to turn off the bedside lamp. The young men could keep their disillusioned thoughts to themselves no longer. They burst out, "Dr. Rice, what are you doing? We wanted to see you pray, but you haven't stopped to pray once all day! Now you're just going to go to bed?" Dr. Rice, that great man of God now in Heaven, looked at the young men in some astonishment. He replied, "I have done nothing but pray all day long. I prayed as I brushed my teeth this morning; I prayed as I studied my Bible; I prayed as I counseled people; I prayed as I was driven to the church; I prayed as I preached; I prayed as I was eating my meals. I PRAYED ALL DAY LONG!" Dr. Rice was trying to teach these young men that it's not important just to have a prayer time.........we all need a prayer life. We need to give God every minute of every day, not just a couple of hours on Sunday. God help us to give Him everything, holding nothing back. Only then will we find perfect peace and know true joy.
On a more personal note, we're fine. :-0
Seriously, we're having a good summer. The girls (except Emily) are getting excited about Youth Conference next week. They leave after church Sunday night and will return some time Saturday---early, early Saturday. They will come back sun-soaked, possibly water-soaked, and hopefully Bible-soaked! This week will be spent packing, unpacking, repacking, and then cramming things in at the last minute. (Am I right or what?) Emily's 7th birthday falls next Tuesday, and the girls won't be here to celebrate, so we are having cake and ice cream on Saturday instead. That is also the day of our annual community yard sales; it's always fun to spend some time walking around in the afternoon and looking at stuff. It's even more fun to buy stuff, but we'll have to wait and see about that. So, as you can see, our week is full! Packing to get rid of three children and yard-saleing on the weekend........what more could you ask for? ;-)
At the end of the school year, Dale took an English diagnostic test to determine whether he should be in 8th or 9th grade English next year. I haven't fully graded the test yet, but it seems as if he'll need 8th grade English PACES to reinforce this last year's teaching. I thought the next book order day was in July, so I waited to talk to our school secretary until last night at church. Turns out, there was a book order day in June, and she just sent the order in on Thursday! So, Dale will have to wait to start those PACES---oh, well. No complaints from him, to be sure! We're looking forward to next year already but not focusing on it too much in order to allow the kids to enjoy their summer break. Plus, we're really working on getting Amanda ready for college, and that's taking up a lot of our money, time, and daily stress levels. (LOL)
We have so much to be thankful for at our house. And we waste so much time complaining about little things. Silly, isn't it? Thank You, Lord, for all the wonderful things You do and provide for our family. We are blessed to be in Your family and privileged to call You Father.
II Corinthians 2: 14 "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place."