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Archive for July 11th, 2013

Cubes - 379 - INFLUENCE

Influence can be good or bad … lets consider the good.

Who has influenced you?

Who has changed your life?

What you do …

What you say …

How you think …

How you live …

There are many in my life who have influenced me for good. My parents, other family members, friends along the way, teachers, my hubby, my children.

One of the events, the other day, was that the youth pastor of our church was taking our son out for lunch, and it reminded me of a person who influenced me as a teen of about the same age as my son.

I did not grow up as a ‘church kid’ who was marinated in the things of that institution from conception onward. I went to Sunday School, and to the summer DVBS (Daily Vacation Bible School) programs, but I did not know the ins and the outs of church life (some days I see that as a blessing … after all, we church people are so very human).

What I did know about church came from my own observations … old women had VERY hairy legs, my grandmother sang like Lucille Ball, do NOT run in the sanctuary, and that church is a place where you get cookies and juice (truly, feeding my sugar-cravings was the way to ensure I came back).

The most important learning I received at church came from my Sunday School teacher when I was in middle school.

Beth was a lovely, loving lady. Not a nasty word was ever spoken from her mouth, and she greeted each of us with a warm, welcoming and sincere embrace. She was a wife of a pig farmer, and mother to two little boys. They did not have much money, yet her eyes glittered with more joy than any other person I knew. She loved us all equally, whether we were a ‘church kid’ or just some kid from the community who was brought faithfully to Sunday School each and every week.

In Beth’s presence I felt cared for, accepted, and loved far beyond what I expected from someone who was not family. It was the way that Beth loved me, loved all the girls in that class, that made me see the possibilities of a life with Jesus as the model. And, for me, Beth was that model of Christ’s love for me.

She shared of her life as a believer in Christ, she shared of her life as a wife, as a mom. She held nothing back when she shared of her own experiences in those roles.

She lived the life of being patient and kind, she did not envy, or boast, and was not proud. She did not dishonor others, and was not self-seeking, easily angered, and kept no record of wrongs. She did not delight in evil but rejoiced with the truth. She always protected, always trusted, always hoped, always persevered.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).

In her Sunday School class, Beth taught … from the Bible. My most long lasting memory is a continuing lesson on faith, that was rooted in:

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

The teaching of that lesson … teaching about hope, teaching about faith influenced my life even until today. And she communicated love in the most consistent of ways.

I am thankful for this sister-in Christ, who influenced me so significantly.

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designall

Church is for the weak …

It is a sentence, a belief, an experience …

a truth.

I have no problem with owning up to that statement as reality for me, personally. I have no problem telling others that I go to church, that I believe in the crucified, dead and buried Christ who also rose on the third day, and that He is coming again …

because I am weak.

I have the hereditary disease called sin. It affects every part of who I am, and how I live. It is a guaranteed death sentence.

It may not have been me (or you) who said yes to that fruit of the tree in the garden (if it was an apple, and if it was me who was tempted, I would have said yes even more quickly than Eve), but we still carry the genetic markers for sin, because we still make mistakes, we still mess things up, we still say and do ridiculous things … we still die.

John 3:16 states, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” You see I … we, were all conceived into sin, all conceived with a destiny with an end. But Christ came, just as the perfect young lambs that were slaughtered in the Old Testament stories. It was through the sacrifice of this spotless lamb, in the form of Jesus, that our sins were erased … our life here on Earth had a purpose … that eternal life was made available.
That does not mean that we have it all together. Every breath we take provides yet another opportunity to sin all over again, but, in the eyes of our Creator, that sin was erased … before we even thought about it.
I recently read the following:
“Satan knows our names, and calls us by our sins,
Christ knows our sins, and calls us by His name.”
I am a sinner, but, through the grace of God, I am cleansed of that sin by the blood sacrifice of His Son.
I am weak, but God’s grace is greater!
And it is in church where I am reminded, regularly, that the prescription for my weakness has been paid for, administered, and it is a once and for all application.
“Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

2 Corinthians 12:8-10

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