Thursday, April 16, 2009

Are You on the Road to Nowhere?

Late last night while unpacking, I was listening to a show on TBN, and the narrator repeated the line, "the road to nowhere." We've all heard the line, but it was interesting to think about it as the narrator explained, in a spiritual context. I think he said that he quoted someone as saying, "The road to nowhere is a tough road to build."

I couldn't help assessing my own life and the things that I value. How many of those things that I'm spending my time "building" are actually fruitful? How much of what I spend my time doing and thinking about is really on a road to nowhere?

Instantly, I thought of how much time I spend wanting things. Even as I watched the show, I complained to my husband that we needed new bedroom furniture without even thinking about it until now. I'd like to think I'm out of the ordinary, but it seems to be all around. Most people have an insatiable desire for something other than what's really lasting and eternal--guess it's the flesh and human part of us that must be continually put under submission.

So, maybe for you it's not stuff, maybe it's food (another one of my struggles--lol). Maybe it's power, position, or fame. Maybe you have an unquenchable thirst for others' approval. Whatever we crave and yearn for, however, must be examined and the filter we need to use should be the Word of God.

There are just so many scriptures that speak to this but in Matthew 6:19, Jesus says, "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; For where your treasure is, there will be your heart also." Down several verses, Jesus continues and says that "Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). (Mammon here simply means money.)

Now, I'm sooo NOT saying that we should be poor, with no position or power, but I am saying that we need to keep our priorities in check. Whether it's getting money, position, power, prestige, material things, food, drugs, or whatever, even excessively obsessing over your health or looks, it all is fruitless and can lead to a road to nowhere if we're not connected to the true vine of Jesus Christ.

People who are truly connected to the vine of Jesus Christ are so easy to spot. They are secure and happy people. They don't struggle and strive against people because they recognize that the battle we are in is a spiritual one, so they fight spiritual warfare. They rest comfortably in who God made them and what the Lord has blessed them with--they are the best people in the world to be in fellowship with.

I am checking myself, constantly making sure that I'm on a road to fruitfulness and abundance in Christ. One of the worst things any of us can do is to deceive ourselves into thinking we're on a good path only to find we're on a self-righteous journey that lead us to an eternal abyss.

So what road are you on? Drop me a quick line. . .

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are You Like a Box of Chocolates?

"Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're gonna get." Remember that great line from Forrest Gump? Sure, it's corny, but it's true. We really don't know the twists and turns ahead, but we can still savor the sweetness out of even the most adverse situations when we are connected to Him, the true vine.

So, life can be like a box of chocolates, but are we supposed to be like a box of chocolates, always keeping people guessing about our next response? I have nothing against anybody having a little mystery, but I'm talking about MOODINESS! It's this green-eyed monster that sneaks up on me at times and launches nasty attacks (gggrrrrrr!) Ha! Wouldn't this be easier to address if we could say that we just had no control over our moods?

Well, unless there is a medical issue there, moodiness is something that can be controlled when we are under Christ's control. (Christ can regulate ALL issues (medical, etc) but I'm not including that here.) Okay, so what am I speaking of exactly? I'm talking about the moodiness that causes us to say things like, "I woke up on the wrong side of the bed." "I'm not in a good mood." Or, maybe you don't say anything. Maybe you just have a crazy or mean look that tells others not to cross you. Whatever it may be for you, people who have trouble with moodiness know exactly who they are.

This topic certainly wouldn't come up if I hadn't experienced people being moody with me. Okay, okay. . .(deep breath) I can admit it--I can be a moody person at times. We can all come up with excuses for the moodiness. When life isn't meeting our expectations. . . when we don't feel well. . .somebody has treated us unfairly . . .we are tired. . . we received bad news, . . .hormones. . . and I could go on and on and on. The thing is, we can try to come up with excuses for it, but when we are anchored in Christ, there is NO excuse!

Part of abiding in the vine is having faith and being obedient to God's Word. We are not to be tossed to and fro by life's ups and downs. None of us can be effective witnesses for Christ when we're moody. It's so easy to be elated when life is great and to sink to debilitating lows when we're suffering or tragedy strikes.

So, how should Christians respond to life's ups and downs? Through our connection to the vine, Jesus Christ, we can transcend life's circumstances with joy. Jesus says, "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full" (John 15:11). When things are up, we won't be caught in a deceptive and temporary high. Conversely, we won't sink down to depressing lows if remain connected to the vine. Our lives should be intertwined with His so closely that He can carry us through the storm and stabilize us through both the good times and the bad.

This is getting a little longer than I had wanted but only because it's an issue I struggle with at times. Still, I want to add that surrounding yourself with others who don't feed into the moods can be helpful. Watch your friends and acquaintances and remember that iron sharpens iron.

Let's go to the next level and experience the real and constant joy of abiding in Him. Let's also make sure that people know what to expect from us. They can expect the Lord's loving kindness, tender mercy, and His joy--no matter what the circumstances are.

Have a blessed day!