Where Are You Leading Them?

millstoneLet us never lead a little one to stumble. I have found that this Scripture can be interpreted in so many different scenarios. Literally, it can mean leading small children away in their faith (or in other things, for that matter). It can, also, mean distracting new converts from their new commitment to God’s calling, and it can even be mature Christians being directed down the wrong path by prideful, egotistical or ambitious fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

As Christians, we must be so careful not to lead “little ones” astray from the Word of God and from what He has in store for their lives. The Bible says it is better for a millstone to be wrapped around your neck and you thrown into the depths of the sea than for you to cause one of these little ones to stumble! In case, you don’t know what a millstone is, it was one of the large circular stones used to grind grain in grist mills years ago.

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When we are called into leadership, when we are called into teaching capacities, and even when we are placed in situations by God to help someone learn more about Him, our number one goal should be to lead them closer to Him not away from Him! We can only do this as we seek His face and listen for His answers to their questions and wonderings.

Whether we are a parent, a mentor, a teacher, or simply a friend, we should never take lightly a position of influence in someone else’s life. We should boldly walk in the authority He gives us but never because of our own wisdom, strength or abilities. We should approach it with buckets full of humility and grace, lest we get filled with pride and lead one of His precious ones away from what He has in store for them.

Let us be ever prayerful and ever mindful when it concerns someone who is impacted by our words and deeds. Let us always be humble and full of grace, and never let us take lightly the positions of leadership and influence He gives us in someone else’s life.

“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” Mark 9:42

 

First Responder

 

First Responders are incredible at what they do. They are the first on the scene of medical emergencies. They assess a given situation to ensure it is safe. They evaluate the victims involved and determine what is needed. They even administer medical aid, CPR and  AEDs in cases of cardiac arrest. Now, I’m not sharing this to give you an education on First Responders, but as we remember the importance of this week, being the 15th Anniversary of 9/11, I just want to say I am so thankful for all that they do.

They always seem to be willing to lend a helping hand. They rush to scenes of crisis when so many others would run away. They stay with the wounded until they are headed to recovery. They even attempt to rescue, mend wounds and remove from harm’s way those who may not necessarily want their help. I don’t think that I could express enough my gratefulness for who they are and for what they choose to do.

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Yet, there is One who is the best First Responder of them all. He is stronger than anyone else in the force. He responds quicker than any human could imagine, and He never ever fails to show up. He can bind up wounds, heal hearts, release those bound and even bring back to life those thought to be dead.

His name is Jesus Christ. He is who I call Friend, Savior and Lord.

He is the Greatest of all First Responders for He knows you. He created you, and He is always right there by your side. All you have to do is call His name, and He will rescue you from danger. He will free you from what holds you captive, and He will bind up what causes your heart to bleed. He will bring you life and life more abundantly.

Will you call to Him today? Just say His Name, and He will answer.

 

You call me FRIEND??

“Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”” C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

This very statement, I believe, sheds light on the reason it is often so hard to become a friend of God. Sure, we can truly see ourselves as His daughters (or sons, respectively), His children, His servants and even, for those who really struggle with their place in Christ, His little, lowly followers who are just happy that He doesn’t decide to squash them today! However, sometimes, to see ourselves as His friend, it takes much more than just a quaint little understanding of who He is.

Maybe I’m the only one who has struggled with this…

You see, for me, friendships don’t come that easy, not those kind of friendships that really last, those kind of friendships that are more like blood-kinships, family-types. It’s not because I’m not a friendly person; you can ask anyone who knows me, I may be shy, but I can meet and greet with plenty, and it’s not that I don’t want to have friends. I have tons of people who are great acquaintances, wonderful “friends” with whom I converse during the week, say “Hi” to on Sunday and even hang out with from time to time. These are great and wonderful people, people for whom I care deeply and love immensely. These are definitely friends of mine.

However, these aren’t the friendships to which I’m referring. I’m talking about those people for whom you know without a shadow of a doubt that you’d give your life, those to whom you are comfortable sharing the innermost depths of your heart, never afraid of what they might think once you’re finished, those friends who see you at your very worst and your very best and have loved you regardless of what you’ve said or done at both ends of that spectrum. They are people with whom you have a common bond, a covenant and a kinship of spirit which cannot be broken by circumstances, other people or even your own fears and doubts. These are the kind of friends I’m talking about here, and this kind of friendship is very rare.

Many times, when I look at Jesus, I see a King. I see my Heavenly Father. I see the Creator of the Universe. I see a God so holy, so worthy and so glorious that I can’t even fathom why He would look at a lowly creature like me and love me and desire a friendship with me. Often, my mind has a hard time comprehending such majesty, such faithfulness, such love, and such a friendship.

Yet, then, my fourteen year old son walks into the room, and I begin to think of the conversation we had at lunch earlier that day. We enjoyed laughing together, talking about his latest music find and musing about the days to come. I remember how my soul longed for more time with him and how my heart leapt when he asked my help with something I thought maybe he didn’t need.

That’s when this statement by C.S. Lewis comes alive in my spirit, and I see just a glimpse of what my Heavenly Father might be feeling toward me. If I, being just a human, just a creature of such flesh, can long for a friendship with my own growing son, maybe, He, as King but also Father to me, can long for a kindred spirit and deep friendship with me. As I spend more time with Him, the more I get to know Him and the love He has for me, I find myself saying this very thing that C.S. Lewis said, “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself…”

 

For the JOY set before Him…  

Blog-cross joy

Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before Him… The JOY it says… Do we actually enjoy suffering? Do we actually look forward to death? So many of us would like to say it’s true. So many of us would like to brag and boast of how brave we would be in the face of death, but we never truly know what will happen until we are actually faced with the same fate. We cannot speak honestly about that of which we know nothing. We cannot answer the question until we are faced with the test.

Often, I read books about those who have been martyred for their faith. The stories contained in those separate journals are heart wrenching, riveting and challenging. I always wonder what I actually would do in that moment. In that moment of choosing life or death, would I humbly accept my fate or would I fearfully deny Christ? Would I fight it with every breath of my being or would I lovingly embrace the cross by which I had been condemned?

…I’d like to think I would say with the martyred disciple Andrew, when he was being led to his death by crucifixion, “O Cross most welcome and long anticipated! I come to you with a willing mind, with joy and desire. Since I am a follower and a student of the One who died on you, I have always loved you and sought to embrace you.” Yet, it’s so simple and easy to believe in the good times the goodness of our own humanity, but it is in the hard places, in those death moments, when our faith is truly tested and revealed… I pray I might be found faithful. I pray I can remain till the end, and I can embrace pain and death as He did, knowing this temporary life is just that: temporary…There is a JOY set before us, joy that is abundant, overflowing and full of His glory!

*I do not own nor did I take this photograph. Found it through internet search. Backdrops Beautiful image.*

Wednesday’s Ode #2

img_5667For those of you who may have missed my post last Monday, this is the second of my weekly features: “Wednesday’s Ode.” You can read more about it here. I hope you enjoy these! 😉

I LOVE coffee! Love it! …did I say, “I love coffee?” Yeah? Okay, well I do! People who are close to me know my love for this flavorful beverage, and those who just met me, they usually find out pretty quickly. I like the taste; however, I do believe my love goes deeper than just the taste. I think my love stems from the comfort of it as well.

 

I am such a comfort creature! I love cozy corners to read and warm blankets and old worn out quilts that still hold memories. I love good books and warm fires. I love boots, sweaters, fleece filled hats and gloves and warm, fluffy lined slippers. I like the comforts of home and the security in routines. So, my love for coffee probably aligns itself more with my loves for the comforts which make me feel secure.

Yes, coffee is warm and inviting, like an old friend coming back from long winter travels. Coffee is soothing and comforting like a mother’s love or a father’s embrace. Coffee is just wonderful to have on hand at any hour or any day. I think I’d be sad if I could not have a cup or share one with a friend!

Coffee and cake, anyone?