Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Some parties are no fun at all . . .



I was sad all of yesterday. First a large photo in the newspaper caught my attention. It was a distinguished looking man with a nice smile, but when I read the story, he turned out to be an accused rapist. How deceptive outward appearance can be and why give that much space to him?

Then a news story on an Internet site for quilters shocked me. A young designer whose work has caught my attention is suddenly dead. She was sick, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t know her personally, but for some reason her death shouted how brief life is and how quickly it can be lost. I grieve for her and for the shortness and unpredictability of life.

On a more personal level, a project I was excited about suddenly became difficult, even seeming impossible. I wasted a couple of hours struggling with it and wound up feeling sorry for myself. Pity party.

Besides those, I did yoga and Pilates for the first time in years, and was sore, and at each meal I ate the wrong food and too much of it. By bedtime, I felt like a balloon — filled with aches and pains. More pity party.

Sitting before the Word of God this morning, I asked Him to clarify my thoughts. As I read these verses, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart: “Get your focus back on Jesus” . . .

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:13–15)

Jesus is the Savior of the world, and my Savior. I confess this is true; and He is the Son of God. He lives in me and I in Him. I have the Holy Spirit who gives me the assurance of these things.

From John 3:11-21, the Spirit clarified some of the stuff that bothered me yesterday with several realities . . .

The world lies in sin. “We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19) I should not be surprised when those least likely are caught doing despicable things. In the eyes of God, all are guilty. We need a Savior.

The wages of sin is death and death is often a surprise. How important it is to know Jesus as Savior and abide in Him. I don’t know the quilter who died. She may have been a Christian who has eternal life. However, from what God says, she illustrates the reality that everyone is appointed once to die, and after that there is a judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)

God sent Jesus to free sinners (me) from judgment. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.” (John 3:16-20)

Other passages address my self-pity. Most of them are a slap on the wrist, such as . . .

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:4–8)

He also reminded me that “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and that “God is able to make all grace abound to (me), so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, (I) may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Jesus, how can I whine when You, the God who created all things, lives in my heart, meets all of my needs, and has given me eternal life? My sinfulness is still powerful and reminds me how deeply I need You as my Savior and Lord, and how keeping my mind on You prevents me from going to those sad pity parties.

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