Monday, November 21, 2016

Solar Power

Mirrors....reflectors of light.  We are told to think of ourselves as mirrors that reflect the light of Jesus.  But what happens to a mirror when it is placed in a dark corner?  Absolutely nothing.  You can no longer see that it even exists unless and until a light is shined on it.
I was thinking about this as I read Philippians 2:15.  So many thoughts went through my mind, I had to stop, take a breath and do a minute of research to make sure the thoughts were coming from God and not my flesh.
Here is what the verse says, though I am going back a verse to make it more clear:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. {NASV}
Here's the thing.  At the time of the Bible being written, a mirror was their best analogy in regards to reflecting God's light.
 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. I Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
Today we have a better one - solar powered lights.  These amazing things are powered by a battery that absorbs the sun's rays and then converts it into energy for the light itself.
This is much better than the mirror analogy, because of what happens to a mirror when it is placed in a dark corner.  It can no longer reflect light, so it remains dark. A solar powered light will absorb the light, then reflect it back out even in the darkest of places, because it is powered by the light it absorbed. It has transformed the light into power.
Many a Christian is like the mirror.  As long as they remain in God's Son light, they are great reflectors.  But the moment any darkness creeps upon them, they can no longer shine.  They only know how to reflect.  But the Christian who takes time to sit at Jesus' feet and absorb His words into their very being becomes empowered by His light.  Our minds become transformers for His glory and when the darkness comes, we are ready to shine.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Another really great thing to think about is that when many Christians who choose to be transformers rather than simple reflectors band together, the Light they pour forth can eradicate the darkness.  This is what we are called to do.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:23-25
 ( NIV)
Mirrors cannot absorb and so when the light is gone, not only is the reflection forgotten, but so is the mirror for a time, until it is needed again.  Oh that we would all chose transformation over reflection!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

On Running

....and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us...Hebrews 12:1b NAS

...And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, NIV

...and let us run with patience this race that is set for us. ABPE

Yesterday I babysat for my neighbor's 3 month old daughter.  She is a breastfed baby, which I personally think is awesome, but presents a problem when the child refuses to take a bottle and Mom must work.  As I held her she was angry for two reasons; she was hungry and she didn't want that bottle!!  At least she didn't think she did.  She had to make a choice: eat what she was given or be hungry.  I held her close, whispered to her that she could do this, kissed her forehead and prayed, the whole time holding that bottle securely in her mouth.  Just before she latched on and started to drink these words floated gently through my mind: "You have to do what's best for them." I knew that voice so well!! The Father was speaking to my heart and I responded with repentance.  I told Him that we, His children, are just like the baby.  We want one thing, but He knows there is something we need more that is better.  He holds on to us as we kick and scream, but out of his great love for us, he keeps the bottle in our mouth.  We must choose.  Do we keep on screaming and refuse to eat, or do we gratefully latch on and become filled?  What does all this have to do with running the "race set before us?"  Read on...

Everyone has their own personal race to be run before almighty God.  As a parent and grandparent who adores children, I have difficulty watching others struggle in their race.  I tend to want to jump in and run it for them.  When one of my daughters-in-law was in labor for the first time (I was blessed to be able to be in the birthing room with all three of the grandchildren she bore us) she cried out, "I can't do this!" I took her hand and looked her in the eye and said, "If I could, I would do this for you, but I can't.  You CAN do this and you will."  I meant those words 100%.  We hate to see those we love hurting!  But if I could have and did take over for her, she would never have experienced that overwhelming joy of giving birth.  I would have robbed her of that amazingly awesome experience and she may have not wanted to give us the other two!!  It was best for her to do the birthing.  

When we see our children struggling as they get older, it is hard not to step in and take over.  We know what to do, because we have been there, done that.  We have to stop and think about how we would NOT know what to do if we hadn't gone through it and then allow them to make their own mistakes.  We can give advice, which may be accepted or rejected, but we must not run their race for them.  In so doing, we may be screamed at, lied about and even told we are hated, but as long as we keep assuring them of our love and that they CAN make it through this whatever it may be, when they DO get through it, they will be grateful, stronger and more knowledgeable for it.

Being a parent and grandparent is wonderful, amazing and joy giving.  It is also heartbreaking at times, because we see mistakes being made and want to "fix them" or prevent them if possible.  We must remember that they have a race before God they must run, as do we.  If we try to run their race for them, not only are we robbing them of completing their race, but we keep ourselves from running our own.    "You have to do what's best for them."  How God's heart must ache for us.  He has EVERY answer.  He has given us those answers in His word; His "advice" to us in the form of commands for living.  He gave us promises to go with those words, yet we want to run our race our own way, so we get off track and end up taking the "long way round."  

I have made many mistakes as a parent.  We all do.  I can either sit around bemoaning the fact, or learn from it.  Learning from it makes me a better grandparent, but still not perfect.  One day I may be a great grandparent.  Perhaps by then I will be better.  Actually, by then I will most likely be unable to even try to run someone else's race for them.  And that will be a blessing.