Weather. That seems to be what everybody is talking about. I guess when something this cold jumps up and slaps the planet in the face, we all take notice, huh? :) What a huge blessing to be in a warm home. What a wonderful gift to have family and friends around us - people who love us in spite of ourselves...and often that is exactly what we need! How extremely blessed - and accountable - we are for all the Lord has given us and all He is doing in our lives! Every opportunity God puts before us to bless the lives of others is a gift. We can look the other way and let them continue to live in the 'cold cruel world' or we can invite them into the warmth and love of Yeshua/Jesus. You must feel that the second option is the best, or you probably wouldn't be reading my blogs, since they are filled with Him! Glory!!!
Every circumstance holds more than one choice. Every choice carries a consequence and every consequence has far reaching repercussions. And while God can use our every choice - including the wrong ones - to somehow bless the lives of others, wouldn't it be great if He didn't have to turn them around in order for that to happen? Wouldn't it be wonderful if it happened because we were in agreement with Him at the very beginning of any situation in which we find ourselves? I wish that it would always be that way with the decisions I make. (Sigh!)
Not long ago, I received a message on my Facebook page from someone who wanted to ridicule a man because of the sins of his past. This person read that I was going to be performing at Morningside last November. You know, it's the home of the Jim Bakker Show. The question posed to me was something along the lines of "Isn't that the guy who went to prison for fraud?" Interestingly, this young lady was just a child when that happened. It seemed odd that she would even know about it - much less be pointing it out to me. I sensed mockery in the question - or rather more of an invitation to defend my choice to perform there. The enemy was poking fun and I wasn't about to play the game. I had to decide how best to respond. Defensively? No. Angrily? No. Dismissively? Absolutely not. It had to be addressed. But first I had to take a deep breath...and pray.
You see, the question came from a young lady I love very much - one who has decidedly rejected the Lord Jesus Christ and doesn't believe in God right now. I sensed the challenge in her query - the invitation to defend my willingness to perform there, because I'm a follower of Yeshua Ha'Mashiach/Jesus Christ the Messiah. The devil was poking fun at me, my choice and most especially at my Lord. He was trying to start a fight with me, but I wasn't about to play his game. The stakes were too high. My loved one was the target that he had chosen to hurt - and I wasn't going to let him lure me into the conflict. My answer had to be the right one.
To give you just a touch of history about this darling girl, she was baptized when she was about 8 years old, but then grew up in a faithless and divided home. After she joined the military, she joined forces with Buddhism. Since I have nothing positive to say about idolatry, I will leave that alone - for this blog, at least. (Well, nothing positive except that the Lord Jesus Christ will crush all idols and their demons under his beautiful feet one day and then pitch them forever into the Lake of Fire - hallelujah!!!! Man, I am looking forward to seeing that happen!)
Anyway, this lovely young lady has come to the conclusion that all religion is fake and apparently doesn't believe in anything remotely associated with God. I haven't broached the subject of atheism being a religion, too. No need for that right now. Her conversations reflect her hurt, anger and bitterness in so many ways. She needs prayer. Please pray for her.
So, how did I answer her? Basically, I told her that she was correct, he had gone to prison. I also recommended that she read his book entitled, "I Was Wrong". I then told her how grateful I am for the forgiveness of others in my life, acknowledging that it would be a lonely life indeed, if people didn't forgive me for all of the stupid things I've done.
I haven't heard a word about it from her since. Oh, there were many other things that could have been said. I could have slammed her pretty hard about where she is in life right now; how hard-hearted she's become and how abrasive her language is these days. I could have said a number of things and been accurate on every one of them. I could have held up a mirror and shown her that she is standing outside in the cold...pointing out her negative attitude and criticizing her for her faithless walk. I could have shown her right then how wretched she is - as we all have been - and she would have just turned away from me and headed back out into the cold cruel world without a positive witness from me. Why? Because she wouldn't like what she sees in the mirror and she's not ready to surrender. The better choice was to get her eyes off of herself, her opinions and her life - and get them onto Jesus, even if only for a moment. So that was the mirror I tried to hold up for her to look into.
Just as He did with me, the Lord is planting seeds. And anyway, if I had accepted that challenge, exactly what kind of example would my walk with Jesus have shown her? Criticism? Debate? Accusation? And who IS the accuser? I didn't want satan to have the pleasure of attacking this precious child through me. I don't want to be that person. I want to be the daughter that our God has called me to be. And this daughter cannot afford to cast even one single stone in any direction. (I know, I know, I'm using lots of metaphors today...mixing them up terribly...but hey, that's okay!)
Instead, it seemed that the Lord was leading me to invite her into the warmth of the love of Jesus. Invite her to stand by the fire of forgiveness and warm her cold heart with the thoughts of His heart for people. She didn't need a lecture. She didn't need a combative rebuttal. She needed to hear how important forgiveness is for every one of us. I trust that Holy Spirit told her the rest. Forgiveness is important for her, too. It's not as though she has never heard it before. She just needed to hold her cold hands out and feel the warmth of it being demonstrated to her in that very moment. Oh yeah. God is good.
What's the weather like where you live? Cold? Freezing? Unforgiving? Well then. Invite folks in to warm their hands by the fire of His love.
Remember...baby, it's cold outside.