Revive Me

My husband cut some brush a few weeks ago behind the house. There is one patch that he cut that I can see from my kitchen window. There was one “tree” that he cut that remained standing- leaning against the others that surround it. The first few days it didn’t look any different than the others. The leaves were still green, the squirrels still ran across its branches. But soon, I could see the leaves starting to brown. Then they started to fall. The tree continued to lean a little bit more each day. The squirrels were seeming to understand its weakness. To run across its branches could mean that they may not hold them, or in an instant it could come crashing down and take the squirrel with it.

Watching this tree wither as it had become disconnected from its source of life, it reminded me of myself. How many times have I allowed other things to get in the way and disconnect me from the Source of my life? Sometimes it takes time to realize that I am getting dry and dying. I think, oh, its only been a few days. I have had this or that to take care of. Whatever the distraction, if I am not connected to God, I am dying. I need Him. Everyday. Once the connection is interrupted, the days quickly slip into weeks, then months. Then to take time to meet with the Lord seems like such a burden. I am convinced that I don’t have the time. And soon my spirit withers. While I was being held up by those around me, soon I will become a burden and then a danger to them. I become overtaken with fear and anxiety. I have nowhere to go for strength and guidance. No one to hold me up in the hard times. Suddenly I feel crushed and helpless.

But thank God that He will meet me when I finally seek His face! When I come to my senses and realize that without Him I am nothing. When I ask Him to forgive me for putting all these things first, He will forgive me. He will receive me. He will revive me! I just need to call His name! Return to my Source and live!

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Mortality

I sat with a lady not long ago that was dying. No longer able to respond to me, I held her hand and softly sang hymns that I hoped she would recognize. I sang about the love of God and about His grace.  I was disappointed that I never had a chance to ask her about God while she was still able to talk to me. I had no idea whether she had any faith or not. And now, all I could do was hope that my songs would stimulate her to call on the Lord. That conversation would not be audible to my ears, but still effective, if she already knew about Him. But I had no idea if she had heard the gospel or not.

Evangelism has always been a difficult thing for me. I love God. He has done wonderful things in my life. But the thought of presenting Him to strangers, or worse, people I know, is very unnerving. I tend to avoid rejection, not seek it out. Those awkward conversations where they try to be polite, but tell you off and/or insult your God, your faith and your intelligence all at the same time tend to make continuing a relationship with them difficult. But it never fails that when I am faced with that person dying that I regret not having taken the risk and told them about the Lord.

Romans chapter 10 tells us:

“”Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (vs 13-15, 17)

We have all been called by the Great Commission to go out and preach the gospel. It is not left only to those who do it professionally. We are God’s hands and feet to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and the strangers we meet along the way. Even though we may not see the person immediately drop to their knees when we present the gospel, we can know with certainty that the word we have placed in their lives will be brought to their remembrance when they need it. Whether that be in those dark days of trial or loneliness, or in those few moments before death, the Spirit Himself will bring our words back to life and lead them to the Lord. But without having heard the hope of the gospel, what can they draw on?

We cannot wait until they are physically dying to decide that we now have an audience ready to hear what we are saying. The likelihood that they will be able to respond is slim. And who knows if we even would have that time? The fact is that without Christ, we are all dying. And salvation is not something that begins in heaven, but here on earth. It makes us come alive to an abundant life of purpose, hope and light.

Take the risk. Present the gospel in love. Live it. Know that His word does not return void, but accomplishes that for which it was sent (Is 55:11).

Live with no regrets.

 

 

The Vine and The Branches

Jesus told us, “I am the vine and you are the branches” (John 15:5). The vine is attached to the root – the source of life. The branches receive their supply from the vine. Christ is our source of life and we are the branches. We need Him to live. Often we are deceived into believing that we can live, albeit ineffectively, apart from Christ. This is a great lie of the devil. Apart from the vine, the branches wither and die. They cannot find the basic essentials for life separated from it. We are either getting our life from Christ and growing in Him or we are dying. There is no life apart from Him. Those days that we feel dry or not close to the Lord, the days that we choose to unplug and move through the day without Him, we are not simply unblessed, we are starving – dying. Once we choose to reconnect to the vine, the damage of the days apart must be healed. There is no immediate growth. Rehydrating and re-nourishing must happen first. Too many cycles like this and we become weak and unable to bear fruit at all. We need to be fed every day. Connected every day. Growing every day. The quality of the fruit we produce is proportional to the quality of our connection to the vine. Christ has unlimited resources for us, we need only to remain connected. Receiving. Growing. We are made to enjoy an abundant life and to produce a bountiful crop. Will we choose death instead?