Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Silence, Hello, and Praise Jar

What would my blog be without sharing with you our annual Praise Jar morning? But, more on that in a minute . . .

It has been awhile since I last posted. From the start I've never wanted to post just to post or to keep the blog's name at the front of search engines, etc. If God isn't leading and blessing what I do I don't want a part of it. Over this last few weeks, besides being more busy than I can remember in a long time, I've been doing a lot of reflecting—especially after the election. I awoke the morning after with knots in my stomach not just at the idea of four more years of pro-abortion and anti-Biblical values leadership, but even more at what I believe the elections across the nation (Presidential, Congressional, initiatives and ballot measures, etc.) reveal about the true makeup and direction of our nation. I have had, in the last few weeks, to "practice what I preach" and take my thoughts captive to Christ, constrain my fears to His love and presence with me, and ask myself what difference my faith makes in how I see things. Especially hard for me has been wondering what my children and, if God tarries and grants it, my grandchildren, will face as a national political climate in relationship to their ability to homeschool, to teach what God says is right and wrong, to live a life not micro-regulated, etc. I was also struck, powerfully, with the reality that I'd known in my head, but hadn't felt so strongly in my heart until that Wednesday morning, that I am now, truly, in the minority. Up to that time I think I'd held out some hope I might be wrong, but the elections removed any and all doubt about that and it hit me hard.

Shortly before the election a survey was released revealing that for the first time ever America ceased to be a Protestant majority. Christians can sugar coat it all they want (saying its because we are now non-denominational, evangelical, etc.) but the reality is that we are, truly, far from a nation in which the majority are Jesus following, Bible believing Christians. The elections confirmed it. With no more unknowns we, with eyes wide opened, heavily supported the most anti-Christian values platform I can ever remember. But, I do see some good news for Christians, though, in this—but it is only seen as such through eternal lenses.

What I mean by this is this: Jesus said that the gate and way is narrow and few will pass through it. We should be suspicious of any majority professing to be His follower. It's not Biblical. What this new climate in the nation is providing is a freedom for those who truly aren't followers of Jesus to admit it instead of putting forth a facade of being Christian while inside having rejected it. What this means for us is that the mission field becomes crystallized and much clearer. The coworker or acquaintance who might, a few years ago, have said with mock indignation, "Of course I'm a Christian. I'm an American," will now feel a much greater freedom to declare their true hearts. For us that means we have much greater clarity in who we should evangelize, and that is not a bad thing.

All that said, this has been a time for processing and taking captive for me. I must remind myself that I am a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and Jesus is my Lord, and that He loves me and will never leave me or my children, no matter what course the nation takes. We have so much to be thankful for and, as I taught on Sunday, from the beginning God has made a mark of His people to be their thankfulness to Him. He is good, all the time.

Praise Jar
Today we are celebrating Thanksgiving in our home because tomorrow, for the first time, we are heading into town to deliver meals for a ministry that both serves meals to people and delivers them to shut-ins. So, this morning we continued a tradition we began in 2003 of opening our Praise Jar in which we have put recorded praises in our life (evidences of God's hand) from the previous Thanksgiving onward. We light the fire, make hot drinks, and pass the jar around taking turns pulling one out and reading it. It is so refreshing and wonderful to be reminded of all these things that, at the time, you thought you'd never forget . . . but too often do. To read a year's worth of praises in the course of a day or two is very powerful and if you've not ever done it I suggest it to you. For us it is a large old pickle jar to which I fastened a wooden lid and cross I made (you can see it in one of the pictures), but it could be anything you choose. The vehicle and format is not important, but remembering His goodness and passing it on is. You can, as is tradition here on this blog, share the morning with us through pictures. Thanks for sharing in our life and may you have an amazing, God-centered Thanksgiving, whenever you celebrate it!

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