I am carrying what I call my “August burden” at the moment…
In the midst of family life and summer down-time, I have been pondering the state of the world and how much it has changed over the past few years.
Those of us in this generation who are Christ-followers—believing in Jesus as our Deliverer—are being called to stand stronger and to defend our faith in Him more than we ever have before.
Preparation for this next ministry year of our Discipleship/Mentoring focus for women has led to a heaviness of heart. I experienced this last summer in August as well…
What is my responsibility in helping women of different ages and stages of life who are in my sphere of influence?
Can I help them to understand what they believe?
Can I help them to learn to stand strong on a firm foundation in the midst of so much chaos, change in moral values, and controversy?
God has been showing me, again! that I cannot reach them in my own strength. I need to trust Him in all things for the right thoughts, words and actions.
One of the reasons I began this blog was to share about how God has been teaching me to live in joy no matter my circumstances, or where my life journey takes me. I don’t know what your life looks like today, but I know that I have felt like I have been fighting for joy in the midst of these controversies which often lead to violence and evil.
Many of those who lead us politically do not have the same belief system as I do. I am so thankful for those who do profess to be Christians and who live out their faith every day.
For those who don’t believe in God as the only true God, their words and actions often:
Lead to sadness attached to so many things.
Which leads to anger and bitterness which is unkindly expressed on social media.
Which then leads to a dislike of change, especially as it affects our livelihoods, our finances, and our sense of safety and security wherever we live.
So I have been fighting for the kind of joy that I know comes only from believing that the God I believe in is in control of every detail in my outer and my inner world—my family, my finances, and my faith.
I love history.
I love to research.
I love to connect the dots of how history has affected us today, and how the history being made today is going to affect tomorrow.
As I have mentioned before, I also love historical fiction. I sometimes get into the mode of re-reading series that I have collected over the years.
One of my favorite historical history author couples is Brock and Bodie Thoene. They are intentional writers who have done an amazing job of sharing a serious message with the world. In case you are not familiar with them, they are the writers of the series, Shiloh Legacy; Zion Covenant, Zion Diaries, Zion Chronicles, Zion Legacy, and then into the A.D. Chronicles. I have just finished, after almost two years, re-reading through all these series plus their latest one, The Jerusalem Chronicles.
These books depict several difficult, evil times in the history of mankind. They also display men and women who lived with integrity, courage, and a willingness to do right even at peril to their own lives, which many of them lost. This is the third time I have read these series. I knew what to expect and I was not sure that I wanted to go there again. However, it was as if God compelled me to dig in and process the events of history in relation to some of the present day situations we are experiencing and hearing about in the news.
These series are written from when World War One ended, through World War Two, and then on into the struggle of Israel becoming a nation.
They have not softened the true story in relation to God’s plan for the Jewish people.
They have not downplayed the courage and the bravery of many people—those who are of Jewish heritage, the Christians who supported them, those who were the decision-makers in government at the time, and those who fought the battles in order to allow us to keep our free and democratic nations.
They also took the story back through the Gospel books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and related it to how Jesus, as God and man, lived and died in a time of deep turmoil and hard choices. Much was required of those who believed in this same God whom I believe in…
Reading these words has caused me to ponder on how do I, and how will I, choose to live in the midst of what is required of me right now? How will I help others to choose to also live well?
It was like a light bulb was turned on.
In the book, Warsaw Requiem, by Brock and Bodie Thoene, there was a paragraph that really spoke to me.
“think on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever was right, whatever was pure.”
Murphy, at the suggestion of his father-in-law, had been putting that scripture to a lot of use lately as the news leaking out of Europe grew increasingly grim. For a while, Murphy had begun to believe that there just weren’t any good things left in the world to think about. Lately he had come to see that as the darkness had gotten darker, the pinpoints of light had gotten stronger. There were fewer of those lights, to be sure, but the harder the blackness squeezed, the more vibrant the light became…
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy…think about such things!”
All of the stress connected with a world that is not at peace, does not seem very stable, and where there seems to be a lot of sorrow and sickness, can cause us to act and react in ways that are not very much like Jesus would have responded.
In the midst of pondering on all this, and realizing that my own reactions are not always what they should be towards others who are also struggling in ways I know nothing about, God brought another verse from the Bible to mind that speaks to what is required of me, and you, no matter what our circumstances are.
I learned this verse as a little girl, and the principles found within it are not just considered “Christian”, but have also been taught generally to everyone to live out from day to day. Whether they are practiced well can probably be debated, but these words also spoke to me, convicted me about my attitude, and encouraged me to turn towards my Audience of One, who is the only One who can give me strength to live them out well, and to teach them to others.
My Musings This Week
*God has been reminding me, as I live in my family, enjoy friendships, fulfill my calling, and watch and listen to the news, that it’s okay to process what is going on, but I need to, again, surrender and trust my life to Him, and then live out faithfully what He teaches me.
I cannot fix most of what is going on, but God can. When required, I need to speak out, but I also need to live with serenity and love towards those in my sphere of influence.
To treat those around me as I desire to be treated…
To learn to love others…
To act and react as He would.
I pray that I will have the courage to live this out, on the good days and on the hard ones.
I pray that I will also have the courage to take up the task that God has asked me to do for Him, serving those in my sphere of influence as He would.
I pray the same for you.
*My Mom has not been well this past month—her courage in trusting God’s sovereign will in her life is an example to us. Aging is not easy, and we all need to consider the Golden Rule in how we would want to be treated as we age ourselves.
Your Musings This Week
*So how are you doing with dealing with the events of your own life? Dealing with the News? Dealing with hard times?
If you have chosen to live a life of faith in Jesus, I hope that the Golden Rule is evident in how you love and care for others, no matter how they treat you.
If that is a decision you are debating about, or you are interested in seeking out more information, please find someone whom you can ask about how to live in joy and serenity God’s way, in order to be available to those in your own sphere of influence.
*Enjoy these final days of summer:) Rest, relax and read a good book, even one that makes you think, or maybe one where you don’t need to ponder very much at all—just enjoy.
Love you, Colleen
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