Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Would Anyone Care?

My heart pounds inside my chest, sending extra blood to my furious legs, racing through unfamiliar streets of dirt and grime.  I think my body must be redirecting its blood flow to give speed to my escape because my head is so light with fear as cold sweat continues to dampen the back of my neck.  They’re going to kill me, and I don’t want to die!  Fear and despair combine their dark forces in my soul as I seek to wipe the blur of endless tears from my line of vision.  Yet, I have no idea where I’m running.

“Please, God, just let it be away from those who tortured me and burned me.”

I’m fooling myself.  There is no escape.  I only succeeded in enraging them more by tearing off into the night.  Just as plainly as I ran out, so did hope.  I’m alone, hated without a cause, despised, spit upon, slapped, punched, kicked, raped, burned, and yet kept barely alive for them to continue another day.  Oh, how I wish for eternity that another day would never come!  Oh, how foolish I am to wish anything!

I’m tired.  I’ve been running as if the devil himself was grasping at my heels every step of the way.  And I’m drained.  The breaths of my sobs have left my lungs almost as desperate as I am.  Water for my tears has gone arid.  Fresh wounds trickle warm blood down my face and thighs.

“What’s the use?” I whisper to myself, “If they’re going to kill me, would it just be better to take my own life?”

I’ve never thought a thought like that before.  Would anyone care?  Would anyone notice?  Would anyone even…

Just then, I noticed I’m not alone.  Someone had seen me running, or rather, falling forward, sobbing.  I give up.  If this is God’s will for me, so be it.  I’m too tired to fight.  I just hope I lose consciousness, quickly, so as not to cringe in pain.  I grow faint, collapsing among the gravel stones, then do faint.

As it happened, that “someone,” who had seen me running, was like my guardian angel; a ministry worker who already saw more cruelty and death up close than the average civilian on the edge of a war zone; a ministry worker overflowing with the love of Christ, endangering her own life, because she sought the welfare of another, me;  one who, with joy, uttered loud thanks to God because this child escaped alive.

Hours later, I awaken to odd sensations; I am clean, I am warm, and I am on something soft.  My wounds are freshly bandaged.  I am wrapped in warm softness.  I slowly draw a full breath of clean air, and sigh.  My ‘guardian angel’ smiles at me signaling the rest of my life’s journey will be different.  Someone cares.

Want to help make the most impact in a situation like this?  If, for whatever reason, you cannot be the guardian angel, please find it in your heart to support those who help our neighbors in all lands to be loved, just as we ourselves are loved by Christ.

What if one hundred percent (100%) of your donation went directly to those in need?  Wellspring International is an arm of Ravi Zacharais International Ministries.  Ravi is a well-known International speaker and defender of the Christian Faith.  Administered by Ravi’s daughter Naomi Zacharais, Wellspring covers their own expenses, investigates all requests for funds thoroughly, often going to the location.

They do the research so you can be confident that your money goes where you want it to.  One Hundred Percent (100%) of your money goes to help women and children in crisis. 

Would anyone care?  Wellspring International does.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Longest Thread of Blog Comments I've Ever Seen... And Contributed To!

I can hardly believe I contributed to many of the 146 comments in this post. But what a discussion it was! It is well worth the read if you have the time. It's from a post called The Call to Worship, but the discussion itself gets into the foundations of the gospel. Special thanks to Alan Knox for the use of his blog during this discussion.

Absolutely Scared to Absolutely Surrender

As a kid I watched Bugs Bunny cartoons... a lot!  It was my first repetitious exposure to classical music. For example, I love the Barber of Seville skit with Bugs Bunny giving Elmer Fudd all sorts of hair and scalp treatment. Now I have trouble blurring that from memory when I hear the music. However, that wasn't the value I exacted at the time.  It was the witty kiddy humor.

In one episode, there was an Evil Scientist (complete with flashing neon sign above the castle drawbridge declaring thus) who needed a rabbit to complete his experiment.  So, he sought to lure Bugs by his basic, animal desires using a voluptuous, albeit, mechanical female rabbit. After Bugs defeats the purpose of the evil scientist throughout the skit in clever ways (and re- re-disposes of the monster), this lure enters the final scene: it's your basic stiff, lipsticked robot female bunny.  Watching 'her' walk by, Bugs smugly notes and thumbs at it saying, "Ah. Mechanical."  He will not be fooled. But, the electric hare about faces, approaches Bugs, and lands a pucker on his cheek. At this point, his whole demeanor lights up with his new-found and enthusiastic purpose for living and declares, "So, she's mechanical!" and mimics her strut away from the camera. So ends the cartoon. So enters the lesson for life.

Likewise, I've discovered a mechanical love and make a similar declaration.  I'm just not strutting.  Why would I do such a thing as fall in love with something obviously man-made? Well, for one, the lure slowly entered the scene.  I didn't know where it was leading!  You might say, "Oh, sure! Didn't see it coming? Ha! That's a good one!" Yet, I plead my innocence.  In fact, I invite you to partake in the reason for my amore.

Plain and simple, the "lure" for me is neither female nor robotic. It's an AudioBook app for my iPhone.  What makes it so special as to win my heart, or rather, my ears?  It's full of free, public domain recordings of classic literature. Whether the beginning subject of this blog post (Bugs) can be designated as a classic is debatable. That's not the point.

The primary work I have in mind as I write this is that of Andrew Murray called Absolute Surrender. It uses a few OT verses (beginning in 1 Kings 20) to highlight how a conquering king asked another king that he was to defeat to surrender everything. The second king, in sincere humility, replied, and I paraphrase, "Everything I have is yours, Lord. I am yours."

Mr. Murray used the verses to illustrate the simple -yet profound- fact that God asks nothing less from us. He does not threaten us, nor are we compelled to comply. But, oh, how we resist!  How I resisted!  The thought of surrendering absolutely everything I have and everything that I am scares me, and it tests the reality of my supposed trust in Him like a sharp, two-edged sword. I want to surrender things that are mysterious to me, hard for me, or bothering me. That's almost a no-brainer (and a no-hearter).

But, what about the things that are comfortable, familiar, and close to me?  Or, what about the parts of me that I'm even ashamed to admit to myself?  What about the lusts of the world that I welcome as relaxing distractions to help me unwind from focused work? What about the part of me that doesn't want to consider the prospect of my own temporary, mortal nature? Yes, I want to grow in Christ.  Yes, I want more than just for the Holy Spirit to indwell me.  I want Him to fill me.  But, absolutely surrender all of me?

For those things to happen, for me to walk in the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit, I need fellowship with Christ. I need to confess my sins for He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). I really do need to surrender all.

But, I'm scared. I'm basically saying, "what is known to You, God, and unknown to me, that I am willing to do. And what I try to hide from you, Lord, let make known to You and confess my sins, and thus restore my fellowship with You."  He is my all-in-all, says my mind and mouth. Let my heart live continually and count it all joy when I am tested.