Thursday, July 28, 2011

Living Bibles

                Wow, this past month has flown by with the summer sunshine smiling down.  I didn’t mean to not post, but with a major writer’s block and a couple of trips, it happened.  I have taken the time to rest and listen.  While back home visiting my parents, I saw friends and family.  I also spent some time learning to hand quilt.  I am not sure how long I will do this.  I suspect my sewing machine will come out of storage soon because I am going to want to get some projects done quicker than my hand can sew.  I also spent a week letting the Spirit fill my soul through Christian music and fellowship.  I found a few things to write about from that week which I will share later.  I will be taking another week and a half off.  With much reluctance, I am headed back to the Seattle area for a writer’s conference.  Hopefully it will help with the block that has been plaguing me for the last couple of months.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a couple of things that have touched my soul before I leave on my next trip.  I hope it makes you stop and consider….
“We are the only Bible some people will ever read.”  My mother-in-law made this statement to me last month.  I have thought about this often throughout my days.  What a huge responsibility this is for us Christians.  Every moment we spend with non-believers is a moment of witness that I have not always recognized.  All the times we spend with other Christians, who may or may not read the Bible, we are still a living Bible.  Sure, I try to be nice, courteous, and kind, but to be the Bible?  Wow.  This is a colossal responsibility.  I know that I have not always lived up to the task.
                One of my biggest non-Biblical characteristics is when I don’t like a person, someone has hurt me without apologizing, or they make me uncomfortable, I have a hard time being friendly.  Recently, a verse struck me that I believe applies.  “Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”  Luke 9:62.  Each time I read this, I visualize myself looking in my past at all the wrongs done to me by people.  I get angry when their faces pop into my memories because I instantly remember the hurt done to me.  I have asked God to help me forgive and I “say” I forgive them, but the anger still surfaces.  This is a very humbling verse for me because frankly, I don’t think I am fit for the kingdom.  Over Memorial Day weekend, I accidentally ran into a woman who used to be a friend.  We spoke a word or two about my daughter.  Other than that, I was speechless.  I wasn’t a good Bible.
                My son brought home a DVD collection of Mark Hart the Bible Geek.  It was an eight part seminar on the timeline of the Bible.  I watched the whole thing in a day.  The main theme he spoke about is the entire Bible is a story of salvation, God’s attempt at saving His people.  I learned a ton.  Partway through, Mark talked about how we don’t just go to church for our own salvation, but for the salvation of others.  As a community, we need to be there for each other through both the ups and downs.  I connected this to what my mother-in-law said.  We need to be a Bible for our fellow Christians especially during their times of struggles.  At this point, I paused the DVD and cried.
                I can’t say what jogged my memory, but my thoughts went back twenty-four years.  My junior and senior year’s in high school where extremely faith-filled.  I felt the Holy Spirit pulse through me many times.  However, I did have a period of depression the winter of my senior year.  Either at graduation or a couple of years later, one of my classmates thanked me.  She and I didn’t hang out together, but we had spent two intense weekends together at youth retreats.  I considered her a true sister in Christ and always gave her hugs and smiles in the halls.  She said those hugs helped her get through her tough times.  Wow, I didn’t know that because at the same time she was helping me get through my depression.  We were both being a living Bible to the other.  I said a prayer for her and turned the DVD back on hoping she is happily sitting at the feet of our Lord.
                Jesus is the Word made flesh and we are to walk in his light.  People turned from Him closing their hearts to his love.  As we try to walk as Christians and be a living Bible, we will fail to live up to the standard.  We sin.  This is why Jesus had to die on the cross.  Others will harden their heart to our example.  I have much work to do to be a living Bible, but I will continue to try.  For the moment, I will look forward and not look back to the past.
                Blessings to you all.