Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dancing With the Stars

Though we don’t watch very much television around our house, I must admit to having a few favorite shows. These “regulars” have changed over time, as some have moved to a night that conflicted with hubby time or small group or Lit class. Frankly, there’s not much good on these days anyway. We’ve taken to watching “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman” DVDs from Netflix, which I suppose is what led to my interest in watching Jayne Seymour on “Dancing With the Stars” this season. Now, only four episodes in, it’s getting hard to tell which partner is the dancing professional and which is the “star”. It’s amazing to watch the passion and dedication these couples dance with every week.

This morning, as I read in Galatians, I came across a prescription for life as a Christian, one verse that could guide our entire lives.

“If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:25

How simple is that? The complicated thing is remembering to do that! How often do we pause to consider asking for His leading in the every day, ordinary moments in our lives? Of course, we ask for His guidance in the “big” things, job decisions, relationship problems, and other major life issues, or at least I hope we do… But how often do we think to follow His leading cleaning the house, arranging our priorities for the day, or even going to Wal-Mart?

Take a minute to read that verse again, in light of “Dancing With the Stars”. We are partnered with the expert dancing professional, who can help us orchestrate the choreography of our lives. We need to spend hours of practice time, learning the moves of the Christian walk from His word, and following the lead of the Holy Spirit around the dance floor called everyday life. We need to be sensitive to His voice, to the music of His purpose, and learn to flow with His rhythm. We need to listen to the still small voice guiding our path, checking our words, charting our course.

On the television show, the couples are beginning to flow as one, you can hardly tell the trained professional from the dance student. As Christians, our lives should look more and more like Jesus every day.

“But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t’ get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.” Gal. 6:8-9

I don’t know what the prize is on “Dancing With the Stars”, but I know it pales in comparison to the eternity we will have in heaven. And as we learn the moves here on earth, will have the satisfaction of a life well lived, danced in step with the Master’s timing, and shining for His glory.

Following His leading,

Cheryl 10/17/07

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Finding Nemo?

Just Keep Swimming….

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get off track as a Christian? You were heading along in the right direction, when you suddenly hit a bump that sends you off on a tangent instead of your original path. Like this morning, while typing this, I discovered the internet is down and started trying to figure it out. Getting sidetracked is not a new problem, Paul was talking to the Galatians about the same thing, almost 2000 years ago.

“I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in His love and mercy called you to share the eternal life He gives through Christ. You are already following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.” Gal. 1:6,7

How can we be following Jesus and get off track? By taking our eyes off Him, fussing over the circumstances around us, and getting distracted dealing with problems instead of drawing closer to Him. Then, when we look up, it seems we are headed in the same general direction, and don’t realize we are off course. In Paul’s time, the Galatians were getting caught up in religiously trying to please God through perfectly obeying the law. Somewhere along the line they had started trying to earn their way into God’s favor.

“Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?” Gal. 3:3

It’s easy to get caught up in the works of the kingdom, the requirements of the law, and doing and saying all the right things. Yet sometimes in all of that, we get tangled up in religion, and lose sight of the relationship He wants to have with us. We get so distracted trying to please Him by keeping the law, yet He is calling us to keep Him company and sit at His feet. We are so easily distracted, feeling like we should earn our way, but He is our way! As we spend time with Him, He’ll do the work in us and through us.

One of my favorite characters in the movie “Finding Nemo” was a lovable little fish named Dory. She was always forgetting things, even from a minute ago, and freaking out when she didn’t remember how she got there or who she was with. Amazingly enough, she did remember and kept repeating one very important thing. She knew the address they needed to find Nemo, “22 Wallaby Lane, Sydney”. Her other famous line was “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..” Dory and Nemo’s father traveled through many obstacles, sharks, jellyfish, sea turtles and fishing nets to rescue Nemo. Through it all, Dory kept reciting the address, and saying to herself, “just keep swimming”.

As Christians, we have many dangers and distractions. We know our destination, and perhaps we need the simple faith of little Dory, to keep heading to our Destiny, and just keep swimming. When the sharks attack, instead of hiding out and skipping church, devotions, small group or fellowship, we should be running to our “school” of Christian brothers and sisters to support us and pray us through. We should be banding together, encouraging each other through our journey, instead of scattering in separate directions.
We are placed in the body of Christ for a reason, to encourage one another and work as a team to rescue the lost and hurting around us. Somehow when we are getting stung right and left by the jellyfish of our circumstances, (like a no water, brown water, broken dishwasher, malfunction light, broken tooth, tv signal issues, no internet kind of month) it is easy to forget that we have a Rescuer and a Way of Escape.

In the midst of my crazy month, I cried out to the Lord, “What am I doing wrong?” He gave me something I needed to repent of, and things are slowly turning around. I don’t know if that had any connection to what was going on or not, sometimes it does, and sometimes things just happen even when we don’t have some wrong attitude lurking. But I am thankful the water is working and no longer mud puddle brown. After 2 weeks, the dishwasher is finally fixed. The malfunction light went off by itself, the dish tv problem seems to have cleared up, and somehow my tooth problem will work itself out. With no dental insurance, I need a crown, and I know the Lord has a crown for me! All these trials build His character in us, while He prepares the crown of glory we will someday wear. Until then, head in the right direction and just keep swimming….

In His school,