Friday, July 22, 2011

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There's A Lady Present

Desensitization, Heaven, Hell, religiosity, unrighteousness, vulgarity, decadence, profanity, false pride, the law of God, righteousness, humility, ladylike, gentlemanly, are but a few of the words that swam around in my head and in my heart tonight. I lay in bed still awake at one AM in the morning. Another sleepless night, and yet this night was somehow different. Recently, the Lord has been laying on my heart thoughts that, at first glance, may seem to be so unrelated. Yet they are all tied together by a basic element that seems to me to be the cause and effect of the present apathy, indifference, and yes, even complete neglect of love for God, that is, the one true living God of the Bible. The effects of this neglect, or even outright rejection, in our society today can be compared to an apple that looks beautiful on the outside, but the insides are rotten to the core. Because of this neglect, our families, churches, communities, states, country and the world are steadily becoming a darker and increasingly more sinister place to live. It’s getting harder and harder to find the loving people and world that God purposed us to be as individuals, nations, and the world. We are headed down the road towards a “new world order” just as fast as we can go. And yet, as we leave God and His ways behind to go our own way, we are quickly becoming less and less a reflection of the “image of God”, and more and more of the corruptible “image of Godless creatures,” seeking our own pleasures and vain imaginations.

Over my almost sixty nine years of life now, I have witnessed an increasingly decaying and corruption of our culture and society as we have stood by, often silently and without a will to stand up and fight back, as we are not so slowly but absolutely and surely being robbed of the blessings that can only come when we are truly willing to serve and trust in the only Savior that bled and died for us that we may know the true meaning of love, freedom, and all that is good and right. We have become a nation of lovers of ourselves rather than lovers of God. We have allowed ourselves to be directed by man’s own vain imaginations, trusting in “tolerance” and substituting God’s truth of right and wrong with the idea that there is no right or wrong, but whatever we choose to make “relative” to our own opinions of what we think is right or wrong in our own eyes.

Rick, my husband, and I started dating when he was only fifteen. I, of course, being of the ripe old age or sixteen, eventually became his “old woman” as he has lovingly called me for seven months out of each year because I am older than he. I reflect over a moment in time when we had been dating for about two years. By that time, I was almost nineteen. We were out for the evening, “cruising” around a popular teenage hang out, called Champs in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a restaurant similar to the Sonics of today. Cars would park, place an order over the speakers, and eventually your order would be brought out on a tray and attached to the area of the driver’s car window ledge. Often though, we would just drive around and around in circles, stopping only for a minute here or there to talk with other friends that were doing the same as we were. Upon one of these occasions, an acquaintance of Rick’s came up to the side of our car. While he was talking he did not hesitate to use some rather unpleasant language. In a stern, but not unkind tone of voice, Rick calmly said, “Watch your mouth please. There’s a lady present.” It’s not that I hadn’t heard such language before. Yet, without a word of complaint from me, he showed that he cared and valued me, and was willing to stand up for me to protect me and my honor. It wasn’t just that he cherished me as a young lady, though that was truly a precious treasure in itself, but in so doing, he rose in my admiration of him as he demonstrated by his actions what it was to behave as a gentleman.

In today’s world, the idea of behaving like a lady or gentleman is often now characterized as something that should be frowned upon and even unpopular, while behaving as crudely as one can seems to place one in the “popular” crowd. Females and males, young and old alike, seem to think it is cool to use the crudest and vilest vocabulary that they can think of at any time in any place. There is often little or no regard for the simple courtesy of showing respect for anyone; it’s just the acceptable thing to open one’s mouth and let the ugliness flow out profusely like a flood. Sometimes it’s in the form of profanity, while at other times it’s just plain inconsiderate, self- centered, and insensitive communication just flying out of our mouths to pollute the area around us and offending the ears of anyone within listening distance. All too frequently, there’s no self discipline or the slightest effort to practice simple consideration of others. So often we use our corrupt tongues to express any and every thought that comes to mind whether it is worthy of being spoken or not.

I don’t tell you this as one who is so perfect and free of committing these same sins myself. I have often been exposed to having to hear this kind of language. I thoroughly understand how one can be pulled into the very trap that we say we hate. Something rubs us wrong, and before we know it, we find ourselves engaging in that very same behavior. I’ll relay a true event that really happened in my own life just to give you an example of how easy it is to slip into the same mold that you see and hear from others. Yet, I can’t blame others for my own short comings, as everyone has a choice about what they will or will not accept into their own lives. I taught sixth grade geography for several years. The group of three teachers with whom I worked closely, were really wonderful and loving ladies. For the most part, they were very thoughtful about the language they used. However, over time I was hearing the word ‘a_ _’ quite frequently. Before I knew it, that very same word started coming out of my very own mouth, until eventually I became so desensitized to hearing and using it that I no longer felt any qualms about using it more and more profusely. Well, I used it long enough that, with practice, it became natural to just open my mouth and let it fly out. Then one day, the practice of its use came right out at a most inconvenient time, much to my own astonishment and embarrassment. I was in class. One of my students was making a real nuisance of himself, not only to me, but to his fellow students. I told him to get up and move to another location. He started talking back to me, and that’s when it happened. I said, “Sit where I told you to, and stop acting like a smart ‘a_ _!’ I had meant to say smart-aleck, but instead the other word came out right there in front of all my students. I felt absolutely horrified. Immediately, I realized what I had said, and began to profusely apologize and beg their forgiveness. What we practice, or allow in our lives, can so quickly become a habit that it enslaves us. Once we have allowed it to become a comfortable and acceptable thing in our lives, it is then very hard to break its hold over us. It takes a conscious effort, much prayer, to ask for God’s forgiveness and help in removing the ugly thing in order to break its hold and set us free.

But you see, that is but a small example of how quickly and easily we can let our own beliefs become so watered down that they no longer hold a position of importance in the shaping of our character. It is a perfect example of why the Lord tells us to “give no place to the devil,” and “give no appearance of evil.” His law and Word are not meant to be a bunch of rules or merely a list of do’s and don’ts. His Word is not meant to be used as a legalistic set of rules that He is then going to use as a tool to hit us over the head like a domineering, controlling tyrant. Instead, His Word reveals to us what is not pleasing in His sight because He knows what will bring harm and hurt into our lives, and what will bring blessings into our lives. His law and promises are meant to enable us to recognize sin in order for us to realize that we need to repent, turn away from them, and turn to Him that we may become the persons He has purposed us to be. If we refuse to obey Him, we then allow Satan the right to come in like a lion and seek to devour and destroy us as he wishes. God is the only “parent” that really and truly fulfills the requirements that are necessary to make the statement of “Father Knows Best” true and valid. He wants us to obey Him, not so He can control us, but because He loves us so very much and wants to protect us and shield us from the “fiery darts of the enemy,” whether those darts are from the weakness of our own flesh, the pride of life, or Satan himself.

In a small way, that night when Rick told the boy to watch his language, his actions were a reflection of the love and care that our heavenly Father has for each of us. It also made me want to behave even more like the young lady that Rick believed me to be, not because I had to, but because I cared for him and wanted to please him. How much more then should I desire to strive to obey and serve my Lord? How much more should I seek to learn from His Word that I may know and practice to do that which is pleasing in His sight? Obedience to the Lord is not done as an effort on my part to earn me a place in heaven. Eternal life is not earned, but a gift from God because of His mercy and grace towards me and anyone who will choose to trust in, believe in, and obey His Son, Jesus Christ who took upon Himself all of my sins, that I may be redeemed and become a joint heir with Him.

How can we bear to live our lives as if He doesn’t exist? How can we bear to give Him recognition for who He is, but never give Him our hearts? The harm it causes to us as individuals, and as the peoples of this world, is strikingly more and more evident as we choose to follow the wide path to total separation from the protection of the one and only true and loving God. In the here and now, shouldn’t we choose to live our lives that through His Holy Spirit within us, we may seek to let Him live in and through us? That can only be when we love him so much that we put Him first in our lives and say, “Not my will, but Thine be done in my life.” He will guide us and lead us into all truth. It’s up to us to choose to believe, repent, obey, and love Him. He first loved us.

As my Sweetheart said that night, “There is a lady present;” It is my greatest desire, to so please and give glory and honor to my Lord, that one day I may hear Him say, “Welcome home my child, the lady I meant you to be is now completed through Me in you. Yes, there is a lady present!” With God all things are possible.

Ginger Rahn


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