Tuesday, July 30, 2013

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Here Am I Lord, Use Me

In so many ways, my life has been marked by moments of short spans of mental video tapes that seem to replay in my mind’s eye, revealing both small and greater events, turns, and choices that, had they not happened as they did, could have changed the whole pattern of my life. Some of these snapshots of time have been used to teach me life lessons in little baby steps, reminding me where I’ve come from and preparing me for where I’m going. I wish I had a greater ability to write and convey the true marvels of having a personal relationship with the Lord in order to reach others for Christ. Then I am reminded of the story of the master who gave ten coins to one servant, five to another, and one to still another. When he returned, the first two had used what they had been given, investing it wisely; thereby increasing the original amount of what they had been given. However, the third servant had just buried his, so it had not been used to produce anything of greater worth to be given back. My talent to write may not be great in the eyes of others, but I pray that I may use what I have been given to magnify the name of the Lord, and forever praise His name. May I be used to somehow touch the lives of others for God, as He has touched and changed my own life.

At the age of almost seventy one, I look at the events of my life as if they are pieces of a quilt, worked together with care and love by my heavenly Father, who has known me and made me His own even before He knit me together in my mother’s womb. From time to time over the past few years, I have attempted to impart lessons He is in the process of teaching me. Some have been shared with others with a response that was not at all what I had hoped for. In some cases, my efforts have been received with a response of, “I’m happy for you for your faith. That’s good for you, but it’s not for me.” At times, I had the feeling they imagined that I was boasting that my faith made me a better person than they. I endeavor to stand upon the word of the Lord as truth that is not to be watered down or compromised. Some perceive this as arrogance and even self-righteousness. It is not my own righteousness that I proclaim, but only the righteousness of Jesus Christ which He imparts to each believer through our faith in Him. Some have perceived this to be arrogance and self-righteousness. Such responses can be very discouraging. Satan has often tried to tell me, “It’s a waste if time; just shut up, Ginger, and go sit in your comfortable corner in silence, apathy, and indifference.” Yet I know I must keep trying by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

My walk with the Lord is a process, one that is incomplete and often marked by periods of taking one step forward and two steps back. It’s not His handy work at fault, but rather my response to His call that has often caused Him to have to put me back on the pottery wheel to reshape an edge here, a point there, or even remove a whole appendage. Lord knows, sometimes it seems I have to keep going back to the very beginning, repeating the same lessons over and over again, in an effort to hopefully get it right the next time. Admittedly, there are periods of walking through the valleys of discouragement and failure. Yet I am reminded by Jeremiah that true success is measured not by whether the desired responses or results were achieved, but whether one is continually striving to be obedient to the voice of The Lord.

As a teacher, I’ve often thought maybe if I could just be better at finding just the right phrase, or just the right package in which to wrap Jesus and His word, maybe, just maybe, I could plant that spark of faith in another. But then I am reminded that God already did that in the form of His written word, Jesus (the word made flesh), and the gift of His Holy Spirit to live within us when we open our hearts and ask Him to come in. The Father has already used all the right words, said in just the right way, wrapped in the perfect package, and yet still His greatest gift of love is so often scorned and rejected. If it grieves my imperfect heart, I can only imagine how it must grieve Him when He reaches out in pure, unconditional love only to have it ignored and rejected by a hardened heart of indifference.

At one time or another, there is not a one of us that has not failed to acknowledge who He really is and all that He does. Unfortunately, there are also those who never will answer to His call. For years and years, Noah tried to tell others of the coming flood and they must get ready to enter the Ark. They scoffed and laughed at his warning, and at the preparations of building the Ark in the middle of a desert. But then the floods did come, Noah and his family had retreated into the safety of the Ark. However, regardless of the horrible sounds of their screams of pure horror, the once open door to safety had now been shut and it was too late. So too today, we have the voice of the Lord calling to us from His word, telling each of us to get into the ark of faith in Jesus Christ. He never gives up on us. His mercy and grace is long suffering towards us. Just as it was in the days of Noah, there will come a time when the ‘door of the ark of Jesus Christ’ will also be shut, and it will be too late for those who have not believed to enter in.

His arm is still outstretched. His voice still beckons to all to come to Him through faith in His Son Jesus Christ. His Holy Spirit still summons us to repent that we might be redeemed and receive the gift of salvation. He never gives up on us. We must daily ‘seek His face’ to know Him with all our heart, mind, and soul, that we might be doers and not just hearers of His word.

Lord, I pray that you will give to us spiritual ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart of flesh that we might not be a stiff-necked rebellious people. When there is something we doubt, teach us to come to you and pray, “Lord, I do believe. Help thou my unbelief.” Bind us together with cords of love that can not be broken in the hope that we might be used as your instruments of love to draw others to you. Jesus is the door whereby we may enter the kingdom of Heaven. There is no other name on earth whereby we can be saved. Those are not my words, nor simply my opinion. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” His words are plain. Either they are true, or if we deny it, we make Him a liar or a lunatic. As believers, you and I must continue to do our best to share the gospel of the One that has first loved us. “Lord, you are more precious than silver or gold, and nothing I desire compares with you.” Amen

Ginger Rahn


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