Quickly following up from last week, I wrote about a family friend (Rick) who was admitted to the hospital. Rick is still on a ventilator, he still fights his restraints when he wakes up from being sedated and they are still going to keep him sedated until a specialist is able to see him this week. The nurse said that he has made some improvements but they are planning to remove the ventilator on Tuesday to see how he responds.
Folks, my mother has one more round of chemotherapy to go! The last five months have been like a roller coaster for her and for the family. Many of you have followed her journey on social media and continue to pray for her. I cannot express how much your thoughtfulness means to her and to our family. Thank you!
When I am out and about people ask, “how are you doing?” I am physically fine. The baby is doing fine. Dustin just received a promotion at his job. We are doing alright and planning is underway to get the nursery room ready. Our schedules are busy. Now that we are close to Spring, I will be getting back outside to do more outdoor photography. We have upcoming church events and community events to help plan. We are getting ready to begin a new youth bible study program. That is just a glimpse. 😉
Mentally though, some days are rougher than others. I do want to mention that I have been learning to let go of worry. We are supposed to turn our worry over to the Lord. When I worry about how my mom’s body will react to chemo or when I worry about other things currently going on in the family… I’ve been trying to remind myself to stop and just pray. I pray so often throughout the day. I remember when I use to only pray before bedtime. Now I pray all day long and it’s like second nature. I talk to God. I have a friendship with him.
I saw something on Facebook this week that was interesting. A post that read, “Religion is for people who fear Hell, spirituality is for people who have been there.” This quote made me think. So, what is religion? According to dictionary.com, religion is “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.”
My next question, why do people believe in God? Hopefully, someone in your family has taught you about God. I think that in many cases when children grow older, they either look more into religion for themselves, they follow a “I believe in God life but they do not live a Christian life, we see many who may not understand that just saying that you believe in God will not get one into Heaven.” One must ask God for forgiveness of sin and try to live a narrow life and try not to repeat those sins again. You and me, we are fallen, we are sinners. Even after we are forgiven, even after we are baptized, we are still sinners and we will sin until our Earthly death.
But when we choose to take that next step and lead a life following Christ, many new doors open and I can tell you this first hand, they do. Now, living a Christian life is not easy. As always, people are quick to judge us (for some reason some folks cannot wrap their head around the fact that church people sin too and it is ok). Some church people are hypocrites. The same people who say these things, should humbly look at their own life and ask, “am I perfect?”
You know the old saying, “one bad apple ruins the bunch?” We all should know by now there’s more to it than that. Don’t look at the one bad apple. That bad apple needs Jesus too. Maybe that bad apple got drunk Saturday and is sitting in the pew on Sunday, shame on the church goer who judges them and shame on the non-church goer who judges them. I rejoice to know that they made it. Maybe another bad apple fornicates (yes I went there) but unfortunately that is becoming so accepted in our society today. What will be left untouched for their future spouse when these things have already been experienced. But when this person shows up to a church on Sunday, we should rejoice! A decision was still made to go to church that day.
Church has a stigma with it. I hope to see that stigma broken!
So what if you drink, so what if you live together and are not married, so what if you have not reconciled with someone, so what if you cuss like a sailor, so what if you are a gossip, Jesus is your friend. Find him.
I want to leave you with this. For Lent, I am reading the gospels in the New Testament. The gospels are the accounts of Jesus’ life written by his apostles. The apostles, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. No two stories are told in the exact same way. They used their own words to tell of the miracles of Jesus and his death. We can think about it this way. Let’s say you are a witness out of four witnesses to see a crime. No two of your witness statements would be written the exact same word for word… yet the same story would be told about said crime. Well, think of the gospels this way. Scholars have used these accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to follow the life of Jesus. Netflix has the episodes of the gospels, word-for-word that you can watch or listen to (if you are not a big proponent of reading).
I want end with this scripture from Mark 2:15:
15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
To break this down quickly, Levi (also known as Matthew) was a tax collector. As Jesus passed by the tax collectors, He told Levi to follow him and Levi instantly got up and followed Him. Later, Jesus dined at Levi’s home with others in attendance who were all sinners along with his disciples. The Pharisees (were interpreters of religious law) and they clashed with Jesus. They of course thought that Jesus blasphemed God but Jesus was the indeed the Messiah, the son of God, He is the savior of mankind. My point here that I want to emphasize is the last line in the scripture above. Jesus said, “it is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Jesus dined with drunkards and sinners and THESE are the ones who he most wanted to spend time with and teach. I want to see this stigma associated with church broken. Jesus wants all to come through his door. I’ve heard people say that if they stepped foot in church then it would fall down. People make excuses, plain and simple. Jesus wants you and your past. He will wash your past away. Do you think that your past is hidden just because you do not go to church? God sees all, he already knows what you do in your home, and He does not need you step foot into his church for it to fall down around you. He wants to heal you. He wants each and every one of us to look at our lives. What is going wrong in our lives (maybe that metaphorically is the “church that is falling down around us”). I know that there are areas that I need to work on. I have come a long way in the last two years of devoting my life to Christ.
I want to close in prayer:
Dear Lord, we thank you today for this day your have made and we are here to live in it. We thank you for all that we have because in countries around the world people are suffering in ways that we cannot imagine. I am thankful to live in America. I pray for those who are hungry, those who face persecution for you, those who live a life of evil doing, I pray for peace in this world. I pray for people who are fighting illness, disease, and cancers. Please bring healing to their lives. I pray that folks will turn their lives over to you so that you many work in their lives. You are good. We pray for those who are lost, may this be the day they find you. In your holy name, Savior Jesus, we pray, Amen.
Written by: Cassandra Freshour
Look for a new blog next week!