Sunday, April 16, 2006

He is risen....He is risen indeed!!!

What precious promises and blessed assurances we have in our Risen Lord!! It is amazing to think of how His resurrection and the new life that is found only in Him resounds in everything! I love how the season of Spring and the Easter holiday reminds us of those things, such as:

The changing seasons, birth of a baby, the death of a seed so a tree might be born out of it, the salvation & rebirth of a soul...

Well, this Easter weekend has proved to be an eventful one. I left early Friday morning (well, when I say early, I mean like...8am-ish.) and I arrived here in Ohio in the late afternoon. I have been here at my mom's all weekend. One of my teenage sisters, Paige (16 yr old) was here until today, which was a blessing to see her. My grandpa and littlest sister (Alexis) are here as well. I had the opportunity to eat dinner with my aunt, cousin, and tomorrow I will see my other aunt and her husband for brunch before I head home to VA.

It is interesting to reflect on what I used to think when I would come home to OH to visit my family. In all honesty, I used to dread it in some ways because I felt it would be a tiring "mission" taxing my emotions, and my relationship with God. I would carry the burden of their salvation on my shoulders. I longed for them to all get saved so badly that the time I was here; I just ended up being a miserable critic of their every word and action...and my visits ended up not being enjoyable for them nor for me; which resulted in me crying most of my 8 hour drive home to VA. I would be so weighted down by "my responsibility" to get them saved, that I would also at times be anti-social with them.

But now, as the Lord has been so gracious to work in my life and theirs, I am learning more and more to just be myself (a child of God & ambassador of Christ) and leave the results to Him. I am learning to allow the Lord to lead my visits with my family, to be on His agenda rather than my own. I believe Him to use any and everything that transpires between my family members and I (whether that be a smile, light-hearted randomness, deep conversations, conflicts, or even times of silence). He will use those things to woo them to Himself; for He has heard my cries (1 John 5:14) for their eyes to be opened to His glory (2 Cor. 4:3-4), for them to heed the call out of darkness and enter into His wonderful light that they may declare His praises (1 Pet.2:9). These prayers are just barely coming to fruition, but praise God He has been giving me small glimpses of the fruit that is growing from my feeble prayers and cries for mercy (Psalm 6:9; 18:6; 28:6; 31:22; 40:1; 116:1)!! I have also felt the Lord give me patience and love for my family that I oftentimes struggle to show them, since my pace of life is so different from theirs.

I look forward to all that He has in store (2 Cor.2:9), even though I do get quite impatient sometimes because I just want them to "get it"; to cling to Him with all that they are and have; to TRUST Him and not their own "goodness" or "positive attitude" to get them through life.

All of that to say, I have enjoyed my time here this weekend with my family. Many would probably look at the time I have spent with them as not accomplishing much "for the kingdom"...since there were no HUGE spiritual conversations (which I would have loved to have)...but I feel like this may have just been a time to just be here with them in the moment and trust God will use everything we did, said or didn't say for His glory and purposes.

In Isaiah 55:10-11, the Lord says, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Psalm 57:2 says, "I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills {his purpose} for me.

Psalm 145:19 says, "He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them."

May we take great comfort in how great, mighty and awesome our God is!!

May we continue to pursue hard after Him, desiring to know His resurrection power, the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, and become like Him in His death (Phil.3:10) we can walk in the newness of life in Him and walk as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).

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