Coffee along the way

Coffee along the way
Coffee along the way

January 26, 2015

Condemned or convicted?

This morning as I was going about my usual business on this Monday morning, I suddenly felt flustered and kind of in a panic.  I was seriously doubting myself and the job God gave me.  I was putting unnecessary pressure on my boys all of a sudden.  Long ago patterns emerging again of The Need to Perform.  What on earth was I doing?  Well, I was trying to fight off feelings of condemnation!  With the sword of justifying myself and working extra hard….not good at all.  So I did what any sensible mother would do, I fled.  Yes, fled before I maimed someone in the process.

In the house (we have a school room outside now!!) my dear husband listened patiently to my pathetic attempt to explain myself and my tears….i felt soooo condemned!  I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific, or pinpoint exactly what was the problem, I just had this vague feeling that I am not good enough and my life is a sham.  ??

As I spilled my sad story the Lord reminded me of the wise words from a fellow student at Bible College a couple of years ago.  She shared about Condemnation and Conviction.  When you are convicted by the Holy Spirit it is always very specific and clear.  You can repent and ask forgiveness, grow and move on.  Not so with being condemned by the enemy.  Condemnation brings a vague feeling of being in the wrong, not good enough, not “perfect “enough, never anything specific that you can sort out….and that was what I was feeling.

But the Bible is very clear - Rom 8:1  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
No condemnation!  Conviction, yes!  Conviction helps you grow, helps you become more like Christ, but condemnation keeps you wallowing in the mud.  More like Stuck in the mud and that was where I was!
Some hurtful words and actions started a snowball effect in my mind and it grew bigger and bigger as my day progressed.  Up to a point where, after having my eyes opened and only in Jesus Name, could I say “Stop”! 

Even thinking back now to this morning, I can scarcely believe how upset I was and how now looking at it, it seems so well, stupid really!  But I can clearly see the devil’s hand in it all.  If you feel condemned you think there is no way out.  Or you think of wrong ways out.  Justification, revenge, retaliation, blaming someone else, etc, etc.  But with conviction there is only one way out and that is through Jesus’ forgiveness.

Through God opening my eyes I could shake of these false accusations and go back and do my thing!  With confidence in who He is and who He says I am! 

Rom 8:1 and 2  Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Bella, free indeed!

January 18, 2015

Do I really care?

Missions – romantic, idyllic, adventurous, exciting, etc, etc.  Why did you become one?

Could it have started out with a romantic idea of trekking across the African plains, animals to boot that lured you into this calling?  Maybe after a slide show at church?
Could it have been that you thought you would “see the world” on a missionary ticket? 
Could it be that adventure and missions were synonyms to you?
Or did you start out by caring about Jesus’ last command, caring about People being lost forever?   Do you still care like that? 

I know God uses many ways to help us step out of our comfort zones into the place He wants us to be.  And they are all good, but deep down if you do not care for the people you will get nowhere.   What will drive you?  What does drive you? 

“Do you really care?” asked a mentor to Floyd McClung over and over – even to be the point of serious irritation.  But when Floyd saw the mentor’s care and love for the people, the burden God placed on his mentor’s heart, he was a changed man himself.  Do you care?  Do you really care?

Many are displaced in this time because of severe flooding, but do I really care?  Or do I just focus on what I need and how to make SURE that all MY needs are met? (Heaven forbid that I should run out of ____!)  Do I care to the point that I am willing to help with my own two hands with and my own little funds?  (Just remember what Jesus did with 5 small fish and two loaves of bread!!) 

Do I care?
Do I care that the lady with 5 kids and no husband’s house fell in?  Do I care if she ever hears of Jesus’ salvation and grace?  Do 100 000 displaced people really touch my heart?  Or do I worry about my own little world and have NO SPACE left in my busy head for the needs of others?  Do I care as Jesus cared?

You can very easily live here without so much as lift a finger to help anyone…accountability is much of the time quite low I mean, if you take God out of the accountability equation.  You can fill your days with surviving, living just to get by, living for yourself....You can carve out a nice space for your own little family and happily live only for them and their needs and not even see or talk to a national for weeks!  (Except maybe the cleaning lady/guy?)

Maybe I am just re-evaluating my own life, which happens in the 40’s I am told! and scared that I have become hard and callous to the colossal needs around me.  Or afraid that if I start caring I might overdo it and burn out.  Or am I just lazy and like my “new” comfort zone?  Whatever the reason I want to ask myself daily – Do you care, Bella?  Do you?  Do you care for others or just yourself? 

Deep down, to care.  That is what I want.  To follow Jesus and learn how He cared and still cares.  To love and care  passionately not only for myself and my own but for all those He sends across my path.  To take Jesus as my standard!

Bella, wanting to passionately care!