Another Favorite Series

Another author that I like a lot is Jan Karon. She wrote a series about a little town called Mitford. When I read them there were five books in the series.

The main character is an Episcopal priest who is lonely in the first book. He complains to God that he is in his 60’s and doesn’t have anyone with whom to share his life. The rest of the first book is about the varied ways in which God answers that complaint.

The characters throughout the series are the same; they are the populace of the town and they are as varied as the many kinds of candy in a candy store.

The books are delightful, fun reading. They made me laugh and they made me cry. I enjoyed every book I read (all five of them) in the series. Someone told me there are seven books in the series now. If her books don’t make you laugh, get your laugh button checked; it’s malfunctioning.

What Is A Christian?

I’ve been reading a number of posts on other sites lately that leave me disappointed and fighting discouragement. There seems to be a large number of people who had faith in God/Jesus at one time and now feel that it is all a lie, and that there are no true Christians in the world.

I have to ask those people: What are you looking for? How do you define a Christian? Is it someone who is perfect? Sorry, not in this life. Our souls are saved from sin when we repent and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, but our flesh is still weak. The apostle Paul said he was the chiefest of sinners and that he continually did those things contrary to what he wanted to do, and didn’t do the things he should. Every church I’ve ever been in, every Christian I’ve ever met has believed that Paul was the greatest Christian that ever lived. We are instructed to “die to ourselves daily.” If we were perfect we wouldn’t need to do that. Isaiah said that “all of our righteousness is as filthy rags.”

We can’t earn salvation because there isn’t a human being who ever lived, or who ever will live who could be good enough. We are all born sinners. We are not born wanting to do right. No one has to teach a child how to lie, steal or be selfish. It is inherent in their nature, and becomes more dominant as they grow. My best efforts to be good fall so short of God’s expectations. But He has graciously paid the penalty for my sin, has taken my punishment. He knows I can’t be perfect. It’s why He continually offers me His love, grace, and mercy. I need it.

That is not a license to go out and do anything I want to. Salvation is not a “get out of hell free” card. It is not fire insurance. God is not a celestial Santa Claus, or a benevolent, spoiling grandfather. He is not “the man upstairs.” He is God. He is almighty, all powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, and everywhere present. He is just and holy. He is righteous. He is jealous. We are not to worship anything or anyone other than Him. He alone is worthy.

As Christians we have a responsibility to do our best to obey Him, to ask His forgiveness when we fail, to seek His help to become more like Him because we can’t do it on our own.

So if you can’t see any real Christianity, maybe it’s because you’re looking for reasons not to believe. Maybe you’ve been let down. Maybe you’ve seen hypocrisy. But do you disown a baby because it stumbles when it is learning to walk? We are all at different stages of our Christian growth and walk. Some Christians are not being taught (discipled) how to live a Christian life. If no one teaches them they won’t know what’s expected.

If there are hypocrites in your church, praise the Lord! Where should they be? At least they (hopefully) are hearing messages that may help them change. The church is not a museum for saints; it’s a spiritual hospital for growing, struggling Christians. It’s not a carnival where you go for a weekly spiritual “happy hour.” It’s a place to grow and learn in your walk with Jesus.

The Bible is God’s holy Word. If you choose not to believe it, if you choose to believe it’s a lie your end will be hell and there is no way out of there. If you’re wrong you have everything to lose. If God is real and you put your faith, hope and trust in Him, and it turns out not to be true, what have you lost? The end is the same then.

A Christian, a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, is by definition, a follower, a learner, a student of Him and His ways. It is not perfection; it is growth. Don’t let the devil deceive you. Remember that the Bible (Ephesians chapter 6) tells us that he is our enemy, presenting himself as an angel of light, and “roams about a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” Don’t listen to him. He came to destroy you and your faith. He wants you to give up and look at all of the negative, and the bad examples out there. There will always be bad examples. Just keep your eyes on Jesus. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother. Hang in there, struggling believer. Ask God to help you stand strong. Don’t let the devil win.

An Unexpected Sunrise

I’m a night owl, or late night bear, whichever wildlife you prefer. I love both animals. But I digress. Last night was one of those typical nights in which I just couldn’t get comfortable. I tossed and turned, thought about my grandkids and their struggles, and tried to ignore aches and pains. At close to 5:30 this morning I gave up and got up. I turned on the pre-set coffee pot, made myself a cup of Red Zinger tea, turned on my computer, and took my husband his coffee and I-pad. As I sat down at my computer and looked out the window, the colors of the dawn began settling on the leaves of the trees. There is nothing quite like the color of dawn gold outlining tree leaves. What a beautiful way to start the day. Hope your is wonderful.