Joshua

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Prepared for the “What If”

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Rejection…Practice

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Something to Learn

Joshua

Kind of weird to talk about yourself in a blog post, but recently I heard someone say, “You should always be be ready with your three minute testimony.”  Three minute testimony?!?  What is that?  The idea is you should be able to provide a very basic recounting of your life before God, how you met God, and your life after God.  Short and sweet.  Short is good because I don’t want to bore someone to tears, and because I’ve always been a little (irrationally) frightened about anything that looks like proselytizing. Apart from the fact that Christians are commanded to share the good news, my love for my fellow man should be sufficient incentive to overcome any “shyness” about sharing how my life, and eternity, has been changed by knowing the Creator of the Universe.

So, some folks have amazing testimonies that involves being saved from a life of desperation and hopelessness.  Not me.  I have attended church as long as my memory can see, heard about God and Jesus and all that.  Didn’t really disagree with any of it, but I wouldn’t say that I knew God yet.  My story starts out in a little A-Frame House out in the country.  Pretty sweet situation, really.  Had some small farm animals, some nice acreage to explore, a little brother to boss around, not much more a boy could ask for.  Well… Almost.  My parents split up when I was quite little, and at this point in my life, I was particularly preoccupied with the fact my dad didn’t live with me.  I got to see him on Tuesdays for a while, and later when I was older would spend summers with him.  Even with all the trees to climb, snakes to hunt, and animals to tend too around that A-Frame… I was sad.  I missed my dad.  I felt alone.  Sometimes a little angry, but mostly alone.

I remember many a night, lying in bed crying.  I’ve heard many people try to describe how they have heard the Lord. There is some variation, but there is some consistency as well.  For me, it wasn’t the audible booming voice that filled the room, or even a quiet but audible whisper.  For me, God’s voice has always come in an overwhelming of my heart, accompanied by a truth that I cannot contest.  It was lying in my room, as a young boy (must have been about 4-5 years of age), when I heard God tell me that I am HIS son.  That He is with me, and He called me friend.  God called me friend. This initial meeting was brought to a fuller understanding at Awanas, where an older boy walked me through a prayer of salvation.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

This changed everything.  I still missed my Dad, but I knew I wasn’t alone.  I got a little comfortable with this notion over time, and as I went to school, made friends, assimilated into a new family, I think I had forgotten that my Friend was there.  I made choices that I’m not proud of, and lived in a way that didn’t really reflect that the Creator of the Universe is my personal friend, my father, or really anything to me.  I struggled with depression, at first for no good reason, but later fueled by the guilt over my choices and the selfishness that had possessed me.   I tried to read the bible periodically, still attended church, tried to live rightly, but always managed to come up short.

One day, while reading the bible, seeking to hear from my old friend, something was revealed to me.  Another truth that I could not contest.  I had been working to be a good Christian.  To always turn the other cheek, to forgive others, to be selfless, like Christ showed us.  I stumbled across the verse:

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 6:14-15

My Friend spoke to me again, and made it very clear that I had NO RIGHT to hold so tightly onto my guilt.  I had tried so hard to be a good Christian and always forgive others, but refused to forgive myself. Was the God of the Universe, the one that sent his only son to suffer on the cross, to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that I, Joshua, could be forgiven of my sins and re-united with my Father in heaven, good enough to forgive everyone’s sins, but not mine?  I had been worshipping my guilt!  My guilt had become my god, and replaced that Friend that walked with me so faithfully for so long.  He still wanted to walk with me, but expected me to let him.

My life has been radically changed since God spoke to me on that day.  This book…  Had reduced me to something undeserving, unrighteous and just plain not good enough, but that is ok, because He has made me deserving, righteous, and way better than I could ever hope to be.  I still struggle to “do the right thing” as a grown Christian man, but the thing that I learned is that I want to do the right thing, to honor, love and be faithful to the Friend that has been so faithful to me.  Not because I could ever “do the right thing” enough to really make a difference on my own, because I can’t.

Do you know my faithful Friend?  If you don’t, but would like to, please tell someone today.  You can tell me, a friend you know is a Christian, find your way to a local church, but please speak to someone immediately.  This world is too dark and lonely to go through it alone.

Do you already know my faithful Friend?  Then obey the laws…  Not because you can be “good enough”, but do it out of love and because of the promises we find in the bible.  That verse I told you at the beginning, Joshua 1:9?  Ya, as with so many things in the bible, context is everything.  Take a look at the previous verse, verse 8:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:8-9

For it will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Friend, that has been 100% my experience.  I want to know this book inside and out, and obey every bit of wisdom it offers, not out of some moral piety, but out of love and because I have enjoyed the prospering success each nugget of wisdom has provided to me.  Because it has protected me from harm and ruin, and been a playbook for success.

My Father loves me.  He loves you too.

Prepared for the “What If”


I think it is humorous that on the Mastering The Habits Of Great Writers Series we are to write about being prepared. Now I am sure they would like me to write about how I am prepared in my writing. I can’t do that just yet. I a newbie in the writing world, I should not be giving advice on how to be prepared to write. But I can tell you I have lived the last ten years prepared for the “what if”.

What is the “What If” life happens… Really, let me explain. I carry this box with us any time we go any place far from home. it has any thing in it that I could need to medically fix my kids in a emergency.  I could not sew them up  but I could place a sterile bandage on it till we could get to the hospital. It has a g-tube in it just in case Minnie’s falls out… it has a port kit in it just in case Minnie get hurt badly and needs to be accessed on the spot I could do it before emergency help arrived then they would be able to give her meds. It has Latex free bandages, she is allergic… It has fire ant bite cream… the list goes on and on and on…

Am I prepared or am I crazy?  I think I am a mix of both.    You see the hospital or emergency care could provide most of these things… I just don’t trust that they can provide as good as I can. That is the crazy in me. So what? I am their mommy, it is my job to be prepared. It is much like when they were babies and I carried a diaper bag. I would of never gone out in the world with out being prepared.

The Lord also calls us to be prepared! He wants us to hide His word in our hearts so we may be able to have an answer ready at the right time.  I know that it is not always easy for me to be prepared. It is easy for me to look at facebook or pinterest but for some reason when it come to having the word of God ready… Why is that? This is my personal challenge. I am working on it! I hope you work on it to!

15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

 

Rejection…Practice

Use your gifts faithfully, and they shall be enlarged; practice what you know, and you shall attain to higher knowledge.

Matthew Arnold.

 

The call to practice in public has me shaking in my flip flops… You see it is easy to write on a blog where the only people that visit are people who love and support you. Stepping out and putting myself out in the world for rejection makes me flash back to being a left out kid. I don’t want to relive being a total reject.

Life is full of rejections… and real life is how we handle those  rejections.

Just look at Jesus he was rejected by everyone he knew..Isaiah 53:3 says “He is despised and rejected by men… But even though Jesus was rejected by everyone He knew He handle rejection with the most amazing grace. Jesus handled life’s rejections with His life. Jesus knows each and everyone of us and still even after He gave His life, He faces rejection. Rejection from His children that He died for. I am sure that rejection from man brakes His heart yet He would die on the cross for us, for you, and for me… again. Awesome right?!

So what can we learn from our Lord about rejection?

Rejection is real, Jesus knew a lot about rejection. Jesus was able to deal with rejection with grace because He found His identity in God, His Father.

We need to try to do the same when we feel the sting of rejection. We need to remind ourself that we have an identity in Christ and what He did for us on the cross. This is something that I’m learning to do… Living to glorify Christ.

Rejection gives us a chance at practicing humility. If we are honest with ourself and learn to understand first that when we are rejected it is our pride that is hurt. While it’s humiliating to be be rejected, just remember this… If we are humbled, we cannot be humiliated.

As long as we are breathing we will have to deal with rejection and rejection in the absence of the love of God is a feeling that I don’t want to deal with. I have resolved to find my identity in Christ, not only when I’m rejected but when I’m praised and accepted.

 

So now I have to go out in Public and write… I am a writer… I am…


 

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