Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BEWARE OF DOG!


As a Believer, I had always thought that I would "rise to the occasion" and be "strong in the Lord" when the issues of life came upon me. I had faced many stressful situations in my life... and had always relied on the Lord for strength, courage, and peace to come out victorious. He has never let me down.

Some things in life are inevitable. Death, for instance, is as natural as life. From the moment we are born, we begin dying... but knowing that doesn't keep us from wanting our loved ones to live forever.

A little over four years ago, my mother died. She suffered a massive heart attack and lived for nine days following.

Having been an "only" child and a fatherless child for most of my childhood, my mother became even dearer to me. Momma was my greatest "fan", was always "there" for me through thick and thin, and encouraged me in every way she knew how. She loved to introduce me to her friends as her daughter, her Sister- in-Christ, and her best friend.

Momma had to make her own way in life from the time she graduated from high school. To say my momma was independent would be a gross understatement. She was always a hard worker, a "go-getter", and did whatever she did with all her might.

This included her service to God. She was thrilled to do whatever she could... from teaching a class to cleaning the bathrooms at church. She picked up anyone who didn't have a ride, and worked in the church's "Clothes Closet" resale shop. She cooked for those who had been ill or lost a loved one. She prayed on the phone with anyone who had a need. She had a "card ministry", and always had a huge selection of greeting cards from which to choose in her home.

Momma was the most GIVING person I have ever known. Every time I visited her, the last thing she would ask me as I left for home was, "Do I have anything here you want or need?" And if she did, she would give it. She did everything she did with love and enthusiasm.

When Momma died, I was totally "blown away". I guess I thought I would have her forever. Commonsense would tell one that they could probably expect to outlive their parents. Facing life without her was something I had never even considered and one of the hardest things I've ever experienced.

Friends and family tried to console me with the fact that she was in Heaven now... with Jesus...and experiencing no more pain... strong in her brand new body, and I knew there was no other place she'd rather be. While I could agree with the truth of the statement, that didn't soothe the pain of not being able to see her, touch her, or talk to her.

In response to her passing away, I basically "just sat down"... or "shut down". I stopped going anywhere except to work. I lost interest in shopping or hanging out with friends. My office at work and my home were my "safety zones"... and those were the only places I was comfortable.

My church attendance fell off. I didn't want to see people. I had always been an encourager to the Body of Christ at large... but the loss of my mother caused me to "turn inside myself"... and keep everyone else on the outside.

It has been my experience in life that the "enemy of our souls", satan uses the same devices on us that have worked successfully for him in the past… SO-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o many times before. In my case, he likes to turn all of my attention on me!

Sometimes he's done it through a physical infirmity... sometimes he has used our finances...or a relationship with friends or family... but as long as he can get my eyes and my mind off of Jesus, the SOURCE of all peace and joy and strength, and on myself, he can defeat me.


At the same time, I was very ashamed of myself. I knew better than to let this get me down this way. The really sad thing about all of this is that Momma would have been very disappointed in me. She would have expected me to be an overcomer. She would have expected me to "stand strong in the power of His might" when my might was gone... but I had allowed my flesh to overrule my spirit... and paralyze me with grief. The condemnation was overwhelming.

***
There is an old Indian folk tale that says within every person there are two dogs... a "good" spiritual dog and a "bad" fleshly dog. These two dogs are inside an individual, constantly "warring" against each other for control.

Which dog will win? The dog that is fed the most.

When I "feed" the "carnal fleshly dog" (by giving place to grief, sorrow, condemnation, etc.) more than I feed the spiritual dog (by turning to God for strength, casting my cares on Him, and asking Him to come along side of me and help me with my burdens), the carnal side wins. It's all up to the me... and which dog I feed the most.

I am so thankful that the Lord didn't give up on me, and that He made a way for me to return to Him. He didn't chastise me, and beat me over the head with all my "wrong-doings". He took my sins and threw them far away... "as far as the east is from the west..." and put me in right-standing with Him.

I had to:
1. "come to myself" (recognize my sin),

2. "turn for home" (repent and go the other way), and

3."come back into the Father's waiting embrace'...(accept forgiveness and healing from the
Lord)...

just like the prodigal son did when he realized that he had squandered everything his Father had given him... and that he had no where to go but home. (Luke 15:17 and following...)

FINALLY!
When I came to the "end of myself"... and realized how long I had been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for Jesus to "come and take me home"... instead of "working 'till Jesus comes", I stood up and fixed my sight on the "Promised Land"...

And NOW! I will now "OCCUPY!" ' til Jesus comes!

1 Corinthians 10:12 says, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

It happened to me.

It could happen to you.

WHICH DOG ARE YOU FEEDING?

2 comments:

Pine Pod Farm said...

Good post!

God bless you,

Amy

Special K said...

again right on time...you have a knack for that sister!

Thank you for your story...thank you for the encouragement it brings...

I have been feeding that carnal dog lately...I like to call it 'stinkin thinkin' :0

No more...not today...I prayed that TODAY I would die to self...serve others...honor others above myself...and you know what I got a test...in one of my weakest areas and I am thankful to say AFTER some time and some meditating...I passed...and when I got done with the test I have an amazing gift waiting for me...

MY GOD is so good all the time and all the time He is so good! PRAISE His HOLY name!!! The Name above ALL names! JESUS!!! My JESUS!