Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gain the world and lose my soul

35 For (A)whoever wishes to save his [a]life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?  Mark 8:35-37

I love early morning wake-up calls.  No, I'm not crazy (well maybe a little), but I'm not talking about the early wake-up calls of an alarm.  I'm talking about those times when God wakes me in the wee hours of the morning, long before most people are up...long before I had planned to get up...even long before the sun comes up.  Some time back a dear Christian woman helped me see that those early morning nudges when you really should be sleeping are times when God is calling you to spend time with Him...in prayer and in His Word!

This morning around 4:30, I was all the sudden awake.  I had not been dreaming that I remember.  There hadn't been any noises to wake me.  I was simply awake.  During the hour that followed, God placed so many of my friends and family on my heart. 

Friends and family who are facing illness and eminent death of loved ones.
Friends who are agreeing in prayer for an injured young man in Colorado.
Friends who are praying their children home from orphanges all over the world.
Friends who are caring for children who aren't their own, but love them dearly anyway!
Children called to ministry!
Moms and Dads of children called to ministry.
Teachers planning for the upcoming year.
Students who will be placed in the care of those teachers.
Friends and family who are awaiting word on new jobs.
Friends and family praying for God's guidance in choosing a home.
Friends who are struggling with who God really is.
Friends who are longing for a time past when life seemed to be good for them.
Friends and family who seem to have a longing for God in their lives but are still living in the world.
Friends and family who can't see that what they need...all they need...is the Lord in their lives.

So much flooding my mind that the only thing to do was pray.  As much as I had to pray about, there was one 'theme' that kept coming back to me.  The heaviest burden was for friends who are searching--for peace, for comfort, for love, for answers.  God kept bringing these people back to the top of my list.

After much time just sitting with God in the darkness and silence, I got up and went for my Bible.  Since Sunday's Sunday School lesson and memory verse, God has placed on my mind the idea of living for Him versus living for the world.  It seems that everywhere I turn, I'm faced with the images and words of people struggling with this.  As I searched through my Bible, I found many passages addressing living for Christ instead of living for the world.  Then, a image came to mind that has stuck there this morning.

Yep, that's a fence!  As I thought about this image of a fence, I thought about how many times in my life I straddled the fence--one leg on God's side, one leg on the world's side.  I remember trying with all I had to live both ways.  But it simply wasn't possible.  I am either for God or against God.  There is no middle ground or room to play with the setup.  As Christians, we either are or aren't!  As I pondered more on this thought, I thought of areas in my life where this has been a struggle.  I thought of areas where my friends are struggling right now as I type and as you read.  So many of us have faced, are facing, or will face choices that will define which side of the fence we are on.  We have to ask ourselves...I have to ask myself...who or what are we living for.

When I'm on FaceBook, do I try to sit on both sides...posting nice scriptural things one hour and then derogatory things the next?

At work, do I try to sit on both sides...praying with coworkers over a need one day and gossiping the next?

At home, do I try to sit on both sides...encouraging children to keep garbage out of their lives in the morning and then watching a TV show that goes against that encouragement that night?

The list could go on and on. 

Today, my prayer is that I will always choose God's side.  My prayer is that my friends who are struggling with where they belong find the One true God and live for Him.  My prayer is that God will convict when we stray.  My prayer is that He will call those searching for peace and comfort to Himself.

15 Do not love (A)the world nor the things in the world. (B)If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, (C)the lust of the flesh and (D)the lust of the eyes and (E)the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 (F)The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who (G)does the will of God lives forever.  1 John 2:15-17

Thankful for early morning wake-ups,