We are back and I now need to get back into the swing of things - back to my Blog and back to the Word - today John 3.
It is SO easy to get distracted from the things that are important. And my journey detailed in this blog is an essential part of my life and it is important to be faithful in creating the chronology of God's work in my life so others can see as well as hear that it is a living work, not just theoretical.
The cruise was a good distraction - from work, from pressures of life and it was good to get away with the whole family.
We took Fidelia (our nanny of 7 years) and Michael's mom. The kids had a blast, attending Camp Carnival most days. We cruised the Eastern Caribbean this time - Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Martin. My favorite is always the days at sea. I read 3 novels and managed to stay off email for 6 of the 7 days (big accomplishment....).
My niece, Sarah, is on the mend. Thanks for all that prayed for her. They were able to save her arm. This past week they did reconstructive surgery and once the cast is off, she begin physical therapy to regain its use. She has been very brave.
When we returned from the cruise I immediately went on the road to Boston and then got distracted again upon my return by preparations for the school. The kids started today at Cambridge School after years at Montessori. It is the first time that we needed uniforms. And the school supply list was long enough to choke a horse. More distractions!
Last Sunday God spoke very strongly to me that there is a line in our lives and particularly in our interaction with others, but our behavior and our reaction to distractions was also key to the message.
Above that invisible line is the mundane, the superficial, distractions from spending time with Him and meaningful time with each other. And of course it includes sinful behaviors as well. For Christians, Satan loves to keep us in the mundane, superficial layer where we can at least say we are not living in sin and feel sort of good about that. He loves to keep us busy, so that we cannot enjoy intimacy with each other.
Below that line is intimate conversation and relationship, both with each other and with Him. We have to work hard to stay focused on the "below the line" deep, rich life that God wants us to lead.
Another way to put it is the way that it is discussed in John 3, today's scripture for the study we are doing at Real Life Church. Jesus talks to Nicodemus about the spirit world and the natural world. He is trying to describe to him that he needs to be "born again" or born of the spirit. He needs to live below that line in a life of intimacy and understanding of the power of God. Believing in the unseen, versus relying on the natural and what you can see.
v7-8"So don't be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be 'born from above'Âout of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it's headed next. That's the way it is with everyone 'born from above' by the wind of God, the Spirit of God."
I know many people who have been put off by the term born again, but I am a living testimony of what it is like to be given a second chance. Without going into my whole story, I made some very bad choices as a teen and when I realized what the consequences could have been, I did a 180 degree turn in my life, away from sin and toward intimacy with the creator of the world. Now I know that every day I can start fresh even if I screw up or get distracted, taking advantage of the power that is available to me as a daughter of the king.
Those of us in Florida have all seen the power of the wind that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus about, embodied in hurricanes. How cool is it to see the unseen power of God, stronger than the wind - bringing about positive change instead of destruction!
This chapter of John contains one of the best known versus of all - John 3:16. Here it is in the Message - through to verse 18:
16-18"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
Wow, so our choice is wholeness, rightness and acquittal - from sin, from mediocrity, from the mundane and the superficial. We can choose intimacy and depth - peace and clear direction from the creator of the universe.
But lest we forget that every choice (or the lack thereof) has consequences, this passage reminds us that we were living under a death sentence before choosing to follow God's Word and to accept His Son as Messiah, Savior and Acquitter.
John 3:34-36"The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that."
As for me and my house - we will serve the Lord and gladly accept his lavish distribution of gifts!
Have an amazing day.