Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Spiritual Nudge

There are times when the Holy Spirit moves that I consider it a ‘nudge’. It is similar to a continuous reminder or mental nagging. Many things can ‘nudge’ us not the least of these being our strong, personal will. The strength of our will and its single minded selfishness needs to be recognized and distinguishable as do nudges from many self-serving directions.

A nudge from the Holy Spirit is distinguishable by the very nature that there is no recognizable benefit to us. Most generally it is ignored because the nudge is towards something that will put us out, detain us or, most frequently, is just not about us. It can often be a nudge involving an issue we are in negotiations with God about and are hoping for a different direction. One of my markers to a Spiritual nudge is the immediate desire to ignore it and yet it continues to nag at my disobedience. It is ignored until action is taken or the Spirit moves someone else to do the job.

One of the best examples of a ‘spiritual nudge’ came from an elderly saint in my church that I asked to come and speak to my young ladies Sunday school class. I wanted her to share insights of growth from her long, Christian journey. A particular nugget of wisdom went much like this:

"I never ignore a prompting from the Spirit. There was an elderly woman in my church that I looked after. One particular day I felt the need to give her a call to see how she was doing but I was busy and kept thinking I’d do it after this or that. The next day I thought again I should give her a call but I was busy and let it go. On the third day when the thought came again I decided to just get it over with so I could clear my mind. I phoned her and she was distressed. She said her brother had died two days ago and she didn’t know what to do. She had called the church but the pastor wasn’t in. I said I was sorry for her loss and asked what I could do but she kept saying how upset she was. I finally asked where her brother was and she replied, “In the bedroom.” I immediately went to her home and helped her make the appropriate phone calls. I was sick to think if I had called when the Holy Spirit moved me I would have saved my dear friend so much distress that I have never ignored a prompting since. When the Spirit moves I do too."

This wisdom directed me to prayerfully ask the LORD to nag me until I am obedient and respond to His promptings. It takes practice to distinguish the Spirit from all the other noises but as in any discipline, like Bible study and prayer time, we need to practice listening in order to be sensitive to what God is calling us to do.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it. Isaiah 30:20-22

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shattered Neon . . . a short story

Here is the first of the stories I intend to pubilish here.  This is a short story of 7,000 words that has been submitted.  I'll post any results, accepted or rejected.  I hope you enjoy it.  I appreciate any comments.
Grace and peace.                        
                                                            Shattered Neon

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Christ suffered . . . should we?

“God foresaw your tribulation and has specifically armed you to go through it not without pain but without stain”. - CS Lewis

A week before Christmas friends of ours had their two sons involved in a tragic, rear end, car crash that put them both in medically induced comas for brain injuries and embarking on a long journey of rehabilitation. The young man that caused the crash died at the scene. The incredible Christian character of this couple was brought to mind this past Sunday.

Our pastor, Bobby Dagnell, who is credited for the following lesson, spoke out of 1 Peter 2:21-25. His lesson gave deeper consideration to the question, ‘Why do Christians suffer?’

1 Peter 2:21-25 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. "He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

As Christians we need to remember that we are called by God. He has chosen us and we have accepted the call to follow Him. We live in a world broken by sin but we are His disciples and when we suffer we endure it patiently, we follow His example and endure.

When we endure patiently we are trusting God for our present and our future. We have elected to be a part of God’s plan a small part of something much larger than we can see or understand. God called us, we answer with our obedience even as the purpose of our obedience remains unseen.

As Disciples of Christ our reactions to the bad things that happen can have eternal consequences to those around us. The many that are lost see what we do and their response to Christ’s message will be colored by our actions. If we are a poor representation of what God’s love is to us how can we expect others to desire the same experience?

Through the wonders of technology we have traveled with our friends via blog postings on the boy’s medical conditions and progress: as they have offered condolences and grace to the family of the boy that died, as they have endured, sought comfort and rest in the arms of our Savior, and been an example of His love to so many who have been brought into contact with their suffering.

Through the wonders of technology the response of their Christian family was worldwide and immediate. The power of God’s saints joining together in His name has demonstrated His glory and power and He has been praised.

We are called. We live in a broken world full of sin. We have and will suffer. We must endure patiently for our purpose is but a small part. We are following Christ’s example because the eternity of so many depend on us.

"Evil exists in the world, good lives in the spirits of God's children and from the reservoir of redeemed hearts, prevailing prayer can issue forth when no words are spoken." The Trial by Robert Whitlow