Dear Abby, my friends don’t seem interested in Church or the Gospel…

I’ll bet you don’t see that one much…  Ha!  Probably because we’re busy asking questions of Abby like why our husbands don’t look at us the way they used to, or which stroller is best for an extended trip to the mall, or when it is appropriate to blow the neighbors leaves back onto their lawn.  You know, important stuff and such…

I’ve got a dilemma I’ve wrestled with for a while.  And it has taken some serious soul searching, many internet queries, plenty of time with my nose in the Good Book, and a series of discussions with my Pastor, along with other Christians in order for me to make some sense of it.

I worry from time to time about who I’ll get to visit with after Jesus in Heaven.  For the longest time I was kind of excited about seeing my Grandfolks again, significant people in history, and relatives I’d only seen pictures of from old black and white photographs.  Unfortunately, for that same long period, I hadn’t been placing Jesus first on my list.  Yup.  You guessed it.  I was pretty stupid.  Hey, you signed on to read a blog post here, not a perfect rendition of life.  I’m none-too-proud to admit it, but I sure looked past one of the most obvious lessons in life.  But…  That’s the part that sticks with me.  If I could, as a self purported Christian, manage to overlook one of the most basic tenants of rising to Heaven, then recognize it, and make the appropriate changes and adjustment, there is certainly hope for all the others in a similar position.  Yes?

Luke 23:43 – And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I have been so consumed and so worried about my great friends and whether they believe, whether they have testified, whether they have been born again, and whether I’ll see them on the other side, that I forgot some of the important stuff.

The afterlife must be the most awesome of all awesomeness.  The mortal life?  Not so much.  But we need to do Christ’s work in no small part so we may be worthy of that ascent.  Am I concerned for my friends?  Yup.  Am I ready to get worked into a frenzy over it?  Nope.  Here’s why.  I have time.  If that time ends a half hour from now, then let’s hope I used it well.  If that time is a half century from now, the same applies.  I’m going to use that time well.

James 4:13-15 – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

I’m only given what God gives me.  Hopefully I’ll understand and recognize what that is as the Lord reveals that before me.  Something tells me He’s been tossing boulders in front of me for years that I managed to ignore.  Luckily for me, God is a persevering kind, and doesn’t give up on us so easily.  If the great Creator was of that thread, I doubt we’d have all made it until now.

Sure, I worry about my buddies.  But instead of spending all that time in a cloud, I’ll share with them as best I can.  I’ll include them in the ethic of Christian living.  I’ll leave them with the kindest touches that I can muster.  Hopefully I can do some good.  I’m not cut out for this some days.  I feel too human, if there is such a thing.  I see myself as too flawed.  But the more I begin to understand through scripture and the life lessons surrounding me, I know whether I’m the worst sinner ever, or just the second worst, that God believes in me.  I know deep within my heart and soul that I’ve been charged with spreading the Gospel, and I can make a difference in the lives of those around me.  When the Architect of the universe knows you have value, it’s hard to feel low.  His spirit flows within me as it should you.

Romans 8:14 – For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

I mentioned in a facebook post the other day when I was writing about Mira, who I’ve begun referring to as “my little inspiration” that God doesn’t provide us what we want, but rather what we need.  Here’s what I wrote on the subject, “Of course, that isn’t the way this works. The Lord takes requests, but there’s no promise you’ll get the music you asked for. Instead, whether we understand it or not, the ballad you get is the ballad you need.”

So here’s my mock response from Abby:

“Dear Michael, 

I understand and I too become concerned about what I see around me.  I struggle with what may come.  But I also know I have a path of which to walk, and if I tread upon it rightly, I can make a difference with others and serve Him well. Rather than lamenting over what ‘bad’ may happen, shift your focus to sharing and doing the ‘good’ you have to offer.  This is a matter of perspective and focus and both are within your control.

-Abby”

The above assumes Abby is capable of good advice.  And as near as I can tell, her mock response is right on the money.  How’s that for living vicariously through a cyber shell of a person I’ve never met?  😉

Short version?  It’s natural to get down, but don’t stay there.  Just as our pastors mentioned a few weeks ago, and the King James Version is my favorite for Pslam 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Be salt and light my friends…

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