Sunday, March 31, 2013

"Once and For All"

I love the words from the 4th song on the Passion 2013 CD...Once and For All by Chris Tomlin. I can't think of anything more appropriate to say on this Easter Sunday than these great lyrics:


"Once and for all, the Father’s love
                                                       He is the light in the darkness
                                                       He took on flesh and took our place
                                                   The weight of the world on His shoulders
                                                  The weight of the world on His shoulders"


We believe our God is Jesus
                                                            We believe that he is Lord
                                                         We believe that He has saved us
                                                       From sin and death once and for all


"Once and for all, our debt is paid,
There on the cross it is finished!
The Lamb of God for us was slain;
Up from the grave He is risen, Up from the grave He is risen!"


"We believe our God is Jesus
                                                           We believe that he is Lord
                                                       We believe that He has saved us
                                                     From sin and death once and for all"


"Jesus, Jesus, God from God, Light from light, You are our Salvation
                         Jesus, Jesus, God from God, Light from light, Your kingdom is forever"


"We believe our God is Jesus
                                                             We believe that he is Lord
                                                          We believe that He has saved us
                                                       From sin and death once and for all"


"From sin and death once and for all!"


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Punishment Not Deserved

This is a bizarre story. I probably wouldn't even believe it myself if I didn't know the individual personally and we hadn't gotten the frantic phone call to pray right in the middle of the ordeal.

A couple years ago, someone we know well was on a wonderful vacation out of the country. After several days of relaxing and resting, he returned to the U.S. ready to head back to his normal routine. However, upon arriving at the Atlanta airport, he found that there was a problem. He was taken into a back room for questioning. The situation got worse and worse as the story slowly unfolded....

About ten years earlier he had gotten a speeding ticket in a small town. He had long since moved from that town, and somehow the paperwork for his ticket had gotten lost in the shuffle. He had completely forgotten about the ticket and the authorities had never tracked him down about it. He never even thought about the ticket again, until this moment when he was questioned.

Apparently, his passport had been flagged, so upon returning to the country he was taken into custody for questioning. He was completely apologetic and willing to work with them in any way. One would think this would be an easy enough mistake to correct. However, the correct person could not be reached at the courthouse in the small town where the ticket was issued, so he was told that he would have to spend the night in jail. WHAT!!??

Yes. And that is exactly what happened. He was handcuffed and taken to the Atlanta jail. Please try to imagine the diverse reasons that people may be in jail in a major metropolitan city like Atlanta. Let's just say this was definitely not the friendly Andy Griffith type jailhouse. Our friend was scared, and rightly so. The guards spoke to him harshly and rudely. He was cuffed to another prisoner for a while. He was put in the large holding cell for awhile. It was a long and difficult night. Because of a speeding ticket.

After many long hours, the right person was reached in the small town. He was released with great apology and told he never should have had to stay in the jail overnight. In the end it all turned out ok, but it was humiliating and traumatic. His failure to pay the ticket needed to be dealt with, but he received a punishment that was way harsher than it should have been. His crime did not deserve a night in jail.

When I first heard this story, I was shocked and amazed by the whole situation. But, as he related the details, I just kept thinking that this story, while not a perfect illustration, at least points us in the direction of Christ.

Christ came to this earth and lived a perfect life (not even a single speeding ticket...or the first century equivalent of that!), yet He received a punishment that He did not deserve. He was mistreated, abused, humiliated and killed to pay the penalty for crimes He never committed...for your sin and mine.

There is no more appalling and unfair treatment than the shame our Holy and Perfect Lord went through on the cross. As we approach Good Friday, let's contemplate the sacrifice Jesus Christ made on our behalf. He didn't deserve it, but He willingly walked into it, so that we might have a relationship with God both now and forever.



"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in humann likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death -- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)


Monday, March 25, 2013

Celebrating Six

Yep, that's right! Our little man is six years old today!


However, his day was not all "easy, breezy" like I had hoped. I volunteered to drive on his field trip this morning, and carted our birthday boy and three of his buddies in my van. It was a great time, except for one major oversight on my part. Here's the back story...

Last year, at his five-year-old checkup, he was still several pounds under forty, which is the recommended weight to get out of the five-point harness carseat. I asked the pediatrician if he could graduate to the booster and he said we really needed to wait until forty pounds.

So, rule-follower that I am, we waited. All year he's hovered just under forty. It was never a big deal until today. When his buddies got in the car and asked "why are you sitting in a baby seat?" Thus began a long discussion about carseats and baby seats and booster seats and how old everyone is and blah, blah, blah. I hear my son say "I want to sit in a bigger seat but my mom won't let me." Meanwhile I'm thinking, "ok, anybody want to get out and MISS THE FIELDTRIP?!" How dare they hurt my baby's feelings...and on his birthday to top it off!

The teacher jumped in at that point with some encouraging words about how she's really glad he was willing to sit in that seat and not let it bother him because we needed all the seats and had nowhere else to put the carseat. I caught his eye in the rearview mirror and I'm pretty sure he was trying to decide if he should let her know this actually is his usual seat, or just let it go and take this new exit out of the babyseat discussion.

When we got out of the van he asked me in private, "Mom, can we take out my carseat? They were making fun of me" and I could tell he was fighting to hold back tears. It certainly didn't help that the carseat discussion was resumed for several minutes on the ride back to school later in the day. This was truly a Kindergarten Crisis!

By the end of the field trip I was feeling so bad for him I thought I might need more counseling than him. I just kept envisioning them all in 6th grade and one of the boys looking at him across the lunch table saying, "Hey, do you still have to sit in the babyseat?!" When I told my husband about the situation later, he had lots of wise advice about how to coach our son through tough things like this...with the realization that there will be many more such situations, and they will only get tougher as he gets older!

Jon was right, but I couldn't seem to stop thinking "why didn't I just think of this last night and SWITCH the carseat for a booster BEFORE the fieldtrip?"

But hindsight is always 20/20. And if we didn't walk through these hard things and learn to think like Jesus and act like Jesus and respond like Jesus, then we'd never really grow up. We might keep getting older, but would we grow more mature? No. Its the tough stuff that shapes and sharpens.


And while its fun to run around dressed up like a superhero,


what really makes us tough, is learning to cling tightly to the only real Hero -- Jesus Christ.


Then we have genuine strength and power to live out James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."


And while being told you sit in a babyseat may not sound like much of a hardship in the adult world, this is a trial of epic proportions for a six-year old boy (and his mother!). And I want to have the wisdom (James 1:5) to walk my son and daughters through such trials with a biblical mindset, so they come out grasping more tightly to the hand of the Lord.  


At the end of it all, our prayer for our sweet birthday boy remains the same today as it was six years ago when he was born:
"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:8-9)




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Reading With Friends

One of my favorite things to do is read. I have always loved a good book. Especially the kind where you fall in love with the characters and genuinely miss these people when the book is over! I know....some of you CANNOT relate. But I would gladly sacrifice sleep for a good book.

Before I had kids, at least. Now I realize that life and responsibility come barrelling down on you at 6am, regardless of whether or not you went to sleep on time. So, I don't stay up until crazy hours of the morning trying to get to "a good stopping place" anymore. But I do still love to read when I can, and over the years I've learned to enjoy more books that are meaningful and sharpening (i.e. non-fiction).

A few years ago God dropped one of the greatest blessings into my life...a group of friends who enjoy reading too! We started meeting regularly (ok, actually it was three times a year over the summer months) for book club.   


We grab drinks or snacks from the coffee shop and sit down for several hours to discuss what we loved or hated about the book, how we were challenged, how we were changed. There is lots of laughter, sometimes tears, and always the formation of a tighter bond as sweet friends open up and share from their own hearts and experiences.


Seriously, this is one of my favorite things to be a part of! Together we've read titles from Francis Chan, David Platt, Carolyn Mahaney, John Rosemond, Gary Thomas, Timothy Keller, Tullian Tchividjian, Ann Voskamp and others.


This year we got extra crazy and added a few book club meetings during the winter months. I was just refreshed last week by this great group and a hilarious book. I love these girls and I love the opportunity we have to "sharpen" one another (Proverbs 27:17) on a regular basis.

God gave us a great gift when He gave us relationships. "Let us not give up meeting together" (Hebrews 10:25)...especially when the meeting is both fun and encouraging; enlightening and Christ-centered.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Would You Go and Why?

About a week and a half ago, our daughter had to do a project on another country for school. She picked Ethiopia, which was a huge plus because Jon has been there twice and we have lots of pictures.

The night before her presentation she was practicing all the things she would say. She had to answer a few select questions, the last one being "Would you go there and why?"
As she got to this final question, she said "Yes. I would go to Ethiopia because I want to tell people about Jesus, like my daddy."


Wow! What a reminder that others are watching. Our own attitude and interest in going somewhere WILL affect others' attitude and interests. Our reason for going will affect others' reason for going. And whether we are influencing our own children, or anyone else in our lives, we better be sure that the example, attitude and interest we display is that of Christ Jesus and not our own. 


So, the example above is a win...daddy went to Ethiopia to share the gospel. Our daughter got that and wants to model it. But it makes me wonder what her answer would be if the question were slightly altered.

What if she were asked, "Would you go to a certain poor, rundown area of your town?" Would her answer be yes or no? And if she said yes, would her reason be a desire to share the gospel? 

What if she were asked, "Would you be friends with a particular person who is difficult to love?" Would her answer be yes or no? And if she said yes, would her reason be based on a desire to show that person the love of Jesus?

What if she were asked, "Would you like to participate in a certain afterschool activity?" If she said yes, would her reason be fueled by a desire to build relationships in the community for the sake of sharing the gospel?

I have to ask, "What example am I giving?" "Why do I do what I do?" Is my ultimate goal and purpose to tell others about the GOOD NEWS of Jesus Christ and His work on the cross?

Because truly, that is all that matters. And I don't want to miss my purpose here. I need to evaluate: Why do I shop at this particular store? Why do my kids swim or dance or play soccer in the community? Why do I live in the neighborhood I live in and cross paths with the people I cross paths with? For one primary reason...to share the gospel!

At any point in my day am I focused on this? Do I wake up and walk out the door and go through my daily routine with the gospel on my lips and Christ's love for others in my heart? Or do I run through my day, checking things off my list, getting kids from here to there, without ever thinking about WHY God may have placed me here?

David Platt just published an excellent book titled Follow Me. In it he states, "This is God's will in the world: to create, call, save and bless his people for the spread of his grace and glory among all peoples. This will is not intended to be found; it is intended to be followed. We don't have to wonder about God's will when we've been created to walk in it. We have no need to ask God to reveal his will for our lives; instead, we each ask God to align our lives with the will he has already revealed. God's will for us as disciples of Jesus is to make disciples of Jesus in all nations. Therefore, the question every disciple asks is, 'How can I best make disciples of all nations?'"

Lord, I am so thankful for my relationship with You. I am thankful to know You and thankful for the freedom of forgiveness. May You be praised in my life. Please continue to open my eyes and guide me in the direction of Your will. I want to be obedient to You. I want to be a disciple making disciples.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Swimming Lessons

Learning something new...




and loving every minute of it!  



And no, its not that warm here. We're taking lessons at an indoor pool!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Is It Hard to Tell?

I was talking to a friend today and asked her if someone she knew was a Christian. Her response was that the person "was one of those people who its really hard to tell."

A comment like that should make us think: "Would I be described like that?" Maybe not by someone at my church or by one of my close friends. But what if you asked the lady who checks me out at the grocery store, or the other moms at my kids' afterschool activities? What if you asked the waiter at the restaurant who served me, or even my next-door neighbor?

Would those people who only see me for a few minutes, as I'm going through my daily routine, say "Absolutely, that girl's a Christian! She oozes Jesus." Or would they be more likely to say, "Well, its hard to tell. She seemed nice, but then she rolled her eyes and looked exasperated when she had to wait a few extra minutes in line." Or, "She always smiles and says hello, but she never mentions her faith, so I don't really know." Or, "I'm not sure. She seemed so rushed and busy that she didn't even really interact with me."

It reminds me of something I heard a long time ago, probably by some speaker or bible study leader or in a book along the way: "If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?"

If Jesus has changed us, then we should LOOK DIFFERENT to the world around us. Our attitudes, words, responses, facial expressions, interests, and lifestyles should be obviously like Christ's. There should be EVIDENCE in our conversations and in our priorities and in our bank statements that we are followers of Christ.

I'm currently reading an excellent book called Follow Me by David Platt. In chapter 8 he states that in the 1st century, "Christians were not known for association with Christ and his church; instead, they were known for complete abandonment to Christ and his cause."

Am I so completely abandoned to Christ and His cause that everyone around me knows without a doubt that I'm a follower of Him? Or is it "really hard to tell"?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Being a Friend

Not long ago, my child who is extremely outgoing, who likes almost everyone and has many different friends from a variety of activities and classes, wrote this note:

"Dear _____,
I don't have any friends in ballet. I want you to be my friend. Will you be my friend? I really want you to be my friend."


Apparently she does not have a friend in her ballet class, and she would really like one. As a mother, reading something like this is heart-breaking. My initial thought was "oh, honey, you DO have friends." Followed almost immediately by the fleeting thought, "should I change her class? I know what day and hour her friends from school take." Followed by a wave of relief that I saw the note BEFORE she gave it to anyone in the class. In our face-saving society, we shudder at the idea of something this vulnerable being shared with others who may not respond in tenderness and compassion.

And I think, perhaps our hearts hurt so deeply for someone in this situation because we KNOW the pain. At some point, to some degree, we've been there. We know what its like to feel alone; to feel like no one really understands; to feel like no one REALLY knows us. We know what its like to just wish for a friend.

I wonder how many women (or men for that matter) in my life feel that way right now? I wish I could tell them what I told my daughter: Sometimes we have to be the first one to reach out. Sometimes when we feel alone, we really just need God to open our eyes and show us that those around us may be just as lonely, just as shy, feel just as awkward, and want a friend just as bad. Perhaps they don't know the love of Christ, and therefore have no well from which to pour forth friendship.

If we know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior and walk daily with Him, then we have the deepest, truest, sweetest friendship available. We have a deep well of grace and compassion and love and thoughtfulness from which to pour out friendship on others, because we can draw from the One who offers not only friendship, but the water of life!

"To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life." (Revelation 21:6b)

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Revelation 22:17)

If you know Jesus personally, then you not only have the greatest friend in all the world, you also have the deepest well to draw from in pouring out love and friendship on others. Instead of thinking "I wish I had a friend," we need to ask "How can I be a friend?" "How can I pour out God's love and care on others today?"


Lord give us confidence in our relationships with You. May we seek you alone for complete relational satisfaction. May we fill up at the well of your love and your grace. Then, let that abundance overflow and spill out into the lives of others in the form of Christ-like love and self-sacrificing friendship.

"Jesus answered, 'Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life'." (John 4:13-14)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Poured Into To Pour Out

A few weeks ago I was having a breakdown. I don't remember all the details of what brought it on, which means it was probably one of those situations where multiple little things pile up on top of too little sleep and too many tasks and you just FEEL like you're going to break.

I remember it well because I woke up on a Tuesday morning completely overwhelmed and really didn't want to go to the Bible Study I've been enjoying on Tuesday mornings for almost five years. I just knew that if I stayed home that morning I'd get everything done in the several hours I would have been at Bible Study. Isn't it interesting how Satan tries to get us to believe that the only way to get on top of our schedule is by skipping the very things we NEED and are COMMANDED to do (quiet time, prayer, Bible Study, fellowship with other believers in church, ministry, etc.)?

So, somewhere between my unmade bed and my unwashed hair getting thrown into a ponytail, I decided to just go on to Bible Study. And would you believe I got the greatest blessing of the whole semester?! I showed up a few minutes late and only a few other ladies were there. Three others, to be precise. And these three women all happen to have grown children around my age and grand-children ranging in age from a few months to 15 years old. Jackpot! I sat down, and when they asked for my prayer request, I shared. And they counseled and advised and talked about their own experience and I was completely poured into. And then they prayed for me too.

It reminded me of Titus 2:3-5 "...teach the older women...then they can train the younger women..."

Isn't God good to set up such a great system for caring for His girls within His body? Others should be pouring into us. If they aren't, we need to find ways to LET THEM. Perhaps we need to be more teachable, or maybe we need to be more willing to admit need and ask for help. Maybe we need to pick up a good book (Elisabeth Elliot and Beth Moore have made profound impacts on my life and taught me so much, and I've never even met them. I've just read lots of their books.). In whatever way God leads, we NEED to be taught by older women. This is Biblical and important.

And then, we need to be pouring into and teaching younger women ourselves. Each of us is older than someone, and that someone needs our encouragement. We must be looking for ways to model Christ to those coming after us. We must look for ways to teach and disciple other women and girls who are younger in their faith than we are.

I was recently challenged by I Thessalonians 2:8 "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." (NIV84)

Paul and his ministry partners (specifically Timothy and Silas here) loved the people they were ministering to so much that they shared their entire lives with them. They didn't just give them the gospel or a quick Bible lesson or a 12-week discipleship class. They gave them their lives.

This is huge. I think we all know that ministry can be exhausting and tiring and sometimes we just want our little private corner. We want to have some downtime and just get away. But Christ's example was to serve and give and share life and pour out constantly. The times when He did steal away and get alone, it was for prayer. I think we get it all wrong and think that we need alone time or downtime for our own selfish purposes and pleasures. In reality, our downtime should be used to refuel and replenish so that we can go back out and serve. So that we can "share...not only the gospel of God but our lives as well".

Lord, help us to be faithful in sharing our lives with everyone You allow us to influence! Let them hear, see and experience the gospel through us.


Here's one sweet group of girls God has brought into my life right now...my middle school Sunday School class (and a few extra friends in this picture). I am praying that God will help me pour into them, and that they will turn around and pour into younger girls as well! The beautiful part of this illustration is that several of these girls help teach the children's ministries that my own children are in!


Wait! I just realized something even cooler! One of the girls pictured above, who helps with the children's church activities my children attend, is also the grand-daughter of one of the sweet ladies I mentioned earlier who encouraged me at Bible Study a few weeks ago! So look at that ministry link: a grandmother teaches me, I teach her grandchild in Sunday School, her grandchild teaches my child in kids' church....talk about passing it on! Only God could make something like that work out so beautifully! Let's get on board with His plan!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Do the Next Thing


Ever feel like your to-do list is unending and the piles of work keep getting bigger? Sometimes these piles are literal...like the 5 plus loads of laundry I'm working on today, or the overflowing sink of dishes. Sometimes these piles are figurative, like the gazillion papers littering my countertop, all representing some sort of task I need to complete. Sometimes these piles are emotional and spiritual, like the many prayer requests and ministry needs I'm aware of.

Elisabeth Elliot is well-known for advising us in these situations with the simple statement: just "do the next thing".

Sometimes when we look around us and see so much need, it can be almost paralyzing. We don't know where to start...in our lives, with our daily tasks and relationships; or in the lives of others, with the countless ministry opportunities that exist in our fallen world.



I recently heard another great perspective on facing tasks that are overwhelming and seemingly unending. In an interview with David Platt at the Church at Brookhills on October 16, 2011 missionary Katie Davis shares how she deals with the knowledge that there is way more work in this world than she can do:

"The need is so great, so great. That there is this woman on my porch who we can get the fluid in her and we can get her to the hospital so that she is ok, but ten minutes away there is someone who was unable to get to the hospital for their medical care on time and they died. And I can feed this hungry person in front of me, but ten minutes away there is a child who is starving to death. And so, [its] hard to reconcile. God is still good, God is still Sovereign and [He's] in that moment and with that person. And I think that He's just really confirmed for me over the course of the year 'you be faithful in the little; you be obedient to the person that I've put in front of you and I will be faithful in the much; I will be faithful in the big.' So as a family and as a person, we just serve the one person or the two or three people that He's putting in front of us for that day and just trust Him to take care of the rest. And He's been so faithful to multiply and multiply that."

You can read more about Katie Davis and her life and ministry in Uganda at kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com. It is worth the time! You will be blessed!

And in the meantime, let's pray today for contentment in serving the one or two people God has called us to. Let's pray for wisdom and faithfulness in the small work He's given us, and do it with joy. What's your "next thing"?  By God's grace and through His power, let's do it!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Helping Others Bloom

We are fast approaching the time of year when flowers begin to bud and bloom. Dots of color are beginning to pop up all around.

 

 Watching brilliant colors and delicate beauty unfurl on trees and bushes reminds me of the life and beauty God wants to grow and exhibit in us. The human soul can be like a new flower...with the proper care it can bloom and exhibit great beauty. Or, if treated harshly, it can be crushed and torn.


As followers of Christ we should be so careful to tenderly nourish and care for the souls God places in our lives. These tender buds have the potential to bloom and reflect the very glory of God!


"Positive words act as water and sunshine to our souls to help them grow strong". (Sally Clarkson in The Ministry of Motherhood, p. 41)


May we speak life and hope and encouragement into the lives of others. May God use our words to help His children grow and bloom. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Actually....no thanks

A few days ago I was having a salad for lunch and my youngest said she also wanted a salad. After asking a few times to make sure she really meant she wanted a salad and not her usual (yogurt, goldfish crackers, maybe a banana), she told me "yes, yes, yes" and insisted "I really like salad." Really?! Well, ok!


I told her how proud I was of her for choosing something healthy. I told her I was really glad she liked salad today all of a sudden. I told her salad would help her body to be strong. And I fixed her a small bowl.  


With great excitement we sat down together, thanked God for our meal, she took her first bite...and promptly announced "I don't think I like salad."

If I remember correctly, I think she had a yogurt intead.

Besides being slightly annoying and quite humorous, this little scenario got me thinking: How often do we ask God for something, insist that we really want it, and then, when its placed in front of us, we say, "Actually, I don't think I want that after all"?

I ask God to make me holy, make me more like Him, change me into His image, use me in whatever way He wants, but when the opportunitites come to shape me and mold me and change me, do I say, "I don't like this. I don't want this after all"?

Like wanting to be healthy without having to eat the salad, how often do we want holiness without the refining fire?

Life just doesn't work that way. We have to allow the difficulties, disappointments, frustrations, and deep pain to mold us into Christ's image. That's what God allows them for. We can embrace these undesired experiences and be changed by them, or we can fight them, complain about them and fall into despair.

"And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The Lord is my God.'" (Zechariah 13:9)

Has God placed something before us that we'd really like to push back and say "No thank you. I don't really care for that. Could I have something else?" These are the moments that we need to pray for God's guidance, strength and wisdom, and then embrace the opportunity to grow.

"But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold." (Job 23:10)




Saturday, March 2, 2013

Who Do I Yearn For?

"Let your heart yearn for your ungodly neighbors. Alas there is but a step between them and death and hell. Many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them and if they die unregenerate they will be lost forever. Have you hearts of rock that cannot pity men in such a case as this? Do you not care who is damned as long as you are saved? If so you have sufficient cause to pity yourselves, for it is a frame of spirit utterly inconsistent with grace. Do you live close by them or do you meet them in the streets or work with them or travel with them or sit and talk with them and say nothing to them of their souls? If their houses were on fire you would run and help them, will you not help them when their souls are almost at the fire of hell?"

I heard this quote a few days ago in a sermon by David Platt from back on August 28, 2011. Dr. Platt is quoting Richard Baxter here, and adds his own words after:

"See them. See the people. See the faces that you work with, you live next to, stand in the shopping line next to this week. These are souls that are destined for eternal suffering or eternal satisfaction. Pray for them. Yearn for their salvation. Call out to God for them."

And in response I (Laura) must ask myself, "Whose salvation do I yearn for? Anyone outside my immediate family or immediate friend circle? Am I really seeing the lost around me?"

Lord, open our eyes. Let us see people as YOU see them. Let us respond to them as CHRIST would respond.