Thursday, April 25, 2013

That Darn Cat!

My cat Gilbert has a very strong interest in playing outside. Gilbert is not an outside cat. He's a pure-bred Ragdoll with long, white, fluffy furr! Anyways, in the summer I take him outside to play, but I always keep an eye on him.  But, when I'm away at school, my mom just lets him out for an hour here and there with no supervision. No problem...she taught him to come back when we call him in return for a piece of bologna.

Well before we moved, our dog Franklin had found out how to break through the screen door of our patio. So, when my parents would leave for the evening, they would come home to find both the cat and dog outside. One Saturday afternoon, we found the dog and the cat in the front yard yet again, and Gilbert was covered in burrs from the woods.

I'm not talking a few small burrs. I'm exaggeration..probably 15-20 burrs spread over is belly, back, and gorgeous tail. I tried brushing them out with no luck. I tried cutting them out, but he wouldn't sit still. So, I went to our church's Harvest Dinner thinking my mom could help me hold him down when we got home.

Bad idea... When we got home, Gilbert had his tail velcroed to his stomache between his legs! He also had a green sock stuck to his belly! And..he was unable to move because he was sticking to the carpet!

At first, thinking it was a silly predicament, we started pulling him off the carpet and detaching the sock from his tummy. But, we noticed the usualy frisky and animated Gilbert was sitting pretty limp allowing us to clean him up. His ears were down, not the way they get when cats get mad but in a sad way. Every few minutes he would wiggle away, but he would always come back for us to clip a few more pieces out. By the end of the night, his beautiful, long, white, fluffy coat was a patchy mess. He was clean! But, he was looking a little beat up...

My mom made a comment about how the whole thing made her think of how we look when we're bogged down in our sin. And, I think she's totally right!

The way Gil looked stuck to the carpet was probably exactly what God sees when He watches us caught in sin. I'm so thankful I have Him to pick me up and clip the burrs out my hair when I finally go to Him and confess! When He's done, we probably look patchy too.  But just like Gil's furr that will eventually grow back, ours will too.

The whole situation showed me two things.  First, it opened my eyes to God's grace and love for us. The entire time my mom and I were snipping the burrs our of Gil's hair, I wanted to cry. He really is a beautiful cat. I kept yelling at my mom for leaving the door open. And, as Gil looked at me with those little pathetic blue eyes, I sternly told him that it was his fault for rolling in the burrs. I told him that he did it to himself.

I'm SO glad that isn't what God says as He cleans us up!

1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

The next day when I saw Gil looking all patchy, I just laughed. I wonder what God thinks when He watches us walk around like that!

And second, it reminded me of the beauty of the Gospel.  As a believer who trusted Christ as my Savior at 4 years old, it can be easy to become "bored" with the Gospel.  I've heard it at least thousand times over (I am so thankful!!).  But, this morning, remembering Gilbert all covered in burrs reminded me of a few verses from Revelation.

Revelation 19:6-8, 13
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud pearls of thunder, shouting: "Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.  Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory!  For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bring and clean, was given her to wear."
...He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is the Word of God.

Remember, sweet child of God, that if you have trusted in Christ as your Savior, you will wear fine linen that is bright and clean on your wedding day!  Jesus has taken your burrs from you!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Break My Heart

One of my favorite songs is "Hosanna" sung by Hillsong.  Hosanna...Lord, save's beautiful.  A few of the lyrics read: "Break my heart for what break yours."  Today, reading for my Church History class, I came across a quote made by Benjamin Franklin which broke my heart for what I believe breaks the heart of my Lord.
A few weeks before he died [Benjamin Franklin] responded to an inquiry by President Ezra Stiles of Yake concerning his religions faith. Said Franklin: "As to Jesus of Nazareth,...I have...some doubts as to his Divinity, tho' it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence...of making his doctrines more respected and better observed." [Church History in Plain Language, Bruce L. Shelley, page 331]
The thoughts behind this quote made by Benjamin Franklin are what most of us as Americans are so thankful for: religious freedom...the right of free speech...TOLERANCE. We are so blessed to live in a country where we have the right to doubt religions and seek for ourselves truth. What breaks my heart about Benjamin Franklin's quote though is the fact that because he was nearing the end of his life and would soon cross over from life here on earth to what comes next, he thought it "needless to busy [himself] with [the study of] it now."

Benjamin Franklin was a brilliant man.  He was an author, politician, scientist, musician, inventor, and much more.  There is no doubt that he made his mark on history.  In the words of my big brother: "Yes, but."  Yes, he was brilliant, but what is it worth if you come to the end of your life and you are not the least bit concerned about what comes next?  Benjamin Franklin claimed to be a Christian, and I cannot judge his heart.  But, one of the foundational beliefs of Christianity is the deity of Christ.  It breaks my heart that there are people in the world today who might hold the same views as Benjamin Franklin.  They might believe in God but not the deity of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In John 14:6, Jesus says "I am the way and the truth and the light.  No one comes to the Father except through Me"  If Christ were not fully God, He could not have made this claim.  But, because He is fully God, He makes this claim.  No one will ever come to God the Father unless they have first trusted in the God-Man, Jesus Christ, as their personal Savior.

My prayer and plea is this...if you have not made a personal decision to trust in the Lord Christ Jesus to save you from the penalty of your sins, please do it now!  And if you are not ready...if you have doubts, figure out what is holding you back and straighten it out!  Ask someone for help or do your own research.  I would personally love to talk to you!  It is the most important decision you will ever make.

I'm praying for you.
In His Faithful Grip,