Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thrive in God's Mercy

Today is the 100th post on Thriving Christians. Back in late April
Thrive Rich in Mercy was my initial attempt at blogging.

My heart was full and overflowing with all the emotions of my husband's sudden illness and then his death. You readers have been a blessing that still surprises me with rare joy. As a new widow I had a fear grab me around my throat that drove me to write and press to stay "alive."
Many years ago a widow close to me showed me how easy it was for her to "drop out" of living when her spouse of decades suddenly died. I desire to live fully until I die. That's what Thrive Christian's is all about.

Fears can hold us hostage to the adventure of living that is ours to embrace. Psalm 23 and many other scriptures use analogies of sheep to explain our relationship with God.

Shepherds' frustrations are usually centered around the fearful mindsets of sheep. It appears you can drive goats and cattle, but sheep must be led.

He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. {Psa 23:3b RSV}

The Hebrew word translated "paths" means "a well-defined, well-worn trail." Some shepherds say that sheep will even wander away when the trail is well laid out. The shepherd knows the trails from experience, and the sheep trust him.

All of us are facing uncertainty about our futures. I've had many decisions thrust on me, but I hear from many people that the events of our times is causing changes for everyone. How do we know that we are making the right choices? Decisions can be crucial, and frustrating!

In this new place I stand firm in my quest to thrive in this adventure of life. But I need wisdom. I need a shepherd. I need someone who knows the trails, someone whom I trust. I must be willing to say, "I'll go anywhere. I'll do anything. I'll be anything. I'll carry any load, live any place you want me to live, do anything you want me to do, Lord" I, like David, see the Lord as my Shepherd...the one I will follow.

God bless insurance professionals and financial planners. They have the difficult task of taking us to our death and afterwards. I've been blessed with wise and compassionate advisers, but it's amazing what you go through anticipating when you die. Developing strategies for all the "what if's" is daunting.

But verse 4 helps me: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

It seems when the shepherd is leading the sheep in the hills of Israel they sometimes have to go down through narrow gorges that have long shadows lying across the trail. In the Hebrew this is a "valley of deep shadows". The timid sheep are terrified at this part of their journey. Trusting the shepherd they have enough comfort to keep on the journey in spite of the shadows. For me in my "shadows" I hold onto "I will never leave you nor forsake you," Hebrews 13:5}.

Back in April I encouraged myself and readers to passionately embrace the adventure of living. Paul Tournier's book The Adventures of Living inspired me in this pursuit. May we close with his quotes:

"....being made in the image of God that man throws himself so eagerly into all the adventures God opens up before him....not only religious adventures such as those I have referred to, but all the others: the adventures of science, of the exploration of earth and sky, of art, of culture and philosophy."
"It is the adventure of God which is being worked out in every human adventure. The Bible is the book of adventure and must be read as such. Not only the adventure of the world and of humanity, but the personal adventure of each man and woman whom God touches, calls and sends into action."
"The Bible also gives adventure its true meaning, for from end to end it reveals what is at stake in all our work, all our activity, all our choices, and all our self-commitment."

Reflecting back to post 1 I am still passionate about the adventure of life God has laid out for me. I'm alive and that is a at number 100 I'm opening my gift and embracing it with gusto!!! How about you?

1 comment:

Dorothy Champagne said...

Congratulations on your 100th post! Also, what an inspiration to see someone who loses their spouse still strive to be a strong witness for Christ! Thanks Kay!

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.