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Articles by Lynn Anderson

Is Spring Blooming in You?  - February 20, 2011

I admit it.  My thoughts have been straying more and more towards the approach of spring.  I can’t help it.  The snow is melting, and there is a certain smell to the air that signifies change.  A sixth sense, so to speak.  Somewhere between that luster of first snow fall and spring’s thaw, I get lost in the muddle of cold and snow and ice.  As it progresses, it begins to seem like winter will never cease. And then, the miracle happens.  It just happens.  All by itself, the air begins to slowly warm, the snow melts, the trees bud new leaves, and green grass returns.  Wow!  And it is always so amazing.  Every year it feels like a fresh breath of air.  Personally, I think New Years should be celebrated the moment spring arrives.  I am never motivated to do anything when it is 10 below with 20 below windchills.  I’d rather stay huddled in bed with lots of warm blankets and pretend I am a bear hibernating for the winter. 

I think a lot of Christians experience seasons in their lives in the same way.  When we first experience Christ, and the truth finally clicks or sets in, we experience spring.  It’s that breath of fresh air with all the new possibilities awaiting us.  Our souls are refreshed and renewed with a clean spirit.  Cobwebs have been swept away and our minds suddenly have a new clarity they haven’t had before.  Everything looks green.  And then, we move into summer, growing stronger, more confident.  We are fed God’s word, and we keep moving along at a steady pace, and everything is good.  As life moves along, we find ourselves in the season of fall, and maybe things haven’t gone as we expected.  Life has thrown a few curve balls, and we wonder what path God has us on.  Why are these things happening?  Maybe we question the direction we are going.  Whatever the cause, we begin to feel restless, bored, tired or dead.  If we are not careful, we can slowly pull away from God and his word, and eventually wither on the branch.  We cannot loose our salvation, but we can loose our ability to carry out God’s plan for our lives.  Or, we walk through a blizzard and wonder which direction we are headed.  We have allowed life’s hardships, anger, bitterness, hurts and mistrusts to lead us away from His direction and will.  We struggle to find our way through it all.  The snow is blinding sometimes.  So is our lack of trust in God sometimes.  Doubt, our good friend settles in for the long winter haul, and we stay huddled under the blankets because it is warmer, safer, and less dramatic than the blizzard blowing through our lives.  Some of us have gone into complete hibernation.  We have spent so much time away from God, we have forgotten what his plan is, and we have fallen asleep.  We miss that first exciting snow fall, and we get completely buried under 20 inches!  We are no use asleep!      

So, is any of this sounding familiar?  Have any of you fallen asleep?  Are you in danger of hibernating or withering on the branch?  Which season do you find yourself in?  The longer I am a Christian, the more seasons I have weathered.  I’ve been through them all.  Yes, I have hibernated.  And yes, spring has returned to me many times.  I am sure that is why it is one of my favorite seasons.  I know that God is always walking there beside me.  He walks with me through all of my seasons, good or bad.  He always has his hand outstretched, waiting for me to take a hold.  It is never taken away.  The only person who comes and goes is me, but God is always constant; of that, I can be assured.  God says he will never leave us.  He will never forsake us.  So, even when we get lost or driven by the blinding snows, caught in a flash flood or about to blow off the tree branch, we can be assured God is going to be there when we decide to return.  And just as suddenly as spring comes outside, it comes back into our hearts and lives, and we get a fresh start.  We have renewed spirits, the cobwebs get cleared, our energy is revived, and our minds are set with a new clarity.  Spring has sprung. 

I hope spring comes often in your life.  I think it is a very necessary part of maintaining our Christian walk.  If you find yourself wondering how to get out of your falls and winters, you must find your way back into God’s word.  He alone is the one who can move you forward.  Read God’s word.  Be in prayer; fellowship with others; make yourself accountable to someone you trust.  Above all, trust.  If you have placed yourself in God’s hands, then trust that He is in control.  Trust that He has the best life possible for you when you stay on His path.  Trust that He has many wonderful springs ahead for you to embrace and enjoy.  Trust.  Just trust.

Thank you, Lord, for all of Your wonderful seasons.  We thank you for the rain and the snow and even the blizzards.  Thank you for spring.  As we look forward to a new season approaching, we pray that you will help this coming spring blossom in our hearts as well.  We pray that you renew our tired spirits, that you refresh our tired souls.  We pray that you cleanse the sins away.  Help us to have a renewed mind and a new clarity on your will for our lives.  Give us renewed energy and strength to follow you and to complete Your will, Lord.  Help us to trust in your plan for our lives.  We place our lives in your hands.  Amen                

 

What Does it Mean to be Dedicated? by Lynn Anderson

 I was reading through Leviticus when I came across the topic of dedications.  My thoughts pondered the meaning of dedications in the Old Testament, and how it applied to us as Christians, today.   I reflected on our son’s dedication.  I wondered why we practiced the dedication of children in our church and where in the bible that practice came from.  I wondered why we still hold that practice today.  I began to research the topic of dedications.  What I discovered led me through some amazing self insights.       

I realized that dedications are not merely an act, but a process.  A process that must take place on a daily basis.  It cannot happen instantly, or overnight.  It is not something once said--a done deal. It is one thing to say we are dedicating ourselves, or something or someone; but to actually do it is another matter entirely.  I rapidly came to the conclusion that I was a miserable failure at "dedication" in the true sense.  I also had the impending fear that if I truly dedicated something to the Lord, that it could be taken away from me instantly, probably just to test how dedicated I really was in the first place--a rather foolish thought, since everything I own belongs to the Lord anyway.       

At best, I have stated my intentions to dedicate, but have hardly begun to follow through.  My husband Michael and I have the desire to make our new home a dedication to the Lord--to allow God to do his work and will through the use of our home.  Well, I began to think, just how willing was I to really allow that to happen?  Was I willing to give up my precious time to serve others?  Willing to have people come and go and be ministered to? To have an open door policy?  To have unexpected guests and callings?  To spend time on the phone with those in need?  To spend time with neighbors?   All of these would take away from my own time--but then whose time is it really?  Whom am I really serving?  I came to the conclusion that not only was I behaving as one of the unbelieving Israelites in the Old Testament, I was still serving myself and my own needs before others.        

As believers, we need to dedicate our lives fully to the Lord.  That means everything!  From our own children, to our cars,  to our homes, and everything in between. We must hand it all back to the one who gave it all in the first place.  We need to be like the priests who led the Israelites into the promised land.  They believed that even though the Jordan river was deep with the spring run-off and the water was over their heads, if God asked them to cross the river, they were going to obey God and trust his command no matter the consequences.  We cannot afford to be like the Israelites quaking in the fear of the unknown.  The what-ifs.  The buts.  We can afford, however, to take the chance that God has complete control of our lives.  We must let God work through us and be willing to turn over everything to him, for if we do not, we risk the chance of missing other blessings He may have for us.  We would lose the wonderful sense of serving others and being of service to God.  The priests in Israel faithfully stepped into the waters and the waters parted.  The Israelites crossed the Jordan and conquered their enemies and enjoyed the fruits of the new land just as God had promised them.  

Let us then dedicate our lives through faith and step into the unknowns.  God’s goodness and mercy are sure to follow, as are His blessings.  Are you a priest or an Israelite?  What are you waiting for?  

God, forgive us for holding on to our possessions too tightly.  Help us to let go daily and allow You to work through us.  Keep us on Your path, and may we step into the river with faith that all is in Your control.  Let us seek what you have promised us on the other side of the Jordan by serving you faithfully each and every day.  Amen.

 

Where's the Justice? by Lynn Anderson

Recently our pastor spoke about the prophet Habbakuk and his desire for the Lord to bring justice to his world.  His was a cry; a plea of desperation; of waiting.  “How long, Lord?”  He asks.  I have wondered this myself, at times; particularly when I have had a frustrating moment or moments throughout my day.  I can think of one recent incident that I felt the weight of the wrongs in this world.      

 One morning, my husband and I went out to our cars and discovered yellow tickets on the windshields, and on car windows of many of the other residents in the building. According to the ticket, we were in violation of not owning a village sticker.  The fine was $30.00 a car!  I can think of  better things to do with $60.00!  I went to the police office to plea my case.  I stated that the building owners had never notified me of the need for a village sticker, so how could I know I was in need of one?  I had the choice of purchasing village stickers, which I wouldn’t be needing where I was moving to, or paying the fine.  I paid the fine in disgust, which put a dark cloud over the rest of my day, as I pondered the injustice of it, and other organizations that take advantage of innocent people.     

 When I had sufficient time to calm myself, I began to analyze the situation.  We live in a world that is filled with sin.  People sin. Christians sin.  Even though we are new creations, we still war with our fleshly bodies. There is no avoiding the sin factor; it is everywhere, and it permeates the world we live in. Nothing has changed from the beginning of time.  The bible is filled of stories of sin and injustices from Genesis on, which can be a very depressing thought!  So, what can a person do?      

In order to live in a world of sin, we need to accept the world of sin.  That does not mean we embrace it, but rather we hold ourselves accountable.  If we are doing the right thing, and living according to God’s will, than we are doing what we are supposed to. Jesus never implied while he was with us that things would be easy, or that bad things will never happen to good people.  Look at Jesus’ life.  He was persecuted throughout his ministry by his own people.  They rejected his truth. They continually tried to arrest him, killing him because of the things he preached.  He preached the truth, and sometimes the truth is a hard thing to accept.  Certainly the Jewish leaders did not want to accept that their ways were no longer viable and that they  were no longer necessary to uphold an institution that Jesus had come to fulfill and do away with!   People were following Jesus and HIS teachings.  Imagine their bewilderment that people could so quickly be convinced that the traditional Jewish law and it’s practices were no longer necessary to have a relationship with God!    Jesus claimed to actually be God, himself!  They saw it as outrageous and it an injustice to their religion.      

 There are many things that are an injustice to us in this world, and that will continue to be so as long as there are people!  So, if we cannot get rid of the injustices, and we can’t get rid of the sin factor, and we certainly can’t get rid of the human race, than why even desire justice, you ask?  Just pay the bill and go on!       

 When we desire justice, and we pray for justice, we are putting justice where it belongs.  In God’s hands.  No longer do we have to worry if there will be retribution for these things.  God promises there will be!  He is in complete control, and he will take care of it, in his time.  For all things come to good for the glory of the Lord.  Even if we never witness it, we can know that God has a plan and a purpose, and that he will fulfill that plan in his time and in his way.  Does that make it any easier for us?  No.  There will always be suffering.  But through that suffering comes growth, and through that growth, strength in our Lord Jesus.  These are the words Jesus spoke to his disciples shortly before his death. “If the world hates you, keep in mind that the world hated me first.  If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as it’s own.  As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.  That is why the world hates you.”  John 15:18-20. We are not to be like the world!  Jesus called us out to be different, and that means a different kind of response from us, as believers.  As difficult as it may be at times, that must be our response!  We must set an example for others to see, that though their way may be unjust, there is a right way, and it is Jesus’ way.  

 Lord, thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. We ask that you would please forgive us our own sins and the daily grudges we hold against others.  Cleanse our hearts and renew our spirits to make them right with you, Lord. Let us go forward, thanking and praising you for your goodness and mercy, and that we would not let the sin of the world take over us or steal our joy that rests in you.  May our hearts be glad that we do not belong to this darkened world, but that you have called us to be light and salt to it.  May we use those times of injustice to recall that our purpose is not to respond with an eye for and eye or a tooth for a tooth, but to respond with love, mercy and compassion on a fallen and broken world.  Amen.

 

The Plan by Lynn Anderson

 Has the world got you down?  Are you going through the motions of each day, and wondering why you even bother?  Have the pile of dishes by the sink and the loads of laundry sitting by the washer made you think:  If I have to wash another dish or wash another load of laundry, I’ll scream?  Then I have just the thing you’re looking for!  If you’re tired of the mundane, meaningless plight of life, you need this!  At no cost to you, the product of a life-time is……….Jesus.  What?!  I can see you shaking your head and wagging your finger at the screen.  That sounds so trite and trivial.  How can Jesus be the perfect answer to everything?  He hasn’t seen my kitchen!  He hasn’t seen all that laundry piled a mile high!   It’s a good thing, too.  What would He think?

Today I looked at the dirty dishes and the mess all over my kitchen counter, again, the crumbs all over the wood floors, again, the carpet that needs cleaning, again, the garbage needs emptying, again, and so on and so forth.  I’m sure you can relate to this!    Some of us have just hung up the towel and said “forget it!  I’m not being a part of this, and left everything where it lies.  That’s gross, by the way.  Some of us have tried the “Let’s all take our turn” route, while others have assigned chore duty, some with success, some without.  No matter the route you take, it all boils down to the fact that, at some point, it will fall on your shoulders and it will be your turn to do it, again. (Sigh)  

There have been many times where I have had to walk away from the mundane chore and try to attempt it later.  This is actually a good strategy.  It gives me a chance to change the routine and muster up the courage and energy I need to face the task.  There’s even a small chance that if I leave it long enough, my dear husband will do it for me.   Sometimes the routine leaves me a little depressed, and I wonder why I’m not doing something more exciting with my life, or why I’m not working on all the projects I have on the back burner.  Where is my motivation?  I should be doing something important with my life, right?  This is usually the point where God intercedes and gives me the ol’ kick in the pants.  He has many ways of pointing things out to me, most commonly through reading his Word, the bible.

My latest kick was from the book of Ecclesiastes.  Solomon laments about all the meaningless things we do in life, and no matter how we try to thwart it, life is and will always be a continuous cycle that never changes.  How depressing is that!  But wait!  He actually makes sense out of this drudgery!  Of course it’s all meaningless, if we’re trying to do it without God!  God is the hub of the wheel.  We can’t go without Him!  Our purpose in life is found in God Himself.  We may not be overjoyed at the sight of another dirty diaper, but God is overjoyed that we are raising a child to grow healthy and strong, and we are taking care of his needs.  God knows our heart.  He also knows our needs.  He hears our laments and groans with us.  God knows what the mundane feels like.  He’s been here, on earth, sharing our experience.  He understands.  The thing we have to stop doing is carrying the burden alone.  He wants us to cry out to him when we are overwhelmed.  We’re not supposed to go it alone.  It’s not in the plan.   I have to be reminded that God has a plan uniquely designed for me.  This plan is being home and taking care of my son.  There may be good days, and there may be bad, but I am doing what God calls me to do.  I am being obedient.   God has a plan uniquely designed for you, and it’s free for the asking!  It’s a plan we all need to see through.  It may not always be that exciting, but it has God’s stamp of approval on it--and by gum, I’m going see this plan through till the end!

Lord, help us get through the mundane cycles of life.  Help us to find joy in the littlest things we do.  Give us courage when we are at our weakest moments, and lift us up when we fall.  Give us grace and mercy, and help us to wear it well.  Be our guide in the midst of life’s storms, and forgive us when we make our own plans without you.  You know us better than we can ever hope to know ourselves, so grant us wisdom to make the right choices on a day to day basis.  Amen