Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Because of You, I am me

Recently I was with some family members who were visiting from out of town.  We were going through the book called The Complete Book of Questions asking each other to pick a number and then reading the question to have us answer.  It was my turn and I picked #973.  The question:  Do you think God has ever used pain and suffering to get your attention?  If so, what was he trying to get across to you?

I hesitated and stumbled through answering the question.  Realizing I wasn’t giving this answer justice I went over and grabbed my worn out fuzzy green journal knowing this would help explain myself better.

I opened the book and the first page I came to was this…

Not only did you form me, design me, and create me. But you also chose where I live, what will happen to me, where I will go.  And when You planned that, You did, so that I would find You.

The things that are beautiful in my life, You placed so that I would seek You.  Those moments in my life that are ugly, You placed so that I would reach out for You.  Every detail of my life, You have planned so that I would find You.

Because of You…I live, because of You…I move, because of You…I am me.  Thank you.

…He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.  God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.  For in Him we live and move and have our being…
Acts  17:  26-28

My experiences form me and create passion within me, allowing me to be me, to love.

Not Yet
You call me…
You keep on calling my name.
I hear you…
And I look up, I want to see You.
To be with You.

My eyes try to focus on where I think I heard Your voice.
And I jump up to move towards You.
All senses are at attention as my body responds to Your call.

I fall…
Pain shoots through palms.
I look down…
Scraped knees and hands,
Blood drips.

Startled, my eyes look around me, and I see.
All this around me, which has always surrounded me.
Every day, and I was not aware.

It was hidden…
Anguish filled souls.
They were covered…
Scared hearts.
Pain thrives.

I listen and I can hear the cry, utter sadness.
In the middle of a crowded room filled with chatter.
Empty eyes behind the laughter.

I look to You…
And arms reach up.
“Take me home please…”
“Not yet” You reply,
“Help them.”

With gentle caress You touch my outreached hands
And I feel the balm of healing, as I look to Your face with tear filled eyes,
I nod, Yes Lord.  Understanding.

Even God’s love did not achieve its purpose without suffering.  By suffering, God bore our sins to attain the greatest act of perfect love.  We too are able to live a life of love through our suffering to reflect Christ to others.

Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.  Ephesians 5:2

- Sue Parrott

Monday, February 2, 2015


“Let not the strong man boast of his strength or the wise man boast of his wisdom or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.” Jeremiah 9:23-24

                Over the past couple of months, God has been repeating to me, “Know Me better, Sarah. Know Me more.” I heard Him, but the repetition meant I wasn’t listening very well. A couple of things happened that gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to move from hearing into action.  The first was ‘week one’ of our current series at Ada Bible Church, Learning to Follow.  With Jeff’s description of “the chair” as daily, carved-out, set-aside time, I heard the Holy Spirit nearly screaming to me “Listen to this! This is what I have been trying to tell you!”

The second moment was while reading in Jeremiah 2. The picture is of Judah and her unfaithfulness to Jehovah being compared to a she-camel and a donkey that are wildly running around in heat, frantic in their pursuit of the wrong things. My first thought was “Wow, that is quite the picture of this rebellious nation.” It was immediately followed by the gentle voice of my Savior saying, “Wow, that is quite a picture of you.”  And do you know what? He was right. I had been wildly running through the busyness of my days, taking care of business and getting everything done.  But, I had unintentionally placed my First Love somewhere down the list. Yes, I had daily communication with Him, chatting throughout the day, asking for guidance and lifting people up to Him. But, what I had let drift was daily sitting at His feet, daily feasting on Scripture and daily being quiet and still in His presence.

I love this quote by John Scott… “Holiness is not a condition into which we drift.”

It is active and intentional. It is a pursuit. It is selfless.

But this active pursuit of Christ-likeness is not necessarily fueled by the sacrificing of activities and things. Instead, it is fueled by a constant surrender of the heart and its desires.
It is a continuous shifting of our eyes from everything and everyone that bombards our days and screams for our attention to the heart of the Master. From our busyness to moments of stillness. From the demands of a relentless job and deadlines to the peace of communion with the Word. From the pressing call of textbooks, notes and study to the quiet beckoning of “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me(Matthew  11:29). From the endless needs of children, schools, playdates and schedules to those precious moments (and often they are only moments) of calm. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 40:10).

Becoming like Christ requires an active, daily feasting on His Word.  It demands the intentional carving out of time and it may mean a change of habit, ritual or timing. Knowing God is not for the passive. I love what James says in chapter 4 verse 8. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” This verse is one that God has used time after time in my walk with Him. I firmly stand on the promise that if I am actively pursuing Him, I will be drawn closer to His heart. I will know Him better. I will become more like the Christ.

The picture I have is of the Father strolling through an English garden while the sun is just starting its ascent. The mist is beginning to clear and His hand is extended behind Him like a parent who wants his child to take his hand. He is waiting for me to join Him, to grasp His fingers and walk beside him. And so I do. We move slowly through the early morning hours simply talking, listening, sharing and loving.

“I love you, my child. Know me.”

- Sarah Bennor