Eye Drops

I don't like eye drops very much.  Not that I've ever had to put any in my own eyes, that I can remember.  But I have 4 kiddos who all had conjunctivitis in the last week, so eye drops became a routine for us.  Not a fun routine, but a routine nonetheless.  I dreaded it almost as much as my kids did...it's not always easy to watch your child scream, kick, and cry (yes, the eye drops allowed their very worst to come out), even when you know that the eye drops will benefit them by getting rid of all infection.

I'm pretty sure you all understand where I am going with this...it's such a simple lesson, but worth repeating.  The things in life that are the best, the things that will benefit us the most, are not always the easiest.  Sometimes they are hard and even painful...but in the end, they will bring about the best result.  I was recently using this eye-drop example with one of our youth at the church.  There are things in life that we don't necessarily like or want to do- things that are difficult to accomplish or require a huge investment and a lot of effort.  It can be hard to do what needs to be done when we only look at the circumstances.  Have you ever thought, at the end of a big project or accomplishment, "Wow, that whole process would have been a lot easier if I had known at the beginning what it would feel like at the end!"  I know I have, and it's true.  If we can focus on the end result, on the benefit of it all, it tends to be easier to get the job done.  If the goal is in mind, if we understand why we do what we do, we can plow ahead, our eyes on the prize, remembering that our work and effort will be worth it in the end.

It's important to be reminded of this truth, because there are times when we all become side-tracked.  There are distractions and detours.  We can become lost on the way and even stumble and fall.  There moments, in all our lives, when we forget the end result.  We forget to look at the goal, at the huge benefit that we are working towards.  So, if you are like me, and you sometimes forget, let this blog remind you, let God remind you what you have been called to.  I believe that God created each one of us with a unique purpose, a unique mission to fulfill.  But there are many things that are universal, that speak to all of us as believers in the Word of God and followers of Christ Jesus, as we follow the conditions they require.  If you are living in a time full of detours or in a "lost" moment, let the Word speak to you...and remind you that it will be worth it in the end.

"And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after awhile we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't get discouraged and give up."  Galatians 6:9 TLB

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.  But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.  Whatever he does prospers."  Psalm 1 NIV

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds.  Don't repay evil for evil.  Don't retaliate when people say unkind things about you.  Instead, pay them back with a blessing.  That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it."  1 Peter 3:8-9 NLT

"If you humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up.  Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you."    1 Peter 5:6-7 TLB

"Pride ends in destruction; humility ends in honor."  Proverbs 18:12 TLB

"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

"The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"  Psalm 27:1

"I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete."  John 15:11

"When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come.  But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.  So you have your pain now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."  John 16:21-22

"But all who humble themselves before the Lord shall be given every blessing, and shall have wonderful peace."  Psalm 37:11 TLB

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."  Psalm 30:5 KJV


"They Worship Idols!"

In Mexico, we are surrounded by people who are very religious.  Even though many no longer attend services at a church, most hold very tightly to the things they have been taught.  It is not uncommon to hear people talking about God, and phrases like "God bless you," "If God wills," and "Thank God!" are heard on a daily basis.  So when Uriah began to ask things like, "Why doesn't Emmanuel's mom let him play with me anymore?" I had to explain that some people feel afraid because we believe differently than they do.  "But, Mom," he said, "They talk about God too."  I told him that what he said was true, that in fact, we believe in a lot of the same things.  The biggest difference is that we only worship God, and they worship many different idols.  After that ensued a conversation about why other people worship statues and dolls instead of the one true God.  I explained it all as well as I could, wanting him to understand why we are in Mexico and why we work with the people we do.  His understanding of the subject was summed up in his declaration, "Oh!  They worship idols!"  That led to another conversation...which in turn led to a heart examination.

Although we most often think of idols as being statues that people worship, there are other things in our lives that are or can become idols.  Idols are anyone and anything that we give more importance to than the Maker of Heaven and earth.  Idols can be anything that we worship by giving our time, attention, our love and our trust.  Anytime that we substitute God with something or someone else, we open the door to idolotry in our heart.  We may not bow down to or even sing to a doll or a statue, but if we are putting our faith in something else or looking for comfort, hope, or love in other places, we begin to give our worship to things that are not worthy.  We begin to replace God with other gods...we replace the Eternal One who holds everything for weak imitations that only seem to fulfill temporal needs.  No matter who we are or where we are, routine heart check-ups are good things.  Even when we think we are following God wholeheartedly, there can be subtle things that creep into our lives and interfere with our relationship with God and the worship that only He is worthy of.   Just as a computer virus can sneak into a system and destroy it little by little, there are things that come into our lives, sometimes unnoticed, yet if they are left there, they begin to grow and harm our reltionship with our Savior. 

Now, when Uriah sees a parade in the street with people singing to a statue, or when he sees a friend in town that turns his head without saying "hi", he says, "It's because they worship idols."  Everytime he says it we have a chat...and do a heart check-up...to make sure the "they" is they and not we.  To make sure that we are giving our worship to the Only One who is worthy.