Thursday, December 3, 2015

Mostly Dead {Advent Day 3}

     "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write:  'The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.
     "I know your works.  You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.  Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard.  Keep it, and repent.  If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you."  
Revelation 3:1-3

My friend, Sandy, invited me to a Facebook group this week that is doing an unusual Advent devotional.  We are writing out, by hand, one chapter of the book of Revelation each day.  So far, it has been wonderful.
It totally appeals to my inner nerd.  I love me some pen and paper.  I like to take notes as I read books, underlining important sentences or phrases, and I like to take notes in church because I remember the sermon much better if I have had my hands involved in listening.  One thing I hate for our kiddos is that computers and tablets are replacing handwriting in schools.  I think that is a big mistake and hurts their ability to learn.  There is something about the scratching of a pencil on paper that sends louder signals to the brain, cementing the information.
That's why this devotional seems to be so effective to me.  It slows me down.  I have to pay attention to details, spelling, punctuation, where paragraphs begin and end.  I am reading and re-reading as I go and passages that I know I have read in the past are jumping out at me, like the one at the top of this post.

I think about my life, about the internal struggles I have been facing and the terrible attitude I have had toward them.  Most people would tell me I am a good wife and mom, a fun one, that they envy my relationship with God and the good times my family has.  And those things are often true.
I have the reputation of being alive, but I have to admit that I have been, in the words of Miracle Max..."Mostly Dead."

From "The Princess Bride"

Sigh.  Walking around mostly dead is mostly miserable.  When you are mostly dead, your eyes and ears are closed.  You may be physically in the same room with a hundred people, but for all practical purposes you are alone.

But Jesus tells us in these verses that we have a CHOICE.  If we didn't then the following phrases would never have left his mouth!  He tell the church (and the mamas and the wives and the sisters and friends) to WAKE UP.  

"Wake up," he says with eyes blazing intense.  "Wake up and strengthen what remains and is about to die."  
In other words, we are on our way out if we don't do something and do it quickly!  

"I have not found your works complete..."
Sisters, we have fallen short.  We were trying to do it all without him (again) and over and over Jesus reminds us that, without him, nothing will be complete.  
But with him?  ALL things are possible.  He is the author AND finisher of our faith.  He didn't just save us then step back to see how we did on our own!  No, he wants us to work alongside him.  He wants us to step when he steps and stop when he stops.  Rest when he rests and keep our eyes on him through it all.

"Remember what you have received and heard.  Keep it and repent."  
This reminds me of King David's prayer, when he asked God to restore the joy of his salvation.  When I remember what I have received (salvation, mercy, grace, instructions in God's love letter that will guide me through every circumstance of my life) and when I choose to walk in it, repenting of my failures and unbelief when they rear their ugly heads, then I will be awake.
NOT dead.

Jesus says in the last sentence, "If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you."
Mostly dead mamas do not see or hear what is right in front of them.  Not only the lives of our families, but the fact that Jesus is right here, nearby, preparing to return at any moment.  If I am mostly dead, I will be utterly shocked when he shows up.  But if I am alive and my eyes are fixed on him?
I will see my King coming from a mile away!

Yes, I want to SEE.  I want to fully live right here, right now.  I want to be alive and eye to eye with this beautiful family that surrounds me.  Open the eyes of my heart, Lord.  I want to see you!

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