Why Can’t Our Mondays Look Like Our Fridays?

John Piper, noted Bible scholar and pastor, comments about a curious cultural phenomenon, the T.G.I.F. mentality, in his message, “A Precious Promise: The Outpouring of God’s Spirit.”   (Go to Piper’s website for entire printed message and recording: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/a-precious-promise-the-outpouring-of-gods-spirit)

Piper relates how the T.G.I.F. response occurs. It happens to us after a long, imperfect work week, where things hardly ever go according to plan. We look forward to the weekend, when we get the psychological and emotional boost of something enjoyable ahead, without the burden of the “other stuff” that constantly drags us down. Mondays are bad. Fridays are good.

This change in attitude can be felt and seen. On Fridays, we’re nicer . . . we’re more patient . . . more giving, all because Friday’s here! (Or perhaps it’s a birthday . . .  or a vacation . . . or Christmas . . . or anything else you’ve anticipated for a while–you fill in the blank.)

Think about it. We have the HOPE, the assurance, that something good is coming . . .  of something delicious and wonderful around the corner. This HOPE then translates into a feeling of JOY . . . a sense of deep wellness, happiness  . . this JOY then translates into OVERFLOWING LOVE  . . . An OVERFLOWING LOVE that easily gives out of its abundance in service to others.

That’s really what the fruit of the abiding Holy Spirit is all about.

Paul talks about this very progression in Romans 15:13 (NIV, emphasis mine):

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace

as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Piper then asks a couple of pointed questions: Would would happen, if believers truly understood how to maintain the day-to-day filling of the Holy Spirit in their lives?

Three Truths To Grasp:

1) First, we must understand and cling to the mystery, the profound truth of the gospel.

Christ came.  Died to completely obliterate our sins and restore us to God the Father. Rose in victory. Gives us the spiritual right, through His sacrifice, to defeat Satan once and for all, and to live with Him in eternity one day. WOW! We are winners, in every way!

2) We must realize we are living in the special age of the Holy Spirit.

Piper says history is roughly divided into three time frames. The first dispensation occurred in Old Testament time, when Jehovah God (the Father) was the Person of the Trinity recognized by the people. Then came the 33 years when Jesus lived upon the earth, visibly recognized and emphasized by believers living then. Now, after Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, the Holy Spirit should receive attention for His special visitation. This does not, in any way, diminish our worship of God the Father or Jesus Christ. . we merely recognize the special job of this Person of God in this special time of history. . . we should especially seek the Holy Spirit, His presence, His workings.

3) Lastly, the key to the HOPE . . JOY . . . OVERFLOWING LOVE sequence is found, inasmuch as we personally choose to do it, by SATURATING OUR LIVES WITH SCRIPTURE.

The amount that we read, mediate, digest, absorb God’s message relates to the Holy Spirit’s strength in our lives . . . without God’s Word soaking our very souls, the filling of the Holy Spirit will not occur. This is  where sin is confronted . . . . through which our relationship with God is solidified. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit inhabits our life, manifests His precious qualities, molds us to the child of God we should be.

How would we, the sleeping church, be transformed through the lens of the Holy Spirit’s daily anointing? Would we no longer be satisfied with our “safe” church gatherings? Would we storm the gates where our human brothers are held captive by Satan, bound by chains of lies and sin, reconciling a dying world back to God?

Would our Mondays look much more like our Fridays, with God receiving all the glory?

Would you pray with me? Lord, I choose hope today, Your hope! You’ve conquered Satan and sin—You’ve won! The certain ending to this story brings me joy, no matter what I am going through .  . and this will overflow into love for others You bring across my path . . . Through the power of the Holy Spirit and with the renewing of my mind through Your Word . . .  Help me to be this person, filled with Your Spirit, Lord . . . so others might be rescued to You. We ask in Jesus’ precious Name. To You be all the Glory!

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

A New Start for My Late Bloomer

(This story originally appeared as a guest blog I wrote for Kim Crabtree Stewart’s “The Mother Load.” Since it is about my daughter Audra whose birthday is tomorrow, I thought it would be good to repost. Enjoy!)

(P.S. That’s really a Halloween Oreo covering Little Orphan Annie’s eyes to the left over there. . . )

God gave me a late bloomer. Audra is my middle child, my second girl. She was preceded by the typical first-born sibling, my take-charge first daughter, Melanie. Audra was then followed by the baby in the family, a fun-loving, let’s-not-take-anything-too-seriously son, Casey. Yep, the typical compliant middle kid, sandwiched in between two strong siblings.

I remember her terrible ear infections as a baby and the difficulty she had learning how to talk. She mimicked others’ speech, babbling like a brook and attaching the important word at the end of the sentence: “Yabdanneubullubeindabaludna-cookie?” A couple of years later, Audra was formally diagnosed with learning disabilities. She has attention deficit disorder and also has receptive/and expressive auditory processing disorders. The latter means that she cannot always easily understand what is said to her and she can’t put her response back very easily into words. The words seem to get stuck, both ways, for her. Still do sometimes, though not as often.

Because of her communication levels, school was HARD. Public school was ESPECIALLY HARD. Real friends were a valuable commodity for her. It was painful for Al and I as parents to watch this happy, pretty-much-oblivious child go through life, taking her share of hard knocks. I remember the doctors telling us to be patient. We were told to expect her to be behind the eight ball for a while until she became an adult, when everything would eventually “level out” academically, socially, and emotionally for her.

She’s 24 years old now (25 tomorrow!), and she’s just about there. (Big sigh of relief.) She lives at home with us until the time she can support herself out on her own. She has an associate’s degree from Durham Tech (in a technical field not hiring because of the poor economy, sigh) and another certificate of training in another area (the internship and job opportunity never manifested themselves, another sigh). Yet, she works as part of the DPAC event staff and actually has a blast doing this. If you know Audra at all, this is right up her alley. . . .She is her father’s daughter.

She’s also begun to learn medical transcription under my tutelage and works from home as I do. Once she has enough experience under her belt, the doctor’s practice I now oversee for her will be her account alone, and she can hopefully go on to other transcription gigs or medical office jobs in the future.

Our children are not always “finished” when they reach the end of high school. Or even when they have a college degree hanging from their wall. Some special little plants need a little more sunshine, a little more water, a little more TLC to grow and flourish, to reach their highest potential. If you have been blessed with a child like this, God chose you for a special job. He knows you are up to the challenge, even if you don’t think you are!

The winding road thus far has been long. . .and full of potholes and accompanying tears. . but God is faithful, as always. He has listened to my heart cries as a mother, He has remembered Audra. And He is in the midst of carving out a “good place” for her to serve Him in this world. For this, I am truly. . .thankful.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn

A Little Nip and Tuck

image via guardian.co.uk

No, I am not having plastic surgery. But my blogsite will soon be undergoing the knife. . .

Although “From the Church House” has only been up and running since April of last year, I recently decided to take a major step. I’ve discovered a free WordPress.com site can only take you so far.  I was praying about what to do when the Lord brought an experienced blog designer across my path. Designer Jessica will be overhauling the site, using one of WordPress’s newer “Genesis” themes to include some extra features I want and change the overall look of the site.

She and I have discussed the changes. . .things like an “author box” at the end of each and every post that tell a little about me and tell how to easily subscribe to my blog by email. . . because I am Baptist/like to cook/like to eat, I’ll have a plug-in that will hopefully allow me to post new recipes easier. . .a bookshelf widget that will allow me to show you books in my personal reading stack. . .and finally, if and when I am published with books of my own, I will have a visual book display linked to a bookseller where you can buy my “stuff.”

Anyway, I’m excited about the changes in store and will keep you posted on our progress!

May your day be filled with God’s incredible blessings—our God is good, all the time.

Lookin’ up,

Sislyn