Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Review - Riven

I recently read the book "Riven" by Jerry B. Jenkins, who just happens to be one of my favorite authors.  I found it to be a very well-written novel.  The story was intriguing and gave me some food-for-thought, as the great stories do.  I will not spoil the story for anyone, I promise!

Riven  -     
        By: Jerry B. Jenkins

The title is interesting, using a word that I rarely, if ever, use.  Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines "rive" (or one of it's derivations "riven") as a verb meaning:
  1. a: to wrench open or tear apart or to pieces : rendb: to split with force or violence
  2. a: to divide into pieces <nations riven by civil war>b: fracture
  3. to become split : crack
The story challenged me in three areas.

First, it reminded me that because of my great sin, I deserve eternal punishment in hell.  While I may not have killed anyone, the sum total of my sin is great enough to sentence me to eternal death.  The Bible says that if I break God's law in just one area, I am guilty of breaking all of it.  There is nothing that I can do, in my own strength, to rectify the situation.  I am thankful for God's grace.  He provided a way through His Son Jesus Christ, so that I can be forgiven of my sin and found righteous in God's sight.  I deserved death, but His grace and mercy give me life.

Second, it provided a great example of being committed to be faithful to do what God calls you to do, whether you are seeing huge results in your ministry.  If God has called you to do what you are doing, then He has you there for a reason.  It may take a long time (even more than your lifetime), but God always knows what He is doing.  Do not lose heart.  Do not give up.  Put on the armor of God, so that when the battle is over, you are still standing firm.  Remember Hebrews 11?  Many of the great "heroes of faith" died before ever seeing God's promise fulfilled, yet they still believed God.

Third, it showed how hard life can be for a person who has chosen not to follow Christ, as well as how hard life can be for a person who has chosen to follow.  I meant to say it that way.  Life can be hard whether you follow Christ or not.  The difference, as the story demonstrated, is that life's hardships are shared when we are following Christ.  He is bearing our burden with us.  We are part of a large family, the family of God, and our brothers and sisters help us during the hard times, physically and spiritually.  Sometimes it is hard, but we need to share our needs with our family if they are going to help us.

How challenging, and yet how encouraging!!

Why the title?  I promised I would not spoil it for you.  Read the book and find out.

What about you?  Have you accepted God's offer of grace?  Are you being faithful to what God has called you to do?  Are you letting God's family help you in your time of need?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Missions

I remembered that I had written a couple of poems in the last few years, so I figured it would be good to publish them on my blog.

*****

This poem was originally written January 12, 2009, in the early morning hours, and has been changed a little since then.  It was almost a year after my Mother's death and we had started the process toward our new adventure in Ukraine.
Go
My mind, it cannot comprehend,
I’ve read, “His love, it has no end.”
God sent His only Son to die,
His precious Son, I wonder why?

Though I don’t seem to understand,
Yet this I know, He holds my hand.

Go, tell, that all the world may know;
Oh, that they all would love Him so.
Do what He asks of you today,
His call is clear, do not delay!

Yes, now I think I understand,
I must go now at His command!

*****

This poem was originally written August 24, 2010, in the early morning hours, and also has been changed a little since then.  We had been in Ukraine for less than three months - and that was just over one year ago.

The Lord is Calling
Hear the Lord of Harvest sweetly calling,
The hymn of long ago so aptly said.
Why do we hear and continue stalling,
When we should just obey His voice instead?


Do you hear God's voice calling out to us?
What will our answer be to His sweet call?


The sovereign Lord, the creator of all,
Wants you and I to join His harvest team.
Why do we hear Him and ignore the call,
When He longs to give us a brand new dream?


Do you hear God's voice calling out to me?
He calls me to work in His harvest field.


You're best equipped for the job He gives you,
Your giftings were planned for this special task.
Why do we doubt what He wants us to do,
When His strength is ours, we need only ask?


Do you hear God's voice calling out to you?
He calls you to work in His harvest field.


Each of us needs to respond to His call,
And do what we can before our last breath.

Why do we put off our duties at all,
When all around us sin's leading to death.


Do you hear God's voice calling out to us?
He calls us to work in His harvest field.

Hear the Lord of Harvest sweetly calling,
Who will bring me to the lost and dying?
Why not answer "yes," the world is falling,
When for a Savior the world is crying?


Do you hear God's voice calling out to us?
Will you answer with me now, "Lord, send me!"?


******

You can tell where my heart has been by the theme of both poems. If you know Jesus Christ as your personal saviour, you are called to be reach those right where you live. You may not be in full-time ministry, but you still need to be ministering those around you.  That is God's plan.  Each one, reach one (and another)!

How are you answering His call?