Monday, October 19, 2015

The God-Shaped Longing We All Share

Dear Friends,

In the middle of life as we live it, no matter what creed we adhere to or what culture we are of, there is this inner reach for something unreachable; a search for the unsearchable; a desire to comprehend the incomprehensible, and unscrew the inscrutable!  Above all there is this secret knowledge there is someone, somewhere, waiting for us; and a feeling that we should have come sooner to meet Him.  This is universal!

Next time you go to the grocery store, watch the young mother with her kid in the checkout line in front of you.  Look at her with new eyes.  Someone put eternity in her heart.  When you grab a coffee at your local coffeehouse, see the eyes of the young barista.  Are they bored and impassive with no spark or purpose?  Somebody put eternity in his heart.  Take a moment to smile at him and see if he might respond to a word of positive encouragement.  Remember– inside this boy there is the awareness of something missing–the God-shaped hole that looks for substance.  Carry a New Testament to give away, a small booklet, or an invitation to church.  You may be surprised how many people would respond to such a thing.

Maybe you are a schoolteacher.  Look over your classroom at all those little eternal people sitting in front of you and see them with new eyes.  “But,” you say, “we aren’t allowed to proselytize in the classroom!”  I know.  I was a teacher in the British school system.  Every day I had a chance to say something to someone about Him.  If there was interest I would ask them to drop by my classroom after school so I could give them something to read. 

Out on the playground or after hours, the relationships made in the classroom could be used to encourage a child who was hurting; find help for the one being bullied; reach out to the ones heading in the wrong direction; and generally explain (as the opportunity arose) why there is a longing for something more, something better, something their souls were reaching for.  Someone (and I knew Who) had put eternity in their hearts!

I was led to Christ by a nurse.  When she was working she found ways to talk to many patients a day about the Lord.  Using tact and choosing your moments, you can share the truth of God in the marketplace, the workplace, the classroom, or wherever you go.

God has implanted eternal awareness of Himself. We have it when we are playing, working, or when we are living or dying.  When we are weeping or when we are laughing; when we are mourning or when we are dancing; when we are searching or when we give up. 


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


Monday, October 12, 2015

What on Earth is Eternity Doing in My Heart?

Dear Friends,

The devil uses the most normal things to try and distract us from the life-changing discovery of our yearning for the Eternal.  Chapter three of Ecclesiastes describes the usual rhythm of life:  the living and the dying, the planting and the harvesting, the healing and the dying, the fighting and the truce making, the weeping and laughing, and mourning and dancing.  The devil tries to use the rituals and cycles of life to take our minds off of Eternity.

Yet most of the people I know have found their destiny in the middle of the muddle of life with all its distractions, while they are loving and hating, making war or peace, even while falling in love or out of it.  The things with which the devil tries to distract us are never enough to stop the human spirit asking, “Where is it?  What is it?  Why is it?  What on earth is eternity doing in my heart?”  It must drive the devil to despair!

The devil is a master of illusion, confusion, and delusion.  If he fails to keep your mind on a short leash and it gets to ponder the imponderable, and you begin to search with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength for answers to life, he panics!  He has failed to make you believe you can be the master of your own destiny, determining how long you’ll live, the manner of your demise, and what you’ll do with the goods that accrue through your hard work, hoarding, or luck!  He has miserably failed to make you believe “this is all there is”!  It’s not so–and you know it!  The fool has stopped being a fool and has become wise.  Satan has lost his victim.

One day Jesus told a story about a farmer who became rich and indulgent and said to himself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years.  Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19).  Jesus said the man was a fool because that very night his life would be demanded from him and all his hoarding would have done him no good–it would have been a waste of time.  Worse, the man’s riches would probably be inherited by people who didn’t deserve them!  Jesus was speaking a warning to “anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:21, italics mine).

Ecclesiastes 8:8 tells us, “No one has power over the day of his death.”  In other words, you can’t keep yourself alive!  I was unaware of these Scriptures as I lay seriously ill in a hospital bed.  I was all of eighteen years of age and it began to dawn on me that no one could figure out what was wrong with me.  There was something wrong–that much was obvious!  I had a temperature that wouldn’t come down to normal, a biting pain in my stomach, and I felt terrible.  Thinking it was my appendix, they rid me of the offending organ only to find out the pain didn’t quit and the temperature didn’t drop.  So they concluded it wasn’t that and consulted with more puzzled doctors. 

I began to feel more and more out of control.  My mind circled around a horrible thought that I didn’t know, my parents didn’t know, and the hospital didn’t know how to keep me alive.  I began to panic.  Eventually someone figured out I had a kidney problem, but in a day and age when kidneys were not available, transplants having not been imagined, and dialysis was not on the radar screen, this was not welcome news.

God used this outward circumstance to turn me “inward” to confront a soul that had been like the farmer making his own merry little plans to be thoroughly self-centered, self-indulgent, and self-satisfied.  I had played the fool and I knew it.  Having been forced in my extremity to look inward, I was then drawn to look upward to a God I somehow knew had been waiting in the shadows of my life to call me into a relationship that would stand me on my head–a relationship with Him.  The options, although I did not know the biblical words to describe them, were, “This very night your life will be demanded from you” (Luke 12:20) or “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).  There was no contest! 


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Director
Just Between Us Magazine


Monday, October 5, 2015

For Generations to Come

Dear Friends,

As generations come and go, one here and there finds God through Christ, then marries someone who knows Him and brings up their family to know Him.  Often the fervor of the first converts wanes with the generations and there can be long periods of time when Christless generations come and go.  Then the prayers of the ancestors begin to be answered for their children and their children’s children and the cycle begins again.  Even in this greed-oriented, pleasure-seeking world, our faith and our prayers can make it possible for all generations to become believers and experience true joy.

The Teacher says, “One generation goes its way, the next one arrives, but nothing changes” (Eccl. 1:4, MSG).  However, things can change.  We can break the cycle of unbelief by responding to the Holy Spirit and beginning to fear God.  We can change things for the future generations through our prayers.  We can fortify the generations so they, like us, can stand against the materialistic and greed-obsessed society.

Years after my uncle’s death I obtained his Bible.  In the front he had written, “There is someone in every generation whose calling is to pray for the generations to come.”  My uncle prayed for me and I came to faith.  His prayers were a gift!

So as you consider this whole idea of rejecting the sex-saturated, must-have culture in favor of a relationship with the Living God, don’t only do it for yourself.  Do it for all the generations to come!


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine