Monday, February 25, 2013

Real Life and Real Faith??

Real Life and Real Faith??
By: Sharon L. Patterson
Isn’t life something?  Here we are on a real life Monday morning.  We are about as diverse a group of women as can be gathering together, doing real life at a place known for real faith.  Our backgrounds differ, our gifts are varied; our personal histories packed with multifaceted stories. We have collided, haven’t we?  We are young and we are in our mid years, we are a bit past that and then there’s a real life old lady whose name I won’t mention but she resembles me!
We are here having just dealt with dirty diapers or delivering whining children with leftover breakfast still in the corners of their mouths and most certainly, sticky on their hands to school.  Some of us have come from deciding what to do about the latest bad attitude spillover bursting somewhat disrespectfully from our teenage daughter’s mouth. Okay, she made us cry…again.  We have arrived here by the seat of our workout pants with a mug of lukewarm coffee still unfinished sitting in that beverage thingy created by car manufacturers.
I want to visit with you about our collision between real life and real faith.  This road on which we have met is like the moving walkways at the airport.  We can walk or we can stand still but the walkway will continue moving and collisions will inevitably happen.  Although we are different, we share the same human attributes.  We can love and we can hate; we have sorrow and we have joy.  We are both givers and takers; selfish and selfless. We have more in common than human attributes; we have aspirations, hopes and dreams.  We have unanswered questions, and we have problems. 
I don’t know about you, but on this moving walkway of real life, I find that I need real faith.  That is where I find peace for unanswered questions, solutions for problems, and true substance to pursue my dreams.  My hope is built on the groundwork of faith.  But it is what I put my faith in that matters.
The world offers an appetizer tray of things for you to put your faith in as you live real life: ambition to be all you can be and always be one up on all the other women ; better  things; better body; better man.  They offer you assorted results depending on what recipe you try. And the enemy of our soul stands ready to make us dissatisfied with the results.
  How about these world recipes?
1.       Do Your Best:  well that one works until someone does better than you.
2.        Get Better Things or More Things- Funny they are just like lesser things…they wear out and get old and grow more expensive and still need dusting.
3.        Get a better body:  Work out, diet, eat supplements-those recipes work until your second pregnancy and after fifty, gravity gets the rest.
4.        Finally, Get a Better Man-oh my goodness, the recipes are endless for that one and it is exhausting especially recognizing that they are often looking for a better woman. 

Now, let’s talk about real faith offers just a moment.  The world and the devil have another appetizer tray of offerings for this, too:
1.       Politically correct beliefs-Any other kind can only come from bigoted antiquated, unlearned minds.
2.       Compromising beliefs-Faith, like everything else is evolving.  We must change our faith relative to the times in which we live.
3.       Ecumenical beliefs-All faiths lead to God
4.       Agnostic or Atheist beliefs-God is too big to define or does not exist at all-Man makes his own world.
Now, let’s talk about the real life faith Jesus has to give and what it offers.  In John 10:10 Jesus tells us about what the enemy’s recipe for real life is:  “The thief comes only to steal; and kill and destroy…he goes on to say, “I have come that they might have life and have it to the full.”
So, what about peace for my unanswered questions, solutions for problems and true substance to pursue our dreams?  John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  Also in Hebrew 11: 1-3:  “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command; so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
 By the way, when you are in your own study time read that great chapter and discover the kind of believers described.  You will find not what the world would label gorgeous, particularly gifted, certainly not Oscar winning performers-but the ordinary just daring to do what Jesus asks for real life-“say “yes with a foot”…a “yes” that continues to actively move in the direction of pursuing the way, the truth and the life while stuck in the midst of dirty diapers, disappointments, broken washers, aging parents, economic meltdown, job loss, etc.
 Believing what Jesus says as the Word of God who came in flesh as pronounced in God’s Word. John 14:6:  He is the Way (when you can’t see one); He is the Truth that is constant (when the world’s continues to wobble about) and He is the Life that gives do-overs, filled with forgiveness and begin agains.
God’s offering to us is not only for this life but that to come.  I encourage you to try His Real Life through Real faith.  At sixty-five, I have seen the world offering for life come and go, Jesus remains the constant life giver.  I encourage you and I bless you to keep moving on with your “yes” Nikes, stilettos, or bare feet set ready to run, walk, maybe occasionally if you stumble, get back up on The Way with His Truth, and live this real life of faith that you may have real life.

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