Friday, June 08, 2007

Clear Vision

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Nehemiah 11, 12, 13

Nehemiah 13:19-22 (NIV)

19 When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day. 20 Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will lay hands on you!” From that time on, they no longer came on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy.

Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.

Good morning!

Do you recall when the Sunday blue laws were repealed? It was as if the gates had suddenly been pried open by the merchants and shop owners in the communities where we live. Nehemiah didn’t like what He was seeing at all. The Lord God Almighty had commanded Israel not to work on the Sabbath. They were to take a break – to stop and rest and remember from whence they came. It was through the Lord’s mighty hand of creation and the Israelites’ departure from Egypt that His people truly became His people. God chose them first, and waited for His chosen ones to come back to Him.

We often become so busy with the stuff in our lives that we forget to stop and look at where we have been. It is hard to know where you are going, if you are not sure which direction you came from. We must use our eyes, not only to see the rich traditions of our past, but to capture a glimpse of the future that lies ever before us. Last weekend at the Missouri Area Annual Conference, we celebrated our past, looked forward with faith toward the future, and rejoiced in the present moment. Our pastors and worship leaders have been gifted with a vision and hope that draws us into the future with faith. We are the culmination of a rich history, as we step forward into His light of life – it is a light that shines in the darkness and sweeps every shadow away.

Sometimes, my vision is blurry. There are moments when I cannot see clearly, no matter how hard I try. I had an experience like that this week, as I tried to read the numbers posted on the big screen at annual conference. It’s got to be a mental block with me – you put a group of number up on the board, and my brain screams “this does not compute!” Not only could I not see the numbers clearly, but even the names became blurry and out of focus. Thank goodness someone else with greater vision than I could see the clear writing projected on the wall. There are moments when our vision becomes skewed and we forget what is most important of all. It takes a strong leader to pull us back into focus, to see the value of where we’ve been and where we are headed. We need to set aside a block of time to celebrate our life within the shelter of our Savior’s hand. We need to stop what we are doing and worship Him wholeheartedly. We need to feel the love of Christ and experience His presence every moment of every day.

I sat and held my daughter’s hand as we watched our little Joshua graduate from preschool. He wore a blue cap and gown with a gold tassle dangling as he processed. Joshua proudly carried his diploma in his little hands. He, along with his classmates, stood and recited the alphabet and counted from one to twenty. They spoke the days of the week in English and in Spanish. Then they counted to fifteen in Spanish. I sat there in absolute wonder as I watched this precious boy. It seemed like yesterday that I held him in my arms; all five pounds of him. His head was so tiny that I could cup it in one palm. Now, our Joshua is preparing for kindergarten, and I am simply amazed to see where this boy is headed. As I held his tiny baby brother Andrew in my arms, I knew Joshua’s vision would carry our family forward. Joshua represents our future. I am proud to be his grandmother, the foundation of his past.

We are a family of faith. When your vision becomes compromised and you struggle to see the hand in front of your nose, take a moment to grab hold of the root. Jesus Christ is our sure foundation. He is the cornerstone of our faith. When we celebrate our past, and carry it into the future, we become a living and healthy vine. Our vision becomes clear again, and we can see through the eyes of faith, the eternity that waits for each of us in Christ.

If you are looking for a family of faith, I would invite you to come join us for worship this weekend at Faith Church. Take some time this weekend to celebrate where you have been, who you are, and where you are headed in Christ Jesus. Won’t you come and worship the Lord with me?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Pray for: vision, not only to see where you’ve been, but where you are headed. If you are struggling to read the numbers on the wall, look to a strong leader for help. Ask the Lord of life to be your true vision today.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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