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19 January 2009

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow

When you remember your past, what is one of the memories that frequently comes to mind? What do you have visualized for your future? What are you doing today to prepare for tomorrow? (written 29 Aug 07)

Have you heard the joke about why so many "old people" read the Bible? They are "cramming for the final exam." Think about your tomorrow. What are your plans? What are you doing today to make sure your plans come to fruition? Let's go one step further and look back at the past. How have the events of your past shaped your today?

In this particular context, I am referring solely to my belief in God and my decision to trust Him. I very distinctly remember when I made the initial decision to give my life to Christ. At nine years old, I made that walk down the aisle and knelt with Preacher Mac. What stands out most vividly in my memory? The baptism. Circle Hill Baptist Church did not (and still does not) have a baptismal pool, so the baptism was done at Lovedale. I wore a pink and white dress that my mom made, and white knee socks. I waded out into that chest deep water and stood beside Preacher Mac as he welcomed me into the fold. What I was unprepared for was the actual dunking! I'm not quite sure what happened, but somehow my feet slipped out from under me and suddenly I was floundering, supported only by the strong arms of Preacher Mac and my very new faith. He managed to raise me back up, spluttering and dripping, but smiling all the same. Mama was waiting with a towel and a smile.

Fast forward to the teenaged years, and I still attended church very regularly. It was a habit, and a comfort zone. Looking back on those years, I was very much a "good girl." No drinking, smoking; I rarely swore (and never in front of mama). My beliefs were who I was. Move forward to my late teens, after high school graduation, and I decided that church attendance was no longer "necessary." That decision was one that I came to regret. I am sorry to say that I have not attended church regularly since I was 19.

I never lost sight of my faith, and it was a basis for many decisions that I made in my younger years. Did I wander off the path? Of course. Without the support and companionship of fellow christians, it is far too easy to lose touch with your faith. An example that stays in my mind is one that I received a while back via email. The preacher is visiting members, and he comes to the home of a member who has not attended church in quite some time. He is welcomed inside, for it is rather chilly out. The preacher sits by the fire and asks the member why he has not been in church lately. The member responds that he just doesn't think he needs the church anymore. Without speaking, the preacher stirs the fire, and they sit silently watching the flames. The preacher then removes a burning ember, placing it on the hearth alone. In a very short period of time, the ember dies. Still silent, the preacher picks it up and places it back in the fire, where it relights and blazes away.

When I received this, I read it and thought about it. It holds true. With my work and school schedule, my church attendance is still very sporadic. However, I now find myself seeking out fellow christians for companionship. I want to talk and spend time with people who love and support me in my faith. I am less and less shy about proclaiming my belief, no longer hesitant about sharing with others. This very public proclamation started a month or so ago, and has become a burning desire within me. I HAVE to share!

Plans for the future? Continue to praise the name of Jesus, to share the message of His love and peace. Work daily to further my knowledge of Him, to learn. Every day is a new day, and I am so thankful that God has given it to me. Without Him, I am nothing. With Him, I am everything ... and my today and tomorrow will reflect that. God, thank you for all that you have given me, yesterday and today, and the blessings that you have yet to bestow.

"..if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." ~Proverbs 2:1-6 NIV

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