Saturday, November 19, 2011

Broken Hearted

I've written several blog posts in my head this week, but none of them have made it to print yet.  I woke up this morning thinking about this one though, and thought it should be short enough for me to finish before the rest of my house wakes up.  Usually, short & my blog do NOT go together.  We'll see :)

Last Sunday, Shawn and I were given tickets to the Carolina Panthers game.  After church, we got our kids settled and headed Uptown.  During our Sunday afternoon hike stroll from the car to the stadium, a sign caught my eye.

"feed the spirit   nourish the soul" (with a TREE in the middle)

I immediately thought, "There must be a church in that building.  How cool is that!"

But as I got closer, I realized that I was sadly mistaken.

"Bar 10" in the black circle

"Lobby Bar" in the black circle

It was an advertisement for a BAR!!! 


The only thing that truly feeds the spirit and nourishes the soul is JESUS CHRIST and HIS TRUTH!!!  Not alcohol.  Not a bar.

This sign really upset me. 

It was a lie. 

A bold-faced lie. 

A lie from the pit of destruction.  

A lie from the father of all lies who seeks to kill, steal & destroy. 

And yet, as we walked into the stadium, it became apparent (pretty quickly) that many, many people believed this lie to be true.  Alcohol was everywhere!  Honestly, it took a long time to find someone withOUT a beer in their hand.  I was surrounded by alcohol.

When we got to our seats, my sensitivity to alcohol was heightened even more.  I couldn't speak. I could only observe as the words on that sign kept repeating themselves in my head. 

I wondered what the father in front of me was trying to escape from.  What was happening in his life that had him more interested in his next drink than spending time with his young son sitting next to him.  He spent more time on beer runs than he did watching the game with his son.  Was he believing the lie?  Was he expecting alcohol to feed his spirit and nourish his soul?  Or was he just looking for numbness?

Or what about the couple who had to literally lean on each other so they wouldn't fall over (or spill their drinks)?  They were quite intoxicated, and it was just the 1st quarter!  What had such a grip on them that alcohol falsely appeared to loosen it for the moment?

Or what about the young lady carrying all the cups of beer that she could possibly balance to her boyfriend behind us?  Was she searching for his approval?  Or trying to secure his love?  What was she really longing for or trying to prove?

The examples could go on and on.  It was heart breaking to me.  Alcohol was everywhere.  But more important than that, HURTING PEOPLE WERE EVERYWHERE!  Alcohol was merely a mask covering their internal pain.   

I knew from my reaction that this experience was another answer to my prayer - "God, break my heart for what breaks Your heart."   He opened my eyes a little bit wider and touched my heart a little bit deeper for those hurting around me - for those searching to feed their spirit and nourish their soul with alcohol and other false remedies. 

It was pretty intense. 

I was so preoccupied with what God was showing me that I don't remember watching much of the game.  And I'm a huge football fan. 
Ironically, I had to crop empty beer bottles out of this picture!
It grieves God when we turn to things of this world instead of to Him to feed our spirit and nourish our soul.  It breaks His heart when we believe lies! 

*God was merciful to me though. The 2 guys sitting to my right drank their Cokes and talked about church & Scripture!!! They were a refreshing gift from God. A sign of HOPE!

God has plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11; Ephesians 2:10.)  He created us to have a very close & personal relationship with Him.  He made us for His glory.  Satan on the other hand wants nothing more than to prevent us from fulfilling our God-given destiny.  He will do whatever it takes to derail us, and alcohol is just one of his many, many pawns.

In the midst of blue & black hair, painted faces, and panther costumes, I wanted to stand up and yell - but not for the game!!!  I wanted to tell people the Good News!  I wanted to share the Message of Hope with them!  I wanted to tell them about Jesus, the Satisfier of their soul!!!  I wanted to encourage them to put down their beer and pick up God's Word (which has the answers they are searching for!)  I wanted them to embrace & experience God's love and be as passionate for Him as they are for football!   

I wanted to, but I didn't. 

But isn't it interesting that if I would have stood up and started talking about God, I would have been considered the crazy one!  An unstable weirdo! Mothers would have grabbed their children and ran in the opposite direction!  I'm in the midst of grown men & women wearing blue wigs and panther paint yelling at the top of their lungs at 22 men running around on a field, mind you, but I would have been considered the crazy one! 

HELP ME HERE!  This just doesn't make any sense!!!  We have been blinded and lied to.  It's time to replace the lies with His Truth!!!

So, I've been praying all week for God to show me what He wants me to do with this revelation.  And in response to my prayers, He has shown me some very basic steps to begin taking. 

The first one is to pray for 30 days and seek God's wisdom regarding what specific group or cause He wants me to get involved with.  There are so many needs!  Sometimes, we can become so overwhelmed that we end up doing nothing at all!!!  He's created each of us with talents, gifts, passions & dreams to be used to glorify Him while loving others.  Instead of getting involved in a whole lot of things and stretching myself thin, I feel very strongly that God wants me to get involved with a few things and do them well. 

If you need some motivation, check out Rachel Wheeler's story (PLEASE ignore all of the worldly advertisements surrounding it! It just proves the point of this post!!! I couldn't find a news story that didn't have worldly stuff flashing all around it!!!!! SO UPSETTING!!!) or the story of Katie Davis

The second thing is to reach out to people I know personally who are already hurting - family, friends, neighbors, etc.  It may be as simple as a hug, a text, a card, or a phone call.  Or, it may require more sacrifice.  But the important thing is to be aware of the people around us and to obey God's prompting to help them when needed.

The third thing is to make myself available to God which requires having a flexible schedule instead of one jam packed with activities all the time.  God has given me some opportunities recently to see Him in action when I've been available.  The details of those opportunities will be coming soon in another post.

As believers of Jesus Christ, we are called to action.  To reach out.  To help.  To give.  To get involved.  To forgive.  To share Christ.  To glorify God.  To obey.  Not to complacency.  Not to busyness.  Not to safety.  Not to comfort.  Not to our "To Do" list. 

We are called to LOVE! Not in our own strength, but in the strength & power of God's Holy Spirit - the only Spirit that truly does feed us and nourish our soul.

We have THE answer.  We have what other people are longing for.  We have JESUS.  But, are we sharing Him?  People are starving spiritually all around us.  Are we feeding them?  Their souls are malnourished.  Are we giving them an eternal life line?

As His children, it's our responsibility to "feed His lambs, take care of His sheep, and feed His sheep" based on John 21.  BUT ARE WE? 

Or are we just selfishly feeding ourselves and getting fat while sitting around the table??!!!

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

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