~At The Stroke of Midnight~
by Jeannie Majka-Sherwood
1 John 3
1What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
2-3But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
Jesus is Coming at Some Point, You Won’t Turn into A Pumpkin
Yes, I take having a home and owning a home, or having housing serious. However, I take someone going Home more seriously. Call me crazy, I don’t really give a care about what you call me, because I know that Jesus will call me Home someday. Maybe, or maybe not, you can say that for sure. We all must know at some point we are going to a home. It can either be to Hell or to Heaven, but trust me a place is being prepared, your choices now while you live here on earth will reflect exactly where there will be.
Nope, you won’t turn into a pumpkin, or any other such silly fairy-tale foolishness. Nope, because at the midnight hour it might just however be you’re going Home to Heaven time or you’re going to Hell. You see I might sell product for a living for a wonderful company, but I look to save people for a Lifetime. Who I serve and live for is not man but a Savior who loved me so much He died so that I might talk about this wonderful Life giving gift of Love each and every opportunity I get. I can sell you all that goodness from Publix because quite frankly, I believe in it. Sure I like getting paid, so I sell. Truthfully though, I could not do it if I didn’t believe in it. I, after all shopped there long before I worked there. I purchased all their good products long before I got a paycheck for doing so. However, if I can sell that, surely I must witness even better. One of these things, the Publix gig, is about sustenance for life here, the other is for Life Eternal.
What I share when I’m talking about Jesus’ return for His own, it doesn’t need to be all about Jesus return, it could just be about how you and I don’t ever know how long we have to give the right answer of: “Yes Jesus, I believe, and I’m sorry for my sins.” Sure acceptance is good, might I add even fantastico! We however need to do a checks and balances and make sure what we’ve said, what we’ve done, and what we are doing in life, matches up with the words of choosing Jesus to come into your heart.
Yours and mine, our midnight hour just might be today at any hour. Who knows? GOD knows, but however it all comes about, one needs to know Jesus in the Biblical sense of the way, truth and life. We can’t be foolish enough to fool around with religion when relationship, in the purest sense, is at stake. Trust me, if you want Jesus to recognize you, you best be looking like Him, as much as is possible with growing. Some of you haven’t put enough of you away, and some of you haven’t stopped and let go of childish ways. It’s time, get ready, because in GOD’s Eyes you want to look not so self-absorbed or show offish. We need to want to look like something unlike the world. And for those of you who continue to shout out your good works, please stop that too. It’s faith and works, but if the faith, and the growth isn’t there, well folks, the work that needs doing is from the inside, and followed up will come all the wondrous works GOD leads you to do that will make Him glorified and not all the shout outs and applause you give to yourself. Harsh? Yes, but truth-filled. Being recognized and praised is good, it’s a measure of being on the right track of sorts. However, when you are the one tooting your own horn, or you are in it for someone else to toot it, you’ve lost all that you would have gained.
If you think that’s the magic trick and you can trip down happily ever after memory lane of life living for your praises or to be recognized for your works, or you continue to live in sinful little ways and still consider yourself connected, think again. No, wait, repent, because you truly just don’t have the correct concept of being a Born-Again, Bible Believing CHRISTian. Maybe not even your fault, maybe it’s the fault of someone who was just like this, and they led you into thinking it was about just mumbling some words and GOD waving a magic wand. Not so much!
What Blessings and Thanks Look Like
As the big Thanksgiving Day approaches my mind is racing to all the strangeness that has led up to all that we are facing in my family, and quite honestly the lives of many a family who will be giving thanks, but having very little to show for all the thanks that they will however still continue to give.
Our home is in foreclosure, as I know are a lot of homes. I talk with people each day and my heart just breaks for them, more than me, because a lot of them don’t know Jesus yet. Some people are getting richer by the minute over this sadness, which doesn’t quite add up to the American way, if you ask me, but little about our country is what GOD intended it to be any longer; so we’ll not act all that surprised by the money hungry, make a buck and any cost people. So, if you said, by any chance, “I’m so sorry.” as you read that we’re in foreclosure, thank you-usually if I dare share this, someone says “I’m so sorry.” It means something, just please don’t come behind that telling me about some expensive things you’ve gotten, some unaffordable thing you can’t buy because you just spent all your money on your newest latest what have you. I’m happy for you, but isn’t that sort of like being a friend who rubs salt in someones wound? I mean really, I’ll still love you, but lets all start to think outside the box of our home and into the emptying homes and hearts of the hurting people around us.
Of course life continues to go on around us. I don’t think people really do understand what it’s like to have no money these days. Back in the day you’d say “I don’t have the money.” and it well, meant you just didn’t have the money. Today people say this so flippantly, that I don’t think they really get it when you say you don’t have the money. It’s like this; I hear people say they don’t have money but the next time I see them or hear from them, they’ve been on a trip, gone to the theater, bought a new car, purchased some expensive CHRISTmas presents. So, excuse me if I offend you, but really, your idea of not having money, doesn’t match up to those of us who are truly experiencing the woes of all that is occurring in these economic times of trouble going on around us. I’m just trying to show the differences between what is, and what really is.
I’m not looking for anyone to have some pity party for us, all of us facing not having money I mean, or foreclosure. There are worse things in life than losing things. Maybe I should use the verbiage, dire straights, yes, that’ll do. Because if we say we don’t have the money, to you that means that we just can’t take a trip to New York or who knows where, or go buy expensive CHRISTmas presents.
To us, being people truly trying to be living upright in a downright difficult economy, it means there are no trips, except maybe to the grocery store, and they’ll be once again no presents under the tree. You go to the dollar store because it’s fun, we go because it’s all we can do. Now, as I said, I’m not looking for a pity party, nor do we want you to go all, blameable on us. As always there are people far worse off than us, and they are suffering in ways that I myself can only imagine. I want to help them. The worst part about not having money for Dan and I? It’s that we can’t give it away. Though I’d rather be able to pray quietly before GOD then go shouting through the streets all the praise one sometimes gives themselves when they do a lot. Tisk, tisk! That is not good either. Remember when you help someone, it often should be a silent help, otherwise what you are also doing is helping yourself to big old cup of a pat on the back, look at me and all my goodness, and all your reward later and the jewel in your crown, just went flying out the window for you as well.
So, when I’m down, but not out, because I can pray for them too, I know that them being worse off, doesn’t make me feel better at all. It just makes me sad that all this sadness is going on, yet most of us, who are “in dire straights” seem to have something a lot of people with money don’t have. We have a dependance on truly living out GOD’s movement in peoples hearts and lives and His provision.
Abuse of the System
You might know people from back in the day who didn’t work for a living or as I ran into the other day while doing my Apron’s gig, a woman who was sharing with a woman this true story which I’ll unfold below. Really though, know that a lot of us, we are not this woman, and this is not our story. We got into this because of lay-offs or being let go from a job that you absolutely would have not wanted to leave.
This story, this makes me sad. Believe it or not, this is what makes my stomach turn, worse than Cheese-Whiz =( If you know me you’ll know what that means. =(
Here goes the story of someone who doesn’t really know what it means to want, she knows the meaning of abusing the system at hand.
I was handing out samples of food last week at my Apron’s cart. I’m happy, I have job, I work for a living, and I love what I do. It’s all good. It’s all one of the many blessing from GOD. All the goodness in the world is being put on a plate by my little working hands when along comes a woman who is shopping, and along comes someone she knows, but apparently hasn’t seen in while. The conversation that unfolds just makes me pause, and also bite my tongue so as not to share what thoughts are popping into my mind at this grievous moment in time.
The woman, who we are thanking Jesus is nameless to me, and to Habitat for Humanity, shares, after being asked by the second woman how she’s been. She unfolds her tale of woe and not having money, but she has, after having been in school, landed a great job that she loves. The woman says that it’s fantastic she is doing well, and asks if it’s a full-time job, or part, knowing that _______ have had cut backs. She says, and this is where my teeth almost fall out of my mouth–Thank You GOD for allowing me to have my own teeth still. It wouldn’t have been a pretty sight at my Apron’s counter, I could bite my tongue but I’m pretty sure I could not have stopped my teeth from falling out. =) So thank you Jesus!!! So, what does she share so proudly, but still whispering, and I’m thinking after I hear it, she must really trust this person she hasn’t seen in a while to share this bit of info? She say’s, and I’m going to quote because I’m not going to forget these words any time soon, “Oh no, I did get offered a full-time job, but I declined it because I’m up for a Habitat for Humanity Home and it would have put me in a higher pay bracket and I wouldn’t be eligible for help.”
You still got your teeth? Your tongue bleeding yet?
Now peeps this is what should upset us, but still, being one of the peeps having a home in foreclosure, it doesn’t make me angry. Angry is something that I’ll reserve the right for GOD to have. Justice as well. Justice to us, doesn’t look the same to GOD. People daily in our lives believe they are getting away with a little of this, and a lot of that. They think just because it goes under the radar and there have been no consequences all is well in the world of sin. Not so much, not so fast, not so far as GOD goes.
This is what it’s like to be free in-Christ Jesus. Stuff upsets you. Stuff gets to you, we are after all human, we are after all not Jesus. There is and ever will be only One Savior, we are not Him. However we have a Father GOD we have in common and the tables are about to get thrown over once again, only this time when the tables turn, it’s more like the “world turns”. This however won’t be like the television drama soap story, this will be something on a larger scale, done by GOD because for the person who is awaiting the next bank roll, or unfolding of the next trip, or car, or CHRISTmas presents, or what have you, the BELIEVER is awaiting something on a bigger scale, GOD’s scales of as the world turns, and it’s coming, so people get ready, Jesus is coming, and what is happening all around us are signs of the times.
Get Ready Jesus is Coming
I’m not talking about preparing for disaster I’m talking about going Home. If that doesn’t excite you sweetheart your CHRISTian–no wait, your CHRIST, is missing in your suppose to be CHRIST-centered, Bible BELIEVER life. No apologies from me on that one, it is what it is, and GOD said so. So that settles it. Look it up for yourself. You are after all capable of reading that Bible on other days than that of Sunday, or Wednesday, and believe it or not, this is not Ripley, it’s GOD saying it is so for the BELIEVER who says he/she has received His Son. Some people in the church world use CHRIST as if it’s a means to look pretty, sound perfect, when in fact the love of CHRIST is meant for those who are imperfect and only made perfect by the Love of CHRIST JESUS. This mingling of mans ideas and the way things should be for a BELIEVER are a big part of why CHRIST has been being removed little by little out of CHRISTmas. Don’t go blaming the mean old unbeliever people, blame the people who say they believe, but it’s with a little “b” and a very little “Christ” in the meaning behind CHRISTmas. What do you want the world to believe when what you talk about at this season of CHRISTmas is the presents, and the movies, and the light and the tree, and the selling and the buying and the, oh my gosh I’m exhausted already from writing about just this wee bit of watering can being used by the christian who can’t see the bigger picture of Who is suppose to be being hurt when people, people who say they believe have removed CHRIST a long time ago out of their daily speaking, living, looking, walking drip by drip until you will have a bazillion people claiming to be CHRISTian when what you have is a lot of christian people without any solid Bible beliefs whatsoever.
I Encourage Maturity
So people, get ready because at the Midnight Hour some of us are going Home. If you want to take people with you, I mean really take them with and not be left behind, you must be raising up a CHRISTian, not a christian, who is just a man-made word for saying you are a part of something, but really CHRIST is not a part of you.
Just when you thought I’d said enough, I’ll end with another little song that lets you know He’s Coming Soon, so people truly, truly get ready this CHRISTmas, no wait, get ready now, because: It is more important to know Jesus Christ than it is to know about Jesus Christ, satan knew Jesus, but he didn’t know Jesus. Is that what you want? Is that what you offer up on your witness plate for others to see. Cause if it is hon, what you offer is exactly the Jesus that satan knew, the Jesus satan thought he’d tempt, like you might do with your living on the edge, that’s living in temptation. Which by the way, if you pray some verbatim prayer, which really was just a suggestion from Jesus how to pray, remember, the words, sure they count, but it’s the heart behind the words. So if you are going to be praying some prayer anytime soon, “lead us not into temptation” people, people, people, stop traveling on the road. Cause no matter how hard you pray that prayer, if you are going to walk the road of sinning, you are choosing to mumble some words, while all the while you aren’t living the life. Now do you see the connection? You say one thing, but you show GOD another. Keep it up, it shows GOD that what you are made of is man-made religion, and nothing that resembles having a relationship.
The Jesus satan knew was the Jesus he still wants to rob you from fully knowing. satan isn’t stupid, he’s just sly, and all he has for you is to know for you to think you can just get by. Really??? Has GOD said that? You can be dumbed down like Adam and Eve all the way back in the beginning and believe that, but it still won’t make it so. You choose who this day you serve, and if you choose, try not to make it a mixed drink of living a lie from satan. Try not to witness to the world that you are all upset that CHRIST having been taken out of CHRISTmas, or that you can’t say Merry CHRISTmas. GOD is a whole lot more upset with you, when you are living the 360 some days of the year removing Him from your daily life, and here you think that CHRISTmas is reserved for you to get upset because someone told you that you can’t say Merry CHRISTmas. Come on! People get ready, GOD is not happy with merry little life you live all the other days if you are removing or tweaking the life in CHRIST that He intended for you to fully live! People, people, people, you better think about getting ready. And if you need to pack some bags to get on this journey for Christ, leave the old baggage behind because GOD’s got some new clothing in His Spirit Line for you to wear. It’s not one size fits all. It’s one size fit’s those who are truly in-Christ. There is where the “CHRIST” of your life can’t ever be removed.
THINK ABOUT IT…
Maybe some of you think it’s easier to think this is a fairy tale where at midnight you will turn into a pumpkin. Maybe even all the horoscope stuff you evolve yourself in, all the while claiming you are a CHRISTian works out well for you. You can’t fully entrust your past, your present, or your future to Christ, so you dabble a little in this, and a little in that, and you “think” it’s okay. Thinking falsely only gets someone accused and abused, not saved. This is how CHRIST is getting taken out of CHRISTmas, not by the secular community, but by people who don’t live what they say they believe. A lot of people wear crosses on their neck, all the while live like hell. A lot people think the jewelry is the witness wear, or the bag they carry, while they carry out some liquor from the store for an alternate spirit to be filled with.
My heart aches for all of you who can believe more in the worldly ways, than that of living a life that you are missing out on to the fullest. I’m growing along as well. I’m sinking deeper in debt but I’m also sinking my teeth into the best time of my life. I’m not happy about losing, but people I’m gaining all the while that my hope relies on His provision. That is the only vision I need. Do I disappoint some, sure I do. Am I perfection? You’ve gotta be kidding? I’m so far removed. In fact I told my assistant manager last evening, when I disappointed them, and they lowered my placement of what they thought of me; just joking of course =) they were sweet about a mistake I made. Any who I said this: “Please, please don’t ever put me up on any pedestal. I’m just like Humpty-dumpty, and if I have a great fall, you won’t be able to put me together again. Which of course is true. Man stinks at putting people together, but that’s because we are often ripping into them and picking them apart. GOD however is in the business of repairing, restoring and remodeling lives to the fullest. So this Thanksgiving give GOD something to be thankful for: YOU!!!
Midnight Cry by Clay Crosse
Until all have heard of His love,