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Faith's Firm Foundation: Begun Well Is Not Finished Well

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Begun Well Is Not Finished Well

What's the Lord saying to you? God encourages us in very unique and personal ways.  It may not look like encouragement at all.  It may look like...conviction.

Beginnings Are Important
I've come to realize that how I begin the week is important, and that the week begins on Sunday.  There's a battle for Sunday.  Weekends are usually busy.  I find myself wanting to "pamper" myself, to make myself feel good, by Sunday evening, not wanting the weekend to end. (Pounding on that one note, "Me me me me me!")  Hanging on to the weekend by dragging it out, often staying up too late. I've had to work at getting to bed at a decent time.

Flesh or Spirit
I've found myself trying to artificially work up a "relaxed" and "away-from-it-all" feeling through some "experience."  (The brainwashing of the world is so insidious.)  I've tried escaping by watching movies.  Feel-good family movies, comedies, and Jane Austen romances.  Occasionally we've watched a movie that challenged us as Homeschoolers to a vision for holiness.  Sometimes I've curled up on the couch to read a good book. I've made special "treats."  A big bowl of buttered popcorn should make me feel better, right?  I've even eaten ice cream in a "special dish."  I've spent hours reading blogs and searching Craigslist.  I've played games with my family, watched Christian stand-up comedians (ever seen CPR?), laughing hysterically. (Ok, laughter is good medicine.)  I've gotten into my comfy pajamas. I've read my Bible for hours, or listened to a teaching tape.

Actually, I would have to say, when I've read my Bible or listened to a teaching tape, that has quieted my heart and started my week off the best. (Do I hear a resounding "duh"?) But, it seems that that's the hardest thing to do on Sunday.  Especially after having rushed around to Graduation Open Houses (which is what we do at this time of year), or other events which frequently happen on Sundays, and taken care of the myriad responsibilities which typically fall into Sunday's domain.

"My Time" or "His Time"
The Lord's been speaking to my heart about how I spend my "free time," which includes that "after-the-busy" time on Sunday.  He's been drawing me to spend more time with Him.  In recent weeks we've been challenged at church to do some self-evaluation and ask ourselves, "How are we doin'?"  As individuals and as families.

"Begun Well Is Not Finished Well"
This probing question was presented to parents, "Do we have the same fervor and tenacity at the end as we had at the beginning? That heart that says, 'I'm not going to let Satan steal the soul of my children!'  Many of us may be letting our guard down, especially large families."  (This said by a father of 11.)  He went on to say that it seems to be a common malady to start with solid convictions and high standards (in areas such as music we'd listen to, and dress) and to have a lot of determination and zeal for the Lord, but to get tired and slack off later on.  (I don't think it's only true of large families.)

Evaluation Time:  How Are We Doin'
How am I doin'?  How are you doin'?  This word picture really hit home for me:  We cannot say we are neither going forward nor backward, for in order to keep coasting we have to be going downhill.

The conviction came in the form of encouragement that I must pursue hard after the Lord continually, or I will go backwards. I can not let up.  I must not abide (put up with, allow, tolerate) sin in my life that God points out to me.  I cannot point at others and say, "How can they do that and call themselves a Christian?" and then blithely go along in the same old way, ignoring His Word and the Spirit's conviction in my own life, overlooking, covering-up, or excusing my own sin. Are we making excuses for our behavior and why we won't do what's right?

Glad, Rejoicing, Encouraged and Thankful
Mondays Are Great (glad, rejoicing, encouraged and thankful) especially when my Sundays are lived well, and I have spent time with the Lord...I mean really listened to Him speak to me.  When I have obeyed His command to not forsake "the assembling together of ourselves" (we're told to gather together to worship), when I have examined myself and confessed sin, and not participated in the Lord's Supper unworthily, and when I have committed myself to pursue after Him, to follow after righteousness, and to hound holiness.

How is Monday for you, my friend? Is the Lord speaking to you about anything? No link up today, but feel free to leave a comment of encouragement.  Did this strike a chord with you? Please share with me.
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Blogger Dorothy Adamek said...

A wonderful post of conviction and encouragement. Our Sundays are often crammed with business so your comments touched an area we all need to examine. Thanks for sharing Wendy,
Dorothy :)

June 13, 2011 at 7:41 PM  
Blogger Wendy said...

I was speaking to myself, but it's always a comfort to look up and see another standing beside me, listening to Him, too. I look forward to hearing what God will lead you to do.

June 13, 2011 at 8:39 PM  

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