Wednesday, February 09, 2011

His Righteousness or Ours?

Romans 10:3 (NKJV)
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

Let's break the passage down. The first word I want to know more about is the word ignorant it is the Greek word agnoeo ag-no-eh'-o from 1 (as a negative particle) and 3539; not to know (through lack of information or intelligence); by implication, to ignore (through disinclination)

So they are ignoring God's righteousness through disinclination. What is a good working definition for disinclination? Webster's New World College Dictionary states it is a dislike or lack of desire; aversion; reluctance. WordNet states it this way, disinclination - a certain degree of unwillingness; "a reluctance to commit himself"; "his hesitancy revealed his basic indisposition"; hesitancy, hesitation, indisposition, reluctance
sloth, slothfulness - a disinclination to work or exert yourself
involuntariness, unwillingness - the trait of being unwilling;

Let's restate it now using our better understanding, For they are ignoring God's Word because they have a lack of desire and are unwilling to put forth any effort to know God's righteousness....

OK, what is righteousness? dikaiosune dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay from 1342; equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification:--righteousness. We could say right law, system or standard of behavior.

Now let's put it all together; For they are ignoring God's Word because they have a lack of desire and are unwilling to put forth any effort to know God's right standard of behavior and seeking to establish their own standard of right behavior, have not submitted to the standard of right behavior of God.

Contextually Paul was dealing with the Jews who were trying to establish their own standards above the standards of God and therefore missed the Messiah and eternal life. I believe we can learn from this verse how we as God's people have the same tendency the Jews did in sacrificing God's standard of righteousness for our own all the time thinking we are good and OK.

Ponder how this fits with what I shared yesterday...treating the sacred (holy) as common?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Treating The Sacred As Common

I was awakened early one day last week with a question that I know was from God. I have been struggling not with the answer but with the truth. Is Satan attempting to turn the sacred into nothing more than common? I knew the answer was, yes with no hesitation and no doubts. But why was God asking? I know this was God because I awoke very alert, I confess that is not normal for me. Also I don't usually awake with this kind of question in my mind. So again I ask, Why are you asking? As Jesus did so often in the Gospels He answered with a question, What is he making common and how is he doing it? That took some thought. What is he making common?

His name
His word (Holy Bible)
Our bodies
Family (roles)
Church (place, time of worship, body of Christ)
Worship (Rote ritual to entertainment)
The Cross
Country (America. one nation under God)
Spirit of God

The list above is not exhaustive. We could probably have some good discussions on the many ways Satan is making them common and would love to hear your thoughts. The knowledge of the fact that it is God's own people who are allowing the sacred turn into that which is common is what troubled me. With each of the above listed I was called by God to ask myself, Am I treating ________ as sacred or common? And, is the Church treating ___________as sacred or common?

Let me finish with a verse that God pointed out to me in my QT the day of this experience with God.

Romans 10:3 (NKJV)
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.

I will discuss the significance of this verse tomorrow. Till then praying that I treat Him and His interests with the respect they deserve and not carelessly.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Mom and Dad's 5oth

Jon and I recently traveled to Dallas for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. My sisters and I were able to give them a really fun shin-dig. It was not a surprise because my Dad doesn't do well with surprises in fact we were all afraid we would receive a whuppin' from our Dad for giving the party. Seriously we were afraid how he would handle the whole thing. My Dad isn't exactly Mr. Social. I'll share later how he handled it.

My sisters, Wendy and Marsha and our Mom, we couldn't keep my mother out of the church kitchen, made all kinds of beautiful trays of sandwiches, vegetables and fruit. The food table was set beautifully. God blessed us through Marsha having so many clear serving trays and pedestals we could use from her work (DELVE Dallas) We had a wedding cake and punch and of course being in Texas you always have to have some Ice Tea, Sweet Tea to be exact. Reminds me of the time I caught my mom putting it (Sweet Tea) in Chad's bottle. Back to the affair. We had fresh flower arrangements on all the tables, very simply done but effective. God blessed us with Wendy being at the right place at the right time. The store was getting ready to cut the flower prices by 75% so they could have room for the new truck load coming in that day. We had burned a CD of my Mom and Dad's favorite music from when they were dating. We had: "You Are My Special Angel," "Have I Told You How Much I Love You," "Earth Angel," "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and many more. Some great dancing songs but since we were having it in the basement of the church we could not dance. I was blessed by just taking all the change we had around the house and having just enough to download all their favorites and a few more for a total of 24. It excited us for Mom to be so excited about the CD that she made sure she was the one that got to keep it and put it in Dad's truck for them to listen to it together. Jack (Wendy's husband) was blessed by putting all our pictures together for a slide show. It was so much fun for everyone to enjoy all the pictures of my parents from babies to young marrieds on the slide show that ran continuously. We (Wendy, Jack, Lil' Jack, Billy, Jon and myself) all shared about what my parents had meant to each of us. Grant and Anneen were able to send a video clip of congratulations as well as Clay, Ava, and Sarah sang "We Wish You a Happy Anniversary."

So how did my parents like it? Mom loved it she had a ball. My Dad? Harder to tell with him. Like I said were were afraid of getting a whuppin when we got home. But while Wendy and I were giving our speeches he had his head down, he couldn't look up. But when the program was over and everyone was just socializing I saw him smiling many times. When all the Church people had left he danced with my Mom. I think that was my favorite part of the whole afternoon.

Miracles do happen. My parents are overcommers! They stand as a great example to me to remember my vows and keep them no matter what and that should be celebrated. Celebrate we did

Monday, January 17, 2011

Belmont Living & Bees

My mom and dad lived only a short time with my father's parents. They were able to rent a home in the Lakewood area of Dallas on Belmont. This was a cute home with a front porch. I don't have a lot of memories here because I was still young.

At this time in my young life my mom worked the late shift at TI (Texas Instruments.) I can remember one night my dad clearing all the furniture out of the living and dining room so that he could steam clean the carpets. I'm not sure why I remember this but it is very clear. I have a feeling that my working with my dad made it special to me. I'll have to ask him if he has any memory of this memory.

I also remember playing on the front porch and my mom telling me to not bother the wasp nest and I would be fine. Evidently my curiosity started young because before too long I had been stung. It was the first of many.

Bees, yes I have several memories of their stinging influence on our family. I can recall one afternoon Grant passing a ball with his Uncle Jack in the backyard at my mom and dad’s. My mom and I were watching on and off from the kitchen window. All of a sudden we see Grant swatting at the air. They both ran in the house. Grant wasn't stung but they were swarming all around him and not Jack. I think it was the next day that Grant again was playing in the backyard and all of a sudden those bees were all over him. He couldn't see to get to the house they were all over him and he began to scream as he was trying desperately to get away from them. My dad beat me to him and grabbed him and got him into the house. Those bees were all in his clothes so we started tearing his clothes off of him and stepping on or hitting all the bees we could. They really wanted Grant. It was scary at the time but now we all laugh when we talk about it. It actually was a bit strange.

I recall often seeing my dad come in the back door of our home with bee sting wounds all over his face and hands. Climbing in trees has many dangers beyond just falling.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snow & Ice

We in North Carolina have had a light dusting of snow but on top of that we have had layers of ice. With our temperatures not rising we have had no melting. Our school kids have been out of school the whole week. I can't imagine what the parents are going through right about now. All this bring back my own memories of snow and ice.

I was born with snow in my longings. Dallas rarely gets snow but she does get ice. I have many memories of ice storms in Dallas. When I was young and a ice storm hit I remember my Dad getting all excited. He would get his chains on and then load up his truck with all sorts of chains and tools. He would then sit out to go help people in trouble. Many times I would have the thrill of going with him. I saw my Dad as the local hero pulling cars out of ditches, front yards and other unwanted situations. I can recall many people wanting to give my Dad something for his services but I never saw him take it. He was all about the adventure. I love the adventures we had together as well. Adventures can bring us closer together.

Just to show you how much my Dad loved adventure if the storm wouldn't come to him he would bring it to himself. I remember Dad all excited about something one night but I had no clue what he was up to until the next morning. I awoke to a frozen wonderland in our backyard. He had decided to let the sprinkler run all night with temperatures at freezing. It was an Icecicle palace. My very own personal winter wonderland. I couldn't take my eyes off of the beauty. Some adventures are gifts from others that fill us with awe.

The biggest ice storm I can remember was the storm that ended 1978 and begun 1979. This was a big one, in more ways than one. First of all it made the whole city beautiful and thrilling. Along with the beauty came thick ice on power lines which meant that many parts of the city were without power. We we were without power for a whole week. Thankfully we had a real fireplace we could keep burning. I don't remember getting cold as a nuisance that was an adventure to me. It was not being able to use my curling iron nor electric roller that was a pain. I had to go to church and I have to have big hair. I went anyway. I am so glad I did. You see it was this Sunday I met my future husband. I was sitting in church and noticed visitors. I heard the voice of my Youth Director in my head about being friendly and welcoming to visitors that came. I was the first one of the youth to introduce myself to him. This was important because I was in a group that had many beautiful girls in it. Anyway the rest is history, and to think He fell in love with me with out my big hair! Some adventures bring great rewards.

I know he would also want everyone to know that when he met me I was a blond...really blond. I wanted to use this new product out called "Sun-In." You were just suppose to spray it on and while you were in the sun it would naturally highlight your hair. I asked my Mother for permission. I can still see the sparkle in her eyes when she said, "Oh, I have something even better than that." Will she dyed my brunette hair blond. I was shocked when I looked in the mirror to see my beautiful brunette hair with natural looking highlights, blond. My mother! Time would fail me to tell you all my mother stories. So, Jon fell in love with a blond who didn't want to be a blond. Some adventures are costly.

Back to the snow and ice. Every summer my family minus my Dad would travel to West Virginia to visit with family. They would always talk about their snow. I was thrilled when I was told we were going to go to WV for Christmas. Finally a real White Christmas. No, didn't happen. It was the first Christmas since they could remember that they didn't have snowed. It came the week after we left. Might as well tell you now. To make this Christmas even worse it was when I found out there was no SC. I can still feel the pain. I think I was around 7,8 or 9. I can remember that the adults were in the bedroom off the living room wrapping gifts and then ever once in awhile someone would come out with one that said, "To so and so, From: SC." I knew he wasn't in the room. Crushed. The next year my Dad tried to prove to me that he was real by placing newspaper down in front of our wood burning fireplace. He then put ashes on top of the newspaper. He said that SC would have to leave his boot prints if he was real. Surprise, surprise the next morning there were his bootprints. I think I played along because as much as I was crushed the year before my Dad seemed even more crushed. Sometimes our best laid out plans for adventure don't turn out the way we had hoped.

Again, back to snow and ice. I can remember a really big snow in Greensboro. It had actually caught the city by surprise. We expected some snow but not this much. It came on a Sunday and Jon had left on the church answering machine that Church was basically canceled but if there were any brave souls that needed the fellowship to come with a croc-pot and we would be there to greet them. Surprisingly a few families showed up. We worshiped, ate and then headed out together to sled. IT was such a great day in the Lord. The boys loved it as well. I can remember one time when we were also in Greensboro that the electricity had gone out in a winter storm. We got our candles going and the boys had their flashlights close by their sides. We sat in a circle around the gas logs and talked and laughed. It was for only about 15 minutes and the lights came on. I could see the sadness on the boys faces so I said quick everyone go cut out all the lights and lower the heat and let's just keep going as we were. We did and had a great family time together in the dark. Doesn't really take much for an adventure.

When we moved to the mountains of Johnstown, PA no was more excited about the possibilities of big snows than me. We had wonderful snows. I can recall many occasions of sitting in the Sanctuary and all of a sudden these huge flakes would start falling down. It was a beautiful place to worship our Lord. Living in Johnstown boys were able to learn to ice skate (Grant was especially good and went on to play hockey) go skiing but they really liked snowboarding and of course tubing. They of course were naturals at it. Me? I can remember my first experience attempting to ski. We all took a little class before going up to the bunny slope. I came down and fell. Over and over again I would fall. I finally was getting the hang of it and doing well, I might add, when up and behind me I heard someone yell, "Way to go Pam!" Dummy me thought I should acknowledge them and then wound up like a pile of spaghetti. Do you know how hard it is to maneuver those long skis? It took me what seemed like forever to unravel myself to stand up. No not for me, I will stick to tubing or even better sitting at my window with my hot chocolate and a book. Some adventures are better left to the experienced and yes less klutzy.

Snow and ice, I do love them. I think what I really love more is adventure, especially the kind of adventures that make memories with those we love. I want my life filled with adventure. Everyone of the adventures I shared above there is One who is not mentioned but oh so present, my Christ. He is the giver of snow, ice, and adventure. He has shown me much grace and favor and to Him I will be ever so grateful.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

My Genesis

I was born on April 2, 1962 at Baylor hospital in Dallas, Texas to Billy Marshall and Donna Leigh Jerger Fugitt. Both my parents were 20 years old at the time of my birth, young. Both had entered their marriage with baggage. I will save this for another day because I am really finding it difficult to share.

I know not from my memory but from being told that my parents started their life out living in the projects of Dallas. This was a place my mom was very much familiar with as it was where she had lived with seven of her siblings and her mother, Anna Mae. I love that name but to me she was my Memaw. I too would become familiar with the projects of Dallas but that is later down the road.

After living in the projects for only a year my parents lived a short time with my Dad's mom and dad. They were George William and Pauline Fugitt, To me they were my Gran-Gran and my Papaw. They lived in a huge house 6048 Bryan Parkway. Why do I remember that when I can't even remember my own cell phone number? This house is one block off of the famous Swiss Avenue of Dallas. We are talking big and beautiful homes. These homes have often been used by Hollywood for movies. W.A. Criswell owned one of these homes. I remember my Dad telling me that working for W.A. was great, he was kind and generous; his wife on the other hand was quite the opposite. Anyway my grandparents house was thrilling to me. It had a big front porch, wonderful architectural details and wide steps. I dreamed of living in a home just like it.

I think I will stop here and talk about my grand parents and then end until tomorrow. I adored my grandfather. He was kind and affectionate with me. He had a small office in the back of the house. This office was where I entered the house when I came over. He seemed to always be sitting in his chair with a cigar. His wonderful fancy cowboy hat was sitting on it's hat stand. His hat-stand was a big 'ole round bellied Buddha. I always thought that was funny that he used it as a hat stand. I found out just recently that my Dad and two of his brothers had given it to him as a gift. I guess it was meant as a joke but it makes me grin thinking of the way he used it. Every time my PaPaw would see me he would ask me if I had a Yankie dime for him. Now how many of you know what a Yankie dime is? It is a kiss. When I gave him his Yankie dime I would be rewarded with a buffalo nickle. The interesting thing about this is that he was Indian, American Indian. When I saw him I always visualized him with one of those big chief feather headdress. My grandfather did not make it to my wedding he was in the hospital and would die from bone cancer three months later. My Dad would be at the hospital more than once a day throughout his hospital stay. My grandfather was in so much pain that he would beg my Dad to end his life for him. I can't even imagine what each one went through mentally and emotionally. thought he was the wonderful and kind one.

My grandmother always seemed very formal to me not very affectionate. I don't ever remember her hugging me or telling me she loved me. I was always somewhat afraid of her. She never gave me reason. I can remember when my grandfather was very sick her talking about him to my parents when he was right there in the room with them. She would always talk about all that was negative going on with him and his illness. This happened in my later teen years. It made me so angry that he was treating him the way she did. Today, with some experience and wisdom she had to talk. His slow death right in front of her, the man she had shared her life with and raised 10 children with was leaving her. She desperately needed to talk. My anger was misplaced. Not only was I wrong about this I was wrong about her. A few years after the death of my grandfather my Dad arranged to buy a house (my grandmothers money) that was right across the street from my mom and dad's house. He would be there every morning fixing her breakfast and talking to her. He would see her sometime in the day and my mom would fix her a plat of dinner each night. My Dad was a good son and my Mom was a good daughter-in-law.

I was given my grandmothers Bible a few years back and when I opened the pages and saw all the clippings that were stuck here and there I was astounded by what I learned. After talking to my Mom and Dad recently I had an even bigger picture of who my grandparents were. My grandmother had listed seven of her children and the dates of their baptisms. My Dad was one of the ones not listed. My Mom shared with me that my grandmother went to church and she took all the kids to church with her. I found that my great-great grandparents were names Sarah and Issac. I asked my Dad, cautiously about his going to church. He told me that his mom took him and but when she went into her class he and two of his brothers would sneak back out and go and get into trouble. I believe there was a bit of sadness with my Dad as he shared. My mother then shared that my grandfather was known to be a drinker and a bit of a harsh man and father. I didn't know; my perceptions were the exact opposite. By the time I came of age they were older and their health had began it's downward slide.

What did I learn? In my youth I lacked the wisdom, experience and understanding to rightly divide truth from error. Our perceptions of people and circumstances are not always accurate. God was right when He said to honor the matter what (mine.) It takes knowing someones whole story before we can really appreciate them. Grace, mercy and forgiveness come so much easier when we take the time to know others stories. We all have stories.

Monday, January 03, 2011

My Story

My mom and dad came to visit Jon and I for Thanksgiving. While they were with me I decided it would be a perfect time to ask about their childhood and ask questions I had often wondered about but always forgot to ask. I learned so much and my learning explained many things about my own life. Gleanings that could make a difference in my future and my children's future.

Something was said by my oldest son while we were spending Christmas with them that got my wheels spinning. How much do they really know about me? I have always thought I was one to be an open book to my children but just maybe there are things they are unaware of. If that is so then I want them to know all there is. I want them to know not only for the sake of memories but for learning more about themselves and possibly making the necessary changes to change what then can of the chains I have passed along.

The past year and half God has had me teaching my SS class through Genesis. How amazing to read our spiritual beginnings. We studied all of it, the good the bad and the ugly. Through it all we saw God's scarlet thread of redemption. Together we learned that God is always more than willing to forgive, show mercy and to give a new beginning for those who would turn to Him. We noted the hand of God move through each of the lives of the patriarchs. He was and is sovereign orchestrating events to bring all to the life changing knowledge that He is Lord.

I believe with no doubting that God's mighty hand has been in my life. He has orchestrated events that drew me to Him and to a greater knowledge of Him. I believe my story is worth telling for my children and my children's children. To be honest I am really scared to do God the One behind this?

I was awakened last night around 1:30am and the story began to unfold and I couldn't get it out of my head. I couldn't get back to sleep till around 5:00am. If I could only type it the way it was unfolding. I know it will take months if not the whole year. Maybe that commitment scares me even more. Most who read this know how I dislike blogging. I don't know where this is going to take me. I do know that it is not something I will be posting anywhere but here nor am I compelled to tell anyone to be sure and check out my blog. Maybe God will supernaturally hide it because it is really only for my own benefit and my children. I don't know. What I do know is that it won't let go of me. I have learned that if it is from God it won't let go of me until I obey.

Starting tomorrow my life story will unfold.....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Genesis 34: Dinah, a Victim

As I ponder Dinah’s story my heart is broken. How many young women and girls do we have in our life? What do they need to hear from us? Do they know they are loved? That they are valuable and precious? Have they learned that there are some environments that are not safe? Will we commit ourselves to making sure we do all we can to make sure they know our love and protection as well as their worth and value as God’s special creation?

I wonder how many girls or young women God may bring across our path that are victims or victims waiting to happen? Could we possibly be used by God to mend their broken hearts or prevent them from making grave mistakes? How far can a smile or a few choice words go? For me they were enough to completely change the direction I was going. The words’ “You are so special to God and He wants to do something special in your life” were enough to get me to seeking out this God. Once I was found by God my heart began the journey of healing.

How many women and young girls are swallowing lies from Satan? So many want to judge the way some dress, where they go or how they seductively live. What we need to understand is that many of these have swallowed the lies. They believe that they aren’t precious or valuable, that this is as good as it gets and they have no hope because this was the life they were given. They don’t know what real love is because they have never experienced it. Most have been neglected and or used all their lives.

How would Jesus respond to these? I think He would be moved to compassion and want to touch their lives and give them the hope they are so desperately crying out for. Could you possibly be His instrument of hope and healing? Let’s keep our eyes and ears open to those God places in our lives (even strangers) so that He can move us to compassion.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Stopping short of our Promised Land

In chapter 33 of Genesis we see another spiritual high of Jacob’s; His fear has come to naught because Esau embraces him. The relationship is restored. Where does Jacob go from here? Better yet, where should Jacob head next? It is true that for most of us, our greatest temptations come after our grandest spiritual moments. This is true for Jacob as well. Where should Jacob have journeyed and not stopped till he arrived?
Genesis 31:3 (NKJV) "Then the Lord said to Jacob, "Return to the land of your fathers and to your family, and I will be with you."
Genesis 31:11-13 (NKJV) “Then the Angel of God spoke to me in a dream, saying, 'Jacob.' And I said, 'Here I am.'…… I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me. Now arise, get out of this land, and return to the land of your family.' "
What vow? Genesis 28:20-21 (NKJV) “Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, [21] so that I come back to my father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.
Genesis 31:18 (NKJV) “And he carried away all his livestock and all his possessions which he had gained, his acquired livestock which he had gained in Padan Aram, to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan.”
Jacob had direct orders from God…get to your promised land. He had made a vow to get back to his promised land. He began the journey back to his promised land. It seems that he had every intention to getting to his promised land. But he stopped short. He stopped this side of the river.
Why the delay going to his promised land? Why do we stop short of our own personal promised lands? What excuses can you hear Jacob (or his wives) giving? It’s too inconvenient today. I’ll do it tomorrow. We all know that tomorrow never comes. The kids are tired. Do we blame our lack of drive on our children, or our hectic schedules? We say that we will start when everything is in order. Everything will never be in order. If we are not intentional about our journey to arrive at our promised lands we won’t get there.
Delayed obedience is disobedience. What obedience are you delaying? What do you know you SHOULD do – and you’ve put it off… and put it off… and put it off? There is no better time than now to pack up and start crossing the river to get to the other side where you were meant to live, where your promises await you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Room by Joshua Harris

I was asked recently to read this story. I am always cautious when reading things over the email because I know that so often they carry errors. This story was supposedly written by a young 17 year old days before his death. I read this thought provoking story and was humbled by what my own file room would look like. I don't even want to go their; yet we all need to make ourselves take that look so that we can begin to tremble now in His holy presence. The story is rewritten below so you will have the opportunity to do your own double take of your life. I did however do the research on this story to find that although the 17 year old did turn this in a few days before his death it was not original. He had procrastinated in turning in the assignment so I guess he got desperate to turn in anything even if it wasn't his. The true author is one my heroes Joshua Harris. Regardless of who wrote the story it one that causes us to stop and ponder our words, deeds and thoughts.

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn't match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked "Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I've Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn't laugh at: "Things I Have Done in My Anger," "Things I Have Muttered Under My Breath at My Parents." I never ceased to be surprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my 20 years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn't found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn't matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore "People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that they hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn't bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read every one?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn't anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn't say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn't be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don't think I'll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

By Joshua Harris. Orginally published in New Attitude Magazine. Copyright New Attitude, 1995. You have permission to reprint this in any form. We only ask that you include the appropriate copyright byline and do not alter the content.