Sunday morning my family was spending time together as the church in our home. It wasn’t our first attempt to do this, but lest you imagine that we have a long-standing tradition of experiencing the manifest glory in our living room, let me make clear that we are taking baby steps here. I hope that someday it will be something like that, but in the meantime, I’m just incredibly grateful for where we are.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
As we waited for the Lord to speak, I began to thank Him in my heart for the fact that He says to us, “Come.” A few minutes later, I was sharing this with the rest of the family and this truth just blossomed in front of us. In Isaiah 1:18 … God says, “Come let us reason, though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come all you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” The author of Hebrews encourages us to “Come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Growing up in American culture has shaped my thoughts about God and not always for the best. I realized this morning as we began to see this wonderful truth of God with His arms open and extended in loving invitation, that my default imagining of God was nothing like that. In fact, the picture that came to mind was more like that of Dorothy and her friends coming before the Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz: fearful trembling before an angry powerful One Who demands performance before there can be acceptance or assistance. This is the essence of most religions in the world. And yet, if we flush all the lies the world and its belief systems have told us and focus on the truth revealed by the written Word and the Living Word, what a wonderfully different scene we see. We see the Father running to embrace the prodigal. We see Jesus coming into the world as one of us, to defeat the enemy none of us could overcome, even though it took Him all the way to a painful, shameful death. We see Jesus making breakfast on the beach for one who denied Him and saying, “Come have something to eat.” God is good. He is so much better than we give Him credit for. He loves us, and He says, “Come.”
Thank You, thank You Lord for being a God who says, “Come.”
Thursday, August 9, 2012
I need to sit down and talk with you today from my heart to yours. I wish we could sit down over coffee face to face, but this will have to do. Getting Heart to Hear written has been a struggle lately. This is due in part to the fact that it is summer and I find it very difficult to get the quiet I need, both to spend time with the Father and to write. On the other hand, I’m also wrestling with the concern that I have nothing more to say. I’ve shared all I know and maybe it’s time to say, “That’s all I have to say about that.” Bottom line, I love hearing God and sharing what I hear with you, but what I do not ever want to do is to pretend I’ve heard when I haven’t and this week, I haven’t.
I think that what I really need to do is take more time to listen. My Father has been stirring my heart about a new direction for writing. No surprise there since every other area of my life seems to be going in a new direction, too! I need to take time to focus my hearing, and to wait on the Lord to speak to me. I also want to be sure that what I’ve been hearing, I am actually living and walking out. Thanks for understanding and bearing with me on the winding road.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
This year has been all about change. My church has changed. My weekend routine of when I attend a worship service has changed. The gym I’ve used for seven years has morphed into something completely different and the bit of community I had in those weekly classes is gone. Even my favorite Mexican restaurant has been torn down due to road construction, and even though they built a new one, it is just not the same! So, what is up with all this stinking change?
Last night, as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to come and praying a little, this thought came to mind, “Nothing lasts.” This morning I’ve been thinking about that statement. I think a more accurate one would be, “Nothing lasts except what God does.” Depending upon your age and background, you may be familiar with the poem that says, “Only one life will soon be past, only what is done for Christ will last.” I grew up with those words in my Bible, inscribed there by a visiting evangelist. Those words captured my heart. I wanted to live a life that would last before God. Lately though, I’ve wondered. Is what I am doing of lasting value? Are my prayers anything more than selfish, misguided requisitions? Is my “service” more than a project that anyone could undertake? I feel like I’m skating out on thin ice to even suggest that not everything we do for the Lord is gloriously pure and blessed by His hand. How much of it is just us trying to find our own identity? I want to do great things for God, but more than that I want to do great things with God. Still I wonder…maybe the highest aim would be to simply do those things that He wants to do, trusting Him for the outcome and unconcerned with how great or small it is. However, I won’t know what He wants to do unless I spend time with Him, getting to know Him, listening to His heart instead of always pouring out mine. The bottom line is that there isn’t anything greater than coming to Him. He is the end and not the means, and I don’t think I’ve really gotten that into my heart yet.
Abba, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit – please teach me what life with You really is.