Thursday, August 19, 2010

post 8

About an hour ago I turned 21 :D
Or, technically, I will turn 21 for realreal in 4 hours 10 minutes... but whatever ;)

I love birthdays because they are such a good "mile-marker" to look back on and remember.  It's absolutely completely insane to me that I'm 21.  God is doing so much these days and life is such a whirlwind.  But I love it.

One of the parts of His Word that He seems to constantly bring me to is Job 23:

 I go forward, but He is not in sight,

and backward, but I do not perceive him;
on the left hand when He is working, I do not behold him;

He turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.

But He knows the way that I take;

when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.

My foot has held fast to his steps;

I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.

He is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?

What He desires, that He does.

For He will complete what He appoints for me,

and many such things are in His mind.

I'm so grateful God chose to write these words down for me.  How helpful they have been the last few months!  I feel like I could write a whole post about every sentence.

How about bullet points instead?

Frooooom the beginning, the very beginning (a very fine place to start):

// Sometimes we have no stinking clue what God is doing.  We don't "see" Him working, we don't "know" He's there.  But all the while He is perfectly at work.

// The fact that I can't see what He is up to doesn't matter squat.  He knows the way I take.  He sees the whole picture.  He knows the final destination.  He sets up the road-blocks, the bridges and the wrecks.  I don't need to know what is going to happen, I need to trust the One who is making it all happen.

// I always love when the Bible uses the word "treasure."  It's so a beautiful phrase.  Treasure the words of His mouth.  I love that.

// If I had a Top 10 Bible Highlight Reel, this would make the cut: "What He desires, that He does."
Whooooa Nelly.
Sometimes I think "What He desires, I must figure out and faithfully execute!"
No no.  What He desires, that He does.
There is very little about me in that statement.  It's quite about God.  I think it's that way for a reason.

// God works, God knows, God tries, God desires, God appoints and best of all - God completes.
"He has begun a good work in you will bring it to completion."
He's not up in heaven waiting for motivation or inspiration to keep His goodness going.
He completes.

// Lastly, I am on the mind of God.  Many things are on His mind for me.  He carries me on His heart, but also thinks about me in His mind.  That is so personal.  So relational.  So un-stale, un-blah and un-distant.  It's beautifully and powerfully close and near.    

All these thoughts have been such wonderful lessons for me, especially this summer. 
21 is already proving to be a BRAND new time in my life.  
Brand brand new.
I'm excited, I'm terrified and I'm bought by Christ.
I'm good :D

Thursday, August 5, 2010

post 7

John Piper rocked my world last year with his message on "drawing near to God."
I listened to it again today and he says (after basically asking "What do you do when you wake up and all you can think about is your sin, your failures, your weakness.  What do you do when getting out of bed seems to hard?):

You THINK of truth!

You say to yourself "He has told me, on the authority of His word, that there is a blood shed. 
There is a new and living way by the body of Christ,
and when His blood was shed and His flesh was torn all my sins were covered and a way was opened into the Holy places. 
It wasn't for perfect people, cause then why would there have had to been spent flesh?
But rather for sinners like me! 
Therefore shut your mouth, Satan. 
Be quiet, flesh. 
I reckon you dead!"

And you fight with truth.  Knowledge.  You bring it to bear.  And you take your zeal and you fan it and you straighten it. And you cling.

Then you say, "Listen I am told I have a great high priest in heaven
- not just a priest, not just a high priest -
but a GREAT high priest.
And He not only spilt His blood,
and He not only ripped His flesh,
and He not only died,
and He not only rose,
but He is also reigning at the right hand
and He intercedes for me,
so that when I walk trembling into the presence of the Father,
He reaches out and He puts His hand on my shoulder and says
'Now listen, if you keep acting so hesitantly like this,
and lack all boldness,
and do not draw near with all assurance of faith,
you are belittling what I accomplished for you
Look me in the face!
Do you believe that what I did was infinitely valuable for sinners to come?

I will stand with you. I will not leave you. I won't walk out of this room. I will never leave the room of the Father because your standing is in me,
and you are safe in this hurricane of holiness as the Father loves me.'"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

post 6

"And I will betroth you to me forever...
I will betroth you to me in justice"
{hosea 2:19}

You know those moments when you read the Bible (or any book you've read over and over.  Or movie you've seen repeatedly) and there is a verse or sentence or line and it's like "WHAT? Has this always been here?"  It's the "jump off the page" moment.
That is what Hosea 2:19 was for me.  I don't know why, but when my eyes crossed over those letters, and the words came together in my brain, my heart was tugged-at. 

Obviously everyone knows that "betrothal" was essentially an engagement between a man and a woman.  A commitment for something in the future.  A word given that would be kept.  The actual definition of "betroth" is this: to make a promise by one's truth.  God promises that I will be united with Him forever.  He took the initiative and gave His word, it's going to happen.

BUT, this was the kicker for me.   I am connected to God in justice. Whoa whoa whoa.

I can understand, maybe, "in mercy" or "in compassion" or "or grace." "In forgiveness," perhaps?  Maybemaybe I can even understand "in love."  I don't understand why He loves me, but that would make sense: "I will betroth you to Me in love."  

But justice?  This situation is anything but just.  Justice is "the administering of deserved punishment or reward."  Um.  Awkward.  If I am getting what I deserve, I can't be betrothed to God.  If God chooses to forgive me and just erase the punishment I've accrued, He's not being just.

But He promises He will unite Himself with me forever.
And He promises it will be in justice.

And that would mean that my foreverness with God is just.  And that would mean it is deserved.  And that would mean that if He did not betroth Himself to me, it would be unjust.  Unfair.  And that would be wrong.  That would be accusing God of sin.  

Enter Jesus:  The only one who deserved to be with God forever.  The only one who had a just relationship with Him.   And He looked upon me, with eyes of love.  The holy looked upon the sinner.  And judge charged the innocent with the punishment of the guilty.  Justice was served.  The sin was accounted for and the detesable, wrecking, hellish torture for sin was placed on the only man who deserved to be united with God forever.  Jesus took our place, so He could give us the title of "deserving." 

You know what that means?  It means that God sees us as He sees His perfect son.  He sees us as deserving, if I believe.  His love is just, if Jesus is my Savior.  If I ever think for a moment that God will forsake me, I'm accusing Him of sin.   If I ever think God doesn't love me, I must be considering God unjust.  If the terror of sin ever whells up inside me, and guilt comes screaming for recompense, I can confidently know "If God were to punish me for my sin, AFTER already punishing His son, after I have believed in Him, that would not be justice.  That would be cruel. And my God is just.  His love is just."

I can't wait to meet my God.
Forever is going to be amazing.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

post 5

When I was younger I had this idea in my head:  "Jesus sacrificed His life for me, so now I owe Him mine."  I felt obligated to sacrifice, almost, in a sense, to re-pay God.  I wondered how I could possibly know that Jesus - God - died in my place, and then in return continue to sin.  Continue to do what I wanted.  Continue to live selfishly. Make mistakes.  "This must stop!" I told myself.  How dare I?  After all He has done!  I realize, now, that I was wrong.  I don't owe God my life.  That is, at best, moralism.  I'm not supposed to execute this life "correctly" as part of a trade.  Or bargain.  Or law-keeping practice.  That's legalism.
"Jesus sacrificed His life for me, so now I owe Him mine." No no no, Kristen.
"Jesus sacrificed His life for me, so now I believe in Him because He covers mine."

Jesus found [the healed blind man] and He said,
“Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  
He answered, “And who is He, sir, that I may believe in Him?” 
Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.”  
He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.
{john 9}
Now I wonder, how could I possibly know Jesus - God - died in my place, and then in return think I could add to that?  That God would require more then that?  How dare I think I could change the Father's affection for His Son, and therefore His affection for me?  Who am I to think I could add to the irony and the tragedy and the beauty of calvary by my works and obedience? 

No, I don't owe God my life.  

My debt has been paid.  It is finished.  I believe it! I'm a new creation, clothed in robes of righteousness, washed by the blood of the Lamb!  I was blind, but now I see!  I was dead, but now I am alive!  And it had nothing to do with me.  Jesus, have Your way with me - I don't need to re-pay you with my life, you are my life!  I stand here in my sin, my mistakes, my hurt, my humanness and believe that Your holiness has satisfied the wrath of God.  I worship you out of a heart filled with gratitude, rejoicing, awe and wonder, not guilt, duty or requirement.  I believe in You, my Lord.  I believe!