Sunday, December 16, 2012

There Will Be Peace One Day

Heart heavy for the families mourning in Connecticut. Neither my mind nor my heart can fathom what a terrible loss like this would feel like. Praying for the families to have, sooner rather than later, a sense of peace that only God can give. Oh Lord, give them Your strength. Wrap them in Your arms, for You hold all hope and comfort.

Come, let us return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. -Hosea 6:1

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. -2 Corinthians 4:17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” -Revelation 21:1-5

One day, folks. One day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Depravity: What my Walk was Missing

A few weeks ago, I was stricken with a harsh realization; a realization that has been missing from my twelve-year walk with God.


Now some of you are probably thinking, “I have no idea what that means. Explain please?” Well in order to do so, I have to go back to the beginning.

Growing up, I was a really good kid. Obviously I had many bratty moments, as every kid does. But overall, I respected authority, was nice to my friends, didn’t cause trouble in class, etc. I learned something pretty early on about myself – I was different. I had an appreciation of the Bible and a yearning for learning more about God that not many of my classmates had, or at least that I knew about. (All of this to say – I’m not bragging about myself, here. “I said to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You” –Ps.16:2.) Growing up, I was told by teachers, Sunday school leaders, preachers, and my parents that I was a sinner. When you’re six years old learning about Jesus, teachers sort of sugar-coat how sinful we are; not because they’re bad teachers, but because they don’t want to scare little children. They don’t tell you, “You are DEAD and WORTHLESS without the hope of Christ! You were in the grasp of the DEVIL before Christ came to save your soul!”

You just don’t tell that to little children.

So growing up, I knew I was a sinner. Not just because people told me I was, but because I would look at the 10 Commandments, and think of how I broke so many of them. I reflected on thoughts I had about others or looked at words I had said to my friends, and saw that I sinned. I knew I was a sinner.

I just didn’t fully understand how much of a sinner I was. Until now.

For the past few years, I’ve been struggling with humility. I mean…really struggling. I’ve gotten pretty good at seeming humble on the outside, but when I reflected on the thoughts I had about myself, I knew how much I was not humble. Not that I don’t appreciate their sweet words, but it certainly doesn’t make it any easier when people tell you, “Oh you’re so humble!” Because you know how not humble you are.

It’s been so hard for me to come before the Lord saying, “I am a wretch! I’m a horrible, selfish sinner who doesn’t have it all together and I desperately NEED YOU!”

It’s been hard for me to say that because for my whole life I’ve been a pretty good kid. I’ve been trying to seek hard after the Lord, digging into His Word, trying to be a servant to others, putting others before myself, making myself available to those around me. I had felt like, even though I definitely wasn’t perfect, that I was on the right track, and therefore didn’t need God as much as others did. (You see how judgmental I can be, sometimes?) And that’s when God grabbed my soul and said, “You always need Me. You always need My grace. The only reason you’re a “good person” is because of Me and My work. I love you, and I know you love Me…but you are not desperate for Me. You are not depraved.”

The night that God and I had this little chat, I was overwhelmed with conviction. A few posts ago, I talked about how God’s conviction is a beautiful sword, that cuts deep but overall carves you into the man / woman God wants you to be. Yeah well, this sword cut deep, probably deeper than it ever had before.

I think I finally understand what it means to be taken to the “desert.” It’s finally starting to click.

Depravity was what was missing from my walk with God. Repentance was missing – or at least it wasn’t something I was continually doing. I’m beginning to fully understand how wretched I am, how selfish some of my motives have been. This week, God has been placing things in my life to test my humility. People are looking up to me as a leader, and I am being tested to see if I place the credit on God or myself.

This conviction the Lord granted me at first made me feel really bummed and emotionally / spiritually exhausted…until I was reminded of Romans 8:1. Isaiah 43:1. Philippians 1:6. Psalm 51.

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Psalm 51: probably my favorite Psalm. This Psalm takes place right after David screwed up and committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband killed. Psalm 51 is about conviction, repentance, and God healing your wounds. I love this verse the most:

Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

All of this to say, I’m grateful for God’s conviction. I’m grateful for depravity – being so desperate to be sanctified and made more like Jesus Christ. Grateful for God, the gift of His Son, and His unconditional love for us, no matter how wretched we are.

“The world tells us to be strong and keep our heads up high, but the Word of God tells us that we are never stronger than when we are on our knees before the Father, crying out desperately to Him.”