July 31, 2012

tis' so sweet

[You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.] Ps. 30:11-12 

Oh Lord, so often I miss the opportunity to dance. You clearly put deliverance in my path, rescue from dangers, temptations, and failings. Your promise is yes and amen, your plan is righteous and good. Your love is perfect and rich, full of mercy and grace. You've met my biggest need, you sent your son as a sacrifice, as a mediator to die in my place and bridge the gap my sin had made. 

This is the only deliverance I need, the only song my heart needs to dance. But it's a song my heart knows well, one that is so familiar it can loose its impact. Not that this deliverance becomes any less amazing, but my feet get tired of the same rhythm and I get less inspired by the melody. I let noise like fear and anxiety creep in and muddy the mix. I don't trust my heavenly Father for anything, but rather hunch under the weight of my sin and struggles and shuffle along. 

Edward Welch says this about the Lords faithful deliverance, "For his daily, less noticeable deliverance I want the spirit to open my eyes so I can be thankful. For his mighty acts that appear at the eleventh hour, I want grace to trust him. But these after-the-fact deliverance's? I hardly know what to ask. What if you actually went through your worst nightmare, what then? Where was the deliverance? It means that there will be lots of sorrow as we walk through life, but we aspire to know sorrow that is mingled with hope. For subjects of King Jesus, death and tragedy are never the last word. The goodness of our God is certain."

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame. -Hebrews 12:2

Sinner, deliverance is sweet, inheritance is yours, there may be sorrow but because of your Father it is always mingled with HOPE, your Father loves you and welcomes you, come and dance. 

July 25, 2012

getting to the heart of change

Change is a funny thing, we dread it, we crave it, we pray for it, we pray against it. Whatever the season, whatever the change it always seems to leave us feeling dazed and confused. For me personally change reveals a lot about my heart. I love control, I love predictability and preparation... I'm learning that after long seasons of waiting normally comes long seasons of change. Those very things like job security, finances, relationships, that you've been patiently waiting for the Lord to bring change in are finally happening and you realize control as you know it has come to an end.

 When you're waiting, it's a contentment issue, resting in the plan that your Father has for you. Being patient even when it feels like he's forgotten about your little life. When you're experiencing change, it's a contentment issue. You wonder if the Lord's playing a joke on you. Like okay, I know I whined about being stagnant but you didn't have to give me a hurricane. All it takes is one small thing piled on top of another small thing and all of a sudden you're drowning in a sea of doubt and unbelief.

In those seasons I kind of feel like praying, look Father, I know you have a sense of humor,  but really? Anything else you care to throw in the mix? International move, messy church splits, sickness, unknown test results, unreconciled relationships, new relationships, financial struggles, just to name a few. There are moments when  I just stop and read the Psalms and think, I get it (hardly) this man had no easy life. But David was faithful to cry out for protection and peace, for strength and for grace reminds me that, my Father loves. He hears burnt out, afraid, hurting, bitter, angry, exhausted, hopeless, wandering people. He promises rest, mercy and grace for those who ask.  It's a heart issue not a circumstance issue, it's not a matter of waiting or change, not a matter of difficulty or ease... it is about your heart.

 Father forgive me for being quick to let life overwhelm and cloud my view of your gospel. Forgive me for forgetting that those things are meant to point me to you, seeing you more powerful and greater then those things. I pray for my family and friends who are hurting, and struggling to believe that precious truth. That you died to save them, their greatest need has been met and you supply all we need for the day. Help us be people of faith, in your name, amen.

July 17, 2012

Your will, not mine.

That's a prayer I have prayed many times. Growing up submerged in church culture,  incredibly familiar with the trending new Hillsongs album and the messages on living your life for Christ, and this idea of running the race with endurance. I'm not old by any means, but I have been around the track a few times. There have been times where I boldly claim, "Your will not mine." It's typically coming off of a spiritual high where I feel like nothing can touch me, "to live is Christ! To die is gain! " A successful missions trip or a passionate prayer meeting, it's bundled with an eager expectation or excitement about what he can do.

 But the longer I run this track I see that you can't prepare for the stabbing cramps that creep up your sides, or the bitter wind that burns in your chest and stings your eyes. The pure exhaustion that takes over your body. Those moments when the idea of endurance seems like a far fetched wives tale. You're out of options, your months of planning and training are all worthless  You've been backed into a corner of desperation and  it comes out in almost a whisper, "Father, I can't do this, your will not mine." God, you are faithful father, you strengthen and give courage to the broken. No matter how convincing our failing bodies may be you will not let us fall.

You are the life giving Creator, orchestrating every detail, every breath, no matter how shallow or weathered. Father, lead me to the cross, show me your love, your sacrifice, your fulfillment of every promise you ever made. Help me get my eyes off my circumstances and onto your son. The sacrifice you made so that I can have relationship with you. Father, make me a needy person, make me dependent on you for strength for the day, for every breath, for every step, for every mile, looking to you, the living water.  Father, your will not mine.

[Morning by morning I wake up to find the power and comfort of God's hand in mine. Season by season I watch him amazed, in awe of the mystery of his perfect ways I can't remember a trial or a pain he did not recycle to bring me gain. I can't remember one single regret in serving God only and trusting his hand All I have need of his hand will provide. He's always been faithful to me]