June 4, 2015

You are for me.

[The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time. This creates a radical new dynamic for personal growth. It means that the more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you.] Tim Keller

Father thank you that you are faithful to always welcome me back, that you forgive every time I get caught up building my own kingdom, with my own version of the gospel. Forgive me for being quick to speak and slow to pray. I pray that you would give me your heart for people, that I would seek to kill the selfishness that slowly tightens it’s grip on my heart. Untangle me from the strings of pride, that the enemy would have no control of my movements, like a puppet that’s had it’s strings cut. Give me confidence that you love this broken, wobbly mess. Help me understand the reality that you are for me, that you sent your son to die in my place in order that I would be saved. Me. Allllllll of me. 

I want to be someone who understands the gospel, and lives in the glorious light of it. I want to be someone who understands, and lives in light of my new identity, “more loved and accepted” than I could ever imagine. I want that reality to transform how I view other people. I want to be an advocate of grace, an encourager and someone who forgives and moves forward with the hope of restoration. So often I fail at one, or multiple of those realities. I’m quick to speak, hot headed and offended. I’m too rushed to see another perspective, and too eager to fix everyone's problems. I’m eager to give an opinion, and quick to be harsh. This does not build up, this doesn’t cherish, this doesn’t celebrate the gospel, this doesn’t glorify Christ. However through this failing, God's grace appears "precious electrifying and amazing." This is my hope, this is my anchor, this is my motivation. 

[But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.] 2 Cor 12:9

January 2, 2015

Why do we hate cutbacks?

[There are darknesses that we have all walked through, or are walking through, or will walk through — and the only thing that makes walking through the darkness possible is that God walks through the darkness with us. The most frightening reality becomes not the darkness, but being separated from God in it. We don’t want to lose him, to turn from him, to go cold. Apostasy becomes the real hell, not our suffering. So we pray, simply but fiercely: God, no! Don’t let it happen. Before I would forget you, before my heart would ice over, take away my livelihood and seal my mouth shut. That is a passionate prayer, and it’s one we should pray. But we shouldn’t pray with this kind of passion only because God is our greatest treasure — and we can’t imagine a worse reality than forgetting him — but also because we know that God won’t let us forget him] Jonathan Parnell

It happens every once and a while, my last fast was July and August, it was music. The act of removing things from my everyday life isn't because the things are inherently bad- but because my heart is inherently broken, and until that day Jesus returns my head and my heart are prone to wander. The truth is they love to wander. They love to seek out immediate things to satisfy or give me a sense of purpose. Family, friends, relationships, people, music, achievements, ability, or social media. Pick your poison. 

[A Christian without meditation is like a solider without arms, or a workman without tools. Without meditation the truths of God will not stay with us; the heart is hard, and the memory is slippery, and without meditation all is lost.] Thomas Watson 

Lately my head and my heart have been so surrounded I feel as if i'm drowning beneath the weight of it all, but not with anything I need. I'm being drenched constantly, by so many different sources but they don't ever fill. It's like trying to fill up a water balloon with a fire hydrant. The balloon is indeed surrounded by water- but it is not filled. That has been me. I'm drowning in overstimulation and keep up appearances. I'm tied to my phone, rephrasing things in my mind into 140 characters to make an accessible tweet. I'm picturing my next instagram and reading the best reviews. I'm mediating friendships and arguing about (insert your topic). I'm attending dinners, and checking boxes. I'm designing stages for church. Booking classes and planning semesters. I'm everywhere except with Jesus. And I've been feeling it. Tweeting isn't bad, FB isn't bad, Instagram is fun. Dinner parties are a gift. iMessage is a life-saver for far away friendships. But my empty heart is drowning. A strange combination that is demanding some change. So January is starting a month of cutbacks. Not for cutbacks sake but in order to make room for what Jesus will say, and what he'll have me do. 

["God, this much, don’t let me forget you.” It isn’t a flashy prayer, but it’s passionate, and I need more of its kind in 2015.] -Jonathan Parnell 

That's my prayer. It isn't flashy- but it's important and it demands action.