and the One who walks with me on it.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who Am I?

       There is a song I really like from the album ‘I Am 2’, a Messianic Praise song titled Baruch Hashem Adonai (or Blessed be the name of the Lord.)  I can’t stop thinking about its words right now.  Here are a couple lines from the first two stanzas. 

               Who am I to be part of your people
               The ones that are called by your name…

               How can a stranger a remnant of nations
               Belong to the royal line…

       Who am I to belong to God’s family, to be His child?  It seems like I can never live up to being worthy of such an honour. Truly, I can never be ‘worthy’ of salvation by the blood of Jesus Christ because there is nothing I ever did, nor ever can do, that would be grounds for me to deserve freedom from my death penalty (due to my sin).  My Father bestowed mercy and grace upon me despite my sin.  I deserved it not; certainly no more than any other.

My Father gave me His name. 

His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us.  And he did this because he wanted to!  (Eph. 1:5 TLB)

       After we adopted our children, we legally changed their last names to ours.  They became part of our family and were to be called by our name.  They had full rights as our children: rights of provision, protection, and participation.  They are the inheritors of all we own.  If we had given birth to them, they would be no different to us, either legally, or emotionally.  Just like Adam said, “bone of my bones, flesh of my flesh”…

       At one time I was a stranger to my Father.  (Webster 1828 lists these under definitions of stranger: A foreigner; one who belongs to another country.  One unacquainted.  One not admitted to any communication or fellowship.)  I was a foreigner to God until I was 16.  I still held citizenship in the devil’s country.   I was not acquainted with God; I did not understand who He was, or realize His importance in my life.  Until I surrendered my life to Him, we had no communication or fellowship- and I didn’t even know He wanted it!

       So, now I belong to the royal line: a child of God, called by His name, given entrance into His family with all rights and privileges included.  Who am I to be a part of the greatest family in all eternity?  Who am I to bear the name of the Creator of the entire universe?  Who am I to be grafted into the noblest of lines?  Who am I to be given such mercy and grace? 

Today I feel very undeserving.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Who Do You Want to See?

       One day I will go to live with the Lord and I truly look forward to being physically with Him for all eternity.  At the same time, I look forward to meeting all the believers from ages past.  If I had to pick the one believer I’d like to see the most, it would be David.  He was a passionate man who lived to seek God and do His will all while recognizing his own failings.  Here are some of the things written in the Bible about him:

 … God testified…: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ (Acts   NIV  1 Sam. ) 
…the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. (1 Sam.16:10-13)
David ... grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him. (2 Sam.5:10)
His [Solomon's] heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father. (1 Kg.11:4, 15:3)

So, what made David so great in God’s eyes?  Just consider his own words and you will see the heart of a man- who is after God’s heart.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. (Ps. 27:8) 
Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart. (Ps. 26:2) 
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. (Ps. 40:8) 
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Ps. 51:10) 
I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. (Ps. 86:12) 
With my whole heart have I sought thee:… (Ps. 119:10) 
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Ps. 119:11) 
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  (Ps. 139:23) 

       It is always best to ‘judge’ a man based on his own words.  David’s words show him to be a man who seeks and loves the Lord with all his heart, who is humble and constantly trying to improve, who loves God’s Word and delights to follow it and not sin, who understands the forgiveness of God, and who praises God with his whole heart.  Basically, he leaves himself totally open to God.  Those are all attributes I aspire to as well. 

       Honestly though, the biggest reason I want to see him is because David loved the Lord so much he unashamedly and energetically danced and praised God without caring what anyone thought or how they would ‘see’ him.  And David danced before the LORD with all his might;… (2 Sam. 6:14)  David celebrated God.  David worshipped God with his whole being. 

I wish we could all do that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Thought on Jonah

      A few days ago I heard a wise woman say, “The only thing in life you have any control over is your reputation.”  It is true that the choices you make will determine (for the most part) what others will think of you.  If you apply yourself to your job, you will be known as a hard worker.  If you take too many breaks or work as slow as a turtle, you will be known as a slacker.  Your choice as to how you work will determine your reputation.
      Still, I don’t think we should live our lives overly concerned about our reputation, because sometimes others will think the wrong things about us based on what they see.  For example, when I was young some kids thought I was stuck up since I didn’t speak to them, but in reality I was just terribly shy.  Some may see me as unfashionable or odd because I dress modestly, or boring because I don’t want to get drunk and laugh at their perversity.

      Most people believe that Jonah was angry after Nineveh was saved from destruction because they were his hated enemies but I have to wonder if he was more concerned about having a damaged reputation.  (Personally I’d rather believe the latter as I can’t believe any true believer of our merciful God would desire the destruction of over 120,000 people.) 

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.  TLB
And now, O Jehovah, take, I pray Thee, my soul from me, for better [is] my death than my life.' 
                                                                                            YLT  (Jonah 4:1-3)

      Jonah says, ‘for better my death than my life.’  Even if God were to leave all my enemies alive I wouldn’t consider my death better than my life; but if my reputation was ‘destroyed’ I might.  After all, how do you earn a living if you have a bad reputation in 800 BC?  Jonah might believe he would be seen as a liar, a crazy man, or a false prophet since he said Nineveh would be destroyed and they weren’t.  That had to be a difficult place in which to be.

      I think the same concerns over reputation can stop Christians from speaking out against sin.  We don’t want to be seen as intolerant or condemning.  It may stop some of us from worshipping in particular ways.  We don’t want to be seen as overly enthusiastic or holy rollers.  We may not stand up for a just cause because we don’t want to be seen as a busybody.  I think, like our dreams and hopes, we should also lay down our reputations at the foot of the cross, and allow God to ‘protect’ them.  Meanwhile, we should focus on obeying God and following His Spirit and leave the rest up to Him.  After all, He is our fortress and refuge.
(Ps. 91:2; 2 Sam. 22:2,3)  He is our protection.

      Lord, lead me on the path You want me to be on, and let me be more concerned about doing Your will and following Your Spirit than I am about my own reputation. 

And Lord, give all of us the strength to stand up for what is right no matter the opposition, especially in these last days.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Mistake

      The kids and I were sitting around the table during one of our Bible teaching times, and we each had a paper with a circle drawn on it in front of us.  We were to turn it into a pie chart as to how much time we spent on different activities every day.  Friends, family, food, sleep, and whatever else we felt should be added.  I thought it would be easy, but no matter how mine was adjusted, it just never seemed right.  Eventually I finished though unsatisfied with the results.

      It wasn’t until several weeks later I figured out what was wrong.  I had made a mistake in the very formation of my chart.  See, it didn’t work no matter how big a piece of the pie I gave the Lord, because it meant He was ‘left out’ of the other pieces, and that never made sense to me.  The reality of how I try to live my life is more like the pie chart being completed with the actual time I spend solely with Him each day allotted in, but then a transparency being laid on top with the word “God” written on top; because in actuality, I try to be with Him during all the things I do in life.

      Does that mean He comes to the bathroom with me?  Yep.  Some of our funniest times have been in that room.  Is He there when I’m chauffeuring the kids around?  Yep.  He makes the drive more interesting.  What about when I’m vacuuming or doing dishes?  He definitely brings life to those tedious chores.  Whether I am helping a friend, baking an apple pie, dealing with a school issue, volunteering, shopping, or anything else in my life, my Lord, my Love is with me in it all.
      He’s like the transparency in my life over everything I do, everywhere I go, over all the ways I fill the time in my journey.  Now that makes more sense to me.  Maybe it seems a little crazy to some people, but I’d rather be seen as crazy with the Lord filling my life than be seen sane with Him just fitting into a small portion of my life.

      So the next time I have to make a pie chart, I know exactly what I’ll do.  I won’t make the mistake of trying to fit God into a piece of my life.  Instead I’ll go get a portion of clear plastic/ transparency/ saran wrap and place it over top of my chart with the name of God written in permanent marker so it can’t be changed.  No more mistake.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go,… (Gen. 28:15a NIV)

…for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.  (Jos. 1:9b NKJV)

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.  If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.  To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you.  (Ps 139:7-12 NLT)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Easier Said Than Done

      Have you ever read a scripture and thought:  Ugh! Are you serious?  I can’t possibly live up to those expectations!  This is one of those scriptures to me.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Php. 4:8  ASV)

      It talks about our thoughts, and no one I know, including myself, can follow it 100% of the time.  Today is particularly difficult for me because last night I found out one of my kids did something really, really wrong several times lately, so now I’ve got to deal with it while they face the consequences.

      When I realized how badly I was struggling to maintain my hope in the Lord (for my kid’s future) I tried to nail the concern and negativity to the cross; it didn’t work.  I thought, maybe I’ll visualize myself doing it and that will help, but all I could ‘see’ is the nail bouncing off and the problem ricocheting back onto me.  Even worship service didn’t help. 

      I keep reminding myself that God is in control and will allow my kids to go through what they need to go through so they get to where He wants them to be.  I have to remember that the hope I have in Him for my own salvation, I must also have in Him to hold my kids firmly in His hands and ‘keep after them’ until they serve Him and love Him with all their hearts.  I have to trust my Lord with their very lives.  He is my source of hope and because of Him I can have peace and joy in the midst of any circumstances.

Now may God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace as you believe, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  (Rom   ISV)

      So for now I will keep reminding myself to trust Him, and hope in Him, then…

                  Trust Him.
                  Hope in Him.


                  Trust Him.
                  Hope in Him.