Friday, November 20, 2009
More on that later.
For now though, Redeemer has 150 FREE Tim Keller sermons online HERE:
Go. Go now. Get it.
Annnnnndddddd.... one of my personal favorites just in case the list of 150 is a little overwhelming for you:
Praying our Fears:
P.S. Photo by Catherine Leonard Photography. More photos to come!
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
Just finished listening to a talk by Andy Crouch that was assigned to us for the Gotham Fellowship. He discusses culture making, influencing culture, changing it...
And he starts by saying that culture changes when people make more culture.
He admits this is a "painfully obvious" observation. But then Crouch points out that the way Christians have tried to change culture is by:
1) Condemning and/or protesting the culture that already exists
2) Analyzing it and trying to copy and replicate it within their own subculture
3) By consuming it. Crouch says even a motivated group of consumers can't change what is offered for consumption by consuming what they would like to be influential.
"The only way culture changes is when we get involved, get our hands dirty and make some more of it. And our neighbors by the grace of God say, 'That's intriguing. That's good. I'd like to try that. I'd like to spread the word about that.' That's when culture changes.
Which is both exciting and slightly pressurizing because this means that the ball is in our court to change things... right?
P.S. Photo by Leslie Talley.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"God is my shepherd.
I won't be wanting.
I won't be wanting .
He makes me rest
In fields of green
With quite streams.
Even though I walk
Through the valley
Of death and dying
I will not fear
'Cause you are with me.
You are with me .
Your shepherd staff
Comforts me .
You are my feast
In the presence of enemy .
In the house of God, forever."
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
So thankful for this reminder from Laura (which she has given me permission to share) which puts me in my place about what a gift God has given me in this man who will be my husband and how truly undeserving I am of anything I receive and how abundantly good God is to me:
“One thing I was thinking: I hate those comments from people (that are inevitable) that I see you've already been getting. The "You deserve it!" comments. The truth is, there is no better time for lies to creep into your heart against your knowledge than during engagements. And that is one of those lies you have to fight your darndest. People mean well, but the truth is, you don't deserve it. It is a gift. God is good. But none of us deserve these beautiful relationships we're in with family, friends, or lovers. It's so apparent, quickly, in marriage how selfish and wretched we are, and how we don't deserve love from one another. So, fight those lies. Oh, they'll come from even your best friends. But, fight them. All of a sudden you'll feel yourself feeling entitled to something and you'll realize that all of those lies society says about brides are working their way into your heart. Your wedding will not be perfect, in the true definition. If your goal is a perfect day, disappointment will follow. You won't be able to keep everyone happy with decisions you make. Your engagement will not be all roses and butterflies. Coming together is messy and don't be afraid to let people see that.”
If my attitude is anything other than a complete and total understanding of the fact that God has gifted me with this person, then of course attitudes of disappointing others, dealing with wedding criticisms, and nitpicky wedding planning nonesense will steal my joy because Satan has gotten me to focus on the minor details and inconveinces of life instead of the major blessings that God has imparted on me.
Again reminded of Beth Moore saying:
P.S. Photo by Leslie Talley.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
With wedding planning comes the chaos.
Thankful for these prayers by JD Grear which I am trying to pray every day to keep me focused on what I need to be-not my fiance, not my wedding, not my friends, not my guest list, not my family, not my flowersdresscolorsschemebridesmaidphotography. No, no. But I need to be focused on my Lord.
-"God, your presence and approval is all I need to have joy today." (His Sufficiency)
-"God, because I am in Christ I know there is nothing I can do today that would make you love me any more, and there is nothing I have done that makes you love me any less." (His Unmerited Love and Grace)
-"God, everything the gospel tells me about your intentions for my life is TRUE." (His Goodness.)
You can read the entire article here:
P.S. Photo by Murph Holder.
P.P.S. October 24th is the date. :-)
Monday, June 8, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
This weekend, someone confronted me with the truth that my fears surrounding the past and the future were the result of a real lack of gratitude for what God was doing in my present.
WHAT?! I’m totally grateful AND thankful. Come on.
But then when I got to thinking about it, when I really evaluated it, I realized that I have a pretty serious attitude of entitlement. When I looked at my thoughts, they were totally gross… I believed that I was deserving of my blessings. Because why? Oh, well, because I’m a pretty good person. And because I deserve beauty for ashes in my life because I have followed the rules, right?
Wow. How convenient that that kind of attitude makes me my own savior so that every blessing that comes my way is either 1) something I deserve because of my performance or 2) not quite good enough because I think I deserve something a little better.
"In her novel Wise Blood, Flannery O' Connor says of her character Hazel Motes that 'there was a deep, black wordless conviction in him that the way to avoid Jesus was to avoid sin.' This is a profound insight. You can avoid Jesus as Savior by keeping all the moral laws. If you do that, then you have "rights". God owes you answered prayers, and a good life, and a ticket to heaven when you die. You don't need a Savior who pardons you by free grace, for you are your own Savior." -The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
In the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), there are two sons. The younger one takes his part of his fathers inheritance and squanders it on “wild living” and then returns to his fathers home, asks for forgiveness and is welcomed with open arms.
The elder brother responds to his fathers compassion in the following manner:
“Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!”
Hmm… that sounds a little familiar…
And T. Keller points out in his book The Prodigal God that those of us who are “elder brothers” (ahem, LAUREN) are just as depraved and fallen as the “younger brothers” but that it is a more dangerous trap because we are so blinded by our own self-righteousness. Instead of replacing the need for a savior with “wild living” to fill our emptiness, we have replaced it with our performance, by our law keeping, by living our lives as “a good person.”
So hopefully taking a good hard look at my own depravity and at Jesus as the one who has saved me from that will shake loose my attitude of entitlement.
And hopefully losing my attitude of entitlement will result in a deeper attitude of gratefulness for my blessings in the here and now.
P.S. Photo by Leslie Talley.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
My thoughts on prayer are constantly being challenged but this week I am starting to realize that I, embarrassingly, don't pray for things if I think that they can't be accomplished or achieved. I have faith that prayer can be answered on a local level. I have faith that the prayer for your needed job or your friend’s ailment can be accomplished through prayer. But as far as my prayers affecting something on a global level.... as far as prayers that can really move mountains... well, I am realizing how much I lack the faith for that.
Once again, I have put too much emphasis on myself instead of the object of my faith. The object of my faith (Jesus) has defeated eternal death and suffering. He has defeated the ultimate Evil. Why shouldn't the object of my faith be able to defeat the suffering and evil that exists in this world?
But instead of focusing on any of that when I pray, I am focusing on how inadequate I am as someone whose prayers should be answered.
When we sussed the above passage (Mark 11:22-25) out in Bible study we realized Jesus is saying for our prayers to move mountains there are some things that have to be in place:
1) I have faith in God. (Not my own "prayer" abilities.)
2) I can't doubt. I must believe in my heart that it will happen.
3) I must not hold anything against anyone but must forgive them so that...
4) God in Heaven can forgive my own sins.
And I have seen God move mountains. I have seen and experienced amazing miracles in my own life and a miracle is a miracle. It is something that was impossible that God has made possible.
If God has given beauty for ashes in my local community, why would I doubt that He could do it on a larger scale? Why is the healing of brokenness for an entire place or people more intimidating than what I have already seen and felt Him do in own life and the lives of those around me?
Well, it shouldn't be. Time to put a little more focus, again, on the object of my faith who has moved mountains of sin and death and take the focus off of myself and my own inadequacies.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
-1st Kings 11-13
When I was in Morocco, I was completely amazed at how clearly I heard God’s voice.
It’s no secret that New York City is a highly distracting place. In order for God to get my attention amidst all the socialization/ activities/ auditions/ shows/ bills/ relationships/jobs/ etc. He would have to use a great and powerful wind, an earthquake or a fire.
But in these verses, God didn’t speak to Elijah that way. He spoke to him in the “gentle whisper” after all of the natural phenomenon.
Jesus should not have to come to me yelling and screaming in order to get my attention. He expects me to get rid of all the distraction and confusion until there is nothing before me but Him. And then, I will hear Him.
But I'm starting to see that although New York City is full of distractions, some of the greatest ones are the ones in my mind.
At Bible Study the other night, we discussed this passage where Jesus is questioned as to which commandment is most important:
"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: .... Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” - Mark 12:29-30
It was the first time I realized that how poorly I love God with all of my mind. I had always thought that this verse was about loving God from an "intellectual" standpoint by studying Him and His precepts. But I am beginning to see that loving God with all of my mind means by getting my mind under control. If I fully love the Lord then my mind is not supposed to be a runaway train with all of my insecurities, fears, anxieties, worries. Those are things that shouldn't be there.
"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2nd Corinthians 10:5
I'm sure that this will be a life long process of disciplining my mind with His help. But, I am thankful that I am starting to see that loving God with my mind is a choice that needs to be made. A choice to demolish arguments and pretensions that set themselves up against the knowledge of God.
If I am fearful, the knowledge of God is that my God is Loving, Consistent and Sovereign.
If I am anxious, the knowledge of God is that I can cast my cares on Him in prayer to be anxious for nothing.
If I am insecure, the knowledge of God is that I am fearfully and wonderfully made by His hand.
If I am doubtful, the knowledge of God is that He will help me with my unbelief.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Had reached such a lofty place.
I took the last step towards my ultimate goal
But clumsily fell on my face.
I opened my eyes only to find
I was back at the place I'd begun.
Helpless and broken, I strained and cried out,
“Surely the enemy has won.”
But I felt His peace that passes understanding,
Grace that is never ending,
Love that overflows my soul.
As I wallowed in self pity,
He came to sit with me there.
His presence alone was so rich and so deep
It chased away all my despair. I said,
‘Lord please forgive me for my prideful heart,
It sneaks in before I know.'
He said, ‘What prideful heart?'
He forgave and forgot
He said, ‘How I want you to know…
My peace that passes understanding,
Grace that is never ending,
Love that overflows my soul.' "
-"Testimony" by Sara Groves
Usually, I am not claiming His peace to keep me from worry or fear.
Or I am wrapped up in my own failures and imperfections and I'm not experiencing His grace.
Or I believe He is holding out on me and I am not experiencing His love.
Good thing when that happens I "clumsily fall on my face" so that I can stop relying on myself. And start relying on Him.
Happy Friday. And Happy Spring!
P.S. Photo by tanakawho from Flickr.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Give me something real…”
On Monday, my Bible study group looked at the contrast between Palm Sunday (which was last Sunday) and Good Friday (tomorrow). As Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey the Sunday before His crucifixion, the crowds shout praises that show they acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and from the lineage of David:
"Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
And then, six days later, the same crowds shouted that they wanted Jesus to be crucified:
"Crucify him!" they shouted.
"Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate.
Which got me thinking, in what ways in my life do I praise God with my mouth, acknowledge Him as my Savior and my Provider and then turn around and crucify Him with my behaviors and my actions?
Well, I was confronted again this week that I crucify Jesus with my actions by my incredible lack of trust. How appropriate that as we celebrate Holy Week, I am again coming to terms with the fact that I praise Jesus and acknowledge His Sovereignty with my mouth all the while playing out my fears, my anxieties and my worries in my mind. My words say “Hosanna in the highest!” and in my solitude, my thoughts are saying “Crucify Him”. My thoughts are saying that He is not Sovereign over my circumstances or He is not really good to me. My thoughts say He is holding out on me.
“This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
-Isaiah 30:15, 18
I must find strength in quietness of my mind and trust in His Sovereignty.
I must wait on the Lord for He longs to be gracious to me.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Time for a change.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I realize now that my attitude really spoke volumes about how I put limits on the things I felt God could accomplish. So the arrogance was all mine. I am incredibly thankful that God used my time in Morocco to show me that He is not a wasteful God. He would not send 30 people on a trip in His name without using them while they were there to accomplish great things. And although I think I knew that, my definition of “great things” needed to be changed.
Perhaps my definition of “great things” should be expanded to include the smiles of children, the grateful tears of relieved adults and revelations through prayer that God is working in the lives we touch. Perhaps “great things” includes getting a roof built or a room painted or knowing that praying over a child means that God will bless and protect her as she grows. And, perhaps, “great things” includes the moment I look back on the last year of my life and see God’s Sovereign hand in every detail of it.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
-Isaiah 55: 9-11
I was floored by this passage and the promise that the rain and snow coming from Heaven do not return to Heaven without not only watering the earth, but also making it bud and flourish. And that rain not only makes the earth bud and flourish but it ALSO provides seed for the sower and bread for the eater.
Several months ago, a friend told me “God wastes nothing”. But it was not until this trip that I truly grasped that promise through these verses. God doesn’t waste groups of 30 people going to a foreign country to serve. And God does not waste anything else. He does not waste my struggles, my hurts, my brokenness, or even my sins. None of that is wasted. All of that will not return to Heaven until it has watered the earth and made it bud and flourish. And not just bud and flourish, but until it has blessed the people around us as well. It will not return to Him empty.
So thankful for this verse.
And so thankful that I can live in the freedom of knowing that the specific details of my story (and yours) will not be wasted in this lifetime.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
1) God is specific. I am always so tempted to look at what seems like a series of random events in my life and say, “Wow, what a coincidence.” But when I’m reading the story of someone else’s life, someone like Esther, it’s obvious that none of those things are coincidence but that God plots things out specifically in our lives to take us down the roads we need to go down. It’s just a little easier to see it when it’s someone else's story.
2.) Some things are worth losing face over. When Mordecai, Esther’s cousin/adopted father, finds out that the Jewish people are to be annihilated, he “tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the city, wailing loudly and bitterly." (Esther 4:1) He saw no need to save face. He saw no need to keep the mask on and pretend that something did not need to be done. He was at the ultimate point of vulnerability because he knew that the cause he was weeping over was more important than any pride that he would hold on to by pretending not to be in need. There are moments when God needs me to be vulnerable. There are moments when God needs me to put aside my pride and be open to the possibility of hurt/rejection/judgement of others because something greater is at stake.
P.S. Photo by tanakawho from Flickr.
P.P.S. Two Days until Morocco.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.
that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.
Saturday, February 28, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
But a summary of some of the things that I learned from this book:
*As an artist, my act of service is to the story. I had always thought that my act of service was to the audience but in reading this book I realized I cannot control what the audience thinks of my work and therefore I should make my greatest priority telling the story to the best of my abilities. This also takes enormous pressure off of worrying about the very objective ways people will view my performances.
"Obedience is an unpopular word nowadays but the artist must be obedient to the work whether it be a symphony, a painting, or a story for a child. I believe that each work of art... comes to the artist and says 'Here am I. Enflesh me. Give birth to me.'"
*Art (similar to prayer) requires listening which is a discipline.
"The artist must be obedient to the command of the work, knowing that this involves long hours of research, of throwing out a month's work, of going back to the beginning, or, sometimes scrapping the whole thing. But when the words mean even more than the writer knew they meant, then the writer has been listening. And sometimes when we listen, we are led into places we do not expect."
*The best work occurs when I listen and die to myself.
"To serve a work of art, great or small, is to die, to die to self. If the artist is able to listen to the work, he must get out of the way; or more correctly he must be willing to be got out of the way, to be killed to self in order to become the servant of the work."
“When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work and so he often wrote better than he could write…
“In a very real sense not one of us is qualified, but it seems that God continually chooses the most unqualified to do his work, to bear his glory. If we are qualified, we tend to think that we have done the job ourselves. If we are forced to accept our evident lack of qualification then there’s no danger that we will confuse God’s work with our own, or God’s glory with our own.”
*Creating art requires not only a leap of faith but also a relinquishment of control.
"The challenge is to let my intellect work for the creative act, not against it. And this means, first of all, that I must have more faith in the work than I have in myself."
"Artist have always been drawn to the wild, wide elements they cannot control or understand. To be an artist means to approach the light and that means to let go our control, to allow our whole selves to be placed with absolute faith in that which is greater than we are. The novel we sit down to write and the one we end up writing may be very different just as the Jesus we grasp and the Jesus who grasps us may also differ."
*This book also reinforced many of the reasons why art, why storytelling is important and God-glorifying. It is a real shame that so many churches today do not recognize the power that lies in story, in myth and in the creative process.
“It is one of the great triumphs of Lucifer that he has managed to make Christians believe that a story is a lie, that a myth should be outgrown with puberty, that to act in a play is inconsistent with true religion.”
"Far too often today children are taught, both in school and at home, to equate truth with fact. If we can't understand something and dissect it with our conscious minds, then it isn't true. In our anxiety to limit ourselves to that which we can comprehend definitively we are losing all that is above, beyond, below, through, past, over that small area encompassed by our conscious minds. "
“God is constantly creating, in us, through us, with us, and to co-create with God is our human calling. It is the calling for all of us, his creatures but it is perhaps more conscious with the artist…”
“The great artists keep us from frozenness, from smugness, from thinking that the truth is in us rather than in God…. They help us to know that we are often closer to God in our doubts than in our certainties, that it is all right to be like a small child who constantly asks, Why? Why? Why?”
“There is no denying that the artist is someone who is full of questions, who cries them out in great angst, who discovers rainbow answers in the darkness and then rushes to canvas or paper. An artist is someone who cannot rest, who can never rest as long as there is one suffering creature in the world….Perhaps the artist longs to sleep well every night, to eat anything without indigestion, to feel no moral qualms, to turn off the television news and make a bologna sandwich after seeing the devastation and death…. But the artist cannot manage this normalcy. Vision keeps breaking through and must find means of expression.”
Friday, February 6, 2009
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The blood of atonement apply
-*Encompassed With Clouds of Distress (Augustus Toplady/Steve Elliot)
It has come to my attention this week just how fearful I am. I fear both sides of a situation. I fear what will happen if something comes through and what will happen if it does not. I fear staying in New York but I also fear leaving. I fear singleness but I also fear companionship. I fear what life as a performer would look like and what it would look like if I wasn’t.
What is kind of incredible is that there have been times when my worst fears have been realized… and yet I am still in one piece. Satan has created an environment within me where the fear of possibilities is far more paralyzing than the reality of any catastrophe.
A life lived in fear is not a life lived in trust in God. And therefore it is not a life lived in freedom. It is a life in complete bondage to the possibility of God not coming through for me… or at least God not coming through for me in the way that I want him to.
My pastor talked about the sins that crouch at our doors this past week (Genesis 4: 6-7). The ones that we are blind to. The ones that we minimize and rationalize. And then, he said, they master us.
The sin crouching at my door is my desire to control. And right now, I am at a point where I have zero control over every situation in my life. Well, I guess I always have zero control, but I usually am able to pretend that I do. And since this moment does not allow me to be deceived by the illusion that I have control, Satan is whispering to me that the One who is in control does not have my best interest at heart:
If sometimes I strive, as I mourn
The tempter suggests with a roar,
The goal has been all about me. I have to make the goal all about my Lord. The only way to relinquish control, to get rid of the fear is to fix my eyes on a different prize. I am constantly relearning that a life that is happy and easy is not always the life that is best for me. Because sometimes it is not the life that draws me to my Lord. My goal cannot be comfort.
Yet, Lord, if thy love hath designed
No covenant blessing for me,
Ah, tell me, how is it I find
Some sweetness in waiting for thee?
Almighty to rescue thou art;
Thy grace is immortal and free.
Lord, succor and comfort my heart
And make me live holy to thee.*
(This song has rocked my world. I love it when God uses a piece of art to speak so deeply to me. If you go here: http://www.parkslopechurch.com/explore/audio/ it is the last song on the page. Enjoy.)
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Hmmm…. Well, Xaris and Laura have really challenged me to be a better steward. But even more than that, I have been floored in my fundraising efforts for a mission trip I am going on to a Moroccan orphanage.
My first thought when I decided to go was, “Well, if I can spare the money to go, then by all means I will but I’m not going to ASK people for money. In this economy??? Money is precious to people…. I’m not going to ask for them to give me money to go on a mission trip!”
But when I got to the root of why I felt that way, I realized it was because of my deep, deep pride. I was raised to believe, subconsciously, that you pay for yourself. You are generous with what you have. You give to others who are less fortunate, but you never allow your needs to be met by others. You just get it together and make enough money to do whatever you want to do and to help other people. But we do not ASK other people for money. They could be offended by your asking. They could think you are lazy and unable to pay for yourself. And they might even think, oh dear, that you are selfish.
My Beth Moore Bible study yesterday asked the question: “When was the last time you had to risk losing face to save something more precious than pride?” I realized that I cared way too much about people thinking I was totally selfish to ask for money to actually do it when I knew God wanted me to.
And the thing that has amazed me about this entire process, is that the people who are so generous are people who have very little. And I have plenty. And I am not living nearly as freely with the knowledge that my money is God’s money and I can give it to others knowing that God will take care of my needs. Ouch.
“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins worth only a fraction of a penny.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on."- Mark 4:41-44
I have had people I do not even know contact me saying they would love to give to me. Really?? People I’ve never met?? Do I SEEK OUT ways to further advance God’s kingdom here on earth. No way. If you ask me I’ll consider whether or not giving you money will cut into my Starbucks/J.Crew/eating out/broadway show account and if it doesn’t, I’ll give you some dough. But do I SEEK OUT ways to give my money to other people with a generous heart? Nope. Double ouch.
I credit Xaris and Laura for pointing out to me that we dwell on Bible verses about purity and adultery, violence and bitterness, dishonesty, etc. and don’t tolerate those sins. But Jesus talks about being generous and sacrificial with your money a lot and we rarely consider anything less than that intolerable among Christians.
So, I’m extremely grateful for all of this fundraising business. I’m extremely grateful to the number of people who have given to me and shown me that the body of Christ is a body. A body which cannot function without us being codependent on each other. Without my needs being intertwined with your needs. I am thankful that I have been shown that I do not have to be ashamed of “losing face” to ask the body for help for what God calls me to do. And I am thankful that those who have given to me in times of non-plenty (which is probably anyone right about now) will be blessed because they are stepping out in faith that God is going to take care of their financial needs. Wow.
Have I got this figured out?
Will I continue to struggle with being selfish with my money and drinking overpriced Starbucks coffee?
But at least now, I recognize that there is a problem of 1) pride in asking for money and 2) giving to others only when it is not sacrificial.
At least now I’m beginning to internalize that God calls me to be a generous giver in times of plenty and in scarcity. And that when I give sacrificially in times of scarcity like the widow who gave everything, my faith will be tested, strengthened and purified.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. "
-1 John 4:16-18
As I begin a scary journey, I am thankful today that God is love and there is no fear in Him because He casts it out. Perfect love casts out fear. And God's love is perfect. I have nothing to fear.
Amen and amen.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Since this song was included in worship last Sunday, I think I have listened to it at least 50 times.... No lies. Seriously.
The thing that I love about it the most is the tension that exists between being weak and needing God's love to free me to declaring in the next line that the Lord is "my rock, my strength in weakness."
It got me thinking about my doubts. Some people doubt God's existence or doubt God's sovereignty, but most often I struggle with doubting God's goodness.
This week my pastor said that all temptations boil down to believing that I can't or shouldn't fully follow God because He won't give me happiness.
In Mark 9:21-24, a father has brought his son to Jesus for healing from an evil spirit:
Jesus asked the boy's father, "How long has he been like this?"
"From childhood," he answered. "It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us."
"If I can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"
Thank goodness I can ask Jesus to help me overcome my unbelief... about His existence, His sovereignty, His goodness....
If I didn't have moments of doubt, of skepticism, of unbelief there would be nothing to require me to go deeper to find answers... to seek out truth... and to be less dependent on myself and more dependent on God to "help me overcome" my skepticism.
"Doubts and questions are to be loved like the answers themselves. They are the precious journey, without which the destination is worthless."-Frederica Ghesquiere
For He is good,
For He is good,
For He is good to me...
And when I doubt that, He will help me overcome my unbelief.
(P.S. I'll try to make that the last Van Gogh pic. I was still dreaming about the exhibit they had at the MOMA...)