love & the Great Commission… vs. me

Yesterday God gave me one of those revealing, uncomfortable experiences of showing me who I really am. He sent it by my accountability partner: “How do you think God wants you to fulfill your part of the Great Commission?” I wasn’t sure exactly, but knew I hadn’t been doing it.

And in the tossing that followed in my bunk in the dorm, God showed me that my entire life had been a quest for solitude and entertainment. Selfishness vs. love… comfort vs. the Great Commission … and always I end up on the wrong side. Is this how I give service to my Master? I have been trampling underfoot one of His two great commandments.

Where do I go from here? I know that I can’t wait until I magically start loving people. This love is not an emotion, but a choice to love as God loved when He let His hands and feet be driven through with spikes. It’s radical and sacrificial and comes from a heart fully surrendered to God… dear God, only You can do this in me.

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for when my conviction gets shaky

Sometimes when I feel myself slipping back to the place of heaviness, of obligation and of earth, I need to go somewhere quiet and remember. I need to remember that I am not held by anyone else’s preferences, expectations, or convictions; I find my code of living in God’s Word alone. And also, I am not a permanent resident of earth… God and I have big plans for real life, after I die. I can live free and in the overwhelming love of God. I will not be held back by things that I can feel, taste, and touch! I need to find the truth again that faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

because we need Isaiah 40

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

Who has measured the Spirit of the LORD, or what man shows him his counsel?

To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”?

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

-Taken from Isaiah 40, ESV

 

breath = life = God

Watching the snow blowing and drifting today, I saw a lot of dead trees and solitude. Call me morbid, but that naturally led to thinking about death. I thought about how strange it is to look down at the empty body of someone you love, and knowing that they aren’t there any more. God just stopped giving them their next breath, and they left this world for the next. After all, the difference between a living body and a dead one is the breath of God; the same breath that He breathed into Adam’s nostrils. That breath, for God, was a tiny act- but it contained the entire human race. God is life, and life is God. The very Hebrew word for God, Yahweh, is said to sound like someone taking a breath when it is pronounced in Hebrew. With every breath that I take, I am acknowledging my Creator who is constantly giving me the breath of life.

the definition of beauty

If I had never seen an entire display of Monet’s masterpieces, something far less might impress me; so when sin appeals to me, it is only because I am looking at sin rather than God. If I were looking at God, I would see that He is the definition of truth, goodness, and beauty. Sin will grow filthy to me if I gaze on God until I learn to see Him shining forth in His perfection of beauty (Ps. 50:2).

like a moth to a flame

I have gone like a moth from candle to candle. I have been setting up a gallery of idols for my entire life. I have gazed into a mirror instead of gazing at God. My own face has been more important than eternity and the souls of men… one look at my record of spending will tell you that I spend exactly ten percent on God, and whatever I want on makeup and jewelry. My actions are determined by my own comfort and self image, not by the voice of the Holy Spirit within me. By what blindness do I call myself a passionate, surrendered child of God! Change must begin here- the change that seems impossible, so trained I am to my own conceit. All I can do is prostrate myself to God and ask Him to remake me, whatever it takes.

in which i long for a nunnery

I have been pondering the benefits of life in a nunnery. Nothing would matter there except God. I wouldn’t have to worry about my hair or my face or my clothes or technology or personality. I could just be alone and very quiet and devoted, and learn the things that matter from God Himself… and then I would probably begin dreaming of all the stuff I left behind, because I am human and wouldn’t like asceticism forever- only as long as the last good meal filled me. Maybe there is a happy medium? just a simple, lone life with the things that really matter to me and God, and not the crushing influence of whatever other people want me to be or what they want me to spend my money on. How about a studio of my own with a cat and an espresso machine, and lots of books and movies and selfishness galore? ugh! I am so sick of my own humanity!

valley of vision

Who can fathom immeasurable love?

As far as the rational soul exceeds the senses,

so does the spirit exceed the rational in its knowledge of thee.

Thou has given me understanding to compass the earth,

measure the sun, moon, stars, universe,

but above all to know thee, the only true God.

I marvel that the finite can know the Infinite,

here a little, afterwards in full-orbed truth;

Now I shall know but a small portion of what I shall know,

here in part, there in perfection,

here a glimpse, there a glory.

To enjoy thee is life eternal, and to enjoy is to know.

Keep me in the freedom of experiencing thy salvation continually.

  -Valley of Vision

God gave me ice cream today

Today started out as such a horrible Monday that I had to laugh. I seriously took my shampoo in the shower and forgot to use it, and had a horrible hair day. I had gotten up early to finish an assignment that wasn’t due after all, my ceramics project broke, and I ran out of coffee. Tragedy of all tragedies, I know. At work I had a horrible headache and felt like a sleepwalker. I thought, “you know God- you could show your love to me by letting me off work early or something.” But I did stop and thank Him for the apple butter for dinner, which is something I miss from home that they served today. I couldn’t think of anything else more special than the apple butter to thank Him for, though I tried…I just thought, now I have to be strong and not expect anyone to come and bail me out. No soft stuff here.

Then my supervisor came in a whole twenty minutes early and practically shoved me out the door before I was even done with my tasks. This never, ever happens… and in my room tonight, some random ice cream showed up from no where that had to either be eaten or thrown away. And there is more- it was a flavor that we got at home once, and I loved it so much I ate practically the whole container. Free ice cream, my favorite flavor, delivered to my room… this is a God thing.

My God gives me blessings over and above, shaken together and running over. I doubted Him today and couldn’t see them… In His mercy, He knew I needed something special, and He sent some miraculous ice cream… oh to trust Him more!

psalm of a mighty God

Today  I just stopped and drank in this psalm, because I was too tired to even think one more thought without reading about my God. So for whatever reason you happen to be on my humble blog, what you really need is His words instead of mine… consider this.

“The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself:                                                                                        the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice;                            the floods lift up their waves.
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters,                                          yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.”

Psalm 93, KJV