Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Waiting...

Waiting... why is waiting so hard? Psalm 37 says:

"Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong... Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: he will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."

When things don't make sense, God says, "Don't get all worked up about it and run arround crazy-like. Just keep doing good, being righteous, doing what I have called you to do. Trust me and wait." Our righteousness is not in vain; our obedience is not in vain. When life is evil, when people are evil, when everything we do seems to fall apart, God tells us to trust that he will bring about justice and goodness. That when our hearts delight in him, when we are acting out of obedience and a way committed to him, our desires will not go unanswered.

I think the problem for me is often that I approach the problem in the wrong way. Instead of being still before the Lord, I try to control and get frustrated when I can't. Instead of waiting patiently for him, I wait on others or on some other event in my life. If only that person would do what I want, or if only this or that would happen... instead of looking to God, waiting for him, sitting before him. Making him the object of my desires, hope, contentment and trust.

I don't know how many times I have prayed this, Lord, but lift my eyes to you, Jesus. May I be overwhelmed and consumed by your love. May my love for any thing or any other seem like hatred in comparison with the love I have for you. Oh, Lord, be my everything, in every way...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fickleness

I am amazed at how vulnerable I am to the circumstances around me! How one day I can feel strong and hopeful and confident in Christ who is my hope and joy; and the next I am so easily dragged down by fear or lust or insecurity or discouragement. God does not change. His sovereignty and provision, goodness and greatness are still the same. Why then does my heart change? Why should a person or a situation cause me pain and fear when God continues to be God and to be my Father. Jesus speaks into my heart and calls me back to Himself daily, hourly, but I insist on focusing on my discontent and complaints. There is more. I know there is more. And there is more now, not just in the future. The presence of God walking with me and the redemption of Christ lifting me give me the power to live fully in Him, humbled and overwhelmed by his neverending love. But I, I insist on desiring everything else that I think can satisfy, and consequently, am shattered by disillusionment daily when my heart again comes up empty. If I could only stop looking at my life through the lens given me by the media and the world and begin to see the world God created. To begin to see the relationships God created. To see the truth, to see his strength, to see his salvation in every aspect of this life. Your ways are so far above my ways; your thoughts above my thoughts, oh, Lord. Oh, Lord, as it pleases you, strengthen me with power in my inner self through the Spirit, that Christ might dwell fully in my heart through faith.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Knowing love ~ the fullness of God

Ephesians 3:14-19
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Wow, what an amazing prayer! I pray this for all of my friends and for myself as well. To be strengthened with power in my inner being through the Spirit. I could use a little of that. But the purpose of the strengthening? That Christ might dwell in our hearts through faith. Is not Christ already dwelling in their hearts? Maybe being strengthened with power works together with faith or produces greater faith allowing us to give greater room to Christ in our hearts. The other purpose of the strengthening is that we might be able to understand the greatness of the love of Christ. Once we are rooted and grounded in love we can come to understand and know, perhaps experientially, the fullness of Christ's love. We have our roots in love, and from that we can grow into the surpassing greatness of the full extent of his love and into all of who he is. He desires us to know this love that we might be "filled up to all the fullness of God." I am not quite sure what this means, but it sounds amazing. There is a filling here that goes beyond the seal of salvation. It is a dwelling of Christ, as we saw in v.17, and a fullness of who God is, present in us. How can we experience this fullness of God? Through the knowledge of the amazing love of Jesus, which comes through strengthening with power through the Spirit. This is what Paul was praying for. It was not a strengthening only to get them through the tough times, but a strengthening that produced faith through which Christ might dwell more fully in our heart. It was a strengthening that reveals the love of Christ, allowing us to be filled with all of who God is: his power, his love, his mercy, his justice, his strength, his holiness, his presence, his peace, his love, his love, his love. God in us. Wow. Really? I can be filled this way by knowing the extent of his love? Oh, Lord, let it be. Let me comprehend and know the extent of Jesus' love; strengthen me with power that Christ may dwell fully in me through faith.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Newness

Funny. I came to San Diego about two weeks ago and really didn't know how I would react to the newness. Typically, I love moves and new places. Not only do I love exploring and having endless new opportunities, I also like being able to start over. I like the fact that I can look back over my life in Marin for the past three years and decide to change some things. I can think about what I want to continue and what I definitely don't want to repeat. Oh, Lord, and then there are those things that I feel like I have no control over but really do not want to repeat. Such as boys. Well, ok, I have some control over that, but I'm pretty lousy at it. Then there are the things that were REALLY difficult but that taught me things I never expected, like my work in the Canal, which I loved but which showed me that I really know a lot less than I thought I did. I think what surprised me the most in my move was how much I have come to love my friends in Marin. As an M.K. I learned pretty quickly to let go without regret and just focus on what was ahead and not on what or who I left behind. This time, leaving was like twisting my heart and holding it taut because of the people I left behind. I loved a lot of people there. Hmmm... this is a good sign.

So here I am surprisingly happy. Not that I thought I wouldn't like it, but I am happier than I have been for about a year. Lots of reasons, but I think largely because I know I am in the middle of God's will for me, which I have struggled with for a while. Partly because I have been at least partially successful at leaving some of the old things dragging me down behind. Partly because it's very sunny and I can swim at the beach. And partly because I am so excited about what lies ahead. What is most interesting to me though are the things that I bring with me. Well, yes, the car load of completely unnecessary things that I swear I need, but also the sinful and emotional baggage I hoped would pack their bags when I did. What scares me is the very real possibility that I will again let those things take away the joy that I have tasted in being free. Oh, the temptation is big... and unfortunately the newness doesn't automatically neutralize the old.

Moving forward. That's what I need to do. If I can't make the old disappear, I can at least keep the momentum and continue moving forward. Yep. That's what I'll do. And may it be a continued movement into Him who is above all and in all until I am living completely absorbed into Himself alone. May my joy and peace come from dwelling in Him.

"And I - in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness." Psalm 17:15