Friday, August 28, 2009

I have been thinking this week about change; moving my heart away from sin toward holiness. I am convinced the critical first step in this process is brokenness; brokenness of MY spirit. I think this is what Jesus meant when He said to "pick up our cross daily to follow him" or what Paul meant when he said "I die daily".

I have found that if I am not totally broken over my sin; if I even have a hint of self righteousness, I will not have the impetus to change. When I am broken; when I really understand the impacts of my sin and weep before God to change me: then I will change.

I have witnessed people who make the statement: I know that I have some things to change, but..... That "but" stops them from changing; from seeing their sin, from confessing and repenting and ultimately from changing. They will blame others (like Adam - that woman you gave me....) and never do the hard work of change. They do not assume responsibility; they have an "out" to NOT change (it wasn't me and therefore I really don't have to change).

I have learned that in order to effect change in my life, I have to assume 100% responsibility for disharmony in relationships. I have to assume responsibility and not make ANY excuses. I have to be broken over my sin and the effects of it. THEN I can begin to allow God to affect the process of change in me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

This is a note that I wrote to someone who has been struggling with faith for the past couple of years.....

I have been struggling through life over the past weeks. the MRSA virus still is wreaking havoc on my mom - still paralyzed from the waist down and very weak. She is not going to die because of it, but her life is most likely going to be wheel chairs and vans and assisted living from here on out.

My struggle has been with God. Why did this happen (I know that one ? sin)? Why did He let this happen? That is the tough one. My mom is a strong believer and a faithful servant for many, many years. It just does not seem fair. It really isn?t fair, because fair is eternal separation, but this doesn?t seem like a good gift that God promises to give. Here is what I have had to learn ? trust. Trust that God is at work and that, in the midst of living in a world that suffers the consequences of sin that WE chose, He will still redeem. I have to believe that He loves my mom and dad and that He has some greater glory in store for them.

This is the only thing that helps me make sense of this all. Only through the eyes of faith can I see God in this mess. I have seen Him show up in the way that my mom influences those around her. I have seen Him show up in keeping her alive. I have seen Him show up in drawing people toward Him that needed a tug, I have seen Him show up in helping me understand what is real and what is just temporary. He is there, I just want Him to be there to completely heal my mom. I keep reminding myself of the words of Jesus ? not my will, but thy will be done. Hard prayer. Hard to release. Hard to love God through this. I am convinced though, that it is the only way.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

What would you think, do, feel, etc. if Jesus were to knock on the door of your house and want to come in and visit with you? I was thinking about this the other morning as I was meditating on Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13. As I read the response of Peter to Jesus' desire to wash his feet thought of what my response would be?

Several possibilities went through my mind: a great big hug, treating him like a friend that I had not seen for a long time; a hand shake and warm welcome; tears of joy because I finally was able to look at him face to face; terror, like if a police officer were to show up and inform me of some bad news; or a complete dismantling of my inner being resulting in me fainting. I am not sure which of these is the correct response; they all seem like viable alternatives to me.

I was challenged in my spirit that one attitude that I might feel would be "justified": thanks Jesus for washing my feet; I have served you all these years and thanks for the payback. As I pursued that thought line in my mind, I was drawn to the "good son" in the prodigal parable that Jesus told. He was ticked off because dad celebrated the return of the scum ball son who had squandered wealth and really wished that his dad was dead. It was almost like he was saying "you owe me; I stayed home and didn't get to live a wild life" (hear "like I kind of wanted to; I was the responsible one"). This attitude is an attitude of pride; of self centeredness; of failure to recognize true mercy and grace (after all, it was his dad's money not his).

After being challenged in my spirit about this attitude, I began to pray that I would not become arrogant and prideful in what GOD is accomplishing through me and around me. I was challenged to remember that it is HIS work and HIS fruit and HIS resources (Psalm 24:1). I believe that the appropriate response to Jesus at my door is one of being unworthy to stand before my Lord; not because of my sin (that is gone), but because of the EXTREME amount of kindness, mercy and grace He has given me that is radically disproportionate to what I have given Him.