Monday, July 30, 2012

CommUNITY...

Relationships are sticky...I'll be first to admit I've gotten caught in a few webs before. They consist of sinful people whom primary goal in their natural state is to serve themselves as god. We are a messed up people and our attempt at relations with one another only highlight that truth about us. So why would God make us relational knowing we are sinful???


 It makes no sense we would be a people created for unity...



 


We don't live to insure tranquility amongst each other. We don't live for humility and peace in order to preserve what is holy. We have no interest in picking up the weak and the wounded on the side of the road, because we have other things to do. We don't live to serve the world around us, looking to others as greater than ourselves. We have no interest in Godly things....

We strive to keep our pride intact. We live to maintain the truths that serve us well. We seek justification for ourselves and our pain. We brood hate and conceit against those who have wronged us. We seek to do things in our timing when they best suit us. We continue in impatience on a daily basis because the things and needs that surround us aren't as important as our own. We make pure things cloudy constantly.
We are self-preserving, self-satisfying, self-aggrandizement, and we are selfish...

...And I promise you don't want to hear that anymore than I do. 

Because the Evil in us has no desire to be exposed.

SO why would God create us to be relational beings when He knows and sees better than I do the evil that lurks around me and in me? It makes no sense when He knows we are never going to want to follow his instructions on living in commUNITY...

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others....

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.1If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.



Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.


We aren't built that way....Or are we?

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1



 I can say from experience in any type of relationship when the going gets tough...the weak run away. It gets gross and messy and filth is everywhere when we attempt community. Community means being completely exposed to other people and with exposure comes sensitivity. Sensitive people make for sticky situations and sticky situations demand a proponent. Because we are flawed and yet we have been called to relationships and those two things don't mix- the necessity for transformation is apparent.

No wonder God calls us to community, because just like we can't save ourselves or transform ourselves, we can't unify ourselves either.  NO ONE in their "Adam" state desires to lay down his life for his friend much less an acquaintance...and we are a desire-driven people. We desire superiority over humility. We are in a constant state of comparison out of the need for self importance. So for God to call such selfish people to unity is like demanding a pig to fly- it's against our natural state. Therefore posing the need for the supernatural. Just so happens that's exactly what God is, and it just so happens God is in the business of making the impossible, possible. We suck at relationships but our God is the author of them, and once again He is proving that ONLY He is capable of creating a mass of people into a body. ONLY He can make totally depraved beings into a divine family. ONLY He can take the dirty, self-centered, sinful heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh that desires unity over self preservation.

ONLY GOD IS IN THE BUSINESS OF TRANSFORMATION AND UNIFICATION!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Diary of a Recovering Fixaholic.

My name is Brittany, and I am a recovering Fixaholic. I have been a Fixaholic since I was 11 years old. I never desired to stop fixing people or circumstances until I reached the age of 21. Since then I have relapsed numerous times- the only sobering agent that has appeared to helped is the Holy word of God and his overwhelming dedication to redirecting my path.

My symptoms include....An overwhelming urge to figure out a way to solve someone else's problem. An itch to make circumstances play out the way I think is best. Inflammation of my ego. Infection of the tongue due to the lack of trust that God or someone else can speak truth into a person/situation. Blindness to the log in my own eye. Inability to walk on the path of righteousness.


Ever since I was a kid one of the number one ways my depravity manifests itself is in my need to BE NEEDED. That being said, my way of being needed was to fix anything and everything in loved one's lives that was hard or messed up. I needed to make them happy and settled to make me happy, because I found no value in myself unless I enhanced the quality of life of others. I could not honestly evaluate myself and say that I was of use or importance. I didn't think that I was worthy of love or desire, since I detested the being I was, who would ever feel differently. I had help people to make up for my flaws. I NEEDED them to validate me, define me. I'm a perpetual people pleaser.

The reason I am a recovering fixaholic is because I had NO clue who I was, I had no idea the priceless value I had. I didn't know that I was loved by the infinite God. I couldn't fathom that when I accepted Christ at 8 years old (out of fear of eternal damnation) that God made me righteous in his sight and I had already begun a life long walk for perfection's sake. I am and was precious in his sight and I sang songs about all these truths and I memorized verses that said the same from the time I was 5 until I was 12 and had NO CLUE the gravity of that truth. Consequently, I believed lies- lies that told me my present state wasn't enough to be loved when it was, and that my value had to be earned but it didn't. Because I spent years believing these lies I made bad habits, I devoted my time to fixing others, I got my feelings hurt easily when their love wasn't returned, I allowed myself to be used and abused. After enough time passed, I still sought significance from others but instead of being openly hurt I masked my hurt with sarcasm and "tough skin." I fabricated walls out of bitterness and placed snipers around my heart to cut someone the first chance I had. Don't even ask about the gates because there were no gates. I had done so much damage that my heart had become calloused and it would take a drastic measure to change....

So when did I decide to check into rehab, you ask?

I never decided! I was forced into rehabilitation. God had clearly decided my heart was Jericho and the walls were coming DOWN. It didn't happen all at one time, it was a process that lead to my submission. I most certainly went through the steps...denial....anger....admitting I was powerless...came to understand that a power greater in me could restore me....decided to turn my WILL and my life over.....and asked God to remove my character defects.

 It has been a long painfully stripping and humbling process. At times even embarrassing, but that is my ego that feels that way. They say people (women in particular) are like onions and you have to peel them a layer at a time. What God was peeling to me felt like butchering. But he wasn't just stripping me down to the bare essentials, He was simultaneous cultivating the newness in me. He was tilling my soil tearing up the used, dryness of my life and bringing in the fresh and nutrient rich soil of His life. He was doing what only He could do- pruning and growing me at once. He was giving me new habits, revealing truths in my heart and excavating lies. He taught me that I am not a slave, I am free. He showed me that my addiction had only had power over me because I let it. He made it known I was in darkness even though I had been made into light. He called me out of the muck and the mire and clothed me in his adornment, He proved me righteous in his eyes. He wasn't going to allow me to be subject to anything/anyone but Him because He is committed to my perfection. He is too good, and I am too valuable to Him.

I still relapse at times. I am not perfect. I am in the process of it though and because I am my everything has purpose! I am significant to my Savior! My value was shown on the Cross! My feet have been set on solid ground and my security is in my Cornerstone, my Refuge. I am redeemed and I am no longer held to the need to be needed. He has set this captive free. Because of who He is I will triumph over all my sins because the power that raise Christ from the dead lives in me....Nothing is inexorable but Love himself!


Friday, July 20, 2012

15 Random thoughts...Some old, some new, and some borrowed

 1. The fruit of the spirit's not a cocoanut (knock, knock) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BqILIUwgZc). So when I was a kid we sang this song about the fruits of the spirit and how they weren't actually fruits but that they were the fruits of..well the spirit. But for the longest time (like till college) I had no clue what that meant or really what you do with them. I just knew a goofy song. It wasn't until I moved away and lived in community that I learned the fruits of the spirit is the character that God continues to produce in me as a result of Him making me righteous on the cross. It's that heart of flesh and not my heart of stone AND I learned the good news that I don't have to try to be these things! cue the doxology!

2. The church is not a game of Jenga, if anything it is more like leggos! I was thinking about this the other day, People are so quick to call the church, hypocrites and liars and jerks- and often times they are right, but I thought about why...It is pretty simple why, cuz we have the tendency to treat our body like a game of Jenga, we build it up in our own strength, poke at it-brick by brick- trying to see how far we can go before it comes tumbling down. But If the church is compared to a game/toy it would be leggos, each piece is different with its own function and each one is made to fit perfectly into another with ease, and once they are locked in they aren't falling. Ergo the church is like one big Leggo set!


3. What goes unnamed, goes unnoticed. It's true...and oddly it makes me realize why God uses the terms light and dark a little more clearly.


4. If every believer in the world prayed for anyone and everyone besides themselves, then everyone, EVERYWHERE is being prayed for. I recently had this pointed out to me and it made me think, if we only pray for ourselves-we are the only person praying for our self. But if we all let the spirit prompt us to pray then the number of people praying for me at various times is gonna be way more than 1...most likely. Which in turn makes the verse "pray without ceasing" much more desirable. PLUS, how much sweeter is it when my brothers and sisters pray for me than just me praying for me? Did that make sense? ha ha


5. God is so beautiful! He has to be the most gorgeous man ever, and he is mine! WHAT WHAT! I mean have you ever seen men like David Beckham, Paul Walker, Josh Duhamel, Channing Tatum, Usher, Tyrese Gibson, pretty much ALL the Ryans...and THEY are made in God's image?! This may be wrong, but I'm okay with that for the moment. hahaha. (Guy's feel free to fill in the blank for yourselves). Have you ever just stared at the sky, sunset, sunrise until your eyes hurt cuz it is SO DARN GORGEOUS? Have you ever looked at a mountain range? Ocean? Skyline filled with hundreds of different trees? Ever looked at a flower and thought I wish I could make this color paint? Ever watched a movie and just DREAMED of being there?! All these things are God's CREATION! I get to spend eternity starring at the face of the man who made all these very, VERY beautiful things! (sorry instagram, you can't capture and edit God's beauty)


6. When I criticize myself, I criticize God and his creation. Why would I do that...God said he looked on creation and he was well pleased...I am creation....he is well pleased. I'm just silly sometimes.


7. Death in Christ has no loss, we ONLY have to gain from it! DUH, right? I mean, so yeah, dying means I loose my life. So I loose anxiety and selfishness and fearfulness and feeling unloved or lost...WHO CARES?!! That life sucked anyways! So I'm really not loosing anything at all. I'm DEFINITELY not getting the short end of the stick.




8. "love is a verb"--wrong, Love is a noun- His name is Jesus. Learn Him but His name. If you don't know Love, you'll never experience love. When I give my Love to someone, if that love isn't Love, then I have failed at loving altogether. Just the way it works folks..."God is love" and we can try all day to put love into action, but I think what we fail to realize often times is that Love has been in action since before time began.....So I'm not entirely sure what we think we are accomplishing by calling love a verb.



9.  Love God, Love people, think of myself accordingly and everything else will work itself out  This is God's greatest command. (when I say "work itself out", I mean God will work it out). It's simple really, and it is really self explanatory. Life is hard, God knows- that is why he created us to seek him and seek relationships so that when life does get messy we are in the flow already. PLUS, I have to learn that humility is for my good. The well spring of Life is in humble obedience to my Savior and Father.



10. Practice makes perfect- or pretty darn close to it. Life with Christ isn't easy, it gets messy and is often times hazy (this isn't anything new)...it isn't him-- it's us.  We are in this process of our minds being transformed, our thoughts being proved in need of training, and our hearts are being made known as untrustworthy. Which is why putting the truth we've been given in to action day in and day out is what makes it easier. It's why God says put on his armor every day (#practice). It's also why Paul calls our process a race- Because there is a beginning (salvation), middle (LIFE), and an end (home) and it is course we have to run with diligence. Faithful takes time, we were never faithful to him previous to our salvation and lots of us lived in darkness for a LONG time (#ME). It's been forgiven, so lets get over ourselves and our imperfections, pick them up, throw them in the ashes, and just start walking. We know we are made in part here what we will be whole in heaven, but how can we expect to even be part if we don't practice?


11. Living is NOT spelled S.T.R.I.V.I.N.G. (Via Kacie Lynn)  BEST ADVICE by far I've received lately. OMGAH, I fall into this trap all the time! I don't even know it has happened until I get tired of pulling my ball and chain around. It's comical really...it's like when your little sister grabs your hand and starts hitting you with it saying "stop hitting yourself" and you're wondering why your face hurts. Life is in freedom, not in pleasing! So jump around and sing Justin Bieber in your bedroom alone at the top of your lungs cuz IT'S FUN!!! Paint your green room another color of green- I am! Be silly, BE ALIVE! Go on adventures, be spontaneous- go out of the country, go on a drive- or a walk for eco-friendly people, take pictures in your backyard: look for God EVERYWHERE!!!! Make GOOD friends who will go to T. Sweezy concerts with you, who will randomly decide to go to Dollywood one day, who will spend hours on PerezHilton.com and laugh with you, or cry in your bedroom with you, who will tell you to stop being a baby and leap! BE ALL THAT YOU CAN BE- were CREATED to be! (Go army, LOL). Trust our God with every ounce of your being- be out of control, it is good for you!!!! Who wants to live life with their panties in a bunch? Not I! hahaha.



12. We were made for Community and Fellowship! Don't do life alone! Do life with friends! People's deepest desire, is their deepest fear- TO BE KNOWN! It is what we long for most in life! God gave us each other for a reason, we are God's gift to one another! And I don't know about you, but I love going and doing with the people I love MOST! I also know as much as I love to enjoy them, I know I will need them when I fall or stray and they will need me! What greater Joy in life is there than to love and be loved on by God's holy people! Unity is not only commanded of us, it brings Christ GREAT PLEASURE to see his people live in unison. We were made to be like the trees in Avatar...Know how their trees are like this crazy interweaving of life and they are all routed together? Remember how Grace in the movie talks about how they transfer information through their roots, and when one dies they all know it and feel it? THAT'S US!!!!


13. There will always be an ENDLESS supply of words to be said, but I have found often times the most profound thought is silence. I have read quote after quote, lots of books, lots of authors thoughts on books and they begin to run together after a while; especially since every single person on earth has some sort of opinion on everything. Every person at some point thinks they have the perfect combination of words to describe life and it's importance or death and it's meaning and very often they are not original thoughts. BUT I have learned (through trial and error...aka foot in mouth) that more times than not, it is the person that DOESN'T speak people look to for wisdom and that through silence we learn to trust the One whose voice matters most. I wouldn't want to be a monk/I'm a girl and can't be, but I bet they have some good insights--after all they listen to God ALL DAY.


14. Everything in life has a time and a place- Including Me! We have been created for a time such as this, and our world is itching for life! We live in an age where information is at our fingertips in a matter of seconds. We have countless resources and everyone around us is looking to those resources for direction and purpose. They want someone else to tell them who they are and who they should be. We were made to be a part of it, to interact within our culture- not to become like it BUT to show our culture EXACTLY what they are craving, or shall I say WHO they are craving. We live in such an amazing time and whether you are in Africa or Indonesia living on almost nothing, I am in Smyrna TN where I am content and am not lacking, or you are in N.Y. or Cali or Chicago living in a sea of people, plethora, and extravagance, it doesn't matter- BE PRESENT, BE RELEVANT, BE REAL!


15. Everything else is MEANINGLESS compared to knowing Christ! (Philippians 3 and like all of Ecclesiastes) Know Him, know everything you can about Him...He wants you to. Everything he has to offer you is overflowing with the goodness of Life! I can PROMISE you this, you will not find anything in this world that can compare and you will NOT regret choosing Him! at the end of your life, nothing else will matter.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

To Live or to Die? That is the Question.



There is a fine line between irony and sovereignty...

If I hear or see something more than once is it merely a coincidence?

...Or is it something more (or shall I say someONE more?)



Obviously the second is most likely. God is Author of all life, so I don’t think he is one to say “HAHAHAHA-- Oh, that’s ironic, didn’t see it coming! Yeah, that oughta stir up something or at least get some attention.” That being said, when something appears to be ironic to me now my goal is to evaluate it, and I am an over analyzer so this comes pretty naturally. So last week at church the sermon was on Philippians 1:12-30, which speaks on many things but mostly God’s named being proclaimed even in the Roman jail…then the very next night I just happen to stop on Ed Young’s sermon, unintentionally, and his sermon was on Philippians and on the Roman guard that (alongside Lydia) were led to Christ during Paul’s incarceration. So being coincidence or intentional, it certainly wasn’t accidental; therefore leading me to conclude- God's got something on his mind and I gotta feeling it is for my sake.

Welp, I was right and wrong. Makes since right? (haha) Well it will. Anyways after a few days in open rebellion and refusing to just sit and be in scripture God brought me to Philippians again. I had (/have) been struggling with insecurities and fearfulness, enough so that my heart was no longer allowing my body to stay inactive, SO I turned to Philippians 1, and there God met me (and my needs).


May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
I'll start with this verse to you and hopefully you will have it in your heart for me as I process this out... After all where would we be if it weren't for these two characteristics of Christ? HOPELESSLY CHAOTIC, that's what.(and I can still be those 2 things lol)


27 Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with ONE spirit and ONE purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News. 28 Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. 29 For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. 30 We are in this struggle together! You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.


Clearly this is filled with all kinds of encouragement and gives me the push to keep fighting, but here's the hard thing about this...ALL of that in those verses, is not for my sake at all. See I NEEDED to hear from this passage- I NEEDED to hear that I am told I MUST live as a citizen of heaven; I NEEDED to hear that I am called to live in a manner worthy of my calling; I NEEDED to hear I am called to unity. I NEEDED ALL THAT! I also NEEDED to know that all of that is not for my sake because it's what "I NEED," all of THAT is for CHRIST'S SAKE....for the GOSPEL'S SAKE, not for Brittany. Truth is, life is NOT about me, and transformation is for me but not ABOUT me- IT IS about CHRIST!!! IT IS about the Gospel being proclaimed because there is no greater news. IT IS about God reconciling the WORLD to HIMSELF!!!! And as much as it is good for me to know his word and live by it and gain life from it, at the end of the day I have to know life is for the sake of the Gospel and it doesn't matter how much I hurt or I struggle, my needs being met is to glorify God, not me.

Now there are a lot of practices and truth I can take from this and apply to where I am now, but in the interest of building up the body and not becoming self absorbed, let me break down the truths that we all need...
 1) Being a citizen of heaven isn't to be taken lightly. It is a calling that weighs heavy on our souls and we should respond as such. And if I am to live WORTHY of the calling I have received I should take my calling seriously...we all should. There are no loop holes around this one, there is no "cheap grace" to excuse us from it- it is written in the Good Book and therefore I cannot ignore it and be in the Spirit's flow. I can ignore it and live in destruction and death, or choose it and have life abundant....those are the options. But to deny them as truth is to deny the truth of Christ's death and resurrection.

2) NONE of us are in this alone. We are apart of a body and we must live in unity with it. There is an old saying, "A chain is only as good as its weakest link," same could be said of us. Now the cohesion of the body of Christ is not contingent on people and whether or not we choose to walk in unity because JESUS is our bond and He is NEVER weak... But if we are in battle together FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL, (and don't get it twisted, this is not something to laugh at or take lightly--after all if you took on someone else's death sentence, what response would YOU want from them...mockery? ungratefulness? No, not at all. It may be harsh but its true.) then we need each other. And from what I can tell, we are a God given gift to each other...

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 "Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."

...and because we have all been saved by the same man for the same purpose, we all have the same thing to fight for. We all have the same fighting spirit in us that is just itching to live life in a reckless way for Christ! And because we have been joined together to form this bond that exists no where else on Earth or in the heavens, then we HAVE to stand together in unity...FOR THE SAKE OF CHRIST and HIS HOLY GOSPEL!


Ephesians 4: 1-6 “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.  Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.

[my sake comes into play here, see I so often/am right now live(ing) in insecurity in my relationships because I am fearful of abandonment and loss- when I do that I desire things that do not promote unity in the body. I desire to live in isolation, self-preservation, and envy and those things are so detrimental to my body and the body that God won't allow me to stay there, for the sake of my transformation and the sake of His body-not because the damage I do is unrepairable but because my loving God is mighty to save me from disaster and He doesn't desire-in fact he commands it not happen- disunity. He wants to see his daughter live in unity and fellowship with HIM and His people, because THAT is worthy of his calling. It is for my good and His sake- it's all for the Good News!]

There is no denying it, we are bound together, with cords that cannot be broken and I can't live without y'all. I need y'all to do this with me. To listen and forgive my sins, to love me though I don't deserve it, to combat lies with me, to stand for justice and truth with me, to pick me up when I fall. And You need me to do the same. I am one part, you are one part, you and I need a body full of other parts and organs and tissues because you and I were never intended to go at it alone. This is what we were made for. And as hard and messy as being in community gets, and as often as I fall into fear and insecurity- I wouldn't trade it, and I wouldn't have it any other way! I love that God has decided to transform me through living with and loving other people and not going at this alone. And because of that, we can walk through life in total assurance, because like a triple braid that can stand up to pressure, "we" in the body can stand up to any evil! If God is for us, who can stand against us?? With each other, why should we tremble in fear? In community, what could possibly be stronger than our bond? TOGETHER we boldly declare that GOD is our Victor and we cannot be shaken because of WHO HE IS and Who HE is MAKING US to be and ALL FOR HIS SAKE!!!! IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ME, IT IS FOR HIS GLORY!!!!! Thank you Jesus!

3) We live, We die...it is for Christ. In salvation we worship Him, In suffering we worship Him. We ought not to be naive to think that hard times will not come, they will. But we MUST pick up our cross and head to the grave. It is a life long process to learn how to live out the privileged of our salvation by suffering in death, and we must learn that THIS is a worthy cause. Death in Christ has NO LOSS, we only have to gain from it. And until I can fully embrace and understand this, I am only fooling myself to believe I am living for the gospel. Really until I live this out- I am either dying selfishly or I am living for the rewards of salvation and not for the cost of it. My salvation is complete in loosing myself in Christ- whatever the cost...

21 For to me, living means living for Christ, and to die is to gain.

 THIS kind of living, by the world's standards and even in my mind, makes no sense. But no matter how MESSY life gets or how hard and heart breaking it can be, God is STILL in control and He is STILL in the business of changing hearts. Life may not make sense to me, but it does to him and for that I have nothing else to do but praise him and live a life worthy of His calling. and with that, I leave you with this...
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. AMEN! Ephesians 3:20-21


PS. Thank you for walking this out with me, over and over again. And whether we do life together on a daily basis or not- I am glad to call you brothers and sisters, AND I am sooo thankful to our Lord that we get to do this together and not alone! You are loved and You are valued because You are God's and ineluctably, we are bonded together as well.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's hard out here for a....whaaaa?

You know when you graduate High School and in the year book most everyone in the graduating class has a senior quote? Normally it is either some line from a song or its their favorite bible verse.. Oh if you could have only read some of my yearbook sayings....

"its hard out here for a pimp"
                                           "ride or die, trick"
                                                              "Yeah Yeeeuuuhhhhhh"

....or my favorite one "If it flies, it dies" <---seriously, I'm not making these up. These weren't even close to the worse ones but still, these are bad enough.

Then there were the scripture quotes, "all things work together for good" or "beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears God is to be praised" and these are beautiful scriptures, and in their context they are filled with hope and hold a promise of life. I never submitted a senior quote, I was way to rebellious. [AND I don't think at the time I was really ready to publish a minor thought that was supposed to some up my entire being/high school career (which I didn't take either seriously, I was the definition of a classic slacker)]. In my yearbook, the students who didn't submit anything (quotes or club/sport involvement) got "Proud Liberty Crusader"...that's what I was, a proud Liberty Crusader-- haha yeah right. I kinda am now but DEFINITELY not then.

But throughout most of my childhood, till this day, if you were to ask me my favorite scripture I can tell you without hesitating....it's by far Psalms 23! I love the new testament and Romans has changed my heart and mind in MANY ways...but Psalms 23 always brings me right back to my face...

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
    He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me. 
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
   My cup overflows with blessings.   
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.


I think it is easy to see why I love this scripture, It is life and spirituality (not earth's "reality" via jake luna) shaped into 6 attention grabbing verses. 6 verses that declare who He is, declare who he has determined me to be, promise me freedom and rest- peace for a purpose, command fearlessness of me and offer protection and comfort for me, lavish undeserved kindness on me, and give me the promise of fellowship with Him on earth and in heaven FOREVER!

...Every time I read this, I am given new hope, and yet I am faced with the darkness in me- depravity hits me square in the teeth. Because I want the still waters, I want the rest...I don't want to be lead there. I want to strike out on my own and when I do hit dark and evil grounds I live in fear and anxiety...a genuine uneasiness arises as I walk in turmoil (my past blogs and relationships tell that story). And like a small woodland animal backed into a corner, I hide from my those who oppose me until I cannot hide any longer and I must attack...and that is only out of necessity, because I do not care for confrontation. In my natural state I not only reject the advice of my guide and go out alone in ignorance, I don't just live in fear and anxiety, it isn't enough I am self-preserving and battle blinded and foolishly- No, I am also deceived to believe there's nothing wrong with me- that I am good and am more than capable to take my own cup and pour out relentlessly. And in the midst of MY own deception and utter depravity, He STILL has committed himself to me in these ways...

1) The Lord IS my Shepherd, He has declared me his own...He is dedicated to keeping this stupid sheep safe and free from disaster. And because he has, I have no reason to desire anything else; He not only meets my needs, He gives me a surplus of himself! 
2) When He doesn't have to, He lures me into intimate, quiet, luxurious fields of Grace! He replenishes my soul with deep, flowing waters of new life and after a long day's trek I can rest peacefully.
3) After He has allowed me to rest up and regain my strength, He empowers me to walk the long, exhausting path to righteousness for My good and HIS glory!!!
4) He is faithful to shoot straight with me, He tells me that I will come across evil in my life and I must be ready to walk in assurance that He will protect me, but then he also gives me the promise to comfort me, to make me hold me tight when I am scared, because He knows how haunting fear can be.
5) Instead of allowing me to fight for myself (and loosing every time) He defends me. He has already one the battle over death and He has saved me from my real enemy and has determined the time and date he will be destroyed. As for those whom oppose me, He brings me into fellowship with them and honors me before them and they before me, because, just like me- they are at His mercy and in the same process of transformation. And as a result, he fills my cup so that I am so overwhelmed with Glory and LIFE that I am OVERFLOWING!
6) And the icing on the cake....the Creator of the universe, the Savior of mankind, the One and Only God who is reconciling the world to Himself offers me a life of goodness, unceasing, all consuming LOVE, and eternity of intimate fellowship with my Father, my Shepherd, my Savior, my Companion, and my Friend.




PRAISE  GOD! He is Sovereign and His Love and Grace outweighs my DEPRAVITY!!!! In Him, I have hope and security; I have all I need- FOR ETERNITY! That kind of assurance makes humble obedience look really REALLY appealing. He has EVERY reason to  allow me to be stubborn and continue to walk in defiance and ignorance, He is Lord and I am one person. Yet He continues to stay committed to my good. Thank GOD that his unity with me isn't contingent on me and my performance and that he doesn't grade me on my execution of obedience. You see why I’m on my face….    Love beats depravity EVERY TIME!

CUE THE DOXOLOGY!!!