The beginning of the Christian life is turning away from sin and toward God (this is called “repentance”). Sometimes we fail to receive the wonder and joy of God’s grace because we have not actually repented. We are called to despair of our own efforts to make ourselves (or the world) better, and turn to God alone for hope and salvation. Only then can we be changed. When we do that, and only then, we can begin to receive the stunning riches of God’s grace given to us in Jesus Christ. This is the gate, through which we all must walk, the lifeboat that is our only hope of being saved from drowning.
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I received an invitation that reminded me of a painful incident from my youth. I prayed:
“Jesus, You were there when it happened. You longed to quiet my pain, but I thought I had to handle it myself. Why couldn’t I receive Your love and comfort? Perhaps back then I knew You only as a far-away God or as a Spirit who didn’t enter the reality of my daily teenage world.
“But now I know You better. You are Almighty God, Maker of heaven and earth. You are also the God who loves each person You created. You see us, not just as a group, but also as individuals. “And You are the God of all comfort, the God who knows when a sparrow falls and who counts the stars and yet also knows the ever-changing number of hairs on my head.” (See 2 Corinthians 1:3, Matthew 10:29-30, Psalm 147:4.)
Dear Lord Jesus, Savior, Friend,
I want to sing Your praise again.
You are my life, my God, my King,
Ruler over everything.
Jesus, You are all I need.
I want to learn Your voice to heed
So I can walk in Your good plan,
Son of God and Son of Man.
Anger tries to push You off Your throne.
Bitterness turns my heart to stone
I reject these things that cling to me
And accept Your offer to set me free.
O Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Cleanse and heal and make me whole,
As I repent and seek Your face
And the kingdom of Your grace. Amen.
(See Ephesians 4:31.)
I haven’t written a blog post in a while because I’ve been in such a slump. There have been a lot of changes in my caregiving routine over the past several weeks and it’s caused me a lot of insecurity and anxiety. Those feelings are amplified during my nightly battle with insomnia and have caused me to experience a wicked depression. Some mornings I feel like I just can’t breathe and it’s difficult to focus on doing the right things.
I need to be inside of you God. I need to feel your light and the rays of your glory all inside of me and I need to feel me in you like I was before you sent me to earth to be born. I need that supernatural closeness with you. I need to see your face. I need to see where your essence resides and see you on your glorious throne. I need to hear your powerful voice. I need to be able to worship you directly in your presence. I need to see your unspeakable beauty.
In the past, I have wanted to hug you when I got to heaven, but I now realize that all I need to do is have the fullness of your light touch me. That is how powerful your glory is. I need to give you the crown that I have been working…
God’s love doesn’t depend on your behavior.” How many times have I heard this and even said it myself? Yet recently a friend unearthed a stubborn place in my heart that didn’t believe that. This spot of unbelief lets in fiery arrows that cause me to stumble. One day I prayed, Dear Father, I feel so out-classed by some of the Christians I’ve met. They serve you well in career and marriage/family and seem to grow steadily in their relationship with Jesus. I hesitate to share my real thoughts with such people. Although I’m sure they don’t think themselves superior to me, I think myself inferior. Perhaps God answered with this bit of verse:
Don’t believe Satan’s lies, dear child. Just lift up your eyes to Me and look— My heart for you is written in My Book. You are loved. You are prized. Your value cost Me My Son’s life. So doubt no more about your worth, And don’t compare to others on earth. Relax, receive. Choose to believe. My love depends not on you, but Me. And though your trust falters, My love never fails. Go forth in joy And know I am with you whatever assails.
“Search me O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV). I will turn away from the offensive ways of unbelief which You, God, have exposed, and I will return to trusting You with ALL my heart and not leaning on my own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)
My Old Testament Bible reading one morning, Exodus 36-38, gave a lot of yawn-producing (at least for me) repetitive detail about the wilderness tabernacle and its furnishings.
But I thought about how You, God, “gifted Bezalel, Oholiab, and the other skilled craftsmen with wisdom and ability” in construction so that the result was perfect and beautiful (Ex. 36:1). And you also put on the hearts of the people such willingness to give that they had to be told to stop because so much was given.
Oh the beauty and glory of that tent and furniture where You dwelt with Your people! Yet how much more beautiful and glorious is Jesus Christ, God’s Son. And He lives in me.
Lord God, may I become purer and purer and more transparent so Your beauty will be seen in me. Amen.