Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fancy Mysticism

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I believed the Gospel in college.  I was raised in church, but  I didn’t really put anything I learned into practice.  You can imagine my surprise when Christ found me in the hallowed halls of university.  While the rest of my peers were being talked out of everything they believed, I was digging in to what I had already learned. My new found sense of purpose confused (and maybe still does) some of them.  One friend actually looked at me after my conversion, and dumbfounded said “Amber, you are smarter than that. You think too much to fall for that!”

Fall for what?  I believe I understand his concern.  Too often it seems that my faith and any realm of intelligence cannot align in the world’s view.  Thus, those in the world might deduce that if I am a person of faith that I also am a person lacking intelligence; that I am a fool.   

So….AM I A FOOL? 

I don’t think so. Why?  Because I am a thinking girl who believes the gospel, and the thinking girl’s Gospel is pretty simple.  It’s just the Gospel. 

I’m a sinner.  Christ died in my place because He loves me.  I accept that gift of grace that was freely given and as a result one day  I will be in Heaven with Him. 

Its pretty straight forward, unlike calculus.  Take that smarty pants.

You see, the Gospel doesn’t change for the people….people change for the Gospel. 

My faith is a spiritual reality, something that is readily available at every turn and in every situation.  It is only when I deny that Gospel, or question tenants of it, that I become someone with nothing more than a pocket full of fanciful mysticism.  

A belief that makes me feel good, until of course it doesn’t.

The Gospel is not for sissies.  We are called to deny ourselves, take up our chance of  death, and follow someone who changed the world, but died doing it.  I can see why it might seem foolish to some.  You are charging hell with a water pistol and expecting to win. 

You have to be all in. 

I don’t worship a God who stays in my pocket to keep me company.  He is not my genie in a bottle who grants me parking spaces or gives me money. 

He is my LORD.

I want a LORD.  I want to belong to someone more powerful and awesome than I am.  I want everything I do to point right back to just how AWESOME he is.  I want to know that there is nothing, no not nothing, that is impossible with him. 

Am I fool?  Maybe, but I will forever and always be a fool for Him. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Savior and Lord

Have I ever told you that I LOVE Elisabeth Elliot?  Seriously.  I love her so much I named my kid after her.  Anyway, I have been reading through one of her books, A Path Through Suffering,  and tonight’s post comes courtesy of something I read.  Actually, the next couple of posts come from like three paragraphs of Ms. Elliot’s first chapter…

She is so amazing….

Anyway, she said this in her book: “About two or three years later (after her conversion to Christianity) I realized that He is not only Savior but Lord.” 

That’s it.  One simple sentence that sent me into a tailspin. 

I know He’s my Savior, but is He my Lord?? 

I looked up the definition of “lord”.  A lord is “one having power and authority over others” or “ a ruler by hereditary right or preeminence to whom service and obedience are due”.

DUDE.  I don’t know if you all like reading, but I am going to get deep, yo. 

He is our Lord.  We choose call Him that.  If we choose to call him our Lord, than we have to also give Him the authority and power OVER US.  Upon our salvation we are recognizing that we are no longer our own.  We no longer belong to ourselves. 

WE ARE HIS, because HE BOUGHT US.  WITH A PRICE.

I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the definition of ‘lord’ constitutes one who “by hereditary right” is due “service and obedience”.  Jesus after all was the SON of God, earning Him the “hereditary right” from His Daddy to have our service and obedience.    

My question isn’t whether or not He deserves it, its whether or not I give it.  Do I submit fully, or do I rebel as a servant who is disobedient to the will of her master?  Really what has he asked of me that is so hard to bear? 

“Love me, with all your heart.  After that, love everyone else the same way you would want to be loved.”

That Love thing causes some discomfort.  Because I love Him I might have to deny some Earthly pleasures, and loving other people can be really hard because normally people are stupid, and I don’t love stupid. 

Yet I am commanded, by my Lord, whom I serve. 

So who are you serving?   

Thursday, November 24, 2011

No Smell of Smoke

In Beth Moore’s study on Daniel she takes some time to point to  a verse in the narrative about Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and the fiery furnace.   She points to  Daniel 3:27  where everyone “saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

God not only brings them through the furnace, but when they make it out they don’t even smell like smoke.

I didn’t know how big a deal that was until Monday.  You see, on the way home from a youth event our car caught on fire. 

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You read that right.  It caught on fire.  Smoke it turns out, does stink. Bad. 

Everything smoke from the fire touched smelled like it spent an hour on the bar be.  E’s car seat.  My jacket.  Michael Buble…well, his CD at least. 

We have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.  Like the fact that the fire didn’t hit the gas tank.  That E wasn’t with me at the time.  That I was minutes from my parents house.  That God protected me on a dark, rainy, foggy night when I was stranded on the side of the highway.  

That I didn’t meet Him face to face that night. 

The loss of a car for our family will be a trial and there are plenty of things we could worry about. 

Finances.  Logistics.  Insurance. 

In the end though I know that we serve a God who is able.  There are so many who are going through trials this holiday season.  Trails far worse and more difficult than a car fire. 

It is easy for us to think that these things catch God by surprise.  That He does them to us.  That just isn’t the case.  We serve a God who works FOR US.  Things happen that break His heart, just like they break ours, but He will work it out, and one day we will look back and where the fire of a trial we will stand in awe at what He has done. 

In faith He will work all things for the good of those who love him. What Satan means to destroy us God can, will, and does use to strengthen us, and yes, bless us more abundantly. 

Even in situations where we can see nothing good ever coming our way. 

My prayer is that whatever trial you are facing right now that the Lord upholds and sustains you, and that once your fire has been extinguished and, you are on the other side, you won’t even smell smoke. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dust…

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I cleaned my house today for the first time it what seemed like FOREVER.  You know, the good clean.  Scrubbing floors, wiping baseboards, cleaning toilets…

Fun.  Let us rejoice in all things, eh?

You can imagine my delight when I finished and my house smelled like I had chit chatted all morning with Mr. Clean and the Scrubbing Bubbles.  I looked around at my house like one of those cheesy cleaning commercials, just smiling at my productivity, when I noticed it. 

The sun shined through the window, and like a beacon, illuminated my hidden secret. 

Dust.  About an inch thick on the long neglected piano bench.  With a grr and grunt I got out the dust polish and sprayed away the mess. 

I don’t like it when things I think are taken of and hidden come into view.  They tend to reflect poorly upon me.  Like the dust on the piano bench, I would be very content to keep things hidden. 

I started thinking that my heart is a little  like that piano bench.  There are things in my heart that I dare not mention to anyone, hoping that if everything else is in place no one will notice some dust.  Still, as long as some things are dusty, there is cleaning that needs to be done. 

At night we say a prayer with E in German.  Translated part of it says “my heart is clean”.  I want my heart to be that way.  CLEAN.  Which means that maybe, just maybe I have some dusting to do.  Time to clean this old house.  Time to breathe in and let everything out, laying it down at the feet of someone bigger than me who can make everything spotless.   

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Prepare a Place

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Since we moved into our new home E has had some trouble sleeping in her own room.  We used to be right across the hall from E, but now we are downstairs and she, is upstairs.  She doesn’t understand why we have to be away from her, and I hate being separated from her.

For the time being E is all by herself at bedtime, but she is a brave little girl.  Fear does not steer my daughter.  Loneliness does. 

E and I, we were cut from the same cloth.  Maybe that’s why when she toddles into our room sometime around 3 a.m. I am more sympathetic then Daddy.  Beside our bed I have made a little pallet with our down comforter and a pillow.  If E is having a bad night she knows she can come into our room, and there is a place prepared for her. 

There is a verse in John where Christ is trying to explain to His disciples what He is doing and why He is going away.  He tells them “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”  (14:3)

Jesus knew that without him as close as he always had been the disciples were going to get lonely.  He knew that they would ask questions about where there teacher had gone, and they would wonder why they couldn’t go, too.  Jesus, knowing all that was on their hearts, kindly explained things to them.

He has simply gone ahead, to prepare a place, and he’s just waiting for the day He can come get us. 

You see, those of us who believe in Christ, we were cut from the same cloth.  He loves us as much as we love Him.  And one day, when we get to walk into our Daddy’s room, we will be welcomed, and we will find a place prepared for us. 

Amber1

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Homesick

I was absolutely exhausted when I got home from Relevant.  Seriously wiped.  All the same, there was no rest for the weary until night two of my homecoming.  I turned into bed very early, and somewhere in the limbo between waking and sleeping I awoke to the house shaking and a horn blaring.  I sat bolt upright in bed and yelled “JESUS!!!”

I thought I was going home, y’all.  FOR REAL.  Alas, it was just a train. 

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You may stop laughing. 

In that moment I was so ready to go to Heaven, probably because I truthfully feel  like I just don’t belong here.  Allow me to explain….

I read (operative word because we don’t have cable)  a LOT of news.  I am slightly addicted.  It seems that every time I pick up the computer I go right to a news site.  This is not a good habit.  The more I read, the worse the news seems to get. 

When you read a lot of bad stuff you start to have certain inclinations.  You look around at the world you live in and you wonder “What am I doing here?”

It shouldn’t surprise me that I feel out of place, because I don’t belong here. 

The world around holds nothing for me.  I like it, don’t get me wrong.  My little E is here, and so is my sweet husband, so I am quite contented to hang around for awhile.  All the same, I know I am not kept here because there is something else for me in it, I am kept here because He can use me somehow in it.

As a Christian I know that the more I become like Christ the less I am like the world (ideally).  It only makes sense that I would be anxious to get back to the one who made me.  Truly, I am now a visitor from a far country, waiting for the day I get to go back home.

One day I know that it won’t be a train whistle, and I seriously can’t wait for that day.