Monday, August 22, 2011
(day fifty-three & four) victim to victory
So sorry folks about the "case of the missing blog" yesterday; we'll just make this one double the fun. Haha. I have to be honest with you and just say that this blogging thing is not easy. There are legitimate days when I physically can not write it, but there are other days when i frankly just don't want to. Many times i've just sucked it up and pushed through and those seem to be the most humbling days when God REALLY came through. I know without a doubt in those moments I alone could not have written anything of worth, it's only through Him that this is possible. He's the very one that brings value to every word or thought represented and I truly pray that His power moves in every line and love penetrates every heart! I do this for no other reason but to glorify Him with praise and adoration :)
With that said... Speaking of value and worth, Pastor Dan was on fire again yesterday at Journey Church. One of the things He mentioned is how when we find something that is of value to us, it brings everything else into perspective. That valuable object begins highlighting the things that are of real worth around you. Other things that are of less or no worth fall away. Letting go or laying down stuff for that particular thing of value is no longer sacrifice but suddenly becomes a beautiful investment. Dan likes to compare this to meeting his wife. He said that when he met her... all the things he thought were important faded away. She became the comparison for all other things. He fell in love and knew He'd follow her anywhere :)
In the same way Jesus calls us to follow Him. Something very cool happens when we do... we meet Him face to face. We begin to have love encounters with Christ. And...(for the sake of not sounding mushy) we REALLY do fall in love!!! If you have been resisting this love... i beg for you to let go and run into His arms. You will NEVER be the same again. If you feel like you've been asking for this love and just don't see it yet... keep pushing through! He is who He says He is and we are who He says we are... no matter what we "feel" about it. The feelings will come, but He's still worthy of our praise!!! And I do believe He wants to break down those walls of injustice and lies (from the enemy) so we can truly feel His breath of life, words of truth, and His heartbeat for each one of us.
When we see HIM as the object of greatest value and worth... all else fades. Our circumstances no longer control us. We find the freedom to fully live in His kingdom! We can walk in obedience and joy at the same time. We can be overly generous but lack nothing. We can be thrown under the bus by the world, but come out without a scratch. We can be rejected, hated, and abandoned.... but stand secure in our adoption as sons and daughters of the most High King! We can be cheated on, stepped on, stolen from... but don't have to be defeated, crushed, or broke. God is powerful, He's on our side.... and He's got plans for us in His plan! He wants to take us and all of who we are, and place us smack dab in the center of His big ole plan for the world. When He becomes (to us) the worthy being that He already IS, we become humbled, ecstatic, and eager to follow Him every step. Because it's ALL an adventure and it's all apart of your journey towards Him. We only have a little time on earth to glorify Him in our lack... and I want to point to Him every chance i get- ESPECIALLY when life gets hard.
Sometimes I call my friend just so I can hear his motivating voice mail. At the end of a cheery message he simply says, "Make it a great day!". I love this! I mean, really... we don't always have impeccable circumstance that surround us but we ALWAYS have the opportunity to choose. Today, I was fighting my flesh as I was driving to work. I kept thinking about all the other things I should have been doing. About half way there I just felt like God was telling me to choose my attitude like i chose what clothes i put on today. God honors us when we choose to honor Him. I walked in work and was completely blessed by all of the amazing conversations and hilarious endeavors. One of the guys who came up to the register actually said that very thing to me again (like God was trying to tell me something...haha), "Make it a great day!"
As we know, it is about the moment in every day. Enjoying it, praising Him in it, loving others, serving, etc etc. But it's also very much about the bigger picture. The more we place God as our valuable centerpiece... the more we find our worth wrapped up in Him and the value of others lives. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we see from His perspective; through His eyes. We finally begin to "get" His plan. This is when we choose whether or not we will keep doin our own thing, or take up His offer. He does give us the freedom to choose which ever we like. But I can promise you, NOTHING can beat what He has for us. Nothing! Now that I have tasted His presence and seen His power in my own life, I never want to waste another second! This is my prayer for you this very moment. That right now, these words will penetrate the deepest part of your being.... you will choose Him, and NEVER be the same again. His love is divine and will take you on the best (and most valuable) ride of your life. He wants to be our life. That is true life.
B90: (Isaiah 49:17- 63:19 & Is. 64- Jeremiah 6:30) Since I'm still slightly obsessed with the analogies that are coming from the recent release of the West Memphis 3... I was reading tonight about Peter Jackson's involvement in this case. Mr. Jackson has made a lot of incredible films including the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. When he was made aware of the case, He quickly became very active in fighting for justice for these boys he saw as innocent though most of the world and judicial system deemed unworthy of freedom. They sat for 18 years behind bars of shame, possible injustice, unforgiveness, and fear. Mr. Jackson helped pay the debt of the investigation leading up to their freedom.
Sometimes I wonder what bars we sit behind when we have already been given that choice of true freedom. Our debt has been completely paid yet we sit in cold cell full of shame, guilt, injustice, unforgiveness, and fear. We play victim when we could so easily claim victory. We don't exactly see this place when we choose to live there, but can almost guarantee we know the difference if we've ever tasted true freedom at all. If we haven't yet, then look around you... there are (or at least should be) examples of real freedom and joy in Him. This goes for people inside and outside of the church alike. Being inside a church does not make us free.... it's running after Him that does. Now, what happens when you have a bunch of free people worshiping Him as a church??? A lot of healin, shoutin, praisin, dancin, and lovin! That's what!
I love the part in Isaiah where the "Lord will say to the prisoners, 'Come out', to those who are in darkness, 'Appear.'" Is. 49: 9 Don't you think the God who created us is tired of coming to "visiting hours" and speaking to us through a glass wall? I know God is ALL-POWERFUL, but hear me out. Maybe this is the very reason we sometimes feel that there is something blocking that communication with our God?? Perhaps it's because He created us to be FREE (in a fallen world even) and we are letting ourselves be imprisoned by other things that have become more worthy than Him.
"Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." Is. 50:10
He believes in us... He no longer sees our guilt, but He's made us innocent by His blood. He paid of all our debt, there is no more need for an investigation of our case- we are free! It's time to walk in that freedom. I can almost promise that when you step out, God will become so much more REAL to you.
"Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments (take off those awful prison clothes).... Shake yourself from the dust and arise; be seated, O Jerusalem; loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter of Zion. For the Lord says ' You were sold for nothing, and you shall be redeemed without money" Is 52: 1-3
Now... what exactly do we do with this new found freedom?
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, 'Your God reigns.'" Is 52:7
And you become hope and a beacon of light in the midst of tragedy and pain..." Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; BUT the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." Is. 60: 1-3 (Keep in mind He's speaking to future Israel, but I still think it applies to us in this moment.)
We have an exciting responsibility in this freedom to see others who were in the same place we were and to speak life into their situation. We are to call out and break off the lies and injustice so they too can experience the freedom of Christ we now walk in. When we've been there, recognize it, and walk out of it.... we truly desire for others to know the Life that we now know.
"because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." Is 61: 1 Amen!!!
"For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them." Is 61: 8
And lastly... find rest and peace on your personal journey with Him. Where there is REAL love and trust there is no fear. "Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls." Jer. 6:16