Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Why Don't I See my Sin?

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is Romans 3:10-18.  The reason I love it is because it reminds me just how vile, miserable and depraved I am.  And even more importantly, I need to be reminded of this daily because it is so hard for me to see my sin and yet there is nothing any sweeter than bringing my sin to the Savior and feeling that blessed forgiveness through Christ's blood.  So, why don't I see my sin?  Well, for one, I think this darned "task oriented" brain of mine gets in the way.  It keeps me more focused on the here and now and the "doing doing doing",  instead of heavenly things.  The other is obvious as well, I think I am a pretty good person (pride, pride and more pride).  My mind and thoughts like to focus on the good things I do and the sweet side of me, whose doesn't? And yet God's word brings me back to truth, real truth, cause in Isaiah 64:6, God tells me that "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts (what we think are good things) are like filthy rags (in God's sight); we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." I am so thankful for God's Word that brings me back to reality.  My sin does sweep me away and I am often blinded to the magnitude and frequency of it.  I love how Romans 3:11 and 12 says it so plainly: " None is righteous, not one; no one understand; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."  "God use the Holy Spirit to open our eyes to the sin in our lives so that we will see our even greater need of YOU our Savior, our only hope."

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Mission is Impossible

   We had the privilege of participating in a Mission Conference in Hendersonville, NC at Covenant Presbyterian Church where our friends Chip and Karen Vining are serving as Pastor.
   Pastor Ron Shaw gave the Sunday morning message and he asked a question which caught my attention.  "Do I want God to build His kingdom through me or do I want to build God's kingdom through my own gifts and talent?"
   Pastor Shaw was quick to point out that the Great Commission in Matt 28:18-20 was impossible and that the first thing that I have to learn is that I can't do it myself.  Well, I did perceive in my last term of service in the Philippines that there was not not enough strength within me to survive.  But where was my kingdom building focus?  In Matt 23:4, Jesus said the scribes and Pharisees "tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people's shoulders."  I was convicted of how I am the one that tied up the heavy burden of building God's kingdom through my own gifts and talents which was not only hard to bear but impossible and I had laid it upon my own shoulders.  Dear me, I am so easily blinded. Remember, I am the one that felt so inadequate to go as a missionary because of the lack of my own gifts and talents.  God has shown me how this inadequacy almost paralyzed my ministering in the Philippines but even more so that my focus was based on myself and not Christ.  Matt 28:18-20 says, "All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus Christ.  Go therefore...and behold I (Jesus) is with me always."  I realized my lack of my own gifts and talents but I stopped there.  My heart is PRAISING the Lord for allowing me to see just how off focus I was and that I can go with much hope and confidence in Jesus Christ who has "all authority in Heaven and on earth" not myself.  Oh God, give me faith to believe and keep my focus on You.

Great Commission Praying

   I love to pray and have often wondered if I have the gift of prayer because I frequently feel burdened to pray. However, recently I was convicted that my prayers aren't Great Commission based. It was a quote that I heard from John Piper that got me to thinking.  Piper was asking the question, "Why doesn't prayer work for the North American church any longer?" His response and his thoughts were, "Because we are not using war time walkie talkies calling Jesus Christ but instead we are ringing our bell for Jesus to bring what we need."
   Ugh, my breathe was knocked right out of my chest as I was so convicted of how much I pray for my descendants, daily living situations, which are both good, but that my prayers for souls are in the minority.  I realized my need to ask Christ to reach down and bring many to Himself and even more boldly to ask if He would be gracious enough to do so through me.
   John 14: 12-14 says, "believe in Jesus Christ"  our risen living Savior and "ask in His name".

Monday, October 13, 2008

"This is Our God"

Lindsey has gotten me hooked on the music of Hillsong and Travis Cottrell.  If you haven't listened to any of their music, please check it out.  Yesterday as I was walking, I was listening to Hillsong's new album "This is Our God".  I haven't had time to listen to this new album much but immediately the song "Healer" captured my heart and became the cry of my soul.  May some of the words minister to your heart as it did to mine.

"You hold my every moment
You calm my raging sea
You walk with me through the fire
I trust in You
I believe You are all I need
I believe Your my portion
I believe Your more than enough for me
Jesus You are all I need
You hold my every moment
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands!"

On another note, I love poetry but can't write it.  If you want to read an incredible poem go to www.lynnsmusings.blogspot.com. This poem, "Ode to a Friend" was written by Lynn, a dear friend and sister of mine.

Friday, October 10, 2008

All I Need Is Him

I am such a lover of peace. When the waters get unsteady, I doubt and fear and I do both quickly. So, the buzzwords in my head lately have been surrender, trust and "all I need is Jesus". My heart so easily takes on the concerns of the world like the economy and the election. Then there are concerns for our children, grandchildren and their future and desires for better family relationships in many areas. And then there is always our own future and the when in this area. I find myself praying often lately like the father of the boy who had seizures in Mark 9:24, "help my unbelief". While I would love for a consistently peaceful life I know that is a far off dream of mine. I know that we are called to suffer as Christ suffered for me and I know that it's in these uncertain times where I have no answers that God is growing me and teaching me a deeper trust and dependence in Him.I love the song "Somewhere in the Middle" from Casting Crown's Album, the Altar and the Door. "how close can I get Lord to my surrender without loosing all control", "will I trade my dreams for His or am I caught in the middle", "somewhere between my faith and my plans", "somewhere between peace and always wanting more", "somewhere in the middle you'll find me".  While my heart sags at the true realization that this most often describes me, more and more God is showing me that all I truly need is Christ. "God help my unbelief"!