No More Hurt

Darkness could not conceal the majesty of the sanctuary. Several shades of ornate gold, centuries old. There was a romantic battle story of angels and demons and suffering saints, all within the walls. And now, gathered here in this place, just me and my LORD. 

I was not singing, but the music overtook the atmosphere. Her voice rang out, pouring from my soul. It was not her lips that moved and not mine. Overcome with two emotions that only mix in the presence of God:  power and humility, my body naturally longed to lift my hands in worship, but my soul knew all too well that it was no proper offering. 

Down. Down to my knees I found my appropriate posture, hands covering my face. Heart and body, mind and soul, calling to my Deliverer. “Hosanna!”  Interpreted, “Save me!”

He lifted my eyes and drew me to the cross. There I lay my sinner’s burden. There I am washed to a radiant righteousness with the sprinkling of blood, I am completely redeemed. 

I stood in my humility. I was strong in his power. And then the room was transformed, a modern setting. Stage lights searched the room and a band sang out. Voices cried out to God in great numbers. Diversity of the followers was unity in heart. 

And then I was all alone. Petified by the things people said, astonished at their deeds. “I want to go home!”  I cried out in my soul’s deepest place of fear. But I saw hungry hearts and empty souls and people longing for a Savior. “Tell them,”  my simple command. “Lead them.” Was his answer, “lead them to the cross.” 

So, walk with me and I will show you. Hold my hand and we can sing. I’ll tell you a story of the one who saved me, I was so very hungry, starving for a purpose and a joy, he filled me to overflowing, now come, come and see what my Savior has done. There will be no more hurt. He saved us, Hosanna.

I Love My Strength

I call to the one that is worthy of praise, “I am tangled in death.  I need a deliverer.”  

My sweet intimacy when he is all I need, the one I seek in my troubled time. It can not be replaced. I can not be talked out of my stronghold. Love can not be debated.  

I raise my voice to the one who knows me most. He knows the hurt of my silent tears, the joy of my singing heart, my numbered days on this earth, and he knows more. He knows what I am meant to be. In this world, with no sin, how he intended me to be.  How I will be when I meet him face to face and forever sing his praise. 

He hears my voice. He parts the heavens and comes down, riding on the wings of the wind, with lightning in his hands. He reached down from on high for me. Because he delights in me. I love you LORD, my strength. 

The Worst Sin Ever Invented

We are saved by faith alone, it is none of me and all of him, so that no man can boast. But faith without works is dead. 

An obese man has a heart attack. He passes out and lays on the pavement unconscience. Quickly, he is rushed away by the ambulance. The paramedics revive him, return him to stability, and save his life. It was them that saved his life and not himself. All them. None of him. But if he thanks them and stops at McDonalds on the way home, walks in the door and heats up a pizza, and downs a whole package of Oreos while waiting on the pizza, he is as good as dead. He can not thank them and expect to be saved over and over. He must change. Faith without works is dead. 

This is my imperfect analogy, but I believe it applies to so very many today in my culture. I live fat on the hog with 911 programmed into my phone, but Christ calls us to CHANGE!  We post our articles on Facebook slamming sinners that are different than us, gossip about our neighbors and even our friends to shine our halos, quote our “I would never”s, and live our self righteous lives turning people away from Jesus faster than we can argue our point. 

“It would be dangerous to think of oneself as a person of high ideals…it might lead you to become a prick and think you were rather a special person who deserved to be congratulated on his idealism.”  CS Lewis

And here is my point, the prostitute is not claiming how good she is and pointing out Bible verses to all the druggies around her. The alcoholic, the homosexual, the drug dealer is not judging and condemning. Are they sinning in their lifestyle?  Yes!  The Bible says so, not me. HOWEVER, they are not turning people away from Jesus!

And THAT is why Jesus condemned the Pharisees and hung out with the outcast sinners!  Now, wooa Caroline!  Should we all sin to point others to Jesus?  Nope!  As stated earlier, faith without works (change) is dead, “Go and sin no more.”  

But there is a HUGE difference here!  A matter of LIFE and DEATH!  We are NEVER COMMANDED TO BE SELF RIGHTEOUS!  We are never commanded to point others to ourselves and how good we are, we are to point others to JESUS!

I also was a sinner, Jesus saved me!  I also was lost, Jesus found me!  We are to forgive because we were forgiven more, we are to love because we were first loved, we are to SHINE THE LIGHT OF JESUS, NOT THE LIGHT OF SELF!  The difference is a matter of eternal life and death. 

Do Not Get Comfortable

Kicking and screaming, I had my own idea of what I wanted to do. I had my own plans to seek out to accomplish. God’s will was getting in my way.

I was blind, sick, hungry, and poor.  He did everything, it was not of me. I can not turn on a light when I do not even know that I am in darkness. My mind was awakened to my depravity. He is everything, everything to me. 

I gave him my plans for his. This is not a relationship to fit into pop-culture.  This is not a religion to make myself look good. I give him that, my acceptance and my image.

“A civil war.  A rebellion, and that we are living in a part of the universe occupied by the rebel. Enemy occupied territory, that is what this world is.  Christianity is the story of how the rightful king has landed…and is calling us all to take part in a great campaign of sabotage.” CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Do I want to move in and make myself at home?  Do I want to be a rogue soldier that has defected from my country?  Heaven is my home and I am getting ready. My God has more than supplied my needs. I show up and he does the work. I am present and he is the power. This is a rescue mission. There is family to save.  

Do not seek comfort  in this world that can not give it. Do not be surprised when the enemy attacks. He lies in secret and waits for me.  Do not try to fit in. Do not fear this evil that has already been defeated. The outcome is victory.  I am a soldier in a battle. I am here on a mission. This world is not my home. It is enemy territory. 

Baby America

  
Happy 239th birthday to the United States of America!  On this day in 1776, America adopted the Declaration of Independence. 

Not so very long ago, husbands and fathers from the poorest, weakest land on earth took up their crude weapons to declare, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Mothers raised their children in a wild new country and pressed on to survive in a bare and empty place because they believed. They believed in something bigger than themselves. They believed in doing what was right at all costs. They believed that God Almighty had called them to worship, serve, and fight for the right to worship his holy name. They had hope. They had hope that this hard life was not all they were made for.

Today, I look at my nation and I am sad that I see these rights that they fought for slipping away. I look at my country and take a deep breath and sigh. America bites the hand of God Almighty that has fed her. She turns from the God that has protected her and stomps away like a spoiled little brat. She whines and throws a tantrum and pouts, “but I want my own way!”

And I realize, great men and women that built our country were surrounded by the same crowd. They wondered if their new country would ever survive. So, I stand and proclaim, this world is not my home!  I have hope!  I have a meaning and a purpose. When those around me turn from God, I claim his name!  

Use me Lord!  Use me for your purpose, use me for your people!  When comforts deminish, you are my hope. When my earthly rights fail, you are my freedom.  You are my freedom that can never be taken. No government can outlaw that freedom!

I am proud to be an American!  I love my country!  Today, I celebrate that I am living the American Dream. Today, I celebrate that I worship in an amazing church that preaches the Word of God. Today, I celebrate the freedom to raise my daughter with a Biblical worldview. Today, I celebrate a history of men and women that fought to give me that freedom. But beyond all that, today I worship and praise my God that is in control of it all. 

Happy Independence Day!

A Short Something

“I wish it was possible to say something more agreeable, but I must say what I think true.”  CS Lewis

I am a writer, a thinker, a lover. Some quotes make my heart smile. I hear the questions, the objections, and the hurling insults, but there is nothing I wish to add or take away. I read this and I sigh. I read this and I know. I know it is me sometimes. I want to be in agreement. I want to laugh and love and play. But I want truth more. And I am not afraid to disagree. 

I Love Boring Days!

A forty five minute drive to a general practitioner is a little extreme, especially when I pass so many doctors on that drive. But I know what it is like to get a doctor that won’t listen or who isn’t willing to work with my oncologist and endocrinologist. Unfortunately, I have more doctors than compliment my social life. 

“He’s a good doctor.”  I think as I wait. It is the familiar setting:  the patient chair/bed/(what in the hell is that thing?), two extra chairs, a little desk with a computer, and the doctor swivel stool. It is a setting I am quite familiar with. There are no bragging points in that statement. I take a seat in one of the upright chairs. 

Glancing around. Waiting. Reading the posters on the wall:  “attention to insurance policy holders” …I spy a magazine…nah…wait…check my phone…wait…I feel my heart rate increase. “This is the easy stuff,” I tell myself. 

I have a lump under my arm. It bothers me off and on. Months ago, I already ran it nervously by my oncologist. It is not a tumor. 

I remind myself of that now, “It is not a tumor.  This is the easy stuff.”

I am so used to dealing with the hard stuff. I am so used to the extreme, the life threatening, the worst case scenarios, that when I sit and deal with the common, everyday stuff, it is hard for my mind to not fall into that rare type of cancer mode. 

He smiles politely, “Most likely we will just leave it there and do nothing.”  He directs me to checkout. 

Oh happy day!  I know the joys of getting the opportunity to be the boring case at the doctor’s office!  

Is Truth True?

“You are so close minded that I am not going to talk to you.”  I recently read this comment in response to an article posted on someone’s Facebook page. It caused me to laugh and it caused me to be sad. The humor is obvious. Why the sadness?  Because this comment is a reality of the culture that I live in. The thought process of pop culture and the majority around me goes something like this:

1.  You are wrong for judging me. 

2.  There is no truth, no one way. 

3.  You can not say that because of freedom of speech. 

4.  We need to keep religion/God out of politics, schools, and any public settings. 

Each and every one of these statements is held as fact and yet each of them contradicts itself. 

Every single person believes in a right and wrong. No matter how free a thinker, there is a moral code that each person lives by. No matter how much a person protests to let each person decide their own right and wrong, that very protester does not believe their own words. Each and every person can state an act that they believe is wrong. They believe is always wrong, always and for everybody.

“Think of a country where people were admired for running away in battle or where a man felt proud of double crossing all the people that had been kindest to him.”  C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The point being we all have our limits of what we believe acceptable or not. 

Once we establish right and wrong, one question remains:  where do we get right and wrong?  

There is a moral code that drives us. There is a law of nature. A human code of right and wrong. Where?  What?  Who?  How do we have this inside us?  And what should we use as the basis for making our decisions?  What is the universal code that we believe all the world should follow?  When we meet with a stranger, when leaders of countries conveign together, when we raise our children, what is that universal law?