Waiting for me

It’s early yet as the golf cart rolls to a stop in front of the camp kitchen. I head for the door: I’ve got laundry to do. Three steps later, there Angel is: running, wagging her tail and doggy-smiling. I blink. This is different. Sure she’s been here every time I’ve come up here for the past two days, but she’s always just lain there and morosely looked at me as I came and went. 

But here she is this morning. I guess she’s decided that if she can’t have the multitude that she’ll make do with one. I pat her head and find her a stick. A few minutes later I head off. Angel sits in the road and watches me go. 

I come back, once, twice, three times, and always she’s there. Delightfully happy to see me, sad when I leave. 

It’s evening now. I’m done up here, well, for today anyway and as I head off I turn to Angel. “I’ll be back tomorrow, but you could just go home. The rest aren’t coming back.” She doesn’t answer, just sits there with mournful eyes and watches me go. 

And that’s when it hits me. 

My God? He waits for me too.  And even though He has a multitude, He isn’t satisfied to miss just one. 

Always, when I come, He’s there. Smiling soft, welcoming me with joy. And always, when I leave, He sadly watches me go…. Longing for the day when I won’t leave Him any longer. 

And really, I don’t have to. And honestly, I don’t want to. The same God who beckons me into His presence each morning, who waits for me to come to Him, is the same God who promises that if I ask He’ll never leave me alone and that He’ll walk beside me every step of the way. 

He waits for me. Beckons me Home and greets me with joy. And this time, I ask only that when I have to go and face the world, that He will never leave me and that He will keep me by His side. 

For forever and a day. 

Advertisements

Countless beauty 

This world is full of beauty. Beautiful people, beautiful nature, beautiful things. And yet, we seem to miss so much. Perhaps because our idea of beauty is limited to what is easy to see, but it could be just because we don’t know how to look. 
 
Perhaps what is hardest to see is what is actually most beautiful…. 
 
How He walks with me in darkness. 
How beauty will rise from destruction and ashes. 
How pain itself holds evidence of Grace. 
How the shattering is simply a prelude to His restoring. 
 
Perhaps it is in the stumbling and falling and trying over and over again that God makes beautiful things of my life. 
 
If there were no struggle there would be no victory. 
  

Remember

If you seek to serve and obey God and if you ever wonder whose you are and what you are, remember these four things:

Loved. Redeemed. Forgiven. Transformed.

You are loved and because you are loved Holy God sent His Son to redeem you from sin. He paid an infinite price: a price only God could ever pay, and you are with the precious blood of Christ, now belonging to Him.

The purpose of redemption though, is not just to buy you back from the master of sin, but to make a way for you to be forgiven, clean again. And once forgiven, the door is open for God to do His best work in making you a most precious treasure, transformed and remade into gold.

So you are loved. Loved just as you are.
You are redeemed. You are God’s and He takes care of His own.
You are forgiven, cleansed to walk in newness of life.
And you are being transformed. In His time, in His way. And you can rest assured that God makes no mistakes.

 

He Always Will 

It’s taken me 2.5 years to wade through Isaiah’s 66 chapters, but I don’t regret it nor the “detours” that helped it take that long. They were what I needed, and I found that every time I came back to Isaiah my marker was right where I needed it then, too. 

I’ve been reviewing what I learned from this book and I’m left with four thoughts. 

1.) We are broken, but God wants to heal. He gave promise after promise to an apostate nation, He gives promise after promise to me. The difference: they received not the fulfillment but if I obey than the fulfillment is mine. 

2.) When God transforms He completely transforms, but it doesn’t stop there. I am redeemed so that I may serve: feed the hungry, seek justice for the oppressed, etc. It’s a beautiful way for His love to touch the world. 

3.) God is just but He is also merciful. He makes no secrets about what happens if I persist in sin but He also bears long. When I run away, He comes after. When I sin, He is ready to forgive. He bore long with a nation that would not listen, and He bears long with me. 

4.) Lastly, but certainly not least, God is love. It is Love that the rescues the straying, Love that touches the filthy and transforms, and Love that gives every chance possible for me to turn to Him and love Him back. It is Love that has chosen me, love that waits so He can be gracious and forgive. Love builds no barriers and He offers me this chance, this gift, to love as He does, even though I’m broken…. Perhaps because I’m broken. It is love that heals, after all. 

Today I have just one question and it’s not a question of whether or not God loves me or has chosen me or wants me to be with Him forever. He does. He always will. But have I chosen Him?

He is everything I need and He is enough for me. 

  

No Fear (promise of God)

(Thoughts on Isaiah 41, from various translations)

I have seized you from the ends of the earth.
I have called you.
I have said unto you, ‘You are My servant. I have chosen you, and not cast you away.
Fear not. I am with you. Do not be dismayed and look elsewhere for help.
I am your God. I will strengthen you. You will be courageous.
I will help you, protect you, give you relief.
I will uphold you, sustain you, with the right hand of My righteousness.’

Best reason not to fear right here. God has chosen me, He is with me, He is my God. He supplies everything I lack.

But, there’s more.

All those who are angry at you will be ashamed and confounded. They shall be as nothing. If they strive with you they will perish.
You will look for them and will not find them.

I, the Lord thy God, will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. I will strengthen you to live for me.

Just like a daddy does his child: takes him by the hand; listens to his fears; then helps him stand—courageous. Only this is almighty God and little me.

He comes, this gracious God. He takes my trembling hand in His strong one, “My child, what troubles you?” He knows, of course, but He asks just so I can tell Him myself.

And so I do, trembling and ashamed. Half-afraid He’ll turn away and leave me there alone. But He doesn’t. He simply says: “Do not fear. I am here.”

So we stand together: Me, barely released from the grip of fear and Him in whom no fear is. My enemies—they flee from the face of Love and all that remains is Grace unending.

Amazing Love. Amazing Grace.

Guidance (promise of God)

God’s guidance: It’s always there. 

But am I?

  

Am I listening to His voice? Am I seeking His way? Is my soul at rest in Him?

He promised to guide, to teach me the path I am to walk, and the truth is that I desperately need His guidance. 

But, He needs me to come to Him and ask; He needs me to be still and wait for His answer. 

God keeps His promises. The question of whether they come true in my life is answered by my willingness to listen and obey or not. He wants to make them real for me, for you; He waits to shower His love. Let’s not make Him wait any longer. 

Shew me Thy ways, O LORD; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me: for Thou art the God of my salvation, on Thee do I wait all the day.” (Psalm 25:4, 5)

Call to Love

The past few days had been frigidly cold when we found a man sitting near our tables where we serve food to those on the streets. He shared bits and pieces with us of a life I can hardly imagine. And yet, despite his horrible circumstances this man knew something that I’m slow to acknowledge. As we all gathered around, he spoke these words:

“God gave us the Ten Commandments and they’re all about love. I don’t know how we got it so wrong in this country.”

I felt as though his words slammed into my heart and stayed. Because he’s right. And there’s nothing right about it. This man, barely existing, understood what we as Christians should be first in understanding. But we aren’t. Instead we sit in church and think we’ve done our duty. We haven’t even started.

The world is dying because we’ve made the Law a rule to live by instead of the response of a heart captured by love. We’ve become so consumed with making sure we do. everything. exactly. right that we’ve forgotten the spirit of it all. And so the world cries and we do not hear, or if we do we turn away, because the love that touches the broken isn’t in our picture of Christianity.

And we call ourselves His followers?! Him the one who ate with sinners and who waited at the tomb just so Mary’s mourning could be joy, her the one who had been redeemed from defiling sin over and over again. Somehow this doesn’t equate.

When Christ gave the great commission He didn’t mean that His disciples should just preach truth to the world. The gospel is more than that. Yes, it is the truth of redemption and preaching that is a necessity. But unless we live this gospel we are preaching a truth we do not really believe.

If we really love our neighbor as ourselves than we cannot turn away from the pain of the world. By doing that, we permit injustice to continue; lives to be abused; and we tell the world that the God we serve doesn’t care enough to help a life in pain. That’s a problem. And the solution lies, at least partly, with me.

Sir John Powell once said, “Once you say the ‘yes’ of faith to Jesus and accept His blueprint of the fullness of life, the whole world can no longer revolve around you, your needs, your gratifications; you’ll have to revolve around the world, seeking to bandage its wounds, loving dead men into life, finding the lost, wanting the unwanted, and leaving behind all selfish, parasitic concerns which drain our time and energies.”

This is a lesson I’m slow to learn and even slower to live, but I intend to live the gospel that I believe. This doesn’t mean I’ll need to be rescuing those trapped in the worlds worst conditions, but it does mean that I cannot turn away and pretend that they don’t exist. I must let His love flow through me however He asks. And so I’m asking Him to teach me to learn to “love not (only) in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

Of course it’s easier to turn away. Love costs. But Love has also transformed my life and I want the world to know Him too.