Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I love you, Mary J.!

I have to say, nothing cures a pity party like Mary J. Blige....I'm feeling so ridiculously awesome about myself it's unbelievable, and I don't mind telling you that. It's a good today! Thank you, Mary J.! And for those of you who haven't heard her album, the Breakthrough, today is the day you should go and do that.

Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I said to the Lord, "You are my Lord; apart from you I have no god thing."
As for the saints who are in the land, they are glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.
I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.

Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.

I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
Even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
My body will also rest secure because you will abandon me to the grave,
Nor let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the path of my life;
You will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Peter's Cure for Enduring Suffering

I'm pretty sure I stole this from someone somewhere, but when I was writing in my journal I failed to mention whom, so please forgive me for stealing, but it is beautiful and something I need every day right now. I was reading through some of my old entries and I had worked my way through this passage in 1 Peter Chapter 4. Regarding suffering:

1) Expect it
~(vs 12) Beloved, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as thought something strange were happening to

2) Rejoice in it (both now and later)
~(vs 13) But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.

3) Know that you will be blessed and have God's Spirit
~(vs 14) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

4) Evaluate why you are suffering and do not be ashamed
~(vs 15 & 16) If you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name!

5) Understand that God's judgement first begins with His children.
~(vs 17) For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for
those who do not obey the gospel of God?

6) Entrust your soul to God and keep doing what is right no matter what the cost.
~(vs 19) So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their FAITHFUL creator and continue
to do good.

“In your presence is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forever more.” Psalm 16:11

“All my empty dreams suddenly lost their charm and my heart began to throb with a bewildering passion for the wisdom of eternal truth…My God, how I burned with longing to have wings to carry me back to you, away from all earthly things, although I had no idea what you would do with me!” -Augustine


If God has ever loved you enough to set you free from something REALLY big, then you know how much work it takes, and how exhausting it can make oneself. Or in my case, multiple REALLY big things. And this is where I find myself today. Full of joy, and standing in full assurance of God's promises to me, but exhausted because every waking moment is a battle.

Even now, I feel tired and am tempted to go take a nap, but I know I won't. Instead, I am going to share a little about what God has shown me lately. He has displayed His full gospel in me. First, what a doubtful sinner I am, primarily longing after the things that I want instead of waiting patiently for the Lord to bless me with every beautiful gift. And how prone I am to wander away from Him. How after all this time, there are still so many dark places in my heart that the Lord wants to shed light on and set me free. And this is the first place we must all come to, a realization that God is holy and perfect and that we will never find full satisfaction apart from knowing Him. In Him is all light, and all goodness, all radiance-it's where I find my true self. Because this body is shadowed with the taint of this earth, and Satan is constantly looking to steal from me everything that the Lord awards me. And many days, I feel defeated.

But one of the dearest scriptures to my heart has been 1 John 4:4 and Hebrews 7:25,

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

And friends, that is the best news I've ever heard. When I am to weary, tired or defeated to fight for myself, my Savior fights for me. When I am not strong enough to endure, the one who is in me endures for me. In Him is all the strength I will ever need. And His arm is not sure, He doesn't leave a work have done. No, He is able to save COMPLETELY.

But in the end of battle, I know the rest and sweetness that will come to me through Christ Jesus. Acts 3:19 is one of my most favorite scriptures,

Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.

Do I have a role in God's healing and ability to set me free? Yes, to repent, to turn my face to the Lord's. And what does He do? Purifies me, wipes me clean, heals me, and brings the sweetest refreshing one could imagine.

In the meantime, God shows me how beautiful I am because He desires me. He created me and He has called me:

Redeemed of the Lord
Sought after
God's delight is in me

It's a process, I'm walking through it. I'm striving with all my might towards the Light, and He is meeting me. My life is His word. The Hope of Christ is my anchor to my sould, firm and secure even when I am not. His grace is STRONG. His mercy is new every morning. He has called me, He is faithful and He does the good work in me that He promises to finish. God is greater than my heart, and he knows all. My delight is in Him.

I was darkness, but He has made me light. Now I am light in Jesus Christ my Lord. Everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible.

If anyone else is struggling with a place of darkness or bondage, I encourage you to turn your face to the Lord. Endure. Press through. Press into Jesus, for He will not fail. And know that freedom is comes at a price. Christ accomplished it on the cross, and it is a free gift, all we must do is accept. But in this world it is not easy, and it takes work.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." -Galatians 5:1

P.S. The photo is a picture of a Zambian sunset.