Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oo, a shiny! What were you saying?

By the discipline of obedience I get to the place where Abraham was and I see Who God is. I never have a real God until I have come face to face with Him in Jesus Christ, then I know that "in all the world, my God, there is none but Thee, there is none but Thee." The promises of God are of no value to us until by obedience we understand the nature of God. We read some things in the Bible three hundred and sixty-five times and they mean nothing to us, then all of a sudden we see what God means, because in some particular we have obeyed God, and instantly His nature is opened up. (Oswald Chambers)

Then all of a sudden we get ourselves into a tighter mess than we could have imagined, and we throw our hands out, and we give up. That's a little more accurate than "all of a sudden we see what God means." And that act of surrender leads to obedience, and obedience gives us fuller access to God.

Man! That was a long time coming. I am a slow, slow learner. Literally traipsing, holding on to Daddy's hand and tripping over my feet and looking around and bending down to pick up shinies.

But I'm getting it. It's beginning to make sense. And more and more quickly, my instinct is to give up. I'm learning that if we keep even one finger on that thing - whatever it is - that we don't want to surrender, Dad's not going to force it out of our hands. He is infinitely patient; He will wait till we release it. But we are stubborn and do not realize how much we hurt ourselves by holding on. I can only imagine the tears in His eyes, the self-restraint that wants to remove the thorns and heal the wounds but waits until we are ready. What a tender, powerful love!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Look how humble I'm being! ...Oops...

In small group a couple weeks ago, we were talking about the irony of humility. We work and work for it, and we finally attain it only to realize that we're humble - and destroy the whole thing. I find it divinely humorous that we were created self-aware and then were asked to give up all awareness of self for others. But it's that striving, that process that shapes us - consciously or otherwise - into living channels of our Father's love.

Oswald (emphasis mine):
It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want mediaeval haloes, we want something that will make people say - What a wonderful man of prayer he is! What a pious devoted woman she is! If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you all the time...It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God. It takes God's Spirit in us to make us so absolutely humanly His that we are utterly unnoticeable.

I cannot fathom what that state of being might feel like, although I'm finding out quickly what it's like to truly want another's best. Now if the two - the selflessness and the power of God in me - can meld, perhaps then I'll understand a little.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This smacks of fairy tale - and I love it.

Our story - as wandering into redeemed children of our Father God - is the best fairy tale story ever. Except that it's real. I think it's the story, the basis for all other stories, the heart of story.

And if my redemption story is a fairy tale - and Jesus is my Knight in shining armor, truly - then every love story is a dim reflection of the first love story.

It's funny, though - if I'm a princess, and my Knight in shining armor has already swept in and stolen my heart, why do I not live like a princess who is the center of her Knight's life? My life should reflect the grace and wealth and calm of a daughter of the King: I should be quick to love, quick to give and help, quick to soothe, quick to honor responsibility. And all this should flow out of the glorious knowledge that I am loved - truly and deeply and for every fiber of my being but especially for my heart.

As my every day life is beginning to change, I'm understanding more clearly how my Father sees me. And that tiny glimpse into His unfathomable heart has already undone me. Walls and reservations and fears that I didn't even know I was harboring are breaking up and drifting away. I'm also discovering just how deep the wounds of my past are, how jaggedly they have healed, how much pain they still manage to create in me.

As I follow You down this new and long-awaited path, I ask that Your heart beat within and around mine. Drench me in comprehension, compassion, and passion as Your Son's love drenched Him in blood. May those who look on at my life marvel at the difference in my love for them and for You. Father, though it hurts, continue bringing the unreachable places of my heart to the light. Heal them in Your perfect and gentle time. Assuage my fears; fight fiercely, Lord - save my heart and mind from the black darkness. Oh, my Rescuer, I owe You my life - take it; it is Yours.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We serve a King who is able.

I'd forgotten how powerful the story Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is. This morning I was listening to Shane & Shane and came to their song, "Burn Us Up." Watch this:

Burn Us Up - Shane & Shane (sorry for the chatting - best live recording I could find)

One line eats at my heart: "You have made us. Come and save us. We are Yours. But even if You don't... we will burn."

Daddy, I want faith unshakeable. I want to gladly lift my hands to heaven and say, "Burn me up."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

O-bey. OOOO-bey. That's what they remember.

Bill Cosby reference in the title - sorry if it doesn't crack you up like it does me! Ok, I'm not sorry. Whatever.

Oswald is a butt-kicker, man. I've been fighting these last couple weeks to find motivation to empathy, to activity, and to engaging. Let me break that down a little bit:
Empathy - as followers of Christ, we're asked to have the same attitude as He did: He humbled Himself, but He also had compassion on the crowds. I hate how many times I walk away from a crowded place (whether it be work, church, or even the Sunday market) and want to kick myself for pretending to be an island. Who knows? Rather than a sliding glance, a direct smile may do more to soften someone's heart than preaching or tracts ever will. And I'm not afraid of interaction. I don't understand my recent troglodyte inclinations!
Activity - Being tired isn't an excuse, because I'm not. I have enough energy to split pallets and burn marshmallows. I hiked two hours Saturday, and I've cleaned my house. Plus I workout at the gym several times a week - I've got the energy to do what I want. It's lining up what I want with what my Father is doing. Someone explained it this way one time: Remember that verse in Psalms? "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." If your desires are His desires, how on earth could He deny you anything? But there's the trick - the delighting yourself in Him, the aligning your heart with the Heart of God.
Engaging - Kind of goes with empathy. If I want to touch people's lives, I have to step forward and talk to people, I have to love them the way Jesus loves me, I have to remember we really are all ragamuffins...but then I have to act out of that knowledge. Which means I've gotta get it lodged (wadged?) in my head first. And then - once I'm sure of all this - how do I do it?!

Back to Oswald and O-bey. I'll let him finish (he pierces my heart... truth'll do that, won't it?):
The Lord does not give me rules, He makes His standard very clear, and if my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without any hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love some one else in competition with Him, viz., myself. Jesus Christ will not help me to obey Him, I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfil my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God, and when I stand face to face with God I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed. When once God's Redemption comes to the point of obedience in a human soul, it always creates. If I obey Jesus Christ, the Redemption of God will rush through me to other lives, because behind the deed of obedience is the Reality of Almighty God.
(My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, 1935, from