Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The prayer had become second-nature. The teenage broken heart has no comfortable middle-ground between extremes. Almost ten years later, and after having nursed some adult-sized broken hearts, I've found my perspective changing on love.
Love is a bloody, smelly, wrenching thing. It demands the voluntary butchering of our most basic instinct of self-preservation. Love is a matter of weighing the options, recognizing the cost, and choosing to walk the road in humility anyway. It places no requirements on the recipient, making no demands, and shunning recognition for its sacrifice. It does not seek a name for itself. It just meekly and quietly is.
Jesus was the divine nature of God in human form, and He spoke passionately about love. His sacrifice on the cross encompassed all extremes from the height of suffering to the depth of humiliation, and all to personify the love His life had already defined. Love does not show its fullness of beauty in hazy, starry-eyed obsession. Instead, it shines in dust drinking slick drops of blood from a man writhing in agony for people who had rejected Him. Love looks like raised, red welts opening to jagged gashes on an innocent back; like deep purple bruises and bloodshot eyes. Love is a man utterly emptied of self even as His body clamored for attention. It is a man who sees the greatness of His sacrifice misunderstood and mocked even to this day, and still chooses to say, "You're worth My mercy." And it echoes in the voice of the Father as He grieves over the terror coming to a world unwilling to listen:
Your ways and your doings have procured these things for you. This is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches to your heart. O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Jer. 4:18-19
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
13. that one email that came out of nowhere the other day from a friend who didn't know just how much i needed to hear she'd been praying for me.
14. that You don't give up on me, and when You talk behind my back it's always a positive thing. You don't reprimand needlessly, and You choose to label me by my future and not my failures.
15. karen and her vision/leadership. sometimes i get so overwhelmed by the dream of a house of prayer here in the city. i feel like it can't possibly happen because we're so tiny and so weak. her enthusiasm and faith are contagious, and i always come away feeling inspired.
16. darron. so many ups and downs, so many painful memories but so much side-splitting laughter...and at the end of the day, sometimes he's the only one i feel understands me--even when he doesn't always agree.
17. the fact darron doesn't always agree...and says so.
18. random strangers who become friends.
19. monday night Bible study. we are the oddest assortment of people, and most of us have nothing in common except You, but somehow it works. i always learn something, and almost always meet someone new.
20. meeting new people. it's so funny that i used to be terrified of the thing that so often fulfills me now. You have such creativity, and finding that spark of "kindred spirit" in people feels like a treasure hunt. everybody has a story to tell. every person i meet shapes my life in some way...just like You intended.
21. the way ethan screams my name when he is surprised to see me. the great tragedy of adulthood is in how we so often mask our enthusiasm for the sake of pride.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
You know me well–my thoughts, motives, secret desires. You sit enthroned on the circle of the earth, supreme in Your vantage point and unrivaled in any good thing. You spoke the world into being, placed Your very breath inside of me, and hold all things in Your hands………and You choose to spend Your time praying for me. Love? We don’t even begin to know what that means.
So often I’ve felt abandoned when I prayed, “God show me what to do” and He never seemed to answer. Perhaps, just perhaps, His silence was simply an encouragement not to do anything. Psalm 27:13-14
The times I can’t seem to see God are usually the times He’s got my back….
We will never greatly influence those who look exactly like us. To be a world-changer requires demolishing our own comfort zones.
I am the rose and the lily; You wears my love like a diadem. I will waive my life as a banner; Your love is my standard. Everything fades in the light of Your glory; everything burns in the fire of Your word.
Your song is my slingshot; Your Word is your rock. I will open my mouth and cast the mountain into the sea.
I will embrace the lowest place; I’ll say “yes” to the process. You are faithful.
I have no control over other people’s integrity.
Monday, October 12, 2009
In order for faith to mature it needs situations where faith alone can sustain us. For this reason, God will allow us to go through times when we must trust Him in spite of how things appear. In those times, against the glaring face of a negative reality, true faith arises, appropriates courage and locks into the integrity of God’s promise. We must let faith arise in the context of resistance. This is the faith that touches God’s heart. — Francis Frangipane
God, do I touch You with my faith? Do I move Your emotions in my complete reliance on You? Do I ravish Your heart by saying again and again, “Lord, where could I go. You alone have the words of life?”
I can’t stand alone. It’s only in Your strength that I’m able to make it from one day to the next. It’s only Your love that sustains me in loving You. I’m confused and conflicted, twisted in knots, and easily distracted even on my best days. It’s only by Your grace that I’m able to face the next day in the faith that You do all things well. You don’t withhold good things from Your children. You don’t inflict needless suffering. Your heart has been moved with compassion again and again for the plight of Your children.
You don’t author confusion. You don’t create chaos. You call the imperfect and broken, beautiful. Though nothing is hidden from Your eyes, You choose to speak to my potential rather than my failures.
How can You prune with such tenderness? How is it that You know just the right mixture of joy and pain required to bear fruit in our lives? Do I wound You when I don’t trust—when I fall into double-mindedness, having forgotten Your goodness in the blindness of my circumstances?
In this I am confident: You are always, always, always, always, always good, and I will see Your goodness in the land of the living, for it follows me all the days of my life.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Sometimes in the busyness of life, we lose focus. I'm grateful for the way God always brings back perspective.
"There's gonna be a wedding; it's the reason that I'm living---to marry the Lamb." ~Tim Reimherr, "More than Ashes"