God-thoughts


The more I fight this sin, the more I realize desperately I need God, and only God.  I prayed that God would grant me conviction of it at conference, and He did, but in a very different way than I expected. But his work definitely began there, and has continued just as definitely ever since.

Every day God keeps bringing something new into my life to help me deal with it/make sure I don’t forget. Went to my fellowship’s Friday praise night and  couldn’t seem to pray, so I battled it out with my Bible in hand and mental cries to God as I stared out at the street. He brought me again and again to verses that spoke directly to me – frightened me with Hebrews 12:17, speaking of Esau, “for you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (italics mine). He sought it diligently with tears – that’s what I was doing! And yet I wasn’t being convicted as much as I thought I should be – still the idea of my sin reminded mostly in my head, not my heart – not a heart-deep conviction. It occurred to me then for the first time that I might never attain repentance, that I would simply remain in the sin and be cast out from God forever.

Shaken up by what had happened at conference, I’d looked forward the whole week after it to finishing  REAPing(an acronym my fellowship uses, meant to stand for Review your notes, Evaluate your life, Apply, and Pray). Saturday, I finally did. Spent several hours, reading over my sermon notes and thoughts, reading again and again the Scriptures God’s called me too, praying desperately. Turned out 8 or so pages of journalling,  interspersed with Scripture. And for almost the first time began to feel a deep misery over my sin. When you read over and over again how sinful you are, at some point, God willing, the words will begin to reach you.

Conference, praise night, REAP, then church. In church yesterday, the pastor taught on Hebrews 12: 1-3(”let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”), and on sin, among other things. God’s working in my life is almost frighteningly clear. Scratch that, it is frightening.

He listed three categories of sin, and the first was as follows:

1)when we succumb to our own temptation – when we’re running the race and we bite the dust – we’re on our knees, bowed down – exactly where God wants us to be

(more…)

Found something I wrote a while ago and decided to post it.

Keep writing, a friend told me lately.
🙂

I’m grateful for friends like these – for those small scraps of words we fling each other, balls of encouragement and acquaintanceship, those small things that keep us going or deepen our lives a little further.

Writing is hard. I wish I had more friends like that – wish that I was a professional writer so that I had more people to push me to do this difficult and always fearful thing. I don’t really know what this post is about. Generally, I have some overall theme – grief, or the hurt of the world, or things going on in my life lately. Not this time. So expect it to be more rambling than usual.

I’ve been thinking lately about many things – joy, grief, the satisfaction we find in God, the abandonment of God…
Marianne Moore once said

“satisfaction is a lowly thing, how pure a thing is joy.”

I wish we were more content in God. To be a Christian is not to be in a state of constant self-examination and recrimination and emotional turmoil. To be a Christian, at its best, it to live clearly and simply – and calmly – in the light of God’s love. There are endless complexities to living life as a Christian. But the love of God – like all loves, while containing all complexities within it, is at heart as simple as a child. Love is one of the simplest emotions. It simply is. We know and see it and rely on it without having to test and try it for what it is. It’s the depth of it we often don’t understand. But if we did – if we understood that, and understood the forgiveness of God, how much better and more joyful our lives as Christians would be!

Have Mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgression. –Psalm 51:1

steadfast love. and abundant mercy which blots out trangression. Love unfaltering, steady as an oak, able to weather a million storms, not because the object of its affection is strong, but because the love itself possesses that degree of strength. The steadfastness of God’s love is a testament to His character. A testament to who He is, not who we are. Steadfast love chooses who it will love – almost by chance, it seems sometimes, so indecipherable are its methods – and then loves forever, whether its object will or no. Similarly, abundant mercy blots out transgressions. We are forgiven for all eternity. Not today, not tomorrow, not this moment – forever. Christ has been teaching me the immensity and the truth of his forgiveness lately. I’ve only touched the brink – but I understand that his forgiveness, his blood, is a living thing which covers me every single day of my life – the only thing that keeps me from the brink, from falling over into hell, where I belong, where the devil would have me. And his blood is a sure thing, because it’s based on a once-for-all sacrifice. A pact sealed and set. I’m glad sometimes that I come from a third-world culture. Here in America promises don’t mean much. Pacts scarcely exist. Even business deals are constantly broken. In the culture I grew up, promises are made with blood and by the oath of family – you swear by your blood or your family or your most precious possession(usually land) – and by golly, you’d better keep that promise. Not all do, of course – but at least the idea is still there.

When God promises it’s an implacable thing.

back to my original thought – to be satisfied with God is one thing. I suspect I will strive the rest of my life for that only. And yet what God promises – and oh the glory – what we will obtain in heaven at least is joy – pure joy. Joy which in its intensity and the purity of this emotion is as far above satisfaction as the sky is above the earth. Joy. Pure, unparalleled happiness. A history professor of mine is constantly mocking the idea of heaven. “A constant Disneyland”, he cries, hopping about like a monkey and pulling mockingly excited faces. “how wonderful!” – sardonically. He underestimates God, and completely fails to have sufficient imagination to comprehend the idea of a place in which only joy exists. Joy is like love – endlessly simple and yet possessed of so many forms and derivations we can never grow tired of it. And he fails to understand – joy in its real form is such an intensely sweet and delicious emotion. In heaven, it will be complete. And it will be simple – in heaven we won’t even need all those extra forms, because it will all be centered around God.

Sometimes I try to imagine a life, a world without God. In the end, I always realize I can’t. I wonder how people who don’t believe in God can handle it. Facing a life and particularly death without God, I’d be filled with such abject despair. The world is full of such darkness already.

For you are good to me. What’s that song? Vineyard – Good to Me. God is good to me. Not all the time -not my definition of good – His rather. But still, oh, so good.

You take me as you find me. I wrote this a while ago as part of a poem. As Vivian once said, I don’t need to be more to be saved. Thank God, he is more powerful than that, and overrides all my protestations of sin and inadequacy and weakness.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; and his mercy endures forever” – Psalm 118.

“I will worship You/for You are great and gentle too/Master who sets me free/Kind Judge who gives mercy/Great God who whispers come/Into your arms I run” – more lyrics

My father once said that people try to separate out salvation – break it down into many bits, parts, particles, acts, stages – a sort of ongoing or ever-changing, undefinable process. Salvation comes in only one shining package, and once given, it’s done – for all eternity. I am saved for all eternity. It is well with my soul.

I don’t remember who said this, but someone once said –

“I really don’t want it all. I just want God in my life.”

That should be enough.

God, let it be enough.

and for some reason I felt compelled to include this last, non-christian quote(not sure why since it doesn’t even really relate…)

“Sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one in the world who is struggling, who’s frustrated, unsatisfied, barely getting by. That feeling is a lie. And if you just hold on, just find the courage to face it all for another day, someone or something will find you to make it all okay. Because we all need a little help sometimes. Someone to help us hear the music in the world. To remind us that it won’t always be this way. That someone is out there and that someone will find you.”
-Lucas Scott, One Tree Hill

God finds us.