Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Clearing My Throat



Words stuck in my throat
The shame, the sin, the pain
Somehow they keep life out
Keep love out
Keep love in

The words seep out
The shame, the sin, the pain
Somehow the breath of life comes in
Love pours in
Love overflows

There is grace in truth
The freedom, the joy, the peace
God’s mercy abounds
A promise made
A promise kept

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Warfare

The first time I went to church I was in a car accident about half a block away from the church. I made a left turn and a Jeep I hadn’t seen smashed right into me. There was $12,000 to my car. I had a rental car for over three weeks. The frame was bent. The guy at the auto body shop asked me if I was sure I was okay when he saw the damage to my car.

I didn’t go back to church for quite a while. Although I didn’t really have a strong faith I knew intuitively I was in a spiritual battle. I wasn’t prepared to fight it so I didn’t go back until the summer when a friend convinced me to go. She offered to pray a prayer of protection over me. I even remember finding comfort in that. So that was the beginning of my Christian journey.

I spent a long time going to that church before I attempting taking the same route I did when I was in the accident. It was something small and not horribly inconvenient but God wanted to claim that back. So the day I was baptized I heard God say that he wanted me to go down Broadway. I argued a bit but I decided to be obedient and go that way. I arrived safely and after that day I didn’t think twice if I took that route.

Sometimes we unwittingly concede a lie that we are told. Over a year ago someone made a comment to me that left me believing that my fighting a spiritual battle was somehow responsible for the bad things that were happening to the people I love. I knew in my head that was absolutely silly. The problem was that belief somehow made it into my heart.

Unlike turning left off of Broadway you can’t make a tangible action to claim the truth. I finally confessed to some people that I was feeling that way. They prayed over me and I finally let it go. There are some burdens we are not meant to carry. That was one.

I am learning about spiritual warfare. One thing I have learned this week is that we are only meant to carry so much. I also learned that we can not fight this battle alone.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Down Payment


The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God. (Ephesians 1:14)

I was reading Ephesians 1 today and I stopped at this passage. The Holy Spirit is God’s guarantee. What could that mean? Interestingly I have read this passage more than a dozen times. I never noticed it before today. I am not sure why. In the spring I was studying Ephesians. I even wrote a few blog posts on it.

The guarantee that is being referred to is like a down payment on a loan. God is using the Holy Spirit to show us a piece of our inheritance. So feeling lead by the Spirit or all of the other ways we experience God here on earth is only a small portion of our true inheritance. What a powerful metaphor!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Roller Coaster


The beginning of this year has been a roller coaster ride. Usually that has a negative connotation and I have to admit that I do find it exhausting. Yet if you think about it when you are riding a roller coaster you are held in securely. You go up and down and even upside down and you are held securely.

In hindsight I have noticed a change in the way I handle things. I noticed that I tend to be less likely to carry shame (or at least more likely to notice that it is getting in my way and push through it.) I used to think that if something went wrong I was somehow responsible. If I was responsible I thought that I should try to handle things myself. Somehow without my knowing that is changing.

I have also noticed that I tend to go to God with my emotions more quickly. Although I can’t claim that I leave all my troubles at the cross I can say that I find myself at the cross often. I used to not even understand what that meant. In some ways the language Christians use make things more difficult. When I say I find myself at the cross I mean I find myself bringing my circumstance, emotions, pain to Jesus no matter how yucky they seem.

I even seem to be walking in a confidence I can’t explain. Yes there are ups and downs and I don’t always have all the answers. Yet I seem to know that my circumstances are temporary. I also know that I only need to ask God for the answers.

The other night I found myself very happy. I had no idea why. I was seriously giddy and happy. I am experiencing that more and more often.

I asked for prayer the other night. I am seeing changes in my life but I have seen changes before. Although happiness (or giddiness anyway) is temporary and I can live with that I don’t want the other parts to ever go away. I was afraid it was all fleeting.

Today I realized that when I only notice a change in hindsight it must already have some permanence. And if changes happen without me understanding how that must be God working in my life. God is the unchanging and the ultimate picture of permanence. Somehow I feel like I am less on shaky ground than I thought.

A Beautiful Story

If you read my Christmas letter you know I alluded to being affected by a friend who had been through two profound losses one after another. My friend had twins in the summer. Six weeks later one of the twins, a boy, was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Athophy. He passed away on November 27th of last year. A week after his funeral they discovered their daughter (the other twin) had the same disease. She passed away on January 12th of this year.

My friend has chosen to share her powerful story in her blog. Although the story is sad it is also full of God's grace and an abundance of hope. She has started her testimony and will continue to post as she is able.

Click here to see the beginning of her story. The link is also in my website list on the left (Nicholas gift, Olivia's hope.)