spoudazo

a blog about daughters in crisis and the moms who love them

Archive for the tag “God”

God is Where You Left Him

Retrace Your StepsNot infrequently, I hear people say they think God has abandoned them, is ignoring them, or is unconcerned with their circumstances. Admittedly, I’ve hopped on that thought train a few times myself. When problems don’t resolve or when they get worse instead of better, it’s tempting to wonder if God has stopped paying attention or if He ever took notice to begin with.

Over time, though, I’ve learned that any inconsistencies I might perceive between God and myself are not faults of His. (He is a rock of stability, omnipotence and permanence — the same yesterday, today and forever. And He cares about the big and the little things in my life — His eye is on even the sparrow and He perceives my every thought.) I’m the one who varies and wavers.

When I can’t find God and it seems like He’s gone wandering off, I’ve learned to retrace my steps until I return to the place I last encountered Him. He’s always right where I left Him! Perhaps I stumbled at one of His commandments, or maybe I began to let doubt leak into my mind. Sometimes the cares of life get distracting. Sometimes I float off on a raft of selfishness. Or of impatience.

Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.   ~ Jeremiah 2:32

Once I come to my senses and seek to mend my broken fellowship with the Father — confess my faults — all is forgiven. We pick up where I left off. If I veered off out of resistance to doing what was required of me (like Jonah), as soon as I make up my mind to follow through, peace flows like a river once again. Wonderful, merciful Savior!

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For Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…

I’ve been thinking about this quote all day. It caught my attention this morning. I am one of those mended traitors.

Lewis‘ statement drives home the point Jesus made when He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) One cannot fully partake of this kingdom filled with unbankruptable resources, unlimited power and unending peace until one is willing to see him/herself as a paupered orphan in need of adoption by the Father of all, a renegade from the absolute laws of the universe who is nonetheless invited to become an heir of the highest King.

This is where every salvation story starts. We stubbornly insist upon viewing ourselves as capable enough, good enough and smart enough to have it all and more without ever needing to resort to God. This is our natural way of thinking.  It doesn’t sound like a blessing to find out that we are poor sinners with no hope of measuring up to a perfect God by our own means. But, oh, how great a blessing it is, for from this lowered, humbled vantage point we first catch sight of what the kingdom of heaven offers.

The essence of humility is recognizing that the highest purpose we can attain to as humans is dependence upon God. There is no other way for man to attain his highest end. “Who, being in the form of God, did not seek the glory in the flesh of being God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8) And – “…the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.” (John 5:19)

While operating as a reflex of the mind of God, the Scriptures tell us that Jesus did so much good upon the Earth that the number of books which could be written about it could fill the planet. This tells me that full participation in the kingdom of heaven results in tremendous blessings for the Earth and its residents.

If Jesus, the one and only person who never sinned, lived in complete dependence upon God and reaped results like that, why don’t we follow His example more closely? Because we are earthly minded. We think ourselves rich in so many ways much as a young child thinks he can cross a busy parking lot without holding mom’s hand.

There is nothing attractive about God or obedience to God within the insulation of self-righteousness, self-reliance, and self-rule. The life Jesus lived and then gave away seems repelling, stultifying and grotesque when we are in this mode. “…He has no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2b)

But arriving at the last outpost of one’s own ways, at wit’s end, the whole thing begins to look much different. It begins to sound like sweet music to hear that God offers amnesty to traitors. How is it possible?

  • Sin is defined as “any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
  • The justice (or wage) earned by sinning is death.
  • Jesus, by not yielding to sin a single time, earned the justice given to a perfect, sinless person: eternal life and victory over death, a seat at the right hand of God, a name higher than any other name, all enemies made a footstool.
  • Jesus volunteered to trade sentences with us. He took our sentence of death upon Himself, conquered it by His resurrection and has the right to impute the justice He earned to us.

No fortune of man, no noble deed, no earnest desire can exterminate sin. Only one thing can remove it from us – the blood of Jesus. God’s love for His fallen creation is so great that He, as Lord of all, chose to empty Himself and pay the ultimate price to restore us to His original intent for man – to live happily in full relationship with our Creator and with one another. He knew that this would not be possible unless He saved us from the consequence of our own free will to reject His parenting, His kingship. What higher form of love could one imagine?

The blood that Jesus shed when He died in our place is the antidote to sin and death. He is our amnesty, our way back.

If you have failed to measure up and you admit it, you are blessed. If you know that you need help beyond yourself, you are blessed. Make the trade. Offer the little half-empty shot glass holding the extent of your resources to God, and, in return, gain access to the entire storehouse of His kingdom. You’ll wonder why you waited so long!

Dear Sleeping Sister

When I heard that you were in crisis I instantly felt a burden to pray. This burden remains. There have been quite a few early mornings when I’ve been awakened with an understanding that God is watching over you and that He knows exactly what you need and that He longs to give it to you. I talk to Him about those things. I understand what it feels like to struggle to the point of nearly losing all hope. God pulled me back from the brink of collapse. His love would not let me go. His love for you is no different.

I am absolutely sure that God’s love is brooding over you just as His love brooded over the face of the Earth when He was about to shape it into something incredibly beautiful. He couldn’t leave the Earth without form and void. He is so creative and powerful and He wants to make and sculpt and transform every part of the universe into exactly what He knows would be its very best outcome. Our souls are no exception. Sister, God has a “best outcome” for your soul and for mine. Can we believe upon Him to the point that we will cast our entire being upon Him in the trust that He is willing and able to transform us according to the renewing of our minds? Can we risk it all to let Him conform us to the image of His dear Son?

One phenomena I have observed in my own life is that reconciliation is a process with many layers. People getting divorced often claim their reason for filing as “irreconcilable differences” between the spouses. It happens in human relationships. It happens between us and God sometimes. Sometimes a relationship breaks so badly that only a miracle can repair it. Not only a miracle is needed but also a willingness in the heart to allow repair to happen. Honestly, I have never seen a situation in which two willing parties could not find a way to reconcile with one another.

We know that God is willing to be reconciled to each and every human. He sent His Son to die a horrible death on the cross in order to make a way for us to be justified and atoned for and covered with the very righteousness of Christ. If we are willing to return to oneness with God, it can and will happen! I’ve seen this in my own life! Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I consent to dwell in the very center of God’s will for me, I find that I suddenly feel drawn to other people who consent to dwell there too! Interesting! Really, our relationships in the body of Christ can be diagnosed very simply by taking inventory of our relationship with God. The way we feel about Him is honestly the way we feel about anyone who has His Spirit living inside of them. The Book of 1 John, as you know, talks about this in much detail. That Epistle is like a mirror we can look into and see what is really happening inside of us! I thank God for this!

I’ve come to this conclusion many times in my life – if God is my #1 priority and my first love above all else and I have a clear conscience and a desire to obey His Word, then anything that comes my way is doable! I can see my place and my function in His body and I can live in peace with my brothers and sisters who are on the same road I am on. When other things begin to usurp God’s #1 place in my heart, then problems with His people suddenly spring up everywhere! Slowly but surely, I’m learning to measure everything in my life by where God ranks in my list of priorities!

Grace and peace to you,

Anna

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