Another Thought, or two…
“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God. I am expecting a lot today but nothing I know He can’t provide. When God determines to use a life, no matter how fast the person runs, God will catch him. After long and furious pursuits and conflicts of wills, you’d think the surrender would always be climactic, but God often uses what seems virtually unnoticeable to one to explosively apprehend another” (William Kerry, Beth Moore, Believing God, pg. 179)
I found this quote on Pam’s blog from today and thought it went perfectly with what I was trying, not so well, to say earlier….
Also, at church earlier I was printing off some old files of mine that I needed and came across something that I typed out… it’s actually a paraphrase of Romans 8 from the Message. Hurt is all around me right now… I have several friends that are just in pure stinky situations… I have no words for them, I have nothing to offer because I’ve never been where they are, my heart aches and my gut wrenches for them and their families… and I hate not being able to offer anything. Well, back to the paraphrase, I came across this and I think that I might offer this…
But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life…
God’s Spirit beckons…
There are things to do and places to go!
This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are.
We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children.
And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
That’s why I don’t think there’s any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
God knew what he was doing from the very beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our lives there in him. After God made that decision of what his children should be like, he followed it up by calling people by name. After he called them by name, he set them on a solid basis with himself. And then, after getting them established, he stayed with them to the end, gloriously completing what he had begun.
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?
If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us,to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way!
Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
This…THIS… THIS could make a Baptist dance, could it not? This is what I want my 2009 to be about… This is what I want to be evident to those I meet on the street, to those I meet in my children’s schools, to those I meet in the grocery store… This is what I want to remember as I say yes to something… This passion of Christ is what I want to be able to get on board with daily… to drink deep from the water that is offered each of us… I want my 2009 in make an eternal impact… because HE has made an impact on my life… my humble speck of a life…