Tuesday, November 26, 2013

At the Cross

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Galations 6:14)

How many things pull my thoughts and my heart away from God? From the truth of Jesus Christ crucified? It all begins, and ends, in that. If I take the truths of the implications of the Cross, and apply them to every situation and concern, I can only find hope. I can only find mercy. I can only find justice. I can only find victory. If I keep the Cross in view, if I imagine a continual cleansing flow, from His wounds, over me, I can only know joy and peace. If I imagine a shadow cast from His Cross, over all the world, over all history, over all the future, hope grows in me. No matter the reports of man. No matter my own inward confusions. They do not decide outcomes. They do not determine truth. Both of these are made complete in the Cross.

Not for a moment only
To lift my weight of sin
Nor simply to grant freedom 
And peace so deep within

But looking unto Jesus
Each moment I believe
Continually, forever
His blessings I receive

His body does not hang there
The nails, the wood, are gone
But in His body, always
The precious wounds belong

They serve as a reminder
Of all that they procured
And in them I find refuge
By them, my heart is stirred

Hi cross has cast its shadow
From 'ere time had begun
it reaches to the future
Its victory is won

His cross has been my portion
Has healed my broken past
It still will lead me onward
As long as life will last

For 'neath the cross of Jesus
So tiny I become
Each care and worry shrinking
Each knot of fear undone

Its shadow is my blanket
Of peace and promised rest
I curl up, safe, contented
His grace becomes my nest

My heart is sure to wander
Play fast and loose with grace
But gently He will bring me
Back to my hiding place

I cling to His dear promise
I gladly run the race
Keep looking unto Jesus
Until I see His face

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Down, Down, Down...That Lovely Sinking Feeling

The sun is shining today. I sit in my rocker and gaze out at the bare tree branches against the clear sky. It's dangerous to sit here, still in my pajamas and robe, afghan over my knees. Too comfy, too tempted to stay just a few more minutes. Still, it's good to take time to just breathe, and ponder.

My friend Deb and I are studying a book together. "Tempted and Tried" by Russell D. Moore. Highly recommended. Last night, the section we were discussing talked about our sometimes desperate need to be proven "right". I suffer from this malady myself. But nowhere can we see it played out with more zeal and variety of platforms than on the Internet. Being a Christian, I find myself drawn to peek in on those debates having to do with the Faith. I can go off in half a dozen different directions, and spend hours dropping in on discussion after discussion. It is a hook that pulls me further and further in, until I realize I am wasting too much time focusing on other people's opinions. Of course, at the bottom of all this is my own need to be right, to find others who share my own convictions and beliefs. I recognize this drive in myself, and  I am not happy about it.

There are SO many "Christian" debates, forums and blogs out there, some edifying and encouraging, others not so much. From time to time, I do pull away from them. Today I am at that point again. I feel a desire to skulk off, away from the cacophony of voices, and just meditate on Jesus. It's so easy to be distracted, so easy to major on the minors, so easy to neglect that one thing, that personal relationship with Him. In fact, it is often easier to follow the distractions than to get down to the nitty gritty of that relationship, because it will mean having to change, having to give up idols, having to admit that, after all, I am not "right" in some of my oh so highly and tightly held convictions. But in the end, it is the best thing.

This morning I read from Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost For His Highest". Here is an excerpt from today's entry:

It is easier to be a fanatic than a faithful soul, because there is something amazingly humbling, particularly to our religious conceit, in being loyal to God.

Being loyal to God. Not to a denomination, or conviction, or creed, or cause, or perception of what the majority would say is "right". I have found that it is more difficult, because it means NOT being heard, not vindicating or justifying myself, not proving I am right. It means becoming smaller, saying less, listening more, and letting go of trying to find acceptance and approval in anyone or anything other than in Him. Funny thing is, the hardest part, letting go, leads to the best part; landing in that sweet realization that He IS enough. HIS love, HIS acceptance, HIS will. They really are all enough. So, down, down, down I go, sinking into the smallest place. At least for a while. At least for today.

Make me smaller, Jesus
Wipe my "self" away

Show me only rather
What You would have me say

Let me first consider
Before I start to speak

What You've said already
You, so mild and meek

Help me not consider
What man may think of me

Help me show them You Lord
So You,in me, they'll see