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Archive for October, 2010

It’s dark here in my cave of Adullum. I can’t see a way out. I don’t know which direction to go. I don’t feel able to escape this place. I am lost, confused, and afraid.

I have dreams of what it’s like outside, but also fears that I’ll die here. This cave of David is becoming like the tomb of Christ, where there was dead silence. It seemed that God’s heart had stopped beating. His voice could not be heard. His light could not be seen. His presence could not be felt. So how could His promises be kept?

Satan smirked. He mocked. He could not imagine that God could be crushed to death, yet not destroyed. He could not conceive hope in the midst of helplessness. He could not fathom faith while in the darkest night. Yet on the third day of his perceived victory, on the day of God’s seeming defeat, the stone was moved, light pierced the darkness, and the dead was resurrected.

What seemed dim, hopeless, confusing to man, even appeared real enough to deceive the great deceiver, was not to God. The unseen was visible to Him. The darkest day in the universe magnified God’s brightest hour, and the Son rose as the sun does rise to put an end to night.

Who would have thought that the dread of death could turn to hope for me? In losing my life, surely life I will find! Because the death of my flesh leads my spirit to rise, just as a seed dies and brings the tree to life. In dying to everything in me but Christ, I believe in God like Paul did to truly come alive. My flesh will know the death of Christ in hope that my spirit will experience His resurrection to life.

This cave reminds me I cannot save myself no matter who I am or what I do. This tomb proves I must be rescued. So even in this darkness I believe in the light. Even as I’m lost I know God will make a way. Even in the fear I have reason for faith. Even in this death, I have hope in being raised.

Dying doesn’t kill. But unbelief will. Only hopelessness makes us helpless. Being crushed doesn’t mean I am not loved. Being unable to see doesn’t mean the light isn’t shining. Being stripped of my strength doesn’t mean I have none left. Jesus fell from a throne to a tomb so I could rise from a cave to a kingdom. Even as He knelt in the garden to weep, God still had promises He intended to keep.

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Am I guilty, downcast, ashamed, discouraged? The weight of these – sin’s consequences – has already crushed the Son of God on the cross, to burden us no longer. By His wounds we are set free.

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Who He Is

There is a lover of your soul so actively and passionately aware of you that his thoughts of you outnumber the sand on the seashore. His affections are so set on you that he has been willing to sacrifice all he has, all he is, to know you. He has risked total exposure, endured utter humiliation, and acted like a fool in love to be known by you. There is no price he wouldn’t pay to gain you, no place he wouldn’t invade to find you. His love for you is not blind. He knows more of you than you know of yourself. He likes you better and loves you deeper. His love for you is intentional, unconditional, unending, flawless, selfless- willing even to let you go. He does not need you at all, yet he wants all of you with all that he is. He is all in. Are you?

He knows and chose what he got himself into when he set his heart on you. He understood that he would have to give infinitely more than he’d ever receive from you. He realized that the price to pursue you was not worth the prize in gaining you, at least not to someone who doesn’t understand love. For Love has made you worth it to him. He hasn’t doubted its power for a moment. Have you?

He prepared himself for rejection before you turned away. He humbled himself before you spit in his face. He cried out to God to save you before you hammered the nail. He was broken to shatter the walls around your heart long before you built them. You do not take him by surprise. Before you existed he foresaw your life and chose to be on your side. He has nothing left to decide. Do you?

Could we be passive toward him if we knew how active he is toward us? Does he have to scream out our name with tears running down his face? Should he hang before us with blood-drenched, outstretched arms? Hasn’t he?

Are we guilty or ashamed to be loved like this when we can be so cold? Are we downcast or discouraged in considering how little we’ve loved him in return? The weight of even these has already crushed the Son of God at calvary, to burden us no longer. By his wounds he was pleased to set us free.

The cross has proved that he loves you with everything he is. Not because you’ve been good to him, but because He’s been good to you. Because of who he is. Love is who he is.

Yet his blood makes you good to him. If you are cleansed by it, the Father favors you like his one and only son. He delights in you. He does not despise your failures, but gladly strengthens your weaknesses like a doctor enjoys binding wounds. He has full hope for you. His eyes are kind toward you and His touch is warm. His voice to you is soft and his thoughts of you are good. His ways with you are gentle. His grace for you has made him safe.

If only you could feel for yourself how he has felt for you, you’d never have another pitiful thought. If only you could see His eyes lit with love for you, your heart would melt. If only you could hear the songs he sings over you. If only you could enjoy him like he enjoys you. If only you could believe. Will you?

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:16-20)

 

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These Open Seas

I’m holding on for dear life, but I don’t feel safe. The rain pours so heavy I think I might sink. And the waves, they’re crashing so loud. Can you hear me calling out? God, I need you now. I know you won’t let me drown, but the uncertainty of these open seas has paralyzed me.

Back when the sun was shining I could’ve claimed great faith. Now the only faithfulness anchoring me is yours. Moments turn to minutes, and minutes to hours, and hours to days. Still, it rains. And I can’t tell rain drops from tear drops anymore. I just know it pours.

I glimpse a hint of sun beyond the storm, but I can’t feel its warmth. If I’m drifting further, I can’t be sure. At times I believe I’m heading toward the light, but it doesn’t seem any closer tonight. I’m fighting. I’m striving. I’m rowing. I’m hoping. But I’m broken. Desperate for direction as my world starts to spin. Yet I know what’s most important is that you calm the storm within.

So maybe you don’t need to still the raging sea as long as you say the word and still the waves in me. Maybe I don’t need a stronger boat as soon as I know that I’m not alone.  And maybe I don’t have to know where we are as sure as I can be safe in your arms.

Though I don’t know how I’ll survive, you promised me I wouldn’t die. I know it’s true – you cannot lie. And I know you’re where the sun still shines and yet here in my stormy nights. Even though I can barely see, nothing is hidden from your sight. Even my darkness is light in your eyes.

As blind as it may be, my faith will surely see one day that you loved me perfectly. My lungs that cry out, “Why God, why?” will shout for joy eternally because you are so good to me. Lord, I know you weep too and wait as eagerly as I do to wipe these tears we cry. I know you want to keep me as safe as I plead to be. You are just as concerned, but these lessons I learn will be worth the pain we endure. My good Shepherd, my great Father. Now we face the waves together. Then we’re face to face… forever.

Till I arrive there on your glorious shore, may I trust in your unfailing love. Enough to believe it’s deeper than these raging seas, wider than the dim horizon, higher than the midnight sky, stronger than the storm in me. So I don’t have to be afraid. May I remain in your presence for peace and claim your grace to be brave. For you oh Lord are faithful, forever and always.

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. (Isaiah 54:10)

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the reason

I love being your daughter. I live to make you a proud Father. You didn’t have to make me your responsibility. You had the freedom to leave me alone forever. You didn’t need to adopt me. And I don’t know why you did other than because you – out of selfless, tender compassion and utter goodness – noticed me. And you must have looked long enough to be moved to action.. to take care of me.

You looked at me with hopeful eyes. You saw potential I didn’t possess. You saw beauty where a pile of ashes sat. You saw a princess when I was only pitiful. Because you can make something out of nothing. You make dreams realities. In a word you pierce the utter darkness with glorious light.

While I sat in the dark, you rose like the sun. When I didn’t have a reason to live, you died to give me one. When I didn’t have a dime to my name, there’s nothing you didn’t give so I could be rich. When I was naked, you were stripped to clothe me. When I was cold, you stretched out your arms to hold me. When I felt unloved, your outstretched arms were nailed to the cross to prove me wrong.

You walk through a desert and flowers spring up under your feet. You walked into me and breathed life. It is because of you I rise. I’m lovely because you love me. So there is no reason for pride – just praise. I am a result of who you are. All I will ever be is your testimony. And forever I will testify. You are the reason I’m alive.

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In the details

I love how God is just as glorious in a snowflake as He is in a starry sky. He is in the details as much as He is in the big picture, yet the details are precious in a secret way. It’s the little private blessings of His fingerprints.

For example, today I was little nervous to go to church in SF by myself for the first time because Ricky was my guide last week. On BART I picked a random seat and within moments I was surrounded by a co-ed boyscouts (ironic right?) group who kept me company and were so entertaining with the word games and fun conversations. As I waited at the Muni station, the girl next to me happened to be wearing TOMS shoes. Great ice-breaker 🙂

I thought I knew the way to church better than I did, got off at what I thought was the right stop, and before I knew it I was lost. Suddenly, as you dream might happen in situations like these, I heard someone call my name. It was Ricky, who had decided he should come find me in case I got lost. Thank You Lord.

I was unsure how I would spend my afternoon in SF after church because I wanted to go to the musicians gathering that evening and didn’t want to commute home in between times. By God’s sovereignty, my super cool friend Sammy who lives in SF spent all afternoon as my tour guide. We had a blast! We drove all the way around SF and stopped at all the cool spots.

It came time to go to the musician meeting, and all I had was the street address and Sam’s map of the city. The moment I looked at the map to find the street, I kid you not, my eyes immediately landed on it. Sam got me there just in time. Thank You Lord.

I was a little nervous about going to a meeting where I barely knew anyone, yet it was a great time of fellowship and enjoying the Lord’s presence. I didn’t know how I’d get back to BART, and a girl I just met offered me a ride. Thank You Lord.

He’s not just in the big dreams. He’s in the details 🙂

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Faithful

Whenever walls stand in my way

Or darkness falls suddenly

And I tend like a sheep to stray

Your staff will direct me


If mountains threaten not to move

Although my faith grows stronger

I will not turn, but look above

And wait a little longer


Even if You say “Climb”, I’ll come

Trusting Your perfect will;

Your strength in me can turn it from

A mountain to a hill


Or if before a fork I stand

Unsure which choice to make

You’ll walk beside me, hand in hand

Despite the road I take


Sometimes I’ll choose the hardest route

Though I’m the one to blame

And taunted by regret and doubt

You’re faithful just the same


My confidence, You will restore

As my faith becomes sight

You’ll go behind me and before

And make the wrong things right


Yes, despite my humanity

You keep Your promises

So I find hope eternally

In Your great faithfulness!


“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” (Heb. 10:23)

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