Friday, February 19, 2010

Free Stuff!

A few years ago I was visiting with a little boy from China. His father was an international student and his family lived a simple life here in America. When I told him that his faith in Jesus meant he would spend forever in heaven with God he asked, "Is there any free stuff there?" "It's ALL free!" I answered. "And it's better than anything you'll ever see on earth!"

It's been awhile--allow me to share today's thoughts from my personal time in the book of Romans. The freedom of heaven will comes later, but even today we can be free from our guilt and sin.

February 18, 2010
Romans 3:21-31
Verse 24, 27: “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus…. Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.”

Impression: When will this stubborn pride and fleshly mind of mine accept the fact that there is nothing I have or can do to bring about my justification (a right legal standing before God—not guilty)?! It is God who justifies. It is God who gave justification as a gift. According to verses 25-26, the death of Christ was a demonstration of the righteousness of God. It revealed the wickedness of man and the price required to redeem man from death. God, in His goodness and grace, allows me to come to Him on the basis of faith. Simple faith. No works will accomplish His righteousness: not penance, not baptism, not attendance, not heritage, not commitments, not sacrifice, not self-recrimination, not guilt, not self-adulation. The only way to gain a “not guilty” status before Almighty God is by simple, resting faith in Jesus as the One who bore my sin.
And He doesn’t just cover my sin now, today. Verse 25 says that God, in the forebearance of His righteousness, passed over the sins previously committed. What generosity! He doesn’t forgive me from this point forward—He forgives me from this point backward and into this present time—the now of today. And tomorrow, this will be the present time (now) and the previously committed sins will be forgiven then. And the next day, previously committed sins will be forgiven along with the present sins… and on, and on.
“For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” (verse 28).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Prayer of Silence

My life is so full of myself that my prayers are full of words.   "Thank You, God, for....  I praise You because You are....  Please work in this situation....."  In all, my prayer life is not characterized as a time of waiting. I will not pretend to say that I sit and wait on the Lord in a literal sense.
Waiting for His answer to prayer, waiting for Him to intervene in a situation—yes, I am learning to wait for Him in this way. But to be silent before Him just because He is….that is something I have not mastered—or even really thought about. To simply sit (or prostrate myself) in silence—silence of thought, silence of word—content with His Lordship—shows a sense of humility. Of smallness. Of service. To simply “be” while God “is.” This, too, is worship.

Zechariah 2:13 Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for He is aroused from His holy habitation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

We Interrupt Your Life For This Important Announcement

Yesterday God interrupted my life. Again. His interruptions are always sovereign, always loving, always good; not always--pleasant. Unlike some interruptions, yesterday's involved a broken waterpipe and a flooded basement. Despite the damage and loss, we experienced an unreal sense of contentment and peace.

There was no worry or anxiety, no impatience, no unkind word. It was a work of the Lord. There was a job to do. Its cause was irrelevant at the time. What a heart quenching experience to work dilligently alongside one another simply doing what needed to be done. David ripped out the ruined drywall while I prepped the trail we would make up the stairs, through the living room, kitchen, and laundry room. While he cut and bagged wet carpet and matting, I manuevered the truck for easier loading.

As we surveyed the empty, open room at the end of our haul, we congratulated each other on a job well done. True, by the end of the day I was a little testy under the weight of all that needed to be done and had been put on hold. But it was a blessed day.

My take-away? What thoughts and attitudes do I need to change to experience the same kind of peace and joy in the other interruptions of life? What made today different? Perhaps it was simply the acknowledgement that God knew. God knew the demands on my life. God knew the outcome of just such an interruption. God knew the blessings of working side by side and making plans for a new, improved basement.

Even now, God knows the demands on your life. He knows the outcome of each interruption that comes your way. He knows the blessings that lie in store. He knows how today's interruption will redirect your life to a new, improved relationship with Himself.

How has God used today's interruptions in your life?

"The mind of man plans his way,But the LORD directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9