Thursday, January 26, 2012

RE: Psalm 24

This psalm has changed my life. God has used it to confront me with the reality of my forgiveness. “If the son sets you free you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). God is done counting my sin against me; he has atoned for my failures (John 19:29). If your hope is in Christ than the same is true for you. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). You can stand on his holy hill because you have clean hands and a pure heart; Jesus has given them to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Boy Who Roars

In the day care next door there is a boy who roars.
A myriad of bright plastic toys and huge picture books litter the floor in the office-turned-daycare, but without exception he will dress up in a stretchy ninja costume and roar at people. He bothers me. The roaring in itself is not so distracting. The kids who weep, scream, and laugh don’t disturb me, but the roaring boy makes me angry, sad, and afraid.
I roared when I was a kid and was pretty violent. I roared when I felt threatened, weak or scared because I thought if other kids feared me they wouldn’t hurt me. Maybe that kid roars for the same that reasons I did; he may just think he’s a lion. That is possible for a six year old. But I hit, scratched, and bit for the same reasons that I roared. I’m certain I would have been expelled if I’d gone to a public school. I’m even more certain that without Christ I’d have gotten worse.
Christian, from Moulin Rouge says, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.” Whether or not it’s the greatest, it has certainly been among the hardest to learn. Since I was a kid I’ve been scared people would hurt me if I wasn’t powerful; so I’ve roared, argued, grown big beards, learned big words, and hidden in the back.
Living out of fear is not God’s plan for me (1 John 4:18). I’ve gotten better and am still improving. God is changing me (Philippians 1:6). He’s teaching me to love and to be loved. I learned as a child that Jesus loved me (John 3:16); I learned in high school that God’s love was unconditional (Romans 8:38). I learned in college that loving someone meant lowering defences (1 Corinthians 13:7). Now I’m learning to submit to God's love by loving the most unlovable person, myself (Mark 12:31).
It’s hardest to love yourself because you know what you’ve done. We know what we're like, but loving ourselves is an absolute must if we don’t want to roar any more. Don't be content to live in fear; God says we don’t have to be (Philippians 4:6). We don’t need to be powerful to be safe in the God’s hand. His love is sufficient to comfort, his strength sufficient to protect.
Baby Elephant by: wwarby
Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. –Luke 12:32

Monday, January 16, 2012

RE: Psalm 23

I only know a handful of poems by heart; this is one. My favorite bit is that the Lord “makes” the psalmist lie down in green pastures. That reminds me of myself. I am so reluctant to slow down and appreciate the blessings and presence of God that he often has to force me to “lie down.” Sometimes he does it with a broken car, sick day, or snow storm. God has used all these things to make me sit down and soak in his presence. They have been some of the best times I have ever had in the presence of the Lord. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days (Eph 5:16).