Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Words of Life

I'm over how flippantly we talk to each other.
I'm over the disrespect, the sarcasm, the mean jokes, the crude humor, the harsh language, the cutting tone of voice.
I'm over it.
I'm over us saying we love each other, then denying that a minute later because of our speech.
I'm over us sharing Jesus with our mouths, then using the same mouths to utter profanity. Do we really think we can walk in this every day and think Jesus doesn't see? Do we really think it somehow escapes Him? Do you really think you can get away with it? Do we really think we don't need to repent, seek forgiveness, and experience incredible beautiful grace?

Ephesians 4 always kicks me in the booty.vs. 17-18: This I say and testify in the Lord, that you must NO LONGER walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alientated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
vs. 27: Give NO opporunity to the devil!!
vs. 29-32: Let NO corrupt talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building others up, as it fits the occassion, that it may give grace to those who hear. DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption! Let ALL bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. BE KIND to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
You don't think when you gossip about each other, speak rudely to each other, make fun of each don't think you aren't giving a foothold to the devil? You don't think you're giving him an opportunity? You don't think you're completely missing building a sister up? My roomate, Emily, said something to me tonight that just stuck out to me. She said "the world is going to tear us down already...why would we want to do its job for it?" Why? Why do we want to tear each other down, gossip, spread rumors, speak rudely, accept those who speak rudely, be awful to each other, accept sexual talk...why would we want to do this when its everywhere around us?

What about Matthew 5:13-16?You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden! Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light in the house. In the same way, LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE BEFORE OTHERS, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
If you profess to know Jesus Christ, He has CHOSEN YOU to represent Him. Are you taking this seriously? Are you living your life as a city set upon a hill, so that His light shines through you to the world. Can people tell you love Jesus by what comes out of your mouth? Proverbs says it's that which comes out of your mouth that defiles you. What is coming out of your mouth? Is it edifying and life-giving, or is it condescending and life-sucking? How are you characterized?
This is an on-going issue.

Check out James 3. If this chapter doesn't convict you then something isnt right. vs. 5-12 says,
The tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, THIS MUST NOT BE SO! Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

What fruit are you yielding?
What are you known for?

So, I say it again. I'm over it. I'm over it in my life. I'm over it in yours. I'm over us being lazy and ambivalent and pretending like this isn't an issue. I'M OVER IT. We cannot keep speaking so boldly about Jesus and using our mouths the way we use them.

How incredible and beautiful is it that Jesus has chosen us to represent Him.
How amazing is it that He gave us mouths and voices and speech.
How humbling is it that He continues to use us and be faithful to us when we're faithless!
How awesome is it that we can use those mouths to HONOR HIM!
We can use our mouths to GIVE LIFE. That we can use to them UPLIFT EACH OTHER when life is hard. Life is hard. Let's stick together in this; let's fight togther for Jesus. Let's represent His grace and love and kindness. Let's walk in obedience. Let's love others as He has loved us. Let's represent the body of Christ in a unity and peace and grace and love He calls us to.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Let's do this.

Shattered Dreams

My dreams have been shattered, and I have been left wanting nothing other than Jesus.

A friend recommended the book Shattered Dreams (Larry Crabb) to me - I couldn't wait to get it in the mail so I began reading it online. Within the first two pages I was weeping. Finally...finally my thoughts and feelings were articulated and written down on pages that I could read and read and read again. Pages full of Scripture and truth that has already pointed me, over and over, to the face of Christ.

Deep within me has always been the innate desire to love and be loved. I'm sure everyone can relate to that. We desire and seek acceptance in some form or another; whether it's in older role models because our parents never showed us love, friendships of the same sex because they never had that companionship, co-workers because we think we're failures, or the opposite sex because we've never been desired in an earthly way. The last one is, and always has been, my struggle. Since I was a young girl, all I've ever dreamed of and desired is to be a wife and mom. You can ask my mom, I "nursed" my babies as mom nursed my little brother, I played "house" for hours thoroughly entertained, I "married" a few of my little boy friends when I was 4, 5, 6 years old, I planned my entire wedding and childrens names and physical features by the age of 10. In one sentance, I have always been "in love with love." That is typical for a girl, more common than not...but a little difference for me that's more of a minority, it's never been "fulfilled." I never had that sweet 16 first kiss, the jitters because of that special date with that special guy, the unknowns of a relationship, the mystery of emotion/feeling/love. The older I got the more it became an "issue" that I hated talking about, or if I did talk about it I left it emotionless. But, as I search the depths of my heart, I am crushed. I've realized over the past year is that my earthly dreams have been completely shattered by the sovereign and righteous hands of my Jesus.
"What He's doing while we suffer is leading us into the depths of our being, into the center of our soul where we feel our strongest passions. It's there that we discover our desire for God. We begin to feel a desire to know Him that not only survives all our pain, but actually thrives in it until that desire becomes more intense than our desire for all the good things we still want. Through the pain of shattered lower dreams, we wake up to the realization that we want an encounter with God more than we want the blessings of this life. And that begins a revolution in our lives." (page 4)

I have placed so much of my identity and affirmation in man. I have believed I was ugly and undesireable because one guy didn't find me attractive, I have considered myself unworthy and unpursuable because one guy chose another girl over me, I have fallen prey to self-deprication and self-loathing because I couldn't get the attention of one guy...all the while Jesus has been there saying "you are all beautiful, My love, there is no flaw in you." (Song of Solomon 4:8) He has told me that "...the imperishable beautiful of a gentle and quiet spirit is, in God's sight, very precious." (1 Peter 3:4) He has whispered in my ear "Your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is His name." (Isaiah 54:5) He has valiantly declared "Neither death nor life, nor angels nore rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from MY LOVE, in Christ Jesus, our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39)

C.S. Lewis said once, "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was made for another world."

I was made to be HIS. I am a sojourner. This world is simply a fleeting moment in time for me to proudly boast in my Jesus, my Lover, until I am eternally united with Him. I am NOT here to be fulfilled and find my satisfaction in a man, children, a stable income, a good house, comfort...It's all about Jesus.

In his writings Confessions, St. Augustine says this, "How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose!...You drove them from me, You who are the True, the Sovereign Joy. You drove them from me and took their place, You who are sweeter than all pleasure."

Jesus has shattered my dreams, whether for the moment or for my time here on earth I do not know, but He has shattered them so that all I'm left with is HIM...and I am satisfied. As I lay in bed and weep I feel His arms circling me and telling me:

"I loved you before you ever loved Me."
"I am enough. I am enough. I am enough."

He is better my friends. He is so much better. In Christ is found a full and complete satisfaction/a joy that is indescribable...look at Scripture. Joy in Jesus surpasses all physical, emotional, and mental pain, persucution, suffering...His joy is supernatural and absolutely beautiful. It is by Him bringing me to the depths of my heart and disecting my idols and shattering my ideas and way of thinking that I have come to see this. It is really truly all about Jesus.

Rich or poor, God, I want You more than anything that glitters in this world
Be my all, all consuming fire.
You can have all my hands can hold; my heart, mind, strength, and soul
Be my all, all consuming fire...
We have all we need in You.

I have tasted You, Jesus, and I want no other...