Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Are You Running?

I hope to continue Culture Watch later on this week but until then I wanted to re-post this entry which was posted January 21, 2009. It's a prayer for our country to return to the Lord and his precepts. This journal entry was written, August 2006 while study the Old Testament book of Joel. This prayer was inspired by the books in the Bible, Joel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and John. It was written out of a personal conviction and distress over the spiritual condition of this country.

Return, Return, Even now Return! 

Return to Me and I will Return to you. Even now! Do not be afraid! Do not run!
Why are you running? Why are you trembling? 

Do you not know? Have you not heard? I am the LORD and there is no other. 

Yes, I am mighty, powerful and holy but I love you. I sent my son to die for you. While you were dead in your sin. While you were fiercely set against me my Son died for you. 

It's not too late to turn back. Turn back now! 

I know all you have done or will do and I still love you! I have more to offer you than the world. I want to shower you with my love and favor. I will never leave you for another love.

Please don't leave me for another. I long to shower you with my love and blessing. 

I accept you for who you are but you don't accept me.

Why? Why are you not returning? 

Don't you know that the pleasures of this world, the very pleasures you are seeking, will bring destruction? Don't you know that the freedoms the world promises always brings bondage?

Only can give you the freedom that you desire. 

Slow down! Stop running! Sit with me. Give me a chance to win your heart. I am big enough to handle your doubts. I am strong enough to care for you. Open your heart to me. Pour out your pain.

For you, I sent my Son to the cross to pay for your sin once and for all, yet you refuse to accept the sacrifice. I led my only Son like a lamb to the slaughter. He went willingly not opening his mouth and yet you still question my love for you. 

What will it take to get your attention?  Return, Return, Even now Return.......

Saturday, April 18, 2009

To Whom Shall We Go?

Jesus asked his disciples, "You do not want to leave too, do you? Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God."
Where do you turn when life doesn't make sense? I want to share with you a moment of doubt. It is one of my most intimate moments with the Lord. A moment I never want to forget. This is one stone of many that I will cherish always. May I always be like Peter and say, "to whom shall I go?" And like Isaiah, "Apart from the Lord there is no God."
A couple of years ago I went on a walk alone. I was praying to God when all of a sudden I felt a wave of doubt sweep over me. One minute I was praising the Lord and the next minute I was doubting His very existence. 
Have you ever had one of those moments? Now, I'm not talking about a moment of doubting if He is going to come through for you? I'm talking about doubting His very existence? 
"I can't make sense of this situation so I'm going to assume there is no God." 
"Lord, I can't comprehend "why" so I'm going to walk away." 
"I'm just going to go through life as if you don't exist.
You see I couldn't make sense of Him. My finite mind couldn't comprehend His infinite power
Let me ask the question,"what is it about human nature that assumes that if we can't fully understand something than it must not be true?" 
If my finite mind can't comprehend an infinite powerful God than He must not exist? I became distraught. I felt hopeless, powerless and broken. I cried out to the Lord in faith. I confessed my unbelief and asked him to help me believe. Here is the analogy he gave me.

Liz, if Hollen (who was 2 at the time) asked you where she came from and how she came into the world and you told her in great detail about the sperm and the egg, implementation, and the stages of pregnancy. She would have no capacity to understand but does it make it any less real? 
Does her capacity to understand change the truth? 
Hollen who just saw Dumbo could choose to believe that the stork dropped her off in a sweet little basket with a note attached but that doesn't change the reality of how she came to be does it? 
You asking me and doubting me because you have no capacity to understand my nature is like Hollen asking you and expecting to understand the stages of child birth.
Where do you turn when doubt arises? This side of eternity we will have moments of doubt. I pray we will be like Simon Peter and say, "Lord, Whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life."
Picture above was taken by me. I couldn't resist using it as to me it captures pure worship and un-abandoned praise.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Who is it You are Looking For?

When the officials and chief priest came to seize Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went to them knowing all that was going to happen to him, he asked them, "Who is it you want?"
"Jesus of Nazareth", they replied.I AM HE", Jesus said. Again Jesus asked them, "Who is it you want?" "Jesus of Nazareth", they replied. "I told you I AM HE"... they bound him and took him away. (John 18:4-8)

In three short verses Jesus says "I AM HE" twice. I am the one you are looking for. The one who will go willingly to die for the sins of mankind. For what the leaders of the world plot for evil the Lord orchestrates for good. Jesus was the one they were looking for in the garden to crucify. He is the one we look to to save us from our sins and call Lord. His death and ressurection brings us life. The ultimate paradox, His death brings life.

Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus weeping over the death of her Lord, Jesus asked Mary, "Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" (John 20:10-13) Let's read this account in further detail.

Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, " Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said "and I don't know where they have put him." At this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. John 20:10-15

"Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it that you are looking for?"

Could it be that when we are in the midst of our anguish that our minds become cloudy? We are so focused on our present reality that we don't see Jesus as he really is? Jesus high and lifted up, seated at the right hand of God the Father. We are so focused on our present situation that we fail to see all that He is doing in our lives and in the lives of others. 

I want to point out that this same chapter tells us that Mary went to Peter and John and told them that "they" had taken him out of the tomb. The difference was that when Peter and John saw the empty tomb they believed and went back to their homes. 

You see, like Mary I can get so caught up in my present sufferings that I react as if there is no God at all. 

What about you? Can you identify with Mary's weeping? Do you feel her sorrow? If you like me can identify, let me encourage you, God does not leave us in our pit of despair. You see Mary went looking for Jesus. She went looking expecting to find him in the tomb dead unable to save her from her present grief but nevertheless she went looking. 

Mary went looking to anoint Jesus with oil but she is the one who left that day anointed! 

Let me ask you, "who is it that you are looking for?" "who is it that you seek?"Jesus was and is and will be your deliverer. He is more than able to meet all my needs and he is more than able to meet yours as well.

Jesus is Alive!! He is and will be our ever present help in our time of need.