Shattering Egypt

“Then Israel will no longer be tempted to trust in Egypt for help. Egypt’s shattered condition will remind Israel of how sinful she was to trust Egypt in earlier days. Then Israel will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”

(Ezekiel 29:16 NLT)

What a gift when God breaks the bonds of our sin! What a gift when he rips out of our hands our precious idols! What love of our Husband that he would fight, even die, to win back his love from her many ‘mistresses’ after she had cheated and gone astray. Or what love of a Father, that after his son have left home and lost himself, used up every form of sin, He still welcomes us back into the family with celebration and honor.

After?

After we had tasted intimacy with the King and said “This is nice but I think there is something better out there.” What wildernesses we wander in that come up dry and ultimately bring us to back to you! Oh God, how humbling, and bitter sweet is your forgiveness. Let the humility of our selfish efforts change us to remember. To remember to die to our trust in ourselves, and place it back in you hands. You allow us to denounce past “slave drivers”, and take our place as sons and daughters of the king of Kings without recompense.

What painful grace is that which receives us when we do not want to be found. Which follows us, when we do not want to be followed. Who loves us when we want Egypt instead! The Psalmists get it right when the writer meets the grace and mercy of their Maker, and declares “Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come! You alone are worthy!” God’s grace is painful in that it reveals his goodness and our own wretchedness. Once seeing this amazing grace, we can only choose between turning from it to be slaves to self-righteousness or die to self and be alive in Jesus.  His love makes it possible to not be crushed by our sin because he said, Christ was enough. He paid it all. It is finished.

God’s sweet love crushes our idols, and false hopes and false dreams.

I want to praise God for the crushing because he does it to let me know who he is. The he is my God. My God is jealous. My God fights for our love. That I don’t deserve it but he choose to pursue me when I had already betrayed him. Just like Israel, God chose covenant with me based on his efforts and not mine. And he does everything to fight for his Bride.

How great is this love!

Beholding . . .

Beholding God is more important than figuring your sin out. God can do a better job at that anyway. If you abide in Him, he will work out your sanctification –  In his time, by his power, in perfect conviction and perfect grace. Beholding the one who is Love and Truth must produce fruit simply because you cannot behold something so good and not be changed.

Abba, Father!

Today the Lord reminded me to call him “Father”.

I was driving to meet a friend for a play date, trying to find the answers to my heart being so tired, worn out and generally tending toward negative. I could see it clearly and wanted to “fix” it. I knew that I should have grace and love “flowing out of me” from a heart satisfied and loved by my Savior. But how the heck does one “do” that. It certainly wasn’t happening for me in this moment. After a long day of ‘ministry’ activities, where I was hit by sin, gossip, harshness and hardheartedness I was encountering in others… knowing that if God has called me to do ministry for the rest of my days, that I would need to be able to handle all of this and keep my hope and joy in Christ ….  But today I was not feeling it.

I was asking God to help me. I knew that if I didn’t get a handle on all this, I could soon become like those in Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling that give up! I wanted a heart that sees good and not just mistakes. See potential, rather than problems.

I had hoped I would see Jesus’ face in the Church more often. I knew that I had seen him in His Body… but I was having a hard time looking past the all the rest of the crap. My heart was frustrated and loosing perspective.

In a blog I have begun to enjoy describes the difference between loving the universal and local Church:

On the other hand you have the local church.  It’s filled with people.  Actual people who say dumbass things.  Who manipulate out of their aspirations and desires.  Who all to often hurt others and fail to embody love.  It’s much more difficult to love this church. But you can’t love the universal church and not love a local church.  Loving church means loving people, not an idea.  And loving people means loving them when it hurts you to do so.  Sharing in Christ’s sufferings is a brutal reality when you work to love actual human beings.”

See more at here.

I knew the problem and I wanted to fix it.

In the middle of my babbling at God about all of this, what came out of my mouth was “Father”…

 All of a sudden, emotions rushed over me.

Father.

I desperately needing my father. What Romans 8:15 calls,  “Abba! Father”. I am a child. I am in need of unconditional, care of a loving father. I need to be listened to. I need to be taken care of. I need my wounds tended to.

 I cannot heal myself.  Jesus blood is my healing. His forgiveness gives me access to God’s unconditional love. . . his saving grace which makes me free.

And I have collected my fair share of wounds.  From other Christians, family and friends. Only at the cross can they be reconciled, completely and utterly wiped clean. I am being made new each day by the tender hands of my Father. Sometimes I need to get hurt in order for my Father to teach me something. Other times, I fall down and my daddy just wants to hold me as I cry. I have not known an earthly Father like this, but I do know my heavenly Father is one who loves me. Who cares for my every needs, and wipes away my tears.

 I am convinced, this is the only way I can survive the pain that comes from loving a broken Church, my hurting neighbor is by staying as close I can to the loving, compassionate and gracious Father who did everything so that He could be with ME?!

Crazy, awesome grace.