Thursday, July 28, 2011

He Is Who He Is

Let's say that yesterday, I took a pottery class. I was sitting at the wheel molding my clay, changing it, sometimes making it look worse before it looked better, and the clay yelled at me, "Why are you doing that? It should be more like this! I don't like what you're doing!" That would be so absurd, the clay objecting to what the potter was doing. It doesn't make any sense. The clay doesn't get an opinion.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the LORD. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! Jeremiah 18:5-6

But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory Romans 9:20-23

But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8

Read those passages again, maybe a few times. The Romans 9 verses certainly get to me. God can do whatever He wants. We probably won't understand it, and sometimes we may not like it, but He is the Lord, and we do not get an opinion. Just as the clay asking the potter what he is doing is a completey absurdity, so it is that we believe we have the audacity to demand exactly what we want from God.

This is my prayer:
Have Thine Own Way, Lord
Adelaide Pollard (1862-1934)

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Saviour divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exouds 3:13-14

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

Monday, July 25, 2011

Beauty Of The Cross

Lately, I've really ben enjoying readin the Amplified Bible, especially when it comes to some of my favorite verses. It gives more clarity and adds depth of understanding to God's word.

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 New King James Version

For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. 2 Corinthians 5:21 Amplified

Do you see that? We are in Christ; we are examples of God's goodness here on earth. We are made into right relationship with our Maker by the willfull sacrifice of our Lord and Savior. That is just so incredible. And it's not because of anything we've done, but by everything He has done.

And that is the beauty of the cross.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:4-10 Amplified

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tough Stuff

One of my friends has been going something very difficult involving another one of her close friends. She even wrote me a letter to talk about how hurt and confused and guilty she was feeling. We've talked since and she's feeling better, but it was still very painful for both of us.

Meanwhile, someone I met this summer went to Belarus to serve on a missions trip, and one of the house churches he was working with underwent a raid. Although the country's website will tell you that most of the country is Christian, it's actually a government-planted religion that bears little or no resemblance to the Gospel. Their government also has the power to declare any unwanted religious actions illegal, so what my friend was doing was technically breaking a law. He and many other have been imprisoned, but I haven't heard much else for over a week. On a positive note, several house churches have doubled in size since the raid - everyone wants to see what's worth risking lives for! Not knowing what's going on there has caused me crawl further into God's arms.

I know what the promise is:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8

On earth, sometimes it seems like "the bad guys" are winning. But the truth is that, in Christ, we have already won. We just have wait, and worshipping the Lord is the perfect way to do so.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

The LORD reigns;
Let the peoples tremble!
He dwells between the cherubim;
Let the earth be moved!
The LORD is great in Zion,
And He is high above all the peoples.
Let them praise Your great and awesome name—
He is holy.
Psalm 99:1-3

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Heart Is Overwhelmed

I'm back! Did you miss me? I was out visiting my GOV friends again, the whole crew this time, plus a few new friends. I love being there - deep conversation, new books, fascinating projects, adorable children, great food, fun tunes, shenanigans, and just incredible people. I always think about bringing my computer, but I never do because there's always someone to hang out with and something new to talk about.

If I had to pick just one favorite thing from my trip it would have to be Saturday night worship. They have a prayer room, and it's filled with angels (statues, but I also believe God has annointed that space). Some of the little and big kids team up to play guitar, violin, piano, and "drums" (aka water coolers). Someone is in charge of writing the lyrics out on an overhead so the whole room can see, and having all the sheets in order.

Coming together like that to worship the Lord was so beautiful. It's almost indescribable. I love these people so much and to come together to praise our Savior was so amazing. One of the things that amazed me the most was the age range (18months up to 90 years!). I had 6 year old Hana on my lap and at one point I was crying and she asked, "Kate, why are you crying? Aren't you having fun?" And I said, "Yes Hana, in fact I'm crying because I don't think I've had this much fun in a long time"

I saw the Lord up close, and was just so overwhelmed by the pure beauty of His holiness. Experiencing God like that is like nothing else.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness; tremble before and reverently fear Him, all the earth. Psalm 96:9

This people I have formed for Myself; They shall declare My praise. Isaiah 43:21

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spiritual Things

Every day I see more clearly the unity between the covenant God made with Israel and the one that was sealed with the blood of Jesus. It's just absolutely incredible to read about promises and desires in the Old Testament and see them answered in the New.

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. Psalm 55:6

Scripturally, the dove is very significant. It is a dove that descends down upon Jesus at His baptism (Matthew 3:16, and a dove that flies to Noah after the flood (Genesis 8). This dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Lord's constant presence here on earth. It lives inside each one of us. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve so that He might have a relationship with them. But when they sinned, they were distanced. Throughout OT times, the people were working to rebuild a relationship with their Maker. But after much failure and heartache, God knew something else had to be done. So He Himself came down in Jesus. He taught, He healed, He showed us the glory of who He is. Christ lived a sinless life and died that we may enjoy the same relation to the Father He had. He rose again, showing how powerful the Lord is; He is higher than death, victorious over all sin, and He reigns today.

Before He died, Jesus told His followers that He wasn't abandoning them. He said He was leaving them with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would guide them and give them the peace and rest that they needed.

I really wanted to dig into this verse because the Lord's presence is where we find that peace, that comfort. In Jesus' sacrifice, we do have wings like doves; the Holy Spirit is what takes us closer to God.

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing" C.S. Lewis

I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:26-27

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Getting Lost

"Hey! Do you know where you're going", exclaimed a guy a few years older than me. We were both running on a trail, and he looked lost.

"Not really", I said.

"Oh, you just looked so calm I figured you had a plan"

"No I'm just taking it as it comes. I'll get there eventually"

"How long have you been out?"

I looked at my watch for the first time in awhile, "It looks like about an hour and a half"

"And you're not concerned?"

"Not really"

I offered that we could run together, but he wasn't too keen on trusting someone with no plan.

I think the Christian walk is a lot like that. It's about not knowing, not understanding, but finding joy in the journey. I don't know where I'm going to be in five years, but it doesn't bother me so much. God knows where I'm going to be, and that's enough. I have ideas of things I might like, but the Lord knows what I'll love, what I'm called to do. I think that being lost in who God is will take us exactly where we need to be.

The greatest place to be lost is in the sea of grace. The cross is the most epic symbol of who God is. When Christ breathed His last, we were shown what love is in a way that we hadn't known before and will never surpass. Get lost in grace, and find ourselves. We are to be consumed by Jesus, to be a portrait of His glory.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. Matthew 16:25

According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. Philippians 1:20