Monday, July 23, 2012

An Explanation of The Cross of Jesus, The One Called Christ
I read of a God of justice. A God who looks at this broken world full of pain and hurt and wrong doing, and He grieves. He weeps and the Holy Spirit intercedes with deep groaning for us. Then this grieving God takes action and punishes the wicked and cruel. He repairs the brokenness of the world with fire. He is like a potter putting unfinished clay vessels into the furnace, or like a metalsmith refining gold with fire. There is suffering, there is justice. Recompense for evil actions taken by evil people. Whole countries getting what they deserve. A God of justice bringing justice.
I read of a God of love. A God who made people in His image and loves them with a depth that none can imagine. A God who looks at this world and smiles at what he sees. He rejoices and delights in the people He has made. Then this joy filled God takes action and provides adventure and fun and beauty for his people to enjoy. He is like a Father playing in the back yard with His children, or like a big brother who teaches his siblings the joys of bike riding and catching butterflies. There is joy, there is love. Love that knows no bounds pours out over the entire world in sunshine and song and dance. A loved people being lavished on by a God of love. A God of love being loving.
I read that this God of justice and this God of love are one in the same. A heart ripped in two by a need to see justice done, and love for those whom justice would punish. How are these two attributes of God reconciled? At the cross. The place where Jesus willingly died for the sake of the people who he loved. Where the justice of God came down, but came down on the one head that didn’t deserve it. Jesus, the one called Christ, took on his body and soul the punishment for a world filled with injustice. In doing this He freed the beloved people from their deserved punishment so that they might enjoy the beauty that they were created to live in for eternity.
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son, that none should parish, but all could have eternal life.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Why am I still surprised?

2 chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked says, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” A prayer made in humility is a prayer quickly answered by God. For “He opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34) This is the lesson I learned yet again this week. I woke up on Sunday morning, in my Grandparents house, anxious. I was staying there because that day I was going to Saltspring Island to speak at my home church there. Waking up at 5am because of nervousness I rolled over and fell back asleep. That’s when the dreams started. I dreamt that the support for my ministry with Youth Unlimited dried up. Everyone stopped giving. I was left doing this work alone. So I was forced to return to work as a waitress. (Shudder.) I thought that I was done with that purgatory in my life. I woke up again when my alarm went off and this time I was anxious about two things. About speaking that morning, and about my financial situation. See the thing is that my dream wasn’t unfounded. I have had a growing concern about my fundraising account for the past 6 months or so as my expenses have increased and the inflow of giving hasn’t. With all of this bouncing around my head I cried out to Jesus saying “God, I have a job to do today. I have a message to deliver that I believe you have given me for this church today. I can’t have this anxiety distracting me from what I came here to do. So please take it from me. And ps- please bring in more money. Amen.” I went to the Island, delivered my message and it was very well received. I had only been back at my grandparents house for a few hours that afternoon when my Uncle handed me a check increasing their support of our ministry. WOW. Talk about immediate answer to prayer! And get this... my Uncle said to me. “Ya, I’ve been planning on sending this in for a while now, I just haven’t gotten around to it. So I figured I could just give it to you and you can take it in to head office yourself.” WOW again. Dear Uncle I know exactly why you “never got around” to it earlier. Because you were intended by an all-knowing God to hand it to me that day, to glorify Him. To show that He is powerful. To show that He knows all of our concerns and is willing and able to help. Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Wolves Inside

Most of the time as a youth worker I feel that my teenagers never listen to a word I say. So I was pleasantly surprised last week when, in the middle of our conversation, one of my teens explained to me how she made a decision recently; "Well I was just thinking about what you said that one time..about the wolves inside us..." Huh, no kidding. That's awesome! She was remembering a story that I had told her a while back when we were talking about giving our lives to Jesus one day at a time, one piece of our hearts at a time. It's a great little story, so I thought I would share it here as well.
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."