Jars of wonderful.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God & not to us.” {2 Corinthians 4:7}

Archive for the category “Scripture”

Crying in Public & a Heart for Lost People

I went to the library earlier this afternoon to write a paper, and instead ended up praying and dwelling on Scripture (common occurrence)—but so is reading other blogs, blogging, pinteresting, excessively writing in my planner, and making lists.  Type A, I know.
I was sitting at a table by myself in a small common area.  There was minimal chatter and lots of goose bumps.  Our library is freezing.
A group of students convened to work on a group project at a larger table to my forefront; one student was blind and had a guide dog accompanying him.
Once about half an hour passed, I finally collected myself after shedding several tears over God’s heart for a group of people I love—I’m accustomed to crying in public; I do it so often it’s hardly embarrassing anymore.
The group disassembled and the student who was blind stood up and began to leave the table.  The walkway was short before he had to turn right to descend the stairs and exit the library.  However, as he made his way down the walkway, his guide dog didn’t make him turn right, and the student walked directly into another student who was working at another table.  The collision was audible and my heart broke for the blind student’s embarrassment.
The student quickly found his way around the corner, down the stairs, and practically ran out of the double doors—only heightening the number of eyes on him.
Since I had been crying only a couple of minutes beforehand, I proceeded to march myself to the bathroom, as I was a basket case.  I wanted to glare at every person that was staring at the student, as if that would alleviate his humiliation and make me feel better.  I’m glad that I didn’t.  I’m half as bold as I think myself to be—even if it’s about chastisement.
Here comes the analogy…

Does my heart break for spiritually blind people?  Do I weep at the sight of a person who does not know and love Jesus Christ as Lord?  Am I filled with sorrow when I see a nonbeliever “collide” with their sin and disappointments and their lack of a God to seek for security and atonement?
The funny thing is, I was dwelling on Psalm 126 when I was praying a few moments before the incident (and had even shared it with a friend this morning!).
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.  Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’  The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.  Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb!  Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (v. 1-6, ESV).

Jesus has graciously granted me undeserved salvation, so I am joyful and glad and tell others that “The Lord has done great things” for me.  But I also go “out weeping” because others do not know Jesus, and I bear “the seed for sowing.”  Because I know of God’s goodness to me displayed on the Cross, where He stood in my place and paid my punishment for my sin, there is a internal, produced desire to share the Gospel with people who do not know/believe it.
I don’t just want people to know about Jesus—I want them to experience the joy of being freely forgiven.
The Psalm concludes with the coolest assurance—those who desire and labor for the salvation of nonbelievers “shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”  If my heart is joyful at Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf and breaking for people who do not believe the Truth of His message, He is faithful to use me in the salvation of others.
Advertisements

Wonderful Wednesday.

I GET TO GO HOME TODAY!!!!!

After my last class today that dismisses at 2:45, Bradley and I are headed home for Easter!  I miss my family so much.  It feels like we’re going on a vacation every time we pack up the car and head down I-40 East.

More on the wonderful-ness of this week, posted on Wednesday!

Wonderful Song:
Ben Rector, “Loving You is Easy”
Such a cute song, and then someone from the audience gave him the subject of “cats” on which to improv for the third verse.  Just watch.
Wonderful Scripture: 
Revelation 21:1-8

Wonderful Friend: 
I have a new roommate, Rebekah! We are both very thankful she is now living with me : ) I found this sweet note on my desk on Tuesday, the afternoon of the day she moved in:

Wonderful Picture:
I found honeysuckles on campus last Thursday and enjoyed a snack:

Wonderful Pin:

but for real…I would not stop talking.

Wonderful Food:
Monday afternoon I walked to Cup-a-Jo to work and enjoyed black coffee, hummus on a wheat bagel (why hasn’t this been a part of my life until now?), and silly conversation with the stranger that sat at the table with me.

Something to Chew On: “Trust Issues”

“I have trust issues…”

How often have girls said or heard this phrase?  What does this reveal about the heart of the person who stated it?

I think it’s a cover-up; a wall.  Girls use it all the time to create spiritual and/or emotional distance.

Essentially, we don’t want people to know us.  We know us, and we know it’s not pretty.  It’s much easier and more enjoyable for people to think we aren’t struggling; we don’t doubt; we don’t really sin.

Before I continue, I am not just talking about girls not wanting to scream, “I LOVE YOU!” to their first boyfriend a week after dating–that’s called common sense.  I’m talking about girls, specifically, who only want to vacuum and never lint roll.

They run at the sound of any question about their relationship with their boyfriend–especially any question about the physicality of their relationship. What is behind this defense-mechanism is shame.

Of course they know that they are in sin, so they’re ashamed–but they don’t see Jesus as the ultimate rescuer, and so they refuse to let anyone in who might help them come to the throne empty-handed yet totally righteous.

And how do I know about all these defense-mechanisms?  Because I used them too.  Although I’ve never used the exact term “trust issues”, I have absolutely been guilty of making excuses for withholding truth about my relationships, my struggles, my doubts, and my heart–and it was stifling to my walk with Jesus and to my sanctification.  In fact, becuase I was consistently unopened, it made crawling out of my habitual sin much more difficult.

By the grace of God alone, that period of time in my life did not last long–but it was certainly painful (so much so, that it nearly brings me to tears every time I think about how much I distanced myself from Jesus…not that tearing up is an uncommon thing for me). And I am so thankful that my sin was brought to light, addressed, and redeemed.

“‘…do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him.  For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and chastises every son whom He receives.’  It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”

{Hebrews 12:5-7}

I know several girls who deal with “trust issues” in conjunction with seeing their fathers as lacking.  Absence, rejection, and sin of fathers often correlates with girls who cling to their boyfriends (and hurry to find another one after a break-up), and ferociously push away any accountability or honesty from other women/girls.

As we all know, correlation does not equal causality. And as Jesus tells us, sin done to us does not equal the right to sin–just look at the Cross for that one.  Was/Is Jesus sinned against?  Constantly by every person who ever lived, is living, and will live.  Did he sin?  Not at all.  Did he even go so far as to pay the price for all that wickedness?  It was His joy.

“Jesus…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

{Hebrews 12:2}

So let me be clear:  No girl has an excuse to desire a boyfriend/husband more than Jesus; no girl has the right to blame their father for their “trust issues”.

However…

Thank you, Daddy, for staying in our home, for never rejecting me, for being absolutely sinful and humbly  repentant (and forgiving).  You always used to tell me that you loved me but loved Mommie the most.  My pride was always a little crushed and I honestly was confused by it–but now (I think) I understand.

You show me how my husband is supposed to think about me.  You show me how my husband is supposed to love his children.  You show me how my husband is supposed to labor arduously for our family (parents, in-laws, nieces, nephews, siblings, wife, and children).  You show me how to seek Jesus after death has, very literally, stared you in the face.

I am grateful to witness your sin, experience your love and sacrifice, and be a product of your marriage.  Thank you for not giving me a reason to withhold my heart from honest accountability.  Thank you for not giving me “trust issues” with which to struggle.

You give me reasons to look to Jesus for complete satisfaction, and I wouldn’t trade you for the world.  I am so glad God gave me to you.

Something to Chew On: “Therefore”

Bradley and I were running errands last week (something that is done at our leisure over spring break), and talking in the car about verses in the Bible. Our conversations aren’t always that spiritual, it was just something that was on his mind.

I was blessed this past summer to be a part of The City Project, in which I was able to take a Christian Philosophy course through Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  I gained biblical and relevant wisdom and knowledge–read: It was humbling.  I distinctly remember my professor telling us that the best and worst thing we [believers] ever did was insert verses in the Bible.

Short verses are good for memorization; bad for comprehension. The large majority of Scripture are letters or stories.  They are not to be read sporatically or inadvertenly.  They are to be read and studied completely.

It would not make sense to pick up a novel and read one sentence on page 328…so why do we do this with Scripture?

Bradley joked that he loves when people–(we have both been very guilty of this in the past; we do not want to be condemning, but sanctified and wise)–quote a verse that begins with “Therefore…” Obviously that word refers to something that was previously said. We should probably read what was previously read in order to better comprehend what is about to be said.

For example: The Great Commission.

The widely accepted first word of The Great Commission is “Therefore”.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:19-20)

However, Jesus’ first words were: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (v. 18).

By saying that “all authority” is His, Jesus exercised His authority post-resurrection.  He proved His compassion by His death on our behalf and His ultimate Lordship by His raising Himself from the dead.  I hope I never get over that.

His command for us to make disciples, to make them of all nations, and His promise that He will always be with us are legitimized by His resurrection.  This is why He has the authority to command us and the power to fulfill His promise.

Don’t quote verses that begin with “Therefore.”  Read your Bible…and see Jesus for who He is.

Truth Tuesday

This is the packet I received last night when I attended my church‘s Night of Prayer.  Members are to utilize this packet as a guide to set aside time everyday to pray (with 2 days of fasting).  The idea is to foster collective prayer and enhanced unity in fellowship via increased adoration for Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection–all for the sake of His renown.

Yesterday, being Monday, was a bit crazy (and rainy), and having to embarrassingly leave a class early, praying my car wouldn’t be towed where I parked it, and driving in the rain on the way there with my gas light on while on the phone with an upset girlfriend–I was not in the mood to pray.  I can be really mature at times…

Worshipping and praying with close friends is incredible.  While I sat with a lot of fellow college students, I was able to pray with my best friend and co-small group leader, Bailey, her awesome boyfriend Justin, and the man who is courting me, Bradley.  Such power in those relationships; so many relationships for which to pray; so many people in our lives who have yet to be raised to life in Jesus.  Come, Lord.

The Gospel manifested between believers is literally Heaven on earth. Move us, Spirit.

Our pastor read a passage toward the beginning of the night, Psalm 126:

“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”

We rejoice for our own salvation and weap for those who are still lost. But those who labor for Christ’s fame with a broken heart for sin will not return empty-handed.  May I recall the depth of which Jesus pulled me out, so that I will ask and expect Him to do the same for other people.  Use me; send me.  You took my place–You will be glorified for eternity.

Post Navigation