19 December 2014

If the Internet Died Tomorrow

What would I wish I had said?

I would wish I had praised and proclaimed my Lord, one more time. He is Good. He is Faithful--always! And He is so much more than I ever dreamt. He has saved me from my sins . . . made a way for me to move forward in faith and hope and JOY, instead of the despair that was the very air I breathed, before . . . and I hope and pray that everyone can learn this for themselves, can taste of the goodness of His love, can experience the profound, revolutionary paradigm shift that comes when you have a radical encounter with the Love that is God. 

Jesus Christ is a GENEROUS God. He stands waiting to redeem us, every one, right now! He stands waiting for us to turn and face Him, wherever we are, so we can receive the good, good things He wants desperately to give to us. So He can enfold us in His embrace and know of His goodness. We cannot slog this out on our own!!! We cannot, ever, "get it right", no matter how hard we try . . . we were given weaknesses so we could be proven in the midst of the test that is this life, while Jesus was given the Spirit without measure, so He could overcome sin and death. We were given weakness. And because of that mortal weakness, we can never be good in the eyes of God, save under one condition only: that we receive the redemption He offers us, by virtue of His victory over sin and death, offered out of His astounding love for us. We can only be righteous when we are clothed in His righteousness. We can only be holy when He has made us so. We can only see His promises to the faithful fulfilled when we stop trying to earn them, and instead realize that, while the blessings and exaltation we all long for absolutely require diligence and effort, we cannot merit them! We must first receive justification through our Savior by the baptism of fire, and then do what He asks, in all humility, giving every day, every moment, every thought, word and deed, as best we can as a love offering to Him.

I would wish I had been able to find the words to plead with those I love to seek Jesus Christ. Not after the traditions of our fathers, but in plain simplicity. To dismantle the box we put God in. We've put God in a box! A beautiful, complicated, ornate, generations-old box! A prison out of which He cannot break, to be free to move and work miracles in our lives, because we choose, with the supreme right of our agency, to limit Him. To keep Him narrowly defined, confined to the role our own imaginations, our own understandings, assign. We do not do as Paul declared we could, and approach boldly the throne of grace, but view it from afar, as we would a monument, or a curiosity in a museum, too special for the use of the everyday saint, too reserved for those better and more spiritual than we are. And yet, and yet!, God spoke to Cain after Abel was murdered. God spoke to Alma the Younger as he went about seeking to destroy the church. God spoke to Saul as he traveled to where he would seek to kill more Christians. God spoke to Jonah, as he sulked in the desert because Ninevah repented. Our God will welcome your approach, no matter how unworthy you think you are. We're ALL unworthy creatures! That's why He did what He did, and gave us everything. So He could welcome us, whenever and wherever we sought Him, because He won the power to cleanse and forgive us. 

Jesus Christ IS the King of Kings! He is the Lord of Heaven's Armies, God of All Creation. He is the Living God, able to do all things! He is the God of Israel, who fought their battles, healed their sick, raised the dead, and then told His disciples that those who believed in Him would do greater things than that!

He introduced Himself to Abraham as the God of All Supply, El Shaddai. And He will provide for His own . . . and not stingily. He is Jehovah Rafa, Our God Who Heals . . . and He heals everywhere He goes. It is a product of proximity to Him.

But most of all, He is my friend. He said, in John 15:15: "Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." He has talked me through so many things, taught me profoundly beautiful things, chuckled at my mortal impatience and chided me in good humor until I could laugh at myself and try again. He has shared some of His secrets with me, given me beautiful dreams, taught me through His Spirit, and healed me of so many things that I've lost count. He loves to make me laugh, He delights in my efforts to master and learn to use the bewilderingly powerful personality He gave me, and in the joyful exercise of my intellectual and physical being. The more I learn of His perfection, the more I come to understand His love and affection for me, the more clearly I see my own frail mortality, and the more deeply humbled I am that He loved me so much that He gave everything--everything--that I could have peace and hope and joy and LIFE through Him.

Lord, I'm so amazed at Who You Are, and all You have done for Your children....for me. Won't You please reach out and touch the heart of every last person on this earth, Lord, so they might know--have first-hand, experiential knowledge--of what the Love of God really means? That each one can feel, in that impossible paradox, both their own insignificance in comparison to You and the immeasurable worth that Your devotion to them gives? Lord, show them  why You did what You did. Let them have a glimpse of Your goodness and Your absolute trustworthiness. Change for the best the way they see You, and everything else. Touch their eyes, Lord. Touch their hearts. Intercede for them, and open their understandings. Cast fear far from them, and fill the space that's left with Your Presence. Show them the easiness of the way, the lightness of Your burden, the simpleness of a walk with You. Show them they do not have to labor through this life in their own strength, dragging their load alone--but that You will take up the other side of the yoke and make all things possible as they believe in You! Please, Lord. This is my prayer. 

I know all of this sounds high-flying and optimistic, too good to be true, and that believing it all would just set you up for disappointment. I used to think so, too. 

But I was wrong. 

All of those amazing things in scripture? They're true!!! All of the promises God lays out for those who follow Him? He is bound to fulfill them when we do what He says! All of those signs and wonders that blessed so many during His ministry, and the ministry of others? They still happen, and they can happen to you if you truly believe, nothing doubting, nothing fearing

Our God is Good. You can trust Him.  

If He wasn't worthy of total and complete, throw-yourself-from-a-cliff-if-He-told-you-to trust, then He wouldn't be God, because He would be capable of betraying trust. And betraying trust is most definitely not part of the perfection of God. He is a God of truth, and cannot lie. 

You can trust in God. 

Try it.

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!