Tag Archives: sovereignty

Confidence in the Face of Fear

I’m going to be straight up with you- it’s been rough lately. I’ve had this weird cough that comes out at night for weeks, and a muscle spasm in my back for a week straight which isn’t loving the cough, and among all this I’m trying to process and go through the rigors of figuring out what is going on with this tumor I’ve been diagnosed with.

But the regular daily routines continue, and I’m keeping up with them as best I can. Laundry. Dishes. Groceries. Diapers. Children to chase and keep occupied. I am incredibly blessed to have a husband who works from home full time and has prepared 90% of all lunches and dinners for the past- how many years? I don’t know, but he’s a gem, that is for sure.

Almost strangely, by the grace of God I’m sure, I have been ok for the most part. I’m taking one day, one task at a time, and trying to enjoy what I can in this life, as much as I can. Mostly these days, I’m enjoying watching my tiny person start to explore her world, and interact with it. I mean- there was that moment today when I took my eyes off her for 30 seconds and she got into the garbage can, started eating a banana peel, and I kind of lost it, but overall, she is just this tiny little package of contagious joy.

I just love my kids. They make my head spin sometimes and I am crazy tired at the end of the day, but there is nothing I would rather be doing.

I recently shared an article “Worrying About Your Future,” and by the grace of God I have actually stomped my foot down on occasion and said “No. That’s it. Not going there,” put the worries about my future behind me and carried on with my day. I like that groove. It’s working for me. I don’t like to think about things I have no control over. For example, when I had a scheduled C-section last year, I prepared by not reading a single article about C-sections. If there were potential complications, I preferred to remain in the dark, because what could I do about them anyway? But when they brought me into that bright and surprisingly busy room, it suddenly hit me: I have no idea what is happening here. What on earth was I thinking?

I met with the surgeon this week who might be doing my surgery, or might not be. This surgery seems to be more complicated than I would have hoped, and it sounds like she will be involving more people in the matter. There were many more maybes in this appointment than I would like. So many potential things that “might” result, or treatments that they “might” try, or methods that they “might” use to “maybe have to” reconstruct my stomach. Just so many maybes. And I’m supposed to do my research on these maybes, I suppose, so that I’m not surprised by them. Continue reading

He Has Mercy On Whom He Wills

The doctrine of election is an important truth that greatly helps us to properly understand, humbly accept, and greatly appreciate the love of God displayed in Christ’s death.  The emphasis in scripture has always been that God freely sets His special love and affection on particular people.  I know that I’m stepping on toes.  I’m aware that I’m dwindling down my audience, but scripturally it is impossible to avoid this topic if I’m going to discuss the love of God in depth.  Consider God’s chosen people Israel:

“The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.  It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath the he swore to your fathers… (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)” Continue reading

Of My Own Free Will?

One day the Bright and Morning Star arose in my heart.  I was sitting in the shadows of death, a prisoner bound and condemned to die.  My hands hung limp at my side and I had run out of the strength to try and free myself from my chains.  Glimpses of light here and there offered hope, but always they eluded me.  The darkness, with its strange appeal, crowded closer in each day.  My eyes we sore and weary of seeking a way out.  The darkness, though I knew it bound me, seemed to me the only way.  I tried to resist its approach, but how could I?  It didn’t only come from outside, it sprung up from within, overflowing from my own heart.

What were these words upon my tongue?  Lies.  Blasphemy.  Hatred.  I walked among a people of unclean lips.  My tongue had been a rudder to steer hell’s own ship.  Wickedness sprang forth from wellsprings of deceit.  The overflow of my hard heart had caused my Father’s grief.

Yes lonely, lost, and helpless I sat but not so that any should pity me.  Willingly, wickedly, and guilty I sat.  The cost of following Christ?  Too high.  His standards?  Unattainable, so why even try?

I was deceived by Satan and knew it.  I recognized his voice and followed in his ways.  Can you hear the depth of deception in the words I wrote at this point in my life?  Read this and try to tell me that I chose Christ of my own good sense, that I deserved salvation, that I was not a willing and passionate participant in sinning against a Holy God.

“But tonight,
Tonight we have surpassed the screaming corridor
And we’ve lost sight of both the darkness and the light.
Tonight I’ll take your hand and we’ll walk backwards,
For if we forget our sins we can forge this fight.

The serpent sings a lullaby,
And we shall dance the night away
For never have we been more blessed
Then right now throwing our lives away.”

The strange thing is that in those days I would call myself a Christian, yet at the same time knew that I was a fake.  I even wrote about being a fraud.

“The falling words slit upwards
Streaking shards of guilt across
The sun rise,
A shadowing display is peaking through
The blinds,
And I am terrified the world will know
That I am a disguise.”

And in song lyrics that I wrote:

“Which part of me is dead?

The part I fake,

The part that struggles to say no.

It’s easy to tell them who I want to be

It’s easy to criticize everyone but me

Every night I pray

But what happens to God during the day?”

The truth is by my own free will I remained in that prison cell, refusing to take the only way out.  I knew that God hated my sin, that if I died I would find myself in Hell, and even that living for Jesus was a noble and better way.  I even admired those who did.  But sin captivated my heart; it was my identity and was to me the thing that both kept me breathing and strangled my breath at the same time.  Christ required me to forsake my sin, and though a worthy act, I could not make myself want to do such a thing.

Isaiah 42:6-7 “I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness.”

Matthew 4:16 “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

One day the Bright and Morning Star arose in my heart.

The light broke forth into my prison cell, my shackles were shattered, and my blind eyes were opened to see the Glory of Jesus Christ standing before me.  Knowing intellectually that Jesus Christ saves sinners, and having that truth explode within your heart are two very different things.  Suddenly the words made sense: “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!  I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see!”  I felt my wretchedness tear me up within, and suddenly understood that Jesus had a profound interest in saving wretches.  It wasn’t empty words; it was truth and He was truth.  There He stood, the way, the truth and the life and He stretched out His hand to me.

I would have never invited Him.  I could never have found the way or the will to get my chained body off of the cold prison floor, to venture over to His Kingdom’s door and invite myself in.  I was a seething enemy with no true appetite for Christ.

“And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Saviour’s blood?  Died He for me, who caused His pain, for me who Him to death pursued…‘Tis mercy all immense and free, for Oh my God it found out me.” –Charles Wesley. 

He took my heart of stone and gave me a heart of flesh.  Once cold towards God and unfeeling towards man, He burst the bonds that restricted me from loving anything more than myself.  Slowly my heart began to beat and I felt the presence of God dwell within.

When imprisoned the cross left me guilty, but when He opened my eyes the cross made me free.  When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

Life once empty and dry was now full to overflowing.  Mountains, trees, flowers, and sunsets that had lost to me their grandeur now seemed to break forth with great clapping and praise.

His statutes – once so burdensome, became life and delight for me.

Christ picked me up out of the miry clay

He carried me from darkness into brightest day

He set me on an eternal rock

Upheld forever, He has wrought

Himself in me and it would be

Impossible that I could walk away.

 

Salvation is a gift.  It is free and undeserved.  It is Christ’s soul purchasing work.

Did I choose Him?  Can a dead man tell Himself to “Live?”  But rather God says “When I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’  I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ (Ez 16:8).”

 John 5:21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.”

John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail.”

John 15:16 “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain.”

All Glory be to God alone for His salvation to men, and His redeeming love for sinful people.

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay,

Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;

Thine eye diffused a quickening ray;

I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;

My chains fell off, my heart was free,

I rose, went forth, and followed thee.

No condemnation now I dread;

Jesus and all in Him is mine;

Alive in Him, my living Head

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne

And claim the crown through Christ my own.”

Charles Wesley

A Purpose For Suffering

When I was off work this summer, experiencing a lot of pain with my fibromyalgia, I was working on an article entitled “Purposes In Suffering.”  Purpose number seven was “that we may primarily seek Christ as our refuge above anything or anyone else.” 

That we may primarily seek Christ as our refuge above anything or anyone else.

Journal Entry:  “There are days when trials weigh so heavily on my soul, and make me feel like I have been assaulted in every part.  When these times come the natural and fleshly response is to sit down in your pain and to pity yourself so much that you feel like you would rather die than endure the day.  Sometimes, in my flesh, I become angry with my circumstances and have such pent up anxiety that I feel the only way I can get rid of it is to rant about how unfair it is, and to kick or hit whatever object is nearby.  I have had other times where I am filled with what seems to be a debilitating sorrow, where I am simply too sad to do anything other than sit on the couch and stare blankly at the wall.   This is NOT how Christ Jesus desires me to respond, but these are in fact sinful responses, which break open the gates of Hell for Satan to come when I am at my lowest only to discourage me further.  He will then come and tell me that I am a failure and that I should punish myself for having acted like such a fool (instead of fleeing to the cross where Christ freely took my punishment).  He will further drive me into self pity and self hatred and take me on such a wicked tumble downhill that if I do not recognize it I will wind up in a state of panic.  Is this God’s purpose for suffering?  NO! Continue reading

To Reconcile Our Differences

This is another addition to my introduction for “The Complex Nature Of God’s Heart For Lost People.”  I felt that I should be more upfront about what I intend to learn more about and expound upon.  Please understand that this piece is not intended to explain or go into depth about the doctrine.  It is what it is- an introduction and basis upon which to build the things that I will write later.

To Reconcile Our Differences, So That We All May Rightly and In Unity Embrace God’s Heart For Lost People. Continue reading

In The Midst Of Trials

 
I think I wrote this poem around the same time last year, when I was going through very difficult times.  I thought I’d post it as I haven’t had time to work on anything new lately.  I hope that it may encourage someone who is in the midst of trials to perservere in their faith, and to remember that God has a good purpose for all that comes our way.
Where does my contentment lie?
In what do I most gather peace?
In need of nothing, satisfied
From endless craving to find release.

Continue reading