Posted in eternal things, God's sovereignty and goodness, God's word, infertility, spiritual growth, suffering in joy, thankfulness, trusting God

Slowing Down

After the last intense blog, I feel like a need to put people at ease. (Trying to package it again:)) I do want to give an update:
Last year or so I picked up a book recommended to me by my friend, Melba. I did not read it then, but God reminded me of it as I got to the end of myself in pain the other day. The book is written by Larry Crabb and called Shattered Dreams. It is a very timely read for me. This is not a book to make me feel better, but it is a book that encouraged me to enter the pain instead of numb and run from it. The writer encourages us that God shatters our lesser dreams that we might know the greater dream of Him and live in true joy in Him–this is a time consuming process of trust in Him. I know that many in pain would go–“uh, that’s not cool. I just want to feel better,” and I get that–believe me. That is our instant gratification, god is there to serve me, sinful heart talking. It is a longer book than that sentence though as he traces Naomi’s journey in the book of Ruth.
Our lives and hearts are not a quick fix, and we are created for more than we see in front of us. I have been reading this book slowly throughout the last few weeks. I got the chance to go with my sister to her lake house to study and be quiet for a portion of last weekend. I am trying to take those times more instead of running from them as God calls me to be real with Him. My pain has not been erased, but I continue in the journey continually seeing God’s faithfulness in so many ways.
On this journey I am journeying with others who are in pain. My friend, Melba told me about a conference that a friend of hers attended that talked about leaving a legacy to your children of how to suffer well. Wow. I have never heard that topic passed on! I loved it, though. That is what I want to pass on to these young women I disciple–a Biblical understanding and experience of suffering well. Why do we think we are immune when in scripture it proclaims the opposite? We walk in Christ–who suffered for our sake. Through sufferings we so learn who HE is and commune with who He is. We are made into the image of Christ. Easy? Uh, no.
As I reflect back to the last five years, I have had the most intense suffering of my life. I have never grown so much or known Him so much through my Dad’s sickness and death, marriage, infertility. I have really seen God’s faithfulness and character and love. I WOULD not trade it for things that sometimes tempt me– a big house, two perfect kids, spa days every week, luxurious vacations and a husband who bends to my every whim for I would have missed the meaning in life–Christ. My reward is not here–repeat–not here.
One of my girls just sent me this scripture:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a LIVING HOPE through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ Jesus. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9

Posted in Anxiety, God's sovereignty and goodness, God's word, infertility, suffering in joy, thankfulness, transformation by truth, trusting God

A full heart…

I just finished some time this morning in Philippians. Wow. How easily we forget what our lives are about. In Philippians, Paul writes as an imprisoned man.
If I wrote from prison, I think my letter would be quite depressing. “The food here is awful…You would never believe what the people talk about…I get harassed non-stop…I’m depressed…I’m innocent and it’s not fair that I am here!” You can imagine your own letter.
However, Paul writes this amazing letter encouraging the Philippian church in his own suffering as they are also called to suffer for the gospel and the sake of Christ. His perspective in God-entranced instead of man-focused. He even says that he is glad that the prison guards are now able to hear the gospel. His heart and mind are so truth focused. Most people have looked at chapter 2 of Philippians where he talks about the humility and example of Christ, thinking of others before yourself, etc. I guess we can look at it as theory, but he lives it as reality. He is in prison thinking about the Philippian church and spurring them on to faithful lives in Christ for His gospel. When he talks in chapter 3 about counting all things as loss for the sake of Christ and for the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus His Lord. He is not talking in generalities but specifics–he did not have his freedom. In chapter 4 when he says rejoice always in the Lord and do not be anxious–he was living that out in God’s power. When he says think on things that are true, excellent, praiseworthy, noble, etc, he has shown that example in the whole letter. When he says in chapter 3 that he has learned the secret of being content in all circumstances, he is living it right there in front of us. Do you think that is a life of loving God with all his heart, mind and strength? Uh, Yes! The same Spirit in Paul is in those who have repented of their sin and put their faith in Christ’s work on the cross.
Just as Paul was imprisoned to minister the gospel there, we are each in whatever season we are in to minister the gospel and give God glory where we are. We know that He is about sanctifying us (that’s His will–1 Thes 4:3), but He is also doing a work beyond us–for the body who know Him and who are to know Him. Our lives are not our own.
As I have been walking through infertility and writing about it here, my prayer is that others have seen the gospel–the power of God–an example. Not that I am bearing perfectly, but this is bigger than having a baby. Those circumstantial things are not the ends in our lives. Each thing serves as the means by which Christ is exalted. Our lives are not our own.
There are many different seasons of joy and hardship in our lives. Yours may be an impossible marriage with one who does not know Christ. There is purpose beyond yourself and your happiness in it. Yours may be wayward children, disabled children, and unfulfilling job. My friend, it is bigger than just you.
Greg, my husband, always says “how are people to know how to deal with suffering…such as sickness, death, divorce, etc, if Christians do not live that example out?” We are not immune from suffering, but He is faithful and has purpose. Is it easy? HA! NO! But how are people to know the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus if the reality of life on this earth is not lived out by those who are being transformed by Christ in hope?
The awesome thing about Philippians is Paul is in a place of suffering living out the very truth he is preaching. It is not theory–it’s fact. How gracious of God to show us examples in Paul…in Christ…in David…in Ruth…etc, etc. All but Christ were humans, but all had–“Christ in them, the Hope of Glory.” We in Christ are empowered with the Spirit to remind us of truth, to strengthen us with the power that raised Christ from the dead, to give us hope in Him instead of anxiety, to teach us to rejoice in the midst of suffering.
May we live in the reality of Christ in whatever circumstance we are in–knowing “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

*Note…in no way I am encouraging you to think that your circumstance does not count…God bears with you as a loving Father through it. However, it is not about the circumstance just going away–it is about much more. Bring your mind to reflect on His truth.

Posted in authenticity, eternal things, God's word, infertility, self-absorption, suffering in joy, transformation by truth

Wide Angle Lens

Don’t you just wish that you could view your life with a wide angle lens? We can get so mired down in our specific trouble that we become nearsighted and blind. There are those rare occasions that God gives me a gracious glimpse of his purposes and reasons and I actually listen. Notice I said rare…
On Sunday, I was heading out the door to church when Liz, a girl I mentor, called. She was very scared and had been in a car wreck on the interstate about an hour from Knoxville. She could not reach her mother, and I took off to go help her. It was a blessing to be freed up to do that. I was able to be her mom’s hands and feet when she was not able to in another state. I’d like to think that I have been a step in for moms in many ways–to comfort scared daughters, to encourage, to rebuke, to share wisdom when they might not listen to their earthly moms. I thought to myself, “what would I do if I were her Mom?” “I would comfort, listen, feed her and make sure she gets rest.” So, I took her to lunch, and we talked about all kinds of things, and then I took her home to be comforted by her roomates.
I do not know the exact whys that God has me in the place of infertility (except that I know he is making me more like him and is being glorified in my suffering), but I was able to see with his eyes how I can minister to others now. If I had a baby, I would not be able to drop everything and help. My fall is filled with young women that I am mentoring–the scale would be much smaller with children. Another incident happened on Monday that God encouraged my obedience by helping one who could not help themselves. I was overwhelmed with joy of having the time to listen and respond–that he would give me an opportunity to be his hands.
I do not share this to toot my horn…I share it in joy because he gave me a bird’s eye view perspective. He allowed me to see others in need so that I was not blinded by my slight momentary heartache.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
“So we do not lose heart. Thought our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Infertility, Rheumatoid Arthritis, family troubles, hard children, disagreements, unloving parents, unfair circumstances, frustrating marriages, financial troubles, unfulfilled feelings–are the things we see and experience everyday. These things are transient, but his truth which is unseen, his faithfulness, his promise, Christ, the eternal weight of glory is eternal. That is the wide angle lens of truth that I want to remember everyday. This day and it’s troubles in the light of eternity are nothing. Not to say that we cannot be sad and long for him–I think that is very biblical.

Psalm 88 shows us what it is to be real and lament in the midst of great pain without a reasonable answer of why our lives are the way they are. I am learning (ever so slowly and stubbornly) that I can be real with God in my pain and yet praise him and cling to his truth. I think I had been doing one or the other. I would either, cling to his truth that he is refining me and it is for his glory without engaging my heartache, or wallow in self-pity and sadness thinking solely about myself. Psalm 88 and a study I am doing called How People Change encouraged me to be real and face my pain and anger while soaking in his truth and the gospel. God did not create robots but real people with real emotions. Burying anger and sadness and numbing myself to get through and say the right things is not honoring to him–it does not make much of him. I was simply self-protecting. He is showing me to come to him in the midst–the messy package that I am–leaning into his truth and strength.
Oh that I can see with the wide angle lens and help others see with the wide angle lens. May I remember the eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison that I am being prepared for.

James 1:3-4
“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

Perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…wow. That is a wide angle lens. The Bible has a lot to say about suffering. May it form my worldview instead of an instant gratification culture that demands now and pouts when it does not come to pass in our timing.

Posted in eternal things, God's will, suffering in joy, transformation by truth, trusting God

Just Campin’

Why do we order life, or rather think life should be ordered, for our comfort and ease? We spend time accumulating, building, investing in things that fade like freshly picked flowers.
Lately, I have been challenged by the Spirit and God’s word to think on life in light of eternity. This momentary circumstance (whether infertility, not having your house be what you want, having trouble with your child’s behavior, the loss of a child, an extremely hard marriage, a less than fulfilling job) is about more than just it’s resolution. This life, lasting from 70 to 80 years or more is practice for eternity. It is a training ground…a refining ground, rather. This sin entrenched, hard world is not the end. It is the place and time to learn what it is to know repentance, know Christ and make him known. It is the time where we are made more like him clinging to the fact that that work will be complete in us when we meet him (Philippians 1:6).
It is so easy to make my goal ease and personal comfort thinking “this is the only life I have to live, I deserve…” But, that my friends is the farthest from the truth. Jesus told us that in this world we will have trouble. James encourages us to count it all joy when we face trials of many kinds (James 1) because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness (and steadfast love is a character trait of our Lord). We are tried, and that testing is used in the process of becoming more like him. Our reward is not here…it is in heaven and on the new earth where there will be no more pain for ETERNITY, where we will have been totally transformed, where we have perfect fellowship with one another, where we will enjoy God fully. So, when you are thinking, “my life sucks…”–it might. But, in Christ, our hope is not in the now to fill us.
I was walking on Cherokee Blvd today looking at beautiful houses–immaculate landscape–prime real estate. Those fortresses will crumble, but those are often our goal–to consume now. (not that if you live there you are sinning–just depends on what is in your heart). Then, I thought, those in Christ are aliens here. This is not our home. We are merely camping.
When you go camping, you do not expect lavish comfort or a fulfilling night’s sleep. You know what you are in for and enjoy it–the company, the “roughing” it. You do not expect the tent to be like home. I think we all need to be reminded that we are camping–not looking for our home here, not expecting comfort or ease of situation when it is not promised. And, just like camping, we learn many good skills and take time to invest in relationships along the way preparing us and bringing us joy when we think of our bed at home…the feast that awaits at home. Camping is not the end just as this world is definitely not the end. In the light of eternity, this is a flash. Just as Paul says, these “momentary troubles are not worth mentioning” compared to the glory of knowing him forever. I always need a dose of reminder of his truth instead of building a house and life for “my” comfort and ease and getting highly frustrated when it does not work. So, my prayer is to remember that my reward is in heaven. God give me grace to seek your truth and your ways and your glory above me.

Posted in God's word, grace, infertility, prayer, self-absorption, suffering in joy, transformation by truth

The perspective of the heart

     The last few weeks, I have been praying and concentrating heartily to guard my heart against anxiety and thinking on things that send me in a tailspin.  The particular thing the last few weeks has been fertility.  God has been gracious beyond belief to help me stay in the day, not panicking or thinking ahead.  (This is really personal to post, but I feel I should.)  

      Last night signaled a little tailspin.  I realized that I was not pregnant this month after another procedure.  The last two weeks I had been praying for my hope to be in Christ and not circumstance–and it really has been.  I think all perspective went out the window last night and today, though.  Dreams about it, panic about feeling left behind, all of these things blend together for self-pity.  Self-pity is wrong.  Period.  It means I am not sharing with God my heart and not trusting him.  He is in control of my womb.  He has reasons.  For all that he has shown me and done in me, I trust him.  I just get sad when I lose perspective so easily.  I realized as I was praying this morning that subconsciously I thought “if I have a good attitude about this, it will come.”  Like I could get rewarded for a work of a good attitude…like I could manipulate God.    I had forgotten the gospel in the midst.  I had forgotten God’s gracious and compassionate and faithful character.  

     God was gracious this morning to me as my Father.  I was reminded of all of the women who are in the groups I am leading this year.  There are 6 women that I have been around (5 in groups and one a mentor) and I am grateful to see their heart for their grown children.  I have been privy to see their heartache and their joys, their anxieties and their prayers.  It is so easy to forget the other side of this whole thing.  It becomes a challenge to see…will I ever get pregnant?  And then, I see the complexities of raising children, the heartaches when they go the opposite way you desire, the worry that multiplies as they make tragic mistakes.  I see the pain and joy that comes in child-rearing.  I also see, in each of these women, that their hope is not in their children or their husband but in God the Father, the Spirit and Jesus.  The more relationships that are added to our lives (whether husbands, wives, children, disciples, ailing parents, neighbors, friends), the more we see the need to trust God more and relinquish our “control.”  We see our need for him alone.  So, whether it’s waiting for children in his plan or raising them–our hope is not in them, but in Christ.  

        I have memorized Psalm 73:25-26 this week–“Whom have I in heaven but you?  And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

     He reminded me that my flesh may fail…my body might not be acting like I want it to….my heart may fail in it’s perspective, but He is my hope.  He is my peace.  He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever regardless of circumstance, regardless of emotion, regardless of my faithfulness.  So, for right now, I am sad (and that’s okay), but my mind and heart are renewed in his truth.  I will need to be renewed daily (Romans 12:2).  I am also reminded to be thankful for all the opportunities he has presented me with to love and pour into women.

Posted in discipleship, God's word, grace, marriage, prayer, spiritual growth, suffering in joy, the gospel, trusting God

Am I going to throw up, nope, I just have to speak in front of people.

      Last night, I had the opportunity to stand before over 300 young women and talk with them about walking with God in the midst of the curse (of sin in Genesis 3).  My heart is still beating hard as I think back on it…

      At Crossroad, our city-wide college/young adult service at Fellowship Church in Knoxville, Greg is doing a series on the curse for girls only and for guys only.  He asked me in the middle of this week to share what it is to walk faithfully in the midst of the hardness of life (marriage, etc).  At first, I panicked thinking about the deep well of emotion that I have built up by walking through some of the hardships in my life.  I have been known to boo-hoo in front of crowds while sharing, so the fear of that drove me to cautiously say…” maybe.”  However, by the end of the week, I had thought about it and stepped out to do it.  

      The last 3 1/2 years of life have definitely been the hardest but the most fruitful…and a lot of those hardships have hit from the curse of sin–struggles in marriage (which is the consequence of sin), the death of my father (illness and death in itself is the consequence of sin), job direction (toil and unfufillment–consequence of sin), and the theme of infertility (pain in childbearing, having, rearing, etc is the consequence of sin).  I had so much I could have said, and, of course, I am probably my worst critic (unless I get a scalding email today from an equally harsh critic:)).  

     Though the curse is quite evident in everyday life, the good news is the gospel is more powerful and is the ultimate reality.  The gospel reminds me that I am God’s by the blood of Christ…I am forgiven and in relationship with the creator, sustainer, redeemer, and gardener of my soul (and this world).  God is at work in my heart and my husband’s heart to make us more like Him.  The kicker with the curse is that we women want to be in charge and not wait on God or our husbands.  Greg said something last night that is so true:  “Women are much more spiritually sensitive.”  Time and time again, I talk to my girlfriends or women that I meet with, and they say “I wish my husband would step up and lead–he is so passive.”  We all begin to make assumptions about the hearts of men around us, and then we begin to trust ourselves instead of God.  We think, “well, since nobody else is standing up to lead, I guess I will.  I mean, am I the only one astute enough to get it done?”  This feeds into the curse–we want to devour or rule over our husbands and ignore God’s ways.  The truth of the matter is that we want what we want and do not trust God.  The truth of the matter is that we forget the very heart and grace of God toward us through the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

      A few practices I have learned in trusting God in the midst of living under the curse:

1)  His word changes my heart.  Being in His word–memorizing, reading, studying, meditating, turns my heart away from worshipping myself and my comfort to look into His life changing grace.  There are days when I want to tell Greg off or burrow in self-pity at whatever frustration or situation that I am in, and then, truth hits me in the heart and I am changed.  We cannot survive without His life-changing truth–and we certainly cannot grow without it!

2)  Prayer is essential.  I have learned that I do not change situations or hearts.  I used to think a poignant speech or manipulative actions would bring about change in someone, but that is not true.  The only changer of hearts is the Holy Spirit.  Also, it is tempting to pray merely for things for Greg or others that would change their actions or hearts to bring me comfort.  I think what that is termed is manipulation of God.  I’m pretty sure that is despicable.  The Spirit is always teaching me and correcting me to pray for the hearts of others–that they may repent and cling to Jesus, that they may stop striving by running after other things and trust God fully and know Him fully.  The reality is when others are changed in that way, I may not get my “way,” but the ultimate good and the ultimate fulfillment comes.   I also pray that I find everything in Jesus–resting in Him, trusting Him and being transformed by Him (1 Thessalonians 4:3–His will is for us to become more like Him–and He rested, trusted, loved and worshipped God with everything–John 15).   When I deal with people that I disciple or counsel, this is essential–prayer for their hearts and God’s work in them.  Otherwise, I am wasting my time and theirs.

3)  Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing.  There are times in my life that I just cannot keep my mouth shut.  I think I can solve things by telling people what to do.  I think, again, that I can manipulate.  And, I probably like the sound of my own voice:).  I have learned that even though I may be right that my motives may be far from right.  My heart may long to be served and worshipped by that other person (many times Greg) instead of bringing God love and glory.  There are definite times to push in and talk about issues, but more often than not, I need to drop to my knees and relinquish control to the One who is in control.

4)  Act in the Grace of the Gospel.  In remembering daily who I am in Christ, how can I hold things against Greg or others.  His grace toward me is unmerited favor, and His Spirit resides in me with power to walk in righteousness.  When I rest in that fact and see my own sin toward God and his abundant grace, I look at others differently.  Their offense towards me does not seem so monumental.  The fact that Greg ignored my needs or hurt my feelings or the fact that life seems overwhelmingly unfair, seems to fade in the light of the gospel.  In the truth of the gospel and the power of the Spirit, I learn to die to self and love others in grace and forgiveness.  This short paragraph makes it seems so neat and tied with a bow–but there is wrestling in my heart in this.  This is a choice that I have to make at every offense, and it is a choice that I ignore at times.

5)  Surround yourself with friends who sharpen and be a friend who sharpens.  We can all find friends who complain and who do not share truth, but look for the jewel and be the jewel that sharpens others toward the gospel, love and good deeds.

6)  Perservere!  Do not just fill up with these steps once…we need this daily!  Let not the things of this earth ever sway me–I’ll run til I finish the race by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Posted in advent, discipleship, eternal things, idols, self-absorption, sin, spiritual growth, suffering in joy, transformation by truth, trusting God

swirling thoughts

My prayer for today–also the words to a song:

‘Spirit, now living and dwelling within me, keep my eyes fixed ever on Jesus face.

Let not the things of this world ever sway me.

I’ll run ’til I finish the race…’

      These words encapsulate a theme swirling through my head and heart.  The questions at the forefront of my mind:  How can I continue to grow so much in selfishness?   How do I behold Christ and worship the Father with heart, soul, mind and strength through every thought, word, action, purchase, and decision when my culture and my adulterous heart subtly lull me to be enticed by worthless idols?   I am so easily pacified by worthless things.  Comfort becomes the end to which I strive–financial comfort, marital comfort, physical comfort, ministerial comfort.  This morning as I prayed, I confessed that so many times I use God as a rabbit’s foot…”hey, could you do this just enough so I can feel good and be comfortable and then go away?”  How I prostitute my heart to lesser glories–not lasting and certainly not knowing the greatest treasure of all–intimacy with Christ.  

     Yesterday we sang a song that I have sung seemingly a billion times.  One phrase haunted me ‘all of you is more than enough for EVERY thirst and EVERY need–you SATISFY me with your love.’  There have been times in my life where I have been satisfied by nothing else but His love–nothing else.  As I sang, I was convicted that I was relying on lesser things.  I longed for the times of intensity where I had to rely totally on Him (I was also scared half to death longing for those times because they were circumstantially exhausting).   Waning consumer satisfaction is what I am used to–eat this to feel good, attempt this goal to feel good, buy this for yourself or someone else to nurse the ache in your heart, change a room around to feel better about the void in your heart, look good on the outside to forget about the inside.  (The list is practically endless.)  The sick thing is that this is the easy out that people give.  Have you ever heard:  this has been a hard week, you deserve to relax…why don’t you…go out to eat, go buy something for yourself, go do something for yourself, have a few drinks, etc?   When I am meeting with someone in a disciple-making relationship, the temptation is to dole out that advice because it is easy–especially when I want to be liked for my own comfort.  However, that advice is so deadly–it is a lie, counterfeit joy.  The greatest satisfaction comes from knowing God and going to the depths with him.  The greatest satisfaction is to share our hearts in surrender getting past the surface of ourselves and knowing the absolute beauty of why we were created–to behold his glory.  I know that sounds trite or less than interesting to the heart when we are thinking about us, but going there with him is a deep gutteral lasting satisfaction.  He created us and everything in the world–does the creator not know what satisfies our hearts?  This takes commitment and perseverance  to continually lay down ourselves and trust in him.

     As God was working in me yesterday and today to bring me to this conviction, yet again, I picked up a book that my friend, Laura, gave to me a couple of months ago.  The book is called Five Who Changed the World by Daniel Akin.  It is a collection of five sermons about the lives of five foreign missionaries.  Tears came to my eyes and my heart was turned and awakened to greater treasures than the temporal things that tempt me.  So many times we are presented with theories of what we should be and live and do in Christ, but these were fresh, true biographical stories of giving up the temporal for the eternal treasure of Christ.  John Piper and others have also written biographies of the lives of those who lived fully in Christ.  Oh, how much you and I need to be reminded of what it means to live lives of abandon to Him.

    Now, secretly, I think every girl has this fear in her heart of being called to be single and serve as a missionary in China or some tribal land forgotten by God, but I was reminded of what was the heart of the issue in reading this book last night and this morning.  Each of these people were no more righteous or sacrificial than you or I in nature.  The theme of their lives seemed to be that they longed to know and treasure Christ more than anything.  The more they saw God for who He is, the more they longed more for Him.  The sacrifice that to you or I seems incomprehensible was not because it was about Him and not them.  They were each aware of their sin and aware of his holiness.  They also were aware of the state of the human soul apart from God.  They loved people because they realized His love for them.  Their main thrust or worship was of Him and not their husband or wife or family (and, yes, some had these).  The loss and the lack of human comfort in their lives was a stark contrast to our American culturized Christianity.  Whether serving in the 1800’s or 1900’s, these missionaries pointed out the counterfeit that each American was living when getting lulled to sleep in their comfort.  The prayers of Jim Elliot to know Christ–wow.

     In the land of plenty–yes, even in recession, do you know what I see?  A wasteland of spiritual poverty where we prostitute ourselves to so much lesser, temporal desires than living in abandon to know the One who brings us ALL we ever need–a deep soul quenching satisfaction from knowing Him and making Him known.  I am studying Hosea with Laura, and it is ripe with the imagery of adultery, prostitution and whoring, as the ESV states it, of the hearts of the people to false gods and idols.  They were completely about themselves, and yet, God was faithful.  He was warning of his discipline and he brought it.  The fruition of their prostitution was brought to them–yet he was also faithful to bring Christ–the end in which all hope rests.  Why are we playing the whore today when we have so much more than the people of Israel did–the fruition of Christ and his work on the cross?  In this season of celebrating THE HOPE of Christ’s birth, may you and I examine our hearts and repent and cling to His glorious purpose–our glorious hope.