Sunday, February 24, 2013


Hello there.  Good to see you again. :)

Other than a few adoption waitlist number updates, it has been quite a while since I've written.  Wondering why?

Full disclosure . . . I'm prideful.  

And unfortunately I found that this blog was fanning the flames of pride in my heart.  I found myself more and more concerned with what people said, what people didn't say, criticism I would receive, likes, shares, comments . . . you get the idea.  Even when I shared a good Word from a sincere heart, my mind would quickly detour into self-centered thoughts.

So I've stepped back the last few months.  Originally I thought I should just walk away from opportunities for pride to reign, including the blog.  But God gently reminded me that there will always be opportunities for me to want my name exalted over His or moments when I will want to steal the praise that He alone is due.

I'm not just to flee pride, but to walk in humility.

Even still, the break has been good for me.  Now this doesn't mean that I've kept my mouth shut these past few months!  I've just embraced and been more intentional in the avenues that God has already given me to encourage and challenge through His Word . . . Sunday School, Inward, the lady I disciple, Life Group, and friendships.
The thing about these opportunities is that these people SEE me.  They don't just see the online version where only selective thoughts are verbalized {even though I've tried to be real about my struggles, I know there is always that feeling of not seeing the full picture . . . because you aren't!}.  They see and hear of my struggles, they hear my confessions, they walk with me in ministry, they study the Word with me.  There isn't a whole lot of room for pride, when people see the real you.

So I've embraced these relationships. I've shared the Word and what God has been teaching me.  And God has protected me from my pride and enabled me to do it with humility {I promise I'm not being prideful in saying that!}.  I've prayed for God to be glorified, I've felt a fire in my heart because His Word is powerful and true, I've exalted His work by the Spirit, and I've worshiped with gratitude that He would use me at all.  It has been good . . . transformation hurts at times, but is always good.

But today I feel comfortable sharing with you how God overwhelmed me with Truth this morning.  And I pray as I type that the Spirit would encourage and challenge your heart in a way that only He gets the credit!

For years and years daily time in God's Word was inconsistent at its best and downright neglected at its worst.  But I've had a couple of revivals of the heart in the last few years that have changed me.

Two years ago God graciously gave me a strong desire to be in His Word.  At the same time He gave Chad a renewed desire to lead me spiritually by making sure I had the time to be in the Word {meaning that He gave Chad the courage to wake me up way earlier than I wanted to have my eyes open . . . such love!}.  That discipline of daily time dramatically changed me, changed us.  

Then, just a few weeks ago, God began another revival in my heart.  Not just a little revival.  Like a big Gospel tent revival with a hollering preacher!  His name is Paul and his God-inspired words to Timothy have brought me to my knees at the alter over and over again.

What is so great that it is changing me?  Hold on to your seats . . .

The Gospel.

Shocker, right?!  Seriously though, I am so saddened to say that reflecting on the Gospel has never before been part of my daily discipline.  Even as I've been more consistent in the Word these last few years, I've not always meditated on the Gospel.

But for the past two weeks I have daily thought, prayed, and studied the Gospel and it is changing me.  Listen to Paul's words in 1 Timothy 1:12-17 . . .

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent.  But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.  But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

The same Gospel that transformed Paul has transformed me and I hope it has transformed you.  It is all grace.  Apart from Christ we are all enemies of God, slaves to sin, dead.  We deserved separation from God forever, BUT God, in mercy and great love, did something about it.  He did what we could never do for ourselves. God the Son came to save.

And do you see what this recounting of his salvation produced in Paul?  WORSHIP!  It's like he bursts out in song at the end, overcome by God's great grace.  It has produced the same in me.  I've worshiped and prayed with a gratitude I've never known simply because I'm keenly aware of my great need.

Then again in 1 Timothy 2 . . .

 . . . God our Savior, who desires for all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all . . .

This is what I taught this morning so I've been studying it all week.  

So. Incredibly. Powerful.  It truly is amazing grace. 

After teaching and digging into the majesty of the Gospel, my heart was already so full as I came to corporate worship.  We were singing "Worthy is the Lamb" . . .

Worthy is the Lamb
Seated on the throne.
We crown You now with many crowns
You reign victorious!
High and lifted up
Jesus, Son of God.
The darling of Heaven, crucified... 

Worthy is the Lamb.
Thank you for the cross, Lord.
Thank you for the price you paid.
Bearing all my sin and shame, in love you came
And gave Amazing Grace.

Thank you for the scars, Lord.
Thank you for the nail-pierced hands.
Wash me in Your cleansing flow, now all I know...
Your forgiveness and embrace.

I was praying the song until we got to the end of verse 2 and then I was completely overcome and sobbing on the floor.

The truth of the Gospel is that I deserve God's wrath.  He would be absolutely just to pour out that cup on me.  It is what I'm due for my rebellion and sin.

But because of the Cross, I will never know that wrath.  I will only know His forgiveness and embrace.

I'm undone.

His grace is radical.  The Cross is gruesome and glorious.

It is my only hope.  Is it yours?