Friday, November 22, 2013

the secret of compassion

We all know lost people. I would even say we're all related to some.

Thus, my situation is nothing exceptional. I have family members who don't know Jesus. 

And do you know what? I used to be angry at them because of it. I used to be bitter because of the nasty words, childish actions, and total lack of esteem for anything good. I don't mean good in the chocolate cake or sunny day sort of way. Anyone can like those things. I mean, good as Jesus is good. I used to be angry because of the selfishness displayed in their lives. I used to be incensed at their lack of feeling for the plight of the poor and desolate, for orphaned children…

But over this past summer, a few things have changed. The Lord has shown me my own great sin, and the coldness of my own heart --the one that beats right here! This very heart! He's shown me that I have nothing --nothing! --that wasn't first given to me. Of myself, I am utterly bankrupt in the realms of love and righteousness; even the desire for purity doesn't naturally dwell within me. It's all a work of His unthinkable mercy.

Now, when family members snap at me very rudely, although my first emotion may be one of hurt, a different one quickly follows…

pity. compassion. a longing for the very same Mercy that has been poured out on me to be displayed in his life, and her life, in that cousin's life, and that man at the gas station the other day who refused a track when he discovered it was Christian. Oh, for every sinner to fall on his knees before the cross where such a great purchase was made. Oh, for the Lamb that was slain to receive glory, honor, and power. Souls are the reward of His suffering. Souls! My soul, and yours, if you've entered into Christ by faith.

I realized that if this person (who is currently being so mean and selfish) died within the next ten minutes, they would go down to the sides of the pit to be tormented until Judgement Day, and then thrown into the lake of fire. Unimaginable torture. Unending torture. Perfectly just torture, that we all deserve. They would cry for all eternity for just one drop of water to cool their tongues. They will receive a full reward for flouting all that the Lord loves, and all that He hates. How, then, can I do anything but cry?

Lord Jesus, keep reminding me of this secret of compassion. Work it in me, because, on my own, I am not capable of caring enough to share the Gospel even with people I like, let alone the rather nasty ones. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I know, it's been abysmally long since I posted anything. But... well, I haven't had anything to share this summer. At least, not anything I want to broadcast to absolutely anyone with a computer. I'm not the type who has to scrounge for something to write about at least once a week; I only write when I have something to say. The happenings of this summer have been far to personal to share even with most of my friends, and I'll not start now. Let's just say it's been a time of great humbling. 

But I do have a few things to write about.

Faith. Thirst. Fear. Promise. Doubt. Chastening. Salvation. The absolute shipwreck sin makes of a soul. My desperate need for a Savior named Jesus (none other can do). 

So, this is just a note to let you all know that I haven't let this blog die --yet. Keep an eye out, I'll be writing on the topics mentioned above soon. I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow, so I imagine I'll have a rather decent amount of time...Lord willing. 

By Him alone,

Monday, June 10, 2013

My Green Gables

The one nice part of summer is the flowers. [and the popsicles, but that's beside the point]. I love flowers. South-eastern Wyoming can be rather bleak --that is, if you like colors other than brownish yellow and sky-blue-- and flowers are short-lived splashes of colour. Bleak though it may be at times, it's still beautiful. 

... This is my Green Gables. This is home

The last of the lilacs

Soon, I'll be leaving this place. These feet of mine will tread a different bend in the road. But... I'll be back. I'll endeavor, by His blessed grace alone, to place my feet in His footprints, and follow wherever they lead. Has it been hard, growing up in this house? Oh my. Yes, at times. But has it also been wonderful? Jesus makes everything He touches wonderful. In fact, He only does wondrous things [Ps. 72:18], from the May lilacs to my current seventeen years of existence. He has only ever been faithful; I must believe He will continue to be so. I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back. 

[all of these photos were taken this evening on my iPhone 4...hence the less than splendid quality. but, it serves the purpose]

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Far Better Things

I'm sure I've mentioned that winter is by far my favorite season. But, this spring has been...different. The colors seem sharper than I remember; the days cooler. Everything is more vivid. It's hard to explain, but it's as though I'm looking back on everything, as opposed to experiencing it in the present. 

Perhaps it's because this is my last year at home for awhile. Maybe I'm unconsciously trying to remember everything --my brother's hugs, Muv's (My affectionate term for my mother; "love" and "mom" mixed up) smile, Daddy's laughter, my cat's fur, the lavender brick on our house, the lovely, smiling faces of my church family, and even the ever-present Wyoming wind. Every color, every word, every song, every smile, every tear. It will never be like this again. Things are changing, and I cannot stop it --though I'm not certain I want to. 

C.S. Lewis wrote: 
"There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind." 

Better than all this? Oh, yes. I am in Christ. And in Christ, every day is a crescendo of promise. C.S. Lewis also wrote, "Further up, Further in!" and that is what each day is bound, sworn, assured, to be. It's a bit like my thermos of tea. No matter how often I shake it, the sugar always settles to the bottom, and the last sip is always the sweetest. Tomorrow will be better than today. It may be harder, it may feel longer, I might ache deeper, but... for those in Christ, each day brings us a moment closer to Him. What more could I desire of life? 

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Cost

Yesterday evening, I was praying for a certain friend. I was praying that no pride would be allowed to remain in His life. I didn't pray this specifically because I have seen pride in him, but rather because I have suffered so much from it myself. I prayed that this friend would "cast himself fully on the grace and cross of Jesus alone", and suddenly, Is 53 popped into my head. 

"All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned 
every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." 

An image burst upon me, of my sin being laid upon Him. It's as though He stood by my side before the Father. He ought to have been seated at the right hand of Majesty on High, with me kneeling before His Mighty Presence. His glory ought to have been the holy proof of my guilt. But He, who is all Light and Loveliness, stepped down from His throne, and knelt beside me --me! Who He ought to have hated and despised. Who He had every right to crush under His feet. Whose presence should have been vile to Him. But, down on His knees before His Father He went, and, when He opened His mouth, He spoke these words. "Abba, it was I who spoke those vile words. It was I who looked upon those dreadful scenes. It was I who allowed such bitterness into my heart. It was I who entertained those lustful thoughts. It was I who answered my authority so scornfully. It was I who stole and murdered. It was I who lifted a hand against my friend. It was I who shamelessly lied. It was I… It was I…. It was I... " 

And finally… "Father, hold her guiltless. It was I." 

And thus, my every sin was laid upon Him. My iniquity was branded upon Jesus Christ the Righteous. I received life, as His was quenched. There was no equality on that day for the Righteous One; it was no fair trade. It was Love. Pure, blessed, eternal Love. 

May I never forget the cost. May I never lose the wonder that takes my breath away. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Laundry Room Musings: Guilt and Psalm 130

We need a new washing machine. Something is a bit "off" with our current one. You see, it moves. When it's on the spin cycle, it hops across the floor in an odd little dance all its own. It's rather an undesirable characteristic. However, we've discovered that if one sits atop this temperamental old machine while it runs, it stays obediently in its assigned position. So, perched atop the washing machine, the laundry room is becoming a lovely place to study Jesus.

(*This is not my Laundry room. I rather wish it was, however)

I have a feeling that this is rather odd, but laundry rooms have become a special place for me. It started when I was a student at Ellerslie; nearly all of my study and prayer time (and the occasional emotional breakdown) took place in the laundry room on the first floor of the 300 (Elliot) wing. At first, this was because there simply wasn't another place that was secluded and warm enough (I was there October-December) to study. But it soon became the ideal place to meet with the Lover of souls. The laundry room here at home is becoming just as special.

Today, as I sat upon the washing machine, I felt particularly in need of the soothing touch of my Father. I freely admit that my heart, except for the Spirit's breath, is filled only with cowardice, uncertainty, trepidation, and the dreadful darkness of sin. I need much affirmation, and much reassurance --of the sort that only Jesus can provide; words from earth generally only increase my agony.

Can you remember being a very little child? For those of us who weren't perfect children, I imagine that there were times when our mothers or fathers would tell us to keep away from something, so as to avoid injury. And before we knew it, something along the lines of, "I promise I won't get hurt. I can handle that," rolled haughtily off our tongues.  But, when we went ahead and did 'that', we found that it caused a nasty injury after all. And, do you know, the fact that we were warned makes the ache twice as deep. It adds guilt to injury. And, perhaps, it may keep us from running to the only one who can help --our parents. They are the ones that have what we need: correction, a loving hug, and the things our wounds need for healing. But we wait for as long as we possibly can endure the pain, because we know that rejection, or anger, from the ones we need most are more terrible than the pain we already feel.

This is quite how I felt this morning. The Lord had warned me of the trap, and I stuck my foot in it anyway. I had promised the Lord that "this" wouldn't happen, and that I would never do "that" again --and all my promises had been blown away by the gentlest winds of opposition. My guilt was far worse than the pain of the wrong itself. So, just like a child with an injury, I stumbled miserably up to the Throne of Grace, full of shame and guilt from failures, all the while knowing that healing existed no where else...and fearful that it wouldn't be granted to one so unworthy.

Do you know how He greeted me? With this...

"Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice; let Thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. If Thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with Thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in His word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning; I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD; for with the LORD there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." Psalm 130

'Plenteous' redemption. There is mercy with the Lord. He redeems from all iniquities. He resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. A broken and contrite heart He will not despise. It is of His mercies that we are not consumed. ... Great is His faithfulness

As time passes, I find that my promises to Him aren't reliable. It's His promises to me that I can build things on. I am full of weakness, and cowardice, and inability; my very best intentions will always fail. He is the One who cannot lie. He is the One with strength. He is the One who offers freedom and victory --only Him. 

Guilt will whisper lies. "You're not yet sorry enough," "No one else could have possibly stumbled the way you did," "He cannot forgive such willful sin." But these whisperings are just that --lies. There is no help to be found in guilt. Guilt cannot free my soul from the tyranny of sin. Guilt has no power to overcome. I cannot ever "feel bad enough" for my sin to finally be rid of it. Only the death of my body on the Cross of Christ can avail for the freedom of my soul. Guilt must be put off, if Jesus is to reign. 

Oh Abba, I pray that you would banish guilt forever from our souls, and instead deposit within these hearts the holy hatred for sin that beats within Your own chest! May our loathing for our darkness come not from looking despairingly within, but from looking fearfully --reverentially, adoringly, worshipfully-- upward! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Gloriously Unnoticed

"Are you willing to be one of Christ's etceteras? or must you be one of Christ's somebodies?"

 This quote from C.T. Studd scalds me with white-hot conviction every time I read it. It's filled with such a biting tiredness of self-centrality and wasted lives. That tiredness of my own selfishness, my own tendency towards a wasted life, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit within me, is what has moved my soul to search this area deeper.

Etceteras. Extras. The dictionary definition is: unspecified and additional objects. Odds and ends.

Over the past few months, Jesus has been taking me on a journey. It took me awhile to figure out where we were headed, but I think I'm starting to catch on to at least part of it. It's a journey...into obscurity. It's a journey into being unnoticed, and being joyful about it.

My Jesus is so gracious; you see, when there is something He desires me to see, He shows me Himself. He shows me Almighty, Holy, Sacred, Perfect, GOD. And then...He shows me, me. "me" is very weak, very wasted, very attached to frivolity, very flawed. There is nothing malicious in this comparison that He sets before me; He merely shows things as they are in truth. And, especially when seen through heavenly eyes, the truth of "me" is not all that flattering.

Most recently, my King gently asked the question, "Are you willing to spend everything you have serving Me -your time, your money, your energy, your love- even if no one ever sees? If you never receive even one word of affirmation on this earth?"

The truth of "me" is that "me" wants to be seen. "me" wants to be noticed. "me" wants to be applauded and considered valuable. "me" wants spiritual efforts to be noticed and rewarded by those in authority. "me" wants to increase in popularity and platform --for the glory of God, of course!

But...what if that isn't how the Kingdom of Heaven works?

My favorite biblical example of this is found in John 6. In this chapter is the highly familiar story of Jesus feeding 5,000. It's an amazing, incredible record of the power of our Jesus. This story is recorded in all four gospels, but John gives us one 'extra' detail that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were not inspired to include. Five little words, that's all.
"There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves,
and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?"
John 6:9
And that is the extent of the biblical mention of the boy whose food fed 5,000. His offering to Jesus is counted as insignificant --despairingly so-- by Andrew. His name isn't even mentioned. But do you know whose name is mentioned? Jesus'. Jesus got every ounce of glory from those five loaves and two fishes. Jesus' fame increased. Jesus received all the glory...and thus, a 'lad' is added to the ranks of the Gloriously Unnoticed.

I truly believe that there are thousands in this army --the army of the Gloriously Unnoticed. Those who have lived and died for the name and glory of Jesus in great (and small) ways. We just won't know their names on this earth. Are we willing to be counted among them? Are we willing to become "nothing in the light of God's everything"[1]? To be, by all appearances, forgotten? Do we trust our God enough to believe that He never forgets, even if everything we see points to the contrary?

"He must increase, I must decrease." ~ John the Baptist

I'm not saying that no one will ever know our names, or that receiving a compliment from someone else is somehow stealing glory from God. But is our desire to be seen, and approved of, even for spiritual effort? Or is our desire truly that HE may be seen? It makes all the difference. There is a gap in the ranks of this Gloriously Unnoticed army, created just for you...will you enlist?

[1] Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous