Works-in-Progress

I had a situation from my past come up yesterday. While I dealt with it better than I would have previously there were still some missteps that I immediately confided in God about. Unlike in the past where I would allow the Enemy to torment me for not doing things a certain way–I gave it to God and weighed the victories and losses. Today’s blog post comes from the current state of my heart and I hope it encourages you.

It’s still hard for me to really fathom God’s love. I think this is the case for all Christians if you’re really and truly honest enough with yourself. We know our pasts, our current struggles, our bad thoughts, our temptations, whatever they might be. And because we are humans and somewhat obsessed with comparison, we can often wonder why God even bothers with us. I want so badly to be pleasing to God, but I think this can often manifest in unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves or what we might have grown up hearing in church. We are not Jesus. Just because we’re Christians and covered by His blood and adopted into eternal salvation, doesn’t mean we are going to make the cut all the time. We are a living oxymoron. We are still human, broken-vessels and in essence Jesus’s blood spilled on the cross simultaneously poured into our lives to cover our brokenness and also made it possible for us to be formed into a new vessel. I think the church for a long time has failed to really explain how this works. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the church expects you to poof into a brand new creation. Salvation isn’t a microwave. A lot of the time it’s a slow-cooker. Sure you can be 100% saved but that doesn’t mean that doesn’t take a life-time to walk out.

I remember being so mad one time a year or so ago when I watched a televangelist scolding a man who asked for prayer because though a Christian who asked Jesus into His heart, he still struggled with alcohol. I think it’s a sad thing when instead of reminding people that we are all carrying our crosses daily, and that we will all fall short of perfection until we reach Heaven, that we often become the mouthpiece of the Devil. Harsh? But true. The Enemy is the King of guilt and shame. I’m not saying wrongdoings aren’t wrongdoings but we are all stumbling through life. We are covered in grace on one hand but we are like infants learning how to walk at the same time. Luckily God is merciful and instead of becoming fed up with humanity as we read so many times in the Old Testament–He brought the final act of generosity which was to send His son. To teach grace and forgiveness. To tenderly guide us, to show us the way, to show that while we fall short, He never will. A simple Google search showed me this passage which I thought was very well said:

In Colossians: 3:12-13


, God instructs us on how to deal with each other as he deals with us: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another…” Stan did that for me. I became one of the best cutters the company ever had. There was nothing I would not do for my boss. I continued to work for him until they closed the plant. I was one of the last employees out of 200 to be laid off when the plant closed several years later.

God deals with you and me the same way Stan dealt with me. God invests a lot of time in us and is not ready to wipe us out because of our mistakes. Instead, He encourages us not to quit.

So the next time you or someone you know makes a mistake, be gentle, kind and encouraging. Look for ways to solve the problem and don’t quit! Treat others the way you would want to be treated if you were the one who goofed. Look beyond the mistakes in yourself and in others and see the potential. We will all say the words, “Oops, I made a mistake,” many times before we reach our full potential. But keep trying. Keep learning. Keep forgiving. We can all be in God’s Kingdom some day in spite of our mistakes. [http://www.ucg.org/christian-living/oops-i-made-mistake/]

I think that’s beautiful. In no way am I saying deliberately take advantage of God’s grace and do whatever you want, but I think we need to stop listening to the voice of the Devil and even the condemnation heaped on us by other Christians and remember that God’s voice is the only one that matters. God is not shocked by our mistakes. He is not stomping His feet and throwing tantrums in Heaven. Luckily He knows who we are growing to be, and since He exists outside of time, He does not grow weary of the journey we are on to get there.

God I thank you for Jesus. I thank you for your love and kindness towards me when I know I do not deserve it. In the grand scheme of things I am not special. I am not that great and yet you still remind me that You created me on purpose. I am not a disappointment to You and I am not an accident that You made in Heaven. God, help me to see my mistakes in life as bumps in the road. I can trip but I do not have to fall and never get up. Thank you God that You see me in my final stage and therefore nothing I have done, am doing, or will do in the future will ever take that fulfillment away from me. Because of Jesus I am sealed. Because of my humanity I will fall short. Teach me to fail less but also help me to forgive myself more. We are all a beautiful mess made perfect by You. Amen.

Found on dailyletterings.tumblr.com

Friday Inspiration 12.12.14

Typically I don’t watch a lot of primetime tv. I follow certain shows but by the time I get home it’s late and after eating dinner and doing a few things I just want to go to bed. However, I heard a lot of buzz about The Voice this week and knew I had to YouTube one of the contestant’s performances. Craig Wayne Boyd is a semi-finalist this year and he decided to sing “The Old Rugged Cross”. He’s not personally my cup of tea music-wise, but the guy has talent regardless of my opinion. And I totally respect that he chose to glorify God on national television. I mean think about it; “looking at the preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, NBC’s “The Voice” averaged a 2.5 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 10.6 million viewers overall from 8 to 10 p.m.” [Source: http://variety.com/2014/data/ratings/monday-ratings-nbcs-voice-wins-but-remains-sluggish-abcs-light-fight-brighter-1201374830/] So whether people expected to hear it or not, God was glorified and His name was declared and made famous to all 10.6 million people who tuned in to the show.

I got chills watching this. Not necessarily because Boyd was great, but because God is great. I think growing up as a Christian this wasn’t ever happening. Being a Christian was a secret in a way. People might know that you are a Christian in passing but it was never really allowed to be talked about. I still think this exists today, but Christians are becoming more and more bold. The entertainment industry for example is being infiltrated with Christian artists, directors and producers. Things that weren’t being aired years ago are now front and center. Matthew 5:14-16 MSG says:

14-16 “Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

In other words, this man sung a song. He got onto a show and sung a song about God. Whether intentional or not he witnessed to all of America that God is not a secret. He is stirring the hearts of people everywhere. He is encouraging people to open up with God. To be honest about their curiosity for something greater than this human life. To know God.

I was shocked to hear Pharrell Williams pose the following question to Boyd: “”I have a question for you, what does it feel like to be at the top of your game and to surrender it to God in front of all of the whole entire world?” My jaw nearly dropped! It’s like Boyd singing this song had a ripple effect and without specifically saying it Pharrell was also declaring God in his own way. I think it’s breathtaking that in a competition show where people have their eyes on the prize that Boyd declared this:

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
Till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown

This is a man who knows his trophy will not come from this show. It might. It might not. Ultimately all of these worldly prizes pale in comparison to God and the prize of salvation.

This just reminds me how God is on the move. God is being declared in ways he never was before. It’s exciting days we live in, isn’t it?