Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Not anything...but Christ

Not Philosophy but Christ
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10

Not Legalism but Christ
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:13-15

Not Carnality but Chirist
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
Colossians 3:1-7

In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him. He has taken the law out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed the principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them. Therefore, set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

This is something I think we miss so often. We choose so many things other than Christ...sometimes they're things we believe are good. Sometimes it's pain. Sometimes it's sin. In any event, we get so caught up in the "stuff" that we miss the one person that will help us.

It comes down to a choice. The stuff...or Christ. You have to choose who you will serve. I didn't choose to act one way or another. I myself am utterly powerless to control myself. The only thing I can do is choose who I serve. For example, I don't choose to indulge in destructive eating habits or not. I don't choose to be bitter or not. I choose to either serve that spirit of bitterness or destructive eating or God. I had to make the choice as to who I would serve. I am purposing my choices to allow Him to make me His. To sanctify me and call me His own. The only place I can make that choice however is at the Cross.

We miss so much about the Cross of Christ. We talk about it causally in passing, but we so often miss the full impact of it. Life is hard. Everyone has crap. Life, most of the time, sucks for most people. Life is confusing. Life is complicated. Life is oppressive. Life is just heavy. The only place where life isn't any of those things is at the foot of the Cross. When we choose to sit at the Cross our load is lightened, things become clear, we are not only given life, but we are given a full life. A life of superior quality. Only by our Lord's grace is this possible and it is a free gift yes. But we must choose to accept it, we must choose to spend time with Him, we must choose to sit at the Cross, we must choose to purpose our day to this end...that we would know Him and He would be glorified in us. If those things don't happen the cry of the heart will never be satisfied. It will always be left wanting, confused and heavy. Our hope is in Him, but we must place our hope in Him for that to become manifest in our flesh.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Blessing

God is funny. For instance, when I went to the doctor the first time (two and a half weeks ago), he said I'd be out for four weeks. I obviously wasn't too excited, but I knew it was coming. I gave over to the Lord, I knew He would prepare me for London in two weeks if that was my only option, so I said; "okay". I swam, ate good and enjoyed my rest. I really wanted to dance, but my only option was to make the best of it and trust God...so I did.

Okay, last Thursday I went back to the doctor to look at xrays. He said very little about my ankle, he had other concerns, but nothing that can't be taken care of good shoes and orthotics. He told be to keep doing my exercises and the ankle will improve (so far that's held true), but he also said that I was allowed to go back to dance whenever I felt ready. That made my week. I gave it until yesterday. I went to the studio and just did a nice easy barre. No pain :) Now, it doesn't feel normal...it's not totally better, but it didn't hurt and it doesn't hurt today either. I'm going to take it slow and be smart...there's a lot riding on these next few weeks. I knew He would prepare me, but I never expected this.

Just about the time I let God have control was when, He gave me the gift of returning early. I was blessed this week. His is the glory.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Psalm 32

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,"
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.
For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You
In a time when You may be found;
Surely in a flood of great waters
They shall not come near him.
You are my hiding place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Distractions bombard us when we pray. It seems, for me at least, that when I sit alone to pray is when I get the most distracted. My mind wonders so much. Sometimes it's easier to "get alone with God" when I'm in a noisy, crowded place, than when I'm alone in my room. It's easier to block the external distractions, than it is the distractions of my own wondering mind. I don't understand this. It seems like it should be the other way...

Chamber (of course) has something helpful to say about this
After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray we cannot get our minds into working order and the first things that conflicts is wandering thoughts....we have to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful prayer...a secret silence means to shut the doors deliberately on emotions and remember God...pray to your Father in secret and every public thing will be stamped with the presence of God.

Shutting the door on emotions...what a hard thing to do. But it makes sense. Have you ever tried communicated with someone when you're on the verge of hysteria? It doesn't work well does it? You finnish feeling no better (if not worse) and the other person can't help you because you are so incoherent. I've played the guilty party here many times. "God I need your help because I'm freaking out...but I'm not going to let myself rest in you....I'm going to keep freaking out, but I want You to fix it." He can't help us if we won't let Him. Sometimes you have to just STOP. Breathe. Close the door and talk to God. By the time you re-enter the world your emotions will have learned their proper place in this relationship. You'll leave that conversation with a peace there that will probably surprise you as it has surprised me many times.

Reflected peace is the proof that you are right with God because you are at liberty to turn your mind to Him. If you are not right with God, you can never turn your mind anywhere but on yourself.

See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. Hebrews 12:25
How many of us have done that? I again have played the guilty party many, many times. It goes along with leaving an open door to your emotions when talking to God. They like to have their say so when they need to sit in submission.

Just to end any possible confusion on this point....I'm not saying emotions are bad...God gave them to us. They have a place, but I don't believe that their place is in prayer. In that setting they can distract us from communing with our Lord.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Okay....just one more God thing. After over a year of amenorrhea, it finally came back. On it's own. No drugs, no therapy or what not. Simply by learning to eat in a way that's glorifying to God again and making my way back to a normal weight. This is such a relief and one more confirmation that my body is starting to function the way it's supposed to again.

I almost feel like that woman in Matthew 9:20...but...the other way around. Just to be able to get a touch of His love and compassion is enough to turn things around (even if I still make them go up and down occasionally :), change actions and heal. So amazing.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sanctification and rest

Rest....not my thing. I've always liked being active. I've never been one to play high contact sports, but I like to move and I like to work hard. I don't like being knocked off my feet for any length of time, but that seems to be just what happened. An old chronic ankle injury flared up again and I'm out for four weeks. When I was out before it didn't do me much good. I was relatively pain free for a while, but the problem wasn't over use. The problem was that I'm not walking right. So now I'm out of dance, doing some stretches at home and trying to make the best of it. Pilates and swimming are good options to help me sort of stay strong and flexible, but I already miss being in the studio. What could God be doing here? Well...the last few months He has really seared into my heart the desire to delight in Him and glorify Him. I think now, He wants me to trust Him and rest. I have always been the one to go go go go and not come up for air until I'm so overwhelmed I'm about to lose my mind. I think He also wants me to trust His timing. I wanted to take this time to get really good and strong before I went to London...I didn't plan to only have two weeks of prep time. I have to trust Him that He will get me ready...and I do. I know He will.

The big thing for me here is rest. I can't stand it for any extended period of time. What was funny was yesterday almost everything that came up in my devotions was about rest....go figure.
In Hebrews 4, the author spends an entire chapter on rest. God rested on the Sabbath, not because He was tired, but because that completed the creation. It completed it, set it apart, sanctified it. To quote (you guessed it...) Chambers, he says; "We have been talking a great deal about sanctification-what is it going to amount to. It should work out into rest in God which means oneness with God, a oneness which will make us not only blameless in His sight, but a deep joy to Him. "

Resting is not done after the work, it completes the work. Resting requires us to take the time to spend with our Lord. We have to set apart or sanctify our time to Him. Rest involves obedience.

There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. Hebrews 4:9-11

Decisions, decisions, decisions....

We come to an impasse...we desire to go forward...we want a stronger relationship with God, but things just feel like they're slipping, or at the very best not moving forward....which is really moving backwards. We've heard it all, we've got the head knowledge, we know the right answers, but are they our answers? Or are they simply the answers we've learned to repeat because someone told us they were right? At some point it comes down to obedience and application...and all application really is is obedience. You have to make your own decision about what you're going to do with what you know. Do you let it sit on the wall of you mind like a rusting tool? Or do you use it and bring God the glory He deserves? "I know this word of His is true in my life, but I'm not ready to obey, I'm not strong enough to obey." you will never be ready and you will never be strong enough. The Lord knows I wasn't. But I could beg. And beg I did. As I begged I saw that I had a choice....keep my knowledge and let it rot...or let His word be alive and active in me. It didn't happen by osmosis. I had to choose to obey. Oswald Chambers put it very well when he said that "we are not given overcoming life, but we are given life as we overcome."

The physical manifestations of outward readiness for an event (growing up for example) or healing ought to be there, but they can also be counterfeited and put on as a facade. The outward achievements don't help if the heart is not right and at home with God. The outside will break down...we can't keep it up on our own.

Change and readiness come from daily seeking God through His word and prayer and walking in obedience. I have seen in my own life that this is the only way we will ever a) learn God's will for our lives, b) heal from the chains we've bound ourselves in whether it be lust, bitterness, fear, etc. and c) grow in our walk with the Lord.

These are two things that have really spoken to me about seeking God, healing, and obeying:

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? Hebrews 2:1-4

We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God; if it does get injured we must take time and get it put right. The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed. My Utmost for His Highest-August 4th