Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Starting New in Jesus

When someone accepts Jesus as their Lord and Savior all of heaven rejoices. Yet, I think that when that person decides to take the step of obedience to be baptized there is a different kind of joy. Something that is deeper in a way because it is a physical at of walking out their new faith and standing before others and saying “Yes” Lord.

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to see to young women step into this new place of obedience and to experience the washing away of their old life of sin.

It is funny how sometimes we are forced to do things differently. This was the case for this baptism. NO POOL. Ok, we used the lake. NO WHITE ROBES. This is a tradition in many protestant churches in Central and Eastern Europe. NO TRANSPORTATION/DRIVERS. Ok, I’ll shuttle the church (300 kilometers/190 miles).

Praise God for the death of His Son who washed away all our sins that we may have new life.

The Fellowship of the believers:

Joshua: Lesson in discipline and love

Sometimes I find that I do what I don’t want to do and don’t do what I want. The worst thing is when I do that I someone else shines the light of the Lord on it. My reaction (on the inside) is to recoil and just give up. Or to run and hide somewhere anywhere. I find the discussions in my head go from doubt, hurt, blame, and disbelief to defeat. Then I have to force myself to look at the nature of God and his desires for the best in my life.

Joshua reminds me that we all make mistakes no matter how “spiritual” or what our role is. But God is faithful to correct us for our own good and the good of others.

However, when I’m corrected my normal response is to withdraw and to want to give up. There is something within me that says, “fine”! You do it! I quit! I’m just too imperfect to do this task or to serve the Lord.

Yet the Lord desires to correct AND restore me, you all of us. To tell you the truth the correction is sometimes so painful, at the same time I know that it is necessary for me to really learn, change and grow. It is like exercising without the pain in my muscles there is no change in the strength and endurance of my muscles. The discipline is necessary for our equipping and healing.

Often after I have received the discipline of the Lord my confidence is shaken a bit. I’m sure that Joshua had some of those same feelings. I have the sense that I don’t really know what or how to take the next step. Yet, God in his love and faithfulness encourages us to get back on the horse and try again. Sometimes it is so hard because everything within me wants to say “Forget it”! I don’t know how he does it, but just keeps drawing me to try it again and all the while he is inviting me to trust him.

The reality is that I’m usually sitting on the ground because I have tried to “ride the horse” in my own strength instead of trusting him.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Great Battles for the Lord

It is always amazing to me how easy it is to behave in the same manner as the rebellious and foolish children of Israel.

Uturn 2005 - Mission Possible was fantastic (more later), yet after all the dust had settled and the last guest had left there was an ominous silence. A silence and isolation that was what I would imagine Elijah felt after the battle with the prophets of Baal.

The past 3 weeks have been a time for me to fight with and within myself; those old voices that sometimes haunt the mind. They seem to remind us of every short coming and every weakness that once existed in our lives. I realized just how easy it could be for me to be sullen, depressed, isolated and alone if I allowed myself to be. I remembered what it felt like before I committed my life to Jesus.

It was during this time that I cleaned….and cleaned. I was alone with myself, my thoughts, and piles of stuff. At first, I was just overwhelmed but as I pushed myself into my Lord and plowed through the mess I found a fresh look at myself and my relationship with the Lord.

Eventually, as my apartment regained order there was a new sense of relief, followed by hope, hope and anticipation of what the Lord will do in this new season of my life.