Monday, December 15, 2008

What A Friend We Have

I sang the songs of yesterday,
And let them wake my heart.
And in the words I’d held at bay,
Discovered who you are.

Jesus, Savior, Nourisher,
Teach my soul to trust.
Counselor, encourager,
Who raised me from the dust.

Son of Man, whose grace abounds
In morning, noon and night.
Holy God with nail-pierced hands
That steered my wrong course right.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
Faithful friend who never leaves us.
What a friend who truly sees us.
Loving friend who daily frees us.

Father of the weak and poor,
Lover of the lost,
Son whose mercy opens doors,
Bearer of another’s cross.

Shepherd of a wandering flock,
Cornerstone on which to build,
Humble servant, solid rock,
Vision of promises fulfilled.

What a friend we have in Jesus.
Faithful friend who never leaves us.
What a friend who truly sees us.
Loving friend who daily frees us.

Remover of all obstacles,
Deliverer, with lives to mend,
Redeemer of the prodigals,
Mighty King, forever friend.

May songs I sing, with heart unbound,
Be praises to my faithful friend,
For what an honor to be found,
And know what lies around the bend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Golden Rule

So after the recent election and the way this country, and my heart, were so divided, I took a long, hard look at the root of my discontent and I came up with two basic truths.

First, when asked to search our souls and arrive at a decision that is of a political nature, I believe we have fallen far short. Make no mistake, I firmly believe your faith should guide EVERY decision you make in life, including those of a political nature! You may try to separate your politics from your faith as best as possible, but you will fail miserably, for you cannot claim faith and trust in God and not allow Him to permeate all areas of your life. Why would a God who desires your WHOLE heart wish to be left out of certain aspects of your life? So my first truth is this: as Christians, I believe we too often attempt to interpret Christ through the world's eyes rather than interpreting the world through Christ's eyes. Case in point: when facing a tough decision, we are implored to consider, "What would Jesus do?" We consistently try to make sense of challenges and opposition by trying to understand Christ. But the truth is, Christ is not that difficult to figure out. He loves you, He wants what is best for you, He was clear about what He detested, and He asked you to take a stand on the side of purity and grace. When something seems confusing to me, it does not do me much good to look through my worldview glasses for truth and clarity, but rather to read the Word, ask God for guidance and consider the following. It isn't really about what Jesus WOULD do. It's about what Jesus DID do. And it's all right there in God's own words. He didn't leave some stuff out for us to second guess Him. He let His wishes be known.

And that brings me to my second truth. I don't believe this world is hurting because we have had a Republican in the White House for too long and I don't believe we will sink deeper into despair because we will now have a Democrat in the White House. I believe this world is hurting because we have left Jesus out of OUR homes for too long. I feel like He's been knocking on our doors, especially mine, for quite some time and maybe my music's been up too loud or something, but I certainly haven't heeded the call! Now, I'm not one of those people who chooses to guess the time when my loving savior will come to call me home (assuming I'm so lucky) or try to label how far into the end times we have traveled, but I do know this. We are called to always be ready and that means NOW! Notice I stated earlier that I believe Jesus wants us to take a stand on the side of purity and grace. I think grace is the bigger part of that equation. When we let Jesus direct our steps, He does so not with a heavy hand, iron fist, or angry voice so much as He does so with grace and we are to do the same. Somehow, some time ago, Christians became known as self-righteous hypocrites and I'm not so sure we didn't somehow earn that title. The truth is, if we are claiming to live without sin simply because Christ has found us, we truly are hypocrites. If, however, we are claiming to follow Christ in hopes that we will SOMEDAY live in the absence of sin, and treating others with the same measure of grace, we are spot on! People, we follow no man further than he follows Christ. I don't do as other Christians do (except for the whole sinning thing). I do-or try to do-as Christ did.
Philip Yancey begs the question, "What's so amazing about grace?" and I loooove His work. So what is so amazing? Well, let's see, what's not??? Grace is unwarranted, grace is not fair, and grace is so beautiful. When we sin, we are not fallen Christians, because as Yancey states, "The opposite of sin is grace, not virtue." We are simply Christians, saved by grace. How can we not approach a fallen world with the same measure of grace that is extended to us daily by a loving God? Yancey also states, "The sense of sin is the measure of the soul's awareness of God." Essentially, you cannot know God without knowing that you are a sinner. Hallelujah people! I'm not giving you a free pass to sin so that you can get to know God a little better. I'm just saying, remember the golden rule. Come on now, search waaaay back to kindergarten when you were firts taught to do unto others as you would have done to you. When did that stop being applicable, huh? If God loves us in our failures, how can we not love others in theirs. And now, I'm gonna hit ya with the tough stuff and I'll say it as simply as I can. You gotta repent! God has no place for a sinner who refuses to repent. And that's it. Love those little backsliders as much as possible (including yourselves - a little forgiveness for ourselves goes a long way), show them what a penitent heart looks like, and maybe they'll catch a glimpse of God in there somewhere!