Thursday, February 12, 2009

Blessed Assurance

The chorus sings like this...

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Oh how I long to live my life in such a way, praising my Savior all the day long. The bible talks about how our Spirit makes deep groanings that we cannot utter, and though I don't know if it is biblical or not, I hope my spirit knows to praise Him even when my flesh gets caught up in me, life and circumstance.

I do know that my life however is one of Blessed Assurance. It is one of those things I find hard to describe to someone else if they have not themselves experienced it. The total peace and confidence in my soul that I know who I am and I know Who I belong to, and the confidence of all that I have because of what he has done for me.

February is here, the month of love and romance, the stores are packed with candy, flowers and cards for sale to express to your special someone "Be Mine."

As happily married as I am, and I consider myself to be far blessed among all women for the marriage I have, the husband I am married to and the life that we share, it so fails by comparison to the sense of "Blessed Assurance" that holds my heart.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Remember how wonderful you felt the first time you fell in love? The excitement that made your heart race? Sometimes it fluttered so much you thought it might come right out of your chest? It's such a thrilling feeling, makes you feel alive. Blessed Assurance... it's like that, only better.

"Be Mine," you see it everywhere from tiny chalk like candies to big boxes and cards. And it is a wonderful feeling to feel like you "belong." I cherish my title as Neal's wife. I love that I alone am His, there is such joy and security in that sense. Blessed Assurance is like that, only more.

Belonging to Jesus, and having the full confidence of it, being fully persuaded of what He did for me on the cross and what it means for my life is beyond words. It is everything and yet I cannot find the words to share it, but the song tries.

"Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels, descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love."

The most incredible thing about being madly in love with Jesus is to know He is even more madly in love with me. It is incredible to have your heart feel so full and then to know that it cannot even begin to compare to the love He has for me, for you, for all.

Oh how it must break His heart when His love is lost on the unbelieving or even doubted by those who know. And yet even in the midst of our rejection He is relentless in His pursuit. The bible says it is His will that none should perish, He longs for a reciprocal love from us. He stands willing and waiting, the bible says, "Knocking on the door of the heart."

If you do not know Him, my prayer is that you would, that you would come to know His sacrificial love and His deep desire for you. If you do know Him, then my prayer is that you would know the "width and length and depth and height" of His love for you. That you would allow Him to fill you to overflowing to the joy and peace- the "delight" and the "rest" that is yours to be had, that is Blessed Assurance.

May Jesus call you His own this Valentine's Day, and every day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Joy is in the Journey

The family and I started on a new adventure yesterday. We went on a sort of treasure hunt, geocaching, also known as letterboxing, and we had a really good time. But as usual, it's got me thinking....

The Bible says in Matthew 7:7, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."

This isn't a magic formula. It's not even what I would call "Kingdom math." Maybe it's more like "Kingdom Algebra," it holds truth, but the route to getting there is a little more circular than the classic "if/then" addition.

I see in this passage a progression of prayer and seeking God. So many of us set out on the path and sit ourselves on a stone just past "ask" and wonder why God hasn't responded quickly enough or in the manner we expected or hoped for.

So back to our family treasure hunt. We found out about this whole secret world called "Letterboxing." It's a wonderful little adventure, where there are clues to follow and treasures to be found.

As I think about our day yesterday on our Letterboxing quest, I see a similar progression as the one described in Matthew 7:7.

ASK. I discovered the adventure was out there, I shared it with my family, asked them to join me on it and we got our tools together and headed out. It was a good start, but it wasn't enough.

This reminds me of our initial seeking of God. We invite Him into our lives, we get into a church, get our bibles and learn to pray, but we can't stop there.

SEEK. We had to take our clues, and see where they would lead us. Some of them were simple and direct, but some of them required a lot of thought and attention, we had to move forward where the clues would lead us, purpose to follow the path set for us. We had to make a few u-turns along the path, sometimes go back to the last place we knew we were where we belonged and begin again from there.

When we become believers, it isn't enough to have the Bible, we have to dive into it, learn more about the Lord, find out who He is, what His plan is for us, as a whole and an individual. Somethings are very clear, simple instructions to follow (Kingdom math) and some are more complicated, we must by trial and error (Isaiah 1:18, Philippians 2:12), viz. Kingdom Algebra. Sometimes u-turns are required in our spiritual walks, and sometimes we have to go back to the last place we knew the Lord was speaking and begin again.

KNOCK. Even when we got to the proper location where the clues led on our adventure, the payoff didn't come till we got down on our knees and dug out the treasure. We had to put ourselves out there. It wasn't enough to arrive at the end of the line, we wanted the treasure in hand so we had to completely commit to the adventure.

This holds true in our walk with the Lord. It isn't enough to be "where" you know you're supposed to be. You have to completely commit yourself to it, in surrendered heart, willing attitude, and by not being willing to give up until the treasure is found, till you know you are where the Lord wants you to be, and doing what He wants you to do.

I am excited about this new family adventure that we are sharing. And I look forward to sharing this lesson with my children. I'm happy to have discovered this fun way to share the Truth with my kiddos.

Another parallel I discovered was this. As great as it was to get to the treasure, the road to discovery was so amazing. It was the relationship, and experiences along the way that made the trip most memorable. I think that's true in our walk with the Lord as well. The joy is in the journey.

I'm excited because there are lots more treasures out there to be found, more experiences, more adventures, more challenges and victories... in Letterboxing, and in the Walk of Faith.