Who wins?

If you're on Facebook at all, chances are your newsfeed was lighting up with opinions for and against homosexual marriage this past weekend.  This post is not continuing the argument, but one FB post over the weekend triggered a thought that I will expound upon here.  My friend wrote this:

"Love Wins." You keep using those words. I do not think it means what you think it means.

So, let's dissect this.  "Love wins."  Simple and catchy phrase.  Is it ironic that it was coined by a best-selling author/ex-pastor who didn't believe the Bible to be true?

Love.

I was completely challenged by something my pastor said a few weeks ago.  Often we read things in the Bible that don't sit well with us.  We attempt to explain things in our own understanding or make excuses for God when He doesn't sound or seem like we think He should.  I mean, what do we do with passages that sound like He is angry?  Or hating something?

But the challenge  was to read the word as Truth and realize that God is love.  Period.  Whatever is in the Bible that describes God is part of His love.  It's who God is.  He is love, among many other glorious things that our pitiful language attempts to describe.

Does He lash out in anger at the Pharisees?  That is love.  Does He call a sinful woman out on her sin?  That is love.  Does He forgive the criminal on the cross?  That is love.  It may not make a lick of sense to us, but we must trust in the Lord and lean not on our understanding.

Because our understanding of love is limited, short-sighted and tainted by our own sin.

We can't often get beyond our feelings.  So, if our friend strongly believes something, then we begin to make excuses or even support her in her earnest belief.  If she is believing something against God's word or commands, we may diminish the wrong or overlook it.  We even call this love.

But, I must be reminded of what authentic love is, where it originated from.  God is the Creator and He is love.  The clay cannot tell the potter what a handle should look like.  In the same way, I cannot tell God what love should look like.  Instead of justifying and re-scripting truth, I need to believe Him and trust His word.  Otherwise, who is really calling the shots?  I know we all yearn to be the one in charge, the authority on any given subject...but at some point we have to realize that there is Someone greater than us.  As much as I don't want to answer to someone else, I can't honestly say I want the burden of all of creation on my shoulders...how about you?

Wins.
Oh, how we love to win.  Especially in our sports-saturated society.  And, so the arguments rise between teams.  Names are called, motives are attributed and winners and losers are declared.  A man-made law is passed, therefore one team wins.  This is temporal and myopic, regardless of your team.  So, who really wins?
1.  The wise man.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.  

Matthew 7: 24-27

2.  The humble man.

If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14

3.  The saved man.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation* for our sins.

1 John 4: 10

These three examples win because it is God who is giving each wisdom, humility and salvation.  It is God who is love and it is God who wins.  The Savior of the Universe is also the Judge of the Universe.

Christian, if you profess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then do not walk in both worlds. Do not try to please both man and God.  This is foolish thinking!  Stand for something!  Choose the Rock as your foundation, not the shifting sand of our culture.

Love, Wendy

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hebrews 13: 8

houses compared

 

*propitiation= For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.  It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass"over the sins previously committed." (Romans 3: 25)

 

 

Undivided

Stepping onto the roller coaster that day many years ago filled me with excitement and dread.  I knew it would be thrilling, but I was afraid of just how thrilling it would actually be.  Putting my faith in the rickety, wooden, man-made ride was all it took as I buckled the seat belt and raced off.  The heights weren't my favorite, but the curves and speed were exhilarating!  By the time it was all said and done, I was glad to have faced my fear...even though I'd likely never step on the ride again if I could help it. While I've managed to steer clear of scary roller coasters most of my adult life, I still remember the fear and dread that I had to face when riding them.  And, to be honest with you, a similar fear and dread has crept into my mind as I parent older children.  I know I'm not alone in this as I've talked with many of you, too, who have seen a huge difference between guiding the little ones and steering the big ones.  There is a lot at stake and we begin to fear...

Will these grades affect her future?

Will they marry the right wives? (or husbands)

What college should he attend?

and the big one:

Will they have hearts for the Lord?

My husband and I have been walking the older-kid parenting stage for the past seven-ish years and it is far too unique to nicely package a list of instructions for you in a blog post.  That's not my intent in this post anyway.  While God has taught us much during these years, and I know that He will continue to teach us much more as we have about fifteen more of these years ahead of us, this post is not about raising teens, but actually about why I resist Him.

Resist...you may wonder whether I've lost my mind!  Why resist God when I need Him so very much?  Yeah, good question.  That's actually exactly what I've been wondering lately.  I've found myself resisting God before this season too.  Indeed, you don't have to be the mother of a young adult to be tempted to resist God.  I've resisted Him during a big move, during job changes, at a new church, and often times in the midst of my marriage.  It doesn't matter if you are single, married, a mom, childless, older, younger...we are all, at times, tempted to resist our good God.  Do you find this to be true for you?

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart.  Psalm 119: 2

Teach me Your way, O LORD, and I will walk in Your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear Your name.  I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart; I will glorify Your name forever.  Psalm 86: 11-12

Why do I, why do we, resist God?  Why hold back our whole heart?  I resist God when I worry about parenting my older kids.  I resist His sovereignty and place my trust in my own control.  But, here's the kicker-- I can't control them.  I can't guide them here and there and tell them exactly what to do (and have them usually listen) like when they're little.  They're becoming independent and making their own decisions now...and that scares me because it takes the reins out of my control.  So, in this realization I see that my heart has not been trusting God wholly.  It's been partially trusting God (with my mouth) and partially trusting my own strength and wisdom (as seen by my actions).  In the refining fire (name your trial, name your situation...that's your refining fire), we see whether or not we're actually trusting or resisting God.

Are you trusting in your own understanding?  Are you believing your plan is better than God's?  Are you harboring anxiety, fear, anger?  These are all signs of a wrestling spirit; a heart that is holding back from God.  Yet, blessings and praise arise from a heart that has fully surrendered, one that is not divided between praising God and praising my own ideas of what is right.

How I want my heart to be undivided!  And yet what a struggle to face what could be the most thrilling ride of this life--putting my full and undivided trust in our faithful God in every single situation.  However, this meager faith of mine is not being placed in a rickety roller-coaster, but rather the God of all creation.  What have I to fear?

Praise the Lord!  I will praise the Lord with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright and in the congregation.  The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them.  His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever.  He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.  Psalm 111: 1-4

Love, Wendy