Friday, March 29, 2013

the cross is greater

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, 
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
1 Corinthians 1:18


This week, I have watched the symbol marriage equality slowly begin to turn the feed of my social media outlets to red and yet, by His grace, I have been reminded of another shade of red, the crimson flowing from His head, His hands, and His feet nearly two thousand years ago today...

The gravity of writing a post to be published on Good Friday was not lost on me. As I sat to write, I felt the weight of both responsibility and my own inadequacy bearing down. For a brief moment, I worried that my words would be insufficient and He gently reminded me that, on their own, they always are. Yet, when fully surrendered to Him, He can use all things - yes even these words strung together by keystrokes fervently moving across the keyboard to the rhythm of my heart, for His glory (Romans 8:28).

In the midst of a cultural war in which individuals are both incessantly quarreling and strategically marketing for the sake of their cause, I began to realize that my heart was growing increasingly jealous for Him, for His glory... and for His cause.

The cause for which He came, the cause for which He suffered the brutality of a death that each and every one of us deserved to die.

Sisters, that cause was me. That cause was you. That cause is the friend on Facebook you disagree with. The unbelieving coworker who mocks your faith. The family member who finds it difficult to allow anyone to disagree with them. His cause was both your closest friend and your most vile opponent.

How often we are tempted in the midst of these distractions to forget how very much He loves them. How often we are tempted to forget that His suffering and His atonement was every bit as much for them as it was for us.

How often we are tempted to forget that we are the ones He has chosen to demonstrate that love to them.

We are the ones who have but one task, spoken from the mouth of Jesus Himself to go and tell the world. He is Risen and the veil is torn. Through the piercing of His body came the tearing of the temple veil. This is a historical fact explained in explicit detail in Hebrews. Every facet of the temple was a foreshadowing of what was to come. Jesus Himself was the veil to the Holy of Holies and through His death, we were granted access to our holy and living God. Up-close, personal, life-changing, heart-altering, eternity-defining, intimate access.

Today, we celebrate the day in which God Himself demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). For me. For you. For each and every single person standing on either side that which they may deem their greatest cause.

Oh, how I long to shine the light of His word and His Spirit and His truth on all those who are unable to see that they, too, no matter which side of the war which they are standing - they are standing in the shadow of the cross and we are standing together, as both one and equals at its foot. 
And as for me, I have decided to sit quiet and contentedly in the shadow of the cross.  I have decided that if my actions and my words are to have any impact on anyone they reach then may it be for the only cause that bears the weight of eternal value. May it be for the glory of Christ crucified and nothing else.


I have decided and resolved what Paul had when he wrote, "For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2).

I have decided that the cross is greater.

The cross is greater than our greatest cause.

The cross is greater than our most controversial issue.

In the middle of this broken and fallen world, and a consumerist culture that will soon enough be engulfed with baskets and bunnies, can I encourage you to stand with me and declare that the cross is greater?

Can I encourage you today, oh especially today, to cast aside your cause and remember His.

Click to share His cause.
Facebook His cause.
Change your profile picture for His cause.
Tweet His cause.
Pin His cause.
Fight for His cause.

Why? Because His cause is the only one that bears the weight of eternity.

There is no cause on this planet or in this life that is the equivalent of His sacrifice for us, the atonement for our sins.  Every human rights movement, every civil liberties debate, and every political agenda will cease upon His return.  He was and is and is to come. 

His cause was the cross.

And the cross is greater.

Lord, this Good Friday, may the glory of your sacrifice on the cross eclipse the controversy of our culture. May we be the vessels by which the word of your glory is displayed. Amen.

"As for me, may I never boast about anything
except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified,
and the world's interest in me has also died." 
Galatians 6:14


original post at Middle Places:  http://middleplaces.com/2013/03/29/the-cross-is-greater/ 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

In the middle of safe footing

You have made known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 16:11

I woke up this morning from restless sleep, even before my alarm. Every now and then, I have a recurring dream that, though varying in circumstance, always depicts my slipping and falling from the path on which he has placed me.

In recent weeks, I've been praying for a friend who is going through a perfect storm of trials in her life.  Seeing her for the first time in a long time left me somewhat shaken, spiritually.  She was as beautiful as ever, the waves of adversity had washed away any remnant of her joy in The Lord. Her soul was wounded, her heart bruised and battered... and her feet had seemingly slipped far from the path she had once walked with the Lord. More heartbreaking than the trials she was experiencing was the toll they had taken on her faith, and on the course of her life.

Though I felt inadequate to offer her any words of counsel, the Lord reminded me that, through Him, I am more than competent (2 Cor 3:5).

After all, I have been there.

I remember all too well my journeys through the darkened detours; the forging of my own will and futile attempts at paving my own way with step stones of disobedience, discouragement, and discontentment. It wasn't that long ago and yet, on this side of freedom, it feels so very far ago.

Even in the years since I surrendered my heart to the Lord, I have made many missteps and wrong turns.  It has taken me years to grip firmly to the lesson in which He has been teaching me all along: The surrendering of my will and this staying on this path with Him means allowing Him to lead, daily.  Every single morning, I must choose to surrender - and to cling to truth.

It is by His grace, and His grace alone, that my feet are on the path. moving in accordance with His word.

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.""  Isaiah 30:21

I listened to my sweet friend as she revealed her hurts and her heart.  I saw so much of my past battles raging within her that it was frightening.  I vividly remember that chaos and that confusion.  Holding her hand, I looked her in the eyes and simply said, "When everything is falling apart around you - and inside of you, when nothing makes sense, when your body and your soul are at war with your spirit, you must hold on to what you know is truth.  His word is truth (John 17:17); His Spirit is truth (John 16:13) and the truth will set you free (John 8:32).  

I am still praying for her fervently. I am praying that the Lord will restore to her the joy of her salvation (Psalm 51:12) and that she will draw near to Him (James 4:8).

But in the days following that encounter, I have also found myself crying out the same petition for myself.  That He will hold me close and keep my steps secure.  I never want to slip and fall away again.

The following verse has crossed my path - and my heart - three different times this week, and I'm reminded of His faithfulness to me through His word.  His word that is my truth, and the answer to my prayers.

Whatever you are in the middle of today, cling to the truth and know that, through Him, our steps our safe.

Our footing is secure.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

he who watches over you will not slumber; 

(Psalm 121:1-3 NIV84)

original post at http://middleplaces.com/2013/03/01/in-the-middle-of-safe-footing/