I’ve got an all-too generous dose of frugality!

I have lived my life not by generosity but by frugality. But my frugality has been focused on my heart’s supply of mercy and love and grace.

In my bitterness toward the mistreatment wicked people bring upon “less” wicked people, I definitely had my problems with some of God’s policies. Take Matthew 5:45 for instance:

This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty.

I have never been able to understand that. Either you deserve something or you don’t. So why would God ever treat wicked men and women with kindness? Why does God bless individuals who don’t give a hoot about Him?

Why, when I find fault with God and choose to take my own way, does He not withhold every mark of His favor?

I still don’t understand this, but I’m glad that He ever got me to the point of asking that last question. He’s letting  me see that I would be in the same boat with the rest of the God’s damnation-ready creatures if it were not for Christ. He alone secures for me the enduring kindness of God. If it were not for Him, His patience in bearing with my sin would run out.

Christ has gotten me out of that boat that knows only one destination — hell. He has already gone down in that ship on His own mission — securing all the favor that belongs to sinless ones and taking all the disfavor that awaits the sinner I have been.

If it was judgment I deserved it, and if it was anything else I was a debtor to God’s grace. So how can I fault God for exercising His administrative privilege as He pleases? If He was not so generous with others, would He have borne with me or been intent on redeeming me from my ill-intentioned spirit?

If I hold God in judgment, am I not saying that the gift God has afforded me is incomplete; that it is impossible for Christ to be gratifying to me in view of mercies He has extended to others? Am I not missing the whole point of God revealing Himself to us this way?

I have nothing if I don’t have Christ, so how can I begrudge others their “common grace” blessings from the Father? If He can point them to Him through means of these gifts than His grace is stronger than I have been willing to realize.

Let skeleton-hunting season officially begin!

It’s time. Time for all skeleton hopes and holdings on human happiness to come out of the closets in which they no longer belong. They have been lodging on your property for long enough. God has arrived at your doorstep and He wants to come in and get His mighty hands on them. He is intent on ridding your home of the pollution and burying them in the grave with all the other objects of your old life of wrong doing. Skeletons represent the death you knew without Christ — you were a body without any license to life.

And if you were wondering, no, we don’t want them to have a life of their own. They can’t get along without us. Those bones and sinews are our bones, that rotting frame of humanity is what we were. Now we freely and fastidiously agree with God to their disposal. We want them to stop sucking the life out of you and me. We don’t need to hold onto them for the sake of sentimental attachment — all we want to be holding onto is our Heavenly Father (He who spearheads our deliverance from these corrupt ways). After all this trouble He has gone to, keep in mind that God didn’t give you new life just so you could waste it in maintaining ties to your old life and its useless ways.

When glory comes your way, give it away and watch it grow!

When the glory of God unfolds in my life, and enfolds me in the presence and power and prestige of my Almighty Father and His Son my Savior, the world will see a differently-affected version of me.

They are supposed to respond in wonder to anything and everything that God does, so this will spawn rejoicing and respect, but may it not sit with me, to be deformed, but be raised in my hands back to Him who “gave it all” that in Him we may all have it all.

What will the weekend hold for us?

My whole life is shaped by a three day time period. No, not the last three days, or the three days surrounding my wedding, or the three days of perfection that I anticipate popping up in my future. All of these things can only shape my life to a certain extent. But the weekend that I’m talking about shapes more than that, it shapes the lives of everyone on the planet and it shapes me — particularly because it shapes my heart.

What I want in life and where I go have their beginnings — as do so many other things both small and great — in Christ dying my death on the cross and proving that He is the Son of God in His timely rising.

The events of the holy week were not just meant to be a display of God’s passion, but a sacrifice provocative because of the responsibility God has allowed us to have in it. We have the remarkable privilege of seeing the scope of human cruelty in its greatest display. A display of the demand we have made upon the righteousness of God in our rejection of His name and glory. Jesus Christ made Himself a cross of our hate and rebellion against God so that the Father might smite Him and preserve us.

This spectacle of Life crucified for the dead is meant to so interrupt my assumptions of what human life is supposed to look like that I will be attracted to God. I will see how intent God is on being central to my life, and how right He is. When I see how empty and joyless my life is — how I am characterized by being without — I will not be afraid of all the mystery of this God who has become a man. I will embrace Him and wake up to a day of salvation that goes on forever and ever even while time pretends that it rules my life.

Redemption is just too far of a walk — do I really want to get there?

I used to think that what I needed from God would be impossible to attain. It was difficult to ask and seek and knock and do all those things His Word says to do because I believed He really didn’t want to hear from me. I was a pain in His neck in the worst way.

I didn’t belong in His story or plans, I just thought I did. I was impertinent for assuming that I was somehow supposed to have a home with Him. But praise God He wanted me to know the other side of these lies — the truth that they were trying to hide.

You see, lies never stand on their own; instead, they are merely strategically-placed cover-ups for the truth; cover-ups the truth never needed. Lies make truth look conservative, but this is only because they are trying to make truth appear modest when it is really quite provocative.

But consider, how much must Satan have to lose if the Truth can be seen for what it is? Not just a set of ideas that can be liked or disliked, but a Person whose body is glorified and yet has holes. These holes are ours; they show where He was pierced for loving us to the point of death.

If all of this cannot remain covered up, than we cannot remain within the comfortable captivity He has ordered for us. If we see the Truth, we will not be comfortable. We will no that we are wrong — those holes will tell us — and we will turn from our first love — the lie — to seek the Truth’s redemption. When we surrender to Satan we get our bitterness for his enjoyment, but when we surrender to Christ, Satan is defeated through His bitterness for the enjoyment of the Trinity and us.

Redemption is really not too far of a walk; when we decide we really want to go there, Christ meets us where we are and cleanses us by the authority of His Word and the enduring scars that have accomplished its order of Love.

Each season is a moment in time to be shaped by Christ in a new way

No matter what season you are presently in, or hoping for, this is a time that must be marked more than anything else by a hunger for the Lord; by a craving for Him that is so strong it must necessarily let go of every other thing that may stand in the way of Christ — our bridge to God the Father. When He has accomplished this for this time, we will have everything exactly in the way that we should.

I should have more than this, you know!

For a long time I thought that I deserved a happy life. In some respects mine could be considered okay, but in too many others it was more trying than I wanted to learn how to handle. So I looked around at people who were comfortably well-off in departments of ease and comfort and harmony and sent God another withering reproof: “I should have more than this, you know!”

I searched in vain to discover what was so horrible about me that God should not have compassion on me and deliver me from burdens I seemed born to carry. I wanted to find that one thing that He expected me to fix before He would love me according to my needs. Instead, I became more in tune to all my shortcomings and determined that I had no hope of God ever feeling close or comforting. If I wanted anything from Him, work would be the only course that I had hope of exploiting.

Needless to say I went from questioning God to being bitter against Him. I no longer needed to hear His answers — they would only hurt me more. Besides, I had been in this tattered web of a life for long enough to know that most likely God did not intend to just break the whole thing down and start again.

Back then I didn’t know God in a positive way, in a trusting way — a way that I could be certain of everything He said in His Word was true for me too. If I had, I could have been certain that God only allowed my pain because He could be sovereign even over the sins of others in my life.

Even as He began to show me this, I didn’t care; I wanted God to look loving without pain. I wanted Him to become dear because He had somehow changed from the defeating deity that I saw when the words on sacred pages drew pictures of His ways. I didn’t want to believe that there had never been anything wrong with God; that I was the reason there existed a rift between us. I wanted to hear, “Elaine, I know I messed up; I’ll fix it.” Instead I got, “Elaine, I cannot make mistakes; I will make you understand what I am doing and then you will love me — I am taking the blinders off now, just let go.”

With no where else to go, I wrestled with God over everything He said and did to me — but He has never stopped pressing me to move beyond what I know to what He knows, and this is how I know that He is the only reason that I can see Him as I do now.

Our problem makes sense now — He touched them

What is it that separates us from God? Does the antagonism begin with His wrath or our sin? To answer this question we must ask ourselves what would make God angry? Is it an ever-present revelation of His character, or is it specifically addressed to us because of an offense we have made against Him?

If God were ever angry, and we were wholly without blame for the distance fraught with enmity that lies between us, then there is another question that begs our attention: If it wasn’t to cleanse and deliver us, then why did God submit His one Son and Heir to death? Was it a legitimate act, or another example of intollerable cruelty?

Could God who created life and is Life put to death He who is One with Him? Why would He insist on One more dying when our destinies in hell were already settled? Either God is a capricious beast or He has a purpose in everything that He does, even in requiring death of One who does not deserve it.

We deserve death as the credit for all that we do — sinning with full abandon — while Christ deserved not to become a servant to us, but a highly exalted sovereign. Yet, by the Word of God He stepped aside from the inheritance He was guaranteed to accept that which we were guaranteed. If He accepted what must kill us, He could defeat the powers that keep us from Life.

Love took the fall and died only to rise the Conquerer of every terror that assaults mankind. If we will believe He has done this, the mysteries of God’s will and choosing Christ will be illiminated by the Light who made it all complete.

Me? Pro God? I don’t think so!

My ties to God have never been formed because I was for God and wanted to know Him so badly. The power behind my relationship with Him has always been much greater than my aspirations, but it had to be in order to conquer my unwillingness to know Him.

I have never been God’s greatest fan, but rather an angry spectator that He welcomed into the game with Him to let me discover who He really is.