Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Surely Goodness and Mercy

So the day after I wrote the previous blog, I went to Starbucks, ordered a venti iced passion tea (unsweetened of course), and sat down in the small cozy corner couch with my journal, pen, and bible in hand. I was so ready. All day I had been waiting and praying and thinking about the last couple months of my life and reflecting on the faithfulness God has shown me. But before I get into that I wanted to share with you a scripture that spoke volumes to me over the last 5 months and gave me hope for my future as a child of God. (And I’m just warning you now: this will most definitely be a long one.) It is Psalm 81:8-16 and it says,

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me!
There shall be no strange god among you; you shall not bow down to a foreign god.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.

But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels.
Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways!
I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes.
Those who hate the LORD would cringe toward him, and their fate would last forever.
But he would feed you with the finest of the wheat, and with honey from the rock
I would satisfy you.”

Now there is so much packed into this passage, but from it came three priceless lessons.

First, there is the idea of false gods replacing the one true God in the hearts of His people. How easy it is for things, people, circumstances to come between our relationship with God? So easy! Life gets busy sometimes and I definitely allow my priorities to become jumbled. So lesson #1, I need to guard my time with the Lord. I need to actively make it a priority to be with Him, to know Him and to seek His will.

Secondly, God is telling His people that He promises to take care of them if they come to Him in all things. “Walk in my ways!” Contrary to some beliefs, God is not our enemy. If He was our enemy, He would have pushed the smite button on us all already. What hateful, harmful, and hurtful God sends His one and only Son to be sacrificed for people who had no desire to know Him? That is crazy! Only a God that unconditionally loves His people would do that. So why would I ever, ever, ever decide to contradict what I know He has called me to do. Lesson #2, trusting God is the most challenging “no-brainer” principle.

Thirdly, there are two promises in this passage: “Open your mouth and I will fill it” and “I would satisfy you”. God is not holding back the blessings that outflow from His character. I just sometimes choose not to receive them, because of pride or self-centeredness. Lesson #3, God always keeps His promises, to those who walk in in His ways! Always, always, always.

Side Note: After I had written this down in my journal I re-read it (as I do with alot of my entries) and as I was
reading, this adorable little lady across from me said, “Wow, that’s a smile worth asking about.” So I shared
with her what I am sharing with you and she expressed to me that she had been a Christian most of her life
and was still having to relearn these lessons everyday. It’s a life long process!

So these were the lessons learned, but who cares? What are the practical implications of them? When did these truths get put to the test? I’ll tell you when. When God confirmed my heart for worship, took away my money for the school I was currently enrolled in, and gave me a man who loves Him so deeply and has the same heart, the same mind, and the same calling in life as me; all in His perfect timing. Tyson has been the biggest joy and love in my life because he is to me what the end of that passage is speaking of: “the finest of wheat and the honey of the rock”. For me, He is the promise of God that ties it all together, because together we are fulfilling the individual callings God placed on our lives. God knew from the beginning and He brought us, our lives, together to glorify Him. Not by power, not by might, not by reason, nor by convenience, but by His Spirit. And for that I am in overwhelmingly in awe and forever grateful.

I knew God had called me to worship (leading and development), but I did not know where. I knew it was Him who provided money for school and was fully capable of taking it away, I just did not know when. And I knew He was the one who brought Tyson to me, I just did not know why. But now I do. I am seeing how it is all coming into play. I am seeing how the music of the orchestra is playing into this majestic symphony. So there is my heart, in its simplest form. And it our desire that our music will not be written in vain but that it will exemplify all of this. That we would not just talk about the Lord, but live life so that others do not need to hear our words. I will end with this well-known passage of Scripture as it brings everything into perspective of this bigger picture.

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

With faith, hope, and love,


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