Friday, December 26, 2008

What Can God Do With a Transformed Life?

I LOVE the Old Testament! The lives of the people are like parables with hidden treasures and secrets to be found. Tonight, I'm a bit captivated by the life of Moses. Have you ever really stopped to wonder and dwell on the different ways that God Almighty revealed Himself to Moses? Who gets to see God in that fashion??? God BEGAN the revelation of Himself with an unconsumed blazing bush. That was Moses' beginning. How does it get better and more amazing than that? God had just set the stakes really high to continue moving Moses from glory to glory.

Moses, at this beginning stage of His relationship with Yahweh, was a weak-kneed, mumbling wreck. He couldn't put coherent sentences together. He didn't feel equipped to live up to the task of what God called him to do. He was called to save a nation from the bondage of slavery and he knew he wasn't good enough. All he saw when he looked at himself was weakness, failure, inability. Yet...God called him.

We know the story. God used Moses to boldly stand before Pharoah of Egypt and to declare that the people of Israel belonged to Him, not this pagen king. The nation was saved and God's glory before Moses grew. In Exodus 19, God appears before him and all of rescued Israel as a fire, not in a little bush, but in a roaring, blazing cloud covering the top of Mount Sinai. Moses was called to now enter this fire, larger than his first encounter with the glory of the Lord. What had happened to this weak, mumbling man that he was allowed to enter this weight of God's presence?

In Exodus 24, Moses is once again called to enter the presence of God on Mount Sinai, along with the priests and elders of Israel. Verse 9 says, "and they SAW the God of Israel. There was under His feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness. And He did not lay His hand on the chief men of Israel; the BEHELD God, and ate and drank." I looked up the original Hebrew for "saw" and "beheld" and it means...they saw and beheld Him. This was not a vision. They literally saw God. John, in Revelation, saw similar things of heaven but it was in the form of a vision. Moses literally beheld God. What had happened to this man that he was allowed to see God in this way? How had he been changed? What was his heart like?

Later, after God had given Himself in blood covenant with the Israelites, they abandoned Him to worship the golden calf. The degraded His glory. They used their gold and wealth, which was to be set aside to build the tabernacle of God, to create a pagen image and they performed defiling, worldly acts in tribute to it. After all that God had done, they willingly gave themselves over to idolatry and sin. Aaron, who had been put in leadership over Israel in Moses' absence, relented and allowed Israel to conduct themselves in this way. God's response, in Exodus 32:9, was, "Now therefore let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you." In the very next verse, Moses steps in the way of God's wrath and intercedes on behalf of fallen Israel and God relented. Aaron was too weak to restrain the people; Moses was strong enough to restrain even God!

Moses transformed from being a mumbler too afraid to speak in front of Pharoah, to a man of strength willing to mediate between God and a people. What can God do with a transformed life? How are you different from the first moment you encountered the presence of God until now? What is your story? What can and will God do with you as you change from glory to glory?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Beggars and Royalty

A little while back, I was sitting outside at a coffee shop downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was a beautiful night and there were so many people walking around that I had alot of fun on my perch watching them and hearing snippets of their conversations. Sometimes it's fun to do that because it reminds me of how big God's love is. All of those people are known and loved by their Father. He sees every detail of all of their lives. It's really easy to be so self-absorbed and think that God is only involved in what happens with ME! But, His love is so big.

As I was reading and, of course, drinking my caramel-goo-coffee with whipped cream, I was approached by a man who appeared to be homeless, begging on the streets. He asked me for $.50. I told him that I didn't have any change but he could have a dollar. His face lit up at the prospect of getting double what he asked for, and then he turned it around and asked if I'd give him $2.00! I kind of enjoyed his persistence.

As he walked away, the first thing I thought of was how child-like his heart must be to be able to make his needs known to a complete stranger. I feel so often that I have trouble having this heart towards God, who knows me. I tend to want to deal with everything on my own rather than to ask the King of kings for help, as if I'd be a bother to Him or maybe He wouldn't have enough. I thought it was interesting, too, that this man asked only for $.50. Why wouldn't he have shot for the moon and then worked downward? Maybe he would have received a better pay off. Or, maybe he's been rejected so many times that he knew to have high expectations would only bring disappointment.

As I was wondering about him in the 2.4 seconds it took for him to walk away, God said to me, "You're not a beggar, but royalty. And, I want you to be child-like and come to me with your heart, but you ARE to shoot for the moon because I made it. All that I have is yours." How often do I go to God as a beggar, hoping that He'll answer me just enough to get by? God, give me only $.50 of your goodness because I'm not sure if you'll give me $100.00 when asked for it. I approach Him like a beggar, rather than a royal child of the King...a royal child's voice is always heard by their Father, the King. I want to continually walk around like I'm homeless and tattered when He's brought me into His house and dressed me in pure white without blemish.

The man wouldn't give me his name, but I prayed for him as he rounded the corner, out of my view, that God would reveal to him that he's not a beggar, but a son of God. I'm asking God to continue that revelation in my heart, as well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Parable of the Wedding Feast

Luke 14:15-24

What am I really invited into when invited to the Wedding Feast at the end of this age? The Banquet comes at the end of something. What?

war, struggle, death, self.

It's the victory celebration of all that has been conquered. Accepting the invitation means accepting a temporary life of war, struggle, death, the end of me. This must happen before victory...it's the mountain of myrrh mentioned in Song of Songs.

Jesus, silence all of my excuses for not having intimacy with You, because my excuses are just as absurd and ludicrous as the people in this parable. Nothing is more important than You, Your plans, Your Kingdom. Come and remove everything that keeps me from loving You. Altogether beautiful You are. Make me more like You. Give me undistracted devotion for Your face and Your ways. Celebrating with You in love at the wedding makes this fight worth every second, every day. I yield myself to You. You've won. You've conquered my heart. I love You and at any price I want a seat at this banquet.

How would my life change if I loved with Your face and our wedding day constantly in front of my eyes?

Awake, O north wind, and come O south wind! Blow upon my garden, let its spices flow. Let my Beloved come to His garden, and eat its choicest fruits.

Come, my Beloved, and have Your way in my heart, my life. I trust You to bring anything in my life that will lead to 100% obedience and devotion to Your face. Dine on the fruits in my heart produced and cultivated by Your Spirit. I belong to You.