Friday, March 29, 2019

ANOTHER LOOK AT LENT

It's Lent!  Forty days before Easter. It is time to give up something. Let me see. I am a little overweight--chocolate , cheese or ice cream for a start?  How about TV?  Oh no, forget that! March Madness is starting--college basketball games. Wait a minute.  

What am I thinking. Even if I give up sweets or TV, I know myself only too well. Just as soon as Lent is over, I will be right back into the sugar bowl and watching TV.  I don't think I really understand Lent.

From a religious point of view, I think it is a time when man gives up something to honor the Lord's great sacrifice.

 The more I thought about what I wanted to give up, I was more aware of my old man of sin, the flesh.  It doesn't like to give up anything.

But isn't that the point. It is a sacrifice for only forty days.  I could at least do that. It sounded good. 

 I began to ask the Lord what He might like me to give up for Lent. To my surprise, Roman 12:1 and 2 came to mind."I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." 

He, then, spoke to my heart, "My daughter, the only thing I desire is for you to give me your whole heart. The new heart I transplanted in you when I gave you a new birth."

Then an acrostic for Lent came to mind. 
                    
               
                L-iving               
                        E-ternally  
                N-ow 
                T-oday 

As a believer, He has put eternity in my heart. Every day I desire to bless my Lord.  My new heart is more important to Him than anything I could tangibly offer Him.  He just loves me.  He just loves you, my brothers and sisters because you belong to Him.

Friday, March 8, 2019

A FICKLE BRIDE

The stars glistened in the night sky, like polished diamonds on a black velvet cloth. In the brilliance of the full moonlight, ocean waves sparkled as far as you could see.  The once crowded beach was empty, except for the evening walkers.  A young couple walked  romantically holding hands along the beach as ripples of waves washed over their feet.  They couldn't resist the playful gesture of splashing each other and running away. Love was in the air.  Their friendship was growing, but this night was different.
Their lives would forever be changed.  He wanted to marry her.  But, was she ready to forsake all others and only be true to him?

This love story reminds me of the time the Holy Spirit revealed to me how much Jesus loved me. He stretched out His arms and died. What I didn't understand was the importance of my identification with His death, burial and resurrection.  The sinner, (me) had to die, be buried and raised to a new life in Him,  (Galatians 3:20) In effect I had spiritual surgery.  The old stoney heart of sin was cut out and a new heart of love was transplanted into me, (Ezekiel 36:25-27). I was now married to Jesus: "He who is joined to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT with Him", (Corinthians 6:17)

Like the young women in the story, I liked the idea of Jesus dying FOR my sins, but the thought me as a sinner dying in Him was a revelation.

 " I was a fickle bride"

I had two Lovers: Jesus and this world, (Ephesians 2:2)

Engagement is one thing.  Marriage is a Covenant.  Was I ready to enter into an eternal  covenant with Jesus? I didn't realize how independent I was.  I wanted the Lord's blessings without true repentance. I had to forsake the world and only to Him be true. I have to confess that I never really understood repentance or counted the cost.  It doesn't mean I am sinless, but, I would have power over sin and sin only by choice.  Repentance is a beautiful gift in my relationship. I am always forgiven. 

By the grace of God, like a new bride learning the habits and ways of her bridegroom, I am growing to know my Lord in a more intimate way.  I am grateful that He is not fickle.  He is a faithful bridegroom, patient,  kind,  understanding, forgiving, providing for my needs and protecting me from the evil one.  His love will never fail. There is no one like Him.