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The Call to “Come”

Dusk has come in all its glorious transition. Light fades and colors the western sky, as distant sparkles begin appearing. Soon, the darkening ceiling upon the earth is etched with stars of every kind. The moon slowly rises in the far distance, its own light contesting the growing darkness in the absence of the sun.

I step outside for a brief moment, looking for something I’m missing from inside. My attention fixed upon my search, suddenly something inside me stops. My heart awakens and that familiar hush envelops me. Forgetting why I was standing there, I move away from the house to take in the unfolding scene. Awed and filled with wonder, I wait.

Moments like these captivate me. I continually long for more of them as they represent those times of God calling my name. “Come”, He says, and at once, my heart is hooked. I usually wait for more instructions, and rarely it comes. Early on, this would frustrate me. But over time, I came to understand. The way I came to Him was not the point. Rather, He just wanted me to come.

Life for most of us leaves little to no room for responding to God calls. We practice over and over how to “react” to the shifting circumstances we encounter in life, most of which we would never desire. Yet, into the midst of these and other instances of our harried life, the Father likes to step in and extend His beckoning hand.

“Come”, He says.

“Now?” we respond, shocked.

“But I’ve got so much to do!”, we think to ourselves as conflict fills our hearts.

God’s call in these moments are intentional. Our lives are less about what we accomplish, and more about the journey we walk with Him together. Does He want us to accomplish and succeed? Absolutely. However, coming into His presence, especially in those unique moments of personal invitation, trumps the daily grind of normal living. Being with Him brings life as Heaven intends where relationship reigns supreme.

Watch for these moments each day and be prepared to act, regardless of what you face. In doing so regardless of what it will require, we will touch the Father’s heart as only we can. We each mean that much to Him.

Our Living Sacrifice

The altar of God. All kinds of images flood my mind, from bloodied cut up animals, to Isaac lying there white-faced, wondering what was going on.  The whole sacrificial offering thing seems mysterious, violent, and severely demanding, yet still a draw upon my heart.  I find myself wrestling between wanting to offer God the best I have, but knowing that most of what I have to offer is brokenness, weakness, and a realization that I have far to go.

I know that the time for actually putting flesh and blood on an altar has passed. Jesus, my blessed substitute, paid the ultimate price of His life and became THE sacrifice for my life. What could have been required of me He did. In the midst of this death, He gives me new life. The wonder of it all overwhelms me.

Still, the altar remains between me and God. The new instructions remain unchanged since Jesus left this earth – “Come with your living sacrifice.”  No longer does God want a sacrifice of death, but rather a “living sacrifice” of my life. Really?

A living sacrifice. The mere thought of a sacrifice that lives on seems strange. How does this work? One explanation can be summed up this way…

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.” (Romans 12:1, The Message)

My everyday, ordinary life. How unimpressive that is. How could this represent the best sacrifice for the God-King of all the universe? Then it hits me. I’m viewing this all wrong. I’m trying to offer what I want to be a finished product, imagining the offering itself becomes the end action. But that’s not it.

God’s present altar between me and Him represents something different from that of old. Before Jesus, God’s altar served as the temporary fix to keep the door open for relationship with God. But since Jesus, not only has the door been removed so that access remains always open, but the altar has transformed. Once a place for life to be drained away for another, God’s altar now becomes that place where temporary, weak life can be transformed into eternal, strong life.  As such, the best I can now offer is in fact the fullness of my heart, both what I deem as good, AND especially that which I may want to hide of my weaknesses, failures and sin.

God smiles when I come to His altar bearing the reality of my present life in all its unimpressive glory. He awaits our coming, eagerly desiring to receive our living sacrifice so that He can unleash the transforming power of His grace. What I am when I come is not what I am when I leave. In the midst of my amazement, Jesus Himself awakens my heart with His joy that knows no end.

Don’t be afraid. Bring all that you own – your strengths AND weaknesses. God stands ready to embrace and change your life beyond anything that you can imagine.

It seems as late that every day arrests my heart in fresh ways over God’s faithfulness. More times than not, I’m left overwhelmed, stirred so deep in my heart that I have few words to say. I am growing to really love this experience with God, while at the same time wrestle with how challenging it is. Why my wrestling? The way He walks it with me defies most of my expectations. Maybe you experience the same.

I realize now that much of my understanding of His faithfulness is based on His answering the circumstances of my life, especially in my favor. Problems, trials, failures and the like became the scene of when I expect His faithfulness to manifest the greatest. I take Him at His promise that He will work it all out for my good and truthfully, He does. But He always takes me further. For in other times of my life, He simply stands by me, watching the circumstances envelop us like a dark and ominous cloud. I expect a reaction from Him like the one rising within me. However, there is none, except a gaze into my eyes from His own. Without words and any response to our circumstances, I hear His unspoken desire – “Hang on to Me.”

In these moments as His invitation fills my heart, I begin to notice something extraordinary. That which I thought was overwhelming of my situation now grows smaller and fades into the consuming light that emanates from the union we share. Suddenly, a truth dawns upon my heart. His faithfulness to remain with me IS the answer to my circumstances. Experiencing life as He designs is not dependent upon what I encounter, but flows from the union I accept of His offering. Whether situations are difficult or easy, overwhelming or manageable, He promises to be faithful to me and our relationship we share.

As I grow to better understand this promise, I am slowly grasping more of His heart for me in the midst of all I face. Whether He leads me to walk through my situations or chooses to remove them from my path, His faithfulness to hold onto me becomes everything.