This day is not perfect, as no things in this world are, but it has been touched by grace and hope and love, and it has been redeemed. Each moment has the potential for redemption.
I praise Thee for redemption.
I'm learning what it means to truly be alone with God. My Utmost For His Highest is inspired and inspiring. It's such a great way to jumpstart my intimate moments with God. He asks such challenging questions. He proposes new ways of thinking about spirituality.
Last Sunday Pastor James started his series about trials. He said last week that we are disciplined by God to challenge and change our conduct and our character. I like that he didn't suggest that changing one will absolutely change the other. I think they definitely can affect each other, but one does not necessarily follow the other. They can be used and changed together, but they must be addressed and tweaked and transformed individually too. I think that is really important, and I think a lot of people miss that piece.
Many times in the past, and probably not too distantly, I just focused on either what I was doing OR who I was. Most of the time, I'd argue, I have focused on my character, improving areas of my life and witnessing the Spirit's work in my spiritual life and emotional life and thought life. The hardest part of being a Christian, at least for me, is letting that overflow into my actions. But by preventing an outpouring of Christ's love through me, I'm in effect disobeying what I'm called to do in the first place.
I feel responsible to act different and above reproach.
It's scary being so different in a world so cruel. In a place where I'm slandered, hated, ignored, hurt, rejected. In a place where my hopes are lifted only to be dashed, manipulated, walked all over. I'm daily lied to. No one is forthcoming these days, it seems. The truth seems to elude us all.
A simple survey of recent people in my life and yours might prove my point.
Guy #1 spreads lies about you.
Guy #2 doesn't stand up for you to debunk the falsehoods.
#3 you just met, he wants to get to know you, but he fails to mention his girlfriend who is too young to join him in his nightly escapades.
Person #4 is the bartender who just scammed your friend on drink prices.
#5 might be your friend who claims to support you against #1, but in reality, maybe she's sleeping with him.
Joke's on them. We already know they're liars.
But the Truth is what keeps me here, keeps me in love, keeps me compassionate. The pursuit of Truth brings us together, makes us one and the same, #1-5 and myself. The only thing that separates us is that I found it and they are all rejecting it.
Which begs the question...
How dare I hold my own pride, reputation, acceptance over their souls? How dare I cling so tightly to the things Jesus so gracefully sacrificed to be with me, to be with the Father?
I am a wretched being but I am redeemed and the Lord is gracious and merciful.
I still have no idea how to be a light. How to love my enemies. How to turn the other cheek.
Be perfect, therefore, as your Father is perfect... Matthew 5:48.
I'm failing in the worst way. Thank God for Jesus.
Thank God for trials.
Thank God for times of preparation. I feel that I am in that phase even now.