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Holy Week has begun.  The entire season of Lent, the 40 days leading up to Easter, invites us to journey alongside Christ as He heads toward the cross, and now we have come to the end, where the cross in immanent.  This is actually one of my favorite times of the year, because it not only makes me look back at what Christ did on the cross, but it also makes me look at my own journey with Him and how He is moving in my life now.

I have been reminded of this several times over the past few months.  One way this has happened is through our Confirmation students.

Yesterday, at Cornerstone, 16 students stood before the church body and declared their faith in Christ and surrendered to Him.  Ten of these students were also baptized, and I had the amazing opportunity to stand beside them, watch their bodies go under the water, and help raise them out of the water.  Baptism is such a beautiful picture of new life.  And, it always reminds me that the new life we are raised in is Christ’s life.

But, before Sunday ever happened, I had a conversation with each of these students.  And, the one word that seemed to come up over and over was the word “journey.”  It was so amazing to see how God has had these students on a journey from the time they were little children to get them to where they are now.  He has been wooing them and drawing them to Himself, even when they didn’t realize it.  Their journey continues now as they follow after Him, and I am so humbled to be a tiny part of it.

Another way God has been revealing this to me is in my own personal life. God has been reminding me of the journey He has had me on for the past 26 years and the journey He still has ahead of me.  It doesn’t end here.  He has been renewing my heart to the core of what He has called me to.  He has been drawing me into Himself and revealing things to me about myself that I didn’t even know.  He is preparing me and pruning me.

Lent has definitely been a journey for me.  I had all of these grand ideas of how I what I was going to do for Lent, and how I was going to give up sin and replace it with Him (read this post about my Lent goals).  But,  the truth is that I failed.  I did not succeed.  As I was driving to work this morning and thinking about the fact that I failed at Lent this year, I realized that maybe that’s the point.  As hard as I try, I can’t do it.  I can’t not sin.  I can’t be perfect.  I will fail.

And, that’s where the Lamb takes over…

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Almighty God, merciful Father, and my good Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Grant me forgiveness of my sins. Make me guard against and overcome all snares, temptations, and harmful pleasures. May I shun utterly in word and in deed, whatever you forbid, and do and keep whatever you command. Let me believe and hope, love and live, according to your purpose and your will.

St. Anselm

I grabbed a dry erase marker this morning and wrote this prayer  on my bathroom mirror, so I would see it every day, and pray it every day as I got ready.  So, this is not just my prayer for today, but for every day from now on.

Will you join me and make it your prayer too during this season of Lent?

I was thinking yesterday about how the one sure fire way that I can get over a guy that I like is if he breaks my heart.  I think sin is similar.  It’s not until my sin breaks my heart that I can truly get over it.

My sin is breaking my heart right now.

I made the mistake of praying that God would show me my sin as He sees it.  And He has.

I was on a walk with my dog yesterday, which is one way that I am able to clear my head and talk with God, and I realized that my sin has been breaking my heart all along.  I just didn’t see it that way.  It’s like I’ve been in an abusive relationship, returning to my sin time after time, after it has beaten me and left me for dead.

I return to it thinking that it will make me happy, that it’s not really hurting me, that without it I will have nothing.  But, the truth is that it will never make me happy.  The truth is that it’s not only hurting me, it is putting distance between me and God, which affects everything and everyone in my life.  The truth is that my sin strips away all that is good in my life and leaves me with nothing of worth.  It isolates me and lies to me.

I am like David in Psalm 51, crying out:

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.

Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.

Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

Surely you desire truth in the inner parts
you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will turn back to you.

Save me from bloodguilt, O God,
the God who saves me,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

In your good pleasure make Zion prosper;
build up the walls of Jerusalem.

Then there will be righteous sacrifices,
whole burnt offerings to delight you;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

I know it sounds crazy, but, I’m glad that my heart is breaking.  It is time.  And, it means that God hasn’t given up on me.  He is calling me out of this abusive relationship and into His life.  Now, that’s worth giving it all up.

Come, let us return to the LORD.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.

After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.

Hosea 6:1-2