Thursday, May 29, 2008

No. Thank YOU!

I have recently been given a shout out on an album.
(Pretty sure i can die now. My life has been made complete.)

Or maybe i should make one first, so you can all experience the same elation.
i'll give it some thought.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"The whole outlook of mankind might be changed...

...if we could all believe that we dwell under a friendly sky and that the God of heaven, though exalted in power and majesty, is eager to be friends with us."

"Ironically" today in my daily chapter in A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy i came to some more thoughts on the prodigal. (I know, I know, this must be getting old to some, but it is MY blog and all, and I had to laugh to myself at God's persistence in teaching my old stubborn will and all, so here it is.)

By our own attitudes we may determine our reception by Him. Though the kindness of God is an infinite, overflowing fountain of cordiality, God will not force his attention upon us. If we would be welcomed as the Prodigal was, we must come as the Prodigal came; and when we so come, even though the Pharisees and the legalists sulk without, there will be a feast of welcome within, and music and dancing as the Father takes His child again to His heart.

(A.W.Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, chap 16 The Goodness of God, p84)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I was feeling like maybe i was a little unclear in my last post, mostly because of some of the responses i have received.
I believe that the homecoming of the prodigal happens when one turns from that which took him away from the Father in the first place, at the point of confession and repentance, and not when he reaches the point of full healing.

With that in mind, i feel like i "came home" a year ago, but i have been standing on the front steps, unwilling to cast aside my own(and others) condemnation and judgment and enjoy the endless mercies of my Father's home. I have been waiting for my servant's assignment, too shamed to waste God's grace on one such as me.

Sadly, it really is just a sign of ugly pride, that i would have the audacity to tell God "Sorry, but your grace really isn't sufficient for ME. What I did just is going to take more." And continue to refuse his mercies.

Thinking back on some of the interactions of the last year,and there were many of you that loved me SO well, there is one imparticular I wanted to share that i now believe showed the Father's heart so beautifully.
After confessing my sin to a dear friend last year, i was floored by her response. She warmly and with a great amount of feeling embraced me and told me over and over how proud she was of me. Ridiculous, I know. And i sure told her so.
But as one who had also been forgiven much, she knew the amount of courage and strength my path would now take to walk. And how very much love, support, and encouragement i would need. (and i can't even begin to tell you how right she was)
And so putting aside what i deserved, she showed me instead a incomprehensible amount of grace and love.

Don't get me wrong. Repentance and restoration are processes. And should not be rushed. But God's grace is freely available to all, at the MOMENT we come to him, broken and needy.
That's all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Coming Home

I just finished re-reading the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) for the first time.

Yeah, so obviously, i, probably not unlike you, have heard/read it gazillions of times before. But in the past, i had always read it from the perspective of the older brother, taking from it warnings of pride and judgement. And had truthfully felt a little jealousy toward the pathetic wayward little bro and the injustice of the whole situation ("I mean come on God, isn't this grace thing a little over the top?")
Today, i have experienced this ridiculous grace for the first time. I have been standing on the edge of my Father's property, waiting to be all cleaned up and
presentable, knowing that he deserves AT LEAST that. (I did go, ask for the world, ditch him and then squander all he had given me and all)

So i came to the prodigal's words in verse 17
"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer to be worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants."'
Did you notice what sent him back? Hunger. That's it. He wasn't healed. Or all neat and put back together. Or ready with a really tear jerking inspirational testimony of grace and restoration. He was empty, and needy, and broken, and wanted desperately to be under the care and graces of his father again. And was more than ready to humble himself and become a servant; work off his penance, we'll say, in order to just live in his shadow.

So here comes the part i know you know, but let me ask you read it again with the fresh eyes of the starving, filthy, shamed son:
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and RAN and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants,'Bring quickly the best robe, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to CELEBRATE."

Our Father is scanning the horizon, dying for us to decide to come back home, so he can sprint to us and hold us while we collapse from grief, fatigue and bitter loneliness and weep openly in his arms. And then do you see what he wants to do? Bring us into his home, clothe us with his very best, proudly mark us as his own and throw a party like these here parts have never seen (i mean seriously, they could hear the thing out in the fields for pete's sake). And all in our honor (talk about humbling).
Again, note what the son had to do: 1. Realize his stupidity 2.Confess his sin and 3. Come home. Period. And his Father's love and grace did the rest.
And oh how much that is. We (i) do not have to come work off our sin to get back into his good graces, to be worthy of living in his household. Or clean out our hearts and minds of every impurity. Or make right all of the wrongs we have done.
First of all, because we can't. And what ignorant pride to believe that we can have any part in our redemption to begin with.
God is simply waiting for us to return, and surrender ourselves to a love beyond comprehension. And i, for one, am tired of trying to convince him otherwise.

So, here's a side note to the faithful: I pray that God really writes this story on my heart. Because as overwhelmingly humbled and overtaken as i am by his undeserved love for me, there is the part of the story that threatens this joy in my homecoming.
Oh big brother, that you would plead for your father's heart on this one; and then trust his sovereign judgment. That you would accept the prodigal's return and the Father's unmerited grace towards him. Jump at the chance to fully embrace him on his homecoming, and then run to help with the party preparations.
Please don't even think of refusing the invite; to sulk and miss out on true fellowship and a beautiful display of redemption and restoration. Yes, it is undeserved mercy. Unmerited favor. Praise God that his grace covers us all(and by the way- we really REALLY want you there too).

Nonetheless, i am here. Hungry and tired, naked and beat up and poor. But home.
I have nothing to offer or contribute but that which my Father has mercifully given me. Use it or not as he may, it is his to do with what he pleases.

And for now i will be content with resting in his graces, gaining my strength by living each day in the shadow of his mercy.

"Hungry I come to you for i know you satisfy. I am empty, but i know your love does NOT run dry."

But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousnes, and ALL THESE THINGS will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Read The Shack

"God does not heal us so he can use us, cause God does not USE people. He heals us because he loves us."
-William Paul Young (speaking to ME Tuesday morning. ok and maybe a few others)

ps I received this book Sunday, read it Monday, heard the author speak Tues morn and would be rereading it soon but it needs to be read by others (and i'm BEHIND on my book club selection anyway and will NOT be a slacker two months in a row!)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

So today i painted impressionistic waterlilies and preformed Italian Arias for the first time in over a decade (to twenty kindergarteners).
And it was kinda fun.