Sunday, December 30, 2012

I AM...Love's Bride

Ever hear a song that you just love and you can't get enough of it, so you proceed to play it again and again and again determined to suck it dry of all it's awesomeness?

Well, that happens to me a lot.  But the past few weeks it's been these words that I keep coming back to and reading just like one of those songs you can't get enough of:

Hosea 2-3
(Here are my FAVORITE highlights from The Message version.) 


And now, here's what I'm going to do.
I am going to start all over again.
I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date.
And I'll court her.
I'll give her bouquets of roses.
I'll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She'll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was first out of Egypt.

At that time, you'll address me, 'Dear Husband!'
Never again will you address me, 'My Slave Master!'
And then I'll marry you for GOOD - FOREVER!
I'll marry you TRUE and PROPER.
Yes, I'll marry you and NEITHER LEAVE YOU NOR LET YOU GO.
You'll KNOW ME, God, for who I really am.

Then God ordered me, 'Start all over. Love your wife again.  Love here the way, I, God love the Israelite people.

I did it.  I paid GOOD MONEY to get her back.
It cost me the price of a slave.

Then I told her, 'From now on you're living with me.  You're living with me and I'm living with you.'

They'll come back chastened to reverence before God and his good gifts.  READY for the END OF THE STORY OF HIS LOVE!!


Though we have developed some distorted ideas of what Love is and what Love looks like, true Love comes ready to show us who he really is.  He is coming for his bride.  He HAS come for his bride.  I want to live in and with THAT Love. 

Love is not a Slave Master,
Love is a Husband,
and we are Love's Bride.

I am part of Love's Bride.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I AM...Lovable

I'm sorry, but reading this article just made me so...angry.

Here it is:
“We must remind ourselves that God loves us, not because we are lovable, but because we are in Christ, and the love which the Father has for him flows over to us because we are in him.” – Jerry Bridges, Who am I?

God doesn’t love us because we are lovable.

In fact, in and of ourselves we are very much unlovable.  But Mark, you ask, aren’t I good enough, smart enough and doggone it don’t people like me? Yes people may like you.  Yes, you may be smart enough.  But you’re not loveable enough to merit God’s blazing holy love that burns up all impurities in its presence.
The Bible gives us pretty rough assessment of our “lovableness”.
…as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
(Romans 3:10-18)
Observe how lovable we are: we’re unrighteous, have no interest in or understanding of God.  We’re worthless. Our throats are open graves – what a lovely stench! And the the venom of asps under our lips makes us doubly attractive to God, as well as our mouths full of curses and bitterness.
Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife, “I love you honey.  Your mouth reminds me of an open grave. And your lips  are like the venom dripping from a Gaboon Viper.”  Somehow I don’t think that wife would feel particularly lovable.
Though our sin renders us repellent to God, when he saves us he not only washes our sins away, but he plunges us into Christ. We become so organically and intimately one with Christ that when God looks on Jesus he sees us, and when he looks on us he sees Jesus. When God loves Jesus, he loves us in him and when God loves us he loves his Son in us.
The Father doesn’t love believers because we are lovable, but because Jesus is infinitely lovable and God has made us one with Jesus. And because we are one with him, when the Father pours out his love on  his Son, that love washes over us as well.
Let this truth fill you with joy today.  No matter what kinds of trials you’re facing, remember the Father loves you with the love he has for his own Son.  And nothing can separate you from that love.  Ever.

I used to be SO insecure.  See myself as SO stupid.  See myself as SO unworthy.  Someone who could NEVER measure up.  And as a result, I stayed in my shrunken back position believing that I had little to offer.  Little that should be offered in my condition.  I lived so small for so long because I believed this so strongly.  Yea, Jesus may have died for my sins and made me worthy in God's sight, but the fact of the matter was that I believed I myself was never worth it.

I am now significantly less insecure.  I am stepping away from that shrunken position.  I understand that I am called to be brought to the front where the action is.
I believe I was created worthy. Created lovable.  Did I become distorted by the world along the way?  Of course.  But that was not my original identity.  Do I need Jesus?  Of course.  I needed him to conquer sin and death, but should not the focus be that I need him to show me how to live fully, to live from my original state.  From that worthiness and from that lovableness.     

I'm concerned the focus that this message takes is allowing depression and anxiety and hopelessness to enter in.  That it is taking us away from what God always created us to be and what he always wanted us to see about ourselves and as a result see about him.

I'm sorry dear author, but I disagree.  I think your focus is off.

"Sin" does not make me's just the result of my stepping away from relationship with my response, my Father uses it as an opportunity to draw near and teach me about who I truly am.   

I am lovable.  Period.  The end.  And I am going to live from that place.