You are a Person

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In all the world, you alone bear the divine stamp of the Creator. You alone have a spirit. There are seven million yous on the face of the planet, but that doesn’t detract from your value, the value that you have because you exist, because He made you to exist. You are a person.

So you deserve that I value you, too. You deserve my respect for the kind of person that you are. You deserve that I listen, even when I don’t agree or I’m not interested or tired. You are worth more than my time, my schedule, my to-do list. You deserve my attention, my acknowledgement that you do exist and that you do have value, even if you talk different from me, even if you talk different from me, even if you enjoy different things than I do. You are a person.

It doesn’t matter how young you are, how old you are, or what the world might say is wrong with you. You are a person.

You might be from a different country or speak a different language. That doesn’t change your value. Despite the label that someone else might paste on you, you have just as much worth as the richest, most famous, most beautiful celebrity out there. No matter what you have done or what your family has done, you are a person.

I can’t say that you are perfect. None of us is. But I’m not the one to judge you, because God is. He says I’m His ambassador. I might be telling you that you have sinned against Him and deserve eternal death. I’m not telling you because you don’t have value. Because you do. And that’s why I’m also telling you the good news – that God indescribably loves you and sent His Son to take all of God’s wrath in your place. In order that you – a person in His image – can believe in the blood of His death and the power of His resurrection and become right with God. Although none of us deserve this gift, it’s there, and those of us who have it have the responsibility to tell you. Because you are a person. Jesus died for people – people who are sinners – so that people can become God’s children.

I’m bad at sharing it. I’m bad at treating you how you deserve. I want to get better at it through God’s strength and grace. So that this love and value that He places on us through the cross of Christ, He Himself will be glorified and enjoyed and lifted high and loved and worshipped above all else.

We are but people. He alone is God. Let us give Him the glory that is due Him and honor one another as He has taught us.

Rachel Sue

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When Faith

Woven

When words cannot describe the soul’s movements. When the mind can’t understand what is going on in the heart.

When I’m completely baffled by the way the world works, by the way that God works. When I don’t see how what’s in the Bible matches up with what I see in life. And when all the confusion makes me want to pull away and not even mess with trying to figure it out.

When I’m engulfed in guilt, but not knowing why—and just wanting to get it all right, but not knowing how. Why do I feel this way when I think about God? What’s wrong with me? What do I have to do to make it better?

When you can’t explain it, but it’s so real. When your heart relates something that your mind can’t really agree with.

When I want to be close to God and give glory to Him, but I don’t see amazing things in His Word like I think I should. Or I don’t understand it. Or when I’m drawing near I feel indescribably uneasy.

When I analyze to pieces everything that I do or say. Is it something to correct? Or should I just forget about it?

When a mere feeling taints everything in my life. When everything else makes it seems like I’m disqualified to be a good servant of Christ.

I know that feelings don’t always portray what is real, but feelings are real. They are a struggle. They are a prison that we need to be freed from. They must be overcome so that we can take another step.

But it’s better today. It’s not because I have a ten-step system that clears away all of that. There’s no handy set of perfectly clear directions for the Christian walk, like there is on a cake mix. Because if we had a bunch of directions on the box of our Christian walk, we would trust those instead of Jesus.

Jesus is always the same. He is changing me to be like Him, but there’s still lots of me left that doesn’t look like Him. There’s still lots of sin. And while my life might look the same to everyone else, inside it’s raging or crying or baffled. I still need Him to save me from all of this.

When it’s the worst, it’s time to seek God. And when I can’t feel like I can, I can trust what I already know.

When I remember, “Satan is the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10). Satan would love nothing more than to make me forget that Christ is the one who cleanses me by His blood. Satan wants to convince me that I have to fix all the mistakes that I’ve made.

When I remember Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.” If God needs to convict me about something, He will be faithful to do that. He is not the God of confusion. But Satan condemns unreservedly. And I am pretty good at helping him when I look inward rather than upward when he accuses me.

When I do sin—“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). My only way to be right with God—for salvation and after salvation—is  the blood of Jesus.

When I know that what He says is real—more real than my feelings about it. When I can pray that He would change me and cleanse my mind from all this junk. When I know that He is making it better. When faith looks to Him, faith grows stronger.

When I don’t have it all together, “in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

Look to Him, to His Word, pray to Him. In our weak state of human feelings and inconstancies, He is our only hope.

~Rachel Sue

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Steps of Obedience

Feet walking

Sometimes I want to hear God’s direction. I want to hear exactly what He wants me to do. For some reason I think His voice will always lead me in a happy direction.

Other times I’m afraid that what I’m hearing really is God’s voice, because I don’t want to obey what He’s telling me to do.

I wonder, Why does His voice seem clearest when it’s the last thing I want to do?

I try to convince myself that it’s some other voice—any voice except His. I want Him to tell me what would be more comfortable to do. Easier. Less painful.

Sometimes His leading is hard to discern, but other times it’s unmistakable. And I don’t have peace until I say yes.

I discovered, though, that when I determine to obey, Christ gives me the desire to do it, even though it’s the last thing I would want to do. He gives me peace and strength, even though I’m shaking inside. I have the assurance that I’m doing His will.

I learned today that that assurance is worth all the risks.

Today I’m grateful for the Holy Spirit who convicts, the God who loves me enough to correct me, and the Savior who can change my heart to want His ways and who can give me the strength to carry it out.

~Rachel Sue

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Excited at His love.

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This morning I stuck a Christian book back on the shelf. I think it was a good book, but it wasn’t clicking. God wasn’t speaking. I wasn’t getting it, even though it may have been good stuff. It was like an apple that should have been great—that looked bright and juicy—but tasted dry.

That’s how I felt my relationship with God and quiet time had been lately. I’d read Scripture and I could understand it with my mind, but my spirit wasn’t being fed. I knew these great passages should encourage, excite, and teach me—but it just wasn’t there. The words just sat on the page. I didn’t know what God wanted to teach me.

And I didn’t know what to do about it.

Can you relate?

For some reason I had put the first book back on the shelf because God had wanted me to pick up another. It happened to be Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life by John Piper.

It didn’t take me long after starting the first devotional to realize that this was God’s answer to my dryness. Somehow the book pointed me to God to see Him in a new light.

Sometimes a new mindset changes everything.

“and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Ephesians 4:23, NKJV)

John Piper wrote:

“If the church is going to reassert God’s rightful place in the soul of man and the center of all life, we will need a sharpened focus of who he is and what he is like…What we need is a big picture of a great God who is utterly committed to joyfully demonstrating his greatness in doing us good…We must experience this magnificence as the explosion of God’s uncontainable zeal to satisfy his creatures by showing them himself.”

It hit me: I had been focusing on what I could get out of this quiet time, this relationship with God. I was unsatisfied because I was trying to fulfill me with my own security. I had been searching for verses about God’s being with me, clinging to them in order to make me feel better.

But I learned: that doesn’t satisfy. Instead, I must turn my focus to God and his glory. I must enjoy His greatness. I need a “big picture of a great God.” In light of Him and His greatness and His magnificent love, He does satisfy and His gifts are enough.

Maybe I was just looking for the gifts instead of enjoying the indescribable character of the Giver.

I don’t know if I’m describing this right. But I tasted it—it’s perfect. I want you to taste it, too.

I am convinced of this: God delights in loving and blessing His children. “For the Lord will again take delight in prospering you” (Deuteronomy 30:9, ESV). That’s one of the verses John Piper cited. It amazed me. God loves to love us. Not so that we can go confidently and independently along with our lives, but so that we can turn back and praise Him for His great love…and simply, for His greatness.

We are so small; God is so large. And yet He is glorified when we take delight in His person. And He “takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love” (Psalm 147:11, ESV). (Thanks for including that verse as well, Mr. Piper.)

Now this makes me excited. This puts a spring into my step and a smile upon my face.

Lord, please open my eyes to see more of Your greatness.

~Rachel Sue

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