Friday, April 18, 2008

Make Me a Captive Lord

Make me a captive Lord and then I shall be free
Force me to render up my sword and I shall conqueror be
I sink in life's' alarm when by myself I stand
Imprison me within Thine arms and strong shall be my hand
My heart is weak and poor until it's master find
It has no spring of action sure, it trembles with the wind
It only stands unbent amid the clashing strife
When on Thy bosom it is bent and found in Thee it's life
(Hymn quoted by Ravenhill. He didn't mention the author)
"Like the railroad. While the train runs there it's captive to the rails, but it's free to go to speed."
~Leonard Ravenhill
I want to be captivated by Him! The whole bond slave idea - free, but bound... It's hard to comprehend. This never made sense to me until I heard the quote above.. like a train - bound to the rails, doomed to wreck otherwise, but completely free to go as fast and as straight as I possibly can. Knowing that when I am BOUND to Him I will never miss the mark, just as a train has no choice but to reach the station at the end of the line.
Modern American Christianity has taught us that "freedom" is a goal - something to achieve in the Christian life. Questions like "Have you claimed your freedom?", "Are you free from _____ yet??" are asked - as if it's a one time occurrence. It seemed to me for years like it was an unobtainable goal, reserved only for the most "elite" in Christianity. But it's not. Freedom is something we walk in - constantly. If you are a Christian you are free. Period. Free from sin and bound to Christ. It's one of those things that's almost unutterable. You can't really explain it. I have this picture in my head of what it's like but I can't bring words to it! Paul tries to describe it in Romans with words that have made my head spin for years! But it's like today a light went off and I really got it. Free... like a kite is free.. Soaring in the wind but still held by a tether and controlled by my Master. There is so much security in that.
I think I've always interpreted the word "freedom" in the bible according to the worlds standard of what "freedom" is. And there is no comparison between the two concepts! When I step back and look at these seemingly "little" things I'm amazed that I never saw it that way before when it's so simply explained in the word of God. I look at it and go, "Wow.. that's so elementary." And it shows me that I'm only just beginning to learn the elementary things. The basics. All the "pat answers" are flying out the window. Here is evidence yet again of the Lord changing the way that I think... So now that I see it, I must walk in it. Repentance must always produce action...

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Rise Up and Walk - or Rebel

It seems lately that every time I turn around I'm mentioning our GIFT girls on here. For those of you who read this that don't know (all 2 of you) GIFT is "Girls In Fellowship Together" - a group of 9-13 year old girls who we meet with every Tuesday night to discuss the things the Lord has put on our hearts, and, right now, to study the Doctrines of Christ with.

This week we began our study as we usually do - asking the girls what the Lord has shown them in the word, or what He's laid on their hearts that week. We're never dissapointed by their responses! It's always encouraging to hear the things that the Lord is doing in and through them. And they're hilarious. They never cease to challenge me to look at things from a different perspective. It's amazing. So tonight it was just myself and 3 of the girls in our local Starbucks. They sipped on decaf while I enjoyed my java chip. (Trust me, the sugar alone generated enough senseless giggling, forget caffeine!!) So after the girls shared, I decided to share with them what God's been speaking to me for the past couple of weeks. A bit ago he dropped the phrase into my heart, "Rise up, Take your bed, and go." I kept hearing it and seeing it in everything I read, telling me to take action, keep moving, keep pressing in. I never actually looked up the story where that phrase is found until this weekend though. It's where Jesus heals the paralytic (Luke 5:20-26);

When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”

So perhaps this is obvious, but it looks like to me that the evidence of the man being forgiven was the fact that he got up and walked away! He didn't just sit there, or argue saying, "But I'm paralyzed. What do you mean walk??" He obeyed, and God received glory as a result! So I was discussing this with the girls and asking them what they thought would've been the consequences had the man just sat there... then one of them turned and looked at me and matter of factly said something that never occurred to me before, "He would've been in rebellion." I was stunned for a moment and wanted to say, "Wait a minute... repeat that??" It all became clear. Suddenly I put myself in that place. If I don't choose to walk in obedience to the simple things the Lord is telling me to do - then I walk in open rebellion. Now that I look at it, it seems so obvious. I want to kick myself and ask, "Why didn't I see that before??" But another part of me is delighted that God chose to use the mouth of a young girl and the simplicity of her perspective, to put me into my place. I am so thankful for those girls. God knew just what I needed when he brought each of them into my life! They are such a blessing!

So, will you take the challenge? Walk in the forgiveness that He's offered. DO something. Don't just sit there. Take action. Stir yourself up.... Or else, in the words of a girl... rebel...