Thursday, December 22, 2016

It's Christmas

So this year I decided to do some readings for advent. I bought one book and then found a free download from a John Piper so I have ended up having two advent readings on the go instead. And I read them like I read everything right now: words on the page that go right through me.  They don't stick. They don't make an impact. I read them and then move on to the next thing. Usually Facebook or another internet time waster.

The Christmas story is just so familiar to me. The carols are so familiar. Yeah God made flesh. Hail the incarnate deity. Yes foretold before time. Yes I know. Whoopie and all that.

So in the Piper reading today, this is what I read . . .

something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power.

For once I paused and let that wash over me. I sent up a quick prayer that I would feel that amazement of God becoming man. God as a baby. The one who created the world stepping into creation. And the words came to me.  "He stepped into our mess."

HE STEPPED INTO OUR MESS. He left a perfect relationship with the father. He left a world untainted by sin. He left adoration. He left it all and stepped into our messy, messy world. A world where his people were conquered and downtrodden by corrupt leaders. He, the perfect leader, had to submit to jealous leaders. He was born into the mess of a stable, the mess of illegitimacy, the mess of refugee status, the mess of disease, the mess of being misunderstood.

HE STEPPED INTO OUR MESS. But not to simply walk through it with us but to transform it.  He wants to bring peace to the nations, peace to families, hope to the oppressed and downtrodden, legitimacy to the outsider, blessings to the poor, life to the dead and dying.

HE STEPPED INTO OUR MESS. And continues to do it over and over. So I stopped and brought up some messy situations to Him. Step in Lord and work your transformation. 

I want to detail my mess here but it is a shared mess and there is an off chance that some people will see that I have restarted blogging and know of whom I am talking.  If it was just my mess, I would be more free with my words but the thing with messes, is they are hard to keep private. They spill over, affect others.

And yet I do have a private mess that needs transformation. A mess of bitterness and resentment that life hasn't quite turned out the way I want. A mess of thoughts and ideas made from flitting from one thing to another rather than focusing on deeper content. A mess of worldliness rather than godliness. A mess of jealousy. A mess of loneliness. A mess of distance from God. I don't want to look at nmy mess.  I don't want to sweep out the cobwebs of my soul. I would rather turn a blind eye. But God...He wants to STEP RIGHT IN. His presence alone starts the transformation

"Come into my heart Lord Jesus.  There is room in my heart for thee."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book #3-Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber

This book was an accidental find. I had posted on Facebook my goal of reading 40 books for my 40th year in order to gather some suggestions (which rolled in by the way. So much to read so little time.) In the meantime, I decided to go to my Overdrive App and choose an available one from the library. This popped up and I was like - "hmmm Finding God in All the Wrong People. Sounds intriguing. Sounds what I am looking for."

And boy was it ever what I needed as a follow up to the last book I read. This one too talked about addressing the garbage in our lives, being real, falling on our face. But in this book it is Christ that picks us up. It is Christ that gives us value. It is his community, broken as it is, that holds us together. This book had the hope that the last book didn't. It told me, "It doesn't matter if you are doing your best. God wants to use you ANYWAYS!!  Honestly it doesn't matter what you do but rather how you allow God and others in."  There is grace. There is redemption that is above us. We can give away our mess instead of muddle through it.

This is the type of book that I want to reread. This is the type of book that if I saw it, I would want to buy it because I already fell in love with it.

Lord take my mess. Help me to remember I don't have to own it. I don't have to redeem it. You do not expect perfection from me in order to use me. You do not need me to know all the answers but rather to continually search out the author of truth.