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Monday, July 13, 2009

I am all alone today

and I am very happy about it. These are rare days and I plan to relish this one. My husband and daughter are both working today and my mother left last night for the first real vacation she has had in years. [I am so happy for her. The last many years my dad was alive, he was so sick that he pretty much couldn't travel anywhere and the only place he really seemed to be excited to go was the doctor. I think it was because he was always hopeful that someone would finally come up with some way to give him relief from his constant pain. Mom was the hero. She cared for him and loved him and was always trying to figure out something that might be a help to him. But she longed to be social. To spend time with friends. To go places. She is hoping she will get to see the Pacific Ocean on this trip. She has never seen an ocean in her 70-something (don't ask, it isn't polite) years. I hope the folks she will be with can make that work for her.]

And so I am alone. What will I do with the day? First, I am going to write a post for this blog (you can see it is true with your own two eyes), then I will facebook, and then I am going to turn my attentions towards my home and a pile of stuff I have to do. The prospect of organizing, and housework is very appealing to me. I usually have to do this around the schedules or feet of others. Solitude is a beautiful thing.

Solitude is not always considered beautiful. Sometimes, a person is afraid to be alone. Those dreaded heeby geebies come along. Fear of nothing. Fear of what if. Fear of what next. The video below of the song I Come Home by Catherine Feeny, has brutally honest lyrics, teamed up with a soothingly beautiful sound. She has captured exactly what I am talking about. The video quality is not great and this is a shortened version of the song, but it is good enough to make my point.

A Christian should not be afraid of the future, because the future (as well as the present) is in God's hand and nothing can happen to us that He has not purposed. Leaving that type of fear behind is not an easy thing, but can be nurtured by spending time in the Word and prayer and reading about and spending time with people who are under the blood of Christ. We should rest in Christ and trust in God's providential care as He conforms us to the image of His Son.

"Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

There is also healthy fear and this admonition is for both believers and unbelievers.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10).

"I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!" (Luke 12:4-5).

I recall as a young Christian hearing my pastor read that passage in Luke and asking the congregation who it was speaking about. I said, Satan, and he countered with, No, God. At that point, I looked at the passage again and realized that he was right. I felt a bit silly, but I have never forgotten it, so silly is probably a good thing.

God is holy. God is righteous, just, perfect and He can have no part in sin. On the contrary, we are depraved. We think, speak and act dreadfully. We don't tend towards contemplating purity; we have wicked thoughts. We don't tend towards speaking blessings to people; we are quick to be inflamed and to snap back at those who offend us and we are soooo easily offended. We are prideful and think way too highly of ourselves. How dare you think about/speak to/look at me in that way! We act rashly and do things we should not be doing. We do not do the things we should do. We are selfish and in whatever we do, we seek to please ourselves. Even when we are helping others, our foremost, deep down motive is to make ourselves look good. If we are honest with ourselves (are we ever honest with ourselves?) we will recognize the veracity of these things.

We do need to fear God, because the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and we are sinners deserving death. The best news today, though, is that He has made a way out of this human condition, this human nature (a fish is not a fish because it swims; it swims because it is a fish. And we humans are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Our parents didn't have to teach us to throw our clothes on the floor or to scream and kick when we didn't get our own way; they had to teach us to clean up our rooms and to behave like civilized human beings). He sent His Son Jesus Christ to this earth for the purpose of revealing what God is like. Jesus lived completely without sin, displaying God's glorious ways. God also sent Jesus to die--and Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be arrested and tried in a kangaroo court. The charges were false; the accusers were calculated and self-serving; and the entire trial was a farce. God was sentenced to death for imaginary crimes and was subsequently nailed to a cross.

There was something so much bigger at work than the high priest, or the Pharasees, or the Roman authorities or any of the earthly eyewitnesses understood. That death. That death of the sinless Son of God, was the final blow. It was the sacrifice to end all sacrifices. It was the single most important death that ever occurred and it was the single most terrible death that ever occurred. Because that death was paying for the sins of all who will bow the knee to Christ; this was a heavy weight to bear. He went to that cross so that your sins, the sins that make it impossible for you to go to heaven, can be completely forgiven. Completely forgiven. Completely forgiven.

No residuals are left. If you come to the realization that you are, indeed, a sinner, incapable of doing anything to gain a place in Paradise, and you take your broken, burdened, weary soul before the throne room of grace, and you throw yourself at His mercy...He will forgive you. He will forgive you. He will forgive you.

If you have not yet bent the knee to Him, Jesus is waiting for you now. Because He didn't remain dead. He rose up and walked on the earth again and then He ascended back to heaven (from whence He came) and is sitting at the right hand of His Father (see Acts 2).

Once this transaction takes place, once you have been forgiven, you will be able to rest in a peace that is beyond understanding no matter what happens, because you will know (as I know) that God has made a reservation in your name.

Here is a link to different video of another singer, singing a song with an answer to the dilemma of the one above.

Still don't believe me? Then you should fall on your face before the Holy God and beg Him to reveal the truth to you.

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