Flipped around Repentance

Oh my soul

Oh my Jesus

Judas sold You for thirty

I’d have done it for less

Oh my soul

Oh my savior

Peter denied You three times

I have denied You more

As the nails went in

I was standing right there

As you breathed Your last

I shook my head and I cried

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my soul

Oh my Jesus

Judas sold You thirty

I’d have done it for less

Oh my soul

Oh my Savior

Peter denied You three times

I have denied You more

And the blood ran down

I was standing right there

And the water poured

I shook my head and I cried

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We’ve destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We have destroyed Your Son

Oh my God, What have we done?

We have destroyed Your Son

As the nails went in

I was standing right there

And You breathed Your last

–          Lyrics to “What have we done?”

This is one of my most favorite songs I have ever heard.  It is one of the most difficult and convicting songs I have ever heard.  Several of the bands at Mars Hill church sing this song.  And when I hear it being sung by so many voices around me … I am overwhelmed by this bitter sweet loving pain.  Because I don’t know if I would have been one of the women following Jesus, carrying His cross, and weeping.  Or would I be a scoffer?  Or in passive defiance of the Perfect Lamb by merely watching what was being done to Him?  I do know I wouldn’t have understood the cup of wrath I have been pouring into my entire life … was about to be drunk to the very last drop by Jesus.

And Jesus didn’t just drink my cup.  If every single sin that will ever be committed was but a single drop into that cup … I can’t even begin to fathom how huge that cup had to be.  Jesus drank every last drop.  He endured the wrath of God.  He did it for me.  He did it for You.  He did it for everyone.  Every last single person that has ever existed and will ever exist.  It is mind blowing.  It is completely scandalous!  The Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost did all of this out of a love I won’t ever really understanding until I am standing in the presence of the LORD.

I recently listened to a sermon preached by Pastor Paris Reidhead, and he said that through the cross and the blood of Christ is the only way God could get glory out of a human being.  I wanted to argue with him but the stink of my pride in that argument shut me up pretty quickly.  His statement is bothersomely true; which is why my heart cringes and aches each time I sing “I was standing right there”.  It is why I am continually baffled by the love the LORD continues to pour out on me in spite of the fact that we have destroyed His Son.

It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t there myself.  I destroyed His Son with each sin I have committed and will commit.  I drove those nails in every time I deny Jesus because of fear of man issues that honestly mean nothing in eternity.  Every lash of the scourge that tore through His flesh I brought down on Him by willingly walking into and toward as many temptations as I could find.  And, yes, I do know I have been forgiven all of these things and a good deal more.  I know that right now I am hid in Christ before God, spotless and blameless.  I know I am cherished, loved, and a treasured daughter of the LORD.  These are all truths spoken to me from pages of the Bible.  But these heart felt facts don’t change what I have done, or what I still do.

Pastor Paris Reidhead spoke of repentance as well.  He said that most people’s idea of repentance is nothing more than Gospel glossed humanism.  That most people don’t understand the enormity of their sin, the depth of their guilt by a Holy and Righteous God; and, that they only repent and tremble in fear of God because their skin is about to be singed from the fires of hell.  He put it plainly when he said that repentance isn’t about a good person dealing with the punishments of a bad God.  It is about a bad person standing before a Holy, Righteous, and Good God.  That we all deserve hell, because we are sinners and we love our sin.  Every time we sin we have added another drop in that cup of wrath that Jesus drank.

Sure, He already drank it.  But I had never viewed my sin like that.  The LORD knows everything.  He knew how much I would sin.  He knew how much you would sin.  That cup of wrath is precise.  This doesn’t give me free license to carry on as if it is all taken care of.  If I truly love Jesus I can’t.  I don’t want to add any more to that cup.  I want my drops to decrease and not increase.  I am just sitting here so dumb at not having seen something this simple.  The LORD knows what I will do already, but now I am aware of this on a level I simply wasn’t before.  I know I have, but I don’t want to destroy Jesus.  He is my Savior.  I love Him.

Which is why I am really grateful for this song.  I can’t truly repent with all that I am unless I fully understand the weight of my sin.  I need to understand what my sin has completely done to my Holy God.  I know that only being thoroughly wrecked by my sin and failures can I then be picked up by the Holy Ghost to unimaginable heights of freedom in Christ, and drenched in the love of the LORD.  I can’t just take the gift of salvation without lovingly meditating on what this gift cost.  I want to savor every last drop of grace the LORD has given to me.  I don’t want to take it for granted.  I don’t want to see it as something casual or non-spectacular.  God’s grace is scandalous.  And I am thankful for that.

The last thing Reidhead touched on was how we love Jesus.  Do we approach the throne of God with the cross as a bargaining chip?  You know, I’ll take Jesus in exchange for heaven.  Jesus isn’t a bartering chip.  Jesus didn’t die on the cross for my eternal happiness as His prime product.  It is a by-product but it wasn’t the point.  Which is a real slap in the face because I think I have seen Jesus like that before in my life.  Pastor Reidhead then spoke a truth that woke me up, and made me truly examine how I feel about the LORD.  He said that those who truly love Jesus and worship Jesus, and obey Jesus … in their hearts say, “LORD I will love you, obey you, and worship you even if at the end of all things I end up in hell.  If that is where you want me to go.  Because YOU alone are worthy of my love, obedience, and worship.  Because YOU deserve all of me.  Hell isn’t a deciding factor.  YOU LORD are the only factor I see or care about.”

And I had never looked at my faith that way.  Would I still love Jesus, worship the LORD, and obey His laws … if I knew I was going to hell?  Would that change how I feel?  Would His holiness, His goodness, His righteousness … be enough for me to devote myself in abject adoration to the LORD simply because He deserves it?  I would have to say in past times of my life I shamefully say no.  Right now I think I give, and live out, an uncomfortable yes.  I know each day my yes becomes stronger and more comfortable bit by bit.  But this is definitely a lifetime of sanctification to get it there.  It just flips everything around.

I’m not a Christian because of anything I did.  I am saved by the Blood of Christ because I am His reward for His suffering.  He deserves me for the price He paid.  He deserves so much better than I give Him.  God willing, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am starting to change that.  Thank you LORD.  Thank you God.  Thank you Jesus.  Thank you Holy Ghost.  I am so blessed.  Undeservedly showered by Your grace.  Thank you.  And please continue to grow in me this vine of You and Your values.  For I am nothing without You and I can do nothing without You.  Amen.

Heavenly Father and earthly father

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9)

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:” (John 1:12)

                Talking to my earthly father is awkward at best.  We don’t have a bad relationship, but we don’t have a very good relationship.  I am trying to work on it, and I believe my father is too in his own way.  It is just that our ‘ways’ are so completely different.  It’s hard, and sometimes I get frustrated in sadness.  I want our relationship to be so great.  I want it to be like the relationship I hear my Pastor talk about having with his daughters.  But it’s not.  I am beginning to understand this yearning I feel for a wonderful relationship with my father is a fraction of the yearning my Heavenly Father must feel for me.

I am a pretty crappy daughter to my Heavenly Father.  Again, His ways and my ways are completely different.  He is holy and righteous and pure love … and I … well I rebel against Him, defy Him, and continually break His heart with my sin.  I cringe with this truth as I sit pretty on the thought that I am a pretty good daughter to my earthly father.  God hasn’t lied to me or about me.  God hasn’t betrayed me.  God has never hurt me.  God has never given up on me.  God always wants me around Him.  I am sitting here typing this out and I am completely at a loss why I don’t show as much devotion to the LORD as I do for my father who has done all those things.

I know it is easier to have a ‘good’ relationship with a father I am passingly involved with.  There is no real intimacy between my dad and me.  I seek intimacy with God.  As surreal as this sounds I actually think I know God better than my father; which isn’t saying a lot I know.  So I would like to ‘comfort’ myself with the idea that this somehow excuses all my failures.  It’s not true.  I know that.  I have a lot of sin when it comes to having God be Abba, Father.  And just sitting here now writing this I have to shamefully admit I actually have a lot of sin when it comes to my earthly father as well.

As confusing and frustrating as this all sounds to me I can take true comfort in one fact.  As a child of my father, and as a child of God, this will never change.  I will always be the daughter of my father, and the daughter of my God.  And, at least, in the relationship between Abba and myself He is perfect and not going to mess anything up.  My dad and I are good at that in our relationship.  I know I really need to try harder, and put more effort into our relationship.  Into both my relationships.  It is just so easy to be lazy with a dad who is equally lazy; and lazy with a Father who won’t ever leave, give up, or stop loving me.  And I really hate that I have to admit that.  But it is true.

“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” (John 20:17)

 “(16) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.  As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’

(17) Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’  (18) ‘I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.’” (2 Corinthians 6: 16-18)

                Jesus is the only  One who can redeem both of my relationships.  For God could not receive me as I was: I was unclean.  Through the blood of Christ I am made clean.  Because of the blood of Christ I am a living temple that the Holy Spirit can live within.  Thus Abba, Father will always draw me near.  I can be separate from the world on my life journey of sanctification.  Since Jesus has ascended I can cling to Him.  I need to cling to Him.  I need to bury myself so deep inside of Him so that I can do a better job of reflecting the glory of God.  This is perfect hope for an imperfect sinner.

With my earthly father things aren’t so much like that.  He will hurt me.  I will hurt him.  He will ignore me.  I will ignore him.  We will skirt around each other in a dance of acquaintances.  I don’t want that.  I don’t think he wants that.  Jesus is the only way to get closer to my dad.  Learning about Christ, how He related to God as His Father, will help mold me a path to follow to my dad.  Learning to love and forgive like Christ can continue to change me into a new creation so that I can better love and forgive my father.  I just can’t be lazy.  I don’t want to be lazy.  I really need to be in continually prayer for the Holy Spirit to take away this laziness.

Loved by God; Loving God

“I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Leviticus 26:12)

“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. ‘“ (Revelation 21:3)

                I heard this verse today listening to a CD by Ghost Ship, a Christian band.  It stuck with me and I began to think about all the times God has spoken these words.  You will be MY people.  I will be your God.  I have heard this saying often enough so I assumed I fully understood its meaning.  I mean of course God will be our God.  He is the only God, so it naturally makes sense.  So instead I always pondered on what it means to be His people.  I have made up lists in my head of all the things I should be doing as a possession of God.  But it wasn’t until today that I was sort of struck dumb by the second half of that statement.  God will be my God.

What does that mean?  And how super huge is that meaning?  When I was a pagan I chose my god.  Since I chose my god it was more of a bartering relationship.  I would pray/worship to my god in return for blessings, protection, healing, strength, love, knowledge, foresight … “fill in the blank”.  Then there was the whole other aspect that this god was lucky enough for me to allow him/her into the story of my life.  I decided their worth and importance.  Yahweh, however, is not like that.  My relationship with the LORD is completely different.  I knew this on the surface, but the Holy Spirit really struck me with a deeper understanding of what this means.

First off, I didn’t chose the Great “I AM”.  I did not hunt down the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  The LORD chose me.  The Almighty God hunted me down.  And I can promise you it was a long hunt.   This very simple statement completely blows my mind.  I mean who am I that the Creator of the heavens and the earth would diligently and personally seek me out?  The God of the Bible wanted me.  He desired me and loved me before I was ever born.  Even though He knew of everything I would do against Him, and in spite of my efforts to defy Him, He didn’t give up on me.  I was chosen to be His daughter.  I am pretty sure the old me would have viewed this all with a great deal of pride.  But now, knowing I deserve wrath, hell, and damnation, I am struck to my heart with bewildered awe.  I feel so deeply humbled by His grace.

That grace is limitless and all consuming.  The LORD doesn’t barter; the LORD loves.  He told me He would be my God.  He told He would be my Father.  There is so much responsibility wrapped up in those two words.  I don’t have kids; I only have cats, and so that is all I can knowingly compare it too.  I get to feed my pets, shelter them, and care for them when they are sick.  I also get to play with my pets.  I get to spoil them with loving affection.  I get to hold them, snuggle them, and shower them with kisses.  The concept that God gets to do all these things with me is mind blowing.  And He loves me in a much more fantastically perfect way.  Sure there are times when my cats need to be squirted with water, or given a light swat; but just because I do either of these things doesn’t mean I love them any less.  Which means God doesn’t love me any less.  My cats are my babies, my treasures.  And I feel uncomfortably undeserving to know and better understand that I am a better, more important treasure to my Heavenly Father.

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” (John 6:37)

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world.  They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” (John 17:6)

                God gave me as a gift to Jesus.  As Pastor Dave Bruskus said, “I am God’s gift to God.”  Which is pretty WOW.  I know I have never really looked at myself as anyone’s gift to anyone.  God, however, has deemed me so important to Him.  Not only was I a gift to Jesus, Jesus promises to never cast me out.  I will never be put in a garage sell, re-gifted, or taken back to the store.  Jesus is going to keep me.  I am that important to Him.  I am that loved by Him.  The LORD has consumed the story of my life into His story.  Being held by Jesus completely drenches me in His plans and purposes.  If I couple that with the responsibility God has already taken for me I come to realize how much He already engulfed me if I just let Him carry me along.  Saying all this, typing this all out, it baffles me why I resist my LORD so stubbornly and continually.  It’s not my life any more.  I have been purchased, and given as a gift, to Christ by the blood of Christ.  Again, WOW!

“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’” (John 14:23)

                I am just so amazed right now.  I am completely in love with the LORD.  To be loved so thoroughly, cherished so deeply, treasured so fully, and esteemed so highly by the very Creator of well everything … it is just … UGH!  So wonderfully much blissfully heaven!  I don’t know how to put it into words.  And when someone understands this about the LORD, gets that this is how our Almighty Father feels about each of His children … how can you not fall completely in love with Him?  How can I not worship Him?  This makes my heart ache so deliciously.  I love God the Father.  I love God the Son.  I love God the Holy Spirit.

God loves me so much He wants to live in me.  God the Holy Spirit has taken root in me.  I am never forgotten nor abandoned nor forsaken because the LORD lives in me.  He is always with me.  They say home is where the heart is, and the LORD has told me His home will be with me.  His heart is in me, with me.  I understand a little better now when the Bible speaks of the believer living in Christ.  Because Christ is my home; Jesus is where my heart is.  So being a daughter in the people of God actually has nothing to do with the lists I make up in my head.  It is about a loving, covenantal  relationship with my God.  I knew that before, but I understand it a little deeper now.  Thank you, LORD, for sharing Yourself with me!

My LORD, my Master

I’ve sold myself to people – men and women – for a fleshly price

I’ve sold myself to ideas – for the cost of acceptance

I’ve sold myself for pleasure; I’ve sold myself for pain

I set my purchase price, I picked my owners, I determined the time

I sought, I found, I decided

But not with You

You thought of me before I existed

You sought me – the first time that’s ever happened for me

You bought me two thousand years ago

When You suffered I was in Your heart

From the first drop of blood You branded me YOUR possession

I am not Your convert, I am not Your servant

You purchased me with Your suffering

Just as Paul is, just as James is, I am Your slave

You are my Master

I get that now

You alone are worthy of my worship, and abject adoration

I am on my knees, fall on my face, because You bought me with Your love through Your blood

I don’t worship You for heaven

If hell must be my head – I will still worship You

Because YOU alone are worthy my LORD0

And my heart aches with Your awesomeness and glory

My mind reels with the purchased price

I am Your reward, Your treasure, because YOU wanted me

In You I can stand, but because of You I am on my knees

I love You seems so pale and faded, but YOU can make it great bright and brilliant

My LORD, my Savior, My God

Never cease seeking me, I beg of you, and I will try not to stray

Just call my knee, and give me the strength I plead to always answer

“Here I am”

My personal Psalm

In the dark I have withered

Unknowingly lost I have wasted away

I did not know I was blind as I feasted on Gahanna

Unafraid I lived boldly against you

Unchecked, I challenged Your people, and threw down the weak

As a worm ridden guide I led many down my rut into Your justified, wrathful fire

I’d shamefully claim ignorance, but I knew of You from a young age

I deserved Your hell richly, and I spat in Your face as I drove the nails in

In horror I shudder to think of the piddlily amount I would have taken, 30 would seem like so much

But You would not settle for my rebellion

My denials fell on open ears as You came near

I flinch to think of how many scars on Your heart belong to my teeth and nails as You drew me into Your arms

In my wretched terror You whispered three words to me

“You are mine”

In a moment You shattered me like a long forgotten window beneath a wrecking ball

And then everything changed . . .

 

For the first time I opened my eyes and saw the brilliant promises of Your rainbow

With the eyes of a babe I looked on the cross and wept tears drawn up through my soul

And You did not leave me

Instead you picked up my broken body from the sludge of my debauchery

You carried me from the dark as my muscles were non-existent as I had never used them before

Not even to inch my way from my own cancerous slime

You washed the feet of Your disciples but You bathed all of me with Your tears through Your blood

Each day You mend my destruction, teaching me how myself truly works

Like an infant I am unable to walk, though You are teaching me first to crawl

Through each breath You teach me to depend on You – even when I attempt to crawl away to temptation

But You do not leave me

Your Spirit richly plagues me to thirst after Your word, which strengthens me day by day

I think I might stand one day, but Your unimaginable love keeps me on my knees

Despite these words and my heart I know I will still fall

I will still wander and stray

But You do not leave me

The depth of worldly loss is wholly known to me, but the ocean of ALL I gain in YOU LORD still finds me in the shallows

I am in no hurry to get to the deep end

For every drop of Your all-consuming water drenches me in cherished love for You

I know I will still lean toward the beach

But You do not leave me

My toes feel an edge beneath me and before me

I fear an abyss I know does not exist in the ocean of Your love

Despite the fear of the path You put me on You still do not leave me

So in You LORD is my hope

You are my redemption

You slay all my monsters and free me from my demons

You show me a new mirror to see myself in

You bathe me in a new love to exist inside

As each new fear arises through every beat of my heart You take it away and replace it with peace

So in You I hope, in You I rejoice, in You I sing, in You I dance, in You I worship, in You I kneel, in You I pray, in You I fall on my face

In You I am shielded and clothed before You

“Thank You” are the only small words I have, but You know my heart

And You still do not leave me

Thank you for loving all of me, for never giving up on me, for calling me

Daughter

I love you, so much

Abba, Father

Heavenly Daddy

Amen