The past few weeks have been full of deep thought and reflection, and I have been "chewing on" so much, that I don't even know where to start. Much of what I've been reflecting on was hit home today during church. I'm going to start with some verses, lyrics, and things that I wrote down from this morning's sermon to sum up my thoughts, and I will end with what my actual thoughts have been :). I hope and pray that you learn something out of the things that I have been learning, and that this isn't just nonsensical :).
"Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.' For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."
"For I desire steadfast love (mercy) and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."
"For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering." (David speaking to the Lord)
"Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into their house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listenened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.' But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.' "
"...for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are JUSTIFIED by his GRACE as a GIFT, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received BY FAITH."
"For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH. And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
"Brokenness, confession, repentance... are what God desire."
"Jesus didn't come for Religion, he came to set people free."
"It's time to repent of thinking that I'm going to do better next time. Follow Jesus. Stop trying to control things, and allow Jesus to have it."
"Stop trying so hard; just follow Jesus."
"Your grace is sufficient for me. Your strength is made perfect when I am weak. All that I cling to, I lay at your feet. Your grace is sufficient for me."
"Where the spirit of the Lord is
There is freedom
If you're tired and you are thirsty
There is freedom
Freedom reigns in this place
Showers of mercy and grace
Falling on ev'ry face
There is freedom
Whatever you're burdened with tonight
Whatever you struggle with tonight
There is Freedom"
What do I have freedom from? I have freedom to just live, follow Jesus, and to do what He has called me to do, even if it doesn't make sense to others, and even if others don't agree. I have freedom to be the mom and wife that I have been called to be, even if it looks different than the way others do it. I have the freedom to look at the sin that I commit daily, confess it, and give it to the Lord. I have freedom to realize, daily, that I am only human, and all I can do is allow God to take my struggles from me, instead of trying to do them myself. I have freedom to leave my house messy in order to spend time with Jesus and my family. I have freedom to look at my past sin, confess it, repent it, forget about it, and move forward. I have freedom to drop everything that I feel needs to be perfect, and don't worry about it. I have freedom to serve God in love, and not in bondage and religion.
One of the most amazing things to me about Jesus' ministry is that he did things without caring what ANYONE thought about Him. He hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, the slum of society. He healed the sick, even on the sabbath. He loved the "unlovable." He didn't care that the Pharisees didn't agree. He did it anyway. Luke 5:31 "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." More things that I learned from the sermon this morning: He realized that sin is a disease. These people aren't "unclean," they are sick. He knows that if he doesn't cure them from this disease, that they will die. It's more important to heal the sick, than to hang out with people who "think" they have it all together. He desires a broken, contrite heart. He desires confession. Tell him that you don't have it all together, he already knows it anyway, and He can use you much easier when you admit that. Tell non-Christians that you don't have it all together, it will help them to desire what you have a lot more. In order to do this, you would have to hang out with people that most Christians wouldn't hang out with. Jesus did it, why shouldn't we? Who is Jesus really?
I'm reading a book for school called Eli (by Bill Myers), and I CANNOT wait to discuss it with my class. It puts Jesus into today's world. It shows him hanging out with Porn producers, transvestites, racists, etc. Those would be considered the slum of OUR society. Would you hang out with them? I honestly probably would have a hard time with that. But, those are the type of people that Jesus hung out with. He didn't care what others thought. He was loving the unlovable. He had freedom to do God's work because he didn't care what others thought.
What do you have (or need) freedom from? What things do you struggle with, that you try to take on all by yourself? What things do you wake up daily saying, "I can do it today, I just need to be strong," then you just struggle with again all day? What things do you need to just throw at the feet of Jesus and stop trying to fix them yourself?
I realize that much of this is a bit scattered, but four things that I got out of all of this: 1) Jesus desires for us to have brokenness, 2) We have freedom in Christ, 3) It does NOT matter what every one thinks, all we need to do is please Jesus by loving Him and following Him, 4) Love others, no matter how it looks to others.
I struggle, daily, with having the "need" to make everything perfect (if I let it, it can bring a lot of anxiety). And, unfortunately, things will never be perfect because of sin in this life. My house will never be perfectly clean, my kids will never be perfectly behaved (because they are human too!), my teaching will never be perfect, not all people will like me all the time, my day will never be scheduled and routines may be messed up, I may allow my daughter to watch too much t.v. sometimes, I may leave dishes in the sink and laundry on the couch...
I'm finally learning through my anxiety issues instead of using it as a crutch or trying to hide it. I am learning that I can't wake up every morning and think that I'll do better today; instead I wake up in the morning allowing Jesus to have it. But, guess what, some days I have a harder time doing that than others. Jesus knows. He loves me anyway. Did you know that even at your worst, Jesus still loves you? He won't love you more if you've achieved perfection in the world's eye. He won't love you less if you really mess up. He just loves you. That's what unconditional love is.
Praise Jesus that there is freedom in following Him because he desires brokenness, not religion. This doesn't give us a reason to go do what we want (because that wouldn't be beneficial), but it gives us the freedom to realize that we are human, and God is all powerful. His strength is made perfect in weakness.
2 Corinthians 12:9
"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Now, with all this said, if I write about something that we do that isn't right for your family, just know that I write to give information, not to say that everyone should do things the same way we do. I hope that it NEVER comes across that way, through this blog or in real life!! If it does, tell me!! I want to know!!
Know that you are loved just the way that you are. God created you for a purpose, even with your weaknesses, even with your struggles.
I hope and pray that you wake up each morning asking God to take the things that you try to do on your own, and have freedom in Him.