Friday, April 29, 2011

A royal wedding

I can't believe I'm blogging at 3:30 AM. This is a first!

I didn't plan on waking up to watch "The Royal Wedding," but my heart has been pounding since 2:00 AM, and I haven't been able to sleep, so I decided to go ahead and watch history in the making!

Last night, when I told Dan that I wanted to DVR the wedding, he replied with "Why? It's just a stupid wedding!" I got defensive and told him that it's "romantic" and "beautiful" and that all weddings "symbolize Christ and His Church!" At that point, he challenged me to write a gospel-centered blog post on the royal wedding. Love you, honey...and I accept your challenge.

As I was laying in bed at 2 AM, I started thinking about why I'm so excited about this wedding. And even more, why are an expected 2 BILLION viewers so excited about "just a stupid wedding?"

And as I thought about it, I realized that we're wired for this. We are wired for fairytale romance.

Think about our favorite fairytales...

Snow White.

Snow White eats a piece of fruit given to her by her stepmother in disguise. The fruit causes her to "fall asleep" and only true love's kiss from a prince will awake her from her slumber.

Sound familiar?

Romans 5:12-16

"Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the fr
ee gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ."

Then there's Sleeping Beauty. Pretty similar story line. Aurora, who has fallen asleep, receives a kiss from her prince, and comes awake to live happily ever after.

I think I've heard that one before too.

Ephesians 5:14- "...Awake, O Sleeper! And arise
from the dead! And Christ will shine on you."

And now, at 4:00 AM, I await the royal wedding of Prince William & Catherine Middleton. Kate, who will drive up in a car as a commoner and will leave a princess, just by way of marrying her prince.

This is just too easy, babe.

Ephesians 2: 4-10

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them."

Yes, we're wired for fairytale romance, my dear sweet husband. We're wired for fairytale romance because we were CREATED for fairytale romance. We came into this world commoners. We were born as "Kates," but our bridegroom, Christ, has come to our rescue. He has awaken us from slumber with true love's kiss (humbling himself to death on a cross), he has designed our gown of righteousness, and has changed our position, so that we are now "Princess Catherines." We eat this "stupid wedding" stuff up because we were made for it.

How romantic is that!?

As I watch Prince William walk into the ceremony, I am entirely too excited about his royal wedding story, but I am much more excited about mine. Our royal wedding story, as the bride of Christ...

Revelations 19: 6-8

"Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure'—

for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints."

Oh, what a glorious royal wedding that will be!

And the best part?

We are promised a "happily ever after."

Now that's a royal wedding.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The man at the foot of the bridge...

I skipped along the wayward path,
curls bouncing in the breeze.
I smiled, not knowing where I went
amidst the forest trees.

I came upon a wooden bridge,
swaying to and fro.
Skipping, skipping, all the way,
whilst the winds did blow.

But as I skipped, I heard a voice
calling out my name.
I quickly turned and saw the man
from which the calling came.

With open arms, he called again,
"Come back, my child!" he said.
"This pathway is not safe for you.
Follow me, instead."

There was something about him I couldn't resist.
Strange, yet familiar was he.
Barefoot, I pattered across that old bridge,
For with him, I wanted to be.

I tugged on his robe, and he lifted me up,
Swinging me, 'round and around.
Laughing, rejoicing with tears in his eyes,
His lost little girl was now found.

And just as we turned away from the bridge,
Lo! The ground started to shake.
Holding me tight, we looked back at that bridge
as it crumbled and started to break.

My head on his chest, I started to weep,
as the rotten bridge gave way.
I knew not where I went, nor the path I was on,
without knowing, I'd fallen astray.

But the man who was holding me tight to his chest,
wiped my tears from my cheek as he said,
"You're safe, little one. You have no more to fear.
Come awake, child! You're no longer dead."

"For I knew you before you took your first steps,
and I knew on which path you were bound.
But in love, I came down and saved you from grief
so my mercy and grace would abound."

We turned and he showed me a narrower path
and told me to "Run well the race."
At nightfall, he told me he had to go home,
but he was leaving a friend in his place.

Now all grown up, I remember that man,
and I thank him again and again
For saving that blonde little curly head girl,
from eternal torment and pain.

Today, as I walk down the narrow path,
with the friend that he left at my side,
I thank him for saving that little blonde girl,
so that one day, with Him, I'll abide.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My fleece of unfaithfulness

I know I ended my last post asking you to stay tuned for Installment #2 of the Beloved Story (if you found yourself asking what Beloved is, you can read Installment #1 here). But before I get to that, I need to take a slight detour...

The past two weeks or so have been spiritually rough to say the least. I've felt alone and out of touch with God. I've been in the Word, I've prayed, I've fasted, I've worshipped, I've wept, but I've felt like God has been silent. I have tried to sit down and hammer out the details for Beloved, but haven't felt any direction or inspiration. I have begged Him for guidance in choosing the board of directors for the ministry, but I'm no further today than I was a month ago. I've been feeling like everything's been at a standstill.

So last night, when a friend asked me how she could pray for me, what followed was a whiny, self-loathing mess of a response... "...While I'm enjoying reading through the bible in a year, I am yearning for in depth reading that is more "applicable" to my life right now. I know that all of God's word is living and breathing in my head and heart, but I'm having a really hard time taking away anything from my daily reading. The old testament is full of good stuff, but I'm just frustrated. How do Joshua's battles have anything to do with me trying to discern who I should ask to be involved with Beloved or where we should go to church? I feel like I need more direct guidance and as though God is just being silent. My husband has encouraged me to do some in depth reading right now, but I'm already behind in my chronological plan, so I feel like any time I have needs to be spent catching up."

It didn't seem that bad when I wrote it. After all, it's how I felt, not what I believed. But then this morning, the Holy Spirit hit me with the story of Gideon.

Now, to be honest, if I wasn't reading through the Bible in a year, I probably would have never turned to Judges for counsel or guidance. But, that's where God had me today, and for that, I'm grateful. I had heard the story of Gideon a few times. When I was trying to decide where to go to college, I remember my elderly neighbor encouraging me to "put out a fleece." Since then, I've heard other Christians use the phrase on a handful of occasions, but I had never sat down and actually read the story of Gideon. It goes a little something like this...

The people of Israel did what was evil in God's sight (again!), and God allowed Midian to oppress them. When they cried out to God for deliverance, the angel of the LORD came to Gideon and told him that he, Gideon, would single-handedly strike down the Midianites. Gideon responded, "If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speaks with me." God, being the patient and merciful God that he is, gave Gideon his sign (a consuming fire springing up from a rock). After seeing the fire, Gideon was pretty much freaked out since he thought he had seen the angel of the LORD face to face. But the LORD said to him "Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die."

Later on (I'm skipping part of the story here for time's sake), Gideon said to God, "If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said."

Okay, Gideon, I thought. You just spoke directly with God. Why do you need another sign?

But God, being the patient and merciful God that He is, gave him his wet fleece.

Surely you'll believe God now, Gideon. Right?


Right after he was wringing out the fleece, he turned around and asked God to do it again.

"Just once more, God. Pretty please?"

And once again, our gracious, merciful God gave him his wet fleece.

At this point in the story, I became angry. Hold up. I thought. I always though putting out a fleece was a sign of faith. Gideon saw God and spoke to him directly. God assured him that he would deliver Israel from the Midianites through Gideon. Why couldn't he just take Him at his word? This isn't a fleece of faith! It's really a fleece of unfaithfulness."

And then I realized...I am Gideon. And the Holy Spirit convicted me of my fleece of unfaithfulness. I have been sitting here, waiting for some sort of "sign" from God. An email. A phone call. A bolt of lightning. Some thing that will give me direction in this ministry.

But what I've failed to embrace is that God has already equipped me through his word...

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." - 1 Timothy 3:16-17

God speaks directly to me through His word. And what's more, his Spirit is alive in me. I don't need a fleece. I need to have faith in the Word of God. And as I came to realize that truth, God, being the patient and merciful God that He is, spoke to me through his Word. And not just through a verse or a short passage, but through five books of the Old Testament and hundreds of years of history.

More on that next time, but for now, I leave you with this...