Sunday, September 26, 2010

Just Believe, Part 2.

My brother, in my opinion, is all kinds of awesome. An electrical engineer, a helicopter pilot, a bold evangelist, an amazing father, and a singer-songwriter. Some of my sweetest memories as a little girl are of how Sam would come home at holidays and the house would be filled with music, him and his guitar singing. I treated him like a jukebox sometimes, putting in my requests for songs. Topping the list? Garth Brooks' "Belleau Wood" and Sam's very own "Just 'Cause He said So."
And we have faith that He'll never forsake us, just 'cause He said so
And we have hope that He'll take us home, just 'cause He said so
And we know that our very souls are loved, just 'cause He said so
And we know that someday pain will be no more, just 'cause He said so
And I believe it's true, just 'cause He said so
He said it, and that's enough for me. It's a child's faith that counts on a Father's honesty and on Daddy doing what child can't. I want to believe just because He said so.

You and I, we are weak human beings. We can't do it. We can't do it, folks! We want to change the world, but we have no power. (But boy oh boy, do we think we do. Pride is nastier than strep throat. On a side note, Jesus heal me!) We may be weak, but those weak folks are the ones God uses. All the glory is His!

So see...the way it works is: We have nothing. He wants to use us. We believe Him. He puts His power in us.

What I see in that passage from Mark is a declaration from Peter to Jesus: "I really believe You. I've decided: You are who You say You are, and I really believe You." Then, then, Jesus had an open door to start telling Peter and the rest of the motley crew the reality of what redemption would look like. Notice that word "plainly." I want to hear from God that way! I want the invitation of belief in my heart that says: "Tell me anything, Jesus...I want to know and I believe what You say."

See, Peter still had some struggles [like me]. Jesus had to set him straight and boil it down: "STOP thinking like man. Believe the things of God." Then, then, came the answer to Peter's (and our) question of how to give everything for Jesus. Friends, I want to give everything. I want to believe, I want to trust, I want to live totally and completely for Jesus, I want to hold nothing back. I want to spend everything. "Take up your cross and follow me" is the handbook for that style of living, and I want the heart of belief that welcomes the teaching of the Lord on this. I want the seal of approval from the Lord that says "I see Your heart and that You really want me, and I am going to teach You how to give it all."

Belief, trust, faith is cultivated in your heart, God has a larger and larger blank canvas to work with. Seeing as my desire it be painted by the Great Artist's hand, I want to offer as big a canvas to Him as I can. There needs to be lots of room for His signature in that corner, because it's all about Him.

I want to walk with Him, like all those folks in Hebrews 11. There are moments, though, where I tell the Lord honestly: "I don't know how! I know I need to trust You more, but I don't knowhow!" Well, faith without works is dead, so I am asking the Lord for specifics of actions I can take to walk in faith and belief and trust. I don't have it, and I need more from the Lord. He gives, though. Oh, He gives generously.

I want to receive. He will walk with me and talk with me like He did with the disciples, and many, many great men and women of faith have walked before me. I pray that I will see the fruit of faith in my life, and if you ask, you will see it in yours. Oh that the glory of the Lord would shine from our lives.

Let me leave you with this quote from Oswald Chambers in his writings on the Sermon on the Mount:
Faith is our personal confidence in a Being whose character we know, but whose ways we cannot trace by common sense. By the reasonings of faith is meant the practical outworking in our lives of implicit, determined confidence in God. Common sense is mathematical; faith is not mathematical, faith works on illogical lines. Jesus Christ places the strongest emphasis on faith and especially on the faith that has been tried. To have faith tests us for all we are worth; we have to stand in the commonsense universe in the midst of things that conflict with our faith, and place our confidence in the God whose character is revealed in Jesus Christ...most of us are pagans in a crisis; we think and act like pagans. Only one out of a hundred is daring enough to bank his or her faith in the character of God.

The golden rule for understanding in spiritual matters is not intellect, but obedience.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Just Believe, Part 1

Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to Him as righteousness.

After going to bed quite late last night with battle wounds from a late night "Rolfball" game, I woke up at 5:40 to an invitation from the Lord, saying He wanted to tell me something. To be perfectly honest, I was tired. I laid there awake for a few minutes, until a specific Scripture dropped into my heart. The first time I pulled it out and read over it, I didn't get.

Mark 8:29-36
And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Peter answered him, "You are the Christ." And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.
And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things...And he said this plainly.
And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man."
And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me...For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
Over the course of the day, this passage has steeped a bit in my heart like a good cup of tea, and I think I know a bit of what the Lord wanted to show.

A while ago I was praying for a friend of mine and the Lord showed a picture of multiple doors standing in front of her, with keys to unlock them. I asked the Lord what she needed to do to be able to unlock the doors and His answer surprised me that night and has surprised me almost every time I've thought of it since: Just believe Me. That's enough.

There is part of my heart that is still absolutely convinced that good Christians are equatable to chemical engineers. There must be an incredibly complex formula to pleasing God and doing His work, and to understand it I am obviously going to need a Master's Degree in being a Christian. "Just believe" sometimes just sounds too simplistic.

Enter Keith Green.

About mid-week last week, I was sitting in a undeniably funky funk. I had a feeling my own sin was the source of it, but was having trouble jumping over the "I'm a failure" hurdle into King David's "Man, I messed up but God sure loves me!" field.

My sister had to go into work for a few minutes, and after asking the Lord what I was supposed to do, I went with her for the sake of the piano. My sister's job is my only piano source at this point; there is a lovely grand that is open for me to play any time I am there. We walked in and I ran straight for the piano room. With little-to-no plan of what I was going to play, my eye caught the "Keith Green Ministry Years" music books and I dived for them. Over the next few minutes, I played that piano louder than I have in a long time and sang my heart out.

Create in me a clean heart, O God...Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation...I wanna die and let you give Your life to me so I might live...I want to take Your Word and shine it all around...When Your eyes are on this child, Your grace abounds to me...

The Holy Spirit did something, right there at that piano. I just sat and my heart felt as if it would burst from thankfulness for lives like Keith Green's and King David's. I take great encouragement from the fact that men who walked in power doing the Lord's calling on their life went through five million plus moments of "is it just me, or am I a complete and total failure?" and "I can't do this at's got to be all You, God."

If you haven't heard Keith's music I highly recommend jumping onto and listening. (mash down HERE to go straight there). I read No Compromise a few weeks ago and it absolutely gripped me. I think I got through the whole thing in 2 or 3 days; I just could not shake the feeling that what God did in Keith's life is significant to understanding what He wants to do in mine. Maybe it was something about the fact that He was just some passionate kid who played the piano...that sounds familiar. :)

Before I read the book, I only listened to Keith's happy, upbeat, "Go Preach the Gospel!" songs. His heart-wrenchingly honest songs didn't catch my ear. Until, that is, I found myself in a desperate place where my pride had gotten cracked enough to say "Oh boy, this is going to have to be all God." Read the book, folks. I see Keith as someone who walked radically and boldly as who God made him to be and affected thousands upon millions of people because he obeyed, but he reminds me so much of David of the Psalms, because this radical man had struggles and had to repent and messed up and saw his own weakness.

Today, with the passage from Mark, these sorts of thoughts began to feel full-circle. (Bear with me, I know this is getting long! All this blogging's been pent up for months. ;)

Keith Green and King David, they were messed up.

BUT! They changed the world.

They believed God.

Belief. It's enough.

Part 2 tomorrow on how that Mark passage has anything to do with all of this and how setting your heart to believe is like sending heaven an invitation to invade your life.