Monday, January 23, 2012

No more manna

You guys might think I'm weird for this.

Tonight at Oasis (CU's BCM worship service), the speaker told us to turn to Joshua 5:12.  He continued to speak about this verse (in a very different way than it hit me, but still awesome).

I, however, couldn't listen after I read the verse.  Joshua 5:10-12 talks about the people of Israel FINALLY getting out of the promised land and into Canaan after the walls fell.  Verses 11- 12 say,
"And the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. And the manna ceased the day after they ate of the produce of the land. And there was no longer manna for the people of Israel, but they ate of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year."

Oh. My Goodness.  I cannot even explain it, but my heart broke when I read these verses.  On one hand, the people of Israel are finally in this promised land, full of God's goodness and grace and providence.  He has blessed them with food to eat daily.

On the other hand, though, the Isrealites lost their manna.  Like I said, some may think I am crazy.  But this just broke me down.  The Israelites are ending forty years living in the wilderness.  During this time, God has been so, so present and so, so evident.  He allowed them to cross over the Red Sea and again the Jordan River on dry ground.  When they could not find anything to eat, he RAINED DOWN food from the sky.  Let me say that again-HE RAINED DOWN FOOD.  Every morning, the Israelites would wake up to a miracle-their food supply.  Their very sustenance was a miracle every single morning straight from the Lord.  Great is His faithfulness!

It made me think of a horrible time in my life.  Everyone goes through them, goes through seasons where they cannot even get up without God's love and graciousness.  He is so gentle in these times, in these hard times where He shows us constantly about how much He loves us.  Every day in these times, no matter how hard, we wake up to a miracle.  We grow spiritually like never before.  He takes us and carries us.  He proves faithful day in and day out, even in the hardest times.

I personally think back to the summer after my senior year.  It was all I could do to get out of bed sometimes.  I was heartbroken and wounded in ways I had never been before.  I didn't trust anyone with my pain.  Except the Lord, who faithfully and tenderly spoke love over me.  This was Love, this was the Lord, in a way I had never known Him before.

The amazing thing about God is how He works in our times of wilderness, in our times of complete reliance on Him.  Oh, Lord, thank you for your faithfulness!

The thing is, the Lord always brings us through the wilderness season.  He brings us through to His glory and with His power.  And then the manna ends.  The every day miracle ends.  Not that He isn't there, not that He isn't just as faithful.  But His presence is so close, so tender in those wilderness times where we come to the end of ourselves.  In the promised land, we lose sight of the everyday miracle we had been waking up to.  We forget about our manna.

Oh, my heart aches when I think about it.  It truly does.  I feel like Moses in Exodus 33, when the Lord says He will give the Israelites land but will not go there with him.  Moses says that God could give them everything, but without His presence, "everything" would never ever be worth it.

Lord, let me never forget about Your manna in my life.  Let me never forget Your faithfulness and loving tenderness and mercy and grace.  Give me wilderness if it means I will not forget.  Let me glorify You in every season, wilderness or promised land.  I love you, because You love me so compassionately.  Amen.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So this is the new year...

I know I'm a few weeks late, but it always takes me a little while to process things.  I am so excited about this new year.  2012 brings a whole new lists of challenges and opportunities, ones I am scared and excited and nervous and totally unprepared for.  That's the gorgeous thing about God, though.  He chooses the things that are not so He can show just want He is.

  I was reading about Noah the other day and how insane his calling from God must have seemed.  Building a huuuuuuuge boat to save his family from the rain.  So many questions must have been going through his mind, like what is rain? What is my family going to do when we get out? How long? How in the world do I get two of each animal onto this freaking boat?  But God gave Noah very specific directions.  He did not give him the answer to every single one of these questions.  It doesn't really say he gave him answers to much at all.  But God did tell him specifically how to build the boat.  God told Noah specifically what animals to put on it.  And God even brought the animals to Noah.

Our callings may seem insane and far out and impossible, but God will equip us with what we need.  He will! I truly believe He is a God of clarity.  Maybe not how we see clarity, as in knowing every single detail and moment that is going to happen, but instead we see over and over again how He equips people with what they need to fulfill their calling, to reach the next step.  We must believe this. (And I am talking to myself here more than anyone)

Some new ministry opportunities are opening up for me here.  I am taking over women's ministry for the Baptist Campus Ministries (BCM) here at Campbellsville University.  My goal is to do four events: one for each month of the semester.  So far, the ideas are mixed, from fellowship to service to discipleship.  I need one more idea, but the Lord will provide it.  It's crazy, I will wake up with events planned. Totally from God, nothing from me.

Another opportunity you'll hear a lot about is going to Ghana.  So many things last semester led me to this decision.  God said go, so I am going to go! I'll be there for two and a half months this summer, by far the longest I have ever been away from home.  I've never left North America, so this will be quite an experience. Raising money is going to be difficult, but God will provide. I'm scared about other, earthly things, too, like eating weird food (I am very picky!), and getting sunburned (I am very pale!). Getting to share God's love to orphans, though....ohhhh I am so excited!

Anyway, this new year God brought a theme verse to mind through Beth Moore's blog.  Micah 6:8 is currently posted all over my notebooks and all over my thoughts.  It says:
"He has told you, oh man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
I'll dissect this more next post.  I have already probably bored you to tears! Have a great week and year. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tune My Heart

Come thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it, mount of Thy redeeming love.

I was listening to this yesterday, and the line struck me, "Tune my heart to sing Thy grace."  We tune instruments to play songs correctly and beautifully.  An out of tune instrument makes a song ugly.

My heart was once in tune with my Father's.  Sin threw us all out of whack, though.  I've tried all my life to tune to Yours my heart by ear, doing all the things I was told were "right" and "good."  But I was still out of tune.  My song was still lacking.  I could not play the beautiful, redemptive song You wrote for me.

Your song is full of love.  The most intense, real love anyone has ever heard.  Then, the love turns to pain.  The love and pain alternate as man refuses to praise Your greatness and instead bask in their sins.  The final crescendo of pain comes as You send Your son to die, loud and beating, and then-hope wins.  Love wins.  The Lord wins.

Meanwhile, my own heart still longs for the sin that causes pain, but also for Your love.  My pitiful attempts at tuning leave me a poor instrument to play Your song.  Until You come, full of glory and hope and love.  You are the perfect tuner.  You fix my heart, You tune my strings.  You teach me to play Your redemptive song of grace.  You take my brokenness and hide it inside Your perfect song.  You make me new.  You tune the strings of my heart to sing Your notes of grace.

Oh, Lord.  Tune my heart to sing Your grace.