I am not a Bible scholar. Ok, there. I got that off my chest. I grew up memorizing a weekly Bible verse, I went to church camp, I competed in Bible Bowls, I could sing the books of the Bible frontwards and backwards…and I’m still not a Bible scholar. But since I have made an honest, committed effort (with God’s guidance and help) to remain in the Word through daily Bible study, I have gained so much! Before I go any further, I understand that everything is relative. The things I am starting to glean from the Word are not earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination. But, they are small things that I believe God wants me to learn – on my own – as I study each day. All of that was a set-up to share a new understanding I gained while reading in the gospel of John this week. John 12:31 says “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” Growing up in youth group we sang a song with this verse (I don’t think I ever knew exactly where it was located in the Bible). But when we sang the song I understood it to mean when Christ was lifted up to Heaven to be with God – men (people) would follow Him. As I read it now – and really think about it, the meaning has changed. Jesus, when speaking of being lifted up, is not talking about his ascension to be with God, but rather he is talking about being lifted up on the cross. As a form of execution, being crucified on the cross was an excruciating form of torture meant to bring great shame to the criminal. But that does not hold true for Jesus. When he was lifted up (on the cross) it was to bring glory to God by fulfilling his wondrous plan of salvation for humanity. It was not to draw shame and ridicule and guilt. It was to draw ALL to him. Because while NONE of us are worthy, ALL of us were included in this plan to cleanse us. He was lifted up and sacrificed in order to complete God’s plan and to draw all to Him to receive the beautiful, undeserved gift of salvation.
I love the way that God works in my daily walk. He must often sit back and shake his head and roll his eyes while he waits for me to catch up with him. I wonder if he gets a good laugh at my expense when I finally get the message he’s been sending me. I’ve got to believe that he is so patient as I try to think my way through things, around in circles, and then get myself out of the way and do it his way.
Lately, Brian and I have both been feeling the tug to do something. We know that God is wanting us to reactivate our ministry and to begin to serve again as we were before. We feel our “time off” was needed in order to establish our home and minister to our new blended family, but we have both been feeling the stir. Brian is reading Steven Furtick’s book Greater, and read a section of it to me yesterday about how God calls people. Often it is with one word. To Abraham, that word was “Go”. To Peter, that word was “Come”. We then asked each other what God’s word is for us right now….we both feel like it is “Move”. Not in the “start wrapping dishes and packing boxes” way…rather in the “get out there and love on some people” sort of way. It’s time for us to move.
Ok…so we’re going to move…but what does that mean?? Could we have some sort of google directions. Maybe an instruction manual. Or better yet, God, just give us the whole plan -start to finish- so we know exactly what it looks like. How many of us don’t act because we want to big picture? God doesn’t want us to know the whole story because he wants us to step out in faith and move. He will give us what we need as we need it along the way.
We talked all evening about what this moving will look like and what it could mean and how do we get started. And we still don’t have God’s blueprint for it all, but we know we have to move. It just takes small steps to make a move. We aren’t being asked to change the world all at once…just to take a step. Just to move.
As I sat down to study this morning, I had this move thing on my mind. Still not sure of what it looks like or which direction to move in….but knowing that we have to move. I read a verse in James that has me more certain than ever that God is in control and is really speaking. James 4:17 says “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do, and then not do it.” Ok God, I hear you loud and clear. I know that what we ought to do is to love those around us and share the gospel with them through that love. I don’t know if that means more food packages, or clothes, or what it really looks like, but I know what we ought to do. And we are going to do it! We are on the move.
Have you ever hugged someone and felt their pain, or their joy in that hug? On the flip side, have you ever hugged someone and felt that it was “empty”? We all have experienced one of those “fake” hugs – just going through the motions but not truly meaning anything. This weekend, Brian and I were watching his beautiful daughter head off to her first Homecoming! She was beaming and her daddy was one proud man! As we prepared to leave and let them go on their way, Savannah hugged her daddy. You could just tell by watching the exchange that it was one of those “real” hugs. She held tightly to her daddy, Continue reading