Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Scripture speaks a great deal about judgement, an inconvenient truth for those who claim that God is not about judging and that a loving God would not _____ - you can fill in the blank, there are many words and causes used. While God's love for us is the primary message of His word, there are many passages that talk about judgement brought by God historically, some refer to coming judgement and yet others speak to our responsibilities as Christians when to "judge" or not.

One sentence in Malachi whittles it all down to a wonderful, grace-filled truth from our Lord: "Return to me, and I will return to you." vs.3:7. He speaks these words in relation to our having turned away from His decrees.

This is a compassionate position from God who has every reason to be angry with us, yet refuses to deal with His anger like men (humans) usually do (Hosea 11:9). That isn't to say we will escape His judgement because we will not, but it will come at the time He has designated, another point that many choose to ignore. While we tend to act/react out of anger on an emotional impulse, He keeps His anger in perspective and gives us every opportunity to come (back) to Him before that final judgement. That couldn't be more compassionate or fair.

I have struggled a great deal with anger over the last couple of years since BJ got sick and then went to be with Jesus. I know that there are many facets to it and no doubt, multiple catalysts and roots beyond the significant changes that this has generated in our lives. It usually manifests itself inwardly, when I am alone (for which I am thankful) and do something stupid or when little things go wrong. My reactions though have been spreading to other situations, less solitary and more embarassing (for me and to the Lord) because they are sometimes overheard or come out at others as over-reactions. I apologize to those who have been on the receiving end of one of these failures to hold myself in check.

I am so thankful that God is loving and full of grace, that He still awaits the prodigals and procrastinators with love and patience while we race around in place fussing about what time it is lest we stop and be forced to consider that it is running out.

In reality at least part of my anger is blamed on these circumstances, the changes that they manifested in my life - when in fact focusing the blame in this way is simply a way to avoid dwelling on the fact that I have failed to act on convictions that resulted from these events. I have held back from "going through the mud" to serve my Savior who "went through the blood."

Lord, thank you for being willing to return to us if we will only return to you. Amen.



At 10:43 AM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

I have two dear friends who are "going through the mud" right now.

Our pastor here (Folly Beach Baptist Church near Charleston, SC) went from a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms over a 3-week period, to the sudden discovery of a large tumor between his heart and spine last Thursday, to the confirmed diagnosis of multiple myeloma yesterday. Because he is still relatively young (42) and healthy, they are beginning radiation today and an aggressive chemotherapy program Monday in the hopes to send this cancer into an "indolent" state and stop its brutal attack.

Please lift Pastor David England, his wife Libby, and son Andrew up before the Father. We know how strong God is in our weakness, and we know how much the enemy longs to place obstacles in our path. We pray the prayer of BJ Higgins, of perfect surrender to His will and ways even as we cry out to God for healing.

I would also ask prayers for my friend Heather Baity, whose husband Brad was one of the nine firemen killed in the terrible Charleston fire Monday evening. She and her two young children do not grieve as those who have no hope, but are in the midst of a devastating (and in some ways, very public) season of grief. Pray for them and the other families as well.

Lord God, may your glory reign through these times. We pray that even more people will come to know You through those who suffer in Your name. Thank you that You comfort those who mourn and weep with those who weep. We love You and commit these dear people to Your loving care. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Thank you, blog family. You are special to me as I continue

praying in pink
with tender love


At 10:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marti, I will be praying for your pastor and for the Baity family. It was heartbreaking news to read of the nine firemen killed. The media attention will make the grieving process more difficult for them. I pray that all of these men are home with the Lord today. Mark \o/

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