He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Trinkets to Treasure

Personal Reflections PART ONE

ok..so as many of you know I struggle with anxiety and fear. As I finished my time with the LORD this morning, the LORD providentially led me to a blog entry that would encourage me during this time..GOD IS SO FAITHFUL AND MERCIFUL!! He heard my cry!! I am so excited to began this journey of complete trust and dependance on the LORD.. I thought that you all might enjoy this as well..so the next couple of blog postings will be what I am doing in my own life to fight FEAR, ANGER and or ANXIETY. I pray that the LORD uses this mightily in your life as well

For more encouraging conversations you can check out the Girl Talk blog here

Personal Reflection

Anxiety, anger, and escapism are common life problems, in both senses of ‘common’: everyday, every person. They are sins endemic to the human condition and to our struggle. And they are doorways through which the grace and mercies of Jesus Christ daily invade lives.

This life, therefore, is not righteousness but growth in righteousness,
not health but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise.
We are not yet what we shall be but we are growing toward it.
The process is not yet finished but it is going on.
This is not the end but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory but all is being purified.
--Martin Luther

In each case, we see three things:

1. It feels like we have good reasons to react with sinful anxiety, hostility, and escapism. The pressures, heat, difficulties, threats, frustrations, wrongs, beguilements of life come at us--and reveal what rules our hearts.

2. God gives better reasons, truer reasons, deeper reasons, imperishable reasons--Himself, reclaiming our hearts--that we learn to respond with faith working through love.

3. The inworking and outworking of faith and love produces the holy anxiety of caring concern (wrapped within deep trust). Faith works through love to produce just anger (wedded to generous mercies). Faith works out into a right longing to escape trouble and to help others in their troubles (alongside hearty enjoyment of innocent pleasures).

We’ve laid out a model, a picture, a map of the terrain of battle. A map is useful for orienting you, but it does not get you there. Our goal is to relate to our God honestly, intelligently, believingly, in ways that change us in real time, real place, real problem.

1. Take one of these three common sins to face and tackle this day. Your Father is the vinedresser, putting his pruning shears into your life:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there is any hurtful way in me; and lead me in the everlasting way” (Ps. 139:23f).

2. Whichever of the common deviancies you’re choosing, first read and ponder these hymns (and, if you’re so moved, sing with heart and voice!). Notice how we’ve parsed the hymns,

--The pressures of life are described in italics, those things (‘good reasons’) that provoke us to anxiety, anger, escapism. These are the circumstances within which our battle plays out.

--The Lord’s promises and self-disclosures come in bold, these invitations (‘better reasons’) to live differently. These are ways the Redeemer enters human life. Notice how these things that God says compete with the voices and pressures that woo and provoke us towards anger/grumbling, fear/anxiety, escapism/addiction.

--Our responses of faith are underlined. This is the heart of change.

Read all the italics. Then read all the bolds. Then read all the underlinings. Then worship.