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

Thursday, April 29, 2010

This Is Our Calling..

1 Peter 2:21-24 (New International Version)

To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps."He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth." When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

I have heard this verse twice today. Not to mention the amount of times it keeps coming up in my heart. This is the verse I want to live and breath as we continue this journey in urban ministry. Things are getting more complicated. I confess in my heart I have not been taking thing well. I have been angry, frustrated and a bit sad and angry some more. Honestly, when you look at it, the very things I am upset with others over is what I myself is guilty of. Lord help me.

Ministry is mess, relationships are messy, they just are. But I do understand that can be a good thing. I desire for my family as well as this ministry (and my personal self) to remember Jesus example. No matter how difficult, or unhopeful things may seem, my prayer tonight is that the Lord would grant us the grace to not retaliate, or make threats. But to entrust him who judges justly. (Thanks Zo :)

John Piper says this about Jesus, he says,

"....he handed over to God the whole situation including himself and those abusing him and the hurt done and all the factors that made it a horrendous outrage of injustice that the most innocent man who ever lived should suffer so much. He trusted it all into God's hands as the one who would settle the matter justly someday. He said, "I will not carry the burden of revenge, I will not carry the burden of sorting out motives, I will not carry the burden of self-pity; I will not carry the burden of bitterness; I will hand all that over to God who will settle it all in a perfectly just way and I will pray, Father, forgive them they don't know what they do (Luke 23:34)....

He goes on to ask, "How do you survive and thrive and go on loving when your deep judicial sense cries out: NO! It isn't right. This can't be tolerated. It is not fair:

The answer again is God. Paul said in Romans 12:19–20, "Beloved do not avenge yourselves, but give place to wrath. For it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' No, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink.'"
In other words, do what Jesus did. Hand it over to God. God sees it. And God judges justly. Nothing escapes his notice. Nothing falls from his memory. He will settle all accounts more fairly than we ever could. Lay it down. Let it go. This is your calling. "

This is our calling. This... Is...Our..Calling. This last has me upset, yet encouraged. Upset because I want control, (keeping it 100) I want to give people what I feel like they deserve. Lord help me with my prideful heart. But encouraged because I know God is the ONLY WISE GOD and knows how to handle all things perfectly.

I pray as a ministry tonight that we don't waste our trials. That we make the most of them. We don't allow them to determine our happiness or joy. We don't allow the injustice around us to tempt us to respond in way that will bring dishonor to the Lord. Oh, brothers and sisters in the faith, how hard this is. This is very hard. But.. I know that God promises to not put more on us then what we can bear and in every temptation he provides a way of escape and power to respond biblically. I pray we remember God, we continue to hand it over to him and be free men and women tonight because we trust in His Sovereignty.