Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Promise of Life

This morning, as I read in my Chronological Bible, I came across a verse Deuteronomy 30. "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and all your soul and live"

I underlined that because I am trusting God to circumcise our hearts - to purify us - to cut away all the excess baggage and junk that gets in the way of us truly loving Him and living. Not only in me, but also in my descendants--my son and my granddaughter. But these two are not my only descendants. I have another one, my daughter, who didn't live. She died. Does that mean this promise wasn't fulfilled? Oh, no. In fact, I believe that my daughter is the only one of us who is truly experiencing life right now. We may have physical life, but she is experiencing spiritual life in the presence of Jesus! That's something that we have not yet seen. I thought about all that for a moment then moved on to Shane Stanford's book, "When God Disappears."

I finished the chapter on Lazarus being raised from the dead. Stanford first talks about the promise of Jesus in John 16:33. Here Jesus promises that in this world we will have trouble. What kind of promise is that?! Well, maybe it's not a promise, but as Stanford says, it's an honest statement. It's a fact. The promise comes next, "But take heart, for I have overcome the world." There's no promise to make our problems go away or that life will be easy. Just that we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

Then Stanford starts in on a message that, given my scripture reading this morning, gets my attention. He says that God, "has made a way for us to 'take heart' and begin to truly live." Apparently, God is trying to get a message across to me today about life--true life.

I love how Stanford finishes this chapter. It's so good, I don't want to paraphrase...

"God loved us and decided that we were worth dying for. God, in Jesus, came into the muck to become like us, not only to rectify the cosmic gulf between Him and us, but to restore the brokenness in and between people. In doing so, God called us out of tombs in which we sealed ourselves, unwrapped us from our doubt and sin and misery and set us free.

"But, friend, it is still up to us to come forth and be willing to be alive again. We have to stop living like those walking around dead and start walking like a dead person who has been raised from the tomb."

Wow, that's how I want to live! Not held down by junk like self protection, self preservation and self absorption. I don't want to be held back by sin and doubt and misery. I want to remember every day that I am a dead person who has been raised from the tomb! I want to look forward to experiencing life some day in the presence of Jesus. That eternal life that my daughter has already entered. But I don't want to waste the days that I have here on earth. My job is not complete here and as long as I have breath, it will not be complete. So, Lord, let me remember that I am not just here to exist, I am not just here to survive, I am here to live, really live! And to share that life with everyone who comes across my path.

As I read the end of Stanford's chapter, I wanted to note the Deuteronomy 30 passage, but the verses are not all noted in my Chronological Bible. I looked it up in my regular Bible so I could get the correct verse. Apparently this is not the first time God has spoken to me about this subject. In my regular Bible, the exact same verse was already underlined.

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I would love to hear from you! Let me know what you think and how I can pray for you. Most of us are carrying some pretty heavy baggage and the good news is, you don't have to carry it alone! You can lay it at the feet of Jesus, and sometimes we need help just letting go of our baggage and not picking it up again. We're in this together!