Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Timely Sermon

I was able to go home this past weekend, which was so great. Of course, the weekend was too short, but it was nice to be home. Most of the time was spent with extended family, which included an all-inclusive celebration for a graduation, two birthdays, and father's day. Gotta love family. Of course, it's always enlightening to spend time with my extended family. You know, "never a dull moment." There's always some new drama that is ensuing. Classic stuff. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but they're crazy. Pretty much, they're just insane. It always weighs on my heart how much they all need Jesus. Desperately. Sigh. I continue praying...
The pastor at my church back home is retiring, and they are in the midst of searching for a new senior pastor. Until then, they have had a lot of visiting pastors. This weekend, I got to hear a sermon from a guy named Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham from DTS. I think God had him prepare the sermon just for me. It was one of those. He spoke from Daniel 7- of power, glory, kingdom, abundance, victory, and dominion. He also looked at Jesus' words in Mark 8-10- of suffering, rejection, self-denial, and death. He talked about how Jesus has an order to things which are distinctively Christian. So many times in our Christian walk, we focus too much on blessings. We live our lives thinking we are actually "entitled" to such blessings just because we are children of Christ.
I sat there listening to his words and realized that he was talking about me. I have been so self-focused this past year. So upset that God didn't have it go the way I had wanted and/or planned. Upset that CL stuff was hard. Upset that issues with friends weren't getting better despite my efforts. Upset that my brother never wanted to see me when I was home. Upset that I didn't get an internship. Upset that I didn't have a cool summer plan to tell people about. The list goes on about what I was so upset about, it's embarassing. And all because I felt I was somehow entitled to those things. Like I deserved them somehow. How could I reach that point? How could I be so prideful and arrogant?
Needless to say, this weekend was quite humbling, because God gently reminded me that I don't deserve any of it. I don't deserve the countless blessings I do receive every day. Christ's plan for me is not to be blessed. It is to be more like Him. I need to choose last place so that others can be first. I need to be a servant to everyone around me. My mind should be consumed with denying myself, while I let God concern Himself with the power and glory and blessings. Because Christ's message involved suffering and the cross before glory and the empty tomb. Self-denial comes before the things mentioned in Daniel 7.
And yet in His process of humbling me, God was so sweet to continue to remind me through my quiet times this week that He hears the cries of His people. He reminded me that He knows the desires of my heart. He knows the plans He has for me...those plans are to prosper me, not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future. He reminded me that He is faithful and that He always keeps His promises. And He reminded me that when I am at my weakest, He is at His best.
And so...I am learning to wait with a listening ear and a ready heart to do His will. I am learning to trust Him more completely with the dreams He has implanted in my soul, the promises that He has made for me. I am anxiously awaiting the time when, just like Sarah, I will be surrounded by laughter at the wonderful way that He accomplishes His purposes despite my weaknesses.
Currently Listening: Your Love is Extravagant, by Casting Crowns (Casting Crowns)

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