I Need You!

Several years ago, there was a young woman who was struggling on many different levels. She found out she was pregnant for the first time but few days later she miscarried. She and her husband worked long stressful hours on different shifts. They worked, slept, ate, socialized, etc. at different times. They eventually became like room mates who hardly ever saw each other. As her life was falling apart; she sank into a depression. She was good at hiding it though. She smiled in public and cried when she was alone. Her heart was breaking and no one seemed to notice or care. One day as she was driving to work; she listened to a song she had never heard before on the radio. Tears poured from her eyes as the words echoed in her soul. When she was able to track down the name of the song; she bought the cd that it was on. She copied the lyrics into her journal and the song became a prayer for her. Throughout the years the song reminded her of her sin and faults but also about God’s forgiveness and grace.

This morning, the woman sang the song in church with one of her close friends. As only God can do; He matched the song perfectly with the pastor’s sermon on Prayer. She barely made it through the song without crying because of how personal it was to her. Later during the alter call; she knelt and whispered the lyrics to God. She thanked him for all He has done over the years to bring her closer to Him. She squeezed her husband’s hand as the pastor prayed over the marriages and families in the church. She was grateful that God kept them together through all the trials they had faced.

Tonight, she tucked her girls in bed. With tears in her eyes, she prayed asking God to make her a better wife for her husband and better mother for her children. And above all, she thanked Him for continually being her Comfort and Strength.

I Need You–By: The Swift

My heart is restless in me
My wings are all worn out
I’m walking in the wilderness
And I cannot get out

I need You, oh I need You
Blessed savior come
I need You, oh I need You
Fill the every longing of my soul

Oh how I need You Lord
I need Your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

And my bed is soaked with sadness
My sadness has no end
A downward spiral of despair
That I keep falling in

I need You, oh I need You
To You my soul shall fly
I need You, oh I need You
Yahweh how I love you more than life

Oh how I need You Lord
I need Your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The sin that I afford
I need to weep and pray
For all the thousand ways
That I have failed You just today

Your silence is like death to me
So won’t You hear my desperate plea

Today my soul is soaring
Way over mountains high
Though I can see the valleys
They are all just passing by
Its not that I am stronger
Look at my feeble wings
But I’ve been lifted higher
Yahweh’s lifted me in His own strength

Oh how I love You Lord
I love your perfect word
With tearful eyes I see
The God who always will endure
Now I will celebrate
For all the thousand ways
That you have shown me grace
And made my heart in grace to stay

You made my heart in grace to stay
Lord, make my heart in grace to stay

I need You, oh I need You

DL128751-8: I Need You [Music Download] I Need You [Music Download]

By The Swift / Flicker Records

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Image found here.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31

lgsquare

Are You Crucifying Him Again?

As I continue my journey toward Easter; I have been reminded about how much I have let Jesus down. I have heard several variations of the following story; and I came up again last week in one of our Bible study sermons (author unknown):

A young lady named Sally, relates an experience she had in a Seminary Class, given by her teacher, Dr. Smith. She says Dr. Smith was known for his elaborate object lessons.

One particular day, Sally walked into the seminary and knew they were in for a fun day. On the wall was a big target and on a nearby table were many darts. Dr. Smith told the students to draw a picture of someone that they disliked or someone who had made them angry, and he would allow them to throw darts at the person’s picture.

Sally’s girlfriend drew a picture of a girl who had stolen her boyfriend. Another friend drew a picture of his little brother. Sally drew a picture of a former friend, putting a great deal of detail into her drawing, even drawing pimples on the face. Sally was pleased at the overall effect she had achieved.

The class lined up and began throwing darts, with much laughter and hilarity. Some of the students threw their darts with such force that their targets were ripping apart.

Sally looked forward to her turn, and was filled with disappointment when Dr. Smith, because of time limits, asked the students to return to their seats. As Sally sat thinking about how angry she was because she didn’t have a chance to throw any darts at her target.

Dr. Smith began removing the target from the wall. Underneath the target was a picture of Jesus …

A complete hush fell over the room as each student viewed the mangled picture of Jesus; holes and jagged marks covered His face and His eyes were pierced. Dr. Smith said only these words … “In as much as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me.” Matthew 25:40 (KJV)

No other words were necessary; the tear-filled eyes of each student focused only on the picture of Christ.

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So often we think that we are just aiming our darts of anger, jealousy, hatred, slander, pride, unforgiveness, etc. toward one person. In reality those darts are hitting Jesus also. As I said in yesterday’s blog on forgiveness (see here if you missed it): “none of us fully understand what we did to Jesus. We crucified Jesus just as much as the Roman soldiers who were there that day. Jesus forgave us when he was on the cross and we were not there to ask for his forgiveness. Jesus forgave us before we were born and he forgave us even though we were undeserving.”

The good news is that even though we deserve death for our sins; Jesus paid the price so that he can offer us the wonderful gift of salvation! Praise God for his grace and mercy!

One of my favorite songs this time of year (and year round) is “Feel The Nails” by Ray Boltz. I think that this song is really helps me to reflect on things in my life that caused Jesus to have to die in order to save me from myself. My sister and I used to do a mime drama to this song when we were kids. The past few years I have had the privilege of teaching it to some teens at our church. Yesterday a couple of them did the drama and it tied into Pastor Brian’s sermon very well. Below is the link to last year’s presentation (I don’t have the video of yesterday’s presentation downloaded yet. I will add it when I get it).

“Feel The Nails” by Ray Boltz

They tell me Jesus died
For my transgressions
That he paid that price a long, long time ago
When he gave his life for me
On a hill called Calvary
But there’s something else I want to know

Does he still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Can he hear the crowd cry “Crucify” again
Am I causing him pain
Then I know I’ve got to change
I just can’t bear the thought of hurting him.

It seems that I’m so good at breaking promises
And I treat his precious grace so carelessly
But each time he forgives
What if he re-lives
The agony He felt on that tree

Chorus 1x

Holy, holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy Holy
Holy is the Lord

Do you still feel the nails
Every time I fail
Have I crucified you Jesus with my sins
Oh I’m tired of playing games
I really want to change
I never want to hurt you again

Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord
Holy, Holy
Holy is the Lord

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P.S. A few days ago I asked that my readers to submit stories to help me with upcoming blog series that I have planned. So far, I have not received any stories (although I do have a couple of people who said they are planning to write some for me). I would really like to feature your stories for these projects! Can you help? See here for more information. Thanks!

Forgive Them?

Last Sunday I said: “I love it when God uses two (or more) sources, in a short amount of time, to enforce His message to me.” Then proceeded to share how two separate sources gave similar messages within the same day.  Today God did the same thing! It seems that almost every week that I have facilitated the Bible study dealing with anger; God confirms what I have learned with another source! To me that is powerful because it shows me that what I am learning is coming from his heart to mine.

So, like I said, God did this again today. God first revealed this particular message to me last summer. I had several people in my life confirm that the message was authentic at that time. A few weeks ago, the same message came up in our Bible study; allowing me to reflect how I responded to God’s message. Then today, Pastor Brian preached the same exact message, and even said some phrases almost word for word (and I am pretty sure that he did not read our Bible study notes)! The message was all about FORGIVENESS.

Both Pastor Brian (today at church) and Dr. S.M. Davis (a couple of weeks ago through his sermon on DVD entitled: “How To Heal A Wounded Spirit”) talked about how people wound us and how we allow the wound to get worse by not dealing with it properly.

I really liked the following quote from Dr. Davis’ sermon: “If someone wounds you and walks away without doing anything to help; that does not mean that you have to lay there and die.”

He went on to talk about how we need to forgive the person even if they don’t ask for it because: “If someone wounds you either knowingly or unknowingly and walks away; who is going to be in the worse shape 6 months from now if you don’t treat it? You or Them?”

Both Pastor Brian and Dr. Davis addressed the fact that none of us fully understand what we did to Jesus. We crucified Jesus just as much as the Roman soldiers who were there that day. Jesus forgave us when he was on the cross and we were not there to ask for his forgiveness. Jesus forgave us before we were born and he forgave us even though we were undeserving.

“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them,

for they do not know what they are doing…” Luke 23:34

Last summer when my life hit rock bottom; I had to make one of the biggest decisions of my life. Do I forgive the person who wounded me so deeply? I had already forgiven this person almost 4 years before for almost the same offense. Why was it so hard to forgive them again? I think it was because I thought that the circumstance was unfair. After all, I had never done anything that bad to this person. I had already forgiven them once; why should I have to forgive them again for the same thing? They were completely undeserving of my forgiveness! It was even worse that this person did not understand or seem to care about the extent of the wound they caused. This person knew they wounded me and was sorry about it. But if it were up to them; the subject would be dropped, and we would move on, so that things between us could be “normal” again.

After some extensive counseling, and a lot of tears while pouring my heart out to God, I was convicted about how I was thinking. I came to realize that we as humans tend to rate sins or offenses. We put them into categories of “Really Bad,” “Bad,” and “Not So Bad.” I personally rated the offense against me as “Really Bad” and most everyone else probably would too. It wasn’t until I put myself on the same level as the other person that I was able to move away from my view. It doesn’t matter how great or small we as humans look at it; in God’s eyes, sin is sin. Romans 3:23 states:

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

I needed Jesus to cleanse me of my sins just like this other person needed the same. I realized that just as Jesus forgave me for crucifying him; I needed to forgive this person for wounding me.

During the forgiving process that I went through; I also recognized that there were things that I did to contribute to what had happened. I could no longer put all of the blame on the offender. This turned the tables a lot! That meant that I had some work to do on my end.

I can now say that I truly have forgiven this person and that the offense is behind us. I’m not saying that it doesn’t surface at times or that either of us are completely healed. I am saying that God is working in both of our lives and the healing process is continuing. If I had stayed in my unforgiving state; then I would have become bitter and I would have suffered an even greater wound. Instead, I chose to be obedient to God and fully depend on him to get me out of the pit I was in. I praise God for working my life and allowing me to grow because of this experience.

And since we are on the topic of forgiveness;

here is a cute Veggie Tales clip on the subject!