Tuesday, January 31, 2017

learning to recognize God's heart

I've been struck by the sheer amount of Scripture I've been seeing in my news feed recently. People who I didn't even know read the Bible have been quoting it...which should get me excited right?

The top two I've been seeing are Leviticus 19:33 and the latter part of Matthew 25.
Leviticus 19 gets me a little riled up, since pulling that verse out of that context is dangerous business and whole kettle of fish and can of wriggling worms that if you don't know your Scripture, promise me, you do NOT want to argue about right now. So I'll leave it.

But I DO want to talk about Matthew 25. I found this beautiful, to be honest. The first part of the chapter is the story of the ten virgins. It puts Jesus in the most intimate role He is to us in our lives - the Bridegroom. Our Beloved. Coming for us with a heart of love and longing to take us to be with Him forever. We are waiting...with our oil lamps lit, all night, waiting and watching for His voice, His footsteps. This is real life folks. He is in love with us. He is longing for us. And our hearts should be YEARNING for Him. Are we waiting, holding our lamps, with our extra oil next to us, faithfully spending the hours anticipating the moment when He is here? Or do we run out of oil, and miss His coming, and are left outside of the marriage feast? It sounds harsh, it wasn't their fault that they forgot extra oil, right? Is that fair? Y'all, the way to Jesus is NARROW. But it's worth it. And it requires work on our part, and a heart for our King and a longing to be pure and holy and ready for Him when He comes. He gives us what we need to follow Him, but we have to be willing to surrender everything in our lives, and go out on a limb of faith and do scary and intense and uncomfortable things.

And THEN it talks about serving the least of these. The weak and helpless, the hungry and sick. After that beautiful picture of what it means to be His pure, spotless, ready and waiting bride.

So before you google "refugee scripture" and copy and paste the google result in your news feed and hit post...ask yourself if you're ready to answer to Jesus Christ Himself. Do you truly care about His heart, not just for refugees, but for YOU? Do you know how much you mean to Him? And are you ready and willing to set aside all that the world would do to muddy our white linen wedding gown and go down that narrow way? Because I promise you, when you've truly let Jesus into your heart, you will understand what He's calling us to in regards to foreigners, and our own neighbors.

We were made to hold a fire. To burn with passion for Something. To overflow with an aggressive and proactive love that comes from being possessed and gripped by the Holy Spirit of God.

If you aren't filled with that burning love, you're filled with something else. Lust. Hate. Fear. If you aren't willing to lay aside knowledge to follow the wisdom of God, there's way more at stake than the plight of refugees. In fact, I bet a lot of them would love to be here to be physically safe, but in their hearts they are eternally safe and even in their pain and fear, know where their true salvation lies. And it for sure ain't DJ Trump. Let's learn from them, and from Christ Himself, and instead of throwing God's words in His face, let's show Him that we understand His HEART.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

jeremiah.

(originally shared to Facebook, but I wanted it here too...even though I haven't even really posted about our wedding yet, life keeps rolling on, and experiences come in waves and this has been a doozy of a three and a half months.)

In my short life, I've found a handful of things that never fail to give me a thrill - like kisses from Josh...definitely up there. But one I more recently experienced is still so new to my world. Two pink lines on a pregnancy test. Our very first positive. Our very first baby. Our miracle. There's only one first time...and what a thrill. I took others in the days afterward, but nothing will ever rival that sweet and innocent shock of staring at those two lines for the very first time, just two months after our wedding and the week before Christmas. The wonder of knowing that our prayers were being answered, and we had a little one on the way.

A joyful, hopeful, emotional, overwhelming roller coaster of a month later, and I had another first experience. The deep grief of a mother upon learning her little one has gone ahead of her to Jesus. The mind numbing shock after what was shaping up to be a beautiful day, the helpless feeling as the bleeding increased, the ultrasound that confirmed my mama's fear, and the fast and furious labor the next night that left me exhausted, broken and empty.

From day one, we knew this baby would be a testimony, and we also knew he'd be a boy. Don't ask me how, I just knew. Now we won't truly know till heaven, but even before the miscarriage Jesus gave us a name from scripture (Jeremiah 1:5) for our baby. Little Jeremiah ("Yahweh has uplifted") Chayyim ("Life") only lived for seven weeks inside of me, but his life has forever changed ours.

Even in the hardest most excruciating moments in the past week, Jesus was there, present with us, entering our suffering and carrying the weight. As I dug my fingers into Josh's shoulder during contractions and grief, singing through the pain, I knew we would never be alone. No despair, no anger, no bitterness, just deep sadness over our loss, but even deeper PEACE.

Our anthem this week has been in the words of Matt Redman's "It Is Well".

"Weeping may come, remain for a night
but joy will paint the morning sky
You're there in the fast, You're there in the Feast
Your faithfulness will always shine
Now every blessing still to come let this be our song...
It is well, it is well with my soul
I trust your ways, I trust your name
It is well, it is well with my soul"

So we are grieving, our hearts ache, sometimes I cry for no reason, and Josh has to hold me twice as much as I readjust to being one person instead of two, but we have hope. Real living breathing hope. And we are walking out this season with a past-understanding peace and a trust in our hearts that we are being carried by a good, good Father. He is faithful.


- Jeremiah Chayyim - 
January 10, 2017