March 9, 2011
This is an update from my previous post. In the course of the last month, God has clearly shown me time and again that he is indeed doing it – binding up the broken hearted, freeing the captives and releasing people from darkness. The problem is that I want to see immediate results, but this isn’t the usual way that God works. He works patiently, and calls us to join us in this patient, consistent love for each other as we are being transformed.
Sunday we celebrated our mission in our worship service, namely, our calling to be an extension of God’s voice and hands sharing the gospel and generously demonstrating it. After singing a sweet version of Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), I was blown away by this passage. If you like me have been set free, you will find yourself identifying with it.
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.”
Oh yes, I remember my former state…
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:3–7 NIV)
Oh how sweet that grace appears in light of the NOW! We concluded with one of my very favorite songs, Oh Happiness by David Crowder. Thank you Mr. Crowder for helping us to experience the joy of our redemption/freedom in Christ!
God also greatly encouraged me a few weeks ago on a Tuesday. First was at lunch with a good friend. We talked about his friendship with a guy who not a year ago had walked away from his wife and children, in bondage to pornography and other sexual sin, and now, reunited, faithful and growing in the Lord – a new creation! Amazing! He shared about a lost friend who had unbeknownst to him turned his life over to the Lord, and neighbors who with no former knowledge of Christ, were going to church and coming to know and follow Him. I went away from this time so encouraged and then went to the hospital to visit with four friends from our church family, one who was ill. A little over a year ago I had just met them. They were all at different places in their faith in the Lord, some unbelieving, some doubting, some believing but searching for answers. What we experienced in that hospital room together was truly a unity in the faith, progress – a deeper faith, a measured transformation in knowledge, desires and behaviors, and a treasured friendship between us. I witnessed the glory of the Lord being reflected in my friends’ faces. “But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:16–18 NIV)
I felt a surge of freedom as we sat around the hospital bed together! I left praising God for revealing to me that he was doing it, binding up the broken hearted, freeing the captives and releasing people from darkness. Stop doubting and believe!