His Ways:)

Jeremiah 33:16 says, “In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the Lord is our righteousness.”

Christ”s righteousness is at the heart of God’s ways. I cannot live the life God has for me until I acknowledge that it is Christ’s and not my righteousness that identifies who God is and who I am. I am His, and my vain efforts to get good enough to enter His kingdom keep me from His ways.

Works flow naturally and beautifully from my obedient heart if I love as God desires. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to make others happy. The futility of my ways left me depleted and those I helped bitter. Embracing kingdom love causes obedience that leads to joy. I’ve mentioned before that I believe the key Saint Peter holds to the gates of heaven is his amazing love of Christ. Peter loved the Lord and saw His righteousness first-hand.

Psalm 25:4-5 says,

Make me know Your ways, O Lord;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.

I’ve loved these verses for a long time, but I’ve seen them in a new light this week. My walk cannot be separated from His righteousness. As I draw nearer to Him, I am humbled and blessed in seeing who He. Seeing who I am in the light of His righteousness changes me and my path. His paths and ways are about His kingdom, and that is where my journey must take me if I am to continue to draw near to Him and love as He desires.

I wish I could express God’s message for me this morning, but I am having trouble finding the right words. God is bidding my heart to go from its self-help freeways to His simple paths. Coming out of the hectic and nerve-wrecking traffic of a busy freeway and walking on a beautiful country road is as close as I can come to the image God gave this morning. I can breathe and see clearly what was whizzing past me before.

There is comfort in knowing I am completely surrounded and never alone on those freeways. The intimacy of a country road can be intimidating, but I am able to connect and love His way. I was forced to slow down this month and found myself fretting and frustrated. God reminded me that I’ve been praying for His ways, His paths, and His kingdom to come, and He was simply answering my prayers:)

As Mylah and Lillyann fell asleep on me last night, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving for the pace of His path and the beauty I held in my arms and my heart. Understanding that Christ’s righteousness forged the path He and I are on together caused my heart to relax and take in the moment and the view. I looked down at the two sleeping angels in my arms, out at the beautiful Christmas tree filled with decorations from the past and present, and up at the full moon shining in the window. I was surrounded in a new and beautiful way, His way:)

A New Song

Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory of His name;
Bring an offering and come into His courts.
Worship the Lord in holy attire;
Tremble before Him, all the earth.
 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved;
He will judge the peoples with equity.”

 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy
Before the Lord, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness.

Psalm 96 NASB

This beautiful psalm is perfect for the beginning of Advent as I anticipate Christ’s coming. Too often, I find myself singing the same old song and praying the same old prayers. This psalm lifts my heart and spirit and makes me want to join the forest and sing for joy.

Do I really think about Christ returning? I love the thought of Emmanuel and the sweet baby in the Christmas manger, but I cannot leave Him there or on the cross or in His ascension to heaven. He is coming again, and that makes me sing with great joy:)

I suppose it’s the judging that causes me to pause. I worry about how He will find me and what I will have to show Him. As soon as I say that, I remember that He is God and loves me more than I have room in my heart to hold or faith enough to understand. Judgment is going to come with Christ, but so is His love for me.  He knows, and I am learning, that this journey is about drawing near to Him and helping others do the same.

Sharing the journey is not easy because it opens my heart in uncomfortable ways, and that often gives me the urge to hide. The beautiful lessons of late have been about the difference in love in His kingdom and the world’s. Love is shared in heaven in ways it isn’t shared on earth. On earth, we hold tightly to love until it becomes lust. In His kingdom, love binds and frees at the same time. Kingdom love heals my heart and allows it to accept and give love in a way that unites and spreads.

It’s taken three years for me to understand the beautiful difference loving in God’s kingdom makes, but it’s been well worth the pain involved. All learning comes at a price; it forces me to change. That change is necessary for the growth needed to live and love in His kingdom. My heart has grown at least three sizes in three years, and it has never felt better. I thank God for loving friends and family who see me as He does and help me see the same. It allows His kingdom to come and His will to be done in my heart, and that makes me sing a new song, “and worship God in the beauty of holiness.” KJV