Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Leaving Differently Than We Came

This past Sunday our RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) minister preached the sermon.  Jeff is one of those people that within minutes of meeting him, you know he loves Jesus.  He isn't boastful about it.  Actually, he's one of the most humble people I know.  He doesn't look like what the world would view as a "typical Christian".  He has longer hair, a tattoo on his arm and refers to Van Halen in his sermon ... not promoting, but as an example.  No, he isn't a typical, stuffy Christian.  He's real.  Authentic.  He's someone you can relate to.  And that makes him someone who you want to sit up in your seat and listen to.

At the closing of Jeff's prayer just moments before he began his sermon ... he said, "... may we leave this room differently than when we came."

I have given much thought to that statement over the past couple of days.  I keep asking myself, "Do I leave each Sunday differently than when I walked in the door?"  I'd love to say, "Absolutely!  Every single Sunday."  That's not true though.

Then I ask myself, "If I don't leave every Sunday changed, then why do I even go?"

I pray all week I will feel up to going to church on Sunday morning.  More often than not, every Sunday I'm not sure if I'm going to make it until about 30 mins before we are ready to leave.  Just getting ready wears me out, and the more I move, the more I hurt.  So I pray.  All through my shower I beg the Lord to give me the grace and mercy to be able to go.

But why do I do that if I'm not going to be any different when I come home?

Because I desperately need to hear the Word ... I need to be reminded of what is the absolute truth.  I need to be reminded ... yes, Jesus loves me.  He'll never leave me and never forsake me.  He chose endure horrific suffering because He loves me, and He wants me ... even utterly depraved me ... to live with Him and worship our Father for eternity.  The more I hear it, the more I believe it.  The less often the doubts enter my mind.

We had a conversation in Sunday school this week about doubting.  I sat there and listened to how going back to the Word wipes away their doubts.  How the bible was full of the promises God has for us.  I was already an emotional mess when I got to church, and that conversation sort of pushed me over the edge.

Yes, the bible is packed full of promises that wipe away our doubts.  But.  Those promises are only for those who belong to Him.

I know deep within my heart Jesus was born of virgin.  He lived a sinless life.  He suffered more than any other ever has or ever will.  He chose His suffering.  He hung on a cross.  Beaten, nails in His hands and feet.  A crown of thorns cutting into His head.  In deep agony, He hung there.  He died there.  He was buried in a tomb and three days later it was discovered He was no longer there.  He was risen from the dead, and now is sitting at the right hand of God the Father waiting to come back to get those who believe.

He did that for me.  He chose me.  He pursued me, and He melted my heart.  He loves me.  He is mine and I am His.  I love Him ... not as much or as well as I should ... but more than I even imagined I would.  He is my rock, my salvation, my ever-present help in time of trouble.  

My redeemer, yes He is!

I know this and I believe this.  But ...

There are times I doubt.  It all seems so simple.  All I have to do is believe.  Sometimes I wonder, am I really a Christian?  Do I just think I am because I want Him to love me so desperately that I've made myself believe I am?  What if ... just what if, He really doesn't love me?  Sometimes my heart is so full of evil and my fruit is just plain rotten.  How could He possibly choose to love someone like me?

Am I the only one who ever doubts?  It sure felt like it sitting in that room.

When those thoughts creep into my head and I become so distraught with fear, Connie will sweetly remind me, "If He didn't, you wouldn't care."

"If He didn't, you wouldn't even know to care."  

Only He can give me that desire in my heart.

"Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart." ~ Psalm 37:4

There may be weeks I will leave no differently than when I walked through the door.  But I will certainly leave this world differently than when I came.

I was born in sin, but I will leave redeemed.

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