Luke 22:48 "Would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?"
Excerpt from my devotional yesterday, by Charles Spurgeon:
"I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus; I am a member of his visible Church; I sit at the communion table: all these are so many kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a base traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others do, and yet make a profession of being a follower of Jesus? Then I must expose religion to ridicule and lead men to speak evil of the holy name by which I am called. Surely if I act thus inconsistently I am a Judas, and it were better for me that I had never been born. Dare I hope that I am clear in this matter? Then, O Lord, keep me so. O Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Savior. I do love thee, Jesus, and though I often grieve thee, yet I would desire to abide faithful even unto death."
This hit me. And made me think. When we go through the motions of our faith without a heart fully dependent on God, seeking His glory and not our own, we are, in effect, betraying Jesus with a kiss.
When we attend church, and our minds are far from God.
When we pray for a person in need, but do nothing to help them with our own resources.
When we claim the role of Christian, but ignore the high standard to which that name must hold us.
Lord, forgive me for my unfaithfulness. Help me to war against my tendencies to betray You with a kiss. Give me wisdom, spiritual motivation, and discipline to seek after You...joy, peace, and hope to rest in Your presence. Be my all in all. My Lord. My Master.
**Warning: the post beyond is slightly long and rather detailed, but I couldn't resist sharing this story of triumph!!**
About 8 months ago, I had partial vision loss in both eyes, most severely in my left eye.At first, I blamed it on allergies, thinking there was a film over my eye or some such thing. However, after about a month and a half of difficulty seeing, I decided to go to an optometrist. When he scanned my retina after seeing some abnormalities in his normal exam, he saw loads of swirling patterns and swollen eye cells. My eye cells were dying. I realized this could be a serious issue. He immediately called an eye specialist in the area and set up an appointment for me for that day. Needless to say, I was a little worried. It is hard to be a blind doctor.
Dr. Vroman, my new ophthalmologist, was extremely thorough, smart, and kind. He immediately told me I was banned from contacts indefinitely (my problem may have stemmed from them not letting in enough oxygen to my eyes), and he started me on some steroid eye drops. For a couple of months, I was wearing an old, scratched pair of glasses. I finally got a new pair of glasses, but because my left eye was 20/200 and my right eye was well beyond 20/20 WITH my glasses, they couldn't get me a new prescription. During these months, I diligently used me eye drops and never touched a pair of contacts. Dr. Vroman was confident that my vision would improve dramatically, but he was unsure if I would ever have 20/20 (corrected) vision again.
A few of months ago, I was finally weaned off of my eye drops, and after a month without the eyedrops, my vision was back at 20/20! I was told that I could wear contacts again (within reason), but to be cautious. With this warm Charleston beach weather approaching, I finally went this Tuesday to the optometrist Dr. Vroman recommended to get a new contact prescription. Dr. Lesslie was great! I told her my concerns, and that I needed a contact lens that was very breathable and wouldn't dry my eyes out. We decided on daily lenses, and I am loving them! I am still only wearing them a couple of days a week...when I go to a dance workout class or to the beach. But it is so great to have the option! I can wear sunglasses again (it is difficult to double up glasses on your face!). And when I'm wearing the contacts, I can't even tell I am wearing them! They are so awesome. I couldn't be happier :)
And if anyone is having trouble with discomfort or some other difficulty with their contacts, I'd recommend that you try out daily lenses. Seriously. They are da bomb :)
Monday night, my sweet, amazing, adorable, thoughtful, hott husband took me on an awesome date to a nearby beach. We picked up some wraps from one of our favorite delis, drove to the beach, and laid out a blanket to enjoy the sunset and some grub :) We had such a great time, talking, eating, enjoying this awesome Charleston weather...Sigh. A night to remember.
I am so, so excited to be able to say that, not only did I get my scholarship application for med school mailed in this week, but I also completed my FAFSA, loan applications, and MPNs! All that is left for me to do to prepare the financial road to medical school is complete a 30 minute loan counseling session online. This is required of anyone receiving federal financial aid. This application process has been a new experience for me because I had enough scholarships to cover my undergraduate education at a local university without loans...but I feel that I have learned and conquered by trial-and-error :) I was so overwhelmed by the prospect at first, that I kept putting it off. But with deadlines around the corner and our taxes complete, it was time to jump in! And it really was so much easier than I'd anticipated...hallelujah!
Mikey and I are both somewhat apprehensive about the fiscal side of attending medical school, but we know that where God calls, He equips and provides. And so we are trusting in Him to get enough loans (and some scholarships would be nice!) to cover all of the costs awaiting us over the next four years. We know that, whatever happens, we will make it through! I just feel so unbelievably blessed to be starting school in the fall...really and truly on the way to becoming a doctor!!!! Aaaahhhh...scary, awesome, and completely humbling.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs
from His glorious riches, which have been given to us
I have been reading through Acts, and today, I was in chapters 6 and 7, listening to the story of Stephen, commonly known as the first Christian martyr. I was amazed by his knowledge of the scriptures, by his words to those who were coming against him, and mostly, by his love. The thing that astounded me most was the very end of his tale. As he was being dragged out of the city and brutally stoned by the angry religious leaders he had challenged, his cry was this:
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!
Lord, don't charge them with this sin!
Sounds eerily similar to Jesus cry during his own sufferings and death at the cross...pleading that the sins of those who are attacking him (attacking his beliefs, his identity, his faith, his words, and his body) be forgiven. That their deeds not be counted against them.
I always think of God as righteous, as just...and often, I use His righteousness to justify my own hardness of heart. I know God is displeased by sin, so I excuse my wallowing in deeds done against me, in wrongs I have suffered, when that is not what the righteousness of God calls for at all! God desires for us to love; He is rich in mercy and love (Ephesians 2:4-5). He does not want "even one of these little ones to perish" (Matthew 18:14). God's heart is that we all be saved...saved from sin, from our flesh, from this world. He sent His Son so that we might not be charged with our sins. And Jesus tells us that "if you forgive anyone's sins, they are forgiven" (John 20:23). God has granted us the power to forgive, to offer love and life. How pitiful that we so often cling to "justice" instead of offering up the love and grace that have been so freely given to us!! I long to be more like Jesus and Stephen, desiring forgiveness and redemption for those who may hurt or unnerve me...
My prayer this morning is that God would soften my heart to look more like His own. That I would grow poor in pride and rich in mercy. That God's love would flow in and through and out of me to this dry, parched land...and that I would have a heart to forgive as my God has forgiven me!
I'm a week behind, but here is a recap of the 2011 Genesis Cabin Retreat! Every year, we go to the mountains for some team building and personal growth focus time, and every year, we have a great time! We play games, enjoy the hot tubs (separated into girls and boys, of course ;) ), have some amazing devotions, eat together, do crazy things a Wonder Works (so fun!), and basically just enjoy a few days together as the leadership team for Genesis.
This year, I was very honored to be asked to lead a devotion, and I spoke about God calling us to stay in this world to make a difference, but to not be afraid to be different from the world. We read John 15:18-19, John 16:33, and John 17:13-19, and asked God to reveal to us where we are being luke warm in our faith. We prayed that God would give us strength, conviction, and courage to live for Him, even if it makes life hard, awkward, or uncomfortable. In the end, no matter what following Jesus calls us to go through, we know that we have the greatest reward: love and communion with God!
Kendrick, Sarah and Billy Rogers, and Robbie (our pastor), led the other devotions, and those followed a similar theme of wrestling with your thought life, honoring God in every area of your life, and choosing to follow Him above all else!
Here are a few pictures to give you an idea of how amazing this trip was!
Last night at Genesis (our church's young adult ministry), our pastor, Robbie, talked about celebrating the life and the death of Jesus...celebrating because He endured such humbled circumstances, such cruelty, such brutality for me and for you.
For my sin.
For your sin.
Out of love.
Out of mercy.
Filled with compassion.
Free from anger.
And He broke the chains of sin and of death. They are gone.
Sometimes it can be so easy to forget why we are on this earth. We are here for God. We are made for Him, and we are called to live for Him, to love for Him, to praise Him. He is life. His kingdom is light. With Him there is joy everlasting and life without end.