Squirming

“When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood,
I said to you while you were in your blood,

‘Live!’

I said to you while you were in your blood,

‘Live!'”

Ezekiel 16

I have never read this chapter before. I mean really read. The first 14 verses speak of the condition God found us in – “squirming in our blood,” “thrown out into the open field,” and so on. God then speaks of what He did when He found us in this condition. He covered us. bathed us. He washed us. He anointed us. He clothes us. He wrapped us. He adorned us.

He made us HIS. He made us beautiful.


But alas, there’s a “big but” again in verse 15: “But you trusted in your beauty and played the harlot because of your fame.” We took all that God had given us, all that He had done for us out of mercy and grace, and turned it into something ugly, selfish, and pungent.

This is not just the story of Israel. This is the story of every human being who has ever walked this earth. You can go all the way back to Adam and Eve. And you can go all the way forward to me. There was a day when I was “squirming in my blood,” naked, cold, and empty. And God has made me beautiful. He has restored me. He made me His Child.

So the question is, what will I do with that beauty? I can tell you what I did with it. I did just what Israel did back thousands of years ago. I abused my gift. I abused the beauty God gave me and turned it into something for my own benefit, for my own pleasure, for my own gain.

Oh, how I love God’s word. In the midst of a moment of reflecting where we’ve come from, how rebellious we are on our own, even in the midst of God’s blessings… Soon after I read these verses in Ezekiel, I read Psalm 106. I love verse 44:

Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress
When He heard their cry;
And He remembered His covenant for their sake
and relented according to the greatness of His lovingkindness.
He also made them objects of compassion
In the presense of all their captors.

How far we have fallen as a people. How far I have fallen as an individual. And yet God is there, ready and waiting to restore me, standing on His toes, to personify it, almost anxiously waiting to hear me cry, “Help!” Help! What lovingkindness, what mercy, what grace. To receive what we least deserve from the One we have hurt the most. To receive restoration, clothing, and food from the One we have abhorred, betrayed, and denied.

The psalm sums up my response today.

Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Thy holy name,
And glory in Thy praise.
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting to everlasting.
And let all the people say, “Amen.”

Praise the LORD!

This is the message I long to share. To help others realize it’s not just our minds, our actions, that God is after. He is after our HEARTS. He wants us back! He wants to restore us, to lift us up, to exalt us, all for His glory. He wants to make us beautiful, full of worth, and useful on this earth. In fact, He already has. The potential in any one of us is tremendous, but again, the question is, what am I going to do with it? Am I going to use it for my own glory, for my own benefit, to meet the passions of my own self, or will I turn every blessing back to God, and say “Thanks be to HIM!” “Praise HIM!” “Exalt HIM!”

I stop now, Lord, and praise you. I worship you. I thank you. You are my Lord, my Savior, my God, and my Father. You love me, cherish me, and adore me. And I thank you. I give you this day, I give you my life. Take it, mold it, use it, for your glory.

Amen.

En-Couraged

I can’t remember if I typed this out or not yet, but I’ve decided I’m going to take up the invitation given to me by my old math teacher and visit the FCA meeting at PHS this Thursday morning. I don’t know what will come of it, but as I look back to how God led me to this point of making a decision, I truly believe He’s leading me down this path.

As I have mentioned this to a few people I have been encouraged by their excitement. Not about their promise to pray for me; that really doesn’t do it for me, but to actually see someone’s eyes light up with excitement when you tell them, out of the blue, about something you’re going to do that connects to something you just heard them praying about… WOW. That is encouraging.

That word – encouraging – has come to mean a lot more to me in recent months. Obviously it’s two words smashed together – “en” and “courage,” and I remember my Greek right, “en” has something to do with “being with”. So basically, the meaning I now take from this word is someone who comes along side me and imparts courage to me. They share their strength with me. It’s so much more than just putting a smile on your face and hoping it helps. It’s being part of someone else’s journey, partnering up with them and even buying in to the journey they are taking. It’s following up, listening, responding, and getting involved.

I am going to need courage for this thing on Thursday. This is something I’ve never done. This is something I don’t know the outcome of. This is something that thrills my soul … I don’t know why, it just does! Maybe it’s the adventure of something unknown. Maybe it’s the chance that this will grow into something else. Or maybe it’s “just” God living through me, and me finally being willing to Let Him.

This is the day that the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. I will rejoice and be courageous in it. I will rejoice and encourage others in it.