Yes, I know...this was supposed to be titled "First Days, Part Two". But those first days are hastening on rather quickly already, and all my thoughts of them seem a little like old news by now. Such as my thoughts on Rick Warren's Inaugural prayer, the inaugural events in general, Pres. Obama's lifting the ban on overseas federal funding for abortions, his pressure on the GOP to conform, and on and on. My heart is so heavy with concern over much of what I see and hear. Some of it I don't fully understand all the implications of, and as I try to seek out answers (for example on the stimulus package, or the U.N. Rights of a Child act that has the potential to affect all of us as parents and particularly homeschoolers), I find them so hard to come by.
More and more these days, I find my heart seeking after and panting for the Truth. Truth is not a passive, benign thing. It is fraught with gut-wrenching decisions about commitment... it sets captives free...it is so very Powerful. As Derek shared in his message a couple of weeks ago, Truth cannot be changed, but it has the potential and the power to change everything around it. In relation to current events, national and otherwise, I find myself preparing for the possibility that we as Believers may well have to examine and re-evaluate what we know to be true. What we are willing to lay our lives down for. But more likely, what we are willing to LIVE for, and stand for, and be ridiculed for, and look "foolish" for. I think there are only a few precious truths that are worthy of that sacrifice, and I hope to have the strength of character and courage of conviction to live my life that way, whether or not we are ever FORCED to choose.
We have enjoyed watching the new Gaither DVD releases the last couple of evenings. They feature a reunion of nearly all former members of the Vocal Band, and the singing is so uplifting. I found myself transported over and over again to different places in time (like my dorm room!), when I first heard some of the songs. Great memories. I have also been so intrigued to hear some of the men share testimonies of their personal journeys of faith. Someone who has always stood out as so much more than a performer, but really a sincere and effective communicator of the Christian life, is Steve Green. He has been somewhat absent from the stage in recent years, but what a powerful impact his music has had on many of our lives. Steve shared some thoughts that have just been ringing in my ears, and lingering in my mind. I could almost see the internal struggle he faced as other vocalists lifted him up, and placed him on a higher plain both musically and spiritually. By the end of the second video, before he sang "Find Us Faithful", he gave us a very personal look into his heart. I don't know if I can properly articulate it, but I will try, because I think it's valuable to hear.
He shared that for many years during his ministry he worked so hard to build and maintain an impressive record. He talked about memorizing the whole book of Romans, and that he told people it was to hide it in his heart. He talked of how his upbringing had conditioned him to view holiness as something that could be gauged by outward signs and keeping a list of rules. Absolutely he loved the Lord during this time, and wanted to please Him. But sometimes whether conscious or not, he was very concerned with "his record". What people thought of him. How he was viewed. What he achieved. With tears in his eyes, he told these other men that he came to a point where he realized that his own "impressive record" would NEVER be good enough. He had to have the record of Another...Jesus Christ the Righteous. And he's choosing to stand on Jesus' record...not his own.
I hope that my sharing these things with you doesn't cause you to somehow think less of Steve Green...that was NOT my intent! I felt myself completely understanding what he meant, and identifying in so many regards. How curious it is that regardless of church affiliation or background, or status, Satan still uses the same old trick he's been using for centuries. That old "take the mirror down and try to clean yourself with it" trick; I guess he uses it because it works. In our humanity, in our flesh, we suppose that it is easier to work and strive, follow rules XYZ, and clean up real good on the outside. Breaking up the fallow ground of the heart...surrendering thoughts, motives, intents, attitudes,....now that is hard work! But that's where the Spirit himself steps in to gently aid in the process, and create in us that which is real. That which is TRUE!
I'm so thankful we can all depend on the record of Another to speak for us. Aren't you?