Thursday, July 29, 2010

How Marvelous

We are nothing.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?
-Psalm 8:3&4

Show me, o Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before You. Each man's life is but a breath.
-Psalm 39:4&5

All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass.
-Isaiah 40:6&7

Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket; they are regarded as dust on the scales...Before Him all the nations are regarded as nothing; they are regarded by Him as worthless and less than nothing.
-Isaiah 40:15&17

He is everything.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
-Genesis 1:1&2

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and it's people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than He blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. "To whom will you compare Me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One. "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."
-Isaiah 40:22-26

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
-Isaiah 55:8&9

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.
-Romans 11:33-36

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.
-2 Peter 3:8

And yet He cares for us.

For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise You because I am tearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.
-Psalm 139:13-16

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
-Jeremiah 29:11

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
-Matthew 10:29-31

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-Romans 5:7&8

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.
-1 Peter 2:9

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
-1 Peter 5:7

How great is our God.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gratitude - or a Distinct Lack Thereof

Today, I was asking God for something yet again when suddenly I was stopped in my tracks. It occurred - or was revealed - to me that I'm so quick to ask for things I don't have, and to complain about the things I don't get. But how often do I take a minute to stop and be thankful - outside of church?
The answer's embarrassing. I rarely do that.
It got me thinking about everything I have to be thankful for, and how too often it takes something bad happening for me to be able to see all the good things that have happened. And even more often, I get so hung up on the bad that I completely ignore the good.
This afternoon, for instance. I wanted to drive my dad's car to someone's house, but it had instruments in it and he decided it would be best if he drove it home so the instruments didn't sit in the car in the sun. I was annoyed by this, as I so often am when I don't get what I want. Did I bother to think about yesterday, when I got to drive his car to Costa Mesa and back? Definitely not.
How bout the time the van wouldn't start, and I couldn't go to stables that morning? Did I think about all the times the car has worked fine and I've gotten to stables and home safely, without a problem? Nope.
Or the day my rollerblade got a rock stuck in it, and I had to walk home - did I remember all the hours I've logged on my rollerblades and they haven't gotten anything stuck in them, even though I've skated over pebbles and berries and leaves galore? Not for a second.
When I have an argument with a friend, do I thank God for all the good times we've had and all the memories we've made? Never crosses my mind.
When the weather's cruddy, do I think of all the beautiful days God has blessed me and everyone else in the area with? No way. I just complain about whatever it is - the heat, the wind, the cold.
The list goes on. And on. And on. My natural tendency is to ask for either something different than what I've been given, or for something I don't have. When I don't get what I want, I complain. Contentment isn't really in my vocabulary. Dissatisfaction certainly is. I am a complainer by nature. Nothing is good enough for me.
And yet... everything I have is something I don't deserve. The only thing I do deserve is eternal separation from God. I don't even deserve to know the difference between a good day and a bad day. I only deserve to know endless, miserable, agonizingly torturous days on end. FOREVER.
How do I forget that so easily? I never should have experienced anything good. I only should experience things that are infinitely, unfathomably worse than anything I've ever experienced. Even on the worst day imaginable, I am still blessed beyond belief.
I shouldn't know what a really sweet, ripe mango tastes like. I shouldn't know how good a cucumber tastes. I shouldn't know how majestic mountains and rivers and valleys and lakes and trees are. I shouldn't know what it feels like to accomplish something. I shouldn't know the feeling of joy, or hope, or peace. I shouldn't know what a hug from a good friend feels like. I shouldn't understand laughter or happiness or even grief. I shouldn't know what it feels like to be loved - to know I'm loved.
But I do. Because He loves me.
And still I get angry and upset when trivial things don't go my way. It's...sickening.
Change my heart, oh God. Open my eyes to Yours wonders anew, and enable me to see everything You've given to me that I could never deserve - even in the midst of difficult times. Help me to remember all the good times and things that I never should have experienced the next time I face a minor setback or inconvenience. Nothing in this life can possibly be as bad as the fate I should have known - and nothing in this life is as good as the future I know I have in Christ.
To Him be all thanks and praise.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Humility and Greatness

"I believe in the doctrine of election, because I am quite certain that, if God had not chosen me, I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love." -Charles Spurgeon

I've heard several meaningful quotes this week, but this one really stuck out. Not only is it a humble admission that man can't earn his own salvation, it came from a prominent pastor of the nineteenth century - one who preached to about 10,000,000 people in his lifetime and who is remembered as the "Prince of Preachers." If anyone could be called a good person, it was Charles Spurgeon. If anyone could justify pride in himself and his achievements to another man, it was he. And yet, he understood that even his greatest good work was nothing but filthy rags before the unfathomable holiness of God. He impacted the world and he remained humble, living out the truth he believed - that he was nothing without God.
And somehow I, Emily Macadam, an absolute unknown with no claim to greatness or fame, struggle with humility. As if I had any reason to be proud of myself and my insignificant accomplishments. Oh that God would continue to change my heart and conform me to the image of His Son, in order to glorify Himself in my life. I am nothing. He is everything. I did not save myself. There is nothing in me with which I could possibly commend myself to God. If I love Him, He must have chosen me, for I never would have chosen Him of my own accord. I pray that this truth would be more deeply impressed upon my heart daily and that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I would live in a manner that indicates my belief in said truth, for His glory alone.

Friday, July 9, 2010

More Thoughts

I'm working on more conference post(s) but I was struck today with this train of thought, not unlike my previous one a while back.

How many times a day do I miss an opportunity to bless someone, be it with a simple smile or "hello" or compliment or encouragement? I come in contact with people every day, even if it's just my family. How often do I impact people negatively instead of positively, attacking instead of defending, criticizing when I should be uplifting? It's my natural tendency to be sarcastic and mean. It's much harder to be loving and supportive.

I think sometimes that I go out of my way NOT to say hello and ask someone how they're doing. It's a simple gesture but who knows what difference it could make if I did it, instead of just passing by? How many people would see the light of Christ in my life if only I was a friendlier person?

Not that I'm some great benefactress who would be loved and respected if only I bothered to recognize those below me. Of course not. What I am is a child of the Living God who is loved much more than I could ever imagine and certainly ever deserve, and I should extend love to those around me out of the abundance that I have been given rather than ignore them, as if I am above them, which I am most definitely not.

I pray that God would continue to soften my heart not only to Him but also to the people He has placed in my life, that He would give me His eyes to see them as He does, precious in His sight and just as in need of encouragement as I am.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Behold our God

So I just got home from Together 2010 literally like ten minutes ago, and I'm still the best way possible. Over the course of the past two and a half days I have spent over ten hours worshiping and listening to sessions on the greatness of God. It's evidence of God's grace right there that not only was I not opposed to sitting for that many hours, I WANTED to. Now it's a little hard to come back down to earth and come to grips with reality again. At the moment everything seems so...insignificant. All I want to do is worship. But for some reason it seems harder to do that on my own than in a room full of what, like eight hundred people? All raising their voices together to create what might possibly be one of the most beautiful sounds on earth. It's hard too to translate the principles and truths Dr. Ware taught on during the sessions into everyday life. It's easier to digest deep spiritual truths in an almost ethereal setting like the conference, where a body of believers from multiple churches and more than one state has come together to fellowship. It's harder when I get home and I have chores and mundane daily tasks and siblings to deal with. But God is the same God now as He was while I was in San Diego. He is still mercifully holy, self-sufficient, indescribably loving, and sovereign over all. And I can worship Him regardless of where I am. That in itself is amazing. I can worship - I can approach the King of kings and Lord of lords in my lowly state of less than nothingness. I can bring my requests and petitions before Him and He will ALWAYS extend His scepter to me, and never condemn me for daring to enter into His presence. He is always with me - us - and we have a promised inheritance as sons of God. And I - we - did absolutely NOTHING to deserve any of the blessings He has so lavishly showered upon us. It's tempting to think that I'm something sometimes, but just the briefest glimpse at my heart reveals how deeply sinful - how absolutely, utterly wretched I am and I see, not even to the fullest extent but at least somewhat, how very little I have to commend myself. I have nothing, in fact. And yet I have been CALLED. I have been CHOSEN. I was PREDESTINED to be a child of God, to be welcomed into the Most High's family as a daughter of the living God! How spectacular is that? I did nothing and I have gained everything. Where's the justice in that? Especially considering that God's only Son Jesus took all the wrath that I deserved and absorbed it in Himself so that I might have life. And have it to the fullest. How is it that this becomes so commonplace and trivial so easily? It's...tragic. I know that I lose my admiration and wonder for this, the greatest of all love stories, far too quickly. I need to be reminded so often - like every five minutes - and this conference was a powerful reminder that I pray will have a long-term impact on me.
There's so much more I could and want to say, and maybe I will eventually, but this is turning into a scatterbrained novel so I'm going to stop now. After this.

I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave

I had no hope that You would own a rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still

But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cross
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross
And I beheld God's love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace

All I have is Christ
Jesus is my life

Now Lord I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could NEVER come from me

Oh Father use my ransomed life
In any way You choose
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You

All I have is Christ

PS: I still need better adjectives...but when it comes to God, no human terms, regardless of language, will ever be sufficient. I don't know if that's supposed to be an excuse or what but I wanted to say it. I'm really done now.

- Posted from my iPod :)