Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why I love Jesus now, but I'll love Him more later...

This morning as I got ready for church I had a realization... I am so selfish! 

I miss daddy so much - I analyze his death, and I don't see any explanation of why he medically could not have been healed... worse cases have of Leukemia have survived longer than 3 weeks after diagnosis. To me, there is no other explanation than my Heavenly Father wanted my earthly father back... 
... but that doesn't usually stop the selfish thoughts. 

There are so many moments in my future I think of... moments I want him to be physically right beside me. Specifically, when I will one day {hopefully} be walking down an aisle in a beautiful white dress toward a man I love and he would tell everyone present that he was giving me away... but in order for that to happen, to be able to do that, he would have to leave Heaven... his mansion... the physical presence of God. As I think of that, I realize it is the most selfish desire there is - for him to leave Heaven, even if he could, to come be with me. 

In church this morning we sang the hymn My Jesus I Love Thee, and I just stopped to listen to the words:

  1. My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
    For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
    My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
  2. I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,
    And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
    I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
  3. I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
    And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
    And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
    If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

This song, I realized this morning, goes through our Faith from repentance to eternity in Heaven. As we sang, the reality of the words hit me... my daddy is in a "Mansion of Glory" and "endless delight." (How could I possibly ask him to leave that?!) He is singing in that voice I miss so much, with a "glittering crown" on his brow... not a cap, not a cowboy hat... a crown! The mental image of that is so intense for me. So real. 

The verses of the song all end in the same way, "If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now." As I mentioned this song speaks of certain stages of Faith: 
  • Verse 1: Repentance
  • Verse 2: Salvation (Death to Self/Alive in Christ)
  • Verse 3: Physical Death
  • Verse 4: Eternity in Heaven 
The song, therefore, serves as a reminder that in all stages of our lives as a Christian, we are to love Him. Though I am strictly paraphrasing here, I feel like this is what the author, William R. Featherston, is saying:

"You know God... I thought I loved You when You forgave me, but I loved You more as my Savior... but wait, No... I loved You more when You were with me as You gave me my last breath and I left this earthly home for my heavenly one... but Lord once again I was wrong, I could have never loved you more than I do right now, right here in Heaven, delighting in Your presence and Your glory."

Each stage of his Faith, he loved his Jesus more and more... 

My daddy is no different, and we will not be either. Through these last few years, I've learned to love Him more. As I age (in both numbers, but more importantly in wisdom) I will love Him more. And when my time comes, when death's dew is cold on my brow, I will love Him more as I enter those mansions of Glory, see my daddy, and meet my Father. 

When I have those selfish moments, this is what I need to remember... because even if it was possible for him to leave, after the mental image of him in Heaven, I don't know that I could bring myself to ask him to give that up... How could I possibly wish that away for him or any other that I miss so dearly. 

I can't... 
I won't. 

If ever I loved the My Jesus, 'tis now. You have brought me through so much and I praise you and thank you for those moments, but Lord... on these selfish days and all others, give me strength and give me peace. 

Love Y'all, 

Lessons from a bike wreck...

This morning I thought of a memory of a major bike wreck I had as a kid... it hurt so bad, and my leg was scratched and scraped, but I didn't care -- it was like I didn't even feel it, as if the slow stream of blood making its way down my leg did not flow into my cuffed white sock, changing its color from white to crimson. I seemed to ignore the sight of torn flesh now covered in dirst, rather than my pale paternally inherited non-tanable (is that a word?) skin.

There was a reason I ignored this pain, A reason I didn't give a second thought to my now bloody sock or the scars the crash might have caused... 

... my daddy was home.

The only thing between me and my daddy, who had been offshore on the rig for 2 weeks, was the 200 or so yards from our house to Mawmaw and Pawpaw Cole's house. Of course my childhod locgic figured that riding my bike could be faster than walking, But in my haste to see my daddy, my daddy who rarely left for an offsure hitch without a note or drawing from me hidden in his bag, I didn't prepare for the trip. 

I didn't tie my shoe. 
You see - this whole ordeal, the culprit which interrupted my journey to see my daddy, was a shoelace. One long thin, seemingly harmless, piece of white material prevented me from reaching my goal by becoming entangled around my bike pedal. The string wound itself so tight that the pedal would no longer turn, causing me and my bicycle to take a dive sideways and planting my leg, not literally bound to the pedal, between the gravel of the driveway and the pink and thite Huffy of my childhood. 

I cried a bit, and I probably cussed at that shoelace as only a child could... I'm sure "darn" and "heck" were muttered right htere on the side of Old Highway 24, but ultimately that little piece of fabric was not to blame.

I was. 

Me... little wavy haired, freckle faced me. 

As I reflected on this memory today I realized that it was not an untied shoelce that caused this wreck, but it was my lack of preparation for the journey. The shoe lace could not tie itself... and I didn't take the time to do it. 

How often do we NOT take the time to prepare ourselves for the journeys we endeavor or the meetings we encounter in life? I can think of many scenarios to which this question applies, but the only one of true importance is that of my relationship with my Heavenly Daddy. 

With such anticipation to see daddy's face I became distracted and had tunnel vision - tunnel vision which made me oblivious to things outside of my immediate plan (to get to Mawmaws to see daddy). How often do we get so focused on reaching a goal that we don't prepare ourselves to do it? We become the bike wreck in the journey to our destination. We become the force that prevents achieving the goal because we don't look at the big picture. 

Instead of seeing a bicycle, an untied shoelace, 200 yards of distance and loose gravel                                   - we see daddy's truck in the driveway.

In the same way, how often do we ignore Salvation
 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
(Romans 10:9-10)

Good Works
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, 
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. 
(Ephesians 2:10)

Sharing the Gospel
19 Go therefore[c] and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20)

19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 
(Matthew 5:19)

and Obedience...
23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. 
(John 14:23-24) only focusing on the blessings we seek from the Lord. 

If I truly consider my own life, there are times when my prayers have been more like sending God a "To Do List" Memo of the things I want rather than a meetings with him regarding repentance and his will. 

From: Kacey
Re: Things to do in Kacey's life

1. do this...
2. do that...
3. I want this...
4. I want that...
5. Fix this...
6. Fix that...

Our prayers should not be focused on self, we should not pull the "child of God" card, only when we need something from Him. Our focus should be on the relationship and its requirements/expectations, not on what we can get out of it... because ultimately tunnel vision causes us to lose focus on the big picture - which should be glorifying to our Creator, not the blessings we might receive for doing so. 

Moral of the story, 
{ALWAYS tie your shoes!}
Take the time to prepare yourself for your journey by seeking Him, by consulting Him and doing His will. 

Just as I allowed my journey to be intterrupted because I didn't tie my shoe, don't let yours get interrupted by Selfishness: 
My will, not Thy will... 
and Disobedience
Lack of tithing (yes, it IS disobedience)
Lack of studying
Lack of action

Keep focused on your goal, but always be aware of the importance of preparing yourself to meet it. Remember that you may have a fall along the way or a distraction that causes the journey to take longer - But learn from the wrecks and distractions so that you will not fall victim to those culprits in the future. 
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
(1 Peter 1: 13- 16)

I did eventually make it to my grandparents' house to see my daddy, and we enjoyed out time together until it was once again time for me to hide another note in his big blue bag 2 weeks later. The cycle started again, anticipating the day he could return home... but I never again rode my bike without checking my shoelaces. 

Love Y'all,