Devotion from the East.

For my daily devotion, I use “In Touch” magazine by Charles F. Stanley, the founder of “In Touch Ministries.” My mother introduced the magazine to me a few years back, but I didn’t start using them regularly until last year, when I started to become hungry for discipline and growth. Now she and I both receive the magazine (which is free!) in the mail once a month and do our devotions (aka devo’s) together These short readings and corresponding bible readings are my nightly reading and last meditation on my mind and spirit before I nod off into my technicolor dream world. Every nwo and then my mom and I share what we’re learning or something that caught our attention in the readings – being spiritual with our immediate family is so special! I think many divorces could be avoided if couples just read the bible and talked about what they felt and thought together…

Anyhow, this month’s magazine is titled, “Where love and wrath collide,” and features stories and devotions that culminate in reflections about the death and resurrection of Jesus – Lent & Easter, as Christian tradition goes. At first, love and wrath seem antithetical to one another, but if I look deeper, look back into past experiences, and even allow myself to think outside of the box a bit about love, I see that wrath and love, like hate and love but not, are inextricable. One does not feel wrath apart from love of something related to or affected by the object of wrath…my theological understanding is that God hates sin and feels wrath towards it because sin destroys the ones that He loves, namely US. Thus, God does not hate the sinner, only the sin, as we hate the cancer, not the cancer patient. (Unfortunately, sometimes we fail to show this same grace to HIV/AIDS sufferers…but that’s a whole ‘nother blog entry there.)

So, I just wanted to share this “Hymn of Repentance” by J. Edwin Orr included in this week’s set:

“Cleanse Me
based on Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God and know my heart today.
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me.
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord — in me abide.

O Holy Ghost, revival comes from THee;
Send a revival, start the work in me.
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.”

…and as tears stream down my face, cleansing my heart, my mind, and a 1″ radius spot on my MacBook’s trackpad, I bow down and thankfully confess, “Amen.”

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Meltdowns

I used to think that meltdowns happened to people who didn’t have it all together, who were somehow inadequate, disorganized, and…well, just…in the end and at the crux of it, (and I am being VERY brutal and sharp in my honesty and depth) less than, pathetic, less worthy of respect, responsibility, and dependence…*(I recognize I’m sounding SUPER critical and hard on whomever about this subject…and perhaps I am, but I’m trying to explore that here in an attempt to resolve it.)

And I’m starting to wonder…what’s true and what’s false in these assumptions/beliefs.

To begin:

Meltdowns do happen to people who don’t have it all together. But here’s the thing: no one has it all together. No one is supposed to. (Here I can digress into a million different trajectories related to theology, faith, psychology, etc. but I won’t for now~) Now, we have to differentiate between having meltdowns all the time and thus being immoblized/dysfunctional as opposed to the occasional ones that are contextualized/situated in a series/combination of circumstances, culmination of events, etc. that bring stress, pressure, conflict, etc…

But where’s the line?
Is one a month okay or too much?
Are we allowed only one a year?

Do factors like age, “class” (if that’s even a valid/relevant category anymore), income, vocation, personality (nature v. nurture), mental wellness/illness, “season” (both physical weather and age-wise, and spiritual), genetics, past experiences/personal history, and relationships, matter? And what do each weigh?

How do we determine what’s acceptable and worthy of understanding, forgiveness, and grace, and what’s not?

***EDIT***
I’m thinking from a…semi-secular, semi-humanist, semi-post-modern, semi-theological perspective…(perhaps my mind needs a lot more “renewal” before anything of worth comes from it?) I find that traditional Evangelical Christian worldview provides easier and more straightforward answers to the questions I (we) ask…but I’m beginning to wonder if sometimes (or all the time) the process of asking and exploring is more important than the “right” answer itself.

Is it all about the means, and not the end? Though “the end” is the hope and dream we all run towards w/EVERYTHING we’ve got, huh? For believers/Christians, it’s Heaven and eternal union with God and communion w/other believers…but for everyone else? Is the irony that…the meaning of the end comes from the process and journey it took to “get” there? It appears that not many things in life are clear when seen in a (Western) linear, black and white manner…ha, funny.

So many unanswered questions.

Good.
(And I say this with all the faith I can scrap up at 6:09 in the morning).