lovely


I had a wonderful Valentines Day. 

I got a call from my Mom wishing me a Happy Valentines Day (so sweet).

I got to work and found, on my desk, a wonderful handmade Valentines Day card from Dearest. (smiles.smiles.smiles!)

We got to hang out later that evening after he got done with practice, and I finished working out. Our Ruby Tuesdays reservation (also made by Dearest) was calling our names…..delicious cheesy garlic biscuits…

I gave him the book and card I had made him, and we laughed and smiled. It was good to eat food, feel full, and most of all, full of life.

As I sat in the car on our way over to the restaurant, happy and content, I started thinking of how wonderful this all is…how much grace it really is (and how much I feel like I’m asleep and dreaming). mmmm…First Valentines Day together, and the first one going out with a significant other for each of us. God has been so good to us.

And I’m repeatedly reminded how much this is all Him.

He knows my sin, my doubt, and the ugliness that wants to conquer me. He knows how scared I am of the future. He’s the Author, and I’m not, and I’m glad.

I’ve been listening to Ephesians again and again via audio on iPod. Different verses jump out at me as I’m walking to work, or sitting at my desk in my office working. I’m so thankful that the Word of God doesn’t return void. He promises that we are IN CHRIST. That can never change. And though Satan tries to accuse us, and tries to trick us into thinking that he will one day convince God that we are good-for-nothing-and-not-worth-forgiveness, God won’t ever believe him. NEVER. EVER. God already knows what we’ve done, thought, and said. He knows the ugliness of motivations that have been selfish from the beginning of my life. He knows how wretched we are without Him.

And that’s why grace is the only truely beautiful thing.

Grace meets us in fear and says, “I will always love you.” 

Grace lights the darkness of sin with “You are forgiven and loved.”

Grace was the tender shoot that sprung out of the stump of Jesse, and was nailed to the cross by people who hated Him. He died without any of our love driving Him there. It was all HIS love. His beautiful, unfathomable, deep, high, matchless, wondrous, selfless, love.

Grace is lovely.

We sing music in Mount Memorial on the third floor (we are determined not to become an awkward studio couple who makes everyone who walks in feel awkward). Our voices bounce off of the giant stained glass window in front of us making wonderful sound. He strums the strings making melody, and we breathe in the familiarity of songs, grace, pardon, wholeness. The cross burns into our hearts. I want to remember foreverhow it is branded on my soul. I want to remember when I’m old and worn, and can’t see physically, that eternal sight given by God never fades. My sight doesn’t ever determine validity or the strength of the solid rock. NEVER. EVER.

The post below I wrote two years ago on Valentines Day as a sophomore. I remembered it and looked it up in the archives. I’ll never stop being amazed at how true Scripture remains…and how perfect is the law of liberty. enjoy 🙂

Life had been a little stressful in the past couple of weeks. Between trying to figure out what I wanted to do next year leadership wise, keeping up with homework, and job applications and interviews, life was coming at a fast and furious pace. I’ve also been under spiritual attack and have been combating lies that Satan has tried to pull over my eyes. Truth has been something I have had to cling to moment by moment. But God never ceases to amaze me with how He reminds me of things I have been learning from Him.

He not only teaches me certain principles, He makes sure that I get it by reminding me and teaching me the same truths again.

Today was a perfect example of that.

Dr. Harmon taught my Greek 1 class last year and I always enjoy listening to Him speak whether it be in Bible class or in church. I haven’t heard him recently because of having quit Greek after one semester (for my sanity with the Essential Doctrinal Themes this semester), and he normally does not preach at the church I attend on Sundays. But today He did. He spoke from Ephesians 4:17-24. The purpose of the message was to highlight our new nature that believers have in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:17-24 (New International Version)

Living as Children of Light

17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

20You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. 21Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

He highlighted the passage verse by verse. Here are some of the notes I took.

1) Our lives are 100% affected by sin. We are totally depraved in that sin affects every aspect of who we are as humans.

There are 3 areas in which sin has taken root.

1) Our minds (thinking in futility)

~Our minds are full of purposelessness and idolatry. We are unable to have right thoughts (apart from Christ) and we wander around like blind men in houses that are not our own. We reject Christ as God and make ourselves into little gods. We are ignorant of God, not because we have not seen and heard (Romans 1:20), but because we are incapable of having right thoughts about God (apart from Christ)

2) Our hearts

~ the heart is the center of our whole existance, will, and desire. But in it’s natural state, it sets a trajectory apart from Christ. Without Him, our hearts are hard and calloused.

3) Our Passions (they govern us)

~Sensuality not only encompasses sexual immorality, but refers to desires and behaviors that are simply out of control (we have no restraint). Our desire for more and more is insatiable.

SIN: is self-destructive and self-centered.  IT is resident in us by nature. Because sin was part of the life we had before we were saved by Christ’s blood, we should no longer walk in the sin that we had before. Our minds, hearts, and passions are now governed by Christ. Our new life in Him is gloriously transformative.

The difference is that we have learned Christ. To learn Him we rely not only on doctrine and theology, but using those two pieces of knowledge to learn who He is and what He is like. Not only have we heard, but we have also been taught (from others) the truth that is in Him.

When we became God’s He clothed us in the Righteousness of Christ. (v22) Repentance is the first step and key to being clothed. First we must take off the dirty clothes of self attempted righteousness that has tried to cover our sin, and in faith put on the new clothes. These clothes are the likeness of God Himself.  Just like Adam was created in the likeness of God in the beginning, we are clothed in Christ’s holiness. When God looks at us as His own, He sees us as being like Christ. His righteousness was placed on us. It is when we become His children that our minds are renewed. God breathed spiritual life into our spiritually dead state. It must be the work of the Holy Spirit.

When we live like we once did (before Christ) we are not being true who God made us to be. God has broken the chains of sin  and we are no longer held by them. We might struggle with sin, but it will not have dominion over us. We have His righteousness. We have His holiness. He has removed the dirty clothing we tried to cover our sin with, and has He clothed us to be like Christ.

This is the beauty of the cross.

This is what I have been reminded of as I went through spiritual warfare and spiritual weariness this past week. I do not clothe myself. HE clothes me. The chains of sin have been broken and forgiven forever. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.

So when I heard today’s sermon, I was again reminded of His grace and provision. I was reminded of His never ending love and righteousness. I am not worthy, but He is. He has brought me before the throne. He has made me beautiful. I am free to live in grace and truth.

I’d say that is a pretty sweet reminder valentine from Christ.

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