Monday, February 3, 2014

When the glossed over story hits you in the gut and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

Welcome to Soli Deo Gloria!  This group exists to empower women to authentically share their hearts.  Want to learn more?  Click here to find out ways you can be involved here.
Some things to know:
1.  It's important to take some time to visit a new friend.  If you decide to link up, be sure to stop by your neighbor's place.  We want to make sure everybody at this party feels a little love!
2.  We are a safe place to be real.  I deeply cherish your involvement in the community.  Consider answering the question from "Let's get real" at the bottom of the post.
3.  Please be sure to check out our first Woven with Love auction item at the end of the post!
*************************
Jesus constantly surprises me.  And it's not because He's changing, but because my understanding of who He is and how He speaks and loves is constantly evolving.

Thank goodness for that.

I'm the kind of girl who can easily start berating myself for my sins, especially those "thought-sins" that occur in my head.  The judgments, the rude comments, the jealous remarks that don't cross the barrier of my lips, but which still hit my stomach, a sucker-punch of guilt.  And I find myself lamenting: Will I ever be free of these?  How God must be so disappointed in my progress.

I'm struggling with thoughts of jealousy even today after seeing Jennie Allen on the cover of the Life section in my local paper.  She's planned the whole IF: Gathering and I find myself asking why I couldn't do something like that.  Is she better than me?  Does she have more giftings? Do You not trust me enough?  Gross thoughts, I know.  And I feel incredibly guilty.  I'm sheepish when I begin to confess because I know all the right  answers about these things.  I know my thoughts were stupid and it's not a comparison game.

I go about my day and I'm making my bed and I'm asking God what I should write about for SDG since we don't have bible study on Monday and I had assumed I wouldn't be writing about John.  But He sends me back to a section I wasn't going to teach in class.

It's the last part of John chapter 1, a story I have honestly glossed over.  But He is faithful not to let me miss a concept that will bring healing to my own self-inflicted wounds.  He knows I am desperate for grace.

Philip has gone to get Nathanael to tell him he's found the promised Messiah, Jesus, the son of Joseph from Nazareth.  Nathanael's response?  "What good can come from Nazareth?"  See, Nathanael hailed from Cana and turned up his nose a bit (or perhaps, a lot) at people from another town.  At that day and age, rivalries between towns and villages were extremely common, everyone trying to one-up and look down, trying to bolster themselves at the risk of offending others and cutting off relationships.

Sound familiar?  I'm not sure much has changed.

Nathanael was a bit of a snob, a bit quick to judge, a man who listened and believed that the world's standards were the ones to uphold and by which to measure.

I've been guilty of that.  More times than I wish to admit.

But Philip doesn't waste time trying to argue with Nathanael.  He just tells him to get a move on and come see.

And Jesus sees Nathanael and tells him this:
"Now, here is a genuine son of Israel -- a man of complete integrity."  (verse 47)
Back up the truck.

Just moments ago, Nathanael was filled with snootiness.  He just blasted Jesus' hometown and His family roots.  And Jesus calls him a man of complete integrity?  How can this be?

Grace.

Because Jesus knows Nathanael is more than the judgements he holds in his heart and the words he says out loud.  He's more than just a product of this world.  And He doesn't judge Nathanael by the same standards everyone else does.

No, Jesus knows the fullness of Nathanael's heart.  He's seen him under the fig tree, meditating on God's promises and praying for the return of the Messiah.

He knows Nathanael is more than his sin.  And he knows Nathanael's heart, his intention is to be pleasing to God, and so, Jesus greets Him with grace.

For so long, I was afraid to approach God for fear He would dump all my sins back on me, tell me I wasn't worthy. I thought my blessings were tied up in how good I was and the disasters of my life a reflection of how good I was not.

Nathanael's story brings to life something I had just been hoping would be true:  God can see beyond my sin.  He sees all of me.  I do not have to be afraid.  I do not have to berate myself.  I can lay down the standard of perfection and still be embraced.

I have a feeling Nathanael probably repented of his judgements once he met Jesus.  There's something about standing in the presence of holiness that wills me to want to be the same.  But it's just nice to know that He doesn't just see my ugliness, like I am sometimes prone to see.

Nathanael says to Jesus, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God -- the King of Israel!"  And he declares this not just because Jesus had seen him in his physical space, but because He knew his heart.

Like Nathanael, He sees me in my entirety.  He sees me and all my desires and dreams and intentions.

He sees me.

He sees you.

And despite all our faults, still declares us His own.  And much more, asks us to walk with Him.

Let's get real: Is there a sin that rears its ugly head more than you wish it would?  And do you find that you sometimes hide a bit from God because you think it just shouldn't be a problem for you anymore?  You let your guilt separate you from Him?  What is it?  And then, tell us, what else does He see in your heart, the good?  Let's be excited about the good things we do well.  Let's come along side each other, encouraging each other to see ourselves as He sees us...as more than our sin.
************************************************
Time for a bit of fundraising for the 3rd Annual Soli Deo Gloria Retreat!  Today, we have this lovely offering from Dawn:
Short snuggle scarf with button

A note about the auction's set-up:  Because I know everyone's budgets are different, I wanted everyone to be able to have a scarf and not lose because she was always outbid, hence the pledging.  Because we all deserve some tangible love around our shoulders, right?

How to participate in this silent auction:
1.  Click on "Place your bid." in the Rafflecopter widget below.
2.  Fill in the blank with the maximum you are willing to pay for this scarf, knowing ALL monies are going directly to the SDG Retreat.
3.  I'd be honored if you'd share this giveaway with your friends.  Not only is it a fundraiser, but I'd love for women to be physically covered by her sister's art!
4.  Next Monday, Rafflecopter will choose a winner and I will announce it at next week's SDG party.  Check or credit card will be accepted (I'm working on the credit card option. Stay tuned!) for payment and the scarf maker will mail the scarf to the winner after I have received the payment.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


************************************************
ANNOUNCEMENTS! ANNOUNCEMENTS!  
Are you a KNITTER or CROCHETER?  We need you to help with our 3rd Annual SDG Retreat Fundraiser.  Click here to get the details about Woven with Love.









Want to give a SOLDIER some love and encouragement? Do you know a soldier that could use a few extra prayers?  Fellow SDG sister, Beth, has created a webpage specifically dedicated to this here.  Please be sure to stop by, leave a request or a prayer, and bless a soldier today!




photo credit: calafellvalo via photopin cc

16 comments :

  1. "Because Jesus knows Nathanael is more than the judgements he holds in his heart and the words he says out loud."

    This really resonates with me. Jesus gave grace before he even spoke. He knows we're more than our sin; this is a beautiful truth, Jen, and I want to believe it about people I'm around everyday myself.

    It reminds me of this quote I put on my own post today by Desmond Tutu:

    "With God’s eyes we can see ourselves as we are, with all of our pride, every lack, all our limitations,and each prejudice. And we can see ourselves as we truly are—not sinners in need of saving but saints in need of seeing.
    And all of us are good. No, not just good, but very good. We are precious to God, the crown of creation, beautiful beyond compare. Very, very good."

    ReplyDelete
  2. this is fantastic. seriously fantastic. the way He sees me...it's staggering to me, powerful and overwhelming.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh , dear, how I can relate. It's like you crawl inside me head and read my thoughts sometimes! <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hope your swimming in grace tonight, sweet Jen.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh Jen, this was so, so good. This was my favorite line: "He knows Nathanael is more than his sin." If that isn't the definition of grace, I don't know what is. Thank goodness that Jesus sees me differently than I do. I see flaws, He sees His redemption.

    The one sin that keeps bothering me is my tendency to be envious of others who have *bigger* ministries than I do. That's why I really appreciated your honesty about your thoughts about Jennie Allen. Yup, I've struggled with the same thing. Comparing my blog comments, or followers, or any other thing in which I want more recognition. Yes, gross thoughts.

    That was a tough question to be honest about, but your last question is probably more important. What else does Jesus see in me? I think He sees a heart that genuinely wants to follow Him more closely, that sincerely wants to look more like Him every day, and who loves Him with all of her heart. Maybe, just maybe, I'm hearing Him say, "Now here is a genuine daughter."

    GOD BLESS!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have always glossed over this story - but you have made me fall in love with it!

    ReplyDelete
  7. In answer to the Let's Get Real question: my sin is laziness. I could do way more with my time but I just like my comfort a bit too much. I read about other bloggers' full and hectic lives (sometimes too hectic they confess) and I know I could be doing more to glorify Him. I'm asking Him to help me with it and giving it to Him.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "God can see beyond my sin. He sees all of me. I do not have to be afraid. I do not have to berate myself. I can lay down the standard of perfection and still be embraced." This encouraged me greatly this morning. Thank you, Jen.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that line - "What good can come out of Nazareth". I think it just proves the Bible has everything - even comic relief. Because, really, that line is hilarious. God has a good sense of humor.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh, I SO do this too... jealousy, and then remorse, and then squirming with guilt. Deeply thankful for such tender, affectionate, ever-loving grace from Jesus!

    Thanks for reminding me...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Girl, you ALWAYS encourage me! Thank you for sharing from the overflow of your heart. Like some of my sisters, I gotta love "He knows Nathanael is more than his sin." Thanking God for His grace and restoration.
    Love and hugs to you, Jen!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ahhh this is so refreshing. I have actually been cursing myself lately over my anger. I have a problem with anger and I get angry if people don't do things the way I want them to. Not all the time. But this week, I've gotten angry for two nights out of the past three nights. And when I calm back down, I often think "Well, I am not a good daughter now because I was angry for that and screamed at that person and did this in my anger." I am the one that is nailing my own self to the cross and ramming those nails in time and time. When all the while, God is telling me to stop and that he loves me even when I am angry.

    It is a sad cycle how much we condemn our self while God is patiently waiting for us to finish our "tantrum" (What I like to call it) so he can give us his grace.

    ReplyDelete
  13. "What good can come from Nazareth?" I often ask myself or think that others are thinking what good can come from her/me? I struggle with the lies of the enemy, even though I know they are lies, they can be powerful. I'm thankful that God knows me and my heart and has decided that good can come from me!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jen, I will be back to read this post again when I can really meditate on it -- so much to think about here. But, I wanted to say how blessed I was by your vulnerability in sharing how your struggled with ugly thoughts. -- I am nodding my head and saying, "Me, too." And, sometimes they spill out of my mouth.... ugly, prideful, unkind, and thoughtless. I am thankful that He is full of grace -- He truly is a Father to us and understands that we are but silly children in need of love and direction. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, this was so good Jen! I had never seen that about Nathanael before! I'd seen his comment about Nazareth, but never noticed the grace Jesus gives him!! And, you and me...not so different in the thought department! So thankful for His grace and your vulnerability!! <3

    ReplyDelete

Don't go yet! Leave me a note with your thoughts.