Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take Refuge from God in God

"We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness." 
- A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy
I've been reading and studying the minor prophets a lot lately... yep, those scary books full of God's judgement and phrases like "consuming fire".  When I signed myself up to write a song for every book of the Bible in a year, I was mostly thinking about writing songs from the Psalms, etc.... and I've had several "oh-crap-these-books-are-intense" moments while trying to write songs from the minor prophets (not to mention Leviticus, eh?).

But as I've studied these books - specifically Joel, Zephaniah, and Malachi - in the past few weeks, I have seen a major theme emerge: Even as God sends His all-consuming wrath against sin, He sends a refuge from that very same wrath.  We cannot hide from His judgement, because we all fall short of His holiness.  And yet, He says "hide here."  Hide in the wounds of Jesus and hide behind the cross.

What I'm trying to say might be best summed up by a chorus that I wrote for "A Place to Hide" (the song I wrote for Zephaniah, see below to listen and download):

Oh He’s both the refuge and consuming flame
Oh He brings the judgment and He mediates
Oh He sends the justice and He justifies
Sends the wrath that finds you and the place to hide

You know that verse that Christians quote from Zephaniah?  The one that says "The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing"?  When put in the context of God's just judgement, His wrath and His consuming fire, this verse becomes very, very good news and so much more than a feel-good verse that reminds us of God's love.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June 1 a Year Ago

The below is from my journal June 1, 2010, which was my last day of work at Gordon-Conwell and just a few days before we moved back to Texas after being away for 4 years.  I was really overwhelmed about moving to Tyler, mainly because we hardly knew anyone here besides Nick's family... It's just amazing to see how God has answered this prayer:

"God, we pray for community - real, authentic - that would encourage us toward You.  We pray for a sense of purpose there, and we pray for a church and an opportunity to be a part of Kingdom work..."

God, thank you for our community here in Tyler.  The way you put it right in front of us almost immediately - it's really amazing how quickly we have gotten to know these friends here.  And thank you for giving us purpose - I know that I have never felt more purposeful with music than I do right now with this Scripture to Music project, and my mom gig is so fulfilling.  Thank you for the opportunities you have given Nick so far.  We are still trying to figure out our total purpose here, but we are catching glimpses.  And thank you, thank you for our church - the way you led us right to it, and the for the amazing people there.  And thank you for the opportunity to share your love and your story with high school kids through Young Life.  Thank you for your love and care for us, even in the smallest details and the hard moments too.  Amen.