Tuesday, February 21, 2012

At The Break of Day

This morning, as I was praying a scripture verse came into my heart. I have heard it, read it and spoke it many times, but today, it became a part of me. To explain what I mean, I need to take you back, take you back to a place that I don’t like to go very often in my head, because I feel such regret. But, in order to give you the full understanding I am going to have to take this journey one last time.
When I was working full time, I became someone I didn’t like, in fact- I was the opposite of who I wanted to be, who I knew God wanted me to be. I had made some bad choices, walked down some paths I should never have gone down, and the old man began to rear its ugly head again. For two years I “pretended” to be the Christian everyone thought that I was, but inside, I knew I wasn’t. I was becoming a part of the world, being enticed by the things, power and position I was gaining in my job. My family started to suffer, my walk began to suffer, and eventually my relationship with my Savior got harder and harder to keep up. I was living two lives. I was walking in darkness, a darkness of waste, world and sin. My thoughts began to be less and less of Him and more and more of me.
But God…..But God, never gave up on me. In fact, He was working a work that I could not see. He never left me, even though I left Him. He never stopped loving me, blessing me, or speaking to me. I couldn’t hear or see because I was still in this shroud of darkness, a darkness that I had created. There came a point when certain people in my life, friends, family, and my daughter, made me wake up. They were, I believe, sent by God to stop me from going any further. He sent them to speak to me, to draw me out of where I was going back into His glory. It took me many months to see it, and many more months to step out of it. It was like I was waiting for the darkness to fade on its own, when the darkness that I was walking in was of my own making. Only I could be free from the bonds that were keeping me in the midst of it.
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed. Because His compassions fail not, They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” This is the scripture the Lord spoke to me today. No matter how deep into the darkness I went, His mercy and His compassion was on the outside, calling for me, as a mother calls for her child to come to her. “Because His compassions fail not,”- compassion means “the seat of the emotions of the mind, love, natural affections.” Webster’s Dictionary defines compassion as, “a sympathetic emotion created by the misfortunes of another, accompanied by the desire to help.” When I read that definition, I said to myself, “That is my God,” and then  I saw a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ, hanging upon the Cross, His emotional response to the misfortunes of the world.
My God, and your God, Jesus Christ, has great love and affection for you. He is sympathetic towards us. He does not want us to be hurt, to be in darkness, to allow depression, anger, or any other emotion control us- His desire is for us to walk in the freedom of His faithfulness. “New every morning” means at the break of day. Every time the sun breaks over the horizon, God our Father is giving us another chance, another day for new life in Him. Old things have already passed, today is a new day full of His compassionate love for you.
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
There is no darkness we can be in that is greater than Jesus Christ. No matter how broken we are, no matter how far we have fallen away, the Lord God, your God is calling out to you today to, “Return, Return to Me.” He has been where you are, He understands how difficult it is to come back. He himself has suffered every emotion, the same darkness that we suffer; He has been there, carried it to the Cross and buried it as far as the east is from the west. He can bring you out and bring you through- the question is- do you want Him to? We may be in a place of brokenness, a place of darkness; I was there once, not too many months ago. But His compassion, His emotional, unconditional love for me never stopped chasing after me. No matter what is holding you back, whether it is fear, worry or regret- bow your knees right now and ask the Lord to save you. Save you from the darkness, and yourself.
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus tells us that the son “came to himself” and returned to his father. Jesus tells us that this son was still a long ways off when the Father saw him. Do you remember what the Father did when He saw the son walking back towards Home? He ran, He ran and met the son- God is calling you today, He is tugging at our hearts to return to Him. He misses you, He desires you, and He loves you with the greatest love you will ever know. All we have to do is take the first step- God will run to you when you do, throw His arms around you and never let you go!
Zechariah 1:3 says, “Therefore say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: Return to Me.” Says the Lord of hosts, “And I will return to you,” says the Lord of hosts.”
If you are reading this and wondering if the Lord is speaking to you, read the above verse again- “says the Lord of hosts” is written three times. The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, all three are calling you to “Return” so that they may “Return to you.”
Father God, I pray that whoever reads this today will bow their knees and their hearts before you. Lord we have all, in some way, left you, may we lift up our hands, and our hearts and take that step back towards You. As we do this, we will see and hear You running for us. Blessed be Your name, God our Father, and may we have the strength to cry out to you from our darkness, and return to You, our One True Love, our One True God, Jesus Christ. Amen.