Monday, October 1, 2012

On Kings, Kingdoms, And Holding On To Grace

My husband and I experience something we call "Wednesday Night Syndrome." We've had this condition for years.  Historically, Wednesdays are very long days for us.  For him, he is preparing all day for his busiest night of the week in student ministry.  For many of our students, this is the only time of the week they will hear about Jesus and be part of any type of Christian community.  He puts a lot of effort, planning, and prayer into Wednesday nights.  Once he leaves Wednesday morning, I know he won't be home until about 9:00 or so that night.

For many years, Wednesdays have also been a high volume music lesson day for me.  Most years I have taught right up until we leave for church, the past several years even taking my last student with me.  I also teach collegiate/virtual school/home school students during the day on Wednesdays, and have to have my own kids fed and ready for AWANA somewhere in there too.

Once youth group begins, both Jimmy and I pour every ounce of physical, emotional, and spiritual energy we have into the students that come through the doors.  We absolutely love these students, and want to give them the very best we can as we share the love of Jesus with them.

By the time we get home it is already past the kids' bedtimes, and we have to get them wound down and into bed as quickly as we can because they still have two more days of school left.  By the time we get them down we have been drained of nearly everything we have and are exhausted.

But we are also wired.  Our souls are stirred, our minds are racing.  We have tons to think and talk about. We are often starving.  We are tired, but we can't sleep and often stay up later than any other night of the week.  Sometimes we do our own thing, but often we talk and talk to each other late into the night.

This is the condition we call Wednesday Night Syndrome!

This past Wednesday was no exception.  With much on our hearts, we shared of this and that.  Deep matters.  Concerns for students, concerns for families, concerns for this crazy world and self-centered culture.

I'll admit, these are scary times we are living in.  If my hope wasn't in Christ I think I could be a fretful mess.  His peace overrides the chaos, but the condition of our world, state of our culture, and lack of integrity among our leadership is downright disturbing. My mind often recalls the book of Judges, how everyone "did was right in his own eyes." The result, of course, was disastrous for that generation...disaster is always around the corner when we choose to serve sin and self instead of a righteous and holy God.

That night after we talked and shared I went to bed in serious prayer for students and generations and our country and for people to humble themselves and pray and seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways so God would heal this land, this land I love.  2 Chronicles 7:14 was heavy on my heart.

The next morning I was doing my Bible study and was struck by this passage.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that 
cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace.  
By it, we may serve God acceptably with reverence and awe; 
for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29

Believers, we are receiving a kingdom.  Christ's kingdom.  And unlike earthly kingdoms, His kingdom cannot and will not be shaken.  Even if everything around us is ripping apart at the seams, His kingdom is firmly established.

We can hold on to grace, hold on when everything else is falling out from under us. We live each day held tightly in the grip of grace.

We can serve God reverently.  In a world that has little or no reverence for Him, we can stand in awe.  We can serve and worship Him.

We can trust that in the end, God will right the wrongs and injustices.  He is a consuming fire.  His Word has already predicted what is happening now, and His Word tells the whole story.  God wins.  Love prevails.  Heaven awaits.

And one day, one sweet day, we will live in complete and total peace and perfection with Him.  We will rest in the very presence and glorious light of almighty God.

I needed those reminders.  I needed those reminders.

Times are difficult.  God is in control.  His kingdom cannot be shaken.  His kingdom will reign.  Hold on to grace.

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were 
loud voices in heaven, saying, 
"The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
Revelation 11:15


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