Saturday, June 20, 2009

East to West

I like the Message's version of Psalm 139, especially the following verses:
13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb. I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day.

From time to time, I stop and think about the chapters that are in the book of my life thus far. Yesterday I was sharing my story with a new woman in my life and was reminded of the opening lines of a chapter in my story.......
" Don't you know that if you have asked Jesus to be your savior and have asked Him to forgive you, HE has thrown your sin as far from you as the east is from the west......and that's a straight line"
Those words were spoken to me about 13 years ago by my then pastor. Those are the opening lines of the chapter that began my love relationship with Christ.
At the time those words were spoken, I did know Christ as Savior, but was FAR from accepting Him as Lord. I could not embrace God as Father because I would not allow myself to believe that He'd REALLY love me after the choices I'd made for 20 years.
I am amazed at how God's plan played out.
I had been away at college, was "unhappy" and so moved back in with my mom and step-dad. I went to work for my step dad and things seemed to be going well. I met a lady through my job that asked me to visit her church. She wanted to introduce me to her pastor. I did attend her church for a while and during that time got to know several of the members and among those people, her pastor, Tom. I joined their Bible Study group and was introduced to Max Lucado's writings. (I still use his writings in mnistering to women because his style is so simple and so full of Christ's love for us.) During that time, God used Tom to tell me the one thing I needed to hear more than anything at that time in my life....Found in Psalm 103:
The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us

Tom did not stay in my life long, but God used him to start a monumental movement in my life. His words stuck and I did finally embrace the fact that God does indeed love me and has indeed separated my sin from far as the east is from the west. This understanding of forgiveness created an unquenchable thirst in me that quickly developed into a passionate relationship with my LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have been crazy in love with Christ for years now and it is my greatest joy to share Him with the women He places in my life.
I am so thankful that God, in His mercy and grace loved me enough to make sure I heard His word...."I really have forgiven you".
Now, as the final words in the "Cancer" chapter have been written, I am so eternally grateful that God used a pastor of a little church to draw this Daughter to her Heavenly Father. Had it not been for THAT moment, I might have never developed the relationship with my Heavenly Father that I naturally depended on to keep me sane over the past year.

God's love for His children never ceases to amaze me.


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