It's been 3 1/2 years since my last post. The last 2 1/2 years were devoted to a full-time job which became ever more time-consuming and stressful. Rewarding (and I'm thankful for all the learning), but very demanding indeed.
Sometimes you need to let go of the good (or not so good) in order to receive something better. In this case, the better job offer came before my decision, and the decision was obvious. Yes, God can see our lack of faith and at times, will open huge doors that go beyond our wildest expectations.
So I'm back to freelance translation, which is a job I love, but not as much as writing. And being freer to earn my bread with my work without feeling like a slave and having a little time to pursue my dream (isn't the Lord good?) I have decided to spend more time seeking the Lord, and sharing my findings with you.
I needed to come back in a lot of ways. I didn't want to write from that not-quite-home-yet frame of mind. So I took about a month to pray intensely, study the Bible and have my ears intent on listening.
There is a song that has really helped me in this process. I wanted to share it with you. The song is on YouTube and you can find it here:
Ashuv Eleicha - Coming back to you
The lyrics with the English translation appear on the video, with Hebrew transliteration so you can sing it too.
Just a couple of verses that ring so true to my heart:
Many ways I have tried
And in all of them I have gone astray
Many voices I have heard
But only one voice is burning inside me.
That sounds a lot like me, the "serial prodigal". Today I was telling a sister that I've backslidden more times than I can count. Never completely left the faith, but all too often I have felt my love for God is only a bruised reed or a faintly burning wick. And yet that still small voice, so often drowned by the screams of condemnation Satan wants to keep us crushed under, that still small voice never ceases to speak.
Come back to me.
The Master's voice can be like the servant's voice in Isaiah 42, verse 2: "He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street." And because we have so many noises and other voices shouting all around us, many times we ignore it, to our own peril.
But the passage in Isaiah doesn't end there. And in verses 3 and 4, it speaks to the heart of people like me:
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a faintly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be discouraged
till he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his law.
I may grow faint and be discouraged, but the Lord's servant doesn't grow faint or weary. Because He knows the end from the beginning. He knows the end of my story, the end of history indeed (HIS-story). The Lord of all has determined to establish justice in the earth. He has made it His purpose to write His law in our hearts. In MY weak heart, so often dominated by the flesh.
Ezekiel 36 contains one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible. It starts in v. 22 telling Israel, I'm going to do something, but I won't do it for your sake. In other words, don't think what I'm going to do is because you deserve it! I will do it for MY name's sake. Well, that's great news for me. Because if God's grace depended on me getting my just desserts... it wouldn't look good! I have profaned His name, I have taken it in vain, I have been hypocritical, self-righteous... I have denied Him and betrayed Him in so many ways. BUT GOD...
24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29 And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. And I will summon the grain and make it abundant and lay no famine upon you.
Have you counted the number of "I will" in that huge promise? More than 10 times, the Lord says, I WILL help you! You're far away, but I'll bring you back to your land. And our land, our home is Jesus. Where else can our heart lay its head? Where else can we find words of eternal life?
Many times have I lost my first love. Many times have I allowed temptations to do their dirty work of attracting me away from the Father's home. Many times have I failed to crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. Many times my life has looked too much like the first list in Galatians 5 and too little like the second.
But I don't want that anymore, because I don't want to lose my inheritance over one morsel of meat!
So I come back.
Once again, I lift my prayers to my Elohim for the help I need to "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely", and pray for a heart that will "run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith."
Back to the Cross. HIS cross, and MINE. Because I have to crucify so many passions and desires, some of which are not bad in and of themselves, but can so easily become perverted by the flesh. Like Paul, I need to confess, "I die daily," and indeed, there are so many things I need to die to that if I had to mention them here, this post would be endless!
The passage in Hebrews 12 I am quoting continues "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."Joy was set before Jesus when He was facing the cross. The joyful expectation of bringing many children to Abba Father. The joy of glorifying His father in death, as He had done in life, and knowing that sacrifice would bring a lot of fruit.
I need to endure my cross, too. But there's also joy set before me. Because a life that is free from self-condemnation is blessed and joyful indeed! A soul that is at peace with its Maker experiences gratitude and great joy! A seed that has learned to die knows it will not be alone, but be very fruitful. And just like Jesus, after facing shame and ridicule, experienced glorification, we will experience resurrection life if only we are willing to suffer and die first.
So here I come, with my heart set on fulfilling my calling. My first calling to worship God and surrender my life to Him. And then, my calling to be a vessel so that He can bless others through my life.
Like God called Jeremiah, He's calling me:
“Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
And there's no way I can pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow, build and plant in any other person, let alone nations and kingdoms!, unless I recognize that the first enemy I need to defeat is my SELF.
So, as I let the Word do its painful but necessary surgery to circumsize my own heart, I plan on sharing my battle journals with you. My heart cry is "that I may know him and the power of his resurrection." I know that means I need to "share his sufferings" by seeking His kingdom and His righteousness in me and counting the cost of following Him.
It's not easy. Never has been. At least for me. But I plan to keep fighting, with His weapons. And I know He is victorious. :)