cling to Christ. hold fast, hang on.

True confessions: I hadn't done my lesson for Bible study. Not that I feel any guilt. With an infant and a toddler in toe, having already packed lunches for two older kiddos and my husband, and (let's face it) everyone having appropriate attire on their beings--just sitting down at the round table for discussion at Ladies' Bible Study was a feeling of accomplishment. Baby steps. We'll get there. 

Thankfully, Hebrews is one of the books I enjoyed with my high school Bible Quiz team, so it's precious and familiar. 

We're studying Hebrews with Nancy Guthrie's Hoping for Something Better, which we're all loving!

Nancy Guthrie. Photo courtesy www.nancyguthrie.com.
  
Love the cover photo.
Who hasn't been guilty of biting into a chocolate and
"hoping for [caramel] something better
[than some strange goopy fruity filling]"? 

Hebrews is at once fascinating and challenging, awesome and eye-opening with all of its Old Testament allusions and quotations and types.

Nancy's last question for the study section on chapter 5 is, "What specific promise of God do you need to cling to this week? Where is this found in the Bible?"

My mind immediately shot to "a hope and a future ... I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord." 

So, I was searching through Jeremiah. (My mommy brain remembered that much at least.) 

And I guess I was actually looking for Jeremiah 29:11, but ...

You know how sometimes a verse you've underlined previously just pops off the page?

Well, that's what Jeremiah 13:11 did that day. (And, no, I don't deserve any credit that they both happen to be verse 11. I just was fairly certain 29:11 was underlined or highlighted or something.) 

But it was providence. And I haven't been able to get 13:11 off my mind since.

"...so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory..."

One of the Bible study strategies I learned (with Bible Quiz, actually) was to take a passage and simply ask some basic comprehension questions. 

Who's talking? God. Well, okay, Jeremiah's quoting the LORD, Jehovah, God.

Who's He talking about? His chosen people, though divided into two kingdoms by this time: Israel, in the North; Judah, in the South. In fact, at this time in history, these nations were spiraling toward captivity because of their sinful choices. We get a glimpse at this in the end of the verse where He says, "but they would not listen."

What was His purpose? "that they might be for Me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory!" Wow! Awesome, right!?

And this is what was so interesting to me...

What was His means, or what was the way He chose to go about accomplishing that purpose? "so I made [them] cling to Me." 


This is the portion that really got me thinking:
"I made [them] cling to Me ... that they might be for Me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory." 

God wants to accomplish something so amazing in and through each of us. He's calling out a people for Himself. He's gathering a kingdom full of worshipers who will be called by His name to bring Him the praise and glory He deserves. He desires that not just for Israel and Judah but for all of us.

But so often the way He chooses to get us there is to take us down a path that makes us cling to Him. It's often the very thing that simultaneously is tempting you to high-tail it and run for the hills, to wash your hands of the whole matter and go your own way. It's often the hard things that make you wonder if He loves you, if He knows, if He cares, why He didn't intervene.

What is it that God is doing in your life right now that's making you cling to Him? It's just like our God to intertwine human choice with His sovereign purposes. You have a choice to make right now. Will you allow what's darkest in your life right now to be the impetus for you to cling tighter? 

Borgianni's Christ in the Garden

Like Borgianni's Christ in the Garden, will you allow the dark parts to be intricate and complex and important but also and most importantly to stand in stark contrast and draw attention to Christ and what He's done and doing for us? For Borgianni's piece to be effective, it had to be largely a dark piece. But notice how the dark is obscured by the main point, what the light is shining on. Are you willing to allow God to paint a masterpiece with your life, even if He chooses to draw attention to Himself by allowing the composition to have large amounts of dark paint in it? Thoughts worth pondering. Questions worth asking. 

And in all of it, no matter what,   

Cling to Christ. 

Hold fast, hang on. 

As it says in Hebrews 10, 
"Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith ... 
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
"And let us consider one another how to stir up one another to love and good works ... meet[ing] together ... encouraging one another ... all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Cling to Christ, dear sister. Do not drift away, but draw closer. "Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer..."

Hold fast. Hope. He is faithful. 

Remember what God desires for you: "a future and a hope" ... "a people, a name, a praise, and a glory."

And let's encourage one another more and more. That Day is coming.

Hold fast. Hang on. 

Believe. 

Love. 

And let that faith and hope and love turn into action steps--good works. They certainly don't earn us salvation, but they unarguably flow out the good work He is doing in us. 

I love you, dear sister. And I most definitely need your encouragements along the way. So today, allow me to encourage you:

Cling to Christ. Hold fast, hang on. 

"And may this journey bring a blessing."

Grace and peace, 
with love, 

michelle

"i'm gonna [write] when the Spirit says [write]..."

"Sometimes I just don't know what I'm supposed to do. Am I supposed to get involved? Am I supposed to talk to that person? Am I supposed to just pray?" I poured out the questions as a sister-in-Christ and I shared burdens. 

"I know." She had recently asked the same questions of her husband, a deacon, who gave her this counsel: 

"All I know is we need to be listening for the Spirit, and when He speaks, we need to obey. Immediately."


Now that we've crossed the three month mark with baby, I feel like I'm beginning to re-approach humanhood. A little more sleep, a little longer stretches between feedings ... And one of the ways I know I'm doing a little better is when I start singing. If it's been a long time since I burst into spontaneous song ... 

and I don't mean our rendition of Richard Simmon's Sweatin' to the Oldies: "It's my [diaper] and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry, too, if it happened to you." Though I sing that one frequently to get us through the part of parenting that literally stinks. It puts a smile on me and my kids' faces. 

But I mean really singing. Songs of prayer and petition. Songs of praise and thanksgiving. Communion with God from my heart. 

Today, following the above mentioned song, a spiritual came to mind ... and we had fun with it. 

"I'm gonna sing when the Spirit says, 'Sing!' ... and obey the Spirit of the LORD."

Well, "I'm gonna sing" progressed to 

"I'm gonna pray ... 

to

"I'm gonna write when the Spirit says, 'Write.'"

And recently, I've been hearing that whisper more and more. 

So, the hiatus didn't last as long as I thought it might. 

And I'm still not promising more than this, 

"I'm gonna write when the Spirit says, 'Write!' ... and obey the Spirit of the LORD!"

Sometimes that writing will be here. Sometimes elsewhere. 

Sometimes it'll published with the click of a button. 

Other times, it may be a while ... or never.

But this much I resolve, 

To obey the Spirit of the LORD.

I appreciate your prayers for grace and obedience. 

Grace and peace with love to you, 

michelle


What has the Spirit been telling you recently? Are you obeying?