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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Quest

The quest began when I started going to Planned Parenthood on Thursdays. I normally take my lunch break earliest in our office, at 10:00 am. By then most protesters are gone from the place. So I would sit in my car and read Psalms and listen to God and talk to Him as I meditated on His word in the context of the place and time I was in. I fell into a pattern of reading, during the hour I was there, seven Psalms; one for each day of the previous week since I was there last.

I came one day to Psalm 36. I cannot tell you how deeply this has impacted me. The entire Psalm, of course, but focusing in on verse two: "For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin." At first I thought, "How appropriate for Thursdays! God, open THEIR eyes that they may see THEIR sin and hate it."

But how could I say that, when the people driving by, or going about their business, have closed their eyes to what goes on there or to what God approves or dissapproves? So I said, "God, open the eyes of the people of this city and of this land that they may see that they love the sin they support by their apathy, the sin they call choice, and sexual freedom."

But how could I say that, when there are people standing in a group on the sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood holding their beads and signs and wearing their robes, who have blinded themselves to the sufficiency of the blood of Christ to wash away their sins? So I said, "God, open the eyes of those who are captivated by the mysiticism and rituals that seem to them to make up for their sins and gain favor in your sight. Open their eyes and let them know that their righteousness is as filthy rags."

But how could I say that, when my brothers and sisters in Christ, who worship God in truth and humility, are not burdened for the children being slaughtered or for those whose daily steps take them closer and closer to the edge of the abyss, and they do nothing to snatch them back from the flame. So I said, "God, Open their eyes that they may see that their silence condemns the sinner to hell..."

But then I realized that "they" are me and how could I say anything but "God, I am a woman of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips. Show me if there is any unclean way with in me, and make me clean."

So this has been my prayer. God, I am a sinner, lead me in your way (Ps. 25) Open my eyes and let me see my sin and let me hate it. (Ps. 36) Create in me a clean heart. (Ps. 51)

So the quest began...

Once I commented on a blog and I received a blog-flogging
from some lurkers there. A dear little one thought that the
internet was a wonderful way to cloister yourself up--I mean hedge
yourself about-- and still impact the world. Maybe, but there is no "pressing flesh," no touching, no eye contact, no reassuring smile,
no tears to temper your criticism, no wink or sparkle that would indicate gentle humor or understanding and love.

I bring this up to say this: I haven't posted in a couple of weeks. I
have been thinking a lot, though. It takes me a long time to post the
simplest of musings, and a lot of tissues. I never intended for this
blog to be used like this. I wanted to put up ponderables and work
them out with whoever stopped by. I really did want to wrestle out some of the stickier issues in the Christian life. I expected to wrestle them out with unseen flesh and blood.

I have come to realize that God is using this to reveal to me sins of which He
will purge me. (Remember, I did ask Him to do this, and He has shown Himself faithful and powerful.) He is using it like a refiner's fire, and although I thought it would be through the corrective responses of bothers and sisters, as it turns out, it is through His Word and His Spirit.

When I post the tears flow. I am amazed, and it is exhausting. I came to realize this when I posted about the missing V key on my keyboard. This was going to be a simple, humorous, light-hearted post, but by the end of the post, I was convicted of my lack of gratitude for what God has given me; also that others, seeking God would be hindered by my words and behavior.

I don't want this to be a negative blog, but the purging of sin is a terrible and wonderful process.

I want while I am going through it, and forever afterward to say:

16 Come and listen, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.

17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.

18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;

19 but God has surely listened
and heard my voice in prayer.

20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me! (Psalm 66)

Answers? I'm not sure that I am going to be getting black and white answers like I would like:

I think I just got my "Propriety in
Prayer" question answered on the Pastors Bayly blog ( Baylyblog: Out of
our minds, too: B. B. Warfield on silence in the church... ).

Now I would appreciate answers to some other questions like:

How do you love like that?

Is passion, like love, an action and not a feeling?

How do you tame the tongue, putting yourself aside and the needs,
concerns, reputation of others ahead of yourself?

If the issue is, "On what or whom am I trusting for salvation?" then
how can Catholicism be called anything but heresy?

How can we "stand with our Catholic Brothers in the cause of life" if they are not our Brothers?

Would this be "unequally yoked?"

Exactly what do we call freedom, and when do we call it heresy?

Actually George, an 88 year old black guy who goes to Planned Parenthood on Thursdays has helped me to understand the Catholic Brother/heresy question more clearly than I have ever understood it before. I only met him once. He thought I said I was Saint Rachel, but I said that I usually go by just plain Rachel. He, being a "regular Catholic on the street" shared with me about how his sister was released from purgatory. He also stated clearly that although he thought Christ was "sufficient" that he also needed to do some things to "boost" himself into heaven.

Brothers, let us not grow weary of doing good, just because others use these same good works to justify themselves before a righteous and holy God. Be responsive to the burden that God places on your heart, it is the good works that He has saved you unto (Sword Drill: Where does it say that we were saved unto good works that He prepared for us in advance to do?)

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