Thursday, August 28, 2008

The C Word

I was talking with my friend Fallon earlier about "Confession." I don't know about you, but when I hear this word, I cringe.

It's scary. It's overwhelming. It's too personal. It's risky. It's...HONEST.

After the conversation, I sat and looked at the specific places the Bible points toward "confession." There are different types of confessions: There is the confession of sins to God for forgiveness, there is the confession of Christ as Lord with our mouths, and there is the confession of sins to others. Of course, the latter is the most intimidating (to me, anyway). I usually want to appear as if I have things together, like I am generally a good person. Confession is a great way to shatter these selfish motives and misconceptions of our faith. For me, confession is a good way of keeping me humble.

Of course, the most important confessions we do are our admissions of sin to God.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

For me, these times of confession ensure my honesty with God and also keep the lines of communication open. Once the air is cleared, so to speak, my relationship with God can go so much deeper. I suddenly am not focusing on myself, but am free to petition for others' needs. (This, by the way, is a great avenue to humility, too.)

"Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (James 5:16).

This is the same guy who said we should look at trials as joy! Why? Because these times test our faith, which in turn gives us steadfastness, or perseverance. I think everyone would agree that we desire perseverance. But are we truly willing to endure what it takes to develop such a gift?

I then read a very personal confession from Paul:
"For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing" (Romans 7:18-19).

I have written these exact thoughts countless times. I daily, no hourly, struggle with the war within to do God's Will. My flesh wants to do what will benefit itself--certainly not what will benefit others. I am amazed at how quickly I can go from handing my whole heart over to our God, to scratching and clawing to have it back. "But I want ____" and "It's easier to do____" constantly pluck at my insides. I want to make my Lord proud of me, but it's such a struggle. I want to hear "Cara, well done, faithful servant," when I meet Him. But will I?

This is my confession.

What's yours?

All scripture taken from:
English Standard Version (ESV) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

<>< Cara

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Elmo Loves Keagan and Kate

And Keagan and Kate certainly love Elmo back!
We took them to the Convention Center this morning to see Elmo Makes Music live.

I think Kate may have had a better time than Keagan did! She wore herself out jumping quite vigorously up and down on my lap and squawking every time they sang! She has recently
developed a habit of rocking constantly, which is me made over. Needless to say, she LOVES music! Keagan had a few...moments throughout the show. Those things are just a little too lengthy for little ones! But he did enjoy it, and we're glad we took him!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yakel Board of Parents

After a very lengthy meeting to assess our family status, the executive decision was made to...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Humility in Light of Holiness

“And I said: 'Woe is me! For I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.'”
Isaiah 6:5

“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'”
Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah has just received a vision of the Lord. He has been given the indescribable imagery of the glory of the Lord, and he is overwhelmed. His immediate response to this breath-taking scene is to deem himself “unworthy.” He recognizes that, when sized up next to this all-powerful, all-knowing BEING, he is but a breath of hot air. He admits this freely. He is unclean, and not only that, but his roots are unclean. He comes from unclean people, so the legacy was begun long before him, and it will continue thereafter.

After Isaiah's first response (what his only response possibly could be), he then hears the Lord ask if anyone would be willing to do His work. Without hesitation, it seems, Isaiah (I can imagine with quite a degree of humility) jumps up, ready for the front lines. The Bible does not allude that he hesitates in any way, not even for a second. He is ready for the task.

Here's what grabs a hold of me in this passage: Isaiah volunteers for the job after he proclaims his unworthiness and the Lord's Holiness. He acts out of sheer Humility.

Merriam-Webster gives a few synonyms for this word: “not proud or haughty, not pretentious, unassuming, insignificant.”

Not until we come to this realization that we are insignificant does God consider us for His mission. He does not need our talents. He does not need our quick wit or ingenuity. He certainly doesn't need our impressive four page resume.

Our God is one who would wait until the college applications have all been reviewed and the scholarship winners announced. Then, He would bring up the ones not chosen, the ones who didn't meet the standard...and He'd use them. Why? Because now that there's no question about whether or not they have gotten a little too big for their breeches, they can be used for His perfect mission without the risk of ulterior motives.

In the sight of God's awesome power and might, we can do nothing but admit our insignificance and menial existence. (I know: Could we be a little more positive today?!) But it's true. God is worthy of ALL praise, and we are worthy of none.

Oftentimes, I am guilty of trying to jump immediately to Isaiah's second response: “Here am I! Send me!” instead of first admitting my own insufficiency compared to God's Holiness. Initially, that doesn't sound too awful, right? At least I'm willing to serve, right? At least I'm not sitting on my behind, right?

Not really.

God does not need me. In our self-esteem-starving world, we so desperately want to believe otherwise. But He does not need us. However, He does want us. He wants us to partner with Him and work for His glory and honor. But to do that, we must learn to put off our selfish desires. This means we cannot expect a pat on the back or a “good work” for the sacrifices we make or the behind the scenes tasks. These things must remain just that: “behind the scenes.” At least in this life.

My prayer is that I (and you too) will learn to train ourselves to immediately respond with Humility in light of God's Holiness. And then, let's see what He can do through us!

All scripture taken from:
English Standard Version (ESV) Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

"Humble." Merriam-Webster's Dictionary. Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997.