Friday, October 01, 2004

Coffee Shop Theology and Joyful Victory!

If you haven’t figured out by now, I work in a local coffee shop, as a barista. Today I was talking to one of my favorite customers, Pastor Chung. He is a pastor at a local church, is very approachable and is obviously being used of God in my life! Each time he sees me, he encourages me to go to church; not his church, just any doctrinally sound church! He is a very dear, Godly person.

I can’t help but wonder at the way the Lord has put Pastor Chung right in my path so I am unable to avoid him. This inability to evade him is terrific (but painful) because it means I can't avoid evaluating my current spiritual state. The greatest sorrow of my life right now is not the fact that I’ll never have biological children, nor that no-one would want to marry someone in my situation so I’ll probably never marry, not even that I live with severe pain from waking to sleep each day. NO! My overwhelming sorrow is I’ve chosen to avoid remembering my Lord Jesus Christ, both in my personal walk with Him and in the Breaking of Bread.

I don’t know why this is. I feel frozen somehow. I know Satan has been fighting to keep me in this vacuum state and, sadly, has been winning these past several years (EONS!). I long so to open up, to bloom again as the Lily blooms for joy at Easter-tide. That the Holy Spirit would fill me so wholly as He has in the past. I desire, whole-heartedly, my Blessed Redeemer and Friend's victory in my life. OH, to live in joy and peace, once again.

Today we spoke about Romans 7, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (vs 24)” I asked whether Dr. Chung thought this was a one-time process we go through or if it’s something we pass through repeatedly. I explained that when I was young, I'd heard a sermon from a gentleman who stated, categorically, that what is encompassed in Romans 7 is a one-time thing. Once we went through this process that was it! At the time, I believed what he said because it seemed right and I hadn’t yet started to question the teaching I was brought up in, as the Bereans did (“searching the scriptures to see if these things were true”). Since that time, though, I’ve come to believe Romans 7 is NOT a one-time thing. It’s something we go through repeatedly. I know, for me, it’s something I go through daily (or should).

I was so happy to hear Dr. Chung agree with me, without prompting on my part! He went on to say he felt I was experiencing this in some ways with my inability to remember the Lord by going to church, etc. He believes I've stopped at the point of “Oh wretched man that I am” in verse 24 and am failing to go on to accept the promise and hope of v. 25 “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then...”. Then the Spirit brought to mind this realization: Romans 7:25 leads into the joyful reality of Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” How beautiful!!! What a God we have! How can we not adore Him!!

This has been an eye-opener to me! I didn’t have time to stay and talk long with Pastor Chung, yet his loving rebuke kept with me throughout the day. Now, I feel a peace I’ve not felt in so long. The paralyzing fear of going to church/meeting seems to be gone and I feel I have the courage to go to church/meeting. I would value your continued prayers for me regarding this. Also, would appreciate prayers regarding my continued worsening physical pain. Just ask that I might be able to continue working and to have the grace to see Christ through the hurting.

1. Blessed Lord our hallelujahs
now to Thee we raise;
Never could we fully utter
All Thy worth and praise.
Praise the Lamb! Yes, Thou art worthy,
Who didst shed Thy blood
To redeem Thy saints and make us
Kings and priests to God.

2. Yes, we praise Thee, for Thou lov’st us:
And we bless Thee, Lord,
For the peace and joy and gladness
Which Thou dost afford.
Hallelujah! Thou, Lord Jesus,
Canst not cease to love;
Thine we are, and Thine for ever,
One with Thee above.

3. Praise the Lord! Yes, hallelujah!
Who would hush the song?
Join with saints from every nation,
Every tribe and tongue.
Praise the Lamb, for He is worthy,
Sweet eternal strain!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord! Amen.

By: H. D’A. Champney

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