Sorry for the gaps between posts, but things have been crazy here. But as they say, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." I don't know who "they" are, but I'm hoping that they are right, or else I'm writing this for myself, which still wouldn't be all that bad.
What's new here in Spain? So glad you asked. God is doing a pretty good job at showing me my sin and all its subtleties in deception. It is exactly what I have been praying for, and even though it hurts a lot, I'm thankful for it. As John Hutch preached at my church before I came to Spain, when we see ourselves as small, we necesarily see God as big. Unfortunately, I tend toward the opposite view, seeing myself as big and God as small. When I am the lord of my life, all my problems and frustrations overwhelm me because I can't fix them, and I see God as powerless, trapped in His ivory tower in heaven, unable to come to my help. But when I make a conscious effort to view myself, my life, my problems, etc...in the way that God sees them, He becomes my all powerful Savior, who is with me at all times and working for my good in all things. With this mindset, God is REAL. The way He tells us He is in His word, not the way my sinful flesh tells me He is.
The most difficult part in all this is seeing how deep my sin actually runs. Especially my sin of self-sufficiency. The Lord has been constantly reminding me of how little I depend on His wisdom, guidance, presence, and grace to live my life. I'm so often unsatisfied because I seek satisfaction in God's gifts instead of in Him as the giver. Anyway, I am seeing that sin taints everything I do, and asking God to show me this fact has opened me up the way a medieval torture chamber would...except that God is good. He is doing it surgically, and although it hurts, it is the best thing for me. As Derek Webb puts it in a song of his, "When what is true looks more like a knife, it looks like You're killing me, but You're saving my life."
And so I continue to pray that God would take every ounce of self-love and self-suffieciency out of my life, so that I might love and worship Him above myself. It hurts to watch Him open me up and start taking so much out, but I trust Him to be the Master Surgeon, who is doing exactly what it takes to save my life. As Jesus said, "Whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it."
Also, while I was in Marrakech this past weekend (very interesting place, more to come later) we were all joking about how Christians can put a Bible verse on anything and get other Christians to buy it. Take TestaMints, for example. Why should I buy a package of TestaMints when I can buy Certs for a lot less money? And I don't have to drive to the Bible Superstore to get them either. Anyway, my idea was to market Christian deodorant with the slogan--"Let the Gospel be offensive, not your odor!" Throw a verse on there about your life being a sweet smelling sacrifice unto the Lord and you could make millions.
But if you like TestaMints and stuff like that, please don't be offended. I'm glad your breath smells great, it's just that I feel there are better ways for you to spend your money.
I will leave you with a verse from Psalm 70 that I read this weekend.
"Yet I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
O LORD, do not delay."
Amen. And He will come to our aid.