|Sunrise at Ellerslie|
It feels strange to be posting on my blog, after such a long time away. I'm excited to begin writing on a regular basis again, and look forward to what the Lord has planned for this little blog. He is so worthy!
Ah, my dear reader, how do I begin to explain my time at Ellerslie? I've been home for nearly a month now (which is incredibly hard to believe!) and still find it difficult to answer people who ask about it.
The hardest question of all is probably, "So, what did you learn?" What did I learn in nine weeks? How am I supposed to answer that in a couple sentences? I'm still trying to figure that out... =)
But, for now, this would be my answer.
I am absolutely overwhelmed by everything the Lord convicted me of, uncovered, and taught me during my nine weeks at Ellerslie. Like Ephesians 3:20 talks about, my precious Savior did so much more than I had asked or imagined. Being surrounded by men and women seeking hard after Jesus Christ and immersed in the Truth of His Word day in and day out were both such incredible blessings! It was truly a piece of heaven on earth.
But, the thing that was the most precious of all was time spent alone with my Savior. Being able to bask in His presence without interruption. Learning to wait upon Him and walk with Him throughout the day. Understanding that my life is nothing, but His is everything. Beginning to grasp the reality of what it means to be "in Christ". Sitting at His feet and gazing on my Beloved's face! Oh, words cannot describe what a remarkable blessing those nine weeks were...what a remarkable blessing they were because of the One who was there. Words simply fall short.
Though there were many truths the Lord implanted into my heart, the main, over-arching theme of those nine weeks was His All-Sufficiency. It seems simple, doesn't it? But do you understand how inclusive the word all is? I didn't until the Lord began opening my eyes to this. Even though the Lord had given 2 Corinthians 12:9 as my theme verse for the year, He truly impressed those four powerful words upon my soul, as He started teaching me what it means to depend upon Him for everything.
"My grace is sufficient.."
Do you see Him, friends? Do you realize that at every moment of the day, in every temptation, every difficult moment, every trial, He is sufficient? It's easy to say, but it's another thing to live by.
We live in a culture with a cure for everything. Are you tired? Try caffeine. Weighed down with the cares of life? Go relax with a movie. Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Take anti-depressants.
Is this the way we've been called to live, as followers of Jesus Christ? Are we to look to Jesus just during devotions in the morning, but then depend upon something else for everything you need during the rest of the day? If He is the Sufficient One, shouldn't He be the One we lean on for...everything?
Now, I'm not saying that caffeine, movies, or medicine is bad in itself. But, what is your first turn? Is it to the natural, earthly realm or the All-Sufficient One?
Friends, this is something that I am learning and struggling through daily. The Lord is constantly opening my eyes to different areas of my life where I haven't been depending on Him fully.
A question that was posed at Ellerslie was this: If Jesus Christ were removed, how much of your life would stay the same? Are you so dependent upon Him that your life would completely fall apart...or...would your life look exactly the same?
You see, the fully dependent life is the life of Christ. In John 5:19, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." And again, several verses later, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." (John 5:30)
Jesus did nothing of Himself; He was completely dependent upon His Father. And if that's the case, why do we (as sinful human beings) think that we can spiritually survive by spending 15 minutes with Him in the morning? Oh my friends, may He teach us to walk in a state of utter dependence upon Him! He is our only source of life; without Him, we perish. And remember, we know that when we trust in Him, He will not fail us. He has promised and cannot lie. Therefore, have complete confidence in your God, knowing that the One you depend upon is the Faithful, All-Powerful Creator and Sustainer of the Universe! What a precious Savior we have!
“Are you resting and trusting in the sufficiency of Christ? Is Christ everything to you? If so, thank Him for his fullness. If not, perhaps you’ve been trusting in failing, deceptive, inept human wisdom; meaningless religious rituals; or some kind of mystical experience formed in your own mind and unrelated to reality. Maybe you’ve been thinking that your own self-denial or self-imposed pain will somehow gain favor with God. If that’s the case, put it all aside and in simple childlike faith embrace the risen Christ as your Lord and Savior. He will give you complete salvation, complete forgiveness, and complete victory. All you need in the spiritual dimension for time and eternity is found in Him. Repent of your sin and submit your life to Him.”
- John MacArthur