A Story About Faith and Authority

I want to tell you a little story about faith and our authority in Christ.

There are so many pits that we can fall into in this life.  A couple weeks or so ago,
I LITERALLY fell/stepped into a pit in a pitch black room (actually a trench but you get the gist).

trench

In 2003 I ruptured my L 3/4 4/5 and have been quite careful with my back since that time.  Once the reality of what had just happened registered in my mind, I began to think about how injured I was going to be.  Having had ruptured discs in the past, I knew that normally you do not jar your back, even a little bit, without serious consequences.

I crawled out of the trench and, thinking strictly in the natural, prepared myself for a serious problem with my back.  It took almost a week for it to get serious but it did, I could hardly walk or do anything else without being in agony.

You don’t always know the extent of a back injury immediately and I thought that I would be very lucky to be able to walk the next day.  It took almost a week for the real pain to start but when it did, it came with a vengeance.  The doctor said that the pain was likely delayed because my back had clenched and as long as it stayed in that clenched state, I didn’t feel the extent of the injuries.  It was only after a massage that the muscles be an to relax and the pain hit hard.

I have been hobbling around in pain as I tried to go about my daily life. Tim took over walking the dog because it just hurt me too badly.  He also took over lots of the other things I typically do in the house because I just couldn’t do them anymore.  I was doing everything I knew to do and had been told to do and the pain would not relent.

Sunday rolled around and I was dreading church because it is the place that I was most uncomfortable.  The pews put my back in a terrible position where I couldn’t find any relief.  I am so glad I didn’t give in to staying home because the Lord had a word for me.  Tim’s message was called Walking in Authority.  He talked about how we have the same authority to do things that Jesus did while on this Earth, to take authority over things that did not positively affect their lives.  One of his points highlighting this authority was when Jesus commanded the fig tree to never bear fruit again because it had no fruit at their time of need.  There was so much more to this message that is important about the absolute need to know the Father’s will in order to use this authority and reasons why your authoritative prayer might not have been/might not be answered (message is up on the ECC website Thursday or Friday if you want to listen).

As he was speaking, if occurred to me that if I truly believed what he was saying, I had authority to command my back to stop causing me agony and to start operating as God designed it to do.  I grabbed ahold of that truth and did just that.  Instantly, I could feel the difference and had relief for the first time in at least 1.5 weeks from the terrible pain.  The longer I sat ‘testing it’, the better it felt.

You see, God healed me of problems with my back that stemmed from the surgery (i.e. scar tissue) years ago so I KNEW that God’s will was NOT for me to be limited in my life by back pain..  I realized that my reaction and expectation when I fell was totally without faith.  It was a completely natural reaction and for someone God hadn’t already touched, understandable.  I should have crawled out of that trench and supernaturally laid claim the healing that had already been provided instead of just accepting the natural consequences/repercussions.

Still, God held my hand and shined a brighter light on this truth.  He did it without anger at my not immediately turning to Him, He did it without shaming me, He did it so that I could live life and live it more abundantly.  He did it, not because I deserved it (hardly!), but because He loves me.  He loves you just the same.

One more quick thing:  if I had not recently participated in a study of Christine Caine’s book Unashamed, I don’t think that I would have clued in to a message saying that I have the same authority as Christ.  God’s timing is perfect!  He pointed me to that study preparing me for the message that Tim was going to give last Sunday.  And by the way, the message was something like 109 in a series on the life of Jesus done chronologically so don’t think this was all coincidental, we have a great God working on the finest details of our lives.  Believe it!

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Jesus Isn’t Into Sharing

For some reason this week I was reflecting on how hard I used to have to work at being a good Christian and how it comes so naturally now. Why is it so different?

Flashback to the early to mid-90s, I truly had myself fooled that I was representing the Lord pretty well. I was always in church, at the church, or chasing whatever revival was nearby. I just couldn’t be in church enough. In looking back I can see how much I was struggling to be ‘a good Christian.’ I couldn’t see it then because I was too busy doing church stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with church involvement – just that for me it was a hiding place where I could feel like I was being a good Christian. After all, I was busy for the Lord right?

I kept tripping and falling over and over again. I was always losing my temper or control of my tongue. I was constantly in a cycle of hyper faith, failure, and repentance. Sometimes the cycles would last only hours and others I might have squeaked out a little longer. I would try so hard to follow all of the do’s and don’ts I heard laid out week after week but I just couldn’t seem to live Christianity out. Over and over again I would start praying a prayer of re-commitment and stop because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to live it out.

The Lord showed me this week the problem, He said to me “It is because in the past you tried to share your life with me instead of giving your life to me.” To me that answer was so simple and yet to profound.

That was exactly it – my problem all of those years was that I wanted Christ in my life but only when, where, and how I wanted Him. I have control issues and I was not willing to give up control of my life so I tried to share.

The Bible tells us:

  • I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing – but I planted myself just close enough to the Lord and church to have the association but not close enough that it would really impact my life and I could still do everything that I wanted
  • If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me – but I followed just close enough to see Him and His work in the far distance – but not close enough that I might be expected to be a part of the real stuff
  • Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness – instead of seeking Him first I sought whatever I deemed right for me at the moment
  • Do not worry about tomorrow – I lived in a constant state of worry over every.single.thing every.single.moment of every.single.day

It just wasn’t working for me – because Jesus isn’t that into sharing. I was trying to serve two masters and that never works.

I realized that because I chose not to give Him my life, chose not to completely surrender – my life could never have been that reflection of Him that I wanted it to be.

Without giving Him my life I was unwittingly not giving Him my pain, my heartbreak, my anger, my sins. Without giving Him my life I couldn’t receive His peace, His love, His forgiveness, freedom found only through Him, and reconciliation to God.

I could see all the He had to offer to me, all that He had died so that He could give me but I was unable to grasp Him and His free gifts because my hands we too full holding onto the tatters of my life. The more I tried to hang-on and control my life, the more that I was pulling it apart at the seams.

I can remember praying “God, I want to be good but I can’t. Take away my free will and make me be good. I am okay with that because it is the only way I can make it.” But God in His wisdom and His unfathomable love for me would never have done that. Instead, He let me keep making my own choices good and bad – mostly bad for a very long time.

Instead of leaving me when I made those bad choices, He was always there. I chose not to see Him. As a matter of fact there came a point where I believed that I had gone too far and that I was beyond His love and His grace. I didn’t care then because I believed He had let me down – after all I had done for Him. Oh yes, these were my thoughts and beliefs for many years. Still, I know now that He stayed very close to me.

After a long time, my heart began to soften and I began to think that God wasn’t such a monster using me as a pawn for His entertainment. I began to think about Him again and began exploring who the Bible teaches us that He is. What I found astounded me, how could I have missed it for so long? I missed that He loved me with a love beyond my imagination, far beyond my comprehension. He loved me whether I was living for Him or not. He loved me enough to die for me even if I turned my back on Him. He loved me when I spat at Him and His church for the pain I was feeling and He loved me when I swore never to grace the doors of another church. HE.LOVED.ME. and nothing that I did or ever could do would change that.

Don’t just read the words in that last paragraph – inhale them. Let Him make them come alive in you if you are not already overcome by that love. HE LOVES YOU and there is NOTHING that you can ever do to change that.

The power of that unfailing love washed over me as never before in my life. In the presence of that kind of love I freely and willingly gave my entire life to Him to use as He wished. In the presence of that kind of love there was no fear of what He might do with my life, no fear that I might fail Him again. The revelation of His love was a life-changer for me. Now I wanted to serve this God, before I only wanted to not go to Hell. I wanted to live my life to bring honour to Him, to bring glory to Him.

That laundry list of do’s and don’ts became a thing of the past because we do not live under the law but under a new covenant. In the revelation of His great love was freedom and security. In the revelation of His great love I could truly rest in Him.

Now I cling to Him for my hope and my support. I know that there is no other place that my help comes from but Him.  I know that if I do trip and fall that He is right there to catch me or to help me get back on my feet again. I know that He doesn’t get angry with me and start looking for ways to punish me when I disappoint Him. Now I am quick to believe the best about Him because I have come to understand His character as a loving God who pursued me through some very ugly things when I thought He would wash His hands of me and my filthy rags.

I cannot live in the presence of a love like this without wanting to give myself over to it. In the presence of a love like this there is an eagerness to please because there is an assurance that my best interest is His primary goal.

Have you fully given your life over to Him or are you just trying to share it and hold onto the things in and of the world? Do you realize His great love for you? I know you may sing the songs and have likely heard the words all your life. But do you KNOW it in your heart? Let the words sink in deep – JESUS LOVES YOU – meditate on them and let Him show you just how real this love is. Ask Him to flood you with His presence and fill your senses with Himself. He is right there waiting for an invitation…

Dehydration

I recently was feeling not well.  Not really sick – but certainly not well.  For over two-weeks I suffered with severe headaches, bouts of dizziness and a myriad of other symptoms.  Try as I might, I was unable to figure out what was going on…  I would have times that I felt perfectly okay but my well-being was inconsistent to say the least.

Finally one evening as I was staring out at the snow and praying that my headache would just let up a little bit, the answer seeped into my mind.  I was dehydrated.  My initial reaction to the idea was that it was just too easy an answer.  As I thought back over the previous couple of weeks, the thought really took root in my mind so I decided to investigate the condition online.  What I found was that there are a few stages of dehydration – the final stage is where emergency medical attention should be sought.  I was right there – lacking only one or two of the symptoms.  Self-inflicted agony for the first few weeks of the New Year – nice…

desert

Dehydrated

In looking back, it didn’t take me very long to figure out how I got into the situation and what I needed to do to get myself back to health.  Since June, Tim and I have been eating better (mostly) and following the blood type diet.  I had restricted my Dr. Pepper intake to one a day and was attempting to drink juice and water instead.  Over Christmas vacation we allowed ourselves to relax the food restrictions and unfortunately, I went too far.  I fell back into drinking lots of Dr. Pepper and stopped drinking water, stopped eating so much fruit and started eating a bit more grains.  It was inevitable that everything would get a bit messed up in my body.

I read up on how to safely get rehydrated and began treating myself.  Within a couple of hours the headache & dizziness were gone and the other symptoms were dissipating.  The cure was as simple as the cause.

Now after a bit of time feeling normal again and I began to wonder…  Might dehydration have been what was the matter with me spiritually some time ago?  A time when no matter how hard I tried to hold my life together by myself, I just couldn’t.  My life could be described in one word during that time:  INCONSISTENT.  Actually, there are a number of other one word hits that I could use to describe my life back then – depressed, messy, disastrous, ugly, bitter, painful, RUINED – I could truly go on and on.

I have often thought about my former life and wondered how things could get so very messed up.  One day I would be relying on God for my help (or at least, I thought I was) and the next I was scratching and clawing my way – trying to make a life for myself on my own terms.  Looking back it almost seems as if I was trying to be a Christian but on my own terms.  My terms did not include taking in nourishment that would feed my soul the good things that it needed.   I was at church every time that the doors were open, even during revival after revival and I was a proud, in-your-face with God kind of Christian.  BUT, all of the praise and the words of the preacher’s would wash away before I got home and I was left alone in my messed up life.  I didn’t bother opening that bible on my own, that wasn’t a part of how I wanted Christianity to work.  I wanted to be spoon fed during church and never have to do any work myself…   At the same time, I was spiritually proud – self-righteous.

To stay hydrated physically, we must bring good and pure things into our bodies.  I was drinking lots of fluids – but Dr. Pepper is far from pure (as heavenly as I think it is).  So to stay hydrated spiritually we must bring good and pure things into our minds to be devoured and absorbed.  My time outside of church in that former life was spent watching television and spending time with people who I was allowing to influence me rather than the other way around, time spent focusing on what was wrong in my life instead of on the solution – God.

Just as Dr. Pepper (and other caffeinated drinks) has a dehydrating effect on our bodies, so do the things that are not good and pure for our spirits.  We may go to church and listen to an awesome sermon but spend the rest of our weeks bringing garbage into our minds and it will dehydrate the good that we brought in.

The Bible is the Word of the Living God, we should need no other reason to want to study and understand things for ourselves.  If you need more convincing (as I once did), the Bible tells us many times how important it is to read and study God’s word.  It tells us of the benefits that we will reap if we invest our time in bringing this good and pure thing into our minds.  1 Timothy 3:16-17 says ”All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Mark 4:4 tells us that “man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”.

If I didn’t read for myself some of the encouraging things that God had to say to ME, would it really sink into my brain and hydrate me as it is meant to?  I don’t believe that it will…  Here are a couple of scriptures that I am finding incredibly encouraging lately and I found them only by reading for myself.

  • Proverbs 24:3-4 “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
  • Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
  • 1 Peter 1:6-7 “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
  • Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.”

I could go on and on with scriptures that encourage the heart – but that isn’t the point here.  The point is how many of us go around spiritually dehydrated?  We take a couple of days off spending time with God and little by little, we are drying up.  We don’t even realize it until suddenly we are in the midst of a mess and we are trying to figure out how we got there.

Here are the symptoms that I was experiencing when I was physically dehydrated:

  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Confusion
  • Sluggish

I can see when looking back to that time long ago in that former life that I had many of the same symptoms – only these symptoms were spiritual and they were affecting me more deeply.  I was weak in my walk with Christ, with every blow that the world offered I would become dizzy and almost fall, my heart was in a continual state of spiritual palpitations, I was confused on every side and I was certainly sluggish.

Just as my physical dehydration almost got me into trouble – the spiritual dehydration led me down a dangerous road that I didn’t even know I was on.  This road led me to falling away from my God when I needed Him most.  When the world offered one blow too many I decided that god didn’t care anything about me if He would allow such things to happen.  I walked away from Him and spent a number of years in a life that was utterly devastated.

I am so thankful for a God that pursued me, who didn’t forget me when I arrogantly swore Him off and everyone who was associated with Him.  It took years, but one day I woke up and realized the state that I was in and when I called out to God, He answered.  I lived too long even after this in a state of spiritual dehydration but as He so often does when we are willing, God took my hand and began to teach me and show me how a healthy relationship should be working.

Bible

Image via Wikipedia

Take a look at your life.  Are you perhaps spiritually dehydrated?  If so, the cure is as simple as the cause…  Take a look into the good book and find out what God has to say to YOU today.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Put Your Baggage Down!

For some time now I have been contemplating how connected healing is to willingness to forgive the source of abuses and painful memories.  The more that I think about their connection, the more that I believe that healing is actually contingent on forgiveness.  If I had not come to a place where I could conceive forgiving the ones responsible for the pain and painful memories – I don’t believe that my heart would have been truly in a place where it could be healed completely.

I have talked with my husband Tim many times about the journey of healing that God is walking with me.  I have said so many times that I wish I could identify steps for people to begin taking so that they too can be on the road to healing instead of stuck in the past – stuck in the pain.  But I couldn’t really identify exactly how or when I began this journey.   I just realized one day that I was walking this road named Forgiveness and that the longer I chose to stay on this same road, the easier the walking became.

Tim’s message this morning was really awesome and was based on the text Philippians 3:10-13.  “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Emphasis mine)

Tim also used the text Matthew 6:33 ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As he was delivering the message, realization began to flood into my mind and at last I understood how and when my journey started.  When I began to focus more on knowing and pleasing God (straining toward what is ahead) I began to forget what was behind me.  When I began to care more about what I did with God in my life and what God wanted to do with my life – I stopped looking backwards and focusing on the pain that was inflicted on me, on the old wounds that still often festered and infected every part of my life.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  My memory wasn’t wiped clean.  I didn’t suddenly have a case of amnesia that allowed me to forget all of the bad times in my life.  It was more like a choice that I made, with God’s help, to move the magnifying glass from the dark times over to the good things in my life.  Instead of dwelling in the dark memories I began walking toward new memories – toward what was ahead.

Tim said this morning “The spiritually hungry aren’t hung up in the past; they are anticipating what God has for them now and to come!”  Bingo.  I got hungrier than I have ever been in my life – I was desperate.  I started looking at God instead of looking backwards and suddenly the past began to grow dimmer and dimmer.

He also pointed out that it is vitally important to forget our past identities and move forward.  This particularly struck me…  That would mean that we also have to forget the past identities of those who have abused us or hurt us and move forward.  That is powerful.

If I can’t forgive the abuse and hurts of the past, I cannot move forward.

If I am not constantly straining toward what is ahead by moving forward in Christ, I am bound to look backwards.

We all have baggage in our lives from one thing or another.  Whether yours is/was abuse, financial distress or whatever your baggage may be, God is saying to stop looking at circumstances, stop looking at the past and look at Him, the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  He is inviting you to walk closely with Him looking forward and never backward.

So put your baggage down
there is rest and healing in this place – in Christ.

Rest for the weary

Don’t spend another moment looking into the past and dwelling on the pain that lives there.  Allow God to come to you and flood your life with love and peace and joy.

Thanks for the message honey, once again it got me thinking about how to do things better/differently; it got me thinking about straining for what is ahead and forgetting what is behind.

I have a song floating through my head this afternoon.  I don’t think that it will ever cease to be true and that is okay.  “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.  It took Him a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.  How loving and patient He must be…  He’s still working on me.”  43 years and counting…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Forgiveness Is God’s Specialty

I was going through my notes in my MySpace account last night and found this one that I had written after talking with a friend who was unable to forgive themselves for their past. I immediately had a sense that I needed to share it, but I was nice and cozy in bed and my Ipod just isn’t the best place for me to do such things so I decided that I really didn’t need to worry about it. Turning back to the book I am currently reading and what are the first words I read as I turn the page – the same as the very last words in my rambling below. So maybe someone needs this today.

March 17, 2009 – Tuesday

Forgiveness is God’s Specialty
Current mood: blessed
Category: Life

I have made a whole lot of mistakes in my life. Things that haunted me for years and years, things that kept me awake at night and drove me half crazy.

It seemed to me that no matter how many times I tried to commit myself back to God, these things would play themselves out in vivid colour every time I tried to sleep.

One sleepless night, as I lie awake beating myself up over my past, God spoke to me very clearly. I almost felt as if I turned around, He would be standing right there… He whispered to me so gently and said, “Who are you to not forgive yourself when I have forgiven you?”

It was a bit shocking and humbling. God had sent His only Son to die to cover my sins and for me it was as if that wasn’t enough. I was still holding a grudge against myself.

I won’t say that it was an instant change, but I realized after His words that I can’t hold on to that stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I still would go back and change so many things if I could, but that is not an option.

My only option is to commit myself to Him daily, live an upright life that is pleasing to Him, doing all things to for His glory.  Allowing God to make you into a new person requires learning to forgive yourself. People are relational. I can relate to others more easily if they have gone through or are going through things that I am familiar with. If I cannot forgive myself, how can they see the amazing grace and mercy provided by the blood of the most Holy Lamb of God? How can they see that their sins can be forgiven and that they can have a new triumphant life in Christ if I couldn’t when we share the same (or similar) pasts?

Let God give you heart knowledge of what forgiveness is – let Him show you what freedom feels like. He has already paid the price for our freedom, don’t let it be a waste – grab hold and never let go.

Forgiveness of someone who has deeply hurt you can be difficult but certainly not impossible. But something that most people don’t realize is that forgiveness is a choice. There is only one person in this world that I have forgiven thousands of times over, sometimes it is easier than others, but I choose to continue to forgive them – endlessly. Choose to forgive yourself, even if it means doing it continually. You will find that if you lean on God, He will help you to grow and prosper in that freedom and those times when you have to remind yourself of forgiveness will become less and less.

Do you trust Him? Trust Him to carry you through. When things happen to torment your mind over past sins, remind yourself that you are covered by the precious blood of Jesus.

I love this song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xUK2Dx5RkY) because I have learned at the first hint of the tormentor showing up at my door, to sing the second verse. I am suddenly saturated with that reminder that God does not see those things anymore and if he doesn’t, why should I?

Look at the story of Saul, when God made Himself known, Saul never looked back – only looking forward toward walking in God’s will for his life…

Forgiveness IS a choice. Will you choose to forgive yourself?

God Speaks in the Most Unusual Ways…

So, I recently noticed that the thumbnail on my left hand has a small indentation in it. Curious, I thought as I took notice and I ran my finger over it as if to try to understand it. Then there it was, the memory of my thumb being closed in a car door when I was a child. We were just arriving at my grandparents house – excited to be on my way to the county fair with my aunt and my sisters. I am not sure exactly how my thumb was closed in the door – but I will never forget the immediate moments that followed.

Since I found this little scar from my childhood, it seems that I focus on it a lot. I remember the pain that was associated with that injury. I remember how I screamed and cried when the door had to be opened to release my thumb, how the nail turned an array of colours finally turning black and eventually falling off. I remember being amazed that beneath what had become such a grotesque part of me was a brand new nail. At first seemingly perfect with the exception that it was a bit thin and not a lot of protection for a tom-boy such as me… As time progressed, the tom-boy in me was becoming a smaller and smaller part of who I was. I was trying out more ‘girlie’ things and wanted to grow my nails out. Funny, the replacement nail would grow only a little and without fail, it would fracture. I learned to accept that my nails, especially that nail, would never be lovely and feminine. Still, I never noticed the indentation which I am sure now is exactly what causes the fracture to occur in the first place.

As the Lord begins to speak to me about things much deeper than my fingernail, I am as surprised by what I am hearing and finding as I was about the indentation that I somehow missed for over thirty years. The Lord is asking me, “What other damage was there so long ago that you think has healed and maybe, it hasn’t?” “What else has left a mark that inevitably causes things to be fractured?” Most importantly, “Will you let me show you and let me heal those things completely?” Wow.

Why is it that when I trust God with my whole heart, this is a frightening question? I know things that I have hidden away that I don’t want to remember, to me, they are healed. If they aren’t, what will I have to endure to dig them up? I do trust God with my whole heart – with everything that is within me. So truly, why am I afraid? I fear because God never said that life would be painless and I don’t like pain.

However, because I do trust in my Saviour, I know that His plans for me are for good and not for evil. If there are things that He is telling me to deal with, then it is because He loves me and wants me free from even the things that maybe I don’t see with my natural eyes. And more than anything, I want to be the woman that He wants me to be.

Here goes………………..

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

Intimacy

Some thoughts from last year…

How many times do we take our significant others for granted? We would never do so intentionally, but our busy lives just take over. Most of us are on auto-pilot, we get up, go to work and/or take care of our children all day, prepare dinner, put the kids to bed – by the end of the day, we just collapse and let our minds vegetate or move on to other projects. We all have our ways of doing this. Mine, is crashing on the couch with the tv on, computer in my lap and puppy on my feet. Even in my rest, I am multi-tasking and I would guess that many of you do this too. Most of us would say we are just too tired to read our bibles or study. We have worked long and hard and just need to rest, so life goes on, day by day – on auto-pilot just getting through it all.

My favourite days of the week are Sunday and Wednesday. These are days that I have commitments for church & bible study. These days fulfill the need and desire to worship the Lord. Times that I can slow down and concentrate on His character and learn more about how I should be changing… I often wonder about this. Why, if these are my favourite days, do I not study more at home, take more time to pause and worship the Lord?

As I am writing this, it is just past 11 and I have just given in to go to bed even though I should have been asleep hours ago. As I settle in, I touch my husband’s face and tell him that I love him. As he mumbles incoherently, I smile because I know that he is trying to return the sentiment. As I look at him, I see him – I mean really see him. This is the man that I fell in love with, the man that I want to live out the rest of my days with. I marvel at the rush of emotions that flood through me. All of those beautiful feelings from new love are stirring, but now, they are complimented with trust and familiarity. Remember the moment that you first realized you were in love with that someone special? Remember the pounding of your heart, the shortness of breath, the joy, excitement and fear. Those are the feelings that flowed through me, those and more. When you first fall in love, you wonder if your love will be returned and it can be terrifying. There is a guarding against forgetting how completely and totally in love that I am with this man and growing complacent in that love, guarding against letting life get in the way and taking him for granted.

As I lie here watching him sleep, I know that I love him even more than that first moment. We have grown together and a beautiful friendship born out of love, respect and trust as well as faith in the Most High God. God has bound us together and allowed us to understand love as He intended it – in a way that some people will never understand. There is no doubt in my mind that I would do anything for this man and he for me.

So how then could I need to be reminded of how I felt when I first laid eyes on him, during our first conversation, that first time that he held my hand? How could I need to be reminded of how much I love him and how much I know that he loves me?

As I lay contemplating this, I realized that this is the same thing I have been experiencing of late in my relationship with God. I love Him deeply, much more so than when I first met Him. But, I often don’t see Him clearly in my rush to get through every day. On Sunday’s and Wednesday’s I am undeniably confronted with the person of God. I am surrounded by worship and must stop all other business of life. It is in those moments that I see Him, really see Him for who He is, the Almighty God, the lover of my soul, my Father.

As I thought about this further, I came to the realization that the real issue with both my husband and my God was the loss of intimacy. Intimacy is defined as a close personal relationship, a quiet and private atmosphere and a detailed knowledge resulting from a close or long association or study. I was allowing the business of my life to prevent me from seeing both my husband and my God clearly. A very dangerous thing… I have taken them both for granted by rushing through the days and just letting life carry me. Don’t misunderstand me, that doesn’t mean that I don’t deeply love them, it means that the close relationship – the one where my husband and I can practically read one another’s minds – is often clouded over with other things/people – the business of life. The connection is not operating to its full potential. It is at times like these where misunderstandings can occur and potentially worse yet, we carry on with the ritual of life not realizing that anything is wrong.

So where did all of this come from? As I went to bed I was praying for God’s wisdom in a difficult situation – one in which I will have to think on my feet. Praying that when this situation came to a head, that the Lord would talk to me a bit faster than usual – and maybe louder too. I want to be sure that I am hearing Him loud and clear instead of opening my mouth and sticking my foot in by uttering words that would hinder His purpose. So He did speak to me immediately and quite loudly he said, “Intimacy. That is how you can be sure to hear from Me in perfect time and more clearly. As closely as you were thinking of seeing your husband more clearly, see Me more clearly. Walk closely with Me and I will always deliver you. Don’t grow complacent in your relationship with Me, take the time to see Me for who I am.”

That came in loud and clear… Many days I still fail to slow down and do this and I suffer the consequences. I now I understand the reason why and I know the solution.

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

Standing on the Promises

Today’s sermon really struck me and I just feel the need to write down my thoughts somewhere.  Tim talked about the Israelites’ time in the desert (titled Warning Against Unbelief).

Some things that really hit me:

  1. What should have only taken a few months took 40 years because of unbelief.
  2. The people were stuck somewhere between bondage and freedom.
  3. The trouble started simply by people murmuring against Moses/God.  The murmuring led to self-reliance and finally disobedience.
  4. The people had no clear purpose, just existence.
  5. They began to put belief in things that don’t satisfy.
  6. Unbelief caused them to:
    a.  distrust God’s faithfulness

    b.  not realize that the very God who delivered them ‘out’ of bondage would deliver them ‘in’ the promise that He had made

    c.  not follow God where He leads

Look closely at number 3?  The trouble started simply by people murmuring – complaining.  Such a simple thing led to people dying without ever receiving what had been promised to them.  I might have been subtitled to the sermon ‘Watch Your Mouth’.

The people were consumed with the present rather than the promise.  They were too focused on their circumstances to remember that after many miracles, God had just parted the Red Sea delivering them out of Egyptian bondage and He surely could overcome anything else in their way.

A few statements that I liked:

  • When times are tough let the words of our mouths alert you to the condition of your heart.
  • When you face challenges, you either grow in independence or grow in your faith/reliance on God.
  • “Those who no longer trust God to bring satisfaction to their lives tend to imagine satisfaction coming in other ways, but it is vain imagination.” -TJL
  • Intellectual assent to the gospel with a lack of faith turns life into a desert.

The song that we used to sing at church when I was a little girl is ringing in my ears and I will grab hold of it and won’t look back.

Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
by the living Word of God I shall prevail,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing on the promises I cannot fall,
listening every moment to the Spirit’s call,

resting in my Savior as my all in all,
standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing,
standing on the promises of Christ my Savior;

standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

I don’t want to be guilty of unbelief in any area of my life…

I wonder how many of us are in a self-induced desert.  How many people are looking so much at our circumstances that we simply forget that our God is a God of miracles, He owns the cattle of 1000 hills, He is the Alpha and the Omega.  If we simply keep our eyes on Him believing the promises given, we can go into that Promised Land.

Anyone want to stand with me?

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

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