Wednesday, June 30, 2010
I have just been thinking about something. I've been thinking about how so many times in "American Culture" especially, we only allow our trust in the Lord and the truths of His Word to affect certain ares of our lives., while there are other ares that we allow to "remain in the dark" untouched by his work in us, and what we truly believe.
Why do we do that?
The truth of God is meant to not just be a "Sunday thing" that we pull out when it is convenient or when, "everyone else is doing it." If we really believe the truth if God's Word, it should not be "compartmentalized" where I let God in this area and that area, but not in specific and certain other areas that I chose to keep to myself.
What REALLY is the issue?
Truthfully, maybe it really comes back to the whole issue of surrender...we don't allow his truth to enter certain places because we are unwilling to give them to his hands...and let Him control them. We get scared of what would happen if we gave him those areas of our lives...but I guess if we are afraid, maybe we don't understand His perfect love fully yet (which one of us really fully does?) Right now, none of us fully grasp His love because right now we know in part but one day we will fully understand because we will see him face to face.
But as we slowly surrender and allow him into the places where we had not allowed His truth to go, we discover something. We discover that originally we might not have wanted to admit the truth that we possibly thought that we would not allow his truth into certain areas of our lives in order to PROTECT THEM----to keep them in "hiding," so we think. WE ALL try to keep our "stuff," whatever it is, "safe." But if we think this way, maybe we have forgotten that EVERYTHING WE DO, EVERYTHING WE ARE, EVERYTHING WE WILL BE, is UNHIDDEN BY the eyes of GOd. He sees and knows EVERYTHING-ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING ABOUT EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US......and He LOVES US!! Jesus Christ was the ULTIMATE GIFT, example, and demonstration of God's love!!
So what do we discover in the end of it all?
We discover, that with each area that we allow his TRUTH to enter into, that, BECAUSE HE IS THE TRUTH, therefore, in reality it is MUCH SAFER IF WE ALLOW HIM IN, and try not to keep Him out of those areas that we all have in us.
THERE IS INCREDIBLE SAFETY AND HEALING IN BOTH ADMITTING THE TRUTH AND ALLOWING HIS TRUTH TO ENTER IN----it is what I am beginning to discover on this journey...I LONG that His truth would touch every area of my life and that it would not be some, (and that HE HIMSELF would NOT BE,) some compartmentalized "attachment" off to the side anymore....He doesn't WANT that for us!!
THE SAFETY THAT WE DISCOVER AS WE ALLOW HIM AS THE TRUTH TO PENETRATE US IS OVERWHELMINGLY WONDERFUL---WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE IT!!! I have but began to scratch the surface of the process, but am looking forward to walking with Him through it for the rest of my life!!
1 John 1:7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin."
EVERYTHING IS SAFEST IN THE LIGHT!!!!!
May God search ALL of our hearts because we are on the journey together!!
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I don't have much time to post tonight It has been a very long day but also very healing. I will update with more devotional stuff/thoughts about all that God is doing tomorrow, Lord willing. I just honestly don't really have time to do that tonight. Thank you so much for those of you that prayed for my mentoring session today--it was wonderful-was able to process some major things! TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!!
The more free I become, the greater my desire becomes to write on this blog. I always wanted to be a writer and knew I had that gift, but NEVER WOULD HAVE IMAGINED that God wanted to use it this way! See you all tomorrow afternoon.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I need to say something about my capitalization first, and that is that I capitalize not as a result of wanting to scream and judge you (God will do the judging part), but out of the need to EMPHASIZE AND EXPRESS. EVERYTHING I SAY, I say in love-the love of Christ compels me! So please don't let my capitalizing turn you away, but yes, I will not back down from the truth. I will say it in love, but not recant or compromise.
I've prayed and feel it is truly okay to post this. In the previous posts, I've talked more clearly about how I wasn't saved when I went to Mexico, and now I'd like to share (without using names of individuals), how God used my team and other events to seriously begin drawing me to Himself when I was there for the long-term year and a half. The reason of this post and all of my posts is basically two-fold. The first reason for my posts is that I want God to get glory!!! I mean that! Yes, I do talk about what He has done for me, but it isn't about me----its all about Him----Our Holy God getting the glory He alone deserves from me being used but as a channel as He chooses....surrender for His glory!!!! It is all I can think about!!!
The second reason for these posts is a very real burden that I have for others that are just like I was-- which was that deep down I was "serving myself out of selfish ambition" (how disgusting!!!) although it liked like I was "serving God" and wasn't even a Believer or follower of Christ. I am concerned, yes for lost outside of our church doors, but also for those that may be lost inside our churches--who are busy "serving God" with external deeds and actions but their hearts are far from Him, because they are possibly trusting in a prayer or a decision or false assurance that some other human tried to give them that they "were saved" when they truly have never trusted Christ. (Please read the post "Why Praying the prayer wouldn't work for me" of you haven't done so yet from June 26th 2010) On the other hand I don't want to see people turned away from having that personal encounter and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My desire is that wherever they are in the process of being brought to salvation, they would truly be brought one step closer, whatever that step means. Let me say again, IT IS NOT MY OR YOUR JOB TO SAVE ANYONE----IT IS GODS HOLY SPIRIT WORKING IN LIVES AND HEARTS THAT DOES THAT CHANGE OF HEART IN A PERSON. YOU OR I CANNOT SAVE ANYONE!!!
So with all glory to the Lord alone fully intended, let me tell you why it was a part of His plan to bring me to Mexico and what exactly He did to use others in my life.
Starting with my arrival in July of 2008, I was placed with an amazing family. Now, it really kind of boggles my mind why this would be. But, as I began to live with them, I sensed the love of God overflowing out of them like I never had before from anyone else in my life. Now as I say that I think maybe part of the reason for this wsa that apart from my team, I was alone in a new culture that I didn't have a clue how to begin figuring out and understanding, so maybe that is why their love for God and therefore for me, was such a bright spot in the picture. PLEASE, BELOVED FRIENDS, DO NOT TAKE IT WRONG AS I SAY THIS BECAUSE SO MANY OF YOU FAITHFULLY AND CONSISTENTLY SHOWED ME CHRIST'S LOVE THROUGHOUT THE YEARS OVER AND OVER AND I KNOW YOU DID THAT CLEARLY--SO PLEASE DO NOT THINK THAT YOUR ROLE WAS INADEQUATE OR SOMETHING!! I AM NOT SAYING THAT!!! I AM NOT SAYING YOU DID ANYTHING WRONG!!! I AM TRULY DEEPLY GRATEFUL FOR YOU ALL AND THE LOVE, CARE, PATIENCE, AND TENDERNESS YOU HAVE SHOWN!! but maybe sine I was finally out of my comfort zone of familiarity, the love of Christ was more obvious.
So for almost a whole year, God's love was showered on me by this dear couple. One day the wife and I were by the washing machine and she asked me if I memorized scripture. And i didn't know what to say. She asked me to quote in Spanish some verses I knew, and beyond John 3:16 there wasn't much. All of the sudden I felt nervous and embarrassed, like something wasn't right between me and God, but I wasn't desperate enough to figure it out. NOW PLEASE ALLOW ME TO AGAIN MAKE THIS VERY CLEAR. I AM NOT SAYING, I REPEAT I AM NOT SAYING THAT IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME MEMORIZING SCRIPTURE OR DON'T DO IT, YOU AREN'T A CHRISTIAN OR SOMETHING. (that is between you and God), but for me it was like a red light flashing that something wasn't right because this couple was so into the Word of God. This couple was in love with it and I didn't have a CLUE what that was like. They would come with devotions for the teachers each morning and I would just think, "How DO they DO that? SOMETHING is different about them!"
LET ME AGAIN CLARIFY THAT LOVING GOD'S WORD IS NOT A REQUIREMENT OF SALVATION!!! THE ONLY THING THAT IS GOING TO GET YOU TO HEAVEN IS TRUSTING ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY IN WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR YOU ON THE CROSS WHEN HE TOOK YOUR PUNISHMENT ON HIMSELF. HE PAID THE DEBT YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID. He lived a perfect life without sin and knowing no sin took your sin (all of the things that you have done that offend God) upon himself because HE LOVED YOU THAT MUCH!!!! HIS OWN FATHER (THE ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD), HAD TO TURN HIS FACE AWAY FROM HIS SON BECAUSE HE COULD NOT JUST 'ACCEPT" the sin as all of the wrath was poured out on HIS ONE AND ONLY SON. THE TWO HAD NEVER KNOWN SEPARATION--and they WERE INDEED SEPARATED!!!! IMAGINE THE PAIN OF THAT!!!! That is not all!!!JESUS CHRIST not only died but He conquered death once and for all. Three days later, GOD raised HIM FROM THE DEAD PROVING THAT HE IS GOD!! DEATH WAS SWALLOWED UP IN GLORIOUS VICTORY! And when you TRULY understand the depths of His love demonstrated in His death and resurrection, it demands a response.YOU EITHER ACCEPT IT OR REJECT IT. OH MAY GOD but LEAD YOU TO THE TURNING POINT OF TURNING POINTS IN YOUR LIFE!!! THE POINT OF REPENTANCE_TURNING AWAY FROM YOUR SIN AND TRUSTING IN CHRIST. ETERNAL LIFE IS THE GIFT OF THAT ONE PRECIOUS ONCE IN A LIFETIME MOMENT> GOD desires that all (although not all will do so) would be brought to a knowledge of the truth. If you have questions e-mail me!! Let's correspond! IT is YOUR ETERNITY, beloved friend, YOUR ETERNITY!! Hell is real! AND THAT IS WHERE EVERYONE GOES THAT REJECTS JESUS CHRIST AND the KNOWLEDGE OF HIS TRUTH. I know people don't like hearing that today, but it is the ABSOLUTE UNCHANGEABLE TRUTH FROM THE WORD OF GOD!!!
So back to the Word of God--loving the WORD OF GOD will be a natural response when you really understand what GOD'S LOVE REALLY MEANS AND WHAT HE REALLY DID FOR YOU.
So how did God use my team in Mexico? Well for starters I was amazed. Amazed at the qualities that I saw in them that were genuine and the real deal. I saw how kind they were (in general-not saying my team is perfect here by any means---we all still need to grow). The love of Christ shown through them even in the smallest tasks like greeting someone at the door, answering the phone, cleaning an apartment, interacting with one another.
One couple in particular, I saw how they were so secure in the Lord--they knew Him intimately--I could sense that and was so JEALOUS!! I wanted that! I wanted to scream out of desperation, and say that I wanted what they both had, as one of them went to help me get something figured out with my visa one day, bu I was a "missionary" and my pride was still in the way.
Then there were a few others-guys that worked at our camp in construction. And I saw how they worked tirelessly day after day. They had come to serve the Lord as a number one priority whereas, I, honestly had come for, well, more of a vacation that ended up really miserable at that point-a dream that had become a nightmare---wow how disgusting!! My sending agency and church sent me on a vacation??-- I am so sorry all of you----GROSS!!!! I was there to live for myself--not to serve God at all!
Three was one lady that would talk (not in pride) but just share as we met to plan conference, about how she would pray and be able to truly discern and hear things from the Lord. I was amazed by that and thought, "My life isn't that way!....How does she hear from God like that? What kind of connection does she have to God?" Obviously she had the connection that I did not have, which was a real and vital growing relationship with God! (WE KNOW THAT NOW!!)
Then there was the day when another one of the ladies talked to me as I worked on arranging the library for the Cross-Cultural Training center. She talked about how she was teaching some students and had been asking them for the last two years teaching them about what salvation really was. See said they always said something along the line of trust-but trust without a change of the heart...and she wasn't sure if they really understood. So then, of all things she turned to me and said, "So Crystal, WHAT IS SALVATION?" And I looked at her--everything inside of me was trembling. and I said what her students had said "Trust." and she said "Yes, but there is also repentance." (to see my previous discussion on repentance and it's role in salvation, please look at the post titled, "Sharing My faith-It's different Now" on June 24th and I believe there are other places as well.) Well, when my team mate and co-worker said that, it made this sense of bitter dread and fear well up in me and my first thought was, "BUT I'VE NEVER DONE THAT!!!," and let me tell you, I was scared to death! But again to proud to ADMIT it!!!
A few weeks later, I was at our camp property spending the night and I had a dream about hell. And I am not just talking about smelling the fire and brimstone that we read about in the Bible and hear preached about (if by chance "hell" is mentioned in a sermon today!!) In the dream, I kid you not, I FELT the literal separation from God! IT was a sense of loneliiness UNLIKE ANYTHING I CAN EVER DESCRIBE!! People were NOT UNSAVED DOWN THERE GOOFING OFF AND HAVING FUN!! IN THE DREAM, I WAS IN HELL SEPARATED FROM GOD, surrounded by fire for eternity, and separated from everyone and everything. It was the SEPARATION that just awed me. I awoke with a start---the dream was probably the most vivid dream I have EVER HAD in my entire life this far. AND I woke up thinking, "WHAT IF IT IS ALL REAL??? WHAT IF I REALLY DON'T KNOW God? AND WHAT IF I REALLY AM GOING TO HELL?" When my team member asked how I had slept when I went to their house for breakfast the next morning, I told her I had had horrible nightmares, but again was too proud to say what about or admit my lost spiritual condition.
Then there was a day soon afterwards that I could never forget. I was walking across a blue pedestrian bridge near one of the biggest parks in town. My destructive behaviors had been long underway in their path and I heard God say to me, (AND YES, I DON'T WANT TO BE EXTRA-BIBLICAL BUT I KNOW IT WAS HIM WITHOUT A DOUBT!!) "Crystal, do you know what your problem is? and I responded in Anger "WHAT??" and He said to me as clear as day, "YOU DO NOT KNOW ME!!" and I responded back, "WELL, What do YOU want me to do about it?" And you would think that at that point I would have fallen to my knees in repentance--I mean God-the Creator of the Universe I walked on--had JUST SPOKEN to ME. But I knew I couldn't just "pray a prayer" and get saved. PLEASE READ THE "WHY PRAYING THE PRAYER WOULDN'T WORK FOR ME" post from June of you haven't done so!!
Something else that spoke volumes to me was a simple thing like when a team member pulled me aside and asked if I would forgive her for the fact that she had had some not right attitudes towards me when we were on a road trip/vacation together. I thought, "Wow! I never confess to anyone like that! What makes her that way?"Ir the fact that once I was in the states she was on a border trip and made it a point to take me out to coffee because she wanted to make sure there was nothing between us. She wanted it all cleared up---her before God, and her before me, and me before her. I was ASTOUNDED and just like, "Wow! WHO ACTUALLY DOES THIS ANYMORE??" (At this point on December of 2009, I highly doubted I would be back with my mission agency at all.)
And then there was the day that I went over to a Mexican's home and was feeling all of this condemnation. and she flat out confronted me and said, "Crystal, ARE YOU SURE you are a Christian?" I wanted to say that I wasn't, but man, MY PRIDE!! So I said, trembling, "No, No, it's not THAT, it's just that...." and I made up some stupid answer that was a lie instead of humbly saying, "yes, it is as you say!"
I started teaching a Sunday school class to new believers, "just to have something to honestly write my home church that I was "doing" something (YUCK!!!!! I AM SO honestly SORRY YOU GUYS!!!!) And as I taught the lessons I found out that I couldn't even teach a simple lesson-it took HOURS to prepare--and I am not kidding! I was again so JEALOUS for what they had!! They came with joy and I wanted it so bad---I didn't have it!! I think they knew something was "up" with me and "not right." They would talk amongst themselves quietly in Spanish, but never to me. But I was too PROUD!!!!
And then I got asked to "prepare a devotional for the youth of our team" during a camp planned for them. I read a Psalm or something. I had them talk the whole time as much as possible.....because I didn't have a clue what to say and didn't want them to know!!
And one more story. I think it was the 13 or 15 year old daughter of a couple on the team. I can't remember exactly what she said now, but it cut me to the core. She said something along the lines of "wanting to live a godly life so that she would have a truly good testimony when she was older." and when she said that, all I could think was, "Wow! YOU are so young and when I was your age that was the farthest thing from my mind. I wish I was like you!"
And speaking of bad integrity, how many hours did I actually spend on language study a week? Whoops! I started out okay but things began to slack as time went on. It didn't help as I got more and more frustrated with my tutor either, (NOT that this was an excuse for my sin) (very sincere and deeply profound sorry to the person who knows who she is that was the language aptitude person at that time.)
The TRUTH IS THAT EVEN THOUGH OUR SIN AFFECTS OTHER PEOPLE AND, YES, WE SIN AGAINST THEM, WE ULTIMATELY SIN AGAINST GOD FIRST!! IT IS HIS HOLY STANDARD THAT WE HAVE VIOLATED!!!
And then there were a few kickers--the last one when I was in Mexico where My team member seeing my distress gave me the "To Consent to be loved, while unworthy, is the great secret." quote, which I am not sure who said it. And I knew that she was right--she had hit the nail on the head. She said that was my prescription to healing0-and it was. God revealed His love to me---and now I am never GOING TO BE THE SAME AGAIN!!!! I had NEVER BEEN ABLE TO CONSENT TO BEING LOVED BY GOD BEFORE IN LIFE--I THOUGHT MY SIN WAS TOO MUCH FOR HIM TO FORGIVE!! IT WAS A LIE!! AND IF YOU ARE THINKING THAT RIGHT NOW---YOU ARE BELIEVING A LIE AS WELL. THE ONLY SIN THAT WILL SEND SOMEONE TO HELL IS REJECTION OF THE GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE THAT HE OFFERS--end of story!! What do you really believe, dear friend? What do you really believe?
And then there was when I was at headquarters in the states with my mission agency. I spent about two weeks there recovering, and trying to go to counseling, that I was, by no means, ready for....yet. And a dear friend of mine there that I admired sat me down in her apartment one afternoon and said, "You're having such a hard time forgiving yourself for what you have done. It's like you are trying to earn your salvation. Are you sure you are a Christian?" This was December 2009, and STILL I was not ready to admit the truth. Of course she was right!
SIDE NOTE: IF you are unable to forgive yourself for things you have done, it may possibly be because you do not understand what God's love truly meant for you. Ask God about that if it pertains to you--just you and Him.
And then there was my Pastor at my home church about two or three weeks before the Lord Found and saved me. He said a quote in one of his sermons which was, (and I am not sure who said it--I will try to figure that out ASAP), "Do I really believe that what I really believe is REALLY REAL?" Think about that one! It just about pout me through the floor when He said that one, because my answer was of course, still "No!"
So you see, with no condemnation, I tell you a few of the stories of how God used people on my team to really work and begin to draw me to Himself, as well as others, like my friend at the mission agency headquarters, and my pastor at my home church. I AM NOT PROUD OF HOW I LIVED BEFORE, BUT I KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT I AM TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY FORGIVEN FOR IT ALL BY THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST THAT WAS SHED IN MY PLACE!!!
SO what about you, beloved dear friend? God challenges you saying,"Do you BELIEVE that WHAT YOU REALLY BELIEVE is REALLY REAL?" Is it real, or is it something you just pull out on Sunday to go through the motions and look good? Is what you REALLY believe REALLY real to the extent that it changes you day in and day out and you can't help but live for Jesus Christ with every cell of your being?
TO GOD AND TO THE LAMB BE THE GLORY FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sunday, June 27, 2010
I just wanted to honestly say something in the midst of all of this. A fellow co-worker pointed out that she was scared that my tone in the last two posts may have been some frustration at a few points (which I agree was the truth) and she was concerned that maybe I was crossing the fine line of confidence in the Lord towards arrogance. And I just want to say honestly and humbly before all of you that I HAVE NOT ARRIVED---as NONE OF US HAVE YET and that this has been an issue that I have been going to the Lord regularly about in this whole process, since I realized what He had done for me, because I realize that Satan would love to take a "good thing" that God has done and find a way to destroy it somehow and get his fingers into it.
I have asked the Lord to search my heart and honestly feel that nothing was intentionally said out of pride, but if there were and are elements of pride, I have asked for his forgiveness regarding that....and again I feel there is no condemnation. With all of the major changes that have happened in my life over the past five weeks, it has been almost too much for me to know how to handle myself as well...God's working....plus learning to really feel again all at once literally. I understand that some of what I say is maybe on the brash side but I don't feel I need to apologize for it, and it is written out of the motive because I feel so burdened that especially the "American Christian Culture" hears it. We have to face it the TRUTH DOES OFFEND.
Bottom line-Don't look at me--keep looking at Jesus Christ. So if there was arrogance unintended, I am sorry for that. Let's keep growing together in Jesus....and thanks for walking with me on the journey. Thank you, my sister in Christ, for pointing that out! I appreciate your honesty as I am honest with you..it is why we need each other.
Well this is the question that someone out there is inevitably asking...and I think now that I have made it abundantly clear as possible what happened to me--that the Holy Spirit did a real and true transforming work in my heart and life, which CHANGED ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, and in His perfect timing brought me to the place of trust and repentance (salvation--that initial turning point, it is safe to post this one. God really has an order to things.
So before I continue, for those of you that are my church friends, yes, it's true. I didn't make it to church again this Sunday. (the second Sunday in June, I think) It was an accident, and I didn't mean to. I woke up literally at 8:37 a.m. and yes, my rode had already gone without me (which was fine--I would NOT have expected them to wait---I wouldn't have been ready anyways!)I don't feel ANY condemnation for not being there, it is just that I feel a sadness. YOU see, let me explain, I No longer go to church because it "looks spiritual to everyone else" (Whatever that means, or "because I HAVE TO." I go because I WANT TO.... I now go because deep on my heart to the core, I WANT to go...I LOVE being thereto worship with those that are His....and I am just a little sad because I am missing that this morning. So even though I am missing out on being with my brothers and sisters in Christ and am not there, I can still worship God here---and of course it is different than worshiping together with a small part of the members of His Body, but we do NOT "have to go to church" (another misconception in Christianity at times) to worship God. OUR WHOLE LIVES NO MATTER WHAT WE DO, (Or don't do) are an offering to worship to Him anyways. AND IT ISN'T ABOUT WHAT WE DO OR DON'T DO ANYWAYS..............IT'S ALL ABOUT WHAT HE DID FOR US!!!!!!!
And Yet, I KNOW that GOD understands....He truly UNDERSTANDS that I woke up feeling totally exhausted and slightly ill because I wrote one more page in this healing process that took a lot out of me last night, and He KNOWS that I have tons more to write today--and He KNOWS the strength that that will require--which is every ounce of strength that I have. And HE UNDERSTANDS and knows my heart better than even I do. And it REALLY IS OK.....IT IS OK TO REST IN HIM TODAY AND TO TRUST HIM IN IT ALL BECAUSE HE KNOWS WHAT I TRULY NEED AND WILL GIVE THAT TO ME,(and all of us), UNSPARINGLY. No condemnation.
So back to the topic of this post. "So you weren't a Christian and you went to the mission field?"
And my answer to that question(WITH LOTS OF EXPLANATION TO FOLLOW so you understand) is 'Yes. Yes I did."
And then someone might ask (not that anyone has yet), "But that is awful!!! Weren't you deceiving and lying to us?"
And then My answer to that question is, "Yes, and for that, and to everyone that was involved or touched by that, be it supporters, my missions agency, or simply people that prayed for me, I am so so so very very very sorry." And I don't say that a some flippant worldly sorrow thing such as the "I am sorry," like the five year old that gets caught and needs a spanking and wants to avoid it at all costs. I say that from a NEW heart that God in His grace and mercy has TOTALLY changed and brought to trust and TRUE REPENTANCE---He brought me to Himself!!!! Praise His GLORIOUS NAME AND REJOICE WITH ME!!!! LET'S CALL IT WHAT IT IS!!! LET'S CALL IT--THE TRUTH--- HE SAVED ME!!!! It ISN'T that I was a Christian before and was just "cold" in my walk with God (for example as some have tried to tell me). I say this lovingly with all due respect. I know you mean well, and it is a hard one to swallow, but I KNOW the truth. Walk with God???? I DIDN'T HAVE A WALK WITH GOD--THERE WAS NO RELATIONSHIP.
So before anyone starts panicking allow me to explain--to explain HOW GOD ha taken all of this and woven it together and explain as He has showed it to me as I HAVE LOOKED AT MY LIFE, and the tapestry it is becoming by His design, WITH HIM!!! And please read this carefully...VERY CAREFULLY....seek to UNDERSTAND what I am saying.
THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION-------no one can cast the first stone...Jesus said, "Go, and sin no more!!" At the point of salvation THAT is what HE SAYS TO EACH ONE OF US!!! (Not that we won't continue to sin, but it is a different ATTITUDE and WAY OF LOOKING AT OUR SIN-----we no longer willfully want to sin against Him because WE UNDERSTAND and I mean really understand what HIS LOVE IS AND WHAT HE ACCOMPLISHED FOR US BECAUSE OF THAT LOVE.)
So about the mission field some of you are probably wondering well, "WHY did you want to get there so bad if you weren't a Christian?" That is a valid and good question to ask. Thank you very much for asking it.
Allow me to explain that one by saying the following..........
I don't want to delve into the past of my life (that God has so graciously been healing) to pull it out and make it look like a big sob story for everyone (Because it ISN'T ONE), but I do need to say something. What I need to say is that from a definite very early elementary school age, I came to a place very early on that through various experience, I believed several lies. One of the BIG lies was that, "I would never have anything valuable to contribute to the world that was meaningful, when I grew up." (MAJOR LIE YOU All----major lie even now we see it is not true) But I believed it, and therefore operated out of it JUST AS IF it were the truth. On the other hand, even though I believed that, I desperately wanted to have something to contribute that was valuable....and had an "I'll show everyone I can do it" attitude. So both of these mindsets were going on at the same time. (No, I do not need a psychologist and yes, it makes sense to me WHY that was the case.)
So for most of my school years I was operating out of that lie. On one hand I felt that I would never have anything to give the world, and the future looked hopeless (REMEMBER THIS WAS THEN...and not TODAY NOW) and on the other hand I wanted to do something that would last forever. I became interested in missions, because although I had not been brought to trust in Christ, I KNEW deep in my heart that through JESUS CHRIST ALONE was THE ONLY WAY TO BE SAVED. When I went on my first high school mission trip in the summer of 1996, I had chance to "lead two boys to Christ," which really to me then was nothing other than "a stinking (sorry for the strong word) prayer that someone would pray." But Yet it was at the same time----salvation (if their "conversions" were real and they would last forever.)
See, I was involved in something that would last forever----ultimate fulfillment, or so I thought. I wasn't going to NOT TELL PEOPLE THE TRUTH--I KNEW WHAT THE TRUTH WAS--in a sense of asserting to certain facts! I may not have known it truly for myself but I was NOT going to deceive others by telling them something incorrect. Their eternity was at stake.....and so was mine but I didn't realize it yet.
So very quickly because missions filled the requirement of "having something fulfilling to contribute that would last forever" it became a "god" to me. AND I MEAN EXACTLY THAT!! Getting to the mission field to "serve God" BECAME MY EVERYTHING. (Actually it is disgusting because I wasn't "serving God" at all---I was totally serving MYSELF----and that is SO SO SO SO SICK that it just about makes me LITERALLY sick!) I was going to do whatever I had to do to get what I thought was going to make me happy and fulfilled (which was going to the mission field), completed. NOTHING and NO ONE was going to stand in the way. AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I DID!!!!!(Major pride! THAT is also disgusting!)
Someone may ask the question, "Well, wait a minute-just hold on! Didn't God lead you to the mission field?"
And to that my answer is, "Yes, in the midst of all, yes. He very clearly did lead, provide, open doors, etc. (and for those that don't know that amazing part of the story, I will have to type it up sometime.) It was very obvious that as much as I was trying to keep my hands in it and not let go of it, He was allowing and working so that it would come together too.
I did whatever I could to ensure that it would happen......including at Moody and even up to the time of applying with my missions agency. As I mentioned before in the "A Change of heart and a willful consent to be loved" post, my integrity literally STUNK. I don't think we need anymore explanation here--ENOUGH HAS BEEN SAID!! (and for that, like I said, I am so so truly very sorry.)
So the next question someone might ask could be (not that anyone has yet, at least not to me directly), "So were we WRONG TO SEND YOU TO THE MISSION FIELD?? I mean for pete's sake, we WERE STANDING BEHIND YOU IN ALL SENSES!!"
And right now I am about ready to cry my eyes out because my answer to you is, "No! No! You were not wrong to send me to the mission field even though I was not a Christian! And from the bottom of the depths of my heart, I say, "Thank you!...Thank you..thank you...thank you for loving me enough to be standing behind me while this was all going on and even I did not yet realize it completely. AND ABOVE ALL, THANK YOU FOR PRAYING BECAUSE THE PRAYER OF THE RIGHTEOUS IS POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE AVAILING MUCH...and as you prayed you knew NOT what YOU WERE PRAYING FOR--or WHAT WAS REALLY NEEDED IN MY LIFE!!
I continue by saying what I truly believe and that is this. ME, BEING SENT TO THE MISSION FIELD AS A NON-CHRISTIAN, WAS ALL WITHIN THE PLAN, THAT HAD WRITTEN FOR MY LIFE BEFORE THERE WAS TIME,, OF OUR PRECIOUS LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!! Let me tell you why!!
Why would that be? Well, let me say that the mission field was to me like the corporate world is like to so many in the world. They have a dream of what they've always wanted (like a CEO, or an actress in Hollywood, or a musician, or maybe it is something as simple as finding your spouse, getting married, and having kids only to discover that your family isn't what you thought it would be, or maybe it is always wanting to have kids with your spouse and finding out you can't, or whatever.) They climb to the TOP of the ladder and they make it. But after a short while of being on top, and having accomplished everything that they thought was going to satisfy them, they realize it doesn't satisfy and are left helpless and empty....and I believe that is the place that a lot of people despair to the point of wanting to end their lives. (Oh if only those precious, lost, and hurting people would but READ THIS--to GOD'S GLORY!!...and be turned to His salvation.)
You see, everything that I just wrote about in the corporate world is EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I WENT LONG-TERM IN MEXICO. My short term experience for six months in 2005-2006 was very euphoric, although hard at the same time-I hadn't hit the bottom yet. God HAD TO SEND ME LONG-TERM TO SHOW ME THAT everything I had dreamed about and put al of my strength, energy and hope in for 13 plus years was NOT GOING TO SATISFY ME!!! THAT I WAS EMPTY< DESPERATE and OH SO VERY MISERABLE WITHOUT HIM!!! He could have brought me to himself some other way, but it wouldn't have been the same as me "going out there to get it" only to discover it didn't satisfy.
And IT IS AMAZING HOW GOD WAS USING MY TEAM MEMBERS IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THIS ALTHOUGH THEY DON'T TOTALLY KNOW HOW YET---AND I PLAN TO TELL THEM, AND MAYBE EVEN WRITE IT IS A FUTURE POST (IF GOD LEADS WITHOUT USING SPECIFIC NAMES FOR PRIVACY)--- not sure we will see---have to pray about it. It is clear that GOD began trying to slowly and truly draw me to himself around this time (July 2009) a year ago. THE details are TRULY amazing!! To God be the glory!!
So, back to the part about nothing satisfying and the corporate ladder,part of my despair and drastic choices in Mexico had to do with the fact that I realized I had nothing left and I mean NOTHING!! Nothing left to hold on to.......nothing left to look forward to...and nothing left that I had as a goal to accomplish. At 31 years of age, I had succeeded and DONE IT all. And another part of my drastic desperate choices was the fact that I was hurting so bad inside from unresolved losses that I had never allowed myself to really grieve--and I did not know it!!
So when I came back to my hometown and moved into the House of Hope, at first all I could think was condemnation and all that had happened and the choices I had made that had led me here. I THOUGHT I HAD FAILED GOD AND EVERY OTHER PERSON THAT I CONSIDERED A FRIEND THAT HAD STOOD BY ME ALL OF THIS TIME through the "years of being led to the mission field"----BUT IT WAS ALL A LIE.
When I started looking at my life from beginning to end and processing it and dealing with it and grieving and God began to heal things.....He had no other option but to show me the depths of His love like never before.....that is the "WHY and HOW" of how God orchestrated it all together.
And Honestly, before God as my witness, and the Spirit of God that now dwells inside of me testifying that I am HIS FOREVER, I can say this.I am totally overflowing with joy being used by God here and now. Lord willing (and I MEAN THAT TRULY), I will go back to the field for different reasons when the time is right and until He moves me on and clearly says he has something else planned for me. HE HAS THE GOOD WORKS PLANNED IN ADVANCE FOR ME TO DO (Please see Ephesians 2:10. IT IS NO LONGER ME LIVING FOR MYSELF, doing what I want, WITH MYSELF ON THE THRONE---EVERYTHING I DO WITH MY VERY LAST BREATH I WILL DO FOR HIM AND FOR HIS GLORY ALONE!!!!!!
HE DIED FOR ME AND SAVED AND FOUND ME, AND THAT IS ENOUGH OF A REASON!!!!!!!!!!!
So that is my story--I have been raw, honest, open, unafraid, and am under no condemnation in doing so!!!
But what about YOU dear friend? What about YOU????
If you haven't read the "Why Praying the Prayer wouldn't work for me" post from yesterday, I encourage you to do so. It is IMPORTANT!!!!!
And then I have two questions for you to honestly seek God about and answer----JUST YOU AND HIM!!!
What is your "service for God" really about, way deep down? Is it about you "looking good" in the eyes of others or "pleasing yourself?"? If the answer is yes, it's ok--JUST BE honest WITH GOD because mine was!! And if your service to God is not out of those intentions, WONDERFUL!!! I don't want you doubting that it somehow IS if it ISN'T.
I don't know anyone's heart--only YOU and God REALLY do and that is why I address both sides--it is not out of me trying to condemn anyone---or judge anyone--I AM NOT GOD OR THE HOLY SPIRIT BY ANY MEANS AND AM NEVER WANTING TO BE----I WOULD DO A HORRIBLE JOB!!!! I am just asking questions to get you thinking honestly and processing that is all.
The second question is Is it possible that your "service to God" is just something that you "do" but in the midst of it you don't truly KNOW HIM? Examine yourself before HIM and at the same time Allow the Spirit of God, who knows all things and searches all things, to EXAMINE YOUR HEART.....be still and simply allow Him the opportunity.
I know I say things strongly sometimes, but I can't apologize for it! GOD'S TRUTH IS STILL THE TRUTH----and that is ABSOLUTE DEFINED TRUTH AS BY THE WORD OF GOD AND NOTHING ELSE!! Our culture has gotten so stinking wishy-washy about truth and what truth REALLY is, that it is absolutely pathetic!!!! We Don't STAND UP FOR ANYTHING ANYMORE (in general cultural terms as a whole, I mean)AND BECAUSE OF THAT WE WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING!!! The next statement is graphic, but the truth of what I feel RIGHT NOW!!(If I was in a certain place of the world where my head would be CUT OFF or I would be put to death for saying that, I would be perfectly OK with that!!)
I SAY IT STRONGLY BUT BECAUSE OF ONE REASON AND ONLY ONE!!!! THE PRECIOUS LOVE OF CHRIST COMPELS ME!!!!!!
Saturday, June 26, 2010
I whole-heartedly realize that this post may really cause some people who read it to get upset and that you may not agree with it. I understand it might shake things up a little bit, but I WILL NOT apologize for it in advance.I am not afraid of that! And IF it does shake you up or you don't like it, please do not stop reading posts here just because you don't agree with it (or one or two things I say)! TEST what I am telling you against the Word of God----and seek HIM about it all---just before Him---you and Him--because that is all that is going to matter in the end anyways. More than anything, by this post I am explaining reasons behind why God saved me the way that He did. I sort of said this already, but I feel a need to say it again more clearly.
I want everyone to know as I have said before that, yes, I grew up in a home where my parents were believers (Followers of Jesus Christ) but I did not really understand what that meant until about five weeks ago. I am a new creation-the old has gone-and the glorious new has come. I grew up never sure that I belonged to God, in turmoil and constant desperation that played itself out through many various ways in my life. Because of that desperation and the lack of assurance I was trying to earn my way for salvation without knowing that I was doing so. I "prayed the prayer" a gazillion times without any real heart change done in my heart by the Holy Spirit towards my sin, and without ever REALLY TRUSTING Him,l because I was so caught up in "CONJURING UP THE MOMENT" IN MY OWN STRENGTH to know somehow that it had really happened to give myself assurance. I could not "Get saved" by "praying a prayer" because ultimately I was trusting in "the prayer" and my own strength to conjure up "the moment" rather than Christ alone. WHAT I AM SAYING IS TOTALLY THE HONEST TRUTH!! God had to get me to the place where I would STOP TRYING TO CONJURE UP THE MOMENT OF SALVATION FOR MYSELF BY MY OWN EFFORTS, AND WHEN HE DID THAT, I WAS FINALLY TRULY SAVED!!!!! I believe THAT is why God had to save me as He did, without me even knowing the day or the time that it happened,--it is a mystery to me---BUT I KNOW IT HAPPENED--and have a rough idea of when it may have happened, BUT ONLY HE KNOWS ALL OF THAT!!!!
My next thoughts are this-----and I say them in love and carefully with all due respect. IT is WONDERFUL and we SHOULD SHARE THE TRUE GOSPEL our children. BUT I think sometimes we may need to be a little more careful HOW we do that. (and I don't have kids, so maybe I shouldn't talk, BUT I WAS A CHILD ONCE.) It is every parent's desire that their child would come to know Christ at a young age--WE WANT THAT FOR THEM (and I think this goes for Sunday School classrooms and teachers as well.) WE WANT THAT FOR THEM MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. But we should remember that we are but channels to be used of the Lord, so that a seed is planted in a child's heart and life--that GOD WILL BRING TO GROWTH in His time and way. WE cannot RUSH GOD'S WORK IN THEIR LIVES!!!
What I am REALLY TRYING TO SAY IS THIS. do children get saved at young ages of five and seven and six?? Yes! I BELIEVE MANY DO. But there are others OTHERS who are like I was--where they understand in part, "pray a prayer", as we so often say, and may not really "get it" yet. THEREFORE we should not assume that just because a child "prayed to receive Christ" that they are are Christian. And if we are worried about that fact, we should PRAY for that child and ask God to bring them to understanding in His time and His way.
In American culture, especially, it seems like the gospel has been really watered down in some senses, and we really need to think about that, because while it IS a simple message, watering it down is NOT GOOD!!!. (I am NOT the first person on the planet to be saying these things!) Some of our tracts even say, "If you prayed the prayer, you are saved." SALVATION IS NOT PRAYING A PRAYER OR TRUSTING IN THE FACT THAT "YOU PRAYED THE PRAYER ONE TIME-----OR A GAZILLION TIMES LIKE ME!!!! But as I said, it doesn't mean that God doesn't use the prayer as a way that many truly express their trust in Christ. SALVATION IS TRUSTING CHRIST AND CHRIST ALONE---the point where God works in you so that you abandon all self-effort to earn it (salvation) and give up!!!!
My next point is this---WE DO NOT TELL PEOPLE THEY ARE SAVED!! GOD TELLS PEOPLE THEY ARE SAVED!!!! HE GIVES THEM ASSURANCE--WE CANNOT DO THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TRY!!!! Romans 8:13-17 says, "for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
So the bottom line is this, and I say this with the fullness of Christ's love compelling me and with tears in my eyes) WHAT about YOU, dear friend? What about YOU?
Go ahead and answer these few questions before God--Just you and Him in the privacy of your heart and be honest with the answer--one by one individually, we all come to a place where we have to do this.
Are you trusting In Jesus Christ alone for your salvation--his death being the all-sufficient one-time payment on the cross for your sins??
And if you aren't really trusting in Christ alone, and you know truthfully inside that you are NOT DOING SO, like I did, despite the appearance of being a "Christian" for years, may I lovingly ask you this tenderly?
What are YOU REALLY trusting in? Be Honest with God. WHAT are YOU trusting in REALLY, DEEP DOWN, beloved friend
Be Honest with God. IT IS OK TO DO THAT---HE ALREADY KNOWS YOUR TRUE ANSWER AND NOT ONE OF US CAN HIDE ANYTHING From HIM!!
Are you trusting in your own "good" deeds or efforts or "works" to save you? It won't work because our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him compared to His holiness and absolute perfection.Isaiah 64:6 says, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
Last question-Is THERE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST POSSIBILITY that you are trusting in either of these two things rather than Christ and what He did on your behalf??
1) Are you possibly trusting in a time when "you prayed a prayer" and trusting in THE PRAYER RATHER THAN CHRIST JESUS ALONE?
2) Are you trusting in the fact that someone somewhere (or maybe several people along the way) have told you you are saved for assurance of your salvation and belief that you are saved, RATHER THAN GETTING THAT ASSURANCE FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD HIMSELF AS THE ROMANS 8 passage I quoted states? NO ONE ELSE CAN GIVE YOU THAT ASSURANCE BUT GOD HIMSELF!!!! I KNOW, beloved friend, I HAVE been there!!!
I say what I mean on this blog and I am not afraid to do that..and I WILL NEVER take this post down, no matter how much "flack," so to speak, I get about it! We need to hear this, everyone! It IS TIME to wake up. I love you with Christ's love and that is why I tell you this---even if it is really hard to hear. If you have questions, e-mail me---I'd love to talk to you.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Proverbs 14:10 says, "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."
I think this post is a continuation of a statement that I made in the "Surrender" post, which was, "As I have surrendered this whole healing process to the Lord, I must say I have stood in amazement as I have seen how He has intricately and so beautifully orchestrated each step of it, like I NEVER COULD HAVE DONE!!! He has truly provided for the deepest needs of my heart in the midst of it all...."
I guess what I want to say is just more of a praise report! I can't explain all that has happened within me-it has truly been the Lord's working on the inside of me!! I want to say that it isn't just the realization that, like the re-quoted part above, that the healing process itself has been so intricately woven. There is MORE TO IT ALL---IT IS A REALIZATION ABOUT MY ENTIRE LIFE AS A WHOLE!! What I now can see very clearly as a result of carefully looking through my life, taking account of the good and the hard times that have happened, is that all of it has been guided by God's hand, even before I truly understood His never-ending, perfect love for me, and ALL that HIS LOVE means. It all just makes everything even more clear to me that GOD DOES NOT WASTE ANYTHING IN OUR LIVES---HE WANTS TO USE IT ALL IF WE ALLOW HIM TO DO SO. The joy, as the Proverb says is something that everyone else can rejoice in, It just makes me totally desire that you would be able completely share in in the practical and real sense of the experience that I am personally living out--and yet I know that it is my walk with God and experience with Him, and that your walk with God is personal to you and is your own. Yet, I plan to share that joy with you as much as possible!
However, while the joy, the peace with God, and the peace with myself are so precious in experience and in their truth to the extent that NO WORDS COULD EVER DESCRIBE THEM, there is another part of the Proverb. "Each heart knows its own bitterness." I think of that knowing in the sense of also being intimately acquainted with it, just as we are with the peace and joy. as I have said in previous posts, everything mixes together as an offering of worship to God! And I say this as the truth, as a matter of prayer for you. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR ME BY ANY MEANS!!! YOU ARE ALL INVITED TO THE PARTY OF CELEBRATION, AND IF THIS WAS A PITY PARTY NO ONE WOULD BE INVITED EXCEPT FOR ME. (AND THAT IS NOT THE CASE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!!!)
My first prayer request is that if you should read this post between Saturday, June 27th, 2010 and early Tuesday morning June 29th 2010, I ask you to pray for me. I have about ten years of my life to write about/process and work through. (THE ONLY REASON WHY I AM DOING THIS IS BECAUSE GOD HAS CHOSEN IT TO HEAL MY LIFE IN VERY REAL WAYS!) Please pray for me, for the Lord to give me the strength and the COURAGE that I will need to press forward in the times that I am writing during those days...because it isn't easy.....I won't lie.
Secondly, I also earnestly ask prayer for my mentoring sessions this week especially----because again the mentoring part of working through and processing has reached a new level of grief and challenge for me. I meet with my mentor on Tuesday, June 29th, in the afternoon at 1:45 (Pray that God gives the time needed in that afternoon) and on Wednesday morning, June 30th, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Pray for my mentor too--that God would give her wisdom and strength.....and the continued ears to truly graciously understand...truly listen.....and hear me. (God has been SO INCREDIBLY doing this, but we can just keep praying for it!)
Thank you for your prayers!! Even though it is hard at times, I am TRULY looking forward to even more healing and growth in my new relationship with God on the other side of it all, even though, in many ways, I will still be "in process" as we all are! I deeply cherish those of you that are standing behind me in all of this!
IN THE END IT IS ALL ABOUT JESUS!!!!!!!
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I want to preface this post by saying that by writing it i have no intention of bragging about me or anything by writing it. I just have to share more of what God is doing. First off I just have to say that now that I KNOW that I KNOW that I KNOW that I belong to Christ and that He has brought me to Himself, the way I share my faith has totally changed! I used to tell people before and enjoyed it in the sense (probably a pride thing) that I was telling the most important message in the world. But it was just a fact--not a living relationship with me to our Holy and Perfect God-the Creator of all!!
Now when I share my faith it is very different--different in the sense that it is no longer an attitude of "I want a notch on my belt, so I'll share the gospel so God is pleased with me (ukk!) cause I did my duty today" (Ugg!! Gross! It was the wrong reason and motivation, not to mean that God didn't use it at times! and YES, I USED TO ACTUALLY THINK THAT!!) NOW it is an attitude of "God, my loving Father, tell me WHO YOU want me to share with today--and give me the words that they need to hear because you only know where they are in the process of being brought to Yourself. YOU KNOW WHAT THEY NEED TO EXACTLY KNOW POINT."
And it has been amazing because usually at least once a day, I share with someone---people in totally different situations from one day to the next. The other day I was in McDonald's and I overheard a tiny part of a young woman's conversation without meaning to. And The Spirit of God spoke to me and said "Go talk to her" and immediately an opportunity arose when the person that she was eating with left to go do something else for 20 minutes. I didn't know exactly what I was going to say word for word beforehand, but I prayed and God gave me the words to say to her. I KNEW that I could NOT LEAVE THE BUILDING 'TIL I HAD SHARED WITH THAT DEAR STRUGGLING PRECIOUS YOUNG LADY. Today it was a Jehovah's Witness, yes again, in McDonald's. I could feel Christ's love for both of these people even though I did not know them. I told the lady that was a Jehovah's Witness today that it was Jesus Christ's love that compelled me to tell her although I had never met her before. His love, through me, was literally loving her! It was a very real and tangible thing!! May HIS LOVE COMPEL US!!!!!
Sharing our faith is NOT about getting "Notches on our belts because we witnessed" That's a poor and incorrect reason! BUT SHARING OUR FAITH IS ABOUT TRULY BEING SENSITIVE TO THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND BEING WILLING WHEN HE TELLS US TO SHARE WITH SOMEONE, NO MATTER WHERE WE ARE, TO DO IT, AND SIMPLY OBEY HIM--WE ARE HIS AMBASSADORS-SPREADING THE FRAGRANCE OF HIM TO EVERY PLACE.
Sharing our faith is also NOT about us trying to "convince people to 'get saved.'" Here is some news for all of us---WE DON'T CONVINCE ANYONE TO GET SAVED!!! ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN DO THAT---IT IS HIS JOB---so let's not try to take it from him---we won't do it any better than He will. He will convict them of sin, and draw them to repentance (which is simply a turning--a change of mind about our sin--NOT a "WORK" for our salvation--NOT something that we muster up to try to "fix" our lives.--it is a response and a gift from God that He gives to us because we truly understand that HE loves us and we, therefore, CANNOT EVER LIVE THE SAME--at least we don't desire to keep living in the same dung pile of sin that we used to) and trust in Him in HIS TIME AND HIS WAY.
When we realize that it isn't OUR JOB to save anyone, there is a freedom and a joy in that--because we are simply a channel to be used as God sees fit and we can totally leave the results to Him---in His perfect all-knowing hands! GOD KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING!
Beloved, pray for me!! Pray for me as I am in my hometown. I know that in God's perfect timing I will return to Mexico, but let me tell you that there is such a JOY in my heart-a joy from finally being truly at peace with God and at peace with myself after years of turmoil and distrust in Him, trying to "conjure up" my "salvation moment" by MY own efforts (Yes, I DID DO EXACTLY THAT--I USED TO ANYWAYS---NOT ANYMORE.) There is a joy and a peace in knowing that for the first time in my life I am truly EXACTLY where God wants me to be and DOING what He wants me to do, and that He us using me for the remainder of this time and season of my life here. (I don't need to SEE the results--I can just trust Him to do his work-that His Word will go out and accomplish the purpose for which HE has sent it!)
PLEASE PRAY FOR ME!! PRAY that I will make the most of the opportunities that GOD gives to me and KNOW when to speak and when not to, and WHAT to say at the proper times--that I will know how to answer those that ask me and that GOD brings across my path. May I, and all of us that know Him, have "Conversation seasoned with salt and light and the true knowledge of Him."
IT IS A JOY TO SERVE HIM----AND I WILL NEVER GROW TIRED OF THAT---WHEREVER I AM!!!!
REMEMBER THIS ALSO-I do not mean this as a cliche that "we often throw out there" but remember that when we get to heaven, there will be no unbelievers to receive Jesus Christ's free gift of salvation. I do not say this to make people have guilt-trips--let the Holy Spirit again speak to you and me as well about it. WE CAN ONLY SHARE ABOUT JESUS AND HIS ULTIMATE GIFT OF LOVE ON THE CROSS ONCE AND FOR ALL DYING FOR OUR SINS AND TAKING THE PUNISHMENT THAT WE SO TOTALLY DESERVED TO PAY HERE ON EARTH!! WE WON'T BE ABE TO DO THAT IN HEAVEN.
2 Corinthians 2:14-17 "But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life And who is adequate for these things? For we are not like many, peddling the word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God."
2 Timothy 4:1-3 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."
Ephesians 5:15-17 "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is."
Colossians 4:2-6 "Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."
2 Corinthians 5:13-15 "If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I've been thinking about something else these past few days. I've been thinking about the concept of surrender to God and God alone. But I am not simply just thinking about it as a concept, but thinking about surrender as it has been a reality of experience in this joyous new-found relationship that God has engaged me into. As I have said before HIS LOVE AND ALL OF IT IS BETTER THAN LIFE ITSELF! The past five weeks have been better than anything else in my life that I have EVER KNOWN BEFORE---the last five weeks have been so truly wonderful it is just like all the former years that I felt so desperate and lost have been erased!! Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland." As I have been walking through this process with God very clearly leading it, i see that these verses (yes, although intended towards Israel) reflect what God has done with me. As I am able to process and grieve the "former things" I ma able to truly let them go, forget them and leave them behind. And I see the NEW THING that God is doing in me--HE LITERALLY HAS MADE ME A NEW CREATION IN HIMSELF!!!! IT has indeed SPRUNG UP IN ME!!! He has made a way in the literal desert that I was in and now it flows with springs of LIVING WATER---Living water that comes from HIM ALONE!! THERE IS NO OTHER SOURCE FOR THAT!!!!!
Wow! I just had to say all of that!! But back to the topic of surrender. I've been thinking about why it is so hard for us to really give God the control of things in our lives. (And I am not trying to judge anyone by saying this, I am just telling from my personal experience where my struggle was at.) Part of the reason why I have personally struggled with surrender had to do with the fact that I had never truly trusted Him for who He was and is, and had also never trusted or understood the depths of His true goodness.
When we understand that we can really trust God and that He is totally completely trustworthy and that EVERYTHING---and I mean ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING that He does for us is TRULY GOOD and that EVERYTHING--NO MATTER WHAT WE HAVE DONE OR WHATEVER IS SOMETHING THAT HE WILL WORK TOGETHER FOR OUR GOOD IF WE ALLOW HIM TO, surrender becomes very easy---BECAUSE WE HAVE THIS DEEP CONFIDENCE IN HIM THAT NOTHING WILL EVER BE ABLE TO SHAKE. It is a confidence that He will do nothing other than what is the VERY BEST for us. THERE IS A TRUE JOY IN REAL SURRENDER--giving it all to Him and letting Him take it and take control!! Wow! I am loving this relationship with God!!!!
So can I lovingly challenge you and ask a few questions that you can just get with God honestly about and speak to Him about?
Are you struggling to surrender something to God in your life right now?
Why are you struggling?
Is it simply honestly that you aren't ready to let go of it?
Is it that you don't trust Him or His goodness for that area of your life or particular situation?
Or is the reason something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT than any of the things I mentioned? I don't want to put words in your mouth for you-that is NOT the goal here.
What is it that God wants you to surrender to Him today?? If it is hard, just be honest and tell Him--He loves our honesty with Him and can work through that in us!
Seek the Lord about these things--JUST YOU AND HIM. You don't have to answer to me or anyone else about your answers.
IN THE END IT IS ALL ABOUT US EACH INDIVIDUALLY BEFORE GOD ANYWAYS----AND THE RELATIONSHIP THAT WE EITHER DO OR DO NOT HAVE WITH HIM. IT ISN'T ABOUT ANYBODY OR ANYTHING ELSE!!
As I have surrendered this whole healing process to the Lord, I must say I have stood in amazement as I have seen how He has intricately and so beautifully orchestrated each step of it, like I NEVER COULD HAVE DONE!!! He has truly provided for the deepest needs of my heart in the midst of it all.....maybe I will tell more of that story in a few more ways, if God leads me to, in a future post--we will see. HOW BEAUTIFULLY HE CARES FOR THOSE WHO ARE HIS OWN---Love that surpasses all understanding!!
I also must say that the things that come out of my heart and mouth when I write these blogs many times totally amaze me!! I KNOW that GOD has made my Heart NEW--I would have never said things like this before---and TRULY MEANT THEM FROM THE DEPTHS OF MY INNER BEING!!! Lord, all the glory is YOURS!!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
I am in the states right now in my hometown as everyone knows if you have been following this blog at all over the past month or so. God has truly brought me into a real living intimate relationship with Himself!!! But what I want to focus on today is that right now my Pastor at my sending and home church has been preaching through a series on the Book of Revelation since the Fall of 2009 or so. (I obviously was not here for some of it)
It has been interesting listening over the last few months. I must say and make it absolutely clear that (Not because of his preaching in any way.) but rather because of what was my personal lost spiritual condition before God, I have had a variety of reactions to the sermons over the past few Spring months. These reactions at first were pure boredem, then fear, a sense of condemnation (I wasn't God's yet), then eventually peace, worship, awe, and joy (Because I had been transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light.)
So we are close to finishing up Revelation and this past Sunday he preached from Revelation 21:1-22:1-5 (you are just going to have to go and read it-I am not going to be able to quote it all word for word tonight. And there were two things that I have been thinking about throughout the last two days. My first thought has been that the Ultimate source of joy about the New Jerusalem is not the beauty of it and all that it will contain. But rather it is that God himself will be present with us. Revelation 22:3-5 says, "There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever." WHAT JOY THE THOUGHT BRINGS ME THAT EVERYTHING WILL AT LAST BE TRULY AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE----AND WE WILL HAVE GLORIOUS PERFECT UNHINDERED FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD!! IT WILL BE AN HONOR AND A PRIVILEGE FOR US TO SERVE HIM!!!!! THERE WILL BE A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH! THE OLD WILL HAVE PASSED AWAY---AND WILL BE NO MORE!
But there also is a second thought that I have been pondering. I've been thinking about Revelation 21:21a quite a bit. It says, "And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl." (I encourage you to read the whole portion of text so that you get it for yourself and things don't get taken out of context.) I think it is significant that each gate is a single pearl.
I started thinking about how a pearl is formed, which is basically that a natural pearl forms when an irritant, such as a piece of sand, works its way into a particular species of oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, the mollusk secretes a fluid to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating is deposited on the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed. It is out of 'suffering' in a sense that something so beautiful and valuable, the natural way, is formed.
So why is it that the gates each being made of a single pearl is so significant? I guess it was a really concrete reminder to me that in eternity each time we enter those gates, hopefully we will remember that Christ's suffering for us was the greatest sacrifice of all......that our salvation came at the highest possible price-Our Beloved Savior's suffering on our behalf. Now let me make it clear that His suffering was a sacrifice made ONCE AND FOR ALL!!! It was not a continual suffering in the sense of constant irritation which forms a pearl, It was something He did ONCE FOR OUR SIN IN OUR PLACE---and that one time of suffering was totally and completely sufficient in EVERY WAY to pay the penalty for our sin that WE DESERVED TO PAY. May the gates of the New Jerusalem remind us that He not only suffered for us, but ALSO that WE CAN ONLY ENTER THE GATES OF PEARL IF WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT TO THE PLACE BY THE GRACIOUS MERCY AND KINDNESS OF GOD WHERE WE RECOGNIZE THAT HIS SUFFERING TRULY WAS ENOUGH!!!!!! Matthew 13:44-46 puts it this way: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it." Let me totally say here that we CANNOT BUY IN ANY WAY OR EARN OUR SALVATION-it is a gift from God. But What Christ has done for us is MORE VALUABLE THAN ANYTHING ELSE IN THIS WORLD!!!!!
Monday, June 21, 2010
I don't think that this post is going to be very long tonight, but I just want to barrow the title of a Hymn that was written by someone that we have most likely all heard of---Frances (Fanny) J. Crosby. She was born in 1820 and was an American poetess and hymn writer who was blind. Some sources say that she wrote over 8,000 hymns in her lifetime!
So Fanny was born blind, but it seems, not very discouraged by that fact, because she knew with her heart that the very moment she saw Jesus, her Savior, in Heaven all of her struggles would be totally worth it. Her trials were only temporary on this earth.
How? How could she keep going? Facing life? Facing the trials and frustrations? SHE COULD BECAUSE OF ONE THING. She had BLESSED ASSURANCE-assurance that Jesus was indeed hers! And because she had that assurance NOTHING ELSE MATTERED!!! I can't put words in Fanny's mouth, but if she were alive today, I can almost bet that she would say the same thing--maybe in slightly different words.
It is the same for me, beloved friends! I don't know if you can relate to this, but my life--my whole life was FILLED with so many things: fear of death, shame, guilt, being unable to forgive myself for what I had done because I did not truly understand what God had done for me through the death of Jesus on the cross,and a lack of assurance that I was really His (belonged to God as His child through His work of saving faith in my life) AND NOW THERE ARE TRULY NO WORDS IN THE WORLD TO BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE THE PEACE AND JOY THAT HAS COME FROM HAVING ONE THING---BLESSED ASSURANCE!!!!
Like Fanny Crosby knew in her lifetime, I echo saying that I DON'T CARE WHAT HAPPENS!! IT DOESN'T MATTER BECAUSE HE WILL SEE ME THROUGH AND LITERALLY BE WITH ME IN THE MIDST OF WHATEVER COMES!! NOTHING WILL HAVE THE POWER TO SEPARATE ME FROM HIS PRECIOUS NEVER-ENDING CONSTANT LOVE!!! THE BLESSED ASSURANCE-THERE IS NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD THAT IS WORTH AS MUCH AS THIS OR THAT WILL EVER COMPARE TO HAVING THE RICHNESS AND THE BEAUTY OF IT!!!
BLESSED ASSURANCE!!!!!!!!! Jesus IS MINE!!!!!!!NOTHING will ever take that away from me!!! NOTHING!!!!! Absolutely NOTHING!!! All praise be to my Savior--and to HIM ALONE!!!!
HE IS MINE FOREVER!!!!!
Sunday, June 20, 2010
This is a passage I have been thinking about lately. I have a few thoughts about it.
Genesis 5: 21-24
21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah.
22 Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters.
23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.
I find these verses to be totally awesome and fascinating! HAVE YOU EVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT?? Obviously a drastic change happened in Enoch's life because he walked with God for the REST OF HIS LIFE (God allowed him another 300 years of life) after the birth of his first Son, Methuselah. I wish the Bible told us more about what all happened in Enoch's life to bring about the change, but it doesn't. So we can't really speculate.
It is repeated twice of great importance that ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD. I don't know about you, but when I read that it literally gives me the chills in a good sense! You see, I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT WAS LIKE, HOW IT FELT, AND EXACTLY WHAT THAT MEANT THAT ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD THAT CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you???? I would dare to want to BUT TOUCH the edge of what Enoch experienced as he walked with God!!!---I WANT THAT!!!! Do you?? Let's ask ourselves the question and be honest in the response that we each give to the Lord!!! If we find that we DON'T truly desire that, can we go before the Lord and discover WHAT is keeping us from Him?? Pray, Seek Him alone, and once we truly discover what it is, by His grace and help in our process of sanctification by the power of His HOLY SPIRIT whole-heartedly before GOD GET RID OF WHATEVER IT IS (Or the various things are)???? THIS CLOSE AND INTIMATE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IS WHAT WE ARE TRULY AND WERE ALSO EXACTLY CREATED FOR! WE AREN'T GOING TO BE SATISFIED WITH ANYTHING ELSE BUT A REAL, VIBRANT, LIVING, LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD HIMSELF!!!THE GOD WHO CREATED EACH ONE OF US!!!!
It appears in the next verse that ENOCH WALKED WITH GOD SO CLOSELY THAT the Lord simply took Enoch to be with HIM (God-Himself) because He was no more. The text does not say that he died like the others mentioned before and after him. WOW!! THAT IS INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't have 300 years of life left, like Enoch did when he began to walk with God, but GOD knows that He has my heart 110% for the rest of my life....as long as that is--and HE already knows how long my life will be on earth. WHAT SECURITY!!!!!
I do not know the day or the hour of the Lord's return as do none of us. Only the Father knows that! The Son (the Lord Jesus Christ) does not even know that. But WE MUST PREPARE FOR THAT DAY---Scripture does say that HE WILL COME LIKE A THIEF IN THE NIGHT!!! God has done an amazing change of repentance in my heart and life--it is the REAL DEAL and to God be all the glory. (and by that I mean Every little bit of it is HIS--I DON"T WANT EVEN A SPECK OF IT FOR MYSELF!!!)
I guess I just feel led to challenge myself and the rest of you this way! LET'S ALL GET SERIOUS BEFORE GOD---REALLY SERIOUS AND EXAMINE OUR HEARTS AND LIVES and ask Him what has been keeping us from Him--and TRUST that He will show us through His Word. In a small way, this process that I have been going through (without realizing it at first) has enabled me to do that somewhat! Let's prepare ourselves for His return with EVERY MOMENT that we live because WE DO NOT KNOW THE DAY OR THE HOUR!!!! WE JUST KNOW HE PROMISED HE IS COMING AGAIN---LET'S BE LIKE THE WISE VIRGINS.
1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'
7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'
9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'
10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'
12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'
13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
Those were Jesus' Words to us! I encourage you all to listen, not to me, but to HIM!!!!!!! ARE WE READY??? Let's make every effort in the sanctification process individually in complete cooroperation with the Holy Spirit to work with what He is doing in our lives and be ready!!!!
Saturday, June 19, 2010
So last night I was reading my Bible--reading through parts of Romans and 2nd Corinthians as God led me along-an hour passed by like five minutes---AWESOME!!! AWESOME!! I STILL cannot simply get enough of the Word----GOOD THING IT IS INEXHAUSTIBLE!!!! THAT THOUGHT THRILLS ME TO THE CORE!!!!!!!!!!
So I ran across a verse I had always "Heard" with my ears but not truly understood or experienced growing up. The verse was Romans 8:1 (and the REST of chapter 8 is like so totally incredible too) which says, "Therefore, there IS NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO READ THAT AND REALIZE THAT THAT IS LIKE THE TOTAL TRUTH ABOUT YOU FOR LIKE THE FIRST OR SECOND OR THIRD OR FOURTH TIME??? I don't want to get carried away talking about experience for those of you that have a hard time with that (And I affirm you if you are one of those people that struggles that way and you are continuing to read anyways--We are all made differently and process things differently and it is OK!!) BUT WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO ACTUALLY, REALISTICALLY, INTRICATELY, WITH FAMILIARITY, KNOW that there is NO CONDEMNATION FOR ME--NONE-----NOT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You see, I lived in condemnation---condemnation before God (Because I did not KNOW him yet) and a whole truck-load of self-condemnation because I could not forgive myself for things I had done---and quite frankly, I didn't see how God would be able to do so either. BUT ALL OF THAT HAS CHANGED FOREVER BECAUSE NOW THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION AND THERE NEVER WILL BE AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD has this amazing way of making His children so secure----NO CONDEMNATION---ABSOLUTELY NONE!!!!!!
Praise the Lord!!!!! How GREAT IS OUR GOD!!!!! It was just the tip of the iceberg concerning my Bible reading last night--Bible reading that I no longer do out of a sense of "I have to" but rather "I WANT TO" because the GOD of the universe loves and chose me...and all I can do is love Him in return.....
Friday, June 18, 2010
Those of you with little or no Spanish background are probably wondering WHAT in the world the strange title of this post is about. And I will explain. I am seeking different ways to explain what GOD has done in my life. I have another analogy that may make more sense.
In English the action verb "to know" has only one word that is used to communicate it.
In Spanish, however, there are two different verbs that carry the meaning of the verb "to know" and both have entirely different meanings from each other.
The first verb "saber" has to do with knowing. Saber has to do with "knowing" in the sense of FACTS AND INFORMATION THAT ONE KNOWS. It also carries the idea of learned information--something that you can teach and pass on to others because you learned it. It has to do with knowing how to do something as well (like I know how to swim, ride bike etc.)
The second verb "conocer" has to do with being deeply acquainted with and knowing (being familiar with) places that you have been--you have been there and experienced it. It has to do with knowing people. When the Spanish Bible talks about Adam KNOWING his wife Eve, and therefore she conceives,it does NOT use the verb "saber." It uses the verb "conocer." The verb "conocer" carries with it a sense of intimacy, of relationship, of being intricately familiar with a person or place.
Two very different concepts of "knowing" are demonstrated through these two small but important verbs.
What I am about to write is NOT MEANT to cause doubt to anyone else, but please read it. When I mentioned things getting from the "head to the heart" in my previous posts, THIS is what I was getting after. Like the Spanish Word "saber," we can KNOW all kinds of facts about God. We can know intellectually the right Sunday School answers and even spew them out accordingly as needed. (I am certain of that-I did it my whole life!) I am just being honest here. But there is a difference between knowing facts about God and knowing all the right answers and truly knowing HIM----having that PERSONAL INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP OF INTRICATE FAMILIARITY WITH HIM. I understand that some people may not like hearing this, and that's ok. We are all in process--either being brought one step closer to God and to that moment where we have that relationship with Him, or being drawn one step farther away.
To say this as clear as possible once again I will say this. God, by His mercy and grace, has brought me to the point in my life where I don't just know facts about Him anymore, and I am not just giving the right Sunday School answers because they are the right thing to say. God turned my heart towards Him. I didn't have to do anything, or clean up my life to be brought to Him. He took me AS I WAS!!! AND BECAUSE HE BROUGHT ME TO THE PLACE where I finally understood that Jesus Christ died for MY sins in MY place and that there was nothing I could do to "make myself right" before God, I was brought into the absolute truth of being able to not "just simply know a bunch of facts about God." God enabled me to be able to transfer all of my dependence to Him and trust in Him alone for what I could not attain by my own efforts, which was eternal salvation. (It was totally God's work in my life--I don't get the glory and I don't want any of it!)
And BECAUSE OF THIS I AM ABLE TO, AS THEY SAY IN SPANISH, "conocer" GOD--THAT IS HAVE A PERSONAL,INTIMATE,FAMILIAR relationship with God. He now calls me His friend.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!!!!
Thursday, June 17, 2010
No offense but I've been thinking a lot lately in the midst of this whole process about what Worship is and it isn't. Sometimes it is easy to get funny ideas about worship. There is a tendency to think that worship is something we "do" during the Sunday service at church, after all, isn't it often called the "WORSHIP" service??
But if worship is just a Sunday morning thing, the truth is that we are really missing the point about what WORSHIP REALLY IS. Worship is a choice-it's a personal choice to give God the glory and the praise that He is worthy of BECAUSE WE RECOGNIZE THAT HE IS WORTHY REGARDLESS OF WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR LIVES OR AROUND US. The truth is that this sounds great when we are happy and things are going "great" But what about when we feel they aren't going well or tragety strikes, or something breaks our hearts?
Is our RESPONSE still the same? Do we still CHOOSE TO WORSHIP GOD? Our true belief and understanding of God will come through when times get hard. We will know if it is just a HEAD THING--simply a base of knowledge that we have stored away some place and pull out when it is convenient, or if it is a HEART THING-and By that I mean a living and REAL relationship with the God who loves us where we KNOW with EVERY OUNCE of our being that NO MATTER WHAT HE LOVES US!!!!!! And the truth is that IF WE REALLY KNOW THAT TO THE DEPTHS OF OUR CORE, all of the sudden EVERYTHING IN LIFE, no matter if it is joy, pain, grief, sorrow, whatever it is, becomes an act of worship to God. Why?? BECAUSE IN IN ALL WE RECOGNIZE FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEARTS that God is still God and we can WORSHIP HIM TRULY because WE ARE CERTAIN OF ONE UNCHANGEABLE THING-----THE DEPTHS OF HIS LOVE!!!!!!
WHEN WE UNDERSTAND HIS LOVE FOR US EVERYTHING CAN BE A CHOICE TO WORSHIP GOD--the joy the pain, the elation, the tears, the grief, the sorrow--it all mixes together and becomes an offering from our hearts to His----a sacrifice of worship to God and God alone.
It is a secret that Job, in the Bible, KNEW-----not simply in the sense of in his knowledge only, but RATHER from his heart. It was why he could respond the way that he did in the midst of all his trials and pain and suffering. HE UNDERSTOOD IN HIS HEART THAT GOD LOVED HIM--in Job 1:20-22 We see jobs act of IMMEDIATE WORSHIP TO GOD when He realizes that HE HAS JUST LITERALLY LOST EVERYTHING,(Except his health at this point and a nagging wife who is NOT VERY SUPPORTIVE) Job responds in this way: "At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
So what will YOUR CHOICE be today? What will My choice be??? I pray that Mine to the best of the ability as I am led by the Spirit of God would be WORSHIP----the day ahead is not going to be the easiest one for me----But GOD is already there---He has already taken the steps that I will walk today. AND NO MATTER WHAT---He is STILL WORTHY OF A HEART RESPONSE OF WORSHIP FROM ME!!! HE ALONE OS GOD AND THE DEPTHS OF HIS LOVE IS ENOUGH OF A REASON!!!!
I've said the same thing a few different ways here. I guess it is just how I process it. But I pray that the true point has come across and that you have stuck with me reading it even if it comes across slightly choppy or redundant. WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD WE SERVE!!!!!
GO WORSHIP GOD TODAY-----NO MATTER WHAT! CRY IF YOU HAVE TO OR WHATEVER----BUT WORSHIP GOD TRULY FROM YOUR HEART!!!!!!!!!!!! HE HAS NOT CHANGED AND IS STILL WORTHY!!!!!
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
I guess I don't quite know how to say everything that i am thinking at the moment. All I do know to say is that what you see REALLY IS What you get-no if's, and's or but's, about it, or anything else attached! This is the real me! What you see moment by moment and day by day REALLY IS what you get! It is where I am honestly at in that very moment-no mask-no hiding--no more--no more--no more!
I have to say that this process has truly started to enter the next level-(and I DO NOT SAY THIS BY ANY MEANS TO MAKE ANYONE THINK "POOR ME" OR ANY OTHER SELF-PITY-ISH (had to invent a word there)thing! So if you FIND yourself even being TEMPTED in the slightest way shape or form in any way I suggest you seriously with all love and firmness tell you to STOP IT AND "CUT IT OUT" right now.(If that is a little strong for some of you, I ask forgiveness, I just had to make myself very clear) But I just wanted to ask all of you to pray because things have indeed opened to a new and deeper level in this process---the level of grief.
Now all of that said, I just have to say what I am experiencing, while hard, I won't deny, at the same time is amazingly WONDERFUL!!! I kid you not, but DO YOU KNOW what it feels like to feel like you could just cry your eyes out and yet at the same time have such a sense of God's presence being there with you to comfort you that at the same time as you feel that you could just cry and cry, you feel HIS PEACE and JOY Wrapped around you and enveloping you at the same time? The depth of His love is there like you have NEVER EXPERIENCED!!! IT IS TRULY THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I HAVE EVER KNOWN! And for those of you that get afraid of talking about me 'talking about experience because it doesn't appeal Biblical' for some reason, I just have to very gently and very lovingly say to you in all due respect that this is where I am at. I am not trying to over-emphasize my "experience" over the Word of God by ANY MEANS whatsoever. I can only say what He has done for me! IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL SIMPLY BECAUSE HE IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!
So I would appreciate your prayers as I grieve, but don't you dare ever for a moment feel sorry for me!
Maybe this Scripture sums up what has happened to me in a very real way the best.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?"
Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you,everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin."The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."
JESUS HAS SET ME FREE FROM A LIFE OS SIN AND SLAVERY TO IT, AND AS HIS (DAUGHTER) I WILL REMAIN WITH HIM FOREVER!!! HE HAS MADE ME FREE AND I AM FREE INDEED! (Yes!!! My e-mail is finally being realized!) And ALONG THE WAY HE IS CONTINUING TO HEAL ME IN A VERY DEEP AND REAL WAY!!!!! To GOD Be the glory!!! ALL is to HIM ALONE!!!!!
Monday, June 14, 2010
A few thoughts on God's love------as I am experiencing it.
A few weeks ago (before the MOMENT of moments in my life) one of the residents here was talking about how she couldn't stand the thought of sinning against God willfully. While I didn't express my thoughts back to her, they were EXACTLY this, "Why? Why can't you just willfully sin against God? I do it all the time and I don't care....I just DON"T GET IT!!!!!" On the day that God showed the depths of His love to me in the shower and I cried, and then in the four or five days later as I realized I had truly been brought to a place of true repentance before God, totally by His doing, I KNEW THE ANSWER--I KNEW IT IN MY HEART OF HEARTS. My fellow resident friend did not want to sin anymore willfully against God just as I no longer did and it was for the same reason. I HAD BEEN FORGIVEN MUCH and love to Him was the only response I could give. I couldn't live the same anymore because He had forgiven Me and the love in my heart flowed and still flows out of gratitude towards Him........and it will FOREVER!!!!!!! THE DEBT HE PAID WAS SO HUGE FOR MY SIN ALONE....I AM SO THANKFUL!!!!
Jesus told an account of something similar.......maybe a little better said :)
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
When we realize we are TRULY forgiven, something changes....love is the response towards a God that is perfect, holy, without sin, and yet loved us enough to send Jesus to take our sin upon Himself........so that we could know him-----not know ABOUT HIM, but TRULY KNOW HIM!!!!!!!
It is truly an amazing love because it is a love that will constantly without fail go to the ends of the earth and back again to persue us and draw us to himself. Now let me honestly say that this is a new concept for me. Before his love drew me, I was absolutely certain that I had rejected him one too many times to be forgiven. It was like a "three strikes you're out mentality" to me. And I really believed that I had lost all opportunity to come to Him-and knew I couldn't just conjure up true repentance in myself anyways-it had to be a gift from Him. Here are two verses.
"God's kindness leads you towards repentance." I guess I just want to encourage you because I have no idea, who may be reading this, or who will read this in the future, but I just want to say that if you are asking serious questions like I was, and haven't yet been brought to the point by God where it all finally clicks and comes together as a matter of the heart and not the head, keep asking the ONE TRUE GOD and seeking HIM ALONE (instead of other avenues or ANY of man's "religious ideas" that are going to draw you farther away from Him.) WHILE THERE IS STILL LIFE, THERE IS STILL HOPE. And while yet alive, no one is beyond the reach, mercy, kindness, and love of God. HE KNOWS THOSE THAT ARE YET TO BE HIS!!!!!!!
"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done,
but because of His mercy."
So as I think about loving God in return, NOT BY ANY MEANS OUT OF A NEED TO "PROVE" MY LOVE FOR HIM, BUT RATHER COMPLETELY OUT OF GRATITUDE FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE, I am thinking of ways to demonstrate that love and gratitude to Him.
This process that I am currently going through has offered me an opportunity.
Mark 12:30 says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
2 Corinthians 10:5b says, "We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
I guess that what I have to say is that as a result of the process that as I said, I am going through, this whole thing of "Loving God with my mind" and "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (They ARE BOTH RELATED AD INTER-TWINED QUITE WELL), have become so much easier--and I am totally saying that as the truth. When once in a blue moon I would maybe half-way try to attempt to do that in the past, I remember it being sooooo much work---it didn't seem worth the effort! (I guess not being heart-connected to knowing the SOURCE OF ALL SOURCES may have had something to do with it as well) So one way of loving out of gratitude for what HE has done for me, is to truly lOVE HIM WITH MY MIND---and if that means having to go back and look at lies I believed way back there (because God is NOT CONSTRAINED BY time and yet works inside of time with us) in order to find the truth and process things, it's OK. IT WAS FOR TRUTH THAT HE SET US FREE-----NOT for us to keep living in the DUNG HEAP of sin and lies. HE ALREADY KNOWS IT ALL ANYWAYS--it doesn't surprise Him.
So this morning I was looking for a verse when I did my post. It combined the goodness and the love of God together since those two attributes of God have totally enamored me since He found me. I couldn't find the exact verse that I was looking for yet, but I did find this one.
Psalm 86:5 "You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you."
YES!!!! HE IS FORGIVING, GOOD, and ABOUNDING IN LOVE TO ALL WHO CALL ON HIM!!!!!