Monday, July 25, 2016

Lord I Need You.

2 Corinthians 3:17
“Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.”

In order to explain what this verse means to me I must give a little background. Paul is talking about how the glory of the new covenant surpasses the glory of the old. And as the old covenant has been ended so has it's glory. Paul calls it the ministry of death, and of condemnation, as the law only had power to convict us of sin and our utter helplessness to earn salvation.

I'd like to say I never live with this veil over my eyes, of thinking that if I can live by some set of rules I can be all right with God, but I do. The thing is then I never feel like I'm all right with God, because I can never measure up to the standard. That is why this verse impacts me. When I live with that veil it is because I am looking to my own efforts. I am looking at a law that I cannot fulfill. That I can never fulfill. However when I look to Christ I find He is the fulfillment of the law.

Where the law is there is death and Condemnation. Where the voice of God is there is hope. I can say from experience that when I talk during quiet time I walk away without any answers and feeling a sadness and slavery of anxiety. When I listen and let God speak I am convicted but I am also forgiven as I relent and let God peel back the layers of my heart. I am reminded that though I am helpless to save myself, that God is my help. I am reminded that He understands my shortcomings, my failings, my pain, and my utter brokenness, and it does not phase Him one bit.

Dependence is all He wants from me. That's it, not striving, not keeping a perfect outward appearance, not making everyone believe that I'm a great person. Just walking in the light and admitting what I really am, a sinner and a failure, that has been called His own. To be able to walk in honesty of who you really are, that is freedom. To know that it is okay to fail and fall sometimes, that God does not disown you. To be allowed to make mistakes as you learn to walk beside Him. That is freedom.

To know that it is only by His strength you may walk well, only by His Spirit living in you. To stop having to rely on your own abilities, and begin relying on God for all you need.

The Spirit speaks of Christ, and Christ died on the cross, and rose again. Why? because I am a sinner, and yet He still loved me. He has called me His own, and He leads me.

“My sin runs deep,
Your grace is more,
where grace is found,
is where you are,
and where you are,
Lord I am Free!
Holiness is Christ in me.”

Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom...

Live in the Spirit and not my own abilities.

Tomorrow I will make a time to purposefully listen to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to reveal what He wants to do in my heart.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Acid, puss, bitterness.

Ephesians 4:31-32
“Let all bitterness
and wrath
and anger
and clamor
and slander
be put away from you,
along with all malice.

Be kind to one another,
forgiving one another;
as God in Christ forgave you.”

As I read verse 31 I see a clear link, these are not just a bunch of bad things all thrown together in a list. I have seen it enough in my own life to know this, far too often and sadly recently. I will say I am pretty irritable, and most often it is because I have held onto some small hurt instead of talking to the person who caused it. I let myself get bitter toward them. I somehow forgot the grace that God showed me. The problem is that bitterness eats at your insides like acid, it never stays inside. Before I know it I am “venting” about how someone else hurt me.
This is called slander, and it happens when we stop looking at how God views us, and how He views those that hurt us. Think gossip is harmless. There is nothing satan loves more than to keep God's kids separated from each other. And gossip is one of his best tools for doing that. Because not only does it separate God's kids, it causes them to destroy one another. It is satan managing to put the opposing army's uniform on your army's men and women. It's blinding. The word malice is not something I understood until a dear friend was talking to me about it one day, she said malice is when you intend to do harm to another. Bitterness towards a brother or sister in Christ is when you have started viewing them as an enemy. Gossip is when you cause someone else to view them that way. If that's not malicious I don't know what is. Never say something about another that is negative even if it is true, you need to go to them with it. Never listen to someone else say something negative about another, because the moment you do it's like your heart has been ripped in two. Even though you have trusted both the gossiper and the one being gossiped about you suddenly don't know who to trust anymore. And there it is, suddenly you're not all in the same military any more. There are two sides and you have to choose one to be loyal to. Satan has just created a battle within your own camp, and the real enemy's military is standing back watching us tare each other apart and laughing. So what do we do?
Bitterness is like a pimple sometimes you have to pop it and get the gook out for it to heal. Sometimes you have to go to the other person and talk with them and get out all the gook before the relationship can be healed. In christian circles we like to call this Matthew 18 ing someone. Or abiding by Matthew 18. What does Matthew 18 say. Verses 15 says this

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

Very simple you go to them and talk it out.
However some pimples just heal and go away on their own.
In some cases of bitterness, you could be hurt without reason. In other words you need to let it go. Someone once taught me the acronym q-tip. Quit taking it personally. There have definitely been times where I have been given constructive criticism, but I took it only as criticism. People may say things that seem like they are meant as a personal attack, but sometimes are only meant as instruction or a form of endearment and love. You know when I most often have been hurt by someone who never meant to hurt me? When I was taking myself to seriously. And that has even been the case recently. I cannot help but feel convicted and grieved over my inner self a lot. I see so much that is messed up and hope others don't. Then I realize we're all messed up and I need to give them the same grace I desire, heck, that I need. Just because I hide does not mean others don't see it. Like I said bitterness is like acid, it never stay inside, gossip is only one of it's ugly heads. If you don't gossip you become irritable. Every time I'm irritable it's because I'm either stressed about something that I am insecure about, or upset by something someone did to me. But enough about me. Surely if by taking myself too seriously and staring at my own hurt is how I become bitter the best way to keep from being bitter is to look at Christ and His love. I got the privilage of seeing a man use his gifting from God today, working with 50 pounds of clay. If God is the potter he doesn't see a blob of mud He sees what it will be when He is finished with it.

Too often when I look at my brothers and sisters I see the mud, and when I look at them apart from God I will think they are a piece of crud that will never change, what is the point of investing my time and feelings in them only to be hurt? However if I allow myself to see them in the hands of the potter there is nothing more that I want to do than be involved. Apart from the potter the clay can do nothing, it will only sit there and remain the same or worse become hard and dry. However in the hand of the potter, it will be made into a beautiful vessel that God can use to accomplish his purposes.

Be kind to one another,
forgiving one another;
as God in Christ forgave you.”

Eyes that have looked into the heart of God cannot have a bitter heart.
If I had stood at Calvary I imagine what I might have seen had Christ laid His eyes on me.

I was the one who put him there,
my selfish heart of sin had followed the pleasures of this world,
not caring for the consequence.
But the heart of Christ knew the payment I would not be able to pay.
So while He was hated and scorned for my sin,
his eyes fell with love on me.
As the weight of all I'd done sank in from the punishment I see,
my heart melts and whispers God I give my life to thee.

Looking into the eyes of ultimate love should melt our hearts to pour out love on those who have even put us to death with their own selfish actions. Otherwise we probably never believed we were really the sinner that we are.


Replace bitterness with love.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Flustered at best.

Romans 8:28
“And we know
that all things work together
for good
to them that love God,
to them
who are the called
according to his purpose.”

This week seems overwhelming. Two schools, three English classes three kids clubs, one bus ministry, an entire center to keep up, and various other things to do. Sure I'm not doing it alone, praise the Lord I'm not the one managing the care of the center, that is too much for any one person. I have my whole team around me. Still it seems overwhelming. There is constantly things falling apart around me, a leak in the wall of my room is a constant reminder that things are not always ideal. My family has it's own struggles that I can only catch bits and pieces of.

This verse is the fridge magnet, book mark, wall hanging, in every bible promise book, A-typical christian verse. I may be in a bit of a funk because I'm tired and feeling like I have accomplished far less than I wanted today, but my heart has become dull in understanding this verse. Yes I don't feel like everything is working for good. Right about now I feel like everything is working to show all my faults, failings and inabilities. To show how much less I am than everyone else.
And maybe that is what God wants in a way, to remind me that I am not supposed to be carrying all of this on my back. That I am not the key and sole piece needed for this ministry. To let me fall on my face when I try to do it alone so that I can find out I was never the one doing it in the first place. Feeling overwhelmed is simply the symptom of being in the mindset that I'm the one in charge and responsible for everything going smoothly.

Today I need to know that I'm not the one who is in control.
That's what all this comes down to, the struggle for control. You know the verse that says “Be still and know that I am God.” Can be better translated “take your hands off, and know that I am God.” In other words stop trying to manipulate every situation.
It all comes down to trust, when I ask someone for help I have to trust them to do what I ask. However if I'm constantly hovering over their shoulder watching their every move than I surely am not letting them help, and I'm frustrating them with my own anxiety.

I can do the same with God sometimes and imagine I am the one managing my own life and think of God as my staff. Now I recoil to think that I would ever assume such a position, yet my anxiety and actions prove that is what I'm doing.

Here's the good news about all of this, as much as I overlook the meaning of this verse most days I don't have to today.
This verse says that those who love God, God will work everything together for good to them. That immediately confronts and challenges my heart. Why? Because I know love is not just a feeling, it is an action. What is love? I've heard it said love is putting another's needs before your own. Love in this case is obedience. God desires obedience through faith. Not through our own striving, but through belief in the finished work of Christ, and as we believe in all He did we cannot help but be changed by it. For “the commands of the Lord are not burdensome to those who love him.”
“And to them that are the called according to his purpose.” The called, who are the called? The called is every person. The gospel of Christ is to every person and God calls every person to repent and be saved through Christ. What can I derive from this verse? God is working everything to the salvation of souls. How does that affect me? Everything I am going through has meaning, there is no wasted tears, no wasted pain, no wasted sorrow, no wasted grief.
God is sanctifying me through each situation, or using it to bring me or another person closer to Him.
What does this mean? This means I don't need to be anxious about anything. Even if what I deem to be the very worst thing that could happen happens I can know that in God's eyes it is the best. I have a finite view, He an infinite. When everything seems to be falling apart it's actually falling into place, even though I can't see how.

Trust God.


I confessed to God that I had been trying to do things in my own strength, and asked for him to be my strength instead. Each day this week until Sunday I will make a point to recognize my need before God for his help, strength, and trust him to provide the words and discernment for each situation I am worried about arising.