Have you ever said wow to God while discovering some amazing new thing, a word you haven't quite seen before just that way. Something where your eyes opened...Have you ever said to Him "Wow God! That is really nice, really new and really cool how you did that." It makes you want more of Him...so we are drawn to study more read more...really dig- each step more interesting still- and more "thank you God's" come out of it but I am asking if you've been so unprepared for what happens next that you can't find the words, have you ever been so blindsided by Him when you thought you had something new and that was that- but little did you know there was more to come.
I never saw Him coming...
This side of earth has such a limited perspective when God is above the clouds and that is the cap on what I can see and be fascinated with. That is why God is supernatural and I am here in the natural trying to get it in my pea sized brain. It is like trying to stare at an eclipse, like trying to fit a thousand years into only one of my days....I am not big enough- yet I forget that as I pursue. I am captivated by His teaching and yet this time so unprepared by the depth of His work....
I liken His work this time to a quiet approach I never saw coming- this shiny sharp edged shovel comes at me and I never saw it coming. He is at the doorstep, the first blow feels piercing, just like that it hits me, sharp, the words of God pierce my heart. It hits me and all I can say "oh, Lord this word is so much more real than I first thought it to be," my response in lack. I had knowledge then but now I have lived it, I had words and a beautiful picture from you to me but now I have life in my hands. The words He gives us are all as deep and lovely as they can be but I wonder how often we only see the surface? The nicety of the outside layer (and I am not meaning we miss something necessarily, no nothing was missed- we hear a word, need it and treasure it) but God is so much bigger still so what else lies beneath we could search out.
So back to God with the shovel at my heart. I had to say in retrospect I didn't know we were doing that God, as He pushed in with His foot on the shovel braced against my heart and in His strength the ground gave away and was lifted up and turned over. All this in a moment connecting things to lovely for me to understand through this disheveling of my heart as it was once contained. You see sometimes it takes getting messy before we can get free. Sometimes it takes getting messy with God before we know there is something we should really be desiring to get free from. Then he turns the soil lifting and turning again layer after layer. It is being worked. God was digging deeper internally, he was going for growth. He had to get the shovel out in order to get the soil turned. Through my journals and notes, through my dreams and His beautiful scripture, through conversations and small signs; He took me on a journey from the outside- in. There's the word of God and how completely valuable it is to study and then there is action with God, letting Him take the shovel to the heart and cause some pain, move some things around and turn it all around to get at the good stuff.
Sometimes life has covered our hearts with years of blowing dirt, years of cover collected as if it has found a home. In nature, soil erosion occurs when the soil moves in the wind or rain and doesn't stop until it finds a suitable obstruction on which to rest. All to often in life our hearts for various reasons become the "obstruction" blocking the path and making a nice home on which "life's dirt" can collect and pile. The problem with this process is over time we do not understand the damaging effects of all this bad top soil on the heart. When we allow our hearts left undusted and the soil not turned over the result is difficult growing conditions. It may be ugly, embarrassing, painful, difficult, unwanted and the like but it is worth it to Let God yield the shovel to the heart and move some things underneath to the top and move the top to a place of healing and growth. God alone yields the tool, we alone hold the restraint or the acquiesce to His work.
Lord thank you for getting the shovel and not giving me any warning.
If you can pray this prayer above with me please go ahead and comment on how God has taken the shovel to your heart to show you more meaning in His word, deeper truth from the surface down and how he turned the soil through the inner workings of His heart to yours.
Friday, October 17, 2014
Someone else may be depending on us getting things together on the inside of our own property line…Do we belong to God and have a fence that includes Him on His own property (us) or is He limited to access just beyond our fence, as if we are telling Him He can come this far and no farther….Better stated in Romans 12:1 (expanded version): So [Therefore] brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I ·beg [urge; appeal to] you to offer your ·lives [selves; L bodies] as a living sacrifice to him. Your offering must be ·only for God [holy] and pleasing to him, which is the ·spiritual [or authentic; true; or appropriate; fitting; or rational; reasonable] way for you to worship.
My son and I compare the still small voice to a moth, it is a picture he could relate to from a young age and there always happened to be moths on his window that we noticed in a new way after we talked about this. I taught him this was a reminder from God that He is always there speaking, regardless of how busy we are, how easy the “moth” is to miss, or whether or not it is welcome that moment.
Like the moth on my window, so gentle, not intruding into my life, not forcefully boasting what good He could do if only I would pay attention...simply ever so gentle showing up as if to say- here I am waiting. But I don't always want Him there- by my mere actions (how sad). Just not right now, too busy. Just like the moth, silently waiting- He is there while I've missed the point of what really belongs in priority in my life. The voice is gently saying what I am not ready to hear, I am too moving in my own direction to turn back now, I am on a roll after all. But when I wake up from my trip, I realize I got nowhere fast and cost myself more than I can ever get in return from the expenses I paid going my own way. His voice, it is a constant still. So true and so counted upon. He says, "you are my treasured possession", and we are to fall into His arms. He placed the fence, He cared for the land, He dug the well, He made the land what it is...how dare I try to get so busy and miss who I belong to. That trouble is open arm trouble- I cannot receive from Him if I am so full of my own stuff, my own purchases, ideas and plans. Closed heart syndrome is a hurt induced illness, it happens when I have every right to be hurt, but I take it too far. I super-size my order of guilt, hurt, offense, pain, emotion raw. Instead of walking the legitimate something that happened to me out with God, I put up my own defenses and man the guns. No one will hurt me again. My heart slowly and certainly closes off, to self-protect. Not what God designed, He wants us open to receive. Like flowers open up to the sun.
Plugged ears occur when the resounding themes we hear, the false and the broken cause us to shut down...or maybe we desensitize slowly again, very slowly to everything. We are to be renewed in our minds but if we cannot hear and be vulnerable to listen in response- we won't act on the right sounds. We can't respond by being humble to the Word, if we cannot hear. And so I consider the estate house on a hill I am meant to be; we are all meant to be. As a city on a hill, as a light shining uncovered. We are to be God's chosen possession for His kind purpose that leads us all to repentance, to turn our faces all over again to the Light. Therefore the property line is not my own, I didn't put up the white picket fence, I didn't maintain it, I could never count the cost of maintaining the land, however, our God did count the cost He did pay the ultimate price for the land and we are more esteemed in His sight than we can ever value ourselves. I need to move the property line out from just what I see and include the still small voice in ownership. I need to broaden my horizons and believe God still does BIG things, and it can be through me and through you, if only we act.
Psalm 62 speaks to this belonging through trust evident only through God, power only accessible in Him. The fence in this Psalm is trying to be toppled by another man, leaning and rickety it is delicate in power and easily moved. But for our God, who establishes the other more noble fence, the property line of being God’s chosen possession, where He calls us His own and protects what belongs to Him, it may not always be easy for us but His promises endure and we can trust in Him alone for our salvation, this must be a daily choice and mindset.
Psalm 62 New International Version (NIV)
For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David.
1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.[b]
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”
Next time you see a moth on your window stop and listen, maybe it is time to slow down.
Monday, October 6, 2014
He says, "You are mine". What complete, fulfilling words that a hurting soul in deficit needs; neigh, longs to hear. That we belong to God.
Doesn't that single statement above melt most hearts, as long as we are willing to receive it? If we BE-long to God then in our belief by faith- we are willing and able to hear these words "you are mine". The definition of the verb belong in the Merriam Webster dictionary means: to be suitable, appropriate, to be in a proper situation. It goes on to explain belong means properly classified or to be a part, function or attribute of something.
Being is an action word, I have to physically "BE" in a receiving state that is faith based in order to receive from God. In my mind I need to be of remembering who I am in Christ and that I already am His. God’s gifts are free but I have a choice. As much as God is constantly pursuing His creation, our desire must also be turned toward Him; the more we turn over to Him the more of His Spirit is available to assist us in our journey. He knocks on the door and we answer. I am already on the winning team when I confess with my mouth and believe God has forgiven my sins and I turn from my past shame by receiving what Christ has already done on the cross for me. Sometimes the continued being in a state of receiving is difficult to maintain amidst all the noise in this life. Active reception is hard for us nowadays to understand and it is actually an action. Receiving is showing our thankfulness to God. Receiving is humility before our creator. Receiving is trusting He is enough.
Just like a football receiver has to make visual contact, mental contact and physical contact with the ball, the object of his reception. So also must we in all these ways keep our eyes on Jesus, spending time in His Word to know His heart, keep our mind renewed by thinking on things of Him and keeping other contrary things out of our minds. The physical contact is making time in purpose to reach out and connect with the action of His Spirit, to be open to whatever is in store in His playbook for our lives. Like the receiver of the football must put what he has heard into practice to make the play so that everything comes together, he reaches out like us to finish the play and catch the ball. As in the game of football, our receiving benefits so much more than us alone. There is a whole “team” around us that is impacted by us “catching grace”, our families, friends, coworkers, even those we think are our enemies are impacted by us receiving, because we cannot receive a gift and stay the same. We can take God at His word we belong to Him, open your arms and receive it, make the winning play by keeping the ball in your possession without fumbling it..
And God doesn't mince words, that is what I love about Him.
Father, Son and Holy Spirit they mean what they say- they are what they say, united.
If I am having open arm trouble, closed heart syndrome or plugged ears....I miss the catch (we will discuss these in detail in the next post).
So many reasons for my "illnesses", they really mostly are self-induced. We can plague ourselves by thinking we can handle this life, really we have God but we get in "living mode" after all got to get it done. Whatever it was, we really don't know if we are that busy.
Scary, how quickly I can get "busy important" and miss things, while His still small voice is a speaking all around us CONSTANTLY.
Elijah had an experience with the still small voice. God used him to accomplish some amazing things. First in Kings 17 God spoke to Him forewarning him of a draught coming and asked Elijah to go to the Kerith Ravine, drink from the brook and be fed by ravens, the Word says “so he did what the Lord said”. He went no questions and was provided for ravens brining him meat and bread. When that brook dried up due to the draught God told him to move on to Zarephath where a widow would provide for him. When he gets there the widow says she has no food, only a mere jug of oil and a jar of flour. She is essentially going to eat her last meal with her son and die. Elijah asks her to trust and make a small loaf for him and her and her son take some too. He shares the promise of the Lord to supply her with an everlasting food supply until the draught is over. The Word says “she went and did what Elijah told her.” Oh the simple act of obedience and acting on our faith that produces much. The son goes on to become sick, he dies and Elijah prays to bring life back to the boy. God shows up in abounding miracles.
In Kings 18 God asks Elijah to go to Israel’s king Ahab who happens to be an enemy of Elijah and God promises to send rain in place of the longstanding draught. God asks Elijah to have a mighty challenge of “putting your money where your mouth is” between Israel’s god Baal and Elijah’s One True Lord of all. Some 450 false prophets against Elijah (talk about intimidation factor, but for God). The false prophets cry all day into the evening with no response but after Elijah’s prayer God answers and the false prophets are put to death. Elijah prays persistently for rain without any signs initially and God goes good on His promise as rains fall. But after all this success through God a threat from the king’s evil wife Jezebel has him running afraid. God feeds Him supernaturally by an angel as he is fleeing for his life and hides him in a cave...about to show him His glory. There is a series of loud amazing displays, a wind that blows rocks apart, an earthquake and a fire…but the word says from Kings 18:12, God was in the still small voice or gentle whisper. Through all these amazing and powerful displays of God and His provision, a threat has Elijah scared and a small voice has him captivated.If Elijah did not respond to God when he was asked, if the widow had not responded when she was asked…history would have been changed. There would have been some significant people that missed some important words for the direction in their lives without Elijah’s path panning out the way it did. Elisha, Elijah’s successor could have missed his calling if it were not for Elijah running and hiding. We must belong so closely that we do not miss what God is doing, despite our own discomfort, turmoil and questions, after all it is much bigger than just about us belonging. There is plenty of room in God for us to belong and take others with us. God sees our pain and wants to take as many with us as possible. God wants to use us to turn others to life.