“Into Thy hand I commit my spirit; Thou hast ransomed me O Lord God of Truth” (Ps 31:5)The first thing I think of when I hear this verse isn’t always that they were the words of my Lord Jesus Christ on the cross; more often I relate them to the last funeral I attended. A bit grim I know, but true. But this morning, as I was doing an online study with Beth Moore (lifetoday.org/beth) I heard this Word in a whole new light. Though I could just tell you to go to the site and listen for yourselves (which I hope you’ll do), I had some things on my heart and mind that made these words so very pertinent to my life in the past 3 weeks. ..maybe they’ll encourage yours.I have recently been tempted (and) fallen in an area that I had once had victory over. And let me tell you the victory was sweet and wonderful and life-giving! I was even turning away from the temptation when it started poking it’s ugly head up in my life. It was amazing to be living out the very life and path God had laid out before me. I thought I had finally learned something (yes please laugh out loud to that statement!)! Then a few weeks ago I walked right back up to that old habit and opened the door (flood-gates is more like it) and said “welcome”. There didn’t even seem to be a struggle; it was like second nature. Then, before I knew it, something other than holiness was taking up residence in my life. My insides (spiritually speaking) began to remind me of the Taiwanese temples dedicated to their many gods…lifeless, dead, but appealing to the human eye. Then the struggle began.It really wasn’t an epoch moment when I recognized God’s voice of conviction (gentle but stern); for, I knew it would come soon (I hoped it would). The epiphany (a sudden thought of realization – my 9th grade English teacher would be so proud!) arrived at a time I cannot remember, but the Word was loud. “You have left your first love” (Rev. 2:4). Why? How? I dared to ask. And the thoughts that came to mind were: What is love to you? Do you know real love? Do you know My love? When will you deal with your misconceptions about love and start living in it with Me? Do you trust me?This Word and these questions came as somewhat of a relief to me because I realized there was going to be some greater good coming out of all of this, but this Word and these questions also became a mirror that I had to look into – and there was no relief as I stood looking into the reflection. I felt my soul echo the words of Isaiah, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man (woman) of unclean lips.” (Isa 6:5) I’d love to say that I got on the band wagon and surrendered right away and had God take care of business in my life, but that was not the case. Instead my earnest prayer was that God would stay with me, be patient with me, in essence not give up on me. I won’t go into all of the studies of a prayer like that – whether or not it was theologically correct or not; it was just my prayer. The frustration and dredge of my stumbling lasted for a little while longer (and I’m not claiming that it’s over, if my past experiences have taught me anything, I’d say I’ll expect a “knock” soon.) Then this morning came. I woke up expecting it to be a repeat of the many days before, when I realized my thoughts had become different. I had a longing, instead, to hear His Word. I wanted to hear testimonies of His greatness. And I did just that. Following this new morning desire led me to that scripture above (Psalm 31:5) and some comments that got me thinking, pondering, praying, and hoping again. Here are some of the insights I gained (“thank you Holy Spirit for still giving me insights!”)…-committing my spirit to God does have something to do with death – death of myself and then life in Him.-God desires to rescue me for He has ransomed me! That little girl desire to be Cinderella, has come so very true in my life (and will continue to do so as I trust in Him)-the Hebrew word for “Truth” there is Emet (pronounced emeth)…this word is made up of the first, middle, and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, sometimes referred to as the very seal of God. God can be trusted completely – beginning, middle, and end – with all of me and my life circumstances. (Hear more on this when you listen to Beth Moore’s lesson at lifetoday.org/beth “The ‘I Am’ over your ‘Was’ parts 1 and 2)-“Real Love” cannot be found in human devices; no matter how hard I search for a real life example in movies, tv, or others, I will only know true love when I know Him. For love doesn’t begin in being a thing or a character trait, its beginning finds itself being a person. God is love.-This is going to be a builder in my faith, my devotion, and in my love relationship with God and others, but it will not happen overnight. Even as I’m typing these words I sense a pull in the wrong direction. Will this Saturday end in victory? Or in another mess? in another jaded view of love? I pray the former.I will end this entry with two prayers…one from a book I’m reading entitled God As He Longs For You To See Him by Chip Ingram and one from my favorite character Pastor Tim Kavanagh from the Mitford Years series and ofcourse from my Lord Jesus Christ…O Lord God, holy and pure, awesome in majesty, as I consider your perfection, grant that I mightCommit to holy ways,Think holy thoughts,Live in holy obedience, andReject evil with a holy attitude.Let me hear the tender conviction of your Spirit and help me remember that you are jealous for your holiness. Because of your love, you see the pain our sin will bring us, and you long to rescue us. So that your name may never be profaned in my life, you have my permission to do whatever you need to do to make me holy. In Jesus’s name, Amen.-The prayer that never fails…”Thy will be done.”
I just wanted to let you know that some of my posts will end up on my husband Nathan’s blog instead of or before they are on mine. This is the plan until I get into the habit of putting more up on my page. So, check out the link to Nathan’s blog to see any of my new thoughts or some of his!
My Sweet Evening
Good Morning, Afternoon, or Night. This morning I lay in bed, as I imagine many mothers do, unable to completely fall back to sleep after getting up and down with a child, a bathroom trip, and what I thought was a child getting up only to find they must have been talking in their sleep. I have found that God uses the early mornings for sweet moments with me. So, though a little weary, I was able to have a date with the Creator of the Universe before the sun even peeked its head up. I lay there sharing thoughts with the Father of my truly blessed evening last night. The minister’s wife at our “Momma-Church”, Sunnyside Christian Church has all of the other minister’s wives over about every 2 ½ – 3 months, and boy was I ready! Nathan kind of caught on to my excitement as I giddily announced at 5:42 p.m. that I would be leaving in 8 minutes. Then at 5:43, “I will be leaving in 7 minutes!” So off I went at 5:50 to Mrs. Ruth’s house for a sweet time of fellowship, and sweet is was! There ended up being only 5 of us total, but at the end of the evening I think we could all see how God used our small size to infuse BIG thoughts, feelings, and dreams. As we sat together our conversation quickly turned to mission work and our missionary friends. Mrs. Ruth’s daughter Anne and her family have returned from working in China for many years and are now in the midst of raising support for work in Italy. Carol and her family spent some years in Honduras as missionaries. My friend Sarah and I have both been on short-term mission trips. And so the sharing began. We talked of living situations whether scary, hot, strange, or admirable. We discussed the way people had to live and what determined their futures. We discussed the spiritual states of many we had encountered and others we knew of. We talked of those people that God so blessed us by letting us know them. We talked of the way God worked – because He so does, you know – in the hard and easy economic places and in the hard and harder spiritual places. We then shared how many times here, in the US, we take forgranted all of our physical blessings. Talk to any of these ladies, my friends, and you will realize this in a few short minutes. Yet, with all of these physical conveniences I think we all came to agree that it seemed so much easier to stay focused on our purpose, to “Go make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:19), when we were in the other countries; for, when there, we no longer had the distractions that we are surrounded by, and sometimes surround ourselves with, here in America. Through these thoughts I was reminded of an email a friend of mine sent out when she returned from a short trip to Africa. While there she began wondering what she had truly given up to know and serve Christ here in our country. In other countries people give up there livelihoods, their acceptance with their families, their freedom, and/or their lives. So what have we had to really give up besides maybe some bad habits? (I’m not down-sizing our salvation stories; we are truly saved from so much!) God helped her come to this conclusion: Those of us who are choosing day in and day out to lay down our lives, take up our crosses, and follow Him (Luke 9:23) here have in every way given up the “American Dream”. That dream that says go do what every you want. Go satisfy your every dream and desire, no matter what it takes. As a mom those childhood dreams can pop in your mind when you are exhausted at the end of the day and you’ve changed the last diaper and you think everyone’s in bed for the night and then a child awakens sick. Or when you, a single mom or dad, have worked all day, come home to a messy house and children who need the rest of you that’s left. Or when you, a dad, who is working one, two, three jobs to support your family and you get home and they all want to see Dad, hang on Dad, talk to Dad and though you want the same things, all you have the energy for is to sit. These dreams are not unwarranted. Quite frankly having these dreams got me through some tough times and situations when I was growing up. As I have grown in my faith, though, and matured in the knowledge of Christ and what He was and is about, I see so very clearly how there is a lot to be given up in His name where I’m at. It may not be nice, convenient facilities. It may not be food I can get down without cringing. It may not be living in fear of rats scurrying around in my house. It may not be that I can’t openly express my faith and what I believe. But what it may be, and I believe is, is the dreams that make me number one. For His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours (Isa 55:9). Whatever we may dream or scheme to accomplish, it will never compare to the greatness of our God’s. I don’t know if there is any great lesson to be learned from these thoughts but maybe some questions we can think about are: Where/With Whom do our dreams lie? What have you given up for the sake of Christ, to be called children of God? Have you ever thought about missions…about being a missionary? Do you realize that as often as God has called us to “Go Out” He has also called us to “Go Among” (go among those we currently live with)? Do you realize how great our futures are in the sight of the God who has planned them? Are you following His plan?Needless to say I have been refreshed, Friends, and I do pray that some of what I’ve shared has done the same for you.
posted by Anastasia at 7:23 AM 1 comments