It's late and I'm working myself into a new schedule; so, this post is gonna hafta be short!
First of all, let me say I am sorry for turning "tomorrow" into more than a week. Little did I know that Satan would be so very conspicuously at work this past week, wreaking obvious havoc and inflicting intense pain on Christians and non-Christians alike. First with the death of Rick Warren's son, then a bombing at the Boston Marathon, and now an on-going trial for Dr. Gosnell, who has committed the most horrifying type of murder I can imagine, and not just once, but more times than any of us will probably ever know.
In my own very minor struggles with allergies and respiratory issues, the few times that I have felt physically well enough to blog, I really did not have the emotional strength to do so. It has been a very heavy week. Our struggles against the rulers, authorities, and powers of this dark world have been very obvious. If ever there was a time to put on the full armor of God, sister, it is now.
More about that later, but first I will try to supply a relatively short summary of what could have been a very long conclusion to my "Catharsis" post...
A week ago Sunday, the morning message focused on Psalm 51: 1-17, the last part of which says this:
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is[b] a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
After expounding on the entire passage, our Minister of Education (who is a gifted teacher/speaker and was filling in for our pastor) played a song by Michael Card, "Come Life Up Your Sorrows." I could not believe how perfectly the message and song reiterated the message God had been giving me in the weeks prior to last Sunday. The song says,
If you are weary
If you're alone...
If you have fallen
If you are weak
Come find the word of God
That only the suffering seek
Come lift up your sorrows
And offer your pain
Come make a sacrifice
Of all your shame
There in your wilderness
He's waiting for you
To worship Him with your wounds
For He's wounded too
When He said, "Come unto me"
You're not disqualified
When you're heavy laden
You may want to depart
But those who know sorrow
They're closest to His heart
Our teacher/preacher/pastor (I never know what to call them, because they are teachers, but most people say preachers or pastors, but I think that's too formal and not personal, which is what I think a pastor should be, but enough about that) ...he explained that we are to make a sacrifice of our shame. That we are to offer it up, or lay it down, then let it go. Remember the passage that spoke to me back in Deuteronomy, chapter 2?
Then the Lord said to me, 3 “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north."
It's time to move on.
I have recently heard and whole-heartily agree that the church does not realize the power that is available to us in Christ. We are sitting on a gold mine and we keep looking around in the deserts and the wildernesses for riches. I think about Ephesians...
"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His imcomparably great power for us who believe." (Emphasis mine.)
Paul was praying that the saints in Ephesus would have their eyes opened to the wealth that was already opened to them. They just had to seize it. They had to quit sitting on their hands and move forward in faith and, thus, power!
And that is exactly what God has been saying to me. And maybe to you too?
We have made our way around this desert long enough. We have been sitting on our hands too long. We were brought into the desert, yes, but perhaps we have hung around too long.
Why? Everybody's reason is different. We don't believe the promises are for us. Or we aren't aware of the power that goes before and and stands behind. Or the enemy has made us believe that we could not possibly ever have what we once had; we, after all, let go of a mighty good thing. The only good thing.
And we start believing the lies. We are unforgivable. We are stuck in this place. We are not worthy of healing. We are...less than God says we are.
Stop moping around this mountain of lies! Move on! God has a promised land over there and it has your name written on it! "Come make a sacrifice of all your shame." Yes, you are wounded, but lovely, He was wounded too. He knows our pain.
And, you know what? The enemy is partially right (that is his expertise after all--half-truths); we don't deserve forgiveness. But that's the beauty of mercy and grace. In God's mercy, He doesn't give us what we deserve. In His grace, He gives us what we do not deserve. And that is how and why we can worship Him. We are a mess, sinful from birth, but He forgives us. There is no condemnation or shame in Christ. He lifts up our heads, points us toward the promises, then gives us the power to move forward.
This message was not only given to me in Deuteronomy and reiterated in last Sunday morning's message, but also carried through Sunday night as well!
I am in a four-week study by Andy Stanley, Taking Responsibility for Your Life. Let me tell you, it is painful. But, no time for that now. A couple that I greatly respect is leading this study and the man, Dave, spoke words to me, without a clue (I think) of what I have been going through, that could only have been facilitated by God. I can't quote exactly what He said, but basically He was using Scripture to define who I am. I felt like God was saying, once again, "Quit hanging around the mountain of lies, it's time to move on in truth!" I thanked Dave this past Sunday for His words of encouragement and he looked blankly, like he had no clue what I was talking about. I think he really didn't. God just used Him in a moment of spirit-led conversation to speak a word over me. I love, love, love when that happens.
So, sisters, I got moving. In the Sunday night study, we were asked to think about areas where we were not taking responsibility for our lives. The first area that came to mind was my relationship with Christ. Over and over, I ask Him to do things for me that He expects me to be responsible enough to do myself. Like get out of bed.
How many times have I been here? I get it, then I forget it. But giving our firstfruits is insanely important. I say insanely, because we go insane a little if we don't. We create our own troubles when we fail to be obedient in this area. The firstfruits of time is just a hard lesson for me because I am not, and never have been, a morning person. But, I have gotten up and in the Word before the girls have awoken more days than not since last Sunday. This morning I lay there praying, "Lord, please help me get up." And, quick as that, I felt in my spirit, "Just get up!" Not mean or hateful, but strong. And I realized that I was doing it again. Looking around for help when it was already within me--that incomparably great power for us who believe. What did I want Him to do? Roll me out of bed? I mean, there are just some things that He expects us to do. Some things are OUR responsibility in our relationship with Him. If He was doing everything all the time to sustain our relationship, then it wouldn't be much of a relationship at all. He wants to know if we want Him.
I got up. And, I can say with a fair amount of confidence that I will get up again. And again. And again. Because, I've said it before, and I'll say it again: He is worth the effort.
G'night sisters. Morning comes early. =)