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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Becoming Love by Dan Mohler v1

How wonderfully coincidental that the exact same day I posted about my inability to understand how the body of Christ continually fails to love like Jesus does, that a beautiful woman recommended (without knowing I blogged on this) this video to me.  I find it to be even better that as I sit down to watch this today, that I notice it was posted EXACTLY a year ago.  I love how the Lord works in me to be more like Him and let go of all this other junk that keeps me too connected to myself.



Sunday, September 7, 2014

Love...

Why does it seem to be so hard for the body of Christ, the church, to love each other like He loves us?  It was His greatest commandment to us, and also our biggest failure to carry out.  We do so many good things in His name, yet if love is not the main marker of those, it's all for naught.  So many of us try to earn our way into the Lord's good graces even though we know better than to think it possible to do so.  Yet we still try.  We smile at those we gather with Sunday mornings, some genuine, some not so much, but we put on His love in our own way to the best of our ability.  I honestly believe we all desire to love like He does, we just suck at it.

I see why it's hard to love those who've hurt us, yet we need to.  I see why it's uncomfortable to be around those different than us, yet we need to.  I see why it's stretching for us to continue to show the love of Christ to those who don't seem to want to allow the Lord in and change their hearts, yet we need to.  What I don't understand is why it's hard for us to love those in our fellowship who've never done anything to us, yet we distance ourselves from them.  How do we rationalize any of it?

In the world we have our defenses to keep our hearts safe, or rather to try.  It normallly doesn't work very well and ends up hurting us, but still we know that it's not safe so we try to protect ourselves.  In the church we are told that LOVE resides there, and that it's safe.  Many keep up their walls to protect themselves not willing to chance that the body of Christ truly is a place where His love reigns and they will be safe.  There are however some who take those words to heart and allow the essence of who they are to permeate that safe haven of love.  They look to the body of Christ to have the heart of Christ and so many times are then wounded deeply to find that the church looks just like the world in terms of their ability to love the unlovely.  How tragic is that?  Thankfully, there are also those who truly love like He does in the exact same body that those who don't belong to.  And, all of us, if we're blessed to the utmost, will encounter both.  One for refining us, and the other for showing us an example of what Christ's love in action looks like.  I am so incredibly grateful to have both in my life.

Now the answer to not being wounded in church is not in avoiding church. That on the surface takes care of the problem, but instead hurts us further.  We allow bitterness and resentment to grow where we should be allowing iron to sharpen iron.  What's necessary to grow in the spirit of Christ in such times where we are hurt is praying to have an unoffendable heart while loving the unlovely in those who've hurt you.  It's not fair to hold others to a standard of Christ's perfection in love, and not hold yourself accountable to the very same standard.  We need to have Christ's grace flow freely through us in love which covers a multitude of sins.  We need to take our eyes off the work our 'brothers and sisters' in Christ need to do, and allow the Holy Spirit of God to work in our hearts.  We need to not be okay with any area of our lives/minds/hearts that does not accurately reflect Jesus Christ's heart.  We need to throw ourselves upon His mercy asking Him to work in us that we would look like Him and thanking Him for doing exactly that.  He continues to work in us to will and to do for His good pleasure, and will finish the work He started.  Let us not hinder Him by our pride whether that pride be in self-exaltation or self-abasement.  Let us let Him love us into wholeness and work in us so that we may have the privilege of doing the exact same for His other children.  Love heals.  Thank You Father.  Thank You Jesus Christ.  Thank You Holy Spirit.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

We all can hear the Lord =)

The following is just a cool testimonial to how easy and simple it is to listen to the Lord...
My husband I were doing the Jesus Calling Devotional for Kids last night and we got to talking about Moses and the Israelites.  It was a really nice discussion and that was that, or so I thought, lol.  Tonight we did the devotional and before we began my 5 yr old was telling my husband to read 3 and handed him the bible.  My hubs looked down and saw Numbers 3 and asked my 5 yr old if he wanted him to read Numbers 3, my lil' guy said "no, Heboos 3".  So we turned to Hebrews and my husband looked and asked "All of it?" and my lil' guy said "yes".  So my husband obliged our lil' one and started reading chapter 3 of Hebrews.
The cool part is that it was on exactly what we were discussing last night!!!  I absolutely LOVE how the Lord is involved with everything as we seek Him and teach our children to seek Him.  I don't care at all for the desert places and wilderness He leads me through in order to teach me to trust Him, but He's been faithful to bring me through most of it, and I know He's bringing me through all of it, I just haven't walked that far yet.  I just can't get over how simple it would have been to ignore my 5 yr old's request and have totally missed out on this blessing!  What a sweet way to let my 5 yr old know that he hears God's voice too; that still and beautiful quiet voice that leads us into His will for our lives =)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Pride. Struggle Much?

Pride is the hardest thing to kill.  It is multi-faceted and springs up in a multitude of ways because of that.  It can be easy to recognize or hidden, but as always it's far easier to see it in someone else rather than in yourself.  Thank the Lord for His Spirit which searches the hearts of His children and reveals what would much rather lay hidden in the dark recesses of our hearts.

Have you ever read what someone has wrote and immediately make what you believe to be a righteous and informed judgment on them or at least that one aspect of their hearts?

Do you ever feel like if people would listen to what you had to offer them, they wouldn't struggle anymore with their issue?

Have you been prideful at seeing someone's 'wrong' view of Christianity ?  What about if that person was a Christian themselves?

Have you dismissed people that are brothers and sisters in Christ, not choosing to love them as you do yourself, and justified it?

Have you judged someones sins and then put them on your metaphorical 'poop' list?

Oh my how the list could go on and on.  What's worse is that I am guilty of each and every one of these question and continually inviting the Lord into my heart to convict me of these and more, and transform my heart into His.  I love feeling that conviction and submitting, no matter how painful it is.  Some say that I'm an extremest and it's not healthy for me to love seeing what's wrong with me, but I'm beyond caring what others think anymore, lol.  I want His Spirit to illuminate everything in me that hinders love, and pride is a big problem in all of us.

I'm not big fan of Rick Joyner, but I absolutely love his book The "Final Quest".  I think his description of pride in that just wows. I've spoke of humility before, and how the Lord is spending this whole season in my life just working this out in me.  I'm rereading Andrew Murray's book entitled "Humility: The Journey to Holiness" and am so grateful for those who've already chosen the way of humbling themselves before God.  We can learn so much from one another.  

Unity in the body of Christ is absolutely possible if we can just get this aspect of Christ's humility manifested in us worked out.  It really is pride that's at the root of our dissentions with one another.    I refuse to allow pride to continue to take up residence in my heart, and am willing to submit to the Lord in everything He brings to my attention.  Lord Jesus help me to make that true if it's not.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Precious to me

Children are known for being able to just completely touch our hearts and move us in profound ways.  Last night at church, my 6 yr old was filling out a prayer request card and asked me if he could go put it in the prayer box.  I asked him if I could see it first, and he handed it to me.  I went ahead and wrote below his writing what he wrote in case it was hard to make out, but oh my, how it moved my heart.


Then after I told him how precious that was to me, I asked him if there was any way that I could keep it, b/c I wanted it forever.  He, of course, smiled and said yes.  I have the three greatest blessings in the entire world in my sons, and I am aware of it, and grateful for it.  What was so astounding about this was that he chose to describe me in a way that we don't even talk.  No one in our house speaks that way, yet he did.  It was as if the Lord spoke to my son, to write down about me what He sees as He watches me.  My sweet lil' boy was just a willing vessel.  My heart is completely wrecked in such a beautiful and broken way over it because I don't even see myself in that way.  I am one of the greatest failures in mothering, yet I am loved.  I will receive this note and own it as being true, even if it's something I am walking out in my day to day.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Constant Affirmation in Growth

I found myself praying last week quite the humbling prayer, of which I didn't even plan on praying, it kind of just spoke itself through my mouth.  I don't know if or how that's possible, but that sure is what it seemed like to me.

I've always referred to myself as a "toddler in Christ", meaning that my spirit is saved by blood of Jesus but my life, actions, thoughts, and heart motives aren't yet in alignment with where my spirit is.   Funny enough, here is the blog I wrote on that (Toddler In Christ, June 2011).  Guess He wasn't saying that's where I was, but rather where I was heading towards!

I've been keenly aware of maturing in Christ and making decisions that do put my life in alignment with His word, as He directs me, and increasing it that.  Last week as I was talking to Him, I had a picture in my head of my current state of maturity in Him and I was NOT a toddler I was a 10 mo old baby.  As I saw this short movie clip playing out in my head, I was praying to the Lord what was going on in it.  I saw these hands coming down and holding me up as I was learning to walk, and encouraging me, and just loving me and enjoying seeing me as I was trying to learn something new.  Then I saw me giving up and crawling over to an electrical outlet to play with that instead.  So I was praying that I needed the Lord's constant encouragement and affirmation, that I needed Him to continually lift me up as I was learning how to walk in Him or else I was certain that I would go and instead busy myself with something that would lead to my spiritual death.

I'm not sure how much sense that makes to anyone reading it, but it was an eye opener to me.  I was considering myself to be more than what I actually was.  It was very humbling, but also encouraging.  If that's the picture I was seeing, than my Father is telling me that is what I am needing from Him and to ask and expect to receive it.  The Lord never shows us things that He's not ready to deal with in our lives and pour out His grace for us to overcome them.

There's been multiple ways that He's been doing exactly what I prayed for Him to do.  He's highlighted patience, being still before Him, having faith and increasing in it, choosing others over myself, and listening immediately to what He says.

This Sunday at church I was listening to someone pray over the Pastor before He gave His sermon.  He was almost done and I had the unction that I should lean over and put something in the bible I saw in front of me.  I hesitated because that just seemed really strange and I didn't want to, and I told the Lord that I couldn't because the prayer was almost over.  I felt such conviction that I wasn't listening to Him and I apologized and told Him to make a way for be to be obedient and I would.  Well, wouldn't you know it, the person finished their prayer and gave the microphone to someone else to pray, so I did choose to listen.  Strangely enough, I opened their bible to the beginning of 2 Peter when I slipped in their surprise, so I wrote that down b/c I wasn't sure whether that was for me or for them, or both.  I felt perfect peace afterwards which is a wonderful indication that I was following in the way in which I should.  My ears were now especially open to anything that would come from 2 Peter and I thanked Him for allowing me the opportunity to partner with Him, and repented for not listening immediately.

Now b/c I've asked Him to constantly affirm things to me, He did.  This is the part that wows me.  The Pastor began to teach on various scriptures and lo and behold 2 Peter 1:21 came up.

2 Peter 1:21  21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

This verse spoke volumes to me.  It's hard to put it all into words as the last 3 yrs have a lot to do with it, but I will do my best.  For anyone who wants a better understanding of what prophecy is, check out http://www.christcenteredmall.com/teachings/gifts/prophecy.htm

Now what I had done in listening to the Lord's promptings was not a prophetic act, but the same discernment in listening was still required.  I heard the Lord's still and quiet voice and acted, and this verse brought that to the forefront for me.  I have been practicing hearing from the Lord for others and speaking His heart to them (aka prophecy) for the last 3 yrs.  I find it's much easier to hear for someone else than it is yourself, and the less you know them, the easier it is!  However, this Sunday morning, I heard for myself, and did what He asked, and He affirmed me in that both in providing an extended opportunity to be obedient and in the Pastor talking about the above verse.   After church I went up for prayer and once again the Lord highlight one specific verse for me that I just keep struggling to come into, and then another one which is on the same exact thing.   This also blesses me immensely because He is keeping His finger on this one issue which is causing me distance from Him and He wants to walk me through it.  Nevermind that I'm on my 3rd year of hearing this one scripture!  I'm choosing to believe that this incredibly slow victory I'm obtaining in this one area just means this victory can never be taken from me because I will be well established in it, lol.

It's so difficult to write about things that affect the spirit b/c spiritual things can not be understood in the flesh, but I wanted so badly to try and give Him the glory for what He's doing in my life.  If you have made it this far in my bumbling testimony, PRAISE THE LORD!  I pray that you were in some way touched and your flame for God is burning even brighter as is my prayer for myself and the rest of His body.

Here is the most amazing 11 min video on the gospel I have ever watched:


Monday, January 14, 2013

Why God?

Let me preface this by saying I do not believe that everything that happens is the will of God.   Feel free to ask questions and I'll address them to the best of my ability, but for right now my understanding is that the Lord uses ALL THINGS for His glory but doesn't necessarily orchestrate those things.  That said, He does have the power to stop things from occurring.  As much as we might sometimes despise it,  he chooses to allow self-will to have its reign in our lives, for better or for worse.  I know of very few Christians who haven't held some kind of grudge against the Lord at some point in time because He allowed a certain tragedy to completely darken their lives that they felt they should have been spared.  My prayer is that we would all search our hearts and give Him that pain so that we can be healed from the things that are brought into our lives from that unforgiveness in our hearts.

After coming to believe that Jesus was in fact the Son of God and not only that, but that He also chose to take my sin upon Himself and be crucified for me, and then resurrected to one day judge the living and the dead, I had a certain peace about my life that was secure.  Fast forward through my incredibly slow walk of faith to about 3 yrs ago when my faith was shaken and I had to come to terms with a God who allowed something to happen that hurt someone very dear to me.  I had rationalized all the other hurt I went through before I started praying (aka talking to Him daily) as what happens when one doesn't know the love of God.  I had now found if I was to continue to believe in a God who was always love, then I needed to have Him address this certain situation and show me how I could still trust Him with all those I held dear and prayed for.  Thankfully, the Lord did provide me a way to see through the pain of the situation, and see that He had also done things that I hadn't recognized at that time as being from Him, but He was trying to minimize the pain that would occur.  As asinine as it sounds, I had to forgive God for not doing what I thought He should have (and forgive myself for missing His leadings), and then trust Him with the ability to use the situation for the good of His kingdom.

I've encountered many situations since then where I've been blessed to see the Lord intervene in them.  There's been times where His intervention was heeded and others where He wasn't.  The results of not recognizing His hand can range from small to devastating.  I wonder how many times the Lord has prompted me to see something that I've just completely ignored not realizing that it was the mercy of God that I was shrugging off.  I want to walk into every blessing He has for me and walk through as little tumultuous pain as possible.  I no longer want to be flippant about listening to His powerful love that desires to guide me into His best.  I guess the purpose of me writing this is to give Him glory for all that He wants to do in me, and thank Him for doing it even though He knows how much of it will just fall by the wayside b/c I won't listen to Him.  I want to thank Him for loving me and not giving up on me, for being loving to me even when I was ignorant or callous towards Him and what He wanted to do.  My prayer is to continue to grow in my awareness of His still and quiet voice that leads me to still waters where I can be refreshed and trust Him, and to ask Him to not allow me to unknowingly ignore His attempts to keep me or my loved ones from harm whether it be emotionally, physically or spiritually.  Although I know that whether I choose to listen or not, or whether life happens and there was nothing said for me to act on, He will be there to comfort me through the ordeal.  He doesn't love like I do with conditions and walls.  He loves without measure and the more I seek Him, the more I find Him.  God is love and I desire to know that love in His fullness, and to love like Him.