Monday, February 2, 2015

Time of Deficiency

In studying Leviticus 25, God instructs on the Sabbatical years, along with the year a Jubilee. 

" I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years." Lev 25:21

God promises to give an abundance.  But what if what God calls abundant is not what we call abundant?  This passage describes what God means, you will still have leftovers when you get to harvest your crops three years later.

It's all on faith.  Will it really last?  What if mold or rodents invade the store houses?  What if what God calls abundant isn't what I call abundant?  Sadly, the Israelites never practice this concept (as far as we have recorded.)

Scripture states that God gives and takes away.  His purpose is for us to rely on Him.  A deep reliance that is above our physical needs.  So a time of deficiencies of physical supply could be an abundance of Spiritual supply.  A time to grow faith, trust and to experience the kindness of God's people. 

One thing is clear - God gives us what we need - either blessing or discipline.  As Jesus did many times in His ministry - He didn't always answer the question asked, but He went straight to the heart. 

"What if" is worry - and Jesus directs in Matthew 6:34  "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Who's in Control?

God revealed something in me that I was surprised by...well I shouldn't be but was. 

I dreaded having to spend time with the people - not just any people, but a certain set of people, who they are isn't important.  On this particular week I was scheduled to spend potentially three days with the people.  That naturally lead me to a big debate could I endure three settings?  Could I do so with a good attitude...I didn't think I could.  And if I couldn't do it with a good attitude, wouldn't I hurt my witness to Jesus?  So not to damage His reputation, I was better off NOT going the "elected" day - which happened to be the middle day of the visits.

Then I began reading my the next book on my list:  When People Are Big and God Is Small by Ed Welch.  This quote made me look at the circumstances in a new light - Thank you God for setting my heart up to hear the message.

"Do you avoid people?  If so, even though you might not say that you need people, you are still controlled by them.  Isn't a hermit dominated by the fear of man?"

God labeled my temptation not to go as avoidance and said that I'm controlled by them.  It was hard for me to wrap my head around at first.

What I wanted to avoid more wasn't the people, it was the ugliness that came out of me while around them.  I would be easily frustrated, lacked compassion, became was self-centered.  I scratched out became because all this ugliness lurked within my heart.  It's as if I checked the Holy Spirit at the door around the people and allowed my sinful nature to take over.  Yea, that sinful nature that is dead and whose habits I want gone from my life.  I was indulging it every time.

Thank you Papa for answered prayer.  Thank you for revealing what was really happening around the people, that it isn't their fault (oh how my dead sinful nature loves to blame others!)  Now that You've shown me, I can offer it up as a sacrifice.  It's no longer OK for me to avoid my ugliness by avoiding the people.  I submit to the Holy Spirit's leading.  I want and desire to follow.  You give me the strength to follow.  Thank you as well that You've already proven it true, You already helped me have a better attitude, one of love.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Whole Heart Search - Jer 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jer. 29:13

It was verse 11 that I was instructed to look at, but I couldn't help but to read on since verse 11 was so encouraging.

This verse struck to the middle of my heart.  I will find God when I seek with my whole heart.  What does that mean?  God is teaching me.  He's shown me other verses that speak on the same thing.  God wants us to find Him.  He enables us to do so. 

So I go boldly into this journey to find out what it means to seek God wholeheartedly.  To surrender all of me.  To study what is happening when God says "Come, follow Me," and the many ways in which He does:
Delight yourself in the Lord, Diligently seek Me, Allow me to learn from You are just some of the ways.

The journey is moving along - it will have no end until I'm basking in the glow of the Glory of Jesus.

God planned to prosper the Israelites.  After the 70 years of exile, God planned to return His people to the land He gave their forefathers.  The Israelites were His chosen people, a priesthood that would be a shining light unto the world (Ex 19:3-6.)  They didn't keep God's covenant, nor did they observe the Sabbath rest.  The seventy years of exile were the Sabbath rest that the Israelites did not observe. 

We see God's plan for the Isralites was just a shadow of things to come.  The Israelites went their own way, they did not rely on God's grace to keep His commandments.  Now, as a follower of Christ, I am woven into His church, a member of His Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2,) by God's mercy - not by my own doing.  All because He choose me to seek Him.  What a wonderful gift it is. 


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Being Undone - luxury

If you're like much of the mid-west, you're currently under a freeze.  Schools cancelled or delayed.  I am tucked in my warm house, a fire in the fireplace, warm breakfast in my tummy and a hot cup of tea in my hand.

Then I peruse the morning news with at statement like this on a local shelter:

"There is also an elevator that will allow those who use wheelchairs to have access to the sleeping quarters upstairs. In the past, those men would have to sleep in their wheelchairs. Craig Liparoto is one of them.
“It’s great! A luxury,” he said. “I’m grateful.”

This man thinks it is a luxury to have a bed.  M-W.com defines luxury as:
: a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth
: something that is expensive and not necessary
: something that is helpful or welcome and that is not usually or always available
 
A warm place to sleep is "not necessary, not always available."  I don't know how this man got to where he is, it doesn't matter to me.  For God has called me to spend myself on behalf of the oppressed.  As tears fall for a man I don't know, for the ones I was blessed to know, my heart breaks for what breaks God's heart.  I go confidently unto the next step.  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Plans

Well I did it again.  Over and over I have in my mind I won't do it, but I do.  How I so get Paul in Romans 7.  It wasn't just because it's New Years, I also have completed all the requirements for certification of biblical counseling (Woohoo!)

So what a perfect time to make some changes - form new habits.  I instruct in counseling the need to put off old habits of our dead sinful nature and put on new habits that reflect our alive status in Christ (Christ alive in our place.)  So I went out and found something call a powersheet.  I planned it, I would choose three components to work on each month...Spirit, health and home.  I would work at these three things for three weeks to form the habit and then spend the last week of the month praying for the next month habits.

Verses for the year are for Spirit, health and home:
  • Roman 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then your will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
  • Titus 2:12 It [grace of God] teaches us to say "no" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright godly lives in this present age.
  • Proverb 31:27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Of course through the process of changing me for God, my thoughts went to changing me for me.  I had to once more repent of that and seek God's forgiveness.  I returned to Him to seek His guidance.

The more I thought about the process, the more I thought about what I was going to "do" that the Spirit revealed I was once more going wrong.  It isn't about what I DO.  If I make it about what I do, I am pursuing self-righteousness.

In comes John 3:30 "He must become greater; I must become less."  Yes, it isn't about me changing, putting off old habits of my dead sinful nature by putting on new godly habits.  It's all about me decreasing and Christ increasing.  It's about me seeking God, learning from my Papa, seeking Him, just as Jesus did while He walked the earth.  Jesus didn't seek His own will, but the Father's (Mat 26.)  It's only when I'm part of the Vine that I can bear fruit (John 15.) 

Still further, I am to learn to walk by the Spirit everyday, every minute in all circumstances (Gal 5:16.)  It's not about working on specific habits.  That so limits what I do.  I want to learn to walk by the Spirit so well that doing whatever pops into my head is replaced with purposeful, intentional actions.

I can tell you that I've been assaulted majorly by my fleshly desires.  Last night, to unwind I sat down at the computer.  Before I even click the link to pinterest, I thought "this isn't the best way to unwind."  Yet I clicked anyway.  I could have used that time to stretch, read a chapter in a book, something, anything that would have drawn me closer to my Papa.  

Pinterest isn't bad in itself, but I didn't have anything particular to look for, I didn't have purpose in the action.  It fell into the category of idleness or emptiness that I've posted on before.  This is that type of old habits I'd like to get away from.  If I ignore the Spirit's direction to not click, how am I learning to listen to Him?  

Powersheet will be put down.  I have one simple quest:



I hope to write devos that will help me stay on track and explore what God's Word says on the Pursuit.



Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Finished

With a deep breath I can say I have finished - the paperwork still needs done and I have at least one more meeting, but the work on my part is finished.

I wrestled with putting off the final meeting.  It's Christmas break, I should be able to take off.  Yet, while I stood worshiping in church, I knew I had to try and get it in.  As soon as I got home I emailed, asking for a meeting, not giving a option out (I had originally planned to do this.)  I had to get home since I do not have one of the smart contraptions.

Six hours later I got a yes reply to the meeting.  They could have said no and I would have been fine, since it's in God's hands.  God instructed me to reach out, wait patiently and then finish what I started.

This doesn't mean I'm done:
  • Gaining wisdom - I have so much to learn, but now I'm on my own schedule.  I get to choose (listening to Holy Spirit) what and when and pray for the dedication to get it done.
  • Meeting with others - I will continue to finish the cases I'm on and see what God has in store for me.

I'm excited for the next phase.  Excited to look back and praise God for what He has brought me through since March 2012.  He has poured so much into me.  It took two years and four months to finish (taking summers off.)  I would encourage everyone to become a Biblical Counselor.  It could easily be done while working as it is done less than part time.  Classes were only one evening a week, very little homework, a lot of reading (this is what summers are for), and growth in ways you  never imagined.  There are training centers that have weekend get-aways classes, but I think it would be too much information crammed into a little bit of time.  I need the slow drip method!

Below is the beautiful card and loving words from my husbands upon completion.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Not about Me

Transition is hard and I feel like I've been in it for years.  Always wondering what is next?  Should I get a paying job?  Continue to volunteer?  Redecorate the house?  Learn Spanish?  You know the list of possibilities never ending.

I'm near the end of the certification to be a biblical counselor.  It's been a fantastic journey - however I've been ready for what's next for about half that time.  It got so bad that I had to intentionally refuse to think about it - which is hard for the planner in me.  God taught me to be patient, wait on His timing.  He knows me well, that if I know what's next, I'll skip what's today and jump to tomorrow.

My thoughts settled on taking time to work on me yesterday.  Yeah, time to work walking by the Spirit, my health, my home.  A time to do all those things I put on hold while I worked on the certification process. 

Then the brakes were hit with that thought process.  I remembered a conversation in counseling that urged the gal to pray as we've discussed.  She rarely prays.  Scripture says to pray continually (1 Thes 5.)  All believers need to have a vibrant prayer life - daily connecting with God, resetting our thinking, focusing on things above - eternal things.

Yet - my own prayer life is so-so.  I go through spells where I allow the day to get in the way of my sweet time with my Papa.  How could I focus on ME while not help others?  I cannot withdraw, as my thoughts carried me, from the world to work on me.  It just doesn't work that way.  How did the apostles live?  They spent time with Jesus learning then went out and helped others.  How did Paul live?  He spent time learning from Scripture/Holy Spirit (Gal 1) while growing his ministry.  Finally, he carried out the great ministry God planned for him.

All through Scriptures, those most dedicated to God were dedicated to others.

Merry Christmas - focus on the One who is the Way!
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