February 11, 2012

"Who do YOU say I am?"

Many months ago, God took me to Matthew 16:15 where Jesus asked His disciples this question:


"But what about YOU?", [Jesus] asked. "Who do YOU say I am?"


That verse, which I had read many times before, suddenly penetrated my heart, revealing that I did NOT believe God was who He said He was. 


Through years of disappointment and unanswered prayers, I resolved in my heart that God did not love me and did not really care about me.  I talked the talk. I walked the walk. I declared God's promises. I prayed. BUT I did not expect God to answer my pleas and heart cries for my life.  


I could tell you who He was for YOU, but I did not believe that He could be that for me.


I could pray prayers for you, and expect that God WOULD answer because He loved YOU...


BUT I couldn't receive the same for my life.


Disappointment...


It's a part of life.


As I started being honest with God on that day about who I REALLY thought He was, God began to reveal who He REALLY was. My healing didn't come overnight. I went through many weeks of struggling as the lies I believed about God began coming forth, and as God began to replace those lies with HIS TRUTH.  


The Israelites took 40 YEARS to take a 2 week journey across the desert into the Promised Land! 40 YEARS!!! Around and around the desert they went, wandering aimlessly, getting more and more bitter, lost, complacent, and ungrateful.


God continued to show them He was faithful and could be trusted! God continued to provide miracle after miracle for their protection and provision! God continued to give them victory in EVERY battle they faced! God continued to encourage them NOT to be afraid!


YET THEY STILL doubted! THEY STILL complained! THEY STILL grumbled! THEY STILL chose to worship other idols and gods! THEY STILL found disappointment! THEY STILL were afraid!


I've heard the definition of Insanity defined as "doing the same thing while expecting different results."  Now, while this phrase has been way-overused, I see it also being way-overused in my own life.


What if part of our "Desert experience" is defined as "thinking the same things about God while expecting different outcomes from Him"? Just a thought as I quickly write out this post.


Or what if God continues to provide for us and answer our prayers in original, creative ways, (as He did with the Israelites) yet because it's not what WE EXPECT, we assume He's doing nothing...therefore, adding to the lie that God really doesn't care about us or our situation... Again, just another thought.


If you don't think God is "for you" and doesn't care for you, then you aren't going to be able to see clearly when He provides a way out of your desert experience.  You will assume, as I once did, that you are meant to stay here forever, and that this is all life holds, because this is all you deserve... (Just another thought!)


I believe God wants to rearrange your thinking about the way that you think about Him. I believe He wants you to really "get" the truth about who is REALLY is, and who He REALLY wants to be for you. I believe He wants the lies exposed that you have believed about Him (and yourself!) for so long. I pray that today as you read this, that God will penetrate your heart, the same way He did mine months ago, as He asks you...


"But what about YOU? who do YOU say that I am???"

February 9, 2012

What guests are you entertaining?

Access to our "Promised Land" usually isn't an easy path. It usually is a road with twists, turns, curves, bumps, & pot holes here and there. 





Life happens. Whether you're a Christian or not, good things don't happen just because you will them, wish them, or declare them into existence. Growing up with years of childhood/adolescence secular counseling, I was told that my life and attitude was determined based on how I thought/felt/spoke about things, i.e. my circumstances, future, etc.


Basically, I learned I couldn't always control the world or circumstances around me, but I could control the way I handled what came my way.  Positive affirmations, taped upon my mirror and spoken every morning, were to increase my self-esteem. Intentionally seeking to forgive past offenders would lead my "inner child" to a more peaceful existence as a fruitful and fulfilled adult.


My point is, no matter what side of the fence you are on, God or anti-God, we all agree that faith and words alone cannot always "heal" us or move us forward.  Although there are times that God, in His Sovereignty, chooses to instantaneously deliver us from our own lonely desert, most of the time, we have to walk out our journey.


His healing power, through the Word of God, renews our mind, our heart, and our spirit, but no matter how much healing is poured out upon us, eventually, we will have to walk...forward...one step at a time...closer...to the place He wants us to possess.


Before I went to bed last night, I had a little party. Offense came to visit and invited Self-Pity. Before long, Disappointment and Sadness came along. By the time I went to bed, Mr. Depression and "Poor Me" had joined the life-sucking get-together. We had a sleep over.  


When I woke up this morning, they all wanted to hang around and party some more.  I thought about it. I really did. After all, I definitely know how to entertain those guys! I've been doing it for years...yet somehow, I knew I just wasn't in the mood for a back-to-back pity party.  


Instead, I was firm in my mind that I was NOT going to entertain these guests today. See, in the past month, as I have been spending time with God, I have found that there is no room in my Promised Land for these visitors. Part of the reason the Israelites stayed in the desert for so long is that they entertained Self-pity, grumbling, murmuring, complaining, disappointment, and unbelief rather than to follow the directions of the Lord through those leading them.




I know how to stay depressed! I know how to live in unbelief, regret, disappointment, and in lack!  I can tell you what every side of this mountain looks like because I've spent my life going around and around, yet never really getting anywhere, but more confused and lost. I know how the desert winds blow in distractions, mirages, and detours with the sandstorms of life.




I'm ready to live on the other side of this desert. I'm ready to live in full view of my blessings and inheritance of the Lord. I'm ready to bathe in the freedom God has promised me....


It requires more of God's Presence IN ME!


That means telling my unwelcomed guests of pity to flee! That means inviting Rejoicing, Thankfulness, Praise, and Delight to my house for a time of refreshment and renewal.


INTENTIONALLY praising God for the amazing, wonderful, glorious blessings in my life!!!


DECLARING that my feelings are NOT the final answer! They do NOT define me! 


PROCLAIMING that God is STILL FOR ME; not against me!


---I can't do your "work". You can't "do" mine. I can't take your journey. You can't take mine. 


BUT I CAN take my journey!
AND YOU CAN take yours...









February 4, 2012

"Action"

I don't "do" new year's resolutions, but I do "do" a "word" for the year. I ask God what His "word" for me for the year is. One year, it was "trust". THAT was a hard year! This year, God gave me "ACTION!"
  
I'm tend not to be an "action" girl. I tend to be a "dreaming" girl, a "starting" girl, an "introspective" girl...but not too much of an "action" girl. My feelings have usually "won" out in the past. If I don't "feel" like doing something, I usually won't unless I HAVE to. (ex. going to church vs. cooking supper for my son). My son HAS to eat, but we'll survive if we don't make it to church one Sunday.

Long story short, the month of January was a total loss training month for me. From January 1st on, I was met with scenario after scenario that totally tripped up my emotions! I rarely left my house. I went a little over a month without going to church or Tuesday prayer meetings. I didn't hang out with friends. I slept ALOT! I kept myself in my own little bubble because I didn't "feel like" doing anything!

Amazingly, I watched quite a bit of Christian television, listened to Christian teachers, read my Bible often, and spent quality time with God.  I wrote in my journal almost daily. Even if I didn't "feel like" spending time with God, I KNEW that was the only way out of the pit I dug for myself. On some days, I only opened my Bible to read one verse, and then shut it again. Then I would follow with listening to a Christian teaching program on TV. 

God spoke. Not too much made sense, but I KNEW He was speaking. I KNEW He was pointing out verses to me, so I would write them down. I didn't know what they really meant or how they fit into my life, but I KNEW God wanted me to write them down.  I did. 

Today is Saturday, February 4, 2012. Those verses God had me write down from January 1st until now, are NOW fitting together.  

God is calling me (and you) out of our Egypt...out of the wilderness...out of the desert! God is calling me (and you) into action so that we can experience and possess our Promised Land that God has for us!

ACTION!!!

I woke up on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, and declared, "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!" I had been in this "funk" for well over a month, and I was DONE- D.O.N.E.- DONE!!! 

I forced myself into ACTION! I got dressed, declared God's promises over my life, and determined I was going forward!!! It hasn't been easy by no means! It hasn't even been comfortable! It has been challenging, BUT God has an inheritance for me...my PROMISED LAND...and I WANT IT! I NEED IT! I DESIRE IT! and I MUST go after it in order to possess it!!!

I have been settling for the "desert", the "wilderness", for sooooooooooooooo long.  I've even wanted to go back to "Egypt"- the junk God's taken me out of- just so I don't have to go forward. I'm tired of a mediocre life. What about you?

1. Get DRESSED! - Ephesians 6 talks about putting on the armor of God. The belt of Truth, the breast plate of Righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, Helmet of Salvation, the sword of the Spirit, and love. Without "putting on" these spiritual "clothes", it's like showing up to work naked! You're not prepared! You're bound to get bombarded and end up going back home before you've even started! For me, because I do not work outside of the home, this also means I have to physically get dressed for the day, even though I love lounging in my pajamas all day. 

2. DECLARE God's promises! Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. What is your heart believing about your life? About your circumstances? About the situation staring at you in the face? SPEAK to the "mountain" in your life! When you let your circumstances tell you what or how you should feel, you are starting on the wrong side of the battle field! I don't know about you, but when I wake up in the morning, I am tempted to say, "UGH! I am sooooooo tired. I want to go back to bed. Another day??? Blah." When I do that, I set my day up for that kind of day. I set my mind to a defeated mentality. I won't have a good day. I will be tired all day. More than likely, I will go back to bed... So DESPITE what my body and feelings are telling me, I DECLARE "I'm going to have a great day because THIS IS THE DAY God has made! I will rejoice! BUT GOD I NEED MORE OF YOU!"  So I declare victory in my day, but I also declare my need for God's strength and power to help me get through my day :)

3. DETERMINE that no matter what happens, that God is STILL GOD! God is STILL in control. God is STILL good no matter what I see! Just because you get "dressed" and "declare", doesn't mean that the rest of your day is going to go smoothly, Especially, if this is something new you are doing! Throughout the day, you may have to continue to declare and determine (set your mind straight!) that you are going forward...you are claiming victory...you are trusting and believing God........  DETERMINE!!!

You and I have a Promised Land that God wants to bring you into. You have a choice NOT to receive it. You CAN stay exactly where you are at, and yet still live your mediocre life.  BUT...BUT...BUT YOU CAN HAVE YOUR PROMISED LAND- the land flowing with milk, honey, abundance, destiny, great joy, peace....-IF YOU DECIDE you want it!

DECIDE to move into ACTION to receive it!!! 

Trusting God

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