A journal of my journey in learning to be a gentle warrior through study, prayer, and fasting.


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Friday, June 11, 2010

Rescue Me....

Wow... Haven't written here in forever.

I have still been writing notes for a variety of studies and devotions but for personal reasons...and maybe this is personal too.

Today I was reading in Galatians... and when I hit verse 3 I had to stop...and think about it. Let me refresh your memory:
3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


So I bolded a couple of parts that stood out to me. You know, one more time... it isn't anything we did...it is what He did. That seems to be such a hard concept. Once we are saved we feel the need to not only perfect ourselves but also everyone around us...

Think of it this way.... when someone is rescued it is because they are helpless and unable to fix thier situation. When someone is rescued they are beyond their own capabilities. The rescuer MUST be stronger or have more ability than the rescuee, right?

Stick with me here...

So on my desk I have this little day by day devotional. After I had done my Bible reading and run errands I came home to work..I sat down and instinctively turned it to today's page....

Note well the words of Jesus... It is not "Go, labor on, " as perhaps you imagine [but]... Come to me and rest."
Never, never did Christ send a heavy laden one to work; never never did He send a weary one, a sick or sorrowing one away on such service. For such the Bible only says, "Come, come, come".

There are tons of hurting people in churches...right now. Spiritually exhausted, beat up, rejected.... and rather than being able to rest and be real they are encouraged to "Get over themselves... Lay down rights..... Speak Life...." as if somehow working for the Kingdom will heal them...deliver them.... make them whole.

It is like slapping someone who is paralyzed because they can't get up. If you don't put your pain aside (notice I did not say get healed) and get over it then somehow you are unspiritual, backslidden, or worthless.

The answer of course is Jesus. Purely, unadultrated, with no bells and whistles. Jesus. Jesus in my mind, Jesus in my heart, Jesus in my soul/spirit/life. He says in scripture that He is the Way the Truth and the Life...He is the Living Water...no one else can quench your thirst... and if He leads me beside still waters as the psalms say...and He goes searching for me when I wander, then I am secure in knowing that my life is secure in Him.

Nothing else matters. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else. It does not have to be confirmed by anyone else. We are being rescued and set on track over and over and over and over......

Sick and hurting people cannot minister, they cannot counsel, they cannot correct...They will always see the other person through the haze of thier own pain, like a cornered and hurt animal that bites anything that comes near to protect itself.

I have thought a lot about accountability, about correction, about counsel...and I have come to the conclusion...for me....that ultimately my accountability is to Christ, ultimately I am in no position to correct or counsel anyone... I can pray for them... I can encourage them that they are precious and dearly loved...and that He will never let them out of His sight... but how dare I play the Holy Spirit in another's life? I have been guilty of that too many times.

So... I recognize my need to be rescued by someone bigger than myself...and folks, that isn't another human. Your opinion of someone else's actions is only based on what you can see or perceive through your own haze of pain. Worth prayerfully considering ... but that's all. If you are tired tonight.. spiritually beat up.... there is no need for you to pretend to be a spiritual giant. Being humble is not degrading yourself in front of your peers... it is being able to say with certainty... It's not who I am... it's Who He is.

When children are tired and refuse to rest they are cranky and difficult. I don't think it is much different for us.
Just sayin'




Monday, February 11, 2008

Worthless Idols 1:12

Jonah 1:12 And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me." 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.

Have you ever been smack in the middle of a storm in your life and cried out to the Lord? And, if so, has He ever told you to do something you didn't want to do?

I mean, for me, it goes something like this.
"God I will do anything, just please fix this situation"
"O.k.....I want you to give away the t.v. and fast chocolate and coffee for two months"
"God, what is my next choice?"

You see? We want the Lord to help us, to still the storm but we do not want to do the things He tells us to do. We see this in the New Testament when Jesus talks about His sacrifice. Peter refuses to believe it, refuses to accept it, and the Lord rebukes him.
The ship was tossing on waves in the middle of a storm like the men of the ship had never experienced. They go to Jonah to ask what to do that they may be saved..and he tells them to sacrifice.
So they try to do it their way.
Nobody likes sacrifice. We don't like to sacrifice ourselves, adn we don't like to see other's sacrificed on our behalf, and yet it is sometimes necessary to accomplish what God it trying to do in our lives.
If you have an ongoing storm in your life I want to ask you, what sacrifice are you holding back from the Lord? What do you need ot throw into the sea today?
How long are you going ot try to do it yourself?

Lord, I ask Your favor on us today. I ask that You would show us what to do and give us the ability to do it. Allow the storms of our lives to dissipate as we follow You. Amen.


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Friday, February 08, 2008

2/8/08

Confusion reigns deep, dark, dank, and thick
deep in me.
I want so very badly to push through the slimy-ness, so cold, so sick:
slippery
I think I see a light there at the end but too soon it flickers and
is snuffed out
And a guttural cry from deep inside bursts through
"What's it all about"
Because I am your favorite one
and I am the one you love
and You haven't forgotten me
and I just want to see
Your face
Here in this place
I am so all alone
My heart? Is it of stone?
I am so very small
Not ready to attempt this wall
And You are nowhere I can see,
I know You have not forgotten me.
You whisper in my night
You know no delight
In my pain
My emotional strain
I look up at You
I almost think I have broken through
Then slump and fall
I am so small
Your tears, they fall like rain
You feel my deepest pain
No one knows, they can't see
They don't know me.
Raw, screaming, sliding through
I am still grasping at You
As I tumble by
And I hoarsely cry, Your Name.
You have not forgotten me
Someday soon I will see
Who I am
Know Your plan
My tears are not lost to You
My fears are not the least bit true
They are real to me
I can't see
You.
You hold me in arms I cannot touch
You scream Your love, I can't hear much
Over the beating of my heart
But it's a start.
I close my eyes and see Your Face
I am hurling through time and space
I want to stop, to get off the ride
You hold me tighter to Your side
Where Your love poured out
I despise my doubt
Because I am your favorite one
I have just begun,
You will see me through
What I need to do
In You I am complete
and I will walk on Your feet

Weeping remains for a night but joy comes in the morning. Amen.

By the way, if you are stopping by and reading this...While it is very true that I am the Lord's favorite, it is also true that you hold that place in His heart if you know Him, too. Whatever you are going through, if my words spoke to you, know that He knows, He sees, and in that one perfect moment your life will, like mine will, change miraculously and the battle will be won. You can stand until that happens and so can I.
When I was small I used to asked my dad if I could alk on his feet. He would hold my hands and take stiff legged steps and I would be magically taken where ever he was going.
Tonight I am going ot walk on the Lord's feet. I am ready to go where ever He takes me. You?
Blessings on you .....

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Worthless Idols 1:11, Choosing A Sacrifice

Jonah 1 :11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, "What should we do to you to stop this storm?"

There are some amazing things in these two verses. Jonah has come clean about his sin, although he has not actually repented, and the men recognize that he is the reason for the storm. They ask him, "What should we do to you to stop the storm?"

Listen, a believer that is rebelling against God can upset an applecart (or a ship) quicker than anything. You take a believer who has back-slidden, or is not walking in what he should be walking in, and add him to a group of unsaved people. Now stir the pot a little bit and you have a disaster in the making.

The word used for "ask" is interesting because there is a proud and haughty connotation to it. That interested me. I wondered why. Then I realized....these men were trying to shore up their wavering courage...Quaking on the inside they looked at Jonah, and with every bit of courage they could muster they sneer at him..."You did this, you are gonna pay. What shall we do to you to fix it? Hmmm?" "How shall we deal with you?"

Even not knowing God they recognized the need for a sacrifice. Not knowing God they recognized that something had to occur that would bring restitution for Jonah' s sin.

They make the statement again about the whirlwind, signifying God. The also make a statement about the sea that it was moving away from them as the whirlwind moved toward them.

The sea was a safe place. It was something they were used to. It was a comfort zone for them. These men were seasoned sailors. They had dealt with stormy seas before. This was different. They had the sense that the thing they thought they knew, the sea, was moving away from them.

When God deals with us, with our sin, it is often in a whirlwind. Often those areas that have worked for us in the past, our comfort zones, our crutches, those things are pulled away in the strength of the whirlwind and we are left looking for someone or something to sacrifice tp regain our equilibrium.

The answer is always, always that we must sacrifice our own flesh. ANything that is made uncomfortable in the whirlwind must be tossed into the sea without a second thought.
But, you know, I am getting ahead of myself...
I hope to be back tomorrow.

Lord, help us to see those things in ourselves that must go. Things that are not pleasing to You. Things that bring us comfort, that encourage rebellion. Open us up to You and show us the next step.
Amen.



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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Clinging to Worthless Idols 10

Jonah 1:10

Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them

The sailors were astonished. His actions had put the entire ship at risk and they understood the magnitude of what Jonah had done by running away from God. I don't even really want to call it running away since he was completely haughty over it. He felt he was right, no matter what God thought. He was hanging on to his "righteousness" no matter what.
The men, terrified of what might happen, asked him, "Why have you created this problem for us? Why have you brought this upon us? Why must we be hurt because of what you have done?

Again, sin always affects everyone in the vicinity of it. It never touches just one person. I know many people that despise God because of the sin of Christians they know and how it has affected their own lives.
We are our brother's keeper. We have a responsibility to those around us for our words and our actions, lest we bring harm to them in the midst of our own storms of life. Honest faith can say, "This is hard, it hurts, I hate what I am walking through" while in the same breath saying" But I know and trust that God will bring me through it"

Jonah had the opportunity to be humble, he had the opportunity to allow the men to see him repent and he had the opportunity to allow them to see the grace and mercy of the Lord. The grace and mercy of God draws people, and when they see it manifest in our lives it touches them deeply. Jonah did not allow them this but maintained his hardness of heart so that they could only see the judgment of God.

If people only see the judgments of God in our lives and not the mercy what is there to draw them? Who wants to serve a harsh God? How will they see the God of mercy and grace if we don't allow Him to manifest those things in our lives?

What you do means so much more than what you say. The way you live your life is obvious to everyone, your inner life is obvious by what your outer life looks like. Hypocrisy is an ugly thing.
Jonah felt he was righteous. He was offended that God would ask him to go to Nineveh. Yet in his righteousness and his pride he brought near destruction to a group of men who needed to know God. What was his righteousness worth if it was not touching someone else in a positive way? Talk is cheap.

Lord, allow us to be everything you want us to be. Allow us to allow You to manifest mercy and grace in our lives and draw others through Your Spirit.
Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Clinging to Worthless Idols 9

Jonah 1:9

And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

Does this statement seem a little odd to you, considering all that has gone on before? Yeah, me too. Let's look at it carefully and see if we can see what was really happening.


One of the translations for the word 'said" is to BOAST, or act proudly. Looking at the rest of the chapter I would have to say that in context boast would be the correct translation.
Read it again, Audet version:


And he boasted proudly, I am of the Hebrew people, and I reverence the Creator of all things, the Lord of angels and of all the earth who controls both the land and the sea.


Does it sound different? Did you ever find yourself in a situation where you were somewhere you weren't supposed to be, and maybe doing what you shouldn't be doing and you had a burst of spiritual prie because you knew the Lord and those around you didn't?
We can be walking in sin and still be so full of pride because we have known God at some point in the past.
What if Jonah had been humble, what if he had repented? Perhaps the Lord would have allowed the storm to disappate without his needing to be tossed over board.

But he didn't. Pride will keep us hanging on to something long after we should have given it up. Pride will keep us from admitting our mistakes and recieving forgiveness. Oh, it may not keep God from using us in the lives of those around us, but he used Balaam's donkey to prophecy to Balaam so there is no reasn for pride in what we do, is there?
Jonah, for some reason, thought he was pretty darn special. Often when we walk in pride the Lord has us do things that we would prefer not to to bring us down a notch. I suspect this was why Jonah was chosen to go to Ninevah..because it was the thing he would balk on. If there is something in your life you have determined you will not do you can rest assured you will find yourself doing that very thing.


Lord deal with the si of pride in our lives, and help us understand who we are in You. Amen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Worthless Idols 8

Clinging to Worthless Idols Part 8

Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

After the lot fell to Jonah the sailors were angry. Here they were, just doing their job, living to the best of their ability and Jonah brings in the wrath of God in one fell swoop. I will say it again...sin never just hurts the sinner but every person who comes in contact with the sinner.
The sailors didn't just ask him..they demanded that he tell them everything. They wanted to know exactly who this man was that had unleashed the power of God on their heads. The wanted to know, not only what his occupation was but WHOSE workmanship he was.
Whose workmanship are you? Can others see the stamp of the artist that created you when they look at you? Anyone that has studied any art at all can usually pick out a Da Vinci or a Rembrandt, or even a Dali. Their workmanship is obvious, the very touch of their hand has signed their work more so than even their signature.
So when others look at your life (and mine) what do they see? Can they tell the workmanship?
The men wanted to know everything when they asked that. Whose workmanship, whose property, what religious sect do you belong to? What politics do you subscribe to? They were asking Jonah to prove his existence. Then they asked even more questions:
Where have you come from? Who counts you among their friends?
When they asked what country he came from they used a word that translates about 20 ways, including what world do you come from? In other words, I think they suspected he was a demon come to cause trouble for them. Their last question was " Who are your kinsmen, your people, your country-men?"
Ever meet anyone who was acting out of this world? I have. I have met Christians and had to look twice, thinking, what planet did you fly your broom in from?
When we are in rebellion we do not reflect Christ. To say that we do is deception.You can not be running from the Lord and serve Him at the same time, and while He may still be able to use you in the lives of others there will be a price that all have to pay.
You have, I have, two choices. His way or our way...The way of the flesh ends in death. Sometimes physical, always the death of something important to us. A hardening in our spirit. A callousness, coldness.
Who are you, today? Who claims you as their own? Where are your roots? What do you believe? Noone asked Moses that, noone asked David that, noone asked Jesus that.
I pray noone will ask you that.
Lord help it to be obvious Who we belong to, what we believe and from whence we came. Help us follow you in all things.
Amen