Saturday, October 30, 2010

You Sure Wouldn't Think I'd Screw That Up

After two blog posts about learning to rest in Christ and let Him live in and work through me and cutting things that are not of Him out of my flesh, you certainly wouldn't think that I would mess up as thoroughly as I just did. Let me tell you about it.

I was getting my hair cut. I am well acquainted with my stylist, so she knows my family, so of course, we were getting caught up and she asked me what my son was dressing up as to go out trick or treating. I said he wasn't going trick or treating. You could see the confusion on her face as she asked, "Oh, why? Would he like to come and go out with us?" I told her no that we lived in the country and that I just didn't want to take him in to town to go trick or treating, and we left it at that and you know what, I didn't give it another thought. The thing was, my answer was so glib; it just came out of me.

That night, as I was getting ready to go to sleep, I was going through my mind, re-living the day; thinking how I might have done some thing differently and if I had listened to the holy spirit, when it hit me...what I had said to her about trick or treating. I ran the whole conversation back through my mind, replaying it in my mind and really thought about what I had said. How did I ever let that go like that?

The truth is that God has convicted me about being in the world but not of the world, and in accordance with Revelation 18:4, that I need to come out of the world and not take part of the things that everyone else is taking part in. In other words, instead of coming out and saying that I felt that God had convicted me about taking part in halloween and that I was feeling led to not take part in the holiday (and thus, so, too, my son would not be taking part in the holiday), I gave her some lame excuse about living in the country!

I got on my knees and asked for forgiveness. All I could think about was Jesus saying that if we are ashamed of Him before people here on earth, he will be ashamed of us before God in heaven. Matthew 10:32, 33

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

So, I made it a point to confess my sin, not only to the Father, but also to a friend yesterday, and then I fasted yesterday -- not from food but from another important (maybe too much so) item in my life, the internet.

Thank God that His mercies are new every morning, because it seems like my screw ups are new every evening!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Have You Crucified Your "Old Man"?

Praise my Lord above that He has put me into a new "learning phase" in my walk with Him. I have been feeling dissatisfied with my growth in the Lord because as I read the Word, it becomes more and more evident to me that there should be ongoing profound changes in my life if I am truly working out my salvation in fear and trembling.

That phrase itself, "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" has always puzzled me. If salvation is a free gift of God, then why do we have to work it out with fear and trembling?

The Lord has been teaching me about "flesh cutting", removing from my flesh the things that are not of God, or "crucifying my old man nature" described by Paul in Romans 6:6 (KJV) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

I do not want to serve sin, and this body of mine and its lusts, my eyes and their inherent abilility to desire everything they see, and this awful pride that I have fostered over the years have made me a slave to sin in the past. Praise God that with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ, He has set me free from sin if I am willing to die to myself and allow His spirit to live in me more and more each day.

I believe it is this very thing that has caused me to be dissatisfied with my growth in the Lord. Many things have been cut out of desire for recognition at work, my desire to make lots of money, my desire to have lots of stuff, my desire to please people, etc., but there are things in my life that are still out of control, i.e., my love of food, my love of clothing and my pride, and which I believe God has been telling me to get under His control.

It's funny how you can ask for something every single day in prayer and yet when that still small voice speaks to you saying ever so quietly, "don't eat breakfast this morning", or "do you really need another coat, Kim", or "why do you need that person to think highly of you, Kim", it's just really too easy to toss it off as not really God's voice.

Just as God is made up of three parts, mankind is made up of three distinct parts: a spirit, a soul, and a body. God, in his wisdom, chooses to regenerate our spirit by the inner workings of His holy spirit. He also, in His love and sense of fairness, gave us the right to choose whether or not we would submit to this inner working. If we choose to submit to this working and accept his gift of salvation, our spirits are saved from eternal destruction, and our spirit will live eternally.

The soul, then, is that part of us of which the Bible speaks about in Matthew 10:28 which states: And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. The soul then is a part of us which can be destroyed just like our body - it is what makes me characteristics, my thoughts, my actions, my beliefs, my wants, my needs and my willingness to surrender all of those parts of me to God.

In my last post, I talked about Sabbath Rest and how we are to live in the Spirit and do only that which we are prompted to do by the spirit. 1 Cor. 3:13-15 talks about how all our soulish work (work done out of our own flesh) will be burned away on the day we stand before the judgement seat of Christ.

But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.
Therefore, the soul is that part of us, or the surrender thereof, that we must work out with fear and trembling. For if we fail to surrender our soul in this life, it will be surrendered in the one to come. Our soul is that sinful part of us, the one that gives in to the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes or the pride of life.

God's Word says that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:) and also that faith without works is dead (James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.) These works, without which our faith is dead, are the parts of our soul that are sinful and which we surrender to God as He works in us and which give life to the Spirit living within us. As we submit to Sabbath Rest, giving up our wants, desires and our own works, and listen to the leading and direction of God's Holy Spirit, we are working out our soul's salvation in fear and trembling.

I say to you, then, my friend, that this is not something to be taken lightly or casually. I feel an urgency within myself that the time allotted to me in getting this work done is short and I must use all of my energy towards laying down those things that God is requiring me to lay down to His authority.

I encourage you to read this entire teaching, To Perish or Not to Perish by Lyn Mize of First Fruits Ministry for a complete explanation of this difficult lesson.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What Does It Mean to "Honor the Sabbath and Keep It Holy"?

I was introduced to a piece of information today that startled me: There is much more tothe commandment to honor the Sabbath and keep it holy than to take a day off from our labors.

Are you like me? Have you been operating under the delusion that today's world and church has imposed upon us? The delusion that tells us that the commandment to Honor the sabbath and keep it holy means to not work one day out of every week, go to church and spend the day thinking and studying about God? Maybe this is common knowledge. Maybe I'm the only delusional person walking around, I don't know; and if I am, then my apologies to you for boring you with this diatribe.

Sabbath Rest is not just about not working one day a week; God wants us to rest from ALL our labors everyday and to live under the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit! When it's put that simply, I think, "yeah, everyone surely already understands this". I didn't, though, and so maybe there's someone else out there that needs this information, too.

When God created Adam and Eve, He did not put within them the ability to discern right from wrong. They got their instructions daily, directly from God when they walked with Him in the garden. He told them to eat whatever they wanted except for one type of fruit; He told them to work the garden; He told them to be fruitful and multiply, etc. Adam and Eve were not caught up in anxiety, confusion, panic, worthlessness, or lack of direction. Each and every day God walked and talked with them and told them what to do, when to do it, how to do it, and they trusted Him and obeyed Him. They walked in a perfect state of peace and harmony with God knowing exactly what He would have them to do at all times.

It was not the fruit itself that brought condemnation upon Adam and Eve; it was in disobeying God's command not to do a certain act. The serpent knew that as long as Adam and Eve walked with God every day and did as He instructed them, they would be live in joyful existence with their creator, and it was only if he could get them to partake of his desire to "be as God" that he could put them with him on the road to death and destruction. It was in doing something that God told them not to do (working outside of God's Sabbath Rest) that brought about their and mankind's subsequent problems.

Jesus said that he only did what God told him to do and that he did nothing of his own will. It came to me, as I studied this, that in our world today we are rarely taught to consult with God, or anyone else in authority for that matter, on what we should be doing at any given moment. I see it and hear it all around me everyday: young mothers and fathers trying to reason with their children, trying to please them by asking "what do want?" "what do you think?" instead of just telling them...this is what you have to do or asking them, "what do you think God wants you to do?".

We should be instilling within our children a desire and a need to consult God on even the smallest detail in their lives from the moment they can understand what we are saying instead of instilling in them a desire to do what they want and to have their own way from their earliest days of comprehension. You might ask me what this example of parenting has to do with entering God's Sabbath rest, and my answer to you would be that if children cannot learn to follow the leading of their parents, how will they ever learn to follow the leading of the holy spirit?

I know that when a person surrenders their life to Christ, Christ can work many miraculous changes in them to bring them to the place where they live spirit led lives. But how many of us can say that we do nothing of our own volition; that in everything we do we are being led by the Spirit of God? That is the place where God wants us to be...resting completely in Him and being led of His Spirit.

For a complete understanding of Sabbath Rest, I would direct you to Joseph Herrin's teaching at his Heart4God website.

As Joseph would say..."May you be blessed with peace and understanding" in this matter today.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Decide Today to Live in Love

Take a moment, no distractions, focus and think of how the world would be if we would all decide today to live in love. Can you picture it? 1 Cor. 13 is called the "Love Chapter" of the Bible, and it is quoted almost without exception at weddings (as a past church organist who has played at many weddings, I know this to be true).

Mankind misconstrues love as a "feeling" and it is most certainly confused with lust and passion. True love was shown to us by Jesus as He walked the road set before Him by the Father, a road of sorrow, suffering, death and separation from God the Father himself for the good of ALL.

...IS the MOST important thing in life;
...IS KIND; NOT jealous;
...does NOT brag;
...IS NEVER rude;
...does not keep score of rights/wrongs;
...NEVER gives up;
...NEVER loses faith;
...IS filled with HOPE;
...IS God the Father, Jesus the Son, and God the Holy Spirit

Make a choice today to live your life in love. I believe you will be amazed at the fulfillment you will feel in your life once you do.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Vastness of God...

God showed me today how much I underestimate Him. It came to me as I was coming home from taking my son to school today that most of the time I don't see God as He really is. God is able to know me inside and out; from the feelings I feel, the thoughts I think, to the deeds I do, to how many hairs are on my head. Multiply that times approximately 9 billion (isn't that how many people there are on the planet today), then add to that the fact that He knows whenever a sparrow in the sky falls to the ground, and how all the lilies in the world are dressed. How's that for being a know it all? I don't mean that disrespectfully. God truly knows everything, and we have the gall to think He can't take care of any problem or obstacle that we come up against, or that money or some man or woman or some thing can help us more or better? I love the part in the Old Testament where He tells Elijah to ask the 450 prophets of Baal (1Kings 18:22-40) to take part in a contest of gods, the 450 prophets were to ask their god to set fire to a sacrifical bull and Elijah would ask the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to do the same, and whichever god did light the fire would be declared the one true God.

The holy spirit and prophets do have a sense of humor because we read in verse 27, Elijah began mocking the prophets of Baal with words like, "you'll have to shout louder," "maybe he's taking a nap," or "is relieving himself" when their god took no action. It's also amusing to me that they did indeed shout louder. We are told in verse 36 that Elijah calls upon God and in verse 38 God "immediately" lit the fire and burned up the bull.

That is the very same God we serve today. So where is that power? Why can't we call on Him and "immediately" have our requests answered? Jesus told the disciples that they (and we) would do greater things than He did while He lived and walked here on the planet. I know God is vast and all-knowing, so why are His people living such powerless lives? I guess one reason is that there are way too many of us "underestimating" Him in everyway everyday! Let's reach out and grasp the gifts promised to us by our Lord. Don't you want to walk in His power and authority? I do.

I am hoping that God will show me in the next couple of posts where we have gotten off mission and how to get back to doing the works He called us to.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just Thinking....

After a week end spent catering to the delights of my now 11 year old son, I decided to spend some extra time in the Word and prayer since I had some additional free time. I read for about 30 minutes, and I then picked up my computer and started perusing some blog sites that I like to follow and ended up at Steve Koerper's Anakypto Forums Homework Site. I decided to do the homework assignment Pre-Trib Rapture October 8, 2010, and then I even went so far as to listen to the Blog Talk Radio program at the bottom of the blog post. It was all about The know, that event that takes all born-again believers out of this World directly to heaven to be with Christ just prior to the beginning of the final 7 years of this age, known as the Tribulation but also and probably most accurately, the time of Jacob's Trouble.

I have been watching and waiting for the return of Christ for the past two years. I'm not sure why God, in His goodness, decided to let me in on His plan, but He did. I had accepted Christ as my Savior years ago. I can remember studying about end times prophecies about 20 years or so ago but I never dreamed that these things might occur in my lifetime. I had a long spiritual dry spell where I took my life out of God's hands and decided to go it on my own. I became caught up, so to speak, in the trappings of this world. I became a successful real estate agent (my last year, according to MLS, I was in the top 20 Realtors in my area), so I was all about making money, being well known, acquiring "stuff", being with my demi-god husband and child, and fitting God into my life whenever I had a spare minute. Unfortunately for me, I was diagnosed with parkinson's disease about ten years ago and up until about 2 1/2 years ago, had not seen a huge amount of difference in my mobility/overall health.

Out of the blue, while having a conversation with my neurologist one day, it hit me that I was experiencing obsessive, compulsive behavior. My doctor told me he had to take me off one particular drug which had a history of causing this particular side effect, and the next thing I know, I am in bed and sick as a dog with symptoms I won't bore you with.

There began a journey that God has had me on for the past 2 1/2 years. One which brought me to His side with a greater knowledge and appreciation of who He is, what He has done for me and how much He loves me. The journey He has had me on started with learning how big businesses like Monsanto don't care one whit about me or the food I eat, so they have no compulsion to produce good food but are all about destroying what God made in its perfection and giving people instead a replication, or false, genetically modified food, in order to control all the food in the world; then I discovered that the government isn't really concerned about me, the little person, but how it's all about money and power. Can you believe that at age 50 I still thought the government really cared about me and was working for my benefit? Yeah, really!

Then He showed me that He really is the only one who truly loves and cares about me and that He is returning soon. Thanks be to God for you bloggers out there who have been watching and waiting for His return. It is through you, that I, too, started watching, waiting and believing. I can remember studying the book of Revelation about 20 years or so ago, but I never dreamed that those things would happen in my lifetime. However, as I study and learn, it becomes apparent to me that we are truly living in the time when Christ will return for His church and God will re-commence bringing the nation of Israel into relationship with Himself and His son, the Redeemer and Israel's Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Because I have been struggling with some issues that God is trying to get me to give up for His sake, I have been feeling beaten down; the accuser has been working overtime on me! As I listened to the blog post radio program, my mind started thinking about what if I were left behind? How awful would it be for me to realize that the Church had been raptured but God did not think I was worthy? That is a terrifying thought, let me tell you.

If we all took time to think about that terrifying scenario everyday, believe me, we'd all be walking a much straighter, narrower path. I know, I know, it's not about works and there's nothing I can do to justify myself or make myself worthy, only Jesus can, but His Word says 1) if we love Him, we will obey Him; 2)faith without works is dead; 3) people will know we're Christians by our love and our actions; and 4) many will say, Lord, Lord, didn't we do this and that in your name and he will tell them to depart because He never knew them.

I immediately performed self-evaluation, confession and some sincere crying and repenting. I told my husband and son what I was so upset about, asked them for forgiveness for things I had said or done which I felt needed confessing and asked them to pray with me.

If you are not 100% sure that if Christ returned tonight, you would go with Him, please stop reading now and get down on your knees and seek His face. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and ask Him not to leave you alone until you understand His gift of salvation and His great love for you. Ask Him to show you where you need to repent and ask Him for forgiveness for those things. Pray that He will send His spirit to live within you and then seek to serve Him and live your life striving to glorify Him for however many days you have left. Be ready, be watching, and if He comes soon, Praise God!!! He may tarry, though, so don't lose hope or give up; He WILL return.