|I have been doing some exciting studies, and yesterday was given a great gift, a chance to go to Living Word Chapel on a Sunday instead of just Bible Study. See, my husband is Catholic and to honor him as spiritual head of our family I attend mass with my family. My heart is at Living Word Chapel though.
Also, in the Woman’s Bible study that I attend we are doing Beth Moore’s Breaking Free a challenging but oh so necessary Bible study for me. I want to share a bit of what God is working out in me, and hopefully have your prayers as I sort out some of the issues.
This week in Beth Moore’s study (week 2) we studied the benefits that we get from God, and if we are weak in one of these areas of the benefits, it indicates an area of captivity. I have to tell you, two years ago I tried to do this study on my own and my reaction about here was to want to drop kick the book across the room. It ranked right up there with Experiencing God and a few other studies. I still had way too much anger at God and very little belief. My thought about the benefits I am about to list was : “Its all about God. What is He, some sort of egomaniac? What am I some sort of pawn in His sick game?”
Well, I don’t feel that anymore, and I have grown closer to God, and trust Him way more, but there are still areas that need working on.
Here are the five benefits:
1. To know God and believe Him.
As you have probably figured out, I love studying the Bible. My first motivation for studying was to try and figure out this God. So I spent a lot of time knowing a lot about God – Believing —that was another story. I am slowly learning to trust God, to see his sovereignty, to realize that He is absolutely trustworthy. What He says He will do, He does. It may not be in my timing or in the way I want Him to do it, but He is utterly honest. I still fail a bit in believing Him though.
I also am beginning to see that the more I know God, the more others see God’s traits in things that I do. But even here I fall short. This Sunday a bit of bitterness left my lips and I at times lose patience, and do not do all that glorifies God, but that is improving over time. There were so many strongholds that needed sorting out.
I think that this year number 3 is the one that I am experiencing the strongest – one I never experienced before, to find satisfaction in God. Up until recently I had such a yearning and a desperateness about God, sure that if He noticed me He would kick me out of His Kingdom, certain that I was an accident and that He would discover that I made it in and regret his inclusiveness, and then there was the hurt and longing. Watching others with fantastic relationships with God and I felt such a void and a darkness. But lately I have noticed that there is a quietness that is growing inside. I guess experience is showing me that He is there, even when I don’t see Him so obviously. I am calmer now more than I am frantic, but I still have my frantic moments.
To experience God’s peace – wellllllll to be honest right now, I am not doing so well in this area. The kids have learned a few buttons to push and I am finding myself worrying more than I should. To trust and rely on God is tough when there is something that I feel I should have in control, or some areas of my past that creeps up in the present. God and I didn’t have a good track record in the past, so we are still working on that area.
And one that I think embodies all the above, is to enjoy God’s presence. I have to tell you that my favorite times are my Bible study times, and it is in that that I enjoy His presence. About three times in the past four years God has shown me more directly an aspect of Himself and it has answered a need that I was feeling. Sometimes I wish He would be more demonstrative to me, but I also realize that there is a danger in that, for it means that you begin to be dependant on signs and wonders, and the Israelites during Moses’ time had signs and wonders galore and still turned to idols. I wish I could find the balance in this, but given a choice I pick learning and reading God’s word as one of my most favorite things to do. Of course it does run close competition with fudge and ice cream.
There are still strongholds in my life though, and Sunday seemed to be a church service all about me. Have you ever had one of those where you feel your pastor has looked into your innermost being and read you like a book?
We started out looking at Psalm 34: 15-21 The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.”
Pastor Don pointed out that God does not deliver us out of some of our troubles but out of ALL of them. He is near to us even when we don’t feel it, and yet He doesn’t say that there won’t be afflictions. In fact He states that there will be many afflictions, but God will deliver us out of them all.
Then we went to Matthew 16: 15-28 This is the passage where Jesus asks the disciples who do people say that He is. It is Simon Peter who gives the correct answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And Jesus commends him, pointing out that God had to reveal this truth to Simon. But then Simon blows it when he tells Jesus that He should not go to the cross, and Jesus tells him, “Get the behind me, satan.” Then Jesus tells people to take up their cross and follow Him.
Pastor Don asked us who do we say that Jesus is to us? Is He savior, prophet, priest, King, healer, deliverer.
We have to remember that Christ is the Son of the Living God. We get into deep trouble when we think that our stuff is too tough for God. (Here is where my laundry list was being given the riot act, will explain later). God is the victor over our victimization. So often we give more credence to the doctor who is only a tool of God’s healing, than to God who is the great Healer.
We also get in trouble when we decide that God’s Word is just an allegory, or symbolism and don’t take the Word literally. Yes, God did give signs and types and symbols in His Word, but He also was very down to earth in what He showed us and said. When Jesus said He is coming again, He is coming again in the flesh, not just some sort of spiritual mystical coming within us.
Pastor Don pointed out (and I plan to do it) that an interesting Bible study is to look up every time the Bible uses the word “THIRD”. Each and every instance there is a reference to the rapture. The rapture is real, and God wanted to make sure that we knew that it would happen.
When Jesus told Simon Peter “Get thee behind me satan” It is a very important lesson for us. Anyone who tries to alter God’s purpose and plans is functioning under the guise of satan, antichrist, the adversary, the oppressor, and a spirit of rebellion.
Happiness is getting what God has for you ,not what you think you want for you. Only God knows the beginning from the end, we need to surrender and line up with the purpose of God, to stop kicking against the goads. God has put us in a place of excellence, He knows what is best for us.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God wants so much for us to believe Him and trust Him. It hurts God when we don’t follow His plan for us because He loves us so much and wants the best for us.
Stop whining, crying and complaining about what you are born into. Pick up your cross and follow Christ. Our cross is the defined purpose that God has for us. Fighting against God’s plan will only make us sick. When we get angry at God we just give satan permission to mess around with us.
Truth be told, we will not really be happy until we are serving people the way God wants us to serve people.
Jesus has told us that we will get a reward according to our works, but they have to be works that are in line with God’s plan for us. Too often we can get busy, but it is not doing God’s work. And the work we do for God is not a legalistic thing, it is work that is done because of our love for God. To do work out of duty, or for egotistic reasons, or to amass brownie points is not what God is looking for. He is looking for a heart of love.
Pastor Don said, what if Jesus said, the way to peace is to make ME happy. What if in the desert He made bread for His physical comfort, worshipped satan so He could gain the kingdom without the pain of sacrifice, etc. We have to start thinking of others, not just our own immediate comfort.
God has a better life picked out for you than you have. Best not to fight against God’s plan but to go with His flow. He is seeking our happiness. We must stop micro managing our lives. Follow your purpose and be happy about it.
My reaction to the above:
Where do I begin. I think that so often I have fought against God’s plan. Control, as many of you know from my testimony (March 24, below the top entry) was a way of survival, and I still try to micro manage many areas of my life – it doesn’t work. I suppose one day I will learn this and just give up and trust God.
I have been very guilty of complaining about the difficulties I went through and the difficulties that I face in day-to-day life. Somehow I always want God to take them all away so that I don’t have to deal with them, but in all honesty, I also know that my best growth spiritually is through those difficulties. Still the easy way out does seem rather attractive.
What really hit home, struck below the belt, is thinking that my stuff is too difficult for God. It is here that I struggle so. I have a decent intellect and so understanding the Bible and God’s truths is easy for me, the knowledge (head knowledge) is there. But a part of me feels that I should then be able to apply it to my life and make changes, in my own power, leaving God out of the picture. During the service yesterday, God pointed out to me (one of those more direct moments with God), that I was broken when I came to Him. He does not mind brokenness because He can work with a broken vessel, and change it for the better. I really have to just give all the stuff to Him and let Him do the work. It isn’t done in my own power, who am I kidding. So I tried again to give some of the tough stuff to God. But alas I also take back way too much. So this is a struggle we are working with. To trust God.
At the same time I have seen that there is a sense of the presence of God in my life, a quietness of soul, like one of the Psalms says to be able to sit quietly like a weaned child in his mother’s lap, with God. So I am not desperately grasping at straws, that is progress, but I still have too many strongholds that need sorting out. I know we are all works in progress and that the progress I have made has been extensive. But there is much to go.
I am still sorting out things, but am realizing that I have to put God even more into the picture than I have been. God has a far better understanding of me than my limited perspective sees.
So prayers are welcome in sorting out these issues in my life.
Have a blessed night.
Heather’s Blog Recent Posts
- John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Syria – letter from trapist nuns
- John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler
- Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last
- Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone
- Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone
- Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone