Thursday, July 27, 2006

Learning Lessons

Once again, dear friends, bear with me as I try to boil many messages into one. Have you ever experienced this - feeling, hearing and seeing God point out so many things to you, you don't know where to begin? That's where I am right now and hence, why I haven't been able to post in over a week. I don't know where to begin!

So, I will begin with praising God, my Father, who continues to guide me, protect me and keep me safe even though the enemies continue to attack. I will thank my Lord - Jesus Christ, for continuing to surround me with REAL friends for the first time in my life. As you have blessed my life, I hope I continue to be a blessing to yours. I also thank God for all the little moments that we often take for granted. For me, this week has been filled with delightful, quality time with my beautiful children. In these moments, Peace. In many of these moments I was able to see God's hand in the raising of my children. For example, while digging in the sand at R.B. Winter State Park, little Zoe began singing "I Can Only Imagine" with me, while Ellen choreographed a dance to go with it to teach the Dance Team. My eyes well up with tears when I think of how these children are learning about and coming to understand God at such a young age. I thank God for the gifts they are to me and that He has entrusted them to my care.

Now for the points with which I'm struggling. I have a week's worth of "Daily Devotions" in my Inbox. Have I read them? Yes. Have I meditated on them? Yes. Have I blogged about any of them specifically? No. Not until right now have I taken the time to come before God and find out what it is that He is trying to point out in me that I need to share with you. And that brings us to our first point: Obedience.

John 7:17 - "If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or {whether} I speak from Myself.

"My Utmost For His Highest" states: "The golden rule for understanding spiritually is not intellect, but obedience. If a man wants scientific knowledge, intellectual curiosity is his guide; but if he wants insight into what Jesus Christ teaches, he can only get it by obedience. If things are dark to me, then I may be sure there is something I will not do. Intellectual darkness comes through ignorance; spiritual darkness comes because of something I do not intend to obey. No man ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test over it. We disobey and then wonder why we don't go on spiritually. 'If when you come to the altar,' said Jesus, 'there you remember your brother hath ought against you... don't say another word to Me, but first go and put that thing right.' The teaching of Jesus hits us where we live. We cannot stand as humbugs before Him for one second. He educates us down to the scruple. The Spirit of God unearths the spirit of self-vindication; He makes us sensitive to things we never thought of before. When Jesus brings a thing home by His word, don't shirk it. If you do, you will become a religious humbug. Watch the things you shrug your shoulders over, and you will know why you do not go on spiritually. First go - at the risk of being thought fanatical you must obey what God tells you."

I have not been obedient. I said I would do my Devotions daily. I said I would post a blog about them when moved to do so. But there has been a lot of laundry to keep up with here lately, and dishes - I've never seen so many dishes - and oh my gosh - Thursday I spent the better part of the day cleaning out my refrigerator - eeeewwww! And... why do I suddenly feel so far from God? I know He's there, but... where? I haven't heard His voice for awhile and gosh, I feel so blah. "We disobey and then wonder why we don't go on spiritually." There it is and here I am - repenting again that I did not obey but yet expected God to still do His job without me acknowledging Him.

Second point - (and I love how this worked out) the subject heading of the email was "After Obedience - What?" Well... let's find out, shall we?

Mark 6:45-52 And straightway He constrained His disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side... ."

"My Utmost For His Highest" states: "We are apt to imagine that if Jesus Christ constrains us, and we obey Him, He will lead us to great success. We must never put our dreams of success as God's purpose for us; His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end.

What is my dream of God's purpose? His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay in the middle of the turmoil calm and unperplexed, that is the end of the purpose of God. God is not working towards a particular finish; His end is the process -that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.

God's training is for now, not presently. His purpose is for this minute, not for something in the future. We have nothing to do with the afterwards of obedience; we get wrong when we think of the afterwards. What men call training and preparation, God calls the end.

God's end is to enable me to see that He can walk on the chaos of my life just now. If we have a further end in view, we do not pay sufficient attention to the immediate present: if we realize that obedience is the end, then each moment as it comes is precious."

Not only have I not been obedient, I have been living towards a goal - some will say nothing short of a miracle - because I know God has a purpose for my life, and I won't rest until that purpose is realized. But I'm missing the here and now. I'm a vehicle stuck in the mud spinning my wheels - reaching for the finish line and not taking the time to see if I'm in gear. My Obedience becomes the process, becomes the end. When I remember to put God first, do what I was told to do and do what I said I was going to do, the spiritual darkness stays away. I stay in the light, continue to grow, ever-inching towards the goal, but I must remember not to focus on the goal. God simply wants me to focus on Him. Sounds like a prophecy made over me not too long ago: "You're about to encounter great success, but you must remember to, in all ways, acknowledge Him."

We must be obedient. When God says, "Go," or "Do," or even "Say," we must go, do and say. Certainly God, or the nagging feeling of the absence of God, will let us know when we are or when we are not being obedient. In that obedience, keep your eyes on God. We all have desires on our hearts - dreams that we know only God can make happen. He will make a way if we continue to acknowledge Him and only Him.

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