Friday, August 25, 2006

Being Called Out

Now that I am truly trying to "lose my self" you have to know
that God's calling me out, right? It's as if He's saying:

"Oh, you're ready to get serious now? Okay well let me point out this and this and this...."

All of my flaws are coming to the surface. What I hear on WGRC each morning while I'm on my route, what Derek and I have been studying in "The Purpose Driven Life," and the scriptures in my Inbox all week are like arrows piercing right through my heart. God's saying:

"Since you're finally letting ME be in charge, we're gonna work some stuff out."

I envision God and I in a boxing ring - gloves on, but before the fight begins, I scream "I forfeit! I concede! You win!"

But He retorts, "Oh Danielle. You are not getting off that easy. I've already scheduled you for the after-the-match talkshow circuit! Blog about what you're being taught so that others might be encouraged."

Here goes.

My first scripture that "hit home" was Matthew 3:11.
"I indeed baptize you with water . . but He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire."

"My Utmost For His Highest" states:
"Have I ever come to a place in my experience where I can say - "I indeed - but He"? Until that moment does come, I will never know what the baptism of the Holy Ghost means. I indeed am at an end, I cannot do a thing: but He begins just there - He does the things no one else can ever do. Am I prepared for His coming? Jesus cannot come as long as there is anything in the way either of goodness or badness. When He comes am I prepared for Him to drag into the light every wrong thing I have done? It is just there that He comes. Wherever I know I am unclean, He will put His feet; wherever I think I am clean, He will withdraw them.

Repentance does not bring a sense of sin, but a sense of unutterable unworthiness. When I repent, I realize that I am utterly helpless; I know all through me that I am not worthy even to bear His shoes. Have I repented like that? Or is there a lingering suggestion of standing up for myself? The reason God cannot come into my life is because I am not through into repentance.

"He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire." John does not speak of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as an experience, but as a work performed by Jesus Christ. "He shall baptize you." The only conscious experience those who are baptized with the Holy Ghost ever have is a sense of absolute unworthiness.

I indeed was this and that; but He came, and a marvellous thing happened. Get to the margin where He does everything."

I am at this place. I have finally grasped the key to this understanding. "I indeed, but He." I might be able, but He can. I might, but He will. I should, but He does. I cannot stand on my own strength. I am nothing without Him. He is dragging "every wrong thing I have done" into the light. Wherever I am unclean, He is putting His feet.

One area where He is putting His feet has to do with one of my most taboo subjects: Money. You see, I have always had a "You can't take it with you" attitude about money. My hope was always for heaven, so why store up treasures here? When I had money, I spent it - plain and simple. Besides, I have struggled so much in life, at times in my life when I came into money, I deserved to have fun and splurge a little, didn't I? I lived by faith, and faith alone meant God would provide when I needed it. Well, like I said, God dragged this attitude into the light, and I couldn't have been more wrong.

While doing our Devotions from "The Purpose Driven Life," Derek and I were challenged by Rick Warren's chapter on "Seeing Life from God's View." In this chapter, Rick Warren brings to light that life is both a test and a trust. I am all too well aware about the test part. I have intimated to you that I have often seen myself as David. I have been tested over and over - some tests I have passed, some - not so much. But I do know that God has always been faithful to me, even when I've failed.

But life on earth is also a trust. Rick Warren states, "Our time on earth and energy, intelligence, opportunities, relationships, and resources are all gifts from God that He has entrusted to our care and management. Now I have had no trouble understanding the value of time, energy, intelligence, opportunities, and relationships. I know that God is Master of these, and had entrusted them to me. Even my children belong to God, not me. I have simply been entrusted to raise them for, and with the help of, God. I can honestly say when I look back on my life, I have done my best in the stewardship of all of these. Resources? You mean money and possessions?

According to "The Purpose Driven Life," money is both a test and a trust. God uses finances to test our faith in Him, as I'm sure we've all experienced. But God also entrusts us with money. The Bible says "If you are untrustworthy about wordly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?" - Luke 16:11. I had never realized the true meaning of this passage before, but it is so obvious. If we know that this life is temporary and we are simply preparing for life with God in heaven, this is the training ground. Managing money well, managing a household - even (wince) keeping our car's interior clean all impact how God sees us managing His resources.
The second scripture which called me out this week was Matthew 7:9. It states:
"Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?"
The illustration of prayer that Our Lord uses here is that of a good child asking for a good thing. We talk about prayer as if God heard us irrespective of the fact of our relationship to Him. Never say it is not God's will to give you what you ask, don't sit down and faint, but find out the reason, turn up the index. Are you rightly related to your wife, to your husband, to your children, to your fellow-students - are you a "good child" there? "O Lord, I have been irritable and cross, but I do want spiritual blessing." You cannot have it, you will have to do without until you come into the attitude of a good child.

We mistake defiance for devotion; arguing with God for abandonment. We will not look at the index. Have I been asking God to give me money for something I want when there is something I have not paid for? Have I been asking God for liberty while I am withholding it from someone who belongs to me? I have not forgiven someone his trespasses; I have not been kind to him; I have not been living as God's child among my relatives and friends.

I am a child of God only by regeneration, and as a child of God I am good only as I walk in the light. Prayer with most of us is turned into pious platitude, it is a matter of emotion, mystical communion with God. Spiritually we are all good at producing fogs. If we turnup the index, we will see very clearly what is wrong - that friendship, that debt, that temper of mind. It is no use praying unless we are living as children of God. Then, Jesus says - "Everyone that asketh receiveth."

Ouch. I am guilty of all the above! Ouch again! I have to turn up the spiritual index! When I ask for something, I can't boohoo when I don't get it if I'm not being who God called me to be! That's like my kids asking to go to Knoebels after they've played all day, dragging their toys all over the house and leaving them there! If I say "absolutely not" to them, how can I expect God to say "yes" to me?

In acknoweldging these faults, God has already begun to bless me. He blessed me with money yesterday. I'm not going to squander it. I'm going to manage it well, so that He knows I'm working towards being trustworthy. I'd also like to mention, (while also giving God All The Praise,) that Derek and I were really able to discuss this shortcoming of ours. It was a true blessing to me to be able to talk about this issue without it becoming a point of contention in our marriage.

Before I ask, beg, plead, wail before God, I'm going to take inventory of myself and my actions. If I'm not who, or where, I need to be, I should be ashamed to come into His presence, let alone, ask for something and expect to get it. And this inventory, I'm certain, will continue to cause more issues to be drawn into the light, which will challenge me even further to keep pressing on. But it's all worth it. There is Victory in Christ!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Losing My Self

Hello new struggle. Please note it's a struggle, not a storm. God has once again pointed out a flaw in me and challenged me to a wrestling match. He has drawn a new line in the sand and said, "Danielle, it's time to move up here." Gulp.

You see, the scripture I received in my Inbox on Saturday was entitled "Self-Consciousness." It quoted one of my favorite scriptures, Matthew 11:28 - "Come unto me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest." But interestingly enough, it only stated, "Come unto me..."

Now my first thought was "I've already given my life to Christ. I accepted Him as my Savior on June 10, 1990 at a Campus Life/Youth for Christ Summer Camp in Ocean City, NJ. After nearly fifteen years of taking too many exit ramps off my spiritual highway, I was baptized by immersion on January 16, 2005 and began what has been a truly intense, spiritual "schooling," so to speak, for the past twenty months. I experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as evidenced through the gift of tongues for the first time on February 20, 2006. Surely I have "Come unto (Him)," haven't I? So why was it that while I read this message, did I feel so unsettled? What was it that God was pointing out in me?

So, Sunday morning I came home from my paper route and the next part of the scripture was in my Inbox: ".... I will give you rest." Surely God is trying to show me something. For three days, I've been chewing this text, mulling it over. Finally some realizations about myself are becoming clear, or should I say "some realizations about my Self."

From "My Utmost For His Highest":
"God means us to live a fully-orbed life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside, and we tumble into a way of introspection which we thought had gone. Self-consciousness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of the life in God, and self-consciousness continually produces wrestling. Self-consciousness is not sin; it may be produced by a nervous temperament or by a sudden dumping down into new circumstances. It is never Gods will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ. If we come to Him and ask Him to produce Christ-consciousness, He will always do it until we learn to abide in Him.

Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately. Nothing is so important as to keep right spiritually. The great solution is the simple one - "Come unto Me." The depth of our reality, intellectually, morally and spiritually, is tested by these words. In every degree in which we are not real, we will dispute rather than come."

When we say we "Surrender All," do we really? Can we truly say our carnal or human side has no influence on our actions or thoughts simply because we've come to Christ?

I've been thinking about the fact that I'm at a place in my walk where I am no longer tempted to sin. I'm not saying I don't sin, but I don't miss seeking out and finding wild times, places and friends to make life exciting. I'm much more satisfied knowing God's by my side while I visit with friends and family and share God as much as possible. But I am still plagued by a sense that I am dualistic in nature - that there is a way I act when I am around Godly friends and another way I act around those who are not Godly.

I have a fullness from the love of Christ one minute, and will then catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. "When did I get so fat?" "Why are my arms so short?" "I wish I could do something with my hair." "Ewww! Look how straggly my eyebrows have become." "I hate my voice." "That last blog post was not one of my best."

Self-consciousness eats away at my spirituality and hinders my ability to serve. I used to love to sing for God. Now I don't even want to speak. For someone who has always wanted to preach, hating one's voice is quite a stumbling block.

More and more, I am realizing I have two writers in me - a spiritual writer and a carnal writer. When I feel full of praise, or maybe even woe, I write in a certain voice here. When I'm feeling cynical and wry, I post my poetry at another on-line journal location. These "voices" demonstrate to me that there is a stark contrast between my "Self" and me - child of God. This is very unsettling to me when I KNOW that God wants ALL of me. Nothing less.

The second part of the scripture, ".... and I will give you rest" was entitled "Completeness."

From "My Utmost For His Highest":
"Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once and ask Him to establish rest. Never allow anything to remain which is making the dis-peace. Take every element of disintegration as something to wrestle against, and not to suffer. Say - 'Lord, prove Thy consciousness in me,' and self-consciousness will go and He will be all in all. Beware of allowing self-consciousness to continue because by slow degrees it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is Satanic. 'Well, I am not understood; this is a thing they ought to apologize for; that is a point I really must have cleared up.' Leave others alone and ask the Lord to give you Christ-consciousness, and He will poise you until the completeness is absolute.

The complete life is the life of a child. When I am consciously conscious, there is something wrong. It is the sick man who knows what health is. The child of God is not conscious of the will of God because he is the will of God. When there has been the slightest deviation from the will of God, we begin to ask - What is Thy will? A child of God never prays to be conscious that God answers prayer, he is so restfully certain that God always does answer prayer.

If we try to overcome self-consciousness by any common-sense method, we will develop it tremendously. Jesus says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest," i.e., Christ-consciousness will take the place of self-consciousness. Wherever Jesus comes He establishes rest, the rest of the perfection of activity that is never conscious of itself."

Self-pity. This is the end-result when I struggle to do it myself and forget to put God first. "My Utmost For His Highest" calls it Satanic. Ugh. Me? Satanic? I shudder when I think that I am putting my soul that far from God to be called Satanic. But yet, if it is not Godly, than the opposite must be - gulp- Satanic.

And this, dear friends, is like a flashing neon sign in front of a cheap motel that I keep passing time and again, because obviously I keep making a wrong turn somewhere and never progress forward in my spiritual journey. I am being much like my two-year-old, Zoe - throwing tantrums when I don't get my own way until I come to a place of self-pity and finally call on God to give me rest. And I imagine that God is standing there like a stern parent with His hands on his hips, saying, "That's all I was trying to give you in the first place!!!"

Self-consciousness is the opposite of Christ-consciousness! I cannot grow into what God wants me to be if I am so humanly aware that I pick myself apart so there is nothing left to grow.

To take a piece from Pastor Bond's sermon yesterday - good things do come from dirt. God will make me into something good if I would just step back and let HIM!

God can use a woman who is overweight with short arms, with straggly eyebrows, with crooked teeth, who needs a haircut. He can take her raspy voice and her nodule-covered vocal cords and not only bring beautiful songs from her lips but also powerful preaching of the Word of God!

Who am I (carnal self) to get in the way of what this child of God is to become???

Father God, I cannot be your true child if I'm too stubborn to let go of the human-natured, carnal-living, sinful Self. I have no right to let my Self hinder what you will have me be. My sense of Self must die, Lord, and make room for this child of God to grow - truly mature in the knowledge and Grace of you, Lord Jesus. I pray this prayer for me, Lord, and for all who need to come, are coming, or who are at this place right now in their walks with You, Lord Jesus. Your intention was always, and still is, to give us rest, Lord.

He still calls, "Come Unto Me."

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Time of Transformation

I have often heard it said, "Nothing is certain in life, except Change". Well, I'm here to tell you there is nothing as awesome in life, as Transformation.

As most of you have read my posts in recent weeks, you may have noticed that God keeps pounding one major theme into my ever-so-thick head. Easily summarized, that would be: "Put God First."

Sometimes, after having gone through the struggles and the puzzles of the past few weeks, I wanted to kick myself for being so dense. Sometimes, I would let myself off the hook and giggle for a moment when I thought of God being the ever-so-frustrated parent wondering when I would "just figure it out."

But God is patient. Oh, if I could only have that kind of patience! Not only am I being brought through an incredible transformation personally, but my husband and household are also learning the true joy that comes when we make God the reference point in our lives.

As I intimated to you before, I at least read a scripture lesson each day. I attempt to blog about the scripture or some other lesson God is putting on my heart as often as possible. I am trying to really hear God's voice as whether to "blog or not to blog". Laundry and housework are not good enough reasons to put off "God Time".

Sunday evening, my husband and I really wanted to go to our church's Evening Service. Since I had to do my dad's paper route at 4 a.m., and we had no money, we couldn't part with the gas that was in the tank, so church just wasn't a possibility. My husband and I were upset that we couldn't go, but we made the best of it - we decided to do Devotions together. We started on the 40-day quest that makes up Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life". Four days into the study, Derek and I have been able to put God at the center of our lives in a deeper sense. This has also given us time to really talk and share God with one another. We even feel a deeper need to talk of God in our conversations with our children. It has been amazing.

While my dad is in Ohio becoming a Truck Driver, my mother and I are fighting our own battles at becoming "Morning People". By 4 a.m., we are at the Dollar General store in Milton, to embark on our individual 2-hour treks delivering the Daily Item to still-sleeping households. Now, most of you know, I love my bed, only second to God, but slightly more than my husband and kids. (Just Kidding!) I LOVE my bed. Love it! It is quite a physical and mental challenge for me to get up at 3:30 in the morning all for the sake of delivering the newspapers. This challenge, however, has been a complete joy. This burden has become two solid hours of listening to my favorite Christian radio station, while I drive through the darkness. Soundbytes of some of my favorite evangelists speak right to my soul. Wildlife scurries across the road and through the fields. The farmers' harvests stretch further towards the sky. The rain was refreshing. The morning sun washes everything in pink. In these two (what-should-be) dreadful hours, God is Everywhere.

And He said to them, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father's house?" Luke 2:49

From "My Utmost for His Highest":
"Our Lord's childhood was not immature man-hood; our Lord's childhood is an eternal fact. Am I a holy innocent child of God by identification with my Lord and Saviour? Do I look upon life as being in my Father's house? Is the Son of God living in His Father's house in me?

The abiding Reality is God, and His order comes through the moments. Am I always in contact with Reality, or do I only pray when things have gone wrong, when there is a disturbance in the moments of my life? I have to learn to identify myself with my Lord in holy communion in ways some of us have not begun to learn as yet. "I must be about My Father's business" - live the moments in My Father's house.

Narrow it down to your individual circumstances - are you so identified with the Lord's life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that all things come from His hands? Is the Eternal Child in you living in the Father's house? Are the graces of His ministering life working out through you in your home, in your business, in your domestic circle? Have you been wondering why you are going through the things you are? It is not that you have to go through them, it is because of the relation into which the Son of God has come in His Father's providence in your particular sainthood. Let Him have His way, keep in perfect union with Him.

The vicarious life of your Lord is to become your vital simple life; the way He worked and lived among men must be the way He lives in you."

Is it any wonder why I have been cleaning the house this week and the old song, "Let the Lord have His way in your life every day..." has been echoing in my head? It is a time of transformation.

"Thank you Lord for bringing me to this time. I pray that You will bring each of my friends and family members in perfect union with you. Oh, and thank you for your patience. I don't know how you do it!"

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Giving Thanks

Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. John 11:41

As you saw at the end of my previous post, God came through, as He always does. Thank you, Jesus. And thank you, my dear friends, for your prayers. After posting "My Legs Are Asleep," and receiving the phone call from my father, I continued to feel uplifted by prayer, and God continued to move.

First of all, that afternoon, my husband came through the door with the biggest smile on his face. Whatever had been troubling him was gone. I can only believe that God, with the help of your prayers, took care of it.

As I shared with you that the BIG BILLS were mounting, and I lost my job AGAIN, it wasn't enough that God gave my dad a great job and that I will be able to make some money doing my dad's 78-mile paper route while my dad's gone. God continued to bless me. On Tuesday, August 15th, I have an interview at 9:30a.m. at a local Technical School to become their High School Recruiter and Admissions Counselor. The woman on the phone said that after Tuesday's meeting, if I am still interested, the job is mine. Back to a Professional salary AND a Company Car. Please continue to pray with me that all goes well, and that if this in God's Will for my life, I can use this vocation to serve HIM.

What am I forgetting? Oh! The housework! I'm pacing myself, but it's getting done. With this break in the humidity, I don't need to worry so much about clothes getting mildewed, so that makes everything much more manageable. But again - I thank God for your prayers because I truly feel uplifted and strengthened. When I look at what is left to do in the dining room, I feel no sense of being overwhelmed. The "woe is me" attitude is gone. God is so good. All the time.

From "My Utmost For His Highest":
"When the Son of God prays, He has only one consciousness, and that consciousness is of His Father. God always hears the prayers of His Son, and if the Son of God is formed in me the Father will always hear my prayers. I have to see that the Son of God is manifested in my mortal flesh. "Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost," i.e., the Bethlehem of the Son of God. Is the Son of God getting His chance in me? Is the direct simplicity of the life of God's Son being worked out exactly as it was worked out in His historic life? When I come in contact with the occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God's Eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me? "In that day ye shall ask in My name. . . ." What day? The day when the Holy Ghost has come to me and made me effectually one with my Lord.

Is the Lord Jesus Christ being abundantly satisfied in your life or have you got a spiritual strut on? Never let common sense obtrude and push the Son of God on one side. Common sense is a gift which God gave to human nature; but common sense is not the gift of His Son. Supernatural sense is the gift of His Son; never enthrone common sense. The Son detects the Father; common sense never yet detected the Father and never will. Our ordinary wits never worship God unless they are transfigured by the indwelling Son of God. We have to see that this mortal flesh is kept in perfect subjection to Him and that He works through it moment by moment. Are we living in such human dependence upon Jesus Christ that His life is being manifested moment by moment?"

Oooh. That was powerful. If Jesus Christ dwells in us, and God always hears the prayers of His Son, than surely God will hear our prayers. God finds, no brings me to my Poverty - to the end of my self-sufficiency. "When I come in contact with the occurrences of life as an ordinary human being, is the prayer of God's Eternal Son to His Father being prayed in me?" In my Poverty, how long does it take until I cry out for God - the only one who can save me.

Oh, and let me assure you - I didn't pick the scripture for today. It just "popped" into my Inbox. I bet you're thinking "Oooooh, Spooky!" Nope. Just God.

I can't say this scripture enough. Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. John 11:41

Monday, August 07, 2006

My Legs Are Asleep

Once again, I've hit a storm in my life.

Bills - we're talking BIG bills have started flying into my mailbox. You know those bills that the insurance company was supposed to have paid four years ago, and somehow, through some mix-up they're being forwarded to you - unpaid by the insurance company, and you're being told it's too late to re-submit them? Yeah those bills.

Housework. Okay, I have four kids. I know my house is going to be messy MOST of the time. But why, when I am in the middle of sorting through clothes in my dining room - as in having washed and dried them in the basement, hauled them up to the dining room, folded them and was in the midst of sorting them to make one box for the Salvation Army, one for the Pregnancy Care Center, and three more boxes for what I call the hand-me-down-trickle-down-effect, i.e., Ellen gets Darianne's clothes; Julian gets Ellen's unisex t-shirts and shorts, and Zoe might possibly get all of the above if they last long enough; must my toilet spring a leak directly above the table where I was sorting all of these, may I remind you, CLEAN clothes, and send water crashing through the ceiling all over said clothes???

Hubby. I'm going to be real upfront and honest with you on this one. Derek will never read this because he's afraid of computers. My Husband needs Your Prayers Right Now. I won't even try to explain it. Let's just say he's miserable, which makes me miserable, which makes our family life MISERABLE. Something is at work in him and it is having quite the effect on our marriage. He needs to be lifted up and only the power of God and Prayer can achieve this!

My Parents. I know my Mom will read this, but I know the Power of Prayer! My Parents need your PRAYERS! There I said it, and I'm not sad that I did. God bless Mom, she's put up with my dad and his addiction for 33 years - and still nothing is getting any better - in fact, its getting worse. My dad lost his job a couple of years ago due to his drinking. No one will hire a soon-to-be fifty-five year old man. My dad needs to come to the waters of Baptism and fully surrender his life to Jesus Christ - and in that surrender, he needs to be delivered from the power of Alcoholism. Satan's work in my dad's life has affected the rest of us for far too long. We ALL need to be LOOSED!

Oh! And did I mention that I started waitressing at a local restaurant? Yeah, I did. I thought a little money in my pocket might help out. Soooo, I walk in there Friday night and am told the restaurant is closing. I'm out of a job - again. Oh, and I won't be paid for the hours I've worked so far either.

So, in the midst of my storm, I'm feeling, well, stormy. Lots of water coming out of my eyes... lots of wind coming out of my mouth.... but in the eye of the storm, I know God. In my very core I have a sense of calm about me. I know God can and I know God will. And yet more tears... less wind.

So I went to church yesterday as my heart felt that's where I really needed to be. The songs were uplifting, yet I remained not uplifted. I just kept crying with this "Woe is me" attitude. The preaching spoke right to me, but I was still too busy feeling sorry for myself. When Brother Brian was speaking about "Three Little Words: Arise and Walk," my eyes again filled up with tears. Yes! That's what I need to do. I need to Arise and Walk! But deep down I felt myself say: "My legs are asleep".

And so my humbug attitude continued until this morning. I made a conscious effort to sit on my back porch and pray before the Lord. I put all my needs before Him and told Him I was now going to do my Devotions, as promised. I would blog about all of this turmoil and I was going to do anything I could to find Him so that I might "Arise and Walk"! I searched some scripture, I read my previous posts and of course, it was all there.

My own lessons: "Let the Son Shine In," "An Oasis in the Desert, not a Mirage," "Sometimes it's So Obvious," and 'Learning Lessons" all -- ALL keep bringing me back to the same lesson that God is trying to instill in me. And then today's scripture brought it home:

Luke 18:31-34
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished."

"My Utmost For His Highest" states:
The bravery of God in trusting us! You say - "But He has been unwise to choose me, because there is nothing in me; I am not of any value." That is why He chose you. As long as you think there is something in you, He cannot choose you because you have ends of your own to serve; but if you have let Him bring you to the end of your self-sufficiency then He can choose you to go with Him to Jerusalem, and that will mean the fulfilment of purposes which He does not discuss with you.

We are apt to say that because a man has natural ability, therefore he will make a good Christian. It is not a question of our equipment but of our poverty, not of what we bring with us, but of what God puts into us; not a question of natural virtues of strength of character, knowledge, and experience - all that is of no avail in this matter. The only thing that avails is that we are taken up into the big compelling of God and made His comrades. The comradeship of God is made up out of men who know their poverty. He can do nothing with the man who thinks that he is of use to God. As Christians we are not out for our own cause at all, we are out for the cause of God, which can never be our cause. We do not know what God is after, but we have to maintain our relationship with Him whatever happens. We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God; if it does get injured we must take time and get it put right. The main thing about Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the atmosphere produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to look after, and it is the one thing that is being continually assailed."

God wants me at the end of my self-sufficiency. He can use me not in my feeling of "being equipped for God" but in my Poverty. "We must never allow anything to injure our relationship with God; if it does get injured we must take time and get it put right." How long must I continue to let God down when I begin to get all upset when the storms blow? When will I be mature enough to stay calm and know that He is in control?

I am walking now. I have gone through the "pins and needles" stage, however painful, and my legs are beginning to walk - however humbled. I must also look deeper into today's scripture and see ".... all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished." This world is temporary. These problems are beyond microscopic in the scheme of God's plan for this world, in the blueprint of God's plan for me. And you. And Our God is Bigger and Greater and More Powerful than all of the problems in this world.

Today, let HIM blow your storms away.

P.S. Moments after I posted this, my father called me to tell me he got a job, which means I get to do his job of delivering newspapers for awhile, which will certainly help my situation. Praise God for again delivering "A Cup of Instant-Answered Prayer". Please continue to pray for my family's spiritual and emotional healing.