Thursday, March 31, 2011

I Heard Him Whisper

I have had time to reflect and spend time with Jesus. I want so desperately to know what the next step in my journey will be. I write encouragement to the Sisters in my Bible Study, and write here in this blog. But I feel there is another piece to pick up and place in the puzzle. I have all but abandoned my gift of being an artist. This is a gift I should perhaps not allow to remain dormant any longer. I paint fairly well, I do other things like cake decorating and sculpture and I miss it. I know it is a God given gift and I need to return to it. When I create something I feel a closeness to my Lord. I need to get past the excuses and start doing what I was called to do, Create. Everyday seems consumed with doing, whether it is studying for college or helping my daughter in school, there never seems to be enough time in a day. I know I am not the only one caught in this cycle. Now we need to move and I do not have a clue as to where. I am laying it before my Father and waiting on Him to show me the way. In addition to that it looks as if I no longer have a church home. The place I attend is empty and cold and so my days there are numbered. I cannot let the pain consume me, it seeks me out in the night and floods over my heart and I cry out , "Jesus oh Jesus why has this happened?" When will I heal and where am I going now?... I can't lose my teacher... I can't lose my sisters... I thought I was doing so well.. following you... learning your Word as never before. What went wrong? In the quiet of the night... I listen... I thought I heard Him whisper... "It is all for the plans I have for you." "You were getting comfortable." "But Jesus, what is wrong with comfortable?" "Remember, in My Revelation to John, the letters to the seven churches...if you are lukewarm, neither hot or cold I will spew you out of my my letters and meditate on them." All I could say is "Yes Lord,...yes I will leave my comfort zone...I want what you have for me. I will follow you. Please let me follow you! I wait now on His call. Where ever You want me to go, I will go. You guide my steps Lord, I give the worry over to you. Now I wait... and listen... He is not in the storm, or the wind, or the earthquake,... He is in the a whisper, (1 Kings 19). Listen for Him...

Monday, March 21, 2011

When I falter in my walk

How difficult a day can be when I fail to do as I know I should. Today was the final day at my now past job. I was so happy that I was working a day shift so I could go to the Monday evening Bible Study that my sisters were attending. I knew our truck had issues and I even had assurance of a ride home. But it was not to be, the truck was not running right at all and would barely limp down the road. I became frustrated at it and my lost plans, suddenly I shouted out " Truck run, in the name of Jesus!"... There was no response.
I thought about this for a while and then I realized I had just revisited Moses and his complaining Israelites. I was humbled to say the least. In my frustration I more or less demanded that God fix my truck. God gave water to the Israelites, but Moses was not allowed into the promised land. He did not fix my truck. That would not have taught me anything. I soon asked forgiveness for my unruly outburst.
Luke 10: 19 says that Jesus has given us the authority "to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you." This passage means that we are given the authority to step on demons and evil spirits and I had decided that my vehicle was being attacked by one or the other. I did not think about the fact that the truck had issues and was long overdue for repairs, I just wanted to get where I had planned to go. God graciously used this illustration, (and an hour in the WalMart parking lot waiting for the truck to cool down to get us home), to show me that if I want to recieve His blessing and to call on the power of the Spirit within me, I must do it in reverence, not in my selfish desires.
Years ago I would have been angry that God was not taking care of my needs, after all I nobly wanted to go to Bible study. But the more time I spend learning how God works and how we must conduct ouselves in His presence, the more I realize that I am the one limiting the power of God. God has rules as to how He works and things in our lives that will hinder our connection to Him. During the days of Jesus' life on earth He offered up prayers and petitions with fervrent crys and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission. Son though He was he learned obedience from what He suffered..." Hebrews 5: 7,8. So if Christ was heard through reverent submission how then can I expect to be heard...? Through reverent submission. Learning to hear from God is a process. Prehaps one never completed, but one I must continue to pursue.
Also in pursuit of Blessed.

Friday, March 11, 2011

See Me as the Father Sees Me

It is difficult to fathom that I have entered into the second half of a century. I never saw myself as getting older, it just seems as though it crept in overnight. I look into a mirror and do not recognize the face looking back. I do not feel old. How can this be? Well my oldest child is 25 so that should give a clue. Still I am on the edge of a new journey. I am studying in college and in private theology classes. I am being streched as never before. I continually ask God,"What are you doing? Why am I not sliding down the other side of the proverbial hill heading quietly toward retirement and my Heavenly resting place?"

Oh yea, Pastor told me there is no retirement for Christians, and since God stated in His Word that we are preparing in this life for the next, we will probably have jobs to do in Heaven also. So even though I see myself as getting very much older, God does not. Have you ever noticed how we are always referred to in the Word as His Children. "But as many as recieved Him, to them He gave the right to beccome children of God, even to those who believe in His Name," (John 1:12). He sees a young and capable heart. God our Father chooses to see us through the Blood of Jesus. A perfect vessel pouring out the love He pours into us. But, you might say we are cracked pots. Jars of clay of what worth is a cracked piece of earthen-ware?

Here is how it works: When you choose to follow Christ, not just be saved by Him but to truly follow, His Spirit enters into your soul. Together you and He work together to find each crack and fill it with the balm of healing. This balm is strong and yet transparent. As that crack is healed and sealed it remains transparent to the world, Then everytime that part of you comes to light, His light shines through. Have you ever stood and watched the light play through a stained glass window? I picture that as the light shining through my vessel, through the prism of the balm that God has placed on my imperfections, and then the world will see a beautiful display of dazzeling light. The light of my Jeaus shining through. There are ways to remind yourself that you are a beautiful vessel in God's eyes. One is to buy a stained glass window mobile, (mobile works better because it moves and dazzles), it dosen't have to be a big one. Put it where you will always see it, a kitchen window, in the study by a window. Just be sure there is lots of light.

The sun shall no longer be your light by day,
Nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you:
But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light,
And your God your Glory. ( Isaiah 60: 9 )

If you study in a darker low lit room there is another option. Get a candle that is surrounded by a stained glass holder. It can be a small one or a large one depending on how much you need the reminder. Just be sure the candle can be replaced. We have one always lit in our bathroom, a fragrent candle. Candles with fragrence will remind you of God's light in you and the sweet fragrence of His Spirit.

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, ( 2 Corinthians 2:15 ).

Everyone that accepts Christ and follows Him must do His work. God does not appreciate loitering in His kingdom. There is a job for everyone. Your job may not look like what you thought it would but it will be a glorious one. I have learned not to settle for any job, move around until it feels right. God will let you know. Then you can shine for the Kingdom. Be forwarned that it may also change. God has seasons for each of us and we must stay close to Him and listen when He speaks. I would never have thought that I could be an encourager through writing and yet it seems that I do somewhat well at it. This is a recent gift that I have discovered and look I am over half a century old. All things are renewed in Christ. The more time spent with Him the more you learn about yourself.
I am adding a link here because the teaching and learning opportunities are a wonderful testimony to what one can do through Christ. It is the driving force behind Proverbs 31 ministry. and
Love in Christ

God Never Said it Wouldn't Hurt

It has been a long time since I have written and much has happened. I thought my world had been irreparably torn apart. My church family has been divided. My heart was broken and I did not want to go there any more. My teacher and friend had been torn from my life. My Pastor was gone, and it seemed as though the whole church had turned their back on them and their family. The church seemed cold and empty, a small group of us clung to each other. I had so many questions, so much hurt, and I did not know where to turn.

I cried out to God why, why do you make me go through this? I knew a season had ended and a new one was coming. I did not want to let go. Why did those we called friends turn on us. The Pastor admitted he made some mistakes financially and now he had to go. Why? It seemed as if there were precious few of us who were so hurt by what the church had done that we thought how can we ever be right again. But none of this suprised God. He sees all, He knows before it happens what will happen, and He has already taken care of the answer. " For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer. 29:11. Time is marching on.
I can still feel the emptiness of those hollow walls. They keep telling me you have to move forward but even now the tears flow and the pain tightens my chest. It seems that the church itself is a reminder that people are cruel and spiteful. What hurts the most is that we as a congrgation were not given the choice as to how to proceed when it was discovered that our church was in financial distress. A pitiful few that were elected to our board decided to report it and in return took it out of our hands. We were told after the fact that the church was a free entity and could do as we so thought fit. Unfortunately we did not know that and by the time we did our Pastor's fate was in the hands of his superiors. It goes on back to the same old story, money rules people's hearts. I personally see no transgression that cannot be forginven. God tells us to forgive and restore. What happened to the restore part.
I know there are many that pray for our pastors privately but not in our church. People are astounded by a church that finds out their pastor has sinned and they choose to forgive and to continue to support him as he heals. How many people would be in a church if they put out every member because of sin? None I expect, except those that refuse to admit they sinned. Wouldn't want to be in that church! I am sure if the situation had been handled by the entire church instead of the three on our board we would have been a family, a Godly family and sought help for the church and the pastor and been one of those churches in the news that stood with their Shepard and fixed what was wrong together. We had a perfectly capable associate pastor but since she was the pastors wife we lost her by default, we were not given that choice either. Our board did not give us that option! But.. we still had, and may have others that want to be in charge and rule.
I believe at this time the congregation did what was best and sought the help of a large Godly church. I am confident the church will survive and grow especially since one of the problems has resigned in light of bringing in the mother church. I can see now that God had other plans for my beloved Pastors. My fear is that they will go forward and I will be left behind. God does things in seasons and this one ended. I feel that I will continue to learn and learn to stand on my feet. I just do not want to let go of the bond that I feel with my teacher. What hurts so much is that I did not tell her while she was there that I needed her so much. That her teaching was filling me with wonder and excitement for the things of God. I and my family have grown in immesurable ways just from sitting under her and her husband.
Going forward will have its trials and its hurts but I think I am strong enough. God is my strength and He has a plan. He always uses our human situations to grow us and to set us on a new and better path. Some people welcome new adventures, others like me cling to what they know. I now have to separate what I know from the past and apply it to the future. The pain will subside and I plan to be ready when I am called to my new ministry. In the intrim I will serve the church and uphold the friends I still have there. They are hurting too and I know I can encourage them and my friends that left by leaning on God and reminding my friends that He has it all worked out. Christ is still on the throne and He loves us with an everlasting love.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Following is my gift

I titled this entry "Following is my gift". I have since ever I can remember been what is known as a follower. I never wanted to lead. Being out front was too risky. I have grown a little the last couple of years. I have been under the tutoring of a great teacher and friend. She has helped raise my girls, doggedly pulling one back from the brink of self destruction, mentoring her and challenging her to be all she can be. I thank God every day for the love, prayers, and tears that she has poured out on my family. My coming under her, her husband, and her father's teaching has grown my girls and myself in ways we never thought possible. (Never ever think that the time at the church was in vain.)
Now a season has closed for the intense time together and a new one is opening. None of the sister's involved know just what God has in store, but it is going to be fantastic. It will not be easy, anytime God sets us on a new path it is going to be more challenging and more intense than the last road we traveled. When we are sure God is opening a door we need to proceed leaning entirely on Him. "Then you will know which way to go, for you have never been this way before." Joshua 3:4. Sometimes we are so busy doing the work we have grown accustomed to in God's house we are not listening when He whispers in our ear, "time to change paths," we miss it.
God is gracious enough to wait, but if we do not respond in a timely manner He will get our attention. When the pain of being halted in your tracks, and finding out many you thought were friends are not subsides, you find that God and your true friends are still there. God is there with you, He never left. There are new things to do. Sandy P. wrote: "I have work for you to do. It won't look like what you expect. Trust me. Despise not the days of small beginnings, (Zech 4:10). My Pastor always expounded on the need to trancend. If we are not moving forward, then we are moving backward, because the world keeps on spinning. I learned that to trancend means to move in great leaps to the next level.
I have not been given my next season. I feel as though my training is not complete. So I spend time quietly reading, listening, studying, and listening, and listening. I do not wish to miss my next calling. As I stated earlier God speaks in a whisper, quietly directing the next step. I expect it to be teaching, as that is my training at present. I am also studying theology with another straight-from-the-hip teacher. God does not stand still and if your hand is firmly tucked inside of His you will not be still either. That is not to say there are not quiet times. He will hold you and comfort you, gently brush away the tears, and then when you are ready He will lead you on. Paul said "follow me as I follow Christ (1 Cor. 11:1). I never thought of myself as a leader, but then I never saw myself as a teacher either and now I am studying to be one. What is God calling you to do? Seek Him, find Him, follow Him, the journey does not end until we stand in the throne-room of the God most high. My Abba Father. Seeking God, seeking Zoe.