Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tracing my Salvation

Lately I’ve been thinking about when I was saved and my life between then and now. I want to formulate my testimony so I can talk about it clearly without spider webbing. The “issue” I’m having is that it is spread out and weaved throughout my life...I don’t have this big bang like other people. I just know that this change in me has been so different that I don't ever go back!

I think that most people that have known me, have at least known that I believed in God and grew up “Christian;” but there has been a long season in my life where there was no evidence to support that belief.

In my youth, I missed the truth that God loved me no matter what. My actions didn't make Him love me less; but I allowed them to divide us instead unite us by going to Him with issues, DISBELIEF, concerns, HURT, fear, GUILT… and the list goes go on. The reason I didn't go to Him was because I didn’t know how to. I didn’t know who he was so it was like going to a stranger. I truly believed in God and believe that I was saved; but because I didn’t know Him and understand the gift that He had given me, he didn’t seem very appealing and just made me feel guilty.

Now I am learning who He is, what the gospel means and what the gift of salvation is. I recently listened to a message on 1 Kings 19:19-21 called Burn the Plows. This is a one sentence synopsis that doesn’t fully explain the message; but my take away was that God will not love Christians more or less if they sin; but by burning the plow or cutting whatever is tethering them to sin, will result in them knowing Him and living abundantly in Him. My life, my “Christianity” was limited because I was not willing to set fire to what was tethering me to the world.

As I increasingly surrender I learn more about Gods character. That increases our relationship, my desire to change and His transformation of me. 

I REALLY Him. I want to love Him more and be able to tell everyone; but I have to admit that there is still apprehension in my mind and heart that I'm still working through. I'm so thankful that this is a process we will go through together as He continues to change me into His brightly shinning servant.

1 Peter 1:3-12 (ESV)
Born Again to a Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Renewing my mind...

Matthew 17:14-20 (ESV)
And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

I have a few childhood memories of trying to move mountains. I vividly remember one occasion of staring at a mountain from the back seat of our Ford Pinto on a Sunday morning, and another of staring out the kitchen window at a snow dusted mountain, thinking “I have faith that this mountain will move…I BELIEVE this mountain will move!” Then I watched intently, waiting for the slightest shift in position. It seems silly; but it is something I thought I should have been able to do. When I was a little girl, I remember being taught in church that we should have faith that could move mountains. If I had the faith of a mustard seed, I could move mountains. Have you seen a mustard seed? They are really, really, really small; yet when I tested this theory the mountains never moved. How is it possible that I didn’t have that small amount of faith?? This lack of understanding created a barrier in my walk with God.

Through small steps of obedience to God that started back in December with me quitting smoking again for like the fifth or sixth (but FINAL) time, God has loving brought me to a place where He is working on me to break down barriers that kept me from a relationship with Him. Crazily…my inability to move mountains was one of those barriers. I couldn’t make sense of something that I believed I was taught by the church leaders, so I allowed the lie to creep in that; If that isn’t true what else isn’t true? Is it possible none of this s true? This may seem immature; but that’s because I was.

Through teaching that God is leading me to, I am learning to look at my notions, perceptions, and actions, and ask Him to reveal to me what they say about my relationship with Him and what they say I believe about Him. So….my perception was: I should be able to move mountains because I think I have faith at least the size of a mustard seed, and if the mountain doesn’t move that scripture is not truth. Really??....Who do I think I am?? This perception says that I am the ultimate evaluator of the volume of my faith, not God. That I know better than God. Wow! That honest realization broke down the barrier real quick for me.

I do not know what faith of a mustard seed looks like; but I do know that I have never seen a person move a mountain, so it’s highly probably that faith the size of a mustard seed is actually a huge amount of faith that most people can’t comprehend. The other thing that God has shown me is that, for me, the mountain is a metaphor. What practical purpose does moving a mountain have? There wasn’t a purpose for me. If I’m honest, it wasn’t about the depth of my faith it was about my selfish desire to move a mountain, which really reveals the condition of my heart. So what are the symbolic mountains in my life? What “mountains” should I petition the Lord with prayer to move for His glory? What things seem impossible that I should have faith that God can change, heal, or restore?

My heart’s desire is to focus my faith on those things and his promises. I am finding that as I do that, I know Him to be trustworthy and faithful!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nugget of Truth

Prayers do not inform God, prayers exercise faith in God.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Its been awhile....

So much has happened over the past four year blogging hiatus, I feel the need to write an extensive re-cap; but I’mgoing to resist and trust that what is important will reveal itself in future entries. In reading past posts, I found it so interesting that my initials were about being vegetarian and quitting smoking. If memory serves, that quit lasted six months before I started smoking again. I am now four months into my final quit and feel positive and optimistic...this time is very different. I also considered deleting all my previous entries, but decided against as they serve as markers for progress and reminders of lessons. This time around, my goal is to fearlessly express myself with the hope that it may be an encouragement.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

“True Liberty is found in Transparency” and “Sanctification is a Process”

I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t known what to write mostly because I've found myself in a place where I have to take the next step into honestly looking at myself and my role in this life. A place where I must honestly confess my sins becoming transparent which in turn is revealing that I lack trust in God because I am afraid to be transparent. That’s hard to swallow.

I keep asking God for help, expecting he will deliver me with a snap of his giant fingers. But giving little to no action on my part due to a fear of being let down. I say I know God loves me, but what keeps me from fully trusting, letting go, giving myself to him shortcomings and all openly so he can use them for my good and his glory? It’s a spiritual battle where my mind is attacked. Eph 6:12 says it clearly - For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

I’ve been reading two books, both of which are pointing me to saturating myself in scripture. That is the way to renewal, renewal of the mind, body and spirit. I want so badly to be a bright light reflecting God’s glory.

Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.
Psalm 40:4-5

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Soon I will have the whole suit of armor on!

I am being renewed regarding what I believed were truths and what I am being shown are lies. I see that nearly every thought pattern I've had for a really long time has been based on a lie. Like what I believed made me valuable or believing that no one would ever really understand me or believing that few people if anyone was trustworthy, and that people would eventually hurt me so it was just expected and acceptable. These are some pretty BIG lies to face and some thick walls to break through. As I seek and find the biblical truths to combat the lies, everything will become clearer and I will be dead to sin.

Truths I have found:

Romans 6:6-7 says - knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.

Christ death freed me - I am free! When negative thoughts or feelings come over me they are lies trying to distract me from the truth that I am free! Free to be peaceful, loving, joyful and helpful in all circumstances.

Luke 15:21-24 says - And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.' "But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' And they began to be merry.

This is the parable of the prodigal son. The truth is God is delights that I am found. He is excited, thrilled and throws parties for the lost who return. Feeling unworthy is expected but holding tight to it is a lie to keep me from coming closer, being intimate. I am a prodigal daughter ;) I am valuable because He values me!

Psalm 139:1-4 says - O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.

This passage is usually used for the verses that follow, to show how intricately God has created us and how amazing it is. It truly is amazing but recently it was shown to me in a different way. Within the first 4 verses there are 7 words that describe how much God knows David. God knows us! Liken it to the person that know you best, that you trust, that you feel safest and most comfortable with - He knows us even MORE! Whenever I feel despair, afraid, tired, bored, joyful, successful or blessed, from one end of emotions to the other and everywhere in between God knows. He knows me, He is familiar with ALL my ways - I am known and understood!

1 John 5:18-20 say - And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Jesus is truth! The more I seek the more I will be given understanding. I am working hard to put on my Belt of Truth. Soon I will have the whole suit of armor on :)

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:15

Saturday, April 5, 2008

For what I do is not the good I want to do

In a chapter titled “Sharing our Hearts” in a book I'm reading, it references another book - “Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin’s Path to God”. This is an excerpt from that book….
“Is there anyone I can level with? Anyone I dare tell that I am benevolent and Malevolent, chaste and randy, compassionate and vindictive, selfless and selfish, that beneath my brave words lives a frightened child, that I dabble in religion and pornography, that I have blackened a friends character, betrayed trust, violated confidence, that I am tolerant and thoughtful, a bigot and a blowhard….?
Most of the time, that’s how I feel. And when I don’t feel like that, I fear I am being too proud.

I know accountability and community are vital, but those two words make me uncomfortable. Sharing is frightening. Will they judge too much, to the point of discouragement? Or maybe not enough and participate in my sin? Or do I respect them enough to accept correction from them?

The struggle between my spirit and flesh has been tiring lately! I’ve slipped and I don’t know why I am holding so tightly to not getting back up. I want to move forward.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Roman 7:15-20

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7