Monday, January 12, 2015

The Circle Maker

Today I begin a new journey. 
Saturday I woke at 4 am, did my Bible reading a short prayer time, wrote a blog and went back to bed at 7 am.  I slept about an hour until my husband woke up, then got up again to make breakfast.  Our day had begun.  However, it was not to be a usual day.
There were a few places we had agreed to go; the bank, Dollar Tree and Ace Hardware.  We were then going to go home and have a relaxing day.  We had talked the night before about needing a day to relax.  However, I mentioned that I had a Barnes and Noble gift card in my purse and that I would probably wait until summer to use it. I wasn't planning on bringing it up, but just felt I should.  My husband asked if I wanted to go right then?  I reminded him that we were not planning on that, but he said he had absolutely nothing else planned for the day, so why not?  Long story short, we went.
When we entered the store, a couple entered before us and I remember thinking something about how the man should be a gentleman and hold the door open if he was a Christian.  Even as I thought this, he looked over his shoulder, saw me and reached backward to grab the door for me.  I thanked him and went on in.  I walked around the store in seeming circles looking for I didn't know what.  I finally decided I needed the Christian Living section and started looking.  As I stood on my toes to search, I saw the same couple we entered with and they were walking away from the very section I wanted.  Just as I made it to the section, the wife turned around and went back into it.  I heard her say, "It's called Blink."  I felt impressed to encourage her, so I said, "Excellent book."  She turned and asked if I had read it then.  I told her that I had and own it.  This seemed to make her day.  We began a discussion on what books were really good, had changed our lives and that we recommended for each other.  I recommended Heaven and If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn and the Martyr's Trilogy by Tedd Dekker.  She recommended The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson and Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman.  She knew right where to go to get them and handed one of each to me.  I looked at the prices and had my purchase!  I thanked her and we went our separate ways.  Now I know that God has a plan and purpose for every moment of our lives, but this episode in my life only increased my belief that He orchestrates our days when we let Him.
Sunday morning I was ready to begin a new study, as I had just finished one by Charles Stanley the day before.  I looked at my two new books and felt compelled to begin The Circle Maker.
Have you ever felt that you wanted to jump up, run to and hug God HARD around the neck?  This was one of those times for me.  I read the first chapter and thought, "WOW!  This book is going to change m prayer life immensely!"  I am halfway through chapter three and it already has. 
Today I begin a new journey of discovering my Jerichos.  What do I REALLY want God to do and why?  Have I ever asked for it and if so, how did I ask?  Am I praying small so that I can make sure it happens, or am I asking the impossible so that only God can make it happen?  If I am not praying the impossible, then I am most likely still depending on myself.  But first, what is my Jericho right now?  If I don't know what it is, how can I pray about it?  Have I really defined it for myself so that I can understand it?  Well, today I did!!  Because I did, I became extremely excited and started looking for promises regarding it in God's word.  Because I actually found several promises in regard to it, I feel more confident in my prayers regarding it.  Because I feel more confident that God hears my prayers, I feel more confident He will answer.  Talk about circles!!  I am learning to make circles around my family, friends, habits, etc. and all before I have even finished the third chapter (There are eighteen, plus an epilogue)!!
I am writing this to invite you to join the journey with me if you haven't already done so.  I am praying for you even now.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Let My People Go!!

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh and say to him, 'This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: "Let my people go, so that they may worship me." Exodus 9:1

For a while now, God has been speaking these words to my heart, “Let my people go.” One way of interpretation is that I have been enabling some to continue in sin. I can see this as true in my family. It is not as true as it used to be, but I still have difficulty. If one of my children is in need of help, of course I want to be there to help them!! However, if they continually place themselves in the same situation over and over again, complaining to me all the time that they need help, my mothers' instinct cries out to go to their aid, but the Holy Spirit whispers to my heart to step aside. Once in a while I actually listen to Him. During those times I go through a grieving period first. Then I listen to see if there is anything the Lord wants me to do or say. I have to force myself to do as I am told, because it virtually always brings tears, rantings, defiance, hurt, etc. and these things make me feel as if my heart were literally breaking in two. If I don't do what I am asked, a void appears in that same heart. A void that becomes filled with loneliness and despair due to the fact that I know that I know I have disobeyed and am having to face the fact. I also have to face the consequences of having work to do that is not mine, but I took upon myself.
The truth is, we can really only rescue a person from a pit one time. If they go back to it again, we are no longer rescuing them, but are instead enabling them to do it again and again, as they are convinced that we will always be there to pull them out. If we are able to pull them out once by following God's direction in so doing, we should rejoice.
Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. James 5:20 NIV
But if they turn around and jump right back into the pit of sin you just helped pull them out of, then we must allow God to do what needs doing, rather than jumping right back in to try and pull them out again. There may be times He sends us back to them with a warning, saying something along the lines of, “You were given a second chance and you chose not to take it. God is always willing to give you another chance, but you have to choose to take it and hang on to it,” but ultimately, they have to make the decision, as much as we wish we could make it for them.
I am personally going through a time of letting go right now. My husband has decided that he needs to gain back the weight he has lost. For a while I was out right angry!! I kept praying and asking God to change his heart and help him see what he is doing is destructive to himself. Then one day I decided to pour out my heart to a dear friend and relative-in-law I knew would not talk to others about anything I told her. I told her every concern and how I was so angry inside. She comforted me and said she would pray and I am confident she did, because the next morning I woke to do my Bible and prayer time and a remarkable thing happened. I read my devotional and then prayed and asked, “Lord, is there any particular scripture You want me to read today?” Faster than immediately came this, “Obadiah 3.” Obadiah? Who reads Obadiah unless they are getting ready to teach/preach on it or are reading their Bible through in a year? But I opened my Bible and started turning pages, but I did say to God, “Lord, I don't think there are three chapters in Obadiah.” I found the book (it comes in handy to know the books in order) within seconds and as I saw there was only one chapter and smugly felt rather than said, “see?” the words, “Just verse three,” shook my thoughts.
The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, 'Who can bring me down to the ground?' Obadiah 3 NIV
And now I will tell you what I was taught as I read: “You say you live in the cleft of My Rock in safety and no one can pull you down, but you are filled with pride. You think you know what is best for your husband and he thinks he knows what is best. The truth is, neither of you do. I DO!!”
I got on my knees and cried out for forgiveness. I told God that I have battled pride all my life and just when I think it has left, it rears its ugly head again! I repented and was able to really and truly let my husband go.
As long as we are clinging to a family member, dear friend or even a stranger we are simply trying our best to help, we cannot truly cling to God. Have you ever tried holding on to two children as they are pulling to keep going? It is extremely hard work and they are small!! So how do we expect to be able to cling to God Who is humongous and human being at the same time? When God moves, we will either slip off or be left hanging by a handhold.
Pride is devious. I thought I was walking in love and concern, and while part of me was, another part was doing just as God said I was....trying to be Him.
There is only One God, Father, and He is You!! Thank You for revealing the truth of my sins and making me right with You once again.