Yes, songs are speaking to me. To my heart. Enough said.
I’ve been MIA for a few weeks. I’ve been working on a special study that is very emotionally draining….things I cannot blog about at this time….and I have nothing left over in my energy or time to even read blog posts, much less write them. So until I come out of this, my “visits” here on WordPress will be irregular.
But I came across this article on Facebook the other day that was so encouraging to me that I wanted to pass it along to someone else who may need to hear it:
“If God wants us to be in His will and to do His will, then why is knowing His will so difficult?”
To read the rest, click here.
If you’ve never done the study (Knowing and Doing The Will Of God), I highly recommend it! I completed it about 15 years ago, and it impacted me. I’ve been working on it the past couple of months, and it’s impacted me even more. This time, He prompted me to start work on this study BEFORE I started another project He’s called me to do. And I understand why. You are Good, Lord!
I’ll admit that not everything in this study have been easy things to hear & understand. In fact, I didn’t particularly care nor like some of them. But I know that it’s all Truth…… God will definitely talk to you during this study no matter where you are in your journey with Him. I believe that.
I love that Blackaby & Claude V. King began with some basics that are vital to know & believe before we can do any Kingdom work, such as God pursues a love relationship with us.
Below are the Seven Realities of Experiencing God that Blackaby expounds on in the workbook, These were so powerful to me! I’ll write in maroon what I got out of each so far.
- God is always at work around you. Awesome to know that He never sleeps, never is at rest, always is working to accomplish His purposes…even when we don’t realize it or it doesn’t seem that way. And sometimes it doesn’t seem that way because His purposes and ways are NOT OURS.
- God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real & personal. I‘m so grateful that He PURSUES me. He’s the “HOUND OF HEAVEN.” And, in His patience, grace and mercy, He’s teaching me that He LOVES me. That He LOVES me. That He LOVES me. (that bears repeating over & over…He knows I NEED that repetition until I believe it with all my heart & soul. He’s also is gracious enough to keep showing me that He is trustworthy.
- God invites you to become involved with Him in His work. I’m going to highlight the word INVITE here. What a HUGE epiphany this was…instead of thinking what I can DO FOR HIM (and feeling in my heart that I usually fail Him) and/or viewing what He wants me to do as a chore or too hard or too inconvenient, etc. He REVEALS what He is going to do. That revelation becomes an INVITATION to join Him! And that it is NOT MINE to accomplish but His! He will do/accomplish His work with or without me, but I would miss out on a blessing if I don’t join Him! This was HUGE! HUGE! Such a fresh perspective for me.
- God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. I’ve written many times about how God has spoken to me. My GC’s…and He is soooo good to confirm with me….when I doubt I’m hearing Him or doubt I can do what He asks or even when I “don’t want to.” He’s persistent. “Every experience must be controlled & understood by the Scriptures.” So thankfully, He almost always gives me Scripture in one of these confirmations/GC’s.
- God’s invitation for you to work with Him always leads you to a crisis of belief that requires faith & action. This one really got to me. Sometimes I’m hesitant because I just can’t see how/why/when, etc. I either try to rush it or deny it because I don’t feel ready or capable (yes, I know….that goes back to #3) or something. One of the statements in the workbook was “Do not assume that the moment He calls you that you are ready for the assignment. (emphasis mine) That was a relief because it’s something I’ve felt – that I’ve failed Him. That I’ve waited too long or ignored His voice, etc. But at the same time, this is hard because it also said He was “developing my character to match the assignment He has for me.” And that always sends me back to my fall-back reaction – “What if developing my characters means something BAD will happen in my life?” Which #2 addresses!
- You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing. I just started working on this one right now. I’ll admit that I don’t like the sound of it. HA! I’ll let you know how it goes…
- You come to know God by experience as you obey Him & He accomplishes His work through you. This part sounds awesome!
A while back, the workbook Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby & Claude King kept coming to mind, and I’d think “I should do that again. It was good.” Then I’d just go on with daily life and not do it. But the closer I got to working on a special project that I felt God calling me to do, the more pressing was the thought of re-reading Experiencing God BEFORE the special project.
And I now KNOW WHY! He is preparing me! I’ll be sharing some tidbits from the workbook over the next few posts. Wow…wow! Some amazing stuff in that workbook study!
As I started Experiencing God and realized WHY He wanted me to do that study again and WHAT He was doing, I felt totally guilty that I hadn’t started when He first prompted me. I started beating myself up. Thankfully, God spoke to me that I was doing it in His time….if I had done it earlier, I would have missed some vital revelations that are pertinent to NOW.
But my first self-condemning reaction was my usual M.O. It’s my DEFAULT reaction. My.Whole.Life. Feeling guilty. That I’ve done something wrong. Again. Feeling less than adequate. That I wasn’t measuring up. That my performance wasn’t up to par.
What an epiphany I had….Well, duh…
After hundreds of sermons, devotionals, journaling, prayer, Bible studies…..I’m STILL ranking myself in the “Christian Hall of Fame” and ending up waaaaay down at the bottom. I’m STILL trying to EARN God’s Love and acceptance. I’m STILL feeling guilty when I fail at MEASURING UP! I’m STILL trying to please the impossible-to-please God in my mind. I’m not talking about being convicted of my sinful ways here….it goes way beyond that.
I didn’t think I was doing that anymore. But He showed me that I was. You could read my journals & see exactly what I’m talking about…..always apologizing for not being who I think I should be. Who I try to be. Who I think God wants me to be.
One of many things He’s been revealing to me, especially through Experiencing God. More on that later…..
P.S. I had to add this onto what I had already written above but not published yet: I got an email devotional this morning. Guess what it was about? Yep. That’s right. Here’s an excerpt:
I carry shame and guilt over sins I have already confessed. I hold onto the guilt and work to make it up to God. I live as if I am really, really sorry, then He will forgive me. Or, if I do something for someone else today, then maybe I will make myself right before God. However, that is not what the Lord has for us. Christ has set us free. Not free to do whatever we please but free from the penalty of sin. In fact, we have freedom from having to earn His love and earn His forgiveness. He has already paid the price, and he has already forgiven us of our vices and shortfalls.
Actions in keeping with repentance are appropriate! But, all those extra “sorry’s” and all the things I do to try to make myself right with God are not about Him. Those things are all about the attempts I make to improve my “standing” in His eyes.SDG (Soli Deo Gloria which means, “To God alone glory”)
But I didn’t care much for the sentiment.
I rather LIKE comfort. I change my work clothes for something more comfortable when I get home. I like comfortable furniture, comfortable temperatures, comfortable relationships, a comfortable life.
Yes, my head understands that a comfortable life is NOT the life God calls us to BUT….I’ll admit it…..that’s what I desire. How about you?
So when one of the speakers, Judy Peterson, spoke about our “soil being disturbed” at our women’s Triennial convention last month, I didn’t care much for that, either. I understand the concept. It TOTALLY convicted me. And I recognize that is exactly what God is doing in “my garden,” but it still scares me. Still makes me “uncomfortable.” And as I said, I like comfort.
But I am trying to submit. I told God that I would. I prayed a while ago that He would use me, that I gave Him permission work in my life, etc. I was nervous about it, but I did it anyway. I said it. Actually I’m still shaking about it but….
The theme of the whole convention was Rooted so obviously, all the talks and sermons related in some way to plants. Judy’s sermon was no different.
She spoke about the Parable of the Sower, renamed by her as the The Dirt on the Dirt because the soil is what we should focus on. Seeds can grow even in poor conditions, but it won’t be as fruitful as it was intended. God the Sower and His seed, will continue to be scattered and sprout wherever He wants them to. She explained that we need to ask ourselves if the soil of our lives is a good environment for the Kingdom of God to grow…to reach its full fruit-bearing potential.
“One of the great hindrances to Kingdom growth is soil that has not been disturbed. There’s no way for the seed to take ROOT; it just lies on top of the soil. it’s unable to accomplish the purpose that it was designed for, and the soil misses out.”
“For a relationship with Jesus to grow, life has to be disturbed. Otherwise it will simply become a banquet table for Satan.”
“Jesus was so disturbing; we’ve made him so undisturbing…You have to be ready to have your well-worn path utterly disturbed.”
Something that I really liked about this part of the message was something she said several times: The soil misses out. I’ve never thought about it that way.
TO BE CONTINUED…..
But if you can’t wait, go to this site and listen to Judy Peterson’s talk. It’s a little long BUT SO WELL WORTH IT! Not only does she speak truth, she’s funny. YOU WILL NOT BE SORRY YOU LISTENED TO THE WHOLE THING. I need to listen to it several times.
- The Parable of the Sower (thedrowningfish.wordpress.com)
- The SOWER of the GOOD SEED and the FOUR SOILS (Matt 13:1-23) (thechapelofgrace.wordpress.com)
- Work the Soil! (artistdayapart.com)
A few weeks ago after reading about being “called” in my Bible reading, I did some extra reading & research. I discovered that being “called” meant being SUMMONED. Then during the next Sunday’s sermon, we heard that Biblical “calling” is the same word used for a military summons – in other words, BEING DRAFTED!
Then I came across the below devotional. There IS a point to all these recent posts & ones to come. Stay tuned….
From What Is A “Calling?”
“Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” – 1 Corinthians 7:20
If you have been in the church culture for a while, you have heard the term “calling” many times. You may have wondered what the term means. If you go to Webster’s Dictionary, you will find there are fifty-nine definitions of the word, “calling!” Fifty-nine! They’re as varied as receiving a call on a telephone or calling a hand in a game of poker. That’s just two of the fifty-nine! But, what is the Biblical definition of calling? A “calling” is a summons by God.
Those of you that were drafted into the military know what it’s like to get a letter from Uncle Sam saying you’ve been drafted into the military. That is a summons by the government for you to serve in the military. Well, God gives a summons. It’s a summons to follow Him. It’s a summons to trust Him. As a matter of fact, in all callings, there is a calling to serve, a calling of unselfishness, a calling of sacrifice. That’s why military service often is referred to as a calling, because the same kind of things are involved – sacrifice, unselfishness, service – when you are receiving a calling of God.
But that’s not all. There’s also a calling to leave the familiar and venture into the unknown. And that causes us to feel inadequate and insecure at times about the calling. (emphasis MINE! Because this is SOOOO TRUE for me right now) But this is good, for it forces us to depend on God. In the New Testament, when Jesus Christ calls, it is most of all a call to follow Him. Then, as we follow Him, He calls us to specific places of service. Have you accepted His call?
This morning I wrote here about trying to surrender and about the hymn “I Surrender All.” A while later God told me I was concentrating on the WRONG WORD!
My focus should be on ALL!
Wow. Now that’s a change in perspective.
I started to fret about a friend’s situation and what to pray and do and felt the usual burden of not being able to help. Felt myself getting overwhelmed by the situation and my inadequacy. Felt like I just wanted to ignore it. Felt the GUILT about…quite honestly….the twinges of annoyance or impatience, etc. that pop up.
“Surrender it to me. Give her and her situation to me. Relinquish whatever need YOU have to fix it (and you and I both know you have a need to do that). I AM the fixer, not you. You don’t need to ignore the situation. You’re there for the journey, not for the repair work. Just give it to me. I want you to surrender ALL. Everything. Not just what you think you should or the things you can’t handle. But ALL. Don’t worry about surrendering. Just RELEASE. Don’t be burdened. Take MY yoke upon you, and I will give you rest. ”
He’s the fixer. Of everything. Of ALL. Surrender ALL. ALL. What a relief….
My prayer this morning was one of trying to surrender. I sang about it in a song yesterday at church. I’m opening my hands in a posture of submission. I’m trying. My heart is still wrestling though.
I want to surrender totally to the God who Loves me. I want my heart to be completely open and trusting and surrendered to His Will and His Love and His Healing and everything He has to give to me and everything He wants me to give. To what He’s calling me to do.
I’m still fearful of what that means. I still desire to grab control…even though I know that’s useless and futile and doesn’t mean that I actually HAVE control…..but I’m trying.
I’m trying. I’m praying that He knows my heart and is happy with my progress. With my desire. That even though I’m NOT where I want to be, I’m on the path. Help me Holy Spirit.
This old hymn came to my mind today in my quiet time as I prayed. I Surrender All. Then, as He often does, He mentioned it in a devotional I read afterwards. Yes, the devo actually mentioned the same hymn. Amen, Lord. Make it so.
- Holy Spirit Surrender (gentlegal.wordpress.com)
- Great and hidden things (davidcampbelljr.wordpress.com)
- The only thing that matters is seeking the Lord with our whole hearts (davidcampbelljr.wordpress.com)
I’m back after a little hiatus…hopefully, I’ll have time to actually write from now on. But this morning’s email devotional was a pretty good one to share.