I have all these words to use but God's put me in a place of listening and observing. Wondering what to do with all my words, I just received the below. Thanks BJ - I needed this. It's entitled "Are all women born this way"? To which I say YES!
Entries in Thinking (8)
I've always struggled with Scripture memory. I remember watching and listening to my sister memorize huge chunks of Scripture as she progressed through the ranks of "Girls Auxiliary." We moved before I had to go further than step 1 - "maiden." I am sure that was God's divine intervention to save me and my family the humiliation of being the first person to "flunk out" (of get kicked out) of GA's!
I'm totally frustrated with my attempts to memorize Scripture. Using the ESV Bible online, I did finally figure out how to get the Scriptures I wanted to memorize on my ipod. It's awesome to listen to them while getting dressed in the morning. The funny thing is though - the "address" isn't a part of the listening experience. And, I have NOT figured out how to get the verse to keep repeating. So, it goes from one verse to the next to the next. Like it starts out with Deuteronomy 6:5 and goes right into Ecclesiastes 8:8 then to Isaiah 44:20, etc. Sound pretty neat and I love hearing the Word of God, but it's not doing a thing for my Scripture memory.
Next to confessing with my mouth and believing in my heart that Jesus is my Savior and Lord, learning how to study the Bible inductively is the best thing that ever happened to me. In a 2.5 day training, I learned about observation, interpretation, and application. Things like slowing down to observe what the Bible (God) was saying by asking who, what, where, when, why & how questions. Then learning to examine the answers to these questions and how my attitudes and behaviors were lining up to the truths discovered...WOW. I learned the importance of understanding what was being said before and after a passage of Scripture and the setting in which the words were being spoken....CONTEXT. Context rules! Who knew?
Suddenly, the Bible went from something I thought was boring, outdated and a mystery to a letter from God....the very Words of God...recorded and preserved through the ages just for me! God shares His heart - His longings and desires for me/us. He reveals His plans and purposes for our lives. Here, in His Word, I have discovered that the One Who spoke the World into existence wants to be personally involved in every detail of my life - if I will let Him. It's a wonder!
Studying inductively helps me remember the book in which particular passage of Scripture can be found and sometimes I can even go to the chapter. Very exciting for someone who struggles with Scripture memory! But a secret goal of mine is to be a walking Bible. I want to so know God's Word so that when I speak it's 90% speaking the words of God. Well, how can you do that if you can't even memorize God's Word? Totally frustrating! Shouldn't I just give up? NO - but maybe.....just maybe I should change my approach. Here's what I'm thinking...
As I study God's Word, I want Christ to so work in my heart and life that Christ Himself is actually taking the very Words of God and through His Holy spirit...carving them on my heart. I want to become a letter of Christ - a living epistle. I want God's Word to so reside in me, be at home in me and be such a part of me - that I live the words out. And while I may NEVER get to the point that I can quote Scripture after Scripture - complete with each address....oh sweet Jesus - help me to SPEAK these precious Scriptures with my life.
You are our letter...read by all men...being manifested that you are a letter of Christ...written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 2 Co 3:2-3
Life and the emotions of life have been coming at me a lot lately. I have a list of things that concern me. Real things, situations and circumstances that need divine intervention! The thing is - where I am in my thinking and emotions - I don't expect much will get scratched off the list today. In fact, the list will probably be longer by the end of the day. It just seems to be one of those times when things seem to be going this way. You know what I mean? Because I have a tendency to make things all about me, I find myself wondering before the Lord...Where are you?....What are you doing?...What in the world is going on?....I don't understand...
I must keep taking time to get God's perspective on my situations and circumstances, or my thinking will spiral downward and my emotions and attitudes will follow (not pretty). Well, wouldn't you know I picked up my favorite little devotional book and opened it to "Courage." Just the dose of truth I needed to hear, remember and LIVE out.
"My people shall not go mourning, for I the Lord will be their rejoicing and their song. They will not be a complaining people, for I will take away the murmuring from your streets. Will I lead into the battlefronts an army of weeping women? Will I ask the fainthearted to war? No, but I shall give my people brave and courageous spirits, and I will make them strong of heart. I will give them the spirit of the martyrs, for they will be My witnesses of resurrection power. They shall be stalwart. They shall be steadfast. And I will remove from the ranks those who are timid and those who desire comfort and security. My way is a way of sacrifice, and the rewards are not in worldly honors. So take upon you the full armor f God; the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the loins girded with truth, feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, having shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit. Yes, My people this is a hand-to-hand combat. You shall stand against the foe face-to-face. You will not turn in retreat lest you be slain; for there is no armor to protect the back. The coward will perish. You have not wrestled in any measure such as he, the Lord Jesus. You are not prepared to enter into this conflict as long as you are absorbed in the luxuries and the personal comforts of normal life. For every soldier must give first place to his obligation to the armed forces, and second place to his own private life and wishes. Even so you must do, if you would be My followers. Even so did Jesus during His earthly ministry. His entire life was subordinated to the Father's will. As it is written, 'Even Christ did not please Himself' (Romans 15:3). How dare you risk allowing the flesh to manifest its desires? They can be only evil continually. No good thing can come out of a deceitful heart. As the old hymn says, 'The arm of flesh will fail you - you dare not trust your own.' Only that which is generated within you by the Spirit of God can bring forth righteousness 'do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God' (Romans 12:2)."
Pastor Tim had another great sermon this morning. He reminded us using Ecclesiastes 4:7-12 of just how much we need brothers and sisters in Christ and yet how often we close our hearts to others. His point was, if we are going to live this Christian life, we need each other. Otherwise when we fall, who will be there to help and lift us up? Well, I'm prone to fall and I wonder: don't you get tired of helping me get up? Seriously - the real me....the me God sees - can you really handle that me? Don't you want to judge me, reject me, preach at me and try and "fix me?" No, you help and lift me up.
Some days life just hurts and all I want is to hear your voice and have you put your arms around me, listen to me and just be there with me. Some days the situations and circumstances of life are overwhelming. It doesn't mean I've gone spiritually brain dead and don't know God's perspective on my situations and circumstances. It doesn't mean that I'm not clinging to the promises of God or unable to speak those promises back to myself. It just means I need to release the raw emotions of living life in this world. You don't try and "fix me." You just help me and lift me up.
Still there are other days, when I actually do go spritiually brain dead. When truth seems to escape me and I'm spiritually confused and cannot seem to think straight. It's then I need my friend who knows me well - knows who I want to be and loves me enough to tell me in (a VERY gracious and loving way) that my behavior doesn't line up with who I say I am and who I want to be. The key here is "knows me well and loves me enough." Ah, that means I had to have opened my heart to someone, allowed them to get to know me - all aspects of me! It means I took a chance they may be appalled at what they saw and reject me rather than love me! Scary isn't it? Well, not when you consider the alternative. Living life alone. I say we take 100 chances and we keep opening our hearts, sharing our hearts until we find those precious ones who know us well and love us enough. Brothers and sisters who will help and lift us up so we can live and walk in a manner worthy of our Lord.
For all the times I've fallen....for all the times I've exposed my wretched heart - thank you for not trying to "fix me!" Thank you for helping me up and for graciously and lovingly reminding me of truth when I've gone spiritually brain dead. Thank you for lifting me up in such a way as to restore me so that I can walk in a manner worthy of my Lord. Thank you for investing in my life in such a way that I am known and well loved by you. You know exactly who you are and you are a gift from God to me.
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
For so many years, what I felt became my truth. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but if I felt alone then that became the truth I believed. Believing I was alone impacted how I acted or behaved. Since my husband's job required that he do a lot of traveling (309 days the first year of our marriage) and because I have lived hundreds of miles from my family for most of my marriage, I have felt alone - A LOT. Feeling alone has caused me to cry and feel sorry for myself. Because I didn't like being alone (and it's always about me), I would feel frustrated, anxious and eventually angry at my husband for leaving me alone so much. Feelings of anger would cause me to try to manipulate him, other people or situations. I would take up hobbies, bad habits and the pursue the things of the world just so I didn't have to feel so lonely and worthless. Yes, worthless. You see, being left alone a lot must have meant I was worthless, unlovable, and so on. I also felt forgotten and abandoned by God. Yep, what I felt became my truth.
While my husband is flying in today (hallelujah), he'll be leaving after Thanksgiving and I won't see him again until Christmas. I miss him! And, having him gone just brings up all those old feelings. Here I am all alone again. There he goes starting a new adventure again - without me (we've moved 6 times and he's always gone ahead). Today, I'm also struggling with some new feelings. But you know what? I can actually take up the WORD of God - which is absolute TRUTH and use it to sort through my feelings. It's awesome and I am so grateful to God for this change in me.
The TRUTH is certainly not what I feel. In fact, rarely does what I feel even line up with the word of God. Amen? The Word of God is absolute truth. What God says is MY reality even if it flies in the face of what I feel and can see.
Right here, right now - I am exactly where God wants me and my husband to be. The economy doesn't surprise God. Our being separated doesn't surprise God. God knows exactly when (of if) our house will sell. God even knows when we'll move and where we will live next. Isn't that amazing? Isn't God awesome? He is in control and to that I shout glory be to God and hallelujah! The truth is: This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24