Oswald Chambers

Hey guys…I was reading in “My Utmost For His Highest” a couple of days ago and was struck by the reading, “The Way To Permanent Faith”  It’s a pretty meaty reading, but a quick paraphrase is that God allows dark times in our lives through His sovereignty so that we can know His care through the good and bad.  Until we go through the dark times, our faith is based on feelings and blessings.

It’s funny, I didn’t so much think of this disease I’m walking through, but about this depression I’m grappling with. I’ve been so puzzled by it. This reading really ministered to my soul.

I was up really early that morning and prayed for our house; the outreaches, our businesses, our families. It wasn’t about me, it was about the people around me.  It wasn’t the first time, but I don’t do it as much as I wish I did.

Oswald Chambers went onto to say that “Until Jesus Christ is truly our Lord, we each have goals of our own which we serve. Our faith is real, but it’s not yet permanent.” Wow…I wondered about my recent struggles with not being able to lead worship here in my home church. I’m part of a team, but my voice is limited and I can’t lead a congregation right now.   Maybe I can’t do it, or maybe I’m too scared to try at this point.  Either way, the thought about serving my own goals, rather than the heart of God pierces my soul.  Is it possible to have too much of our identity hidden in the things we do, rather than who we are in Christ?  You better believe it…

So maybe this season, is not just about listening for Him, but about allowing Him full reign in my heart and my life, however that may look.

Once more, I stand corrected and wait to hear from the One who does all things well.

peace and strength to you this day,

-Aracely

Looking Forward

How often do we miss the new thing God is doing in our lives? On the one hand, it is important for us to remember how God’s met us in the past…..moments when He reached from outside of time to remind us, “Yes, I’m here with you…come on, let’s keep going.” We run into problems when we let that become the yardstick we gauge everything else by and are unable to see God move in a different way; maybe something utterly more we could ask for or even begin to think. I’m not talking a new theology or something that goes against scripture, or a prosperity doctrine, but just the amazing way God works.

The story of the woman at the well in John, chapter four. Jesus asks her for a drink of water. She’s astonished that a Jewish man would ask a Samaritan woman. Jesus says, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, “Give Me a drink,” you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water. ”

The woman said to HIm “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?” Is she insulted? Is she bothered that this stranger is claiming to have something more to offer than what she already knows and is familiar with? Our ancestor Joseph’s father, Jacob, the surplanter,the one who wrestled with God, the man who worked for 14 years for Rachel, the one who lost his son only to receive him back as a leader in Egypt, who would provide for his entire family through the famine..that Jacob. How is that even possible? Jesus was claiming to have something for her of a depth that she couldn’t initially understand.

Do we get stuck here? Again, there is a definitive line here…not prosperity, not material things, but God Himself is what He has to offer us. That is of more worth than all He’s provided before….

Take a step forward today…Stop looking back, even the good things can be distracting and keep us from what God is trying to show us today. Maybe you’ll be shocked to see how you’ve grown in an area, maybe you’ll allow God to be who He says He is in your life. You’ll never know, unless you take that step.
peace,
-a

Just Back

Hey ya’ll…I’m just back from St Louis.  It was an incredible trip…I was actually overwhelmed to be honest.  Pastor Don invited me to be part of some pretty significant moments in his flock.  Some of it was heartbreaking and further evidence that we are in a battle.  I continue to pray for all those we prayed for and hope that you can all find strength in our Lord. I’m reminded of Romans 8:28; ” And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ”  Sometimes, it’s hard to believe what God says to us.  How many of us have been disappointed by promises made and broken?  Somehow through years of heartbreak, words begin to lose their meaning.  Or even worse, the words that remain in our minds are the destructive ones that take life and hope from us; rather than the life giving words of God.  I heard something referring to the average attention span of an adult.  It varies from 7-90 minutes!  Depending on the topic at hand.  At the bare minimum, a little longer than it takes to bake a potato.  At it’s peak, the length of a full length movie.   For today, can we ask God for the ability to believe His words through the darkness of our circumstances, for seven minutes ?   Maybe that 7 minutes can grow to 14, 21  and beyond that for today.  May we find comfort in the arms of our Savior.peace-a   

midnight snacks

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21

Where is your treasure? Is it your family? Your ministry? Your kids? Of course not! We don’t think that literally. Not one of us wants to have an idol. The first and second commandments speak directly against it. (1. I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other God’s before me. 2. You shall not make for yourself an idol) No, if any one of us has a desire to please God, we spend a big part of our lives putting aside the things that can typicallly become idols..money, security, our plans, the approval of others ……the things that put us at war against God’s desire for us to have intimacy with Him, trusting Him for our provision, absolute surrender to His will.

Moths are not as popular as butterflies, though they come from the same insect family. Moths are usually gray, brown and cream, not as bright as the beautiful butterflies, and they’re quite hairy. They are typically at rest during daylight hours. So basically, it’s the same insect, unless you look at it in the light. You need the light to discern if it’s a beautiful butterfly, or the moth that comes to snack on your clothes in the closet. Without light, we may not be able to tell the difference between the two.

I think we can get confused about where our treasures are in the same way we can be unable discern which is the moth and which is the butterfly. Without the light of His word, we can easily get our treasures mixed up. Hanging onto a gift God has given us, rather than having our treasure, our true fulfillment in Him. What is your treasure? Is it your freedom? A relationship? A heart’s desire or even a desire for ministry? If we get ourselves twisted up in what we want here on earth, we can let something that appears to be a beautiful butterfly, come in and eat away at our ultimate treasure, our relationship with God.

peace to you…
-a

masquerade

Ephesians 4:1-6

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit,just as you were called in one hope of our calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in you all.”

Depending on our mood, sometimes, these words can make us feel even more hopeless. How can we possibly be unified? There are billions of people on the earth. I sometimes have difficulty getting along with my friends, how much more so the people I don’t spend much time with? How can God ask for unity? Remember again, this is Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Good works, patience, sound doctrine are all commended in his letters, but a weakness within the church was a loss of love and backsliding.

Sometimes, we can muster all the kindness we can, yet still have difficulty coming to agreement. Unity does not mean betraying your own sense of what God is speaking so that the status quo is not disturbed. That usually causes a great deal of unrest in your own soul…no peace for you. In these scriptures, God is saying, bear with one another patiently. Work together. By the strength and grace of His Holy Spirit, we can be unified. Unified in a sense that we have the Spirit of God living in us and that He can work unity, forgiveness, and love in a way that we, as fallen creatures can only masquerade for moments.

Paul goes on to say in verse 7, “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” In verse 11, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers , for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God,”

There’s so much more in this chapter, continue reading it, absorbing it when you have time. We’re all different, with different gifts and callings, but God calls us to love and work together, when we may not feel much love for one another. Offenses, unforgiveness, resentment, they all take a toll on our ability to see beyond the temporal moment at hand to the eternal wonder of God’s Spirit working; healing and bringing us together in His Name.

May the wonder of His grace keep you in awe this day… 🙂

-a

Abide In Christ

What does abide mean? The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines it as a verb. 1. “to wait for; await 2. to endure without yielding; withstand 3. to bear patiently; tolerate… to accept without objection.” It goes on to say it’s synonym is bear, as in “to bear with or to continue”.

How often does it seem that your answer to prayer doesn’t come? Is that even a possibility? In Matthew 7:7-9 Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock , and it will be opened to you, For everyone who ask receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?”

To anyone who’s prayed for a physical healing that hasn’t come, or to the one who lost the perfect job that went to someone else, and all the other disappointments of this life that seem to come without reason, these words in Matthew are difficult to believe. ” Lord, I never asked for this sickness, or this tragedy…why me? Why won’t You make it go away?” Perhaps wondering why things didn’t go the way you thought they would. I’ve asked those questions.

We get distracted by the temporal things around us. Our bodies, our accomplishments, and whatever we’ve put our self worth in other than God will fade away. God offers us Himself, His Spirit. Beyond the healing, beyond whatever it is we hope to accomplish in this life, beyond the ones we love most, is our Lord with His promise of eternal life and His presence with us through this present life with all of it’s troubles. This is simply our journey, our journey home.

Abiding in Christ; to wait for, to endure without yielding, to bear patiently, to accept without objection and to continue, to continue with Christ. In John 15:7, Jesus says, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” Lord, what we desire is to have intimate fellowship with You, that though we may not understand the why of whatever trouble we face, we know and trust that You are working even in the darkest of circumstances…to trust and believe what we read in Your Word…to know that You are fulfilling Your purposes, and your purposes are full of goodness and love. Stir our affections for You, Lord. More than anything else, Lord, we want You….