Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Lover of My Soul

Searching around on my Nook looking for something new to read I discovered a book I had downloaded over a year ago, a book my mom has been reading and continuously telling me how awesome it is. Little did I know I already had the very book she has been raving about! The book is by A.W. Tozer and it's called The Pursuit of God, and trust me when I tell you it will transform your heart and the relationship you have with God, and I'm only on chapter 2! It has already challenged the way I define the relationship I have with my heavenly Father. We are not so far removed from God as we think. Tozer stresses that we are made in God's image, we are little what God is big. I have heard this phrase many times, but it's only been recently that it has truly rocked my world. Another way to think about it is God took a little bit of himself and made us with it. How incredible! So that means when I pursue God, and seek to understand who He is I will in turn understand who I am in Him because I am made in His image. Did you get all that? Pretty crazy stuff right? Crazy and life changing! God is not a far away being, disconnected from our everyday lives, no He is all up in the middle. God is a person with a personality, and whose personality we were made in the image of. So it would make sense for us to have a deep longing for God and constantly pursue Him in all that we do, but we don't. Why not? For me, I think it's because I get caught up in my routine and I get caught up in all the "what I'm supposed to do's" that I forget this is a relationship and relationships aren't made up of checklists. Relationships become rich and meaningful when the people in the relationship spend quality time together and pursue one another seeking to know the person on the deepest of levels. God desires that for us. He has already done the ultimate pursuit by sending His only son, Jesus Christ, to take our place and repair the relationship we initially rejected. That's how much God wants to be in relationship with us! So I resolve to no longer have a relationship with God made up of my Christian checklist, but it will be a relationship in which I pursue Him on the deepest of levels and seek to know Him inside and out, all the time realizing that I will not fully know until the day I see Him face to face. I desire for the following words to be my prayer, let them be yours too.

Jesus, Lover of my soul,
Jesus, I will never let you go
You’ve taken me from the miry clay
You've set my feet upon the Rock, and now I know

I love you, I need you,
Though my world may fall, I’ll never let you go
My Saviour, my closest friend,
I will worship you until the very end

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Finding Contentment in Restlessness

Is it possible to find contentment in the midst of feeling restless? I believe the answer is yes and I know this because I have been able to find it. Spiritually I am experiencing a season of restlessness. I am realizing that I have made decisions about my life without consulting  God first and I am now beginning to experience the consequence, restlessness. At the time I felt like I was making the right decision for me, but I wasn't asking the most important question, is this was God desires for me? I was basing my decision on whether or not it was what I wanted and as mentioned in one of my previous posts God knows what's best for me more than I do. It is a sobering experience to realize that you really can't run from a calling God placed on your life so many years matter how hard you try.

One summer at GA (Girls in Action) camp, when I was about 10 or 11, I felt a very distinct pull on my heart towards ministry. I didn't know what that really meant, but I remember vividly sharing that calling with my mom on the car ride home from camp. It was a moving experience and I know without a shadow of a doubt it was from God, but the unfortunate thing was, I left that calling at camp. Instead of pursuing that calling through out my life and figuring out how God was going to use that I forgot about it, and moved on. Every now and then it would creep back up into my heart but I would do a pretty good job of talking myself out of it, telling myself, "there's no way I could discern a calling from God at 10 years old." And you know what, that's putting limitations on God, and we know God can very well do whatever he pleases and if he chose to reveal himself to a 10 year old who am I to say he can't? So now what? What do I do after I've run from this for so many years?

Well, I could mope and wallow in self-pity, saying "woe is me" but I have nothing to mope about. Am I feeling restless? Yes! BUT, I can make the choice today to pursue the calling God placed on my 10 year old heart so many years ago. Praise God we get more than one chance! This season of restlessness is causing me to spend more time in God's word and I am desiring to know God deeper and become more in tune with him. I am reminded that when I am weak then I am really strong and God continues to remind me that it is all in his timing, and even though I am restless I can find contentment because my God is sovereign and in control of my WHOLE life. So be encouraged! Do not get down if you realize you have been running from the true calling God has placed on your life. Instead, run even faster back to him, for he is EAGERLY waiting for you with open arms. Even in the midst of restlessness your Heavenly Father can bring you rest.

"Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

Thursday, August 9, 2012

For such a time of...CONFRONTATION

Confrontation. Eww, even typing the word makes me anxious! I don't know many people who actually enjoy confronting someone when they feel they have been wronged or upset, unless they just like confrontation for the sake of confrontation. And if that's the case there may be some other issues going on, but that's beside the point. Let's talk about confrontation. I for one do not enjoy confrontation. In fact I am notorious for avoiding it! It's uncomfortable, sometimes there's crying involved and you don't always leave the conversation with warm fuzzies, and I'm a pretty big fan of warm fuzzies. BUT I am constantly reminded during my quiet times that this life will be hard and I won't get my infinite amounts of warm fuzzies until I'm spending eternity with my heavenly father. So that means during this life I will have to confront others who have hurt me and I will also experience confrontation from people who feel I have hurt them and it's not going to be fun. Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:15, "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." Well, this is one of those times where Jesus just gets straight to the point. This instruction is very clear. If we're hurt, go to the person who did the hurting, end of story. Don't wait around. Don't harbor the feelings, because when you do that the hurt builds and builds until one day it explodes (I'm speaking from first hand experience). So I ask myself, why is it so hard? Am I the only one who feels this way? This is something I struggle with on a daily basis, and I have a tendency to over analyze situations, well tendency is probably an understatement, and that doesn't make my relationship with confrontation any better. Usually, by the end of my over-analyzation (I think I just invented a word) I've made the issue WAY bigger than it was, which you know is no good. So what now? I've decided to turn it over to you!

What about you? Is confrontation hard for you? What do you do to prepare for confronting someone? Is it more difficult to confront those people closest to you, like family? Are there particular verses you always go to that provide comfort or support? Do you over analyze? How do you combat your tendency to over analyze? I know these are a lot of questions, but I really want to hear your thoughts! So go ahead, comment away! :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Do you pray for patience?

Lately for my quiet times I've been reading through Oswald's Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest and something I read this week really hit me. He talked about how so many times as Christians we don't want to experience adversity or hardships even though Jesus promises over and over that we don't have to be afraid for he has overcome this life. (John 16:33). He then went on to say that adversity is necessary. Say what? That's right. Adversity is necessary. Adversity builds endurance and endurance is necessary to the Christian life. And not only is endurance necessary it is rewarded! James 1:12 says, "God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him." Wait a minute, did he just say God blesses those who patiently endure testing? World officially rocked. Why haven't I been praying for patience all along?? The answer to that questions is easy, fear. I knew that if I asked God for patience he wouldn't just give it to me. That's not how he works. I knew he would give me experiences that would test my patience and that's not something I was too excited about. He has revealed to me, though, that patience is necessary because when we are able to endure adversity with steadfastness then we are exhibiting the very nature of Jesus Christ. Our savior endured adversity, and endured adversity without complaining. He willingly accepted the plan for his life, remained steadfast and God glorified him! He has promised the same for us, but in order learn how to patiently endure testing and trials we must practice, and then practice some more.  But we don't have to be afraid, because God promises to be there every step of the way, and we have a savior who has experienced every trial and temptation and overcome them! So I encourage you, pray for patience! It won't be easy, but God will do an amazing work when we allow him to work in our lives!

 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[a] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14