WOW!! Another incredible, week/month/direction changing sermon was preached today at Southside! (see previous post!) I LOVE how God is rewarding me for the small decisions I've been making. I want to give a little more background into the journey I've been on....
When grandma went to heaven in May 2007 -- a transformation happened to me. I knew I had to carry on her "legacy" and figure out how to be close to God like she was. I went through such a deep low during the time she was sick and I couldn't be with her.... BUT I knew where she would want me to turn and I really made the decision to turn to Him, at the time, I did it really just for her. I started making small decisions to start to figure out how she knew God like she did. And I have been blessed! I am totally tuned into Him and seeking Him so much and yearning for him ---- so much that I just wish I could talk to her for one more day! I wish I could cry at her feet like I used to and say now, grandma I understand!!
I cried the whole way home today out of church - I don't even know why - just out of joy I guess!! Just because whenever I feel the Spirit I have instantaneous tears. I cry a lot -- but these tears are different - it's a sob I can't hold in! I have been so blessed in the past years but especially the past months! I cried today because of my overwhelming thankfulness! Overwhelmed with the Spirit is the only way I know to express how I feel. I cried because I am reeping seeds of victory and I am seeing positive results in all areas of my life. That is why Amazing Grace, my chains are gone, has been my heart song. I feel so...changed, and free.
Last year I made a goal to read the Bible in a year for the first time all the way through - because grandma could no longer do it - and I felt I needed to pick up what the alzheimers took away from her!! She had marinated her mind soo much in the word when even when she didn't have a clue as to what was going on or who she was talking to - if I said a scripture, she could end it!! So I started reading the Bible, I think for anybody wanting to take the next step in their relationship with God - turning to the Bible more is that right first step!! Just a little each day - it was a great start to my decision to just totally absolutely seek God and to grow closer to Him. Then with my recent decision to read first thing in the morning, it has made a difference!! God is just pouring His grace, Spirit and wisdom all over me! I am just totally overflowing!
Like my previous post.....I understand now from the story of Adam & Eve that the ONLY thing that changed when we fall was OUR hearts - not His! His love for us doesn't change! Adam & Eve ran from Him because they were ashamed - not because He had chagned at all! He hasn't ever changed! He doesn't change!! WE are what has to change!! We don't have to be a certain way so that His heart for US will be changed --- no it's totally opposite!!! His love for us doesn't change! In fact, He loves us so much that He sent Jesus, because He knew we needed to change and were unable!! We can NOT be rightoues without HIm!! But we have to allow Him to love us!! We have to allow Him to take the blame for our fall. Not just wipe away the sins --- but the "iniquities" have to be laid on Him! "Iniquities" I believe to mean not only our sins -- but the BLAME, the sHAME, the guilt AND the punishments! How heartbreaking! It makes me want to be ever aware of my daily actions and habits - because I know I'm either getting closer to Him or farther away... there is no staying the same. I don't want this beautiful gift of grace to be given in vain!!!! I'm either getting closer to Him ....I'm either getting MORE useful to Him --- or I'm getting LESS useful!
Christianity is really the hardest religion - because we have to confront who we are -- but THEN the ever important critical step is to listen to the SPIRIT - not the world! The world will tell us - see you're just a sinner, you'll always be like that, you can't be xyz....your mama was like that, your daddy was like that..... the enemy will plant seeds like, "that's just who I am"....but God's voice says something diferent!!!!!! We have to listen to the Spirit -- we have to make the ever imporatnt decision to let God lift us back up into His arms and believe Him when He says, it's okay I forgive you and love you -- I want to bless you and use you, come with me! So many times we want to slump back and say no you all go ahead, I don't deserve to be blessed! But when you relize it's not about blessing YOU -- it's about using you to bless others --- then you're willing to say okay!!, take my shame, let your light shine through me!!!
I have to tell you the small decisions I've made in each area of my life - is affecting all the other areas of my life!!!! Along with reading the Bible FIRST thing in my day, a goal I've made was to just track my daily habits. What am I allowing into my mind? Where is my sin? What is my sin? What do I do all day? How much time do I spend doing xyz?? I totally just wanted to scrutinize my life and at least KNOW what bad I had around me! I was sick and tired of being sick and tired of not meeting my goals and just being a slacker --- so I have made a drastic lifestyle change! One example is in the physical aspect of my life....I only eat 1,200 calories a day - whenever I feel the need to stuff my face other than those calories, I instead have a glass of water and read the Bible and talk to God. and ya know what - God can use ANYTHING to teach us! He has even used this lifestyle change "diet" to teach me! Ya know what I learned!? I learned I don't have to be afraid of failure!! I just have to be plugged into God and the Spirit will help me every minute - with each decision! If I let Him have control of my daily habits and decisions - I don't have to worry about my life! I LOVE discipline, I love delayed gratification! I love overcoming!
When your daily habits are changed - your world is changed!! That is freedom!!!!!!!!! We fail and don't meet goals and get discouraged because we aren't plugged into the Spirit. We aren't being ever aware of our little decisions! We have to STOP and think before we act! When we aren't making decisions based on the spiritual, we make decisions with our mind, we try to reason, we choose decisions that will gratify us immediately -- and then things spin out of control! I understand truly now that it really all does boil down to SMALL decisions making the HUGE differences! These small decisions I've made have changed everything! By examining and being aware of my thoughts and actions, I have confronted my sin straight in the face and I'm getting better at recognizing my sin - and therefore stopping it!
Be aware of your daily decisions - and realize you are either getting steps closer or steps farther away from God. You are growing and learning so that He can trust you -- or you're not and you are growing LESS useful! There is no constant, there is no staying in one place - you are moving one way or another - better or worse! Take small steps, look at your daily activities, if nothing else, increase your reading, and He will pour love and blessings into your life!