In the past few days since my 'day of discouragement'...God has been sending messages from all areas to me - and the central theme of all of them...is to be patient. To wait. To be still & know that HE IS God. It still amazes me that when He's trying to teach me something - He sends those messages to me in SO many ways, through so many avenues. I talk about this so often but it's because it blows my mind! It's like when you're 'in tune' with the Spirit, plugged into His word, seeking Him - He can use ANYTHING and ANYBODY to talk to you! It's INCREDIBLE
During today's sermon, the pastor wasn't there - so the youth pastor stepped in and preached - and what he preached on, was..as usual..totally aligned with what God was telling me the past few days. His teachings were based on Exodus 24 about God, Moses, the people & the mountain, the 10 commandments. The basic outline using the scripture was:
In order to conquer the mountains in life:
a) we must understand our spiritual boundaries
b) we must respond/adhere to our spiritual boundaries
c) the glory of God must be our highest aim
d) the word of God *must be our ONLY standard*
e) we must wait on God
Moses was totally in tune to God. He responded to Him. He didn't push or attack the situation.... He didn't try to control the timing of things...He responded (walked up to meet God) after God had taken the first step (showing Him it was time).
Pastor Derik said some very powerful things today that have also been on my heart, but I didn't know how to put it into words. He said, "'why are we in such a hurry?..... we need to take time for God, DAILY. Our society has lost the discipline of meditation!" That is so powerful to me. This most recent part of my journey, which started in 2007, when I finally got really serious in my pursuit of God - was started because I recognized this about myself. I kept hearing people talk about their alone time with God, being in His presence, their daily meditation - and I just didn't GET IT. I WANTED that. I wanted to be more like grandma! I wanted to know God like she knew Him!!...but I knew I was missing out on something. Every time I kept trying to have this 'quiet time' or whatever you want to call it - I would just sit there and it would just end up being all about me: my prayer requests, what was on my heart and then after that, thoughts would go through my mind like, "after this quiet time I'll do the dishes, then laundry, then xyz"...and I would always get distracted and just end it early. And frankly, I got real sick of not having this 'quiet time' be successful. but thank God I didn't stop trying! I made the decision that the first step I needed to take was to open the Bible to turn my attention to God. I turned off the TV, the music, the telephones, the computer and focused all my attention on the Word with my goal to read the whole Bible in 2007. AND I FINALLY "got it"!!! I found what I was looking for! This "discipline of meditation" this "quiet time" really is just internalizing the Word of God. Letting it soak in and thinking about it and focusing on it. That's how I found I could meet God.
YES I still go to Him and just talk all about me and what's on my heart and I vent and rant about my spouse, my child, my family, my negative situations and then I ask Him to fill me back up for love and patience in all these situations!! I bring HIM the negative so I can have the positive for others! (more on this in the next entry -- all about relationships! it will be titled, "a lesson learned I wish I always knew!" or something along those lines!)
BUT I make sure to have the time also just focusing on HIM!
Next, I started to pray to Him using the ACTS way of prayer.
A-doration (acknowledge God for who He is) -- a psalm, a song, telling Him I know He is the ONE true and only God. King of King Lord of Lords, One and only Creator!
C-onfession (admit my sin, identify it specifically, repent)
T-hanksgiving (this one I think I was always good at - I am very appreciative!)
And now that I've taken these first steps to having quiet time - and working on my prayer life...it really has made all the difference. God speaks to me ALL the time now through so many different things - because I have given Him attention - He now gives it to me. He always gives back to us what we give out! I give out love to others - He gives it back to me 100 fold..I give out forgiveness - He shows me His forgiveness 100 times greater....I give Him attention, He pours Himself (His word, His presence) all over me from so many differnet sources!!
SOOOO all that being said --- this all didn't happen all at once. It took time. I started seeking Him out with little steps - and have just done little things each day and I am being rewarded for those little steps now. I hope everybody makes these little decisions to get to know Him, to be more Christ-like daily. If only we wouldn't get so overwhelmed with how far we have to go -- but just do a little bit each day. If we can let God help us take control of our minutes -- seize back what was taken away from us with our distractions and "busy-ness" --- then the world is ours!! The devil eats away at us ever so slowly so that we don't even recognize it is him and he has a grip!....
My grandma always used to say, "take care of your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves".....and I always knew there was more to that phrase but I never got it!!! I was always thinking it was literal since I always saw her rolling her coins and counting pennies ---- but I had such an AH HA! moment the other day when I realized once again how unbelievably wise she was!!! What she was saying was that --- focus on the little steps (and this is applicable in ALL areas of life)!
In finances, get control of your pennies, know where every cent goes - and you will figure out where your dollars go! We are doing a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class right now and he says, "dollars always flow from people who don't manage them, to people who do!"....he says you have to command your pennies where to go!
It's the same with our minutes!! We have to control them! It's okay to blow minutes, it's okay to alot time that you know you're just going to veg out or be lazy or whatever --- but at least keep track of it! KNOW how much time you are spending doing your daily things. You will find out if you are putting too much time/focus into a certain area and not enough in another! Control your minutes - and focus a portion of them on God and on God ONLY.
SOOOO I say all that to tell you what God has been teaching me in my minutes the past few days:
God is teaching me to be still. When we're tired from the fight (it IS a fight to live in this world but be God-centered and to put a personal relationship about Jesus Christ above all else)....we need to run to Him and rest.
He is also teaching me to be PATIENT. God wants to be glorified through us and our success, through our battles, through all parts of us! ......and the more we wait on Him, the more we rely on Him...then our pride goes away and when we do have the victory, when our mountain is moved, when we are finally used....the glory will go to HIM and Him alone. but it has to be on His timing.
WOW! He even gave me a reminder of this lesson again just now as I write this blog, because on my left hand column of my blog under today's "Motivation to Live Well" it says:
"Patience is key to achieving our goals. It involves the act of placing our concern in the hands of our Lord, and leaving it there". AWESOME!!!!
There's a huge danger to people who are given it all without working for it...or given it all quickly or "easily". The devil uses this to puff them up and make them think they don't need God.
God knows my heart - and He knows that I would rather do things right one time.....then to do it my way, and mess it all up and have to do it all over again.. God knows I'm not stable enough for that haha...and that it's better for me to learn the lessons I have to NOW. He knows that I am willing to wait on Him (even though it's a fight like my discouragment day)...rather then to reach some success in being used --- to have it all come crashing down because I didn't have a strong enough foundation.
I've been asking for exactly what I've been getting. I've been asking for Him to search my heart and to make sure before He moves me to the next level that I'm totally ready!! I SO want to be used by Him and to fulfill whatever specific purpose He has for me - but I want to do it the right way. I want ALL the glory to go to Him when I am used, and when I am 'successful' in my purpose - and I don't want there to be any room for pride.
He is teaching me! Thank you God! I WILL try my best to be patient and to be still and know that YOU alone are God!!!
picture taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/buferanera/