Monday, March 13, 2017

Breathing Room

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*Image from Web*



Psalm 18:18-20King James Version (KJV)
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the Lord was my stay.19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.20 The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

For the past month I have been bubbling over with pure excitement! Every time I have a quiet moment joy rises in me from my center and I have to let it out in an exclamation of praise and laughter.
I have caught myself randomly laughing, unable to hold in the physical stirring of anticipation and elation in my belly. 
Why?, you may ask. I am excited about the very near-future.
For a number of years my family ( like many others) has endured trial and hardship. It felt we could not get out of a cycle of financial oppression.  And while some things were effects of not-so-great choices, there seemed to be one wave of challenge after the other preventing us from coming up for air. In the last year however it felt the heaviest for all of us. Yet it was in the heaviness that our faith became the strongest. There were only two options- throw in the towel and give up, or "batten down the hatches" put our heads down and plow through.
I wish we could take the credit for the perseverance and faith, but God gets that. His own Spirit of strength was made perfect in our weakness.
Sometimes the only faith we had was mere faithfulness- commitment and determination to remain and do what we said we would do.
Yet, hope in the future and in a God who is infinite in wisdom gave us the push I needed, to walk on.
Suddenly, as year 2016 ended, and 2017 began, a renewed sense of hope was ushered in with it. Yes, this is the case with any New Year, but this was different. It felt more tangible and more than wishful thinking. It was more than simply a drive to succeed or fortified will-power. Something was planted in my heart, that let me know- know- we were about to walk out of oppression into a large place.
In the meantime, gratefulness flows from my heart, but it is a thankfulness that is fueled by the Holy Ghost. It is a joy that wells up in my soul, sparked by the Spirit of God himself. I can not help but let out a "whoop!" and say an emphatic " Thank you!"
I am myself blown away by it, wondering in my mind where it is all coming from. I lay down to rest and  take notice of the joy that bubbles up. It's remarkable.
And the enemy of my soul takes notice too. 
And he has attempted to put doubt in my mind about the genuineness of my praise. He has whispered that my thankfulness is shallow and superficial- that I am only praising God because the heaviness is lifted. 
The Devil is a liar! If he says it, then the opposite must be true.
So I know my worship is real and deep- and I will not stop. 
In the prison he is worthy and will receive my praise. 
In the large place he remains worthy and my praise too will remain.
Psalm 118:4-6King James Version (KJV)Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever.I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Friday, March 10, 2017

Is God waiting on you?


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image credit: the odyssey online
Isaiah 30:18  Therefore Yahweh will wait, that he may be gracious to you; and therefore he will be exalted, that he may have mercy on you, for Yahweh is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wait for him. (WEB)

In the context of the scripture there is this theme that Israel feels they are able to rely on themselves. 


15 For thus said the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, “You will be saved in returning and rest. Your strength will be in quietness and in confidence.” You refused, 16 but you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”; therefore you will flee; and, “We will ride on the swift”; therefore those who pursue you will be swift. 17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one. At the threat of five, you will flee until you are left like a beacon on the top of a mountain, and like a banner on a hill. 
Many times when we say Lord I am waiting on you to move on my behalf, our "waiting" on God is really an undercover demand in disguise. We say we are waiting on the Lord, but really we are bargaining with the Lord. "Lord I will not move until you do this and this."
We stand still, not truly out of  "wanting to please the Lord" but rather out of fear.
In other words, we do not trust God enough to walk on.
Maybe God seems silent, because he is waiting on us to fully trust him.

I know this may seem so opposite to what is traditionally taught.
None of us want to make a move until we know it's the Lord's will. Acts 5:39

Yet consider this-

Have you obeyed the gospel? Yes.
Are you filled with his Spirit? Yes.
Do you acknowledge the Lord daily? Yes.

Then you are in his will, and in his will you are safe.
Walk on and walk in the Spirit, responding to what comes your way, in the Spirit.

But now you reached a crossroad and need to know which way to go.

Is option A transgressing the law of God? Is option B?
    Yes?
Easy. Choose the path of righteousness. James 2:10-12.
    No?
Then evaluate-

 Will option A  hinder my growth in Christ? Will B? Hebrews 5:12
    Yes?  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither?  Move on to next question.

 Will option A compromise my ministry or calling? Will B 2 Thess 1:11
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

 Will option A negatively affect the ministry or calling of another? Will option B? Acts 15:32-41, Philippians 2:3, Romans 12:4-5
     * Now this does not ask will another be in agreement by the decision. We can not control the emotional response of others, but we should be able to determine how much impact our involvement/presence/ministry affects/influences/supports another's.
    Yes.  Choose the one that won't.
    Neither.  Move on to next question.

Do I prefer one of the options A or B?
    Yes. Choose your preference.
Now, Walk on and walk by Faith, responding to what comes your way in the Spirit.