Return to Simplicity

It occurs to me, as I ponder questions about how God operates – if He operates in this way or that way, why He doesn’t do this or that, etc. – that I have left the underlying and overriding Truth of salvation.  After all, what has God done in salvation?  He has sent Jesus to earth to take on my sin – past, present, and future – to suffer the excruciating agony of separation from His Father because of my sin, which actually makes the physical suffering pale in comparison (Yes, it does!) – simply so I could be born again into life in eternal relationship with Our Father!

John 3:16 NIV  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

When I simplify the whole Christian life equation, removing all the variables and all the unknowns (possibly never-knowns this side of eternity), my perspective becomes clear once again.  If Jesus would do this for me – and He did; and if Our Father would send Him to suffer for me this way – and He did; why do I insist on getting so caught up in but, what about?  God is fully trustworthy and so unlimited by my limited mind and its understanding!

Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP  5 Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  6 In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

When I allow myself to focus on the things I don’t or can’t understand, at least for now, I begin to doubt (read this distrust) Him and His goodness, and even His motives.  But God is good!  Period.  He has given His all for all – even if I am the only one who ever received what He gave (and I know I’m not).  And He is trustworthy, even when I don’t understand.  He gave me His Word.  He gave me His Son.  He gave me His very life!

John 10:10 NIV  . . . I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

2 Chronicles 6:41 NIV  Now arise, O Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might.  May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness.

I choose to return to the simplicity of what God has done for me.  He’s given me life.  He’s given me salvation in Jesus Christ.  Praise our risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Change of Seasons

fall leaves

The weather is cooler, leaves are changing colors, we’ve had to turn on the heater, the days are shorter, and we’re wearing warmer clothes.  Yes, it’s a change of season and I’m excited about it.  At the same time, it seems I’m in a season of change in life, and I want to be as enthusiastic about it as I am about the change in weather.

I have led various small prayer groups over the years, with differing purposes, and usually different people in each of the groups.  We get to know each other by the Spirit, and sometimes the Lord draws us together into fellowship, as well.  For more than five years, now, three of us have been connected in this way, even going to China together last spring.  I love these two ladies dearly and trust them with my life – both spiritually and naturally.  We are forever connected by the Holy Spirit.

We’ve all been aware for some time that a season of change for our prayer group was approaching; we just didn’t know the exact timing.  The Lord began to prepare us a few months ago for the coming change by calling us to seek Him as to whether we were still to be a part of the group.  Even though all of us recommitted fully, we knew the time was short for things to remain as they were.  A few months later, the season of change is upon us, and the other two women have moved on into the next season of the Lord for them.

I am truly excited for what the Lord will do in this next season of their lives.  He’s been training and preparing them during our five years together for other people who need to know Him as they do.  If they didn’t move on now, in God’s perfect timing, they would stagnate, and miss ministering to and with others the Lord has put in place.  They have chosen to follow His lead away from the comfortable and secure place of the familiar, into the unknown – because it’s their season of change.

Though I have loved our weekly prayer times and the regular fellowship that came from it, I am not sad.  With much anticipation, I look forward to those people the Lord will bring in to replace these women of prayer.  Despite the much He has already accomplished in and through us, there is still much to do in prayer for His body in preparation for Christ’s return.  He’s not finished with this group, but is pruning it for greater fruitfulness in all of us, as well as grafting in new branches with whom we will wrestle against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual wickedness in the heavenly realms on behalf of the body of Christ!

It’s a new season – duration unknown.  I must continue to fix my trust and hope in the Lord, not in what I do or with whom I do it.  I am here for His purposes in every season of life, including seasons of change.  In His plan and purpose, I will forever love and treasure the people connected with me in each season.  I will pour into them and allow them to pour into me as we grow in God together serving Him.  When the season of change comes, I will release them and trust God as we begin all over again.

A season of change in God – how exciting!

Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.”  My times are in Your hands . . .

fall leaves2

God is Working in My Heart

When I wrote the last post, I had no idea there would be a part 2, but here it is, only a few days later.  The fear that I was so relieved to step away from last week, when the Lord made it so clear that He is working in the midst of this economic crisis, had returned.  With every news announcement and so many personal conversations, I was becoming increasingly more anxious about what is happening.  This time, it seemed like it was much more personal, while before the fear was more for the nation as a whole.  Much as I tried to remind myself of what He had shown me last week, I wasn’t staying above the fears.  Enter the wonderful Holy Spirit!

As I sat down to read the Bible, I was led to Hebrews 12, and continued through chapter 13, as well.  When I came to 13:5, I knew why He had me in this passage.  ”Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support.  [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)!  [Assuredly not!]”  My first response was, “Wow!”  Obviously, the Lord didn’t think we would get it with just a single statement of His promise of provision, so He declared it repeatedly and in various ways so that we might actually believe Him.  My faith needed more than just reading it silently would do, so I declared this Word out loud for myself and my family.  (Romans 10:17)

Then the real work began.  The Lord pointed out the beginning of the verse, highlighting in my heart the part about being free from the love of money and being satisfied with what I have now.  This tied right in to the verse from Matthew 6 where Jesus said we cannot serve God and mammon.  I have been so quick to declare the Lord is my Provider, and the Lord is my Source – and He is.  But I’ve done that with such assurance, not because of His Word of promise, but because we had some money saved.  I was deceived into thinking that my trust was in the Lord, when it was really in the bank and the investment firms, and wall street, etc.  Somehow, once the provision from God has come into our possession, my trust moved over to the provision, rather than remaining with the Provider.  It was easy to stay in this deception, declaring that everything was going to be provided by God, as long as there were no problems with our mammon.  Once it began rapidly to drop in value, the deception was exposed, and it was so ugly!

Now that you’ve seen the ugliness that the devil was using to try to bring destruction in my life, I want to share a couple of things that the Lord is revealing that prove He is turning it for good.  The first one is that my husband said he was convicted that very day, as well.  Believe it or not, that really excites me, because it shows God is doing a similar work in each of us at the same time.  I also have a sense that God is going to show Himself strong to us in ways we couldn’t imagine before, when we had our eyes on the mammon.

I also see that this was a trap so very easy to step into.  While we have been thankful for the finances the Lord has brought to us, somehow we forgot it was from Him once we had it in hand.  We also forgot about the times we had so much less, and how He brought what was needed every time.  In planning for the future, we forgot to be satisfied with His daily provision and His promise never to leave us helpless or forsake us or let us down or relax His hold on us.  Our eyes moved from Him to His blessings, instead.  It is so clear in Matthew 6:33 that we are to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, because all the things we really need He will provide.  Our eyes are to be so fixed on Him and on seeking Him that none of the things He has provided hold sway over us, whether much or little, growing or shrinking.

I am so thankful that the Holy Spirit loves me enough to remind me of this.  I don’t want anything else to have His rightful place in my heart, or to trust in what I have physically, because I know that it won’t last.  With everything in me, I want to trust my awesome God so totally that I stay in the peace that passes all understanding, rejoicing from the very depths of my heart, regardless of what goes on around me.  I know He is faithful to His Word – even to working it in me by His Spirit.  I can trust Him, even when I don’t understand.  All praise and glory to His name!