Saturday, September 20, 2008

Going Home

"...go back to your family..."
Luke 8:39

After months of turning a deaf ear to God's command, this morning I am turning in humble surrender. God has strictly instructed me to "go back to my family". Go back from where? From living secluded in solitary confinement before a computer screen.

Over the past several months I have been living in a house with two precious people - two who mean so much to me, yet I have been absent from their lives. I have missed countless opportunities of enjoying their company, pouring into their lives and living with them. I have also ignored God's call to 'let go' and follow Him in an area where He has said, "it is time".

I have explained myself on my other blog, "Ponderings" and I ask that you would take a journey over to read what God has impressed on my heart.

I will only be posting here once a week, sharing truths He ignites in my heart as I embark on this intimate following.

Whether you understand or not, I must obey. People pleasing has held me captive too long and as Melissa reminded me on Thursday, my life is to be lived for an Audience of 1.

As I've been sitting here writing this, God miraculously confirmed this 'about face' moments ago in an message I received from Teri, which still has my hands shaking and my heart beating wildly. She wrote, "Precious Joy, In my morning prayer time, I saw your face and your name over and over. You need to know that the LORD Almighty is with you. You need to know it deep down in the marrow of your bones. Let it go deep inside of you. The LORD Almighty is with you. Be joyful in all things."

So, with that word I am trusting Him with the outcome of this following.

Gord and Chris, I love you and I am coming home.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sitting By

"And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by..."

Luke 5:17 (KJV)

Sunday afternoon I had opportunity to chat with a very dear friend. Easily, four months had passed since our last conversation, yet after only a few brief minutes of 'catch up' regarding our families, conversation turned to the sharing of God's Word and to truths we were currently applying in our lives. With my Bible open on my lap, she and I traced God's goodness and promises. We talked of the 'new Word' he had spoken into our hearts. We shared doubts and fears. There was no idle chatter. Eternal matters were the topic. Our hearts were burning within us to do more than listen, for living is our lot.

In the verse above we see the posture of passivity. The Pharisees were "sitting by" while Jesus was teaching. Matthew Henry writes, "How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the Word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent them; they are willing that we should preach before them, but not that we should preach to them."

Beth Moore questions: "Can you recall a time when you attended a Bible study or church service that profoundly affected a few of the people you were with, while others in attendance were completely unmoved? Like the Pharisees and teachers of the law, sometimes the unaffected can be the most 'religious' people in the room. Could the difference be that they were sitting by rather than sitting under God's Word?"

In Beth's book, "Jesus the One and Only", she encourages the reader to sit under God's mercy instead of sitting by with a critical eye. She writes, "If you will actively engage yourself in every message you hear or read, you will never hear or read another ineffective message."

Where are you positioning yourself? It's not so much a physical location, but a spirit's surrender. Think of the foyer conversation you indulge in at the close of Sunday's sermons. Do your words reflect the passion of one who has longingly sat 'under' the revelation of God's Word or impatiently sat 'by', checking your watch to see the time, oblivious to the miraculous? Words are falling around you, but not within you. Don't be satisfied with less when God wants to give you more. Sitting by makes you an observer. Sitting under makes you a participant.

What Word has He revealed to you that requires action today? Don't be caught 'sitting by'. Do something!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Setting out for Jerusalem

"As the time approached for Him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem."
Luke 9:51

I read this verse earlier today and my heart was saddened. You see, I know from reading the rest of the story that Jesus made it to His destination. He didn't just 'set out', He arrived. Jerusalem for Jesus meant persecution and death, yet He was determined to go there. He set out resolutely and didn't change course. He didn't give up. He didn't surrender, withdraw or retreat. He had a mission and He fulfilled it.

My heart was saddened because of how often I have 'resolutely set out' on a new task only to find myself abandon the desire along the way. God's call is clear and my resolve is strong, but as I travel to my "Jerusalem" I face roadblocks and detours. Fear. Insecurity. Failure. Disappointment. Judgement. Doubt. Peer pressure. The assurance I knew at the start of the journey has waned and I'm questioning whether I even heard His voice at all.

I look back at others who responded. Fisherman who dropped their nets immediately to follow. A young man named Daniel who 'resolutely' bowed on his knees before an open window unafraid. Three who entered a fiery furnace without turning back. The names recorded in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews who didn't waver but stood firm in their following.

I too start out with passion and excitement and then the pain that accompanies "Jerusalem" begins to accuse, ridicule and hurt. Arriving in "Jerusalem" means going the distance. It demands hard work. A "Jerusalem" road always insists upon sacrifice. It means braving the struggles that will appear along the way. It requires committing my heart to the destination and not giving up.

This morning God has called me to 'pack my bags' and begin a trek in answer to His call. The road ahead looks long. Rejection is inevitable. Hardship is certain. Yet, for the joy set before me... What joy? The joy of knowing I'm walking in obedience. The joy of shadowing footsteps that are trustworthy to follow. The joy of knowing I don't begin this venture alone.

Lord I'm frightened. Frightened of looking foolish by others. Frightened of starting a journey I feel so inadequate to finish. Afraid that a big 'incomplete' will be stamped across my attempts and I'll fail You again. Father, this time, with Your help, let me reach the "Jerusalem" You have chosen for me.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6

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