Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ask for wisdom and He will give it freely...

So today during our family Word and Worship time we were reading from the book of James. In prayer we asked the Lord to give us wisdom, which He said He would give freely and without resentment. So we asked, and this is what He showed us...

It was pretty exciting to us, which is why I wanted to share it with you all....let me know your thoughts about it.

So in chapter 1 vs. 2 he tells us to consider it an opportunity for great JOY {an actual attitude and posture and mindset of JOY} when troubles come our way. Not if toubles come our way....when they come our way. And they will. This will give our faith a chance to be tested, and for us to grow in endurance {which means 'keep going!' in our pursuit of the Lord}.

So we stopped there and considered it for a while. How often in our lives do we take whatever trials or troubles that we face, big or small....actual problems in life, or just nagging annoyances and consider it joyful....the fact that in that moment our faith is tested {patience, humility, compassion, gentleness, love} and we have the opportunity for our relationship with Jesus to get stronger because of that thing thats happening?

Not speaking for anyone else, but I definitly have issues there. It's easy for me to complain about whatever it is, or to just recognize it as something bad but not quickly change my perspective on it. I don't think the Lord wants us to be in denial when something bad or difficult is happening, but to recognize it for what it is, actually learn to be grateful because of the fruit it can bear if we give it to Him, be willing to learn and be humbled and let the Lord do His thing in us because of that very issue. Yes, that was a long sentance. Sorry. :)

Verses 9 and 10 are pretty crazy.
"Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field."

Maybe that isn't so crazy to you. But for me, I've met and seen ALOT or very very poor believers in Jesus and it's honestly pretty difficult for me to wrap my mind around the verse above that God has honored them via their poverty. I'm wondering if my upbringing in the US has made it hard for me to fathom poverty with honor and blessing. This isn't a 'boo on you to the US' but I'm seeing that it's easier to see a poor man and still view him as blessed or honored in other countries. But the second I see {especially!} a believer struggling financially, my first thought is not, "wow, God has honored you!" Is that just me? It's more of a "I wonder why God isn't making it easier for them, financially...? When will more support come? When will the income go up a bit?"

I have a ton of less then 'well off' friends....missionary friends.... and I know now that God is honoring them in their financial status. I will now, not pray that finances increase, but to learn to live well and content with what God has given them. To be happy with much and happy with little....whatever season God has them in. This goes for my own family as well. No more "bring more supporters Lord!" But "Father, thank you that you provide all our needs. Continue to give us our daily needs and teach us to be content with what we have...and have happy hearts the whole time. :) 

If you're on the wealthier end of the spectrum, then you'll have a different prayer. To be grateful to God for humbling you in your financial state. Gotta dig a little to understand that. It's backwards from the world's point of view. This is exactly why it's so crucial to dig into God Word's to learn HIS ways.

Another verse that stopped us in our tracks was 20.
"Human anger does not produce the righteousness {or justice} that God desires."

I am one of those who has totally pulled the 'rightous anger' card. Like when I see something happen that is wrong...whether it be some injustice in the world, or my own children disobeying or being 'bad,' or my husband interupting me when I'm talking {I'll get to that issue in a second}. The verse above tells me that there is NOTHING that merits my anger. And with anger I'm also referring to "frusteration," being "mad", or "upset." Those are words we sometimes use to seemingly lessen the severity of our anger. Come on, guys. Deep in there, we're offended about something and we're mad. I will stop using the word 'upset' to justify the fact that I'm angry.

It's right to recognize or discern when something is wrong. But I believe in that moment, the Lord wants us to surrender our emotions to Him, and let a fruit of His Spirit step compassion, or gentleness, or love. Patience, humility, or kindness. And how about in that very moment stopping to PRAY and give the thing up to God?  I know I'm sounding preachy, but this is totally and completely to myself here. And if you want to join in, then we can be 'holier than thou' together. :) It's biblical. haha!

One more point on that no anger thing. The second half of verse 21  says for me to "humbly accept the word God has planted in my heart, for it has the power to SAVE MY SOUL."

Ok, so if I'm taking this at face value, I'm reading that if I take the time to understand and believe that God says for me to not be all....and if/when I do get angry to surrender it immediately to Him, because I am a human being and my anger doesn't produce the results God wants, I may very well be saving my soul. I'm guessing this is a big deal. Let's get some self control. Let's not be angry. Let's save our souls.

 verse 22... "But don't just listen to God's Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves."

That speaks for itself. No interpretation. No new translation. Just do what He says.

Would you believe all of that was just in chapter 1?! And I didn't even touch on all of it!

Theo and I have done Word and Worship time together on and off for years. Right now we feel the urgency to be in the Word more than ever....and to stay in it! It's so important to have it written within us. To actually know scripture and understand God through His Word. Christian music, christian friends, christian sounding quotes and cool sayings and even just going to church isn't enough. We seriously NEED the WORD to survive and to have a truly ALIVE relationship with God.

And the last thing I'll bring up here is interuption.I seriously dislike being interupted. Yet I find myself interupting my husband every once in a while. My mom taught me it's rude to interupt. And I agree that it is. I hate that I catch myself doing it somtimes, and I get angry when my husband interupts. So this is what the Lord randomly showed me today about it.... don't do to others {my husband} what I don't want done to me. So I'll continue to try my hardest to not interupt him. AND....this is the fun part....when I get angry for him interupting me, it's rooted in pride! Ouuuuuch! In the moment I'm interupted, the root of my emotions is that I feel that I should have 'the stage' to speak whatever I need to say and that I deserve to have my time to talk. Ultimately, that is not a state of humility and love. Lord help me.

I'm so grateful for God discipline in my life. It proves He loves me. :) Let's come before God with open and willing hearts to be set right in our learn and live our His ways!
Love you friends, and truly hope you're experiencing God in powerful ways.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

God sang to me this morning...

Yes, you read that right. He sang to me. This morning at exactly 7:30. I've got to say, I've been a believer for a while now and I've definitly never heard the Lord sing directly for me. Not like this anyways.

So this is how it started...

I was laying in bed...awake for about a half hour while everyone else was still sleeping. I was hoping to just relish my alone quiet time while the house was quiet. Instead, I started thinking about God possibly taking my girls. As in, them dying. As usual when I think about that, tears rolled down my face and as usual, abnormal anxiety about it set in. For some reason, those kinds of thoughts pass through my mind more often than I'd like. I almost always cry when I think about it and I have to calm myself down and remind myself that absolutly nothing has even happened to them and they are perfectly healthy and safe.

I'm learning to 'take my thoughts captive' and give them over to the Lord, especially during those times when it seems my enemy just wants to induce overwhelming FEAR in me with some random possibility. I mean, like I said, my kids are FINE! More than fine...they're doing every way. I should have virtually no concerns at all regarding them. But these thoughts come and I begin to reason that it is an actual possibility that God might decide to take the girls...even at a young age like this. And my heart breaks at the thought of how heart breaking that would be. Did you get that? My heart is tortured {now} at the possibility of my heart being tortured one day. Isn't that insane?! That is totally Satan's way. I mean, the reality is that yes, our days are numbered. God knows the day for all of us and every single person goes through the process of death. I get that. But why is it so incredibly difficult for me to think of that happening to my kids?

I'll get to the song part in a second, but I gotta finish this part, because if anyone out there reading this, struggles in similar ways, this will be all the more powerful for you. Our enemy, the devil....yes, Satan, hates our guts. He hates our families. He hates our minds, bodies and souls. As we know, he's out to kill, steal and destroy. EVERY single part of us. Any part that he can get under his deadly grip, he'll take it. For me, it has been fear. For so long, I would struggle with fear of random things happening. When I got married {pre-kids} I was terrified that something would happen to my in a car accident or some random injury that would take his life. Now, I rarely think of things like that regarding him, and it's all on my kids. The enemy has put crazy amounts of fear into my mind about my children dying....kind of because I've let him. I haven't called out to God for a sound mind in this area....ever. I just convince myself that if God ever did decide to take the girls or Theo, that He would just help me cope and get over it. Isn't that just mean? I know that he truly would do those things but the thought process is just mean and lacking love.

So back to this morning...

I was in bed thinking about them just passing from this life to {a better life in reality- with Jesus}, but there I was crying...not sobbing hysterically, but tears were flowing and I began crying out to God, "Father give me peace over this. Please, give me peace over this." Literally, that instant, not 5 minutes later...right then, we both heard loud and clear in our room, a song.

"I just say.... I LOVE YOU. I just called to say HOW MUCH I CARE. I just called to say I LOOOOOVE YOU. And I MEAN IT FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART."

Yep, Stevie Wonder. Now I started balling. And as I explained everything that had just happened, Theo confirmed that it was definitly the Lord answering my plea for peace. No other song played. It was the actual song people. It wasn't in my head.

Now if you believe in coinsidence, this may not move you. But we don't. At all. We believe things happen on purpose. Orchestrated by God.

I mean, For those of you who don't know, we live in a little suburb south of Ensenada, Mexico. Our area of the neighborhood is quiet. Not alot of traffic, quiet neighbors....just not alot of ruckus around here. And there isn't alot of the english language spoken around here either. And this morning...a random Wednesday at 7:30am, in our cement block house, we heard this song loud and clear, the very second I cried out to my God for peace in my heart and mind over a nagging attack from the enemy. If that wasn't just a direct and timely response, I don't know what is.

Now joy and thankfulness totally flooded me. I was now crying of overwhelming love back to this God who just told me....personally....that He loves and cares for me!  This is totally from God, to me. HE loves me! I've known that for a long time, but for it to be so direct, and His response to my aching heart that very moment, humbled me and made me so much more grateful for Him than I've been lately.

The Lord says He'll work out all things for my good because I love him and am called to his purposes. He's the giver of peace, comfort, love, patience....and all good things. I know that if something tough {like death} were to happen He is truly my comforter, but beyond that, in His soverignty, He allows things out of his LOVE for us. There are so many factors that we don't know, becasue we are not God. We don't see the big picture. We don't see what he allows out of pure mercy and kindness. Our perspective is not His, and our ways are not His ways.

All that to say, I have an overwhelming sense of peace in my heart over my life and all that is in it. The very thing I cried our for. Thank you God, for answering me so loud and clear this morning. I will never forget this and will remember it anytime 'he' wants to attack. God, you are faithful to me and I recognize that. Thank you, and I love you too.