*********Pain-free day!!! First in…well…lets just celebrate a first! Perhaps the IVIG in the hospital went down easier with harder nausea meds and hours of prior fluid intake through IV. Or perhaps God is giving me a break from the rain…either way, NO PAIN!!!!**********
Today was my first completely uninterrupted time literally alone…with God. I’ll be completely honest, keeping in mind that I just got out of the ER just a few short days ago, I was even wondering to myself if this was such a great idea. Regardless, around 7:45 this morning I looked around and my house was completely silent. There were no boys screaming, no toys chiming, no alarms ringing, no phones buzzing, no doorbells dinging, no car horns beeping. I was alone. I wasn’t needed by anyone…except I suddenly realized how much I really needed God and how much rest I was lacking.
I took 2 CDs and sat back in my recliner and woke-up again a little bit after 11AM.
I even managed to eat cereal, which for me, more than one real meal a day is beyond enough. So, cereal, before lunch (or in this case as lunch) was a big deal being that dinner is usually my meal that I’m actually hungry for. But I was hungry…it’s not too hard to find things to satisfy that need in our house (hence 3 guys…we have food).
I remember sitting back into my chair going, “Ok Mr. IPad, Bible app I really don’t know where to start, but I’m sure you do, so here we go…” and immediately my Bible app opened up to exactly where I left off the night previously reviewing notes I had been making for our Luke series for my kids at church. I had the statement written down as, “This isn’t a contractual relationship anymore…this is pure ownership and You own me.” That thought was not for my kids of course, that was for me and WOW…does it EVER define my last year!
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I was reviewing a part of my lesson that I was preparing for last Sunday that, coincidently, never happened. I was going to hit on forgiveness with the kids and just let that speak for itself (I believe I need a reinforcement on this topic from time to time as well) but as you will see, my personal study went a bit farther…take a read and let me share what I got from this read:
Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive.” (Seriously…even if a person asks consistently to be forgiven, no matter how bad they hurt you or those you love…as long as they ask sincerely for forgiveness as a brother or sister in Christ, we are asked to forgive. This alone is a message in itself).
The apostles said to the Lord, “Show us how to increase our faith.” (Ditto guys. This would be my response too. I don’t care how pathetic the person is that is asking…if they hurt me that many times – and seven represents a number of perfection which means an unlimited amount of times- I just can’t forgive them. The pain by then would be too deep. God, increase my faith that You can allow me to forgive repeatedly!)
The Lord answered, “If you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘May you be uprooted and thrown into the sea,’ and it would obey you! (Well then, that isn’t exactly the response I was looking for Jesus. You see, I was saying I was HURT here and You tell me if I had faith the size of a really tiny spec of a seed, that I can forgive that many times? In reality, Jesus is saying, “You can do that…and get ready, I’m about to really set the record straight…”).
“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.'” (Luke 17:4-10 NLT). This was the section that got me these last few days and I can’t imagine how Jesus’ disciples reacted. You see, just like outlined above, God owns us, period. Regardless if you claim that ownership or not is your choice, but that is the hard, cold, honest Truth. God owns you. Your life was designed, authorized, created, started, thought of, began…you were not a mistake but owned from the very start by the very One Who dreamed of your unveiling to the world. His dreams came WAY before yours. Funny, we lose sight of that when we start thinking that we own our life or even better…that we give our life over to God because (fill in the blank)… He can give me the desires of my heart, He can help me find the perfect man, He can give me eternal life… It’s almost as we mistakingly think that we give our lives to God so He will be so happy that He will just make our lives perfectly ever after…when in reality God is saying, “Thanks for acknowledging I am here but I’ve been here for longer than You have!”. So many new Christians start out their walk with Christ thinking, “Finally, I’ll get some relief and God will fix all of the things going wrong in my life! If I follow Him, He will make my life better.” At least that was the picture I originally contracted Him for.
So many Christians are in this for the idea that God will make your life EASIER. If that is you, perhaps you should stop reading here and start at the beginning of this blog. Look around you…just because people are suffering does not mean they are any less of a Christ-follower than you! God does not promise anywhere that starting a relationship with Him would be easy! He does promise as Joshua 1:9 illustrates that He will be with us wherever we go. Remember that.
If we claim to have an authentic relationship with God and if we really accept that salvation offered through Christ…we truly are no longer our own…and that requires a massive mind overhaul. It’s a new way of thinking when you are truly owned by Him. Instead of asking, “Increase my faith” we ask, “Please present the right opportunities and remain close to me through the fire.” Instead of asking, “How much longer will this storm last?” we ask, “Thank You Lord for the break in the rain to splash in the puddles…fill me with Your guidance so I know which way Home.” Instead of thinking, “Why did you do this to me God?” broken hearted we ask,”Lord please show me how these broken pieces fit together to form Your will for me, Your child.”
It’s a completely different way of thinking. I’m working on it. It’s not a quick fix and as you know, after everything I’ve been through these last few months, I’ve thought, blamed, cried, beaten my fist, felt lonely, scared…life sometimes just does not make sense. But you have an Owner. You are never alone because you are not your own. You were bought with a price, you were destined for this point in time. You are His, continue to serve Him and you will overflow as you experience a joy that surpasses your human understanding. That’s when you know your mind has been transformed, just a bit, to look slightly like His. After all, we are all made in His image…that’s the benefit of belonging to the family of God.
A book recommendation for those wanting a deeper study to renew your mind…I’m going through “Battlefield of the Mind” by Joyce Meyer. I’ve got to admit…it’s my first read of hers and I don’t think it will be my last! Strong scriptural basis and bluntness that I need. Pick it up and read with me…I only read 1 to 2 chapters a week, allowing myself time for Scriptural memorization, Study and application…but for those speed readers, I’ve heard people complete this in a day or two. I’m starting chapter 5…I literally hold my
self back from reading on…there’s a lot of good points she makes! But you can probably follow my blog too…I’m sure my study will flow to my words here as well.
I hope your week is going well!