Thursday, October 18, 2012

Knowing the Peace Speaker

Luke 9:23-25 (ESV)
And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

I'm going to tell on myself here so try not to judge me too harshly. :)

You see these verses? Well, I've heard them my entire life. I mean I've heard them preached on at least 4 times a year. I could recite them from memory. They have been so familiar that when I hear them it is almost like snuggling up to a very familiar security blanket. At least when things were going well, but when life got tough- they were thrown out on the wind as I cried out in a familiar panic.

"Why God, Why? What's happening here? Have you forgotten me? Wasn't I doing right? Did I step outside of Your will? Am I in sin? Or worst of all. "I don't deserve this! Don't I deserve better?" etc. etc.

It's easy to say I fully trust GOD when my life is easy. When I feel like I can handle it on my own, but when it feels like I'm about to go under and I don't see a safety raft anywhere, and I'm forced to fully, completely rely on HIM, I begin to question HIS judgement and HIS Sovereign control.

I remember getting into a debate about a year ago with my 14yr old foster daughter. In her 14yr old logic she was trying with all her might to tell me what she thought was best for her. I won't get into detail here, but I will tell you she was wrong. Not only wrong, her argument was simply illogical. She had no idea what she was talking about.

After I went to bed that night and I remember praying about all that was going on, I felt at the end of my rope with the whole situation...defeated.

As I prayed I felt like I could hear the Lord say..."See? Do you not see it?"

All those times that I sit here in my own little world, shouting at my big GOD, "Where are you?" Have you forgotten me?" "Why did you allow this to happen?"

You see, HE doesn't just have 14yrs on me- HE OWNs time! He created it. HIS wisdom is infinitely wiser than my own. HIS ways are infinitely higher than my own. The things that have just caught me off guard, had been set in motion before the foundations of the earth. He knew that it was going to happen, it didn't catch HIM off guard.

Yet, I have the audacity to sit in my own little Melissa world hollering at the sky trying to explain to HIM what's best for me? When the bible says: "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4 (ESV)
I now (try to remember to) praise the LORD for the trials HE has entrusted me with. It is only from enduring these trials that my faith has grown.

Matthew 8:18-27 is the perfect example of a life in pursuit of Christ

Matt. 8:18-22
Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead."

You see, before this moment Jesus had healed the sick, cast out demons, and had performed all these amazing miracles which had drawn out a crowd, and He quickly gained a false, me centered, devotion from them.

They were coming after Him thinking, "Hey, I won't get sick anymore or have to fight for my food. This man is cool he can do lots of tricks. Yeah, friendship with this guy must come with some good perks!"

Jesus quickly throws cold water on their misguided affections, and says "if you're coming after Me- you might not have a place to live, Do you love me still? Do you love me more than your family, your money...even your own life?"

Oh, decision point. There's more to this than some cool tricks that make me comfortable.

GOD's not after our comfort, He's after His holiness being refined in us.

It requires effort.
I constantly hear,
"Do you trust ME?" "Do you trust ME?"
It's about not living my life according to me and what's easy. It's about saying, "Lord, I'm Yours, period." It's about jumping out in faith, not looking for a human safety net.
Matthew 8:23-27
And when he got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but He was asleep. And they went and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And He said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?"
Then He rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey Him?"

See the guys that stayed in their comfort zone on the shore, the ones that said, "Oh, I'm all in until I am no longer in control." The ones that enjoy seeing their feet planted safely on the ground; they missed it! They COMPLETELY Missed it.
They thought before that they had seen miracles.

The disciples got in the boat and a storm came up. They immediately were afraid for their lives. They thought all was lost. They no longer had "Control" over their situation.

They had no idea they were in the boat with the One Who masters the storms. Ha! HE is the Master of the seas. HE created them. HE has the power to walk on them. With the sound of HIS voice the winds and the storms obeyed, "Peace, Be Still"! That's our GOD! In HIS hands you can have complete confidence to rid yourself of that control! Can I get an AMEN!

When my life's storm's are calm, I don't have to life is in HIS hands! When the storms of my life are turbulent, I don't have to worry, my scary times are times I can learn more about HIM and HIS provision and how HE cares for HIS children who follow HIM, and watch as He says, "Peace, be still."
I've tried to be in control of my life before, the thing is - You can't plan tomorrow you can have as many back up plans as you want, but there are things that you can never prepare for, and it's foolish for us to try.
Why would I want to? I'm a Stay at Home mom, but my life has never been so full of adventure as it has since I learned to relinquish the little bit of control I tried to "lord" over my own life.
Matthew 6:25-27
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
Think back and consider your trials. Did they bring you closer to the Lord? Were you following the Lord like you should have been? How much did the worrying help?

You see, there is no trick to being thankful when you and God are on the same page. The trick is to be thankful when you aren't.

Now consider how freeing it is to seek HIM, surrender it and then Nod your head with a ridiculously large smile thanking GOD in advance for HIS provision! Because with Jehovah-Jireh
it's not ours to fret over in the first place, He wants it, it's HIS! Hallelujah!
and that, my friend, is what I call Freedom!

Write it down in a Keepsake Journal- (Deut. 6:1-9) We call it our Family's Road Through Redemption. I don't want my children to doubt GOD with the doubt I've had, or their father has had. My Grandfather always said, "A Wise man learns from the mistakes of others. A Fool has to find out for himself."

I want them to know the areas we've struggled in our faith. I want them to be fully aware of our family's history of sin. When they're 20 years old we want them to not only to be equipped for a career but we also want them to be equipped with the wisdom gleaned from generations of failings and trying to follow GOD.

I don't want them to have to learn by making the same mistakes their parents or grandparents made, just because I was too embarrassed to tell them.

I want to be able to show them, without fear, the areas I began to compromise which lead to falling into sin. The excuses I gave myself to remain in sin and Christ's pursuit of my life that brought me through it. I want to teach them how to recognize GOD's hand at work in all of it and how to be thankful for it!

HIS Clay~