Thursday, June 30, 2011

Never Underestimate the Power of the Holy Spirit

This has been a joyous week in our house.  In addition to my hubby coming to Jesus last week, my 6 yo L2 did as well!  Now I can say that coming to Jesus as an adult at the ripe old age of 35 myself, I have been somewhat uncertain about at what age a child can really make a solid decision on their own to open their heart to Jesus.  She has been asking me questions and telling me for months that she was ready and I in my lack of faith have been actually dismissing her, thinking she is just not mature enough to make that choice.  Oh how foolish we become as we age!  Of any person I know she is the most open about spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ.  She tells friends, neighbors, family, and even complete strangers about Jesus. With a simple childlike faith at 6 years old she is out spreading the Gospel.  Why as adults are we so afraid to tell others about Him?  And who am I to tell her she is not ready?

Last week at VBS she told Jesus she believed in Him, asked for forgiveness of her sins, and asked Him to live in her heart.   An adult counselor and myself decided for her that maybe she needed to be a little older..... Well, guess what?  Jesus doesn't care how old she is, she called out to Him and He now has her in His hands.  The Holy Spirit does not give a darn tootin what I or any other adult thinks.  He already sealed her as His own.  How do I know?  Well for one thing, I have had no peace with my ridiculous decision to tell her she has to wait, it has been literally eating me alive...I am so sorry Lord, yes, I am an idiot.  Because this child is now a different child, she has been transformed by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit...

And just where has the Holy Spirit directed her?  Well, straight to the Word of God, of course.  She is HUNGRY.  She came to me this morning with her Bible asking me to read to her.  So as part of "New Believer 101" I started with the Gospel of John.  I read the first chapter aloud, and then find her reading on her own all throughout the day.  By bedtime she is done with Chapter 5.  I read her Chapter 6: Jesus Walks on Water and Jesus is the Bread of Life as a bedtime story.  And guess what?  That child understands it!  "No, Momma Jesus didn't really want them to eat Him, He just wants them to BELIEVE in Him."  If only adults could understand this?!   I am just further convinced of the power of the Holy Spirit.

 I can't wait til we get to this one...

 Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.  But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you.  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand."  John 10:25-29

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Real Men Love Jesus!

Real Men Love Jesus

I had been seeing this bumper sticker a lot lately and quite frankly it was making me a little sad...but no more now that my man is a "REAL Man"....yep, my hubby invited Jesus to be his savior last week!!  PRAISE JESUS!!!  There is a new name in the Lamb's Book of Life!!

After I accepted Jesus last year, the Holy Spirit led me to read the Bible.  In the beginning I hid my reading from R because I was afraid he would think I was weird.  After praying for direction to find a church I was directed to the very church I had vowed I would never again enter as a teen.  One thing that I have been learning lately is that we should all be very careful about telling God that we refuse to do anything. I am convinced this is a pride issue.  I had a few other chruches in mind that I would have been happy to attend...but no, God sent me right back to where I had dug in my heels and screamed "No!".  It took me about 3 months to obey His direction because I was too afraid R would completely reject a Baptist church (plus, honestly I was a little annoyed).  We cannot be fully sbmitted to God's will if we are still trying to direct our own life. 

God's timing really is so perfect.  When I first started attending worship with the kids, R's work schedule had him at work every Sunday morning.  So basically we had already started going before he could say no, which I just know he would have had I just suggested we all start going as a family.  Then after 3 weeks his schedule that he had been on for over a year just magically, mysteriously (not really hee hee!) changed and he was suddenly off Sundays (God is so good!).  His very first day at chruch he heard a message about the Importance of Fathers as Spiritual Leaders at Home.  The next week the message was Do You Have a Person You Know Who is a Hard Case?  You Think They Will Never Come to Jesus?  Don't Give Up! I should have listened harder to this one lol!

  The Holy Spirit began pushing me to go forward, profess my faith and ask for baptism... again I told God "No, I can't!!  That will totally freak R out!"...the harder I protested, the harder He pushed me until after about a month a cement truck could not have stopped me from running off down the isle and jumping in that water!  Again, be careful, what you tell God you will not far everything I have refused to do I have now done and realize that those things were required of me out of obedience for a greater purpose.  If I were still sitting at home reading the Bible in secret do you think R would have come to Jesus by now?  God's ways are higher than our ways and when we obey He richly blesses us!

Over the past few months R had a lot of questions and I did my best to answer them.  Honestly at times I know the answers were not my words, they were His.  Having a husband by my side who loved Jesus was not even something I had dared to hope would ever happen... oh I prayed for it to happen...A.L.O.T!  But I was afraid to even hope, because really I thought the chances were slim... BUT GOD.  Never again will I be afraid to hope for anything because...

"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26

Mercy Me - Compassion International - Christian Ministry

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When it suddenly hits you...

...the answer to a question from long ago....a question that you forgot you had even asked, but at the time had seemed so important.....

Back in my days BC (yes, that is before Christ) I was married.  We were joined in a civil ceremony, which at the time in my 22 year old mind was fine by me.  I loved him with a naive desperation. I thought he was the all, the everything...and most of all i believed he was "different" from all the other men....i just knew our love was greater and more everlasting than any other.  That was my first mistake...and now in hindsight i can see it was the beginning of the downfall.  To my shock, when our son was a few months old, he decided this life with me was not for him.  He left and wanted a divorce.  I never saw it coming and at the time, I honestly thought my world was over... and suddenly now I find myself jolted with the realization of why i fell so far when it happened.

It can be a strange journey when you give your life to Jesus. He begins to change you and leads your mind to discover things about yourself and your path in life that previously had seemed so mysterious to you.  I had always vaguely believed in God, but until last year had never personally handed my life over to Jesus to accept His free gift of salvation.  I never really understood what people would say about how He changes you from the inside out....but I am in awe of His grace and what he is doing in my heart everyday.  I can say that my divorce is something that put a heavy burden of guilt on me for years, but over time I had let it go and come to a certain peace over it.  Recently I read a passage that started a unexpected chain reaction in my mind and led me back to that time I had not thought about for so long.

"A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her."

— Maya Angelou

I don't even remember where I stumbled upon this ....but as soon as I read it I felt a jolt and instantly was flooded with a distant memory of sitting on my marriage #1 couch flipping channels one Sunday morning and landing briefly upon a TV sermon about loving God more than anything, even your spouse.... i remember pondering over that for a moment... and i remember thinking.... that is just not possible.... how can i love God more than my husband? And i remember thinking...hmmm....i just can't do that...and changed the channel...

....and now it all makes the time going through the divorce i was a disaster... a serious whole world had fallen apart because i had based my whole world on a mere human man...a sinful (like us all) prideful flesh and blood man.... i still held on to a distant faith that God had a plan for me, but I do remember the constant angry nagging question in the back of my mind "How can this be what is best for my have 2 divorced parents raise him separately...not as a can God let this happen!!!!?"....i was mad and i questioned this incessantly....i only trusted God a little bit and as we know that is about as good as not at all....and all the while he was just patiently waiting for me to ask him in...

So there i was... i had put all my faith in the inherently flawed love of an earthly man, but without any trust in Jesus, the only real true LOVE...when i look back at it now i can see it so clearly...marriage is a joining of 3 into 1, and if you leave out the most important member of that trio you are doomed to fail.....but this was a failure that i needed...a failure to bring me down to my knees and see for forevermore that every man, woman and child on this earth will at some point let us down...our first love and the only one who deserves our full faith is our Heavenly Father... thank you Jesus for being so patient with me....

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus said to him, "Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment."

This is easily the most difficult commandment to keep.  Even if you think for a moment that you can, life quickly comes in, rears its ugly head and shows us that our priorities really lie elsewhere.  But this command is evidence that God's love for us is so amazingly huge.  To love God above all else I believe is where God shows us how much He wants to protect us.  He wants to keep our heart from investing itself completely in places where we can be hurt so quickly and easily.  This helps give us perspective on this lifetime here on earth. Our life here is fleeting, James tells us it is a vapor.  And it is easy to fully invest ourself here and forget that.  I am not saying I have or ever will be able to fully do this, but when we keep things in perspective it changes us. God is the source of all love and when I remember that, he magnifies the love I am able to give others. That love takes on a different character than what we can give on our own.  Now when I look back, I see how shallow and flimsy that old "love" I gave was before I knew the true love of Christ.  The love we are able to give once we know the love of Christ is a love full of hope, for our sights are set on the life to come.