Sunday, October 24, 2010

Training Lessons: Yes, God Speaks

Our Bible study group is just starting week 3 of "Discerning the Voice of God". LOVE it. This study is just so powerful and after watching the third video setting up session 3, I believe this week is going to be HUGE in the life of our Bible study group. I can hardly wait for our next time together.

God speaking to me has been a desire for as long as I can remember. I remember being just old enough to take my own bath. I would sit in the tub and talk to God, asking Him to whisper in my ear. Just tell me something, ANYTHING. I just wanted to hear His voice.

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you know that five years ago, God sidelined me from my "position" within our Worship Arts ministry. He did it because of an area of disobedience in my life. I refused to submit to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, so God had me sit out with my hand in a cast for six weeks or so.

During my "break" God and I had quite a bit of time to on several areas of my heart. Hard? Yes. It was very hard to look at that area of my life and admit I was wrong. That I had allowed myself to wind up with a stronghold that I would have never imagined.

It was during that time that my childhood desire and hunger for His voice returned. I could not and still can not get enough of Him. God, for reasons unknown to me, allowed me to write "Speak to Me". (With one arm in a cast!) That hour or so of writing with Him was one of the sweetest yet intense times in my spiritual life. I know that I heard Him and that He heard me. A spiritual mile marker I will never forget.

Saturday during our 10 mile run I had another moment like that with God. A moment that ranks right up there with that day in December of 2005 when "Speak to Me" was written.

We were somewhere between mile 7 and 8. My tough miles. While we had stepped up the pace a bit, Chad was doing his best to keep me from speeding up. I knew we were on our last lap and I was ready to get the last big hill D.O.N.E. and finish that last mile on mostly flat road.

My body was tired and my legs numb, but I kept thinking about my dear running friend who says "Just keep moving in the general direction of forward!" Apparently, the more I thought about that, the faster my pace became.

Chad FINALLY made me swap to the inside and he ran a step or two in front of me. If I got too close, he would put his arm out and push me back.

Immediately, I thought about Priscilla Shirer and the video I had just watched on Friday morning. That's when I felt God speak.

"Don't rush. Don't speed up. You aren't quite ready for that yet. Don't miss the lessons from today's run because you are trying to just get it done."

Boy, oh boy did I get it. I needed to finish this 10 mile run well and feeling like I could go a little longer. Why? Because next Saturday I run 12. If I missed the lesson of pacing, my next long run would be harder than it needed to be.

Priscilla said it this way, "Diligently engage in the truth He has allowed you to see right now!"

She also referenced this verse. Yes, it is going into my scripture spiral this week.

Mark 4:24 (NLT)
Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given,and you will receive even more."

Saturday afternoon after my ice bath, I realized how serious that point is. Sometimes, we get SO caught up in what we are asking or expecting God TO DO, that we overlook what He IS DOING today. I don't want to miss Him today, so I'll be the one running a little slower with her eyes fixed on the back of the One in front of her.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Trip By the Dump

Last Friday evening while Chad and my dad took the girls to a football game, my mother and I headed to Target to find a new coffee maker. Gretal, who served me faithfully for one year decided to leak. Repeatedly. All over my counters. Not a fun thing.

To avoid the horrible football traffic in this small town, I was brave and decided to head the back way to Target. I found it with no problem in case you were wondering, and we brought home a new coffee pot. He was promptly named Howard Dooley. We are getting along just fine thank you, but that isn't what this is about.

On our way to Target, we passed the dump. As we approached, we noticed there was a mist coming out of pipes in the fence that surrounds the garbage mountain. I was fascinated at what this mist would be. Then we smelled it.

Now, I'm no expert in air freshening products, but it sure did smell like an interstate rest area type of freshener being sprayed around the perimeter of the dump. We got tickled and thought it was the craziest thing we had ever seen. Only in small town Georgia. However, I'm quite sure the people who live around there appreciate the air freshener. (Maybe they could contract with Febreeze because what they were spraying was nasty.)

I've thought about that garbage mountain several times this week. Buried underneath that green grass is nothing but garbage. (My sweet coffee maker Gretal is probably there now.) No matter what the top layer of that "mountain" looks like, there is rotting garbage underneath. Trash. The things we wouldn't dare to keep in our homes because of the stench it would bring.

Sometimes in life we bury things that we are ashamed of. Things that we would just die if anyone knew about. We pile poor decisions, hurt, unforgiveness, anger on top of more hurt, bitterness, unconfessed sin....we in essence build our own garbage mountain.

Then we dress it up.

We put on our Sunday best and hide behind our good works, our activity, our church membership,and our tithe check. And at the same time, there is a mountain of garbage underneath that needs to be dealt with once and for all. Those outward activities aren't bad things! Often times they are things that God has called us TO do, but when we aren't operating with a clean and garbage free heart...they are like that cheap air freshener. It smells good for a short time, but then becomes repulsive. That is not what God intends.

We are to be a sweet aroma in this world. A world that needs Jesus.

2 Corinthians 2:15 says, "For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing."

Today, more than ever we Christians must take our position in the world serious. People need Jesus, and they need to see that following Him is worth it! They need to see that He is the best thing that has ever happened to you! Do you believe it? Have you granted Him full access to your heart?

If we are going to be the pleasing aroma of Christ in this world, we can't settle for anything less than a clean, restored and healthy heart. A heart that oozes His saving aroma and nothing else.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Training Lessons: Stuffing

In this post I shared about my experience with the hill of death and the "dog" that gave me the giggles. If you haven't read it, you might want to read it first to understand this. :)

So last Tuesday afternoon after we had finished school and I was sitting down to my afternoon Spark, I thought back over the morning's run. Yes, I laughed about the stuffed dog and Chad's use of the word "stuffer" instead of taxidermist.

As I made some mental notes about my run and things I would do differently next time, I kept thinking about that silly dog and it reminded me of what some of us Christians look like.

We stuff ourselves to the point we can hardly move. Stuffed full of Biblical knowledge and spiritual activity. We "DO" all the things we have been told by the church good Christians do. While those things are good they are not always the best and sometimes, they are not at all what Jesus told us to do.

Our lives are so full of activity that the Word of God does not have time to sink
into our being. It stays in our head. His Word, His Holy Word that was given as our road map, our love story, our story of redemption...hardly goes past our eyeballs into our brain. It doesn't take root deep in our beings because we are so dadgum busy that we don't have time to let it sink in.

That dog as real as it looked was a dead. (I really think it was a statue, but will not be going back down the hill to take a closer look.) It simply gave the appearance of what once was. Or perhaps better said, it was an illusion of something that was once full of life.

I'm praying that God will convict this heart the second I start to look like a stuffed and stiff Christian or worse, an illusion of a Christian. I want to look like a Christian who is LIVING the abundant life Jesus died for me to have.