Monday, April 16, 2012

April 16-22

Monday - Genesis 15
Tuesday - Judges 11
Wednesday- Psalm 40
Thursday- Isaiah 44
Friday- Habakkuk 3
Saturday- Acts 8
Sunday- 1 Timothy 3


Prairie Chick said...

God still speaks. In ways other than through the Word, and through almost imperceptible nudges to our conscience. I used to wonder if He did, I was taught that He gave us the Word, that is His voice to us, it contains all we need to know. But no. We are in a living, breathing, growing relationship. In my marriage I don't just rely on my husband's love letters to tell me about his love and plans and hopes and desires. Those letters are 16 plus years old, a lot of things have happened, a lot of new developments in his life, and mine, and ours. So much to communicate about. It's no different with God. Yes I can learn so much about Him from His love letter to mankind. But that is just supposed to be the wooing factor. The one that causes me to search for Him and establish my own living, breathing, growing relationship with this great God who has had dealings with all of these biblical characters in the past.

I've been thinking lately, when I am hungry for Him, I can't get enough. I have no desire to listen to secular music or read secular novels just for the simple pleasure of it, because I am hungry, hungry to worship, hungry to grow nearer to him, it's like there aren't enough minutes in the day to listen to enough worshp music, or read enough words from some spiritual giant or from the word that reveal something about Him to me... life is short and fleeting and I just want to fill it up with Him. Then other times I am so shallow and worldly. My days are filled with thoughts no deeper than the fact that I desire a good cup of strong coffee, I want to lose myself in a fantasy book and pump some tunes that gets me moving. It's like I'm in a daze... completely on auto pilot. I love the times that I am fully alive, fully wired and desirous of abundant life, fed, clothed, charged in my relationship and passion for the promises God has for me. I don't want to forget that high and how "one" I am with him when I am in that place, how different things are. I know it's the way I am meant to feel and live.

Prairie Chick said...

Judges 11:32 "if you.... then I."

This is what struck me this morning. Why on earth would we pretend to barter with God? To strike deals for the outcome we desire, putting on the line things that God would never ask from us? He got what he wanted alright, and lost what he loved most. Why? Because he played God in a way. Trying to control the situation the best he knew how instead of trusting in the fact that this was God's work, this was God's will, and his place was to desire GOD'S will to be accomplished, not his own. Even if his own will was in line with God's. I am like this so often. I just want to see something change or happen so bad that I get all wound up about it, and it's even a good thing I want, but wanting to control and force and coerce and manipulate things into happening is NOT a good thing or a good place to be. Not a life of surrender and faith, humility and worship. It's a place of self worship in a way. We want what we want and we want it right now, no matter what.

Prairie Chick said...

Psalm 40:3 "More and more people are seeing this; they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God." claimed and prayed for my brothers and sisters in Christ at Salem Church, April 18, 2012

"So I answered, 'I'm coming. I read in your letter what you wrote about me, and I'm coming to the party you're throwing for me.' That's when God's Word entered my life, became part of my very being." v7-8 claimed and prayed for myself, my kids and my fellow Prairie Passages ladies, April 18, 2012

"But all who are hunting for you, oh let them sing and be happy." v16 claimed and prayed for a friend, April 18, 2012

"And me? I'm a mess. I'm nothing and have nothing: make something of me. You can do it; you've got what it takes, God, don't put it off." v17 claimed and prayed for a friend, April 18, 2012

Prairie Chick said...

Isa 44:17 "He eats his full and sits back satisfied with his stomach full and his feet warmed by the fire: "Ah, this is the life." And he still has half left for a god, made to his personal design- a handy, convenient god to worship whenever so inclined. Whenever the need strikes him he prays to it, "Save me. You're my god."

oh how prone we are to shape God to how we would have him. We cling to the "God is love" , and shrug off the "fear of the Lord", we cling to "Grace" and skip over "Surrender" There is nothing handy or convenient about full surrender. It does not give me the liberty to worship God at my own convenience. It requires a life of focus. Where following and glorifying God take on a moment by moment, play by play life.

"The primary reason some of us aren't making more progress on living more godly lives is that we've made peace with our conscience. We've come to what we think is a reasonable balance between sin and surrender- a compromise we can live with, and one we think God is okay with too. We tell ourselves that Jesus died not just for our past sins but for our present and future one as well. We've been forgiven! And that's a powerful incentive to settle for partial surrender. For *good enough*. anything more just feels unnecessary, too difficult, or costly."

So most of us obey the Holy Spirit's voice often enough to assuage our guilt and enable us to feel reasonably good about ourselves. And maybe you're doing about as well as most Christians you know. But deep down, you know that your Savior and Lord deserves so much more, *and wants* so much more for you!"

absolute surrender.

quote taken from Clare de Graaf, The 10 Second Rule: Just do the next thing you're reasonably certain Jesus wants you to do

Prairie Chick said...

more on partial surrender:

"The *other voice* I hear most often isn't Satan's or the world's. It's my own- it's me resisting Jesus' full claim on my life as Lord. I've told him thousands of times he's my Lord. I meant it, and I still mean it. But there's an independent, sinful part of me that wants to reserve a part of my life for *me*. I want to be able to call at least part of my life *mine*. The Apostle Paul said it well:

"The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge." (Rom 7:21-23 The Message)

there have been times I've begun believing the lie I so desperately wanted to believe- that because of grace, Jesus is fine with partial surrender.

Is he?

Is grace- the amazing truth that God through Christ has forgiven all our sins- really a contributing factor to my spiritual mediocrity?

Only when I abuse it.

Grace is holding God to his word while using it as an excuse to not keep ours. Most of us wouldn't think of ourselves as actually doing that, but isn't that what we're really doing?

Christ's sacrifice was meant to pay the price for that which I *cannot* do myself- it should never be my excuse for what I *won't*."

Clare De Graaf

Prairie Chick said...

Habakkuk 3:17-19 "Though the cherry trees don't blossom and the strawberries don't ripen, though the apples are worm eaten andthe wheat fields stunted, though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I'm singing joyful praise to God. I'm turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God... I take heart and gain strength. I run like a deer. I feel like I'm king of the mountain!"

I got a picture of Leonardo di Caprio, arms outstretched on the bow of that magnificent ship, shouting, "I'm the king of the world!" at the end of this chapter and that, paired with the circumstances underlying this statement, circumstances of utter loss and desolation, gave me goosebumps. It reminded me of a story from my ladies bible study book of a lady named Mabel. A woman who suffered every malady and loss you could name, loss of limbs, loss of hearing, loss of sight, loss of every relationship dear to her, loss of beauty to a deforming cancer... and yet her words give one shivers. "God has been good to me. God has been very good to me."

To recognize the goodness of God, the gift of His love and grace and relationship as the only goodness that really matters, that is to rise above. That is to become a spiritual giant. That is to reach the point where "Jesus is all the world to me." That is the kind of empowering selfless love that should be the goal of each believer. To find our living and moving and being and fulfillment in our love relationship with God. Love that does not depend on circumstances.

Prairie Chick said...

Acts 8:30-33 "Do you understand what you're reading?" He answered, "How can I without some help? and invited Philip into the chariot with him."

v 39 "When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of God suddenly took Philip off, and that was the last the eunuch saw of him. But he didn't mind. He had what he'd come for and went on down the road as happy as could be."

two thoughts on this, one: the feeling of "where do I start" in the life of a searching heart. The need and desire for someone to come alongside, accompany and assure that it's just one baby step at a time on the road to finding, receiving, surrendering, and growing intimate with God. "How can I understand this?" All of us have had and will continue to have this thought throughout the course of our spiritual journey. God is so great and we are so small. And that is why God created the body, fellowship, discipleship... no man an island.

but in the second verse we see how Philip was not given to the Eunich for a lifetime of hand holding. He imparted a truth, a vital truth for a vital moment in the Eunich's life and then he was gone... now you see him, now you don't. It doesn't mean that the Eunich was left to walk alone for the rest of his spiritual journey, but I think it does lead to the idea that discipleship is not necessarily always a one on one forever role. The people I have had build into my life did so for a season. A season when we were brought to together, and they were able to "one another" me... then when circumstances no longer had us thrown together, I went through spells of having to grow on my own gumption, and then at other stages God brought other people to cross my path and disciple me either quietly through example, or boldly through word and relationship.

Discipleship is truly the passion that God has placed on our hearts both as individuals and as a couple. Learning how to live that out to others and how to set an example of it is a work in progress, but it is thrilling to see God bringing people into our home and lives who say "we want to learn, we want to grow, we want more of Jesus, what's the next step?" To be Philip, to find oneself on the right road at the right time, connected with the right person of His choosing is a privilege and a thrill. (it totally ties in with the ONE AT A TIME quote I am going to put under the authentic relationships post right now, too!)

Lois said...

I would like to refer to Judges 11, even though that was earlier in the week. Thanks, P.C. for helping to explain that passage. I always wondered about it.

Prairie Chick said...

I'm so silly. For some reason I opened up to Acts this morning, even thought to myself "wow it feels like just yesterday I was reading from Acts..." well... that's because it was! (shaking my head). Anyway, I will share my thoughts from Acts 9 since that is where I spent my time this morning. I was struck by the parallel between how God called Philip to go out to the Jerusalem road, and God called Ananias to go to Straight Street, both to meet with individuals, both to impart the spirit, both resulting in belief and baptism in the lives of the people placed in their paths.

I was also struck by the example of Saul, who "spent a few days getting acquainted with the Disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places."

how often we settle for inadequacy. We focus on ourselves rather than God in us. Saul didn't have those inhibitions, he had received a calling, he took it up and got to work, trusting that the God who could convert him could work THROUGH him to spread the message of salvation despite all that he was not and did not yet know. He didn't wait for maturity, he surrendered and served from the get go. What a mighty example of living beyond ourselves and not getting tied up in ourselves.