Wisdom From a Movie

In the movie War Room, Miss Clara says, “If you want victory you must first surrender.”  Its one of the important stepping stones in our walk with Christ.  It’s where we put our trust in Him.  It’s not about giving up, it’s about whole heartedly knowing that God is the One.  Surrender.  We can choose to separate ourselves from this world, surrendering to God and His ways, and humble ourselves.

Miss Clara also said “There’s no room for you and God on the throne of your heart.”  And isn’t that the truth!  It’s like when my 10 year old son tries to snuggle up on my lap.  Oh how I love and cherish those moments, and reminisce about my nearly 10 lb. new born.  But honestly, there isn’t enough room for the both of us anymore!  As we love Christ more and our faith in Him gets bigger, I must take myself down off the throne of my heart and allow God to have complete dominion over my life.

Sometimes we hear or use the phrase ‘die to self’.  The first few times I heard this, it almost made my skin crawl.  Honest.  How are we supposed to do that?  And if God created us, why would we die to that?  And every day!  It seemed like a silly and insurmountable task.

However, I’ve come to love and appreciate that phrase ‘die to self’.  Because to me, it means what John 3:30 tells us, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”  When I humbly set myself apart for God, I am allowing Him to be more than myself.  We can surrender ourselves to Him, the one who created us.  In that surrendering, I think it also allows me to fully be the daughter of the king that He created, and not what others say I should be.  He created unique beauty in each one of us, allow it to shine! 

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Standing in Calf-Deep Water

I woke up this morning with the feeling of standing calf-deep in water.  It was a weird feeling, scary, calming, hard, peaceful, a sense of work ahead (hard to describe).  And the thought “the middle is hard, all you have to do is stand firm” came to mind.  I’ve not posted much on Glory Abides this week, but I’ve been hammering out an outline of the book of Joshua (it’s long!).  It was feeling like a long road was ahead, the beginning excitement was fading and I was in the rhythm of writing and studying but feeling the drudge begin.  Don’t misunderstand, I am loving Joshua and learning so much; but, I was feeling like this could drag out for years!  And there is so much!  And a “deadline” of sorts had come to mind! So, I felt like I needed to do an outline.  That way, if a portion of scripture starts speaking to me I can go there.  My list making, everything in order, “we’re not there, not yet!” mentality can be satisfied because there is a plan and someplace to plug in the “randomness” that pops up.  I hope this makes sense.

It’s been really interesting to see themes come up.  Boundaries.  There are a LOT of boundaries drawn in Joshua. 

Anyways, back to my morning…standing in calf-deep water and that thought that the middle is hard. 

The middle is SO hard!  This is something my MomPat has talked about before, how the middle is so hard.  The middle of a college semester, when your just grinding it out.  The middle of a book (sometimes).  The middle of summer, when its So hot and there is no rain.  The middle of winter, when spring seems so far away. The middle of a divorce.  The middle of an addiction.  The middle.  Your not at the exciting beginning, and your not at the end with closure; your in IT, the messy middle. 

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Several weeks ago I spent the morning visiting with a girlfriend, and we talked about how the middle is sometimes so hard when things are changing and you don’t know or you in the middle of something and you just have to keep going.  I had started to read a book called Rising Strong by Brené Brown and that evening after our visit, turned the page to find this on page 12, “The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.”  WHAT!  That’s exactly what we were talking about.  Yes!  The middle is hard and messy, but it’s where all the good stuff is.  Although not always seen, especially when we’re knee deep in muck.


And for the record, I picked up the book today in order to revisit that page and the adjoining page starts Chapter 2 and says “Civilization stops at the waterline.”   Appropriate?  I think so.  And, there are no accidents.  How true on so many levels.

So, I’m standing calf-deep in this Jordan river with Joshua.  It’s hard!  It’s beautiful!  It’s messy! 

Somedays I think it’s time to take the easy and known, safe, road.  But then I take another step into the water. Keep going.  Keep taking one more step, trusting in the Lord.  The road will have some potholes because the middle is messy.  But God’s beauty, blessing and abundance is everywhere.

I wrote this in one of my notebooks (I have 4 going right now.  Hello, my name is Amy and I have an addiction to notebooks.)  “Circle the vision (Jericho) with prayer.  It’s like the foothold of the Promised Land.  They circled Jericho, but is was just the beginning.  And God handed it over BEFORE they started circling.  That dream within was there before I started circling, planted as a seed before the ground was ready.  He prepared it ahead of time.  Its the scarification of time and weather that prepares the seed.  Then, the weather warms.  The Light shines longer and brighter.  The Holy Spirit waters.  And when the time is just right, that seed begins to grow.  That new creation is circled in hopeful prayer of what is coming.  There WILL be fruit.  There will be dreams fulfilled for His glory.”

That seed is sprouting, the ground is being cultivated.  It’s been the weather of life that does the scarification (scratching and wounding) in order for this seed to germinate.  The hard stuff.  The middles have been pretty messy at times, because that’s part of having this human experience.  It’s the disappointments.  Mistakes and circumstances that teach us. The relationships that come and go at just the right time, even when we don’t understand in the moment.  The cold lonely moments, the warm fun of the sunshine.  It’s the love we feel from others, and God.  Life. 

I’m grateful for the scarification, even when it hurts.  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness having its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

Well, I’m in the middle.  It’s hard and a little messy right now.  But there is magic and beauty all around.  The civilization of man stops at the shore line and the beauty of the Lord engulfs me as I take steps into the water.  And then “…you shall stand still in the Jordan.” (Joshua 3:8) We are to take the steps into the water, and “The waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away….and those flowing down…were completely cut off.” (Joshua 3:14-17)  It’s amazing.

It’s a beautiful picture of being an active participant in God’s creation and the sprouting of that seed which is placed within us.  The humility of allowing God to lead while you take steps, sometimes with eyes closed in uncertainty.  Take the step, let the Holy Spirit guide and water that seed.  Jesus is there, hand outstretched, ready for you to walk one step at a time.  Sometimes it’s hard to simply stand there.  But, we must be still and know, with each step.  Sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s somewhere in the middle where the beauty exists.  He dries up the ground and we can stand firmly, on dry ground.

Melting Hearts

This phrase “melt away” kept sticking out while reading Joshua.  Hearts were melting, people were melting.  What exactly does this mean?  Is there any significance here? (Focusing Joshua 2:1-24)

vs. 9 “…and all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you.”

vs. 11 “…And as soon as we heard, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit life in any man…”

vs. 24 “Truly the LORD has given all the land into our hands.  And also, all the inhabitants of the land melt away because of us.”

Verses 9 & 24 use the same Hebrew word mûg (moog ; H4127) which is to melt, literally (flow down, disappear, to soften); figuratively (to fear, faint) : – consume, dissolve, faint-hearted) make soft

Verse 11 uses a different Hebrew words from verses 9&24.  This Hebrew word is mâsas  (maw-sas’ ; H4549) which is to liquefy; figuratively to waste (with disease) to faint, be loosed, melt (away).

I think it interesting that in our English language this word melt means something similar, but slightly different in Hebrew.  The “melt” in verses 9 & 24 are referring to the people who have melted, or softened, before them as they are claiming their promised land.  The inhabitants are melting away before them.  It’s God doing the melting and softening, just as he said he would do as the Israelites proceeded. 

However, in verse 11 it’s the people within the city of Jericho and probably surrounding areas that melted their own heart.  To waste with disease.  I’m sure that God was at work in their hearts too, preparing them for the Israelites to come in and take over their city.  They knew of God, but they didn’t know the God who gives strength to His children. 

I know this was all part of God’s plan, but this discouragement!  It was probably very intimidating to know that the Israelites were on their way.  They new the God of heaven and earth was with them, and their hearts melted at their impending destruction.  My heart would probably “melt” too! 

What about us? Today?  Knowing Jesus has conquered death, forgiven us, desires relationship with us and provides us a never-ending supply of strength and grace for each day.  And sometimes, my heart still melts.  It’s the melting in verse 11; the melting of my own doing.  The part of the definition that says “to waste with disease” is so powerful.  When my heart is melted, it’s wasting as though infected with a disease.  It’s wasting with doubts, false tapes or ideas from the Accuser. I waste in a state of being locked up by insecurities, uncertainty of the unknown or something new.  Paralyzed.  My heart melts when I receive bad news, and I go weak in the knees from fear or grief. 

The thing is, our hearts will melt.  When that grief is paralyzing, the next step is scary, or the desire to run when you need to sit and wait.  However, we have a Savior to lean on for the strength needed so that our melted heart doesn’t stay in a puddle on the floor and fester into a disease.  There are promises to lean on and have faith in.  We’re not immune to a melted heart, but we’ve got a Healer that’s already taken care of it all. And as followers of Jesus, we are called to live in that space of hope, joy and healing.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart.  Though our other self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we loo not to the things that are seen but the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”   

heart_Phil_4_13And when I have a heart-melting moment of weakness, Philippians 4:13 reminds me that “I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.” It will be because of His strength, and not my own, that my heart-melting moments become strengthening moments.

Or when my heart is melting in worry and fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds that “..for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Because we are daughters of the King!  And we know our big brother, Jesus.  He will hold us up in our weakness, so that we may continue to press forward being bold and courageous.  He goes before us and hems us in and gives us power through the Holy Spirit within.

Rahab

Reading :: Joshua 2:1-24

Don’t you wonder how how Rahab got hooked up with the two spies sent out by Joshua?  My guess is that it was something like a “coincidence”, aka divine appointment.  Oh, to be a fly on the wall of Jericho!  What ever it was that brought these two spies and Rahab together, Rahab was given a roll in the greatest story of all time.  The story of Jesus our Savior.  She would be part of the rescue story, not just the rescue of her immediate family but part of Jesus’ family tree.  What a story.

I’m guessing that Rahab personally believed that the Israelites’ God, was the God of heaven and earth, based on her words in Joshua 2:11.  She held a belief and healthy fear of God.  Rahab was also putting a lot of faith in the two Israelite spies who were hiding on her roof.  She did exactly as she promised and acted on her faith.  James 2:25-26 says “And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”  This isn’t putting works above faith, but Rahab held a belief in God and acted on that belief when prompted.  She I think she must have listened and obeyed!

Whatever the case, Rahab played a roll in Jericho and the people coming into the Promised Land for their inheritance.  She also played a roll in my inheritance, being that Jesus is our Inheritance and our true Promised Land.  I think, despite her present situation as a prostitute within the walls of Jericho, she was a woman who made a generational plea as she pled for the life of her father, mother, brothers, sisters and all who belong to them. Little did she know that in pleading for her family, she would be making a plea for all generations who would be saved through Jesus! God had a plan for her, despite what she had done as a prostitute.  God used her brokenness and most likely shame, to help bring healing and wholeness to the entire world.  God can use anyone, at any time.

Check out Rahab’s lineage! Her generational plea for her family leads us to Jesus.  I’m guessing that she had no idea the significance of that sliding door opportunity.  Salmon, I’m guessing future husband at the time of Jericho, was from the tribe of Judah.  Check it out in Matthew 1:1-17.  There were 3 sets of 14 generations between Abraham and Jesus, and our Rahab from Jericho was part of it all.  She even gets a shout out in the “hall of faith” in Hebrews 11.

Salmon + RAHAB = Boaz + Ruth = Obed = Jesse = (King) David = Jesus

This version (above) of Jesus’ lineage is like the 1, 2, skip a few method.  But wanted to give a visual that wasn’t overwhelming, and add some people that might be familiar to us.  Rahab was Boaz’s mother! Boaz was the kind man who took the widow Ruth (with Naomi) as his wife.  The kindness, faithfulness and humanness in these generations isn’t unlike our own.  We are flesh and bone, we make mistakes, but we can be used in powerful ways that we have not a clue.  God’s ways and thoughts are so much higher than our own.

Rahab was willing to be strong and courageous.  Hiding the spies could have cost her her life, and on top of that she sent the pursuers of the spies in the opposite direction.  

She was saved when the walls came down (spoiler alert!) and her very own home was in the wall!  How cool is that?!  God listened to her plea and used her in a powerful way; it was all part of His plan.  He uses everything for His good and perfect plan.  She made a generational plea for her family, acting on her belief in God, and the walls came tumbling down.

Prayer & Supplication

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7

These three verses keep coming up.  Last week, on Wednesday morning, I put a little photo from She Reads Truth with a reminder of this scripture on my phone and computer.  It’s a beautiful reminder, and this was the third time this scripture had popped up over the past two weeks.  So, I decided to work on committing it to memory.  I knew the idea, not the address.  And, felt I needed to remind myself.   

Thursday evening, while visiting with a girlfriend, the scripture came up again!  Praise God!  He is so cool to use common threads to tie His daughters together.

Today, it’s back, in my daily devotional.  I want to understand this verse!  So what exactly is supplication?  The definition I found was the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.  It comes from Latin supplicationem, from supplicare “plead humbly”.  The Greek word here means a petition: prayer, request, supplication.  I love the latin roots of the humility piece, I believe this is a key component. 

When we come before God with something that we are worrying about, there is a humility as the worry is placed before His throne.  Sometimes, it’s a challenge to leave it there.  We place it before Jesus, and then go and pick the thing back up! Like a treasured possession, I hold on to worry.  It’s like being able to be in control of the circumstance.  If I can worry about it, it’s mine. But if I place it at the throne, there is some humility and surrender involved and I allow God to have it.  Then, I experience His peace in trust.

“In prayer” (verse 6), comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to pray to God, that is supplicate, worship’.  Prayer is a form of worship!  In speaking to our Creator, we are worshiping Him.  I told someone once that I wanted them to help me learn how to pray.  And the truth is, we pray each and every time we worship.  Sometimes, I think we put human parameters on what worship looks like.  But in reality, I believe we can worship in anything we do! To pray is to worship!  I’ve spent so much time wanting to know how to pray better, but in reality I simply need to worship God!  Worship God and speak to Him with the voice He gave me.  And, this worship is as diverse as His creations are.  But we are to worship and pray with thanksgiving.   

A sister-friend of mine shared with me something she was being shown about walking in the blessing.  Living in the blessing, instead of always asking for it when we already have it!  For example, at dinner time we pray to “bless the food”.  Well, the food is already blessed; it’s already a blessing to have it in front of us, when so many are without.  All we have to do is receive it!  It’s easy when it’s food on a plate and we’re hungry.  But sometimes, I wonder if God sets blessings before us and we simply don’t see or receive it as a blessing.  Perhaps we don’t “feel” worthy.  That is a lie from The Accuser. We are worthy, because God loves us.  We are worthy because God created us.  We are worthy, because as long as we have breath in our lungs there is a purpose beyond what we can see, that we are created for.  We are worthy, because God creates worth.  The blessings are there, we have to open up and receive them.   As Believers in God, we are His blessed children.  Walk in the blessing that He has already provided a way, it is finished.  Done deal!

We are to pray (worship) and make supplication (humbly ask, beg) for our requests from God, with thanksgiving.  It’s hope.  It’s being thankful; with gratitude, and that thankfulness is also an act of Worship.  Worshiping the One who gives a peace that passes all understanding.  Being thankful. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling one of those moods, I go down the drain in a fast spiral.  And I’m miserable to be around.  Honest.  Just ask Gabe or my kids, they go outside and leave me alone.  One of the quickest ways to get myself out of the muck is to praise God, go outside, or get out piece of paper and start with the sentence “I’m so grateful…”  or “Thank you, LORD….” .  And I use the capital LORD version because that reminds me He is a covenant God.  He has made promises that I can claim and hold on to with hope and joy.  

chickensI want to worship God in everything.  Worship Him by playing with my children, His children.  Worship Him in loving my husband.  Worship Him with singing and dance!  Worship Him in talking to Him! Worship Him when I fold laundry, wash dishes and enjoy the sunshine or rain.  Worship Him in his creation when I’m pulling weeds or mulching flower beds or cleaning up chicken poo (I get really worked up with chicken poo sometimes, this will be a challenge).  Maybe it will bring a new dimension to my connection with Him!  I’m guessing it will, and that makes my heart smile.