Friday, May 12, 2017

No such thing as "time"

Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible
by: Liz Curtis Higgs
My reflections of a prodical Daughter

A few years ago I read Higgs’ books Bad Girls of the Bible and More Bad Girls of the Bible and laughed and reflected and learned. So, when the opportunity came to get her new book Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible I was all in (I might even have fangirled a bit when I found out she was there and autographing them too). Anyway, as I began to read the first chapters about Sarai I was not expecting much because let’s face it, I do not have children, have never wanted children of my own and am perfectly happy this way. And then I get to the meat of the story. Sarai’s pettiness and bitterness and, drum roll here, how long she had to wait to receive a promise from God.  Suddenly, my own struggles with singleness and loneliness were not as uncommon as I thought.  Not that our desires were the same, but at the core, both of us were burdened and overwhelmed with a life we didn’t want or choose and had no option to change. 

So, Sarai, long past the age of hope, is given a message that her life is going to change and everything she ever dreamed of having is going to happen. I imagine there were years of joy and faith, then perhaps that surety faded into hope and prayer until finely nothing was left but despair and bitterness of not only not gaining the thing most prized of all, but of a seemingly broken promise.  Maybe God didn’t always keep His promises, maybe He changed His mind, maybe I did something to screw up my own reward is probably the thoughts that crosses Sarai’s mind as the years passed. I know they have mine.  Author Liz added, that Sarai had to have been thinking, TOO LATE!!! You are Too Late when she was 75 and already through the change of life. Staring at calendars and clocks instead of facing God is where Sarai went wrong and just like her, it is where we go wrong too.  I have been staring into the clock of my life and have given up because of the “time.” Too old, the world says. Too old, my family says. Too old I say to myself in the mirror, and God replies, “Nothing is impossible for me.” 

But, like us, Sarai, began to think of ways to MAKE God’s prophesy come true. In her desperation to have a baby she gave her servant to her husband as a second wife to have a child that she was probably planning to take and raise. Who knows what she was thinking, but it seriously could not have been very coherent because who couldn’t see the end of that story coming a mile away like a runaway train.  But then, desperation makes us do stupid things.  Things that we would never try in an ordinary circumstance because they are obviously not good choices. But desperation makes us think that we do not have the time (there we go back to clock watching again) to wait for our miracle or our promise.  It is not happening in OUR timing so we must not be doing something right, therefore making it our responsibility to change or make a way for it.  Bringing our thinking right back to center around ourselves. Our needs, our time, our lives, our promises, like we have any power at all to change the course of God’s Divine Will. ( Not saying that we cannot make choices that can and do alter our lives, but ultimately God’s Will is the way it will end, we just make ourselves go down much longer and rougher roads than necessary because of our choices).

But enough about Sarai’s choices and her doubt, eventually, God dealt with her doubt and God is big enough to deal with our doubt as well.  Who knows the mind of God, so who can say why God allowed Ishmael to be born (causing thousands of years of war and death to this day) but he did and one very large lesson we can get from it is this: Ishmael is the man made attempt to fulfill a destiny of God’s without God’s Blessing and Isaac is the miraculous divine fulfillment of a promise by the creator and giver of that promise, Jehovah.  You may arrange circumstances to look like your dreams have been granted by your Heavenly Father, but unless God makes the path, it is NOT a fulfillment of His Promises and ultimately will not satisfy you. It is the same for ANY of our dreams and hopes. If they are not part of God’s plan for our lives then they will never bring us joy or hope. It is only though the mercy and grace and blessings from above that we find any sense of true contentment and well-being.

In my case, this means my being single all these years was not a mistake!  I did not do anything to make it not happen! I am not too ugly or fat or stupid for anyone to love! I am not unlovable! It simply means that God’s plan for my life did not involve marriage. BUT even though it seems as if my “time” has run out, that I am too old for love and too old to do all the things I wanted to do, God is bigger than time. In fact, time is simply a human created measurement so that we could track the passage of existence and God is certainly bigger than anything humans could create. Like Sarah, I have to see and understand that TIME is irrelevant to the God of the Universe. Not that this is to say that I will ever get married, (God did not promise me anything) but as long as I continue to place His Will before my own desires and dreams, then I will be better off because He wants only the best for my good, and only He knows exactly what that is.  Therefore, I have to take my eyes off the clock and keep my eyes focused on Him because to God there is no such thing as time.


So, as a person who loves kids but has no interest ever in having my own found common ground with a woman who was desperate for children and found that she had something important to teach me about not only God’s timing, but about time in general. And in a time of life where hope seems to be in short supply, her story reminded me again that NOTHING is too big for God. And even if He doesn’t make a big production of it (like holding the Sun in place for a battle to be won, (Although techniquely would it mean he held the Earth still instead, because the Earth is the one causing day and night by rotation – don’t you just love my brain?) lol) He can still alter the very laws of physics and nature when he wishes.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

There is a Path

So, continuing with the whole rise up and go thing (where the last post started as well lol).  God revealed something to me about HOW we walk in His Will affects our ability to walk the path He has made for us. The thoughts were barely formed and written, when Satan attacked me through the nature of the very things God was revealing about to me. I have struggled internally all day today to get my emotions back under control and Satan has poked at them every single time I started to find balance, so I tend to think that this revelation has some depth to it, at least for me, if for no one else. I was writing so fast in church today as the thoughts came and I felt like it was of serious substance, but I have not had a chance to sit down and focus again on it until now. So, lets see what we learn.

Today, the sermon was on getting up and just starting. It was about how the people in Ezra who stepped out to go and build the temple were those who's hearts had been moved by God. 

So, God will be calling forth His people, but it will only be the ones who are listening and paying attention that will hear the call to rise up and face this world and our times with God's anointing and his power. 

Then we read about the widow and her son, (I Kings 17:10-16) who were about to fix their last meal when this stranger (Elijah) showed up and told her that God would provide, but to fix him food first using the last bit they had.  The message there was that God directed, the widow responded, and then God provided a bowl that never emptied for years until the rains fell again and the widow and her son did not starve.  

This was followed with 3 John 1:2 which states, May you enjoy good health and all go well with you, even as your soul prospers. Tyler noted that God WANTS us to prosper in everything in our lives. NOT, btw, prosperity teaching, but (referencing 3 John) that God wants us to have healthy and good lives; that the health of our lives will directly reflect the health of our souls. 

And this is when the revelations started.  God especially blesses those who act in faith when hard times come.  Not because God is giving a special blessing to those people, but because those who walk in faith during the really hard times are placing themselves into the direct path of God's desired pathway.  God desires us to walk in faith of something bigger and more enduring than we ourselves are.  When we do this, we step onto the path that God has already laid out and His power is already flowing through. It isn't God giving us a special blessing because we were good little children, but our receiving the blessings God has already put in place because we line ourselves up with where He is. God blesses us all the time in our lives, but this is one of those places where we HAVE to come to Him for the power to flow. And when God's power flows, lives are changed and worlds change. 

(I have a sketch I am working on that shows all of this :D)

For those who choose to let themselves be overwhelmed by the world and its minions, and fret and worry, they are also blessed by God, but they cannot walk in power  because they have not placed themselves in the pathway of the flow that is already established. It isn't about being happy or having joy, it is about choosing to believe that God is in control of everything and that everything is Father Filtered (thanks Brenda lol). This is not a magical prescription that makes the bad stuff go away or even always removes our fears, but it DOES place us in the center of God's Will and His Flow of Power WHEREVER God is going.

This is something I have always struggled with. The whole concept of how do I say 'things are good,' for example, when my life is crashing down around me or I am sunk in sadness. To me, that was a lie.  I refused to say things were good unless things were good, but what I was not able to grasp until today, was that things are always good when viewed from an eternal perspective. I would not be lying, I would simply be claiming God's perspective instead of the World's. Doesn't change what I may be facing, but it reminds me constantly of what is REALLY important. 

Although there are those who would rather trust in themselves to get through life's tuff spots rather than God, but the path they have to walk is much more difficult and leaves a lot more scars. God still loves them and will still bless them, but they will never really walk in God's power because they are not on the path He prepared for them.  

Then there are the people like myself. Good Christians who want to trust completely in God, but somehow always get caught struggling with our emotions and worrying about the things of the world around us, like our jobs, families, hopes, dreams, etc...  So, we are also forging our own paths through the muck of the world around us, but we try to stay within sight of the path God wants us to take. We get the trickles of power that flow out along the pathway, but never walk in full strength and power. Our path constantly a struggle to accept and believe and continue to have faith when in reality, we choose to make our own way, just like those who have placed God in the background, except that we occasionally get little spurts of God Power when our path takes us closer to Gods, but we always know that there is something missing and we long for it, thus we stay within sight of the true path, even though we do not have the faith to walk it.  In a way, we are the saddest of all, because we know that we are crippled and that God can "heal" us, but we allow our fears brought on by this world to keep us fighting to try and make things work instead of resting in our faith that God has already handled it and we simply have to follow the path He laid out.  

It is time to CHOOSE to believe and have FAITH, and then, it is time to step onto the path that God has already prepared for me personally. A path where His power is already flowing in Spirit and Truth and all I have to do, is let go of my fears and worries and hurts, and simply walk and believe. THEN, THEN will my life change, because then I will be changed from the power of the Spirit of the Living God and when I am changed, the world around me will also be changed. Perhaps even literally, but for certain that which makes me, me will expand and grow and all those things I long, the closeness with my Heavenly Father that I crave, and the things that I never seem to be able to grasp will be the fruit of my flowing and growing in the Spirit and Power and Truth of God.

This is true for all of God children. There is no perfect place that we are supposed to be.  There is no perfect moment of making our choices that ends the cycle, but a constant every day, every minute decision to CHOOSE to believe in the Truth of God's WORD even when directly opposed to what we appear to be seeing around us. There is no "right place, right time."  It is not just for some Christians, but for all of us.  It is not a "luck of the draw" moment, but an always moment, open to anyone who chooses to trust God and walk out that trust even when everything around them is shouting that there is no hope. 

In my case, it is more often my own flesh that is shouting that hope has gone, that no one wants me or ever will; that I am broken beyond use to anyone.

THAT IS A LIE!!!

My heart is broken, but not in a useless way. I am in the perfect place for choosing to hold on to Faith in God's plan for my life, even when everything around me to this point has shouted that I am useless. That I am too broken and have no worth to anyone.  I am in the perfect place to CHOOSE to step out on God's path, instead of trying to make everything work on my own while still staying close to God. I can CHOOSE to trust God and His WORD for my life and when His Spirit begins to flow, I will be in the middle of the path and He will flow through me!

As a side note - I have already been attacked by Satan using my own emotions against me over and over today and I can't help but believe that means that this is a big deal for me and will change the very nature of my life from this day forward.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

New Stones from Old Ones

So, today the pastor talked about in Ezra, how the people rebuilt the temple and the people were both excited because God was doing something new and sad because they remembered what they had once had and it was no more. All of this was in a lesson on Unity in the church and community, but this is what came to me.

God had the people of Israel build the new temple using the very stones that were lying on the ground from the old temple.  We are talking about Unity in the church, but I think God is reminding us not to forget that he is doing a new thing, but He is using the same stones from the old to build the new.

I once said something about how I read in the Bible how Paul talks about what powerhouses single people are, because they can focus more of their energy and time to Kingdom affairs than those who are married do not have time for because their attention has to be on their families first. Paul actually says that marriage is fine, but it is better for people to remain single so that they can focus on God and His Kingdom. An excellent example is Paul.

Now to tie this all together. I was told that the focus was more important to remain on young married couples since that is what most of our church is made out of.  This has bothered me .... a lot .... but until today I had not been about to put my finger on why that bothered me (other than being single and basically being told that I was of no use or value to my own church, but that is a separate issue :D).

If they try to build a "new thing" they are throwing out some of the stones instead of using them in the new temple, to refer back to Ezra.  The "new thing" they are creating will not be balanced without all the stones. It will just be another "new thing" that will fade or go stagnant, in a short period of time because nobody is listening. Just my opinion mind you.  But it has been very stagnant water for a long long time and now there is a hint of a trickle of fresh water coming into the quarry.  But there has to be some drastic changes made or that trickle will just be caved in over and the water will become stagnant once again.

This church started with the fire of young single people. And now many/most of them are middle-aged married couples and it feels like they are trying to shift the foundation of the church to that. And that is fine really, life is about change and growth, but what they have done in the process so far is throw out all the stones that are not in their vision of the new temple.  And I guess at the heart of it, that is the real problem.  They are following THEIR vision and not God's. They are building a "new thing" as they see it because they recognize that something is wrong with things the way it is, but God does not throw out the stones that are shaped a little different.  If you look at architecture, the stones that are shaped differently are the ones that are the key stones or are what provide the things that make a building unique or special.

This isn't well put together in my head yet, but I wanted to get a start on trying to figure out what all this means and if it means anything.  I know that we (and yes, several of us have talked about this so it isn't just me) feel abandoned and unwanted but I am not sure if it matters or if I even care enough to fight for it. There comes a time when you either accept what is happening or walk away.  Not giving up on God by any means :D, He is everything to me. Without God, I am merely dust with no hope and no purpose. But, I don't know if it is worth it to try and find a place in this "new thing" when it is made so clear that we do not have a position of any importance in it.

On top of or perhaps even in some ways because of, I quit trying to find a place and for the last few years have just drifted.  I spent so many years struggling constantly to be "seen"; to be a part, to have value and once I even thought I had a place, only to have the rug pulled out from under me when I thought I was finely helping to make a difference. Shrugs, that bothered me for a long time, but truth is now, it just seems like so much effort to even try when the acceptance will be always held over my head because I am not married or don't have kids, or whatever.   I accept the bitterness is my problem to deal with, and I have to forgive every-time I start to think on it, but I am damaged now.  Something broke besides my heart and I have changed. I am not the person I used to be.  I am broken now, or maybe I was always broken and just didn't see it until the world turned upside down on me. I am not even sure there is a way to fix what is wrong with me. I would have to care, and I am just so very tired and so very damaged. I am not sure that I will ever be able to find my way out of this endless tunnel of cold and dark. It is what it is, BUT I am and ever shall be my Father's Daughter and if He calls me I will come and if He sends me I will go.  He is just got to be very very clear and loud now, because I don't always know what is up or down anymore, but I know when I do hear Him, I will obey because there is nothing else. This world holds nothing for me except obedience to my Heavenly Father. I just have to be able to hear Him.