Tag Archives: bible thumping

Exploring Your Calling- Part 3

calling-3

It’s quiet in the house right now.  Coffee is brewing.  It’s one of those mornings where I don’t want to turn the light on….just a small lamp for some soft light.  The crows are going at it outside.  It’s just another morning.

My heart has just felt so weird the past couple of days.  Sadness over Be’s passing.  Intense passion about what God’s asking me to do.  Total giddiness over the words and crazy open doors and confirmations and encouragements that are being given to me right now.  An overriding desire so strong that you will GET IT.  That you’ll make that jump and totally surrender yourself to God.  That you’ll just be dissatisfied with where you are.  That your spirit will feel hungry and you’ll have an overwhelming desire to feed it.

You guys, I’m nothing.  I’m just a girl from podunk who knew the truth and royally screwed it up anyway.  Who looked for attention in all the wrong places.  Who measured her own behavior by those around her instead of by what God said was acceptable.  Who claimed to know Him but never spent any time with Him.  Who had wake up call after wake up call after wake up call before she finally got it, and by then had a laundry list of junk to deal with.  But you know what, He’s been so good to me in all of it.  He was patient with me.  And He led me out.  He brought me to a place of surrender.  He’s searching my heart and dealing with my junk (stuff that I didn’t even know I had).  And I get it.  I’m learning His nature.  I know His voice.

I can’t sit here and tell you what God wants you to do.  If you want to know what He wants you to do, you’re gonna have to start walking with Him.  Getting in tune with the Spirit.  Start saying yes to the things He’s telling you to do, and all of a sudden you’ll hear Him more and more and more.  Be faithful with a little and He’ll entrust you with more (Luke 16:10).

A couple nights ago I was working in the office and I remembered something.  When we moved into this house, we had new carpet put in.  Casey ripped out the nasty, cat-stuff-soaked carpet and pad and bleached everything.  Before the carpet guy came I got a Sharpie and my Bible and went around the house writing verses on the concrete.  A sure foundation for us to stand on.  I’d forgotten some of the verses that I wrote, so I opened my iPhoto and found the pictures that I took (knowing that I would forget).  In the office, where I sit and type to you, is this:

concrete

See, I can do some planting and watering.  I can tell you what works.  I can tell you 100,000 times to read your Bible like you inhale.  Pray like you exhale.  I can thump my Bible and SCREAM IN CAPS LOCK, get bold in bold, emphasize in italic.  But Jesus said “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44).  I guess that’s the faith part.  I have to believe that I’m not doing all of this for nothing.  That God’s word won’t return void (Isaiah 55:11).  That it will draw you to Him.

I can tell you that you have to be saved.  That He’s already made you holy so you better act like it. That He has a good plan for you.  That you “are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand, that (you) should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10).  But I can’t make you GET IT.  That’s His job.

Would you just spend some time in prayer now?  Ask God to search your heart.  Ask Him to give you more of His Spirit.  Then listen to Him when He tells you what to do.  When you start to really do that, it gets addicting.  You feel so alive, so chosen when you’re walking with Him that you start saying GOD, okay, now what!?  Now what!?  Let’s do some more, let’s grow some more, give me MORE OF YOU.

I’m just a woman reading my Bible and praying and realizing more and more how much I need Him.  And you need Him.  Respond to HIM, girl!  Live out your calling.  Make your life COUNT, not safe.  Talk to EVERYONE about Jesus.  Let them know Him by your life.  Let your kids know Him by your life.  Let the guy at the grocery store know Him by your care.  Fall in LOVE with the one who made you and let that LOVE ABOUND more and more.  Let God GROW you and push you and chasten you and heal your wounds that you didn’t even know you had.  ABIDE in Him and stop being fake about it.  Confess your sin and idolatry and burst your safe little bubbles.  And I’ll do it with you.

Well, have a nice day!

HA!

XO

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Anorexia

Anorexia

When I was about 8 or 9, I remember laying in my bed at night and just feeling…..icky.  I wasn’t sick, and nothing was particularly wrong, but I just felt weird.  Kind of sad.  Off.  Depressed, maybe (can a 9 year-old be depressed?)  I remember coming out of my room crying and sitting at the dining room table with my mom.  The conversation went something like this:

“Mom, I don’t feel good.”

“What’s wrong, baby?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sick?”

“No.”

“Did something happen?”

I’m crying and crying.  “No.  I just don’t feel good.  I don’t know why.  There’s nothing wrong.”

“Oh, sweetie you’re spiritually weak.  You need some nourishment.”

Now, let me preface this by saying that my mom is not your average mom.  She’s a believing maverick and has spiritual insight like no other mom I’ve ever met.  Back to the story, mom pulled me in and curled me up and started talking about how we have to have spiritual food or we starve ourselves, literally making ourselves spiritually weak.  I can’t remember all that happened next, but my guess is that she fixed me a mug of warm milk and sent me back to bed with a good psalm and a prayer.  Good ol’ Ma.

During his temptation, in Matthew 4:4 (and Luke 4:4, oddly), Jesus quotes Deuteronomy and says “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”  What does this mean?  This means that the physical is not all there is.  We also live by God’s word.  What happens to our bodies when we do not eat?  We starve.  We get sick.  We become weak and weary.  Our bodies zap ourselves of stored nutrients in order just to function.  If the Holy Spirit resides in you, and you aren’t feeding yourself spiritually, the same thing happens to you.  Spiritual anorexia.  Your growth is stunted.  You are left gaunt, debilitated, and ineffective.

If you are a believer, the Holy Spirit resides in you.  The Spirit in you is like a fire; the fire can be fanned into a flame (2 Tim 1:6), and it can also be extinguished, or “quenched” (1 Thess 5:19).    The Spirit takes residence in you to continually sanctify you, which means to set you apart as holy.  To move you further and further away from your sin nature.  To make you more and more like Christ.  To push you to increasing degrees of glory.  2 Chronicles 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is Spirit.”  It’s the Spirit who authored the Word, teaches you the Word, and gives you the ability to apply the Word to your life.  This application results in increasing degrees of sanctification.  When we quench the Spirit (the word is used to talk about pouring water over a fire), we retard the transformation process.  We stunt our sanctification, and the Holy Spirit actually GRIEVES (Eph 4:30)!  Perhaps it was a window into His grief that left me feeling so……well, grieved that night.

The Word is at the heart of it all.  Man lives by bread and…what?  The Word of God.  It gives us life.  It quickens our hearts to the Spirit’s leadings.  It fans the embers into blazing wildfires.

How do you quench the Spirit?  You fail to study the Word.  To take delight in it.  To see it as God’s beautiful gift to you, His very words spoken to you.  The most jaw-dropping, amazing, awe-inducing life changes wait at the tip of His tongue.  His words are ALIVE and the Spirit quickens them to you.  He teaches them to you.  Shows you how they apply to you.  But most importantly, they show Christ.  They show His character.  His face.  His love and amazing grace and sacrifice for us.  The answer to everything.  For every question you have, He’s given you the answer….I AM.  “What is my purpose?” I am.  “Where should I go?” I am.  “What do I do about my kid?” I am.  The all-surpassing powerful God who called you up from the dead and poured grace over you and gave you life.  He wants you.  He wants you to want Him.

We want all of the answers without searching for them.  God isn’t a spiritual Google, a search engine.  He’s relational.  He designed us for intimacy.  I hear all the time, “I just wish He would tell me what to do.”  Or, “I just want to know His will.”  The answer is in scripture.  And, the answers that aren’t in black or red letters in the Bible are given to you by the Holy Spirit whose flame is fanned by you studying the Word.  Do you spend enough time there?  Any time at all?  Or, do you read it once in a while just to solve your own problems, or someone else’s problem, without studying it and delighting in it just to catch a glimpse of the glory of Christ?  He’s there in the whole thing, woven through the testaments and covenants and promises and prophecies with a deep scarlet thread.  The One and Only GOD who lowered himself to become a man and carry our junk and rebellion and died for it all, to bridge the gap between us.  How He loves us so.  We can quench the Spirit by carving out idols and choosing to worship our families or our kids or our jobs or ourSELVES instead of the One who created all of that.  Isn’t that a scary thought.  By quitting church and fellowship with other believers (Heb 10:24-25).  We can quench Him by wallowing in worry and anxiety, which is fear rooted in unbelief, instead of trusting and delighting in Him.  Of being more concerned about the spiritual life of our spouse than our own.  Of not giving Him a second thought until the going gets tough and we pull out some one-liner verse and read it a couple of times or post it on Facebook.  Maybe pin a picture of it on Pinterest.  Probably while saying to ourselves, “oh this is a really good one for so-and-so.  They really need to read this one.”  Really!?  The Bible says to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Phil 2:3).  Let’s stop worrying about what “they” need to read and worry about our standing.  Work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.  Think about the fact that we did absolutely NOTHING to deserve Him, and that our righteousness is filthy rags.  And AAAAAAALL of this, I say with my best southern accent as I sing ala Bobby Pinson… “Don’t Ask Me How I Knoooooooow.”

Are you feeling a little parched, love bug?  Are you feeling some hunger pangs?  Or is that pit in your stomach the echoing of gastric juices just waiting to consume a nourishing home-cooked meal?  We like the healthy stuff around here.  Good doctrine.  Too much junk will give you a tummy ache.  Okay, perhaps I’ve gone too far now.  Grab your Bible and a cup of something warm, curl up, and delight in your Father.  Give strength to your bones.  Here’s your Psalm.

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

These things I remember as I pour out my soul:  how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.  My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon–from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me–a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why are you downcast, O my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Lord, thank you so much for your Word.  What an awesome wonder it is that you chose me, and that you’ve revealed yourself to me in scripture.  Thank you for the blessing of knowing you.  I want to know you more quickly.  Create in my heart a desire for your word.  Fan the embers of the Holy Spirit in me into a consuming fire.  I love you, Father.  Thank you.  In the name of your Son, Jesus!  Amen.

XO

Amy

Jumanji

Image

Jumanji was a children’s book written in the 1980’s about some kids who find a jungle-themed board game which comes to life once the dice is rolled.  Each turn brings calamities and disasters and jungle animals en masse.  The characters in the book have to finish playing the game, as terrifying as it may be, in order for everything to go back to normal.  The book was also made into a movie in 1995 starring Robin Williams.  My Grandma Mona took me and my sister to see it in the theater.  She sat in her seat with her head down and her eyes covered for the ENTIRE movie.

The Bible is God’s chosen vehicle to speak to us, even today in the 21st Century.  We have been given an awesome, powerful gift.  It is available to us at the click of a mouse.  In any translation.  In any language.  I, Joe Shmoe Bible Reader, can look up original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic texts and do word studies from them.  What an astounding thought.  With that, however, comes the responsibility to know and learn the canon (entirety) of scripture.  Why is it then, that one can make it for two decades as a believer without ever having actually read through her entire Bible?  That’s the good ol’ American way.  From piecemeal Sunday morning sermons and lack of delving deeper personally, embarrassingly, my quiet times used to be just open the Bible to a random spot, read what’s there, see if it applies, do it again tomorrow.  How dreadful.  Thankfully, God can still use the dreadful.  “But it’s so long!”  Really?  How many pages in that Twilight saga that you just couldn’t put down?  “I don’t have time!” Make time.  “I don’t know where to start!”  Really, it’s all good.  Pick a book.  How about Ephesians.  There ya go.  Now go and read.  We don’t get a “free pass” because we’re “too busy.”  We have been given SO much, right at our fingertips.  The God of the UNIVERSE has revealed Himself to YOU in Scripture.

What’s amazing about the Word is that it is a living entity.  “For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb 4:12) We study the word and it leaps off of the page, cutting us to the quick, examining our hearts.  Maybe that’s why some of us drop our heads in our laps and hide from it….maybe we know that it’s true and that it’s going to shine a big fat bright light on our darkest areas.  You know them…they are the spots that quicken your heart when you allow your mind to wander to them.  Terrifying.  Our sinful nature that is in conflict with the Spirit is desperately pulling us away from the one thing that can give us life.   Nothing we do, feel, or think is hidden from Him.  Who are we kidding?  And we know that healing is on the other side of dealing with the dang thing but we’d much rather sit in the toxic sinful pit of sludge than to admit that maybe we’ve got something to confess or deal with.  Ridiculous.  You see, you’ve gotta keep playing the game if you want to ever be rid of the thing.  If you hide, God’s liable to just have you thrown overboard and let a big fish swallow you and spit you back out and make you deal with it (this has been my past repeated pattern of learning my lesson from God.  Gee, if I would’ve just listened to Him the first time…..).

Jeremiah, overwhelmed with grief at the rebellion of Israel, proclaimed, “Let us test and examine our ways and return to the LORD!” (Lam 3:40) Pick up your Bible.  Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you where you need help.  Be convicted.  God disciplines those he LOVES (Proverbs 3:12). Bathe in the Spirit and listen to Him.  He loves you. He wants you to be free. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM (2 Cr 3:17).

P.S.-

I know you all just sang in your head “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is LiberTaaAAaaaaAAAaaay….”

P.S.S.-

I’m praying for you tonight.