In my devotional this morning which I’m using, it asked if I know the meaning of heir? Of course I immediately in my mind went to my book’s title: The Journey from Heir to Error. It went on to say that heir gives us access through the work of Jesus Christ to all that Christ has access to with His Father. We have this access because we chose Christ to be our Lord and Savior. My greatest component in being an heir has been my freedom from my past. Living in the freedom, that my past is a tool used by God, is amazing. However, I’m also learning that to maintain freedom “one day at a time and one moment at a time” is its own assignment. In the times like the first part of this week, when I had lost sight of my freedom, I needed to BELIEVE something that for the moment I couldn’t grab a hold of. I’ve said before that words like believe, trust, faith are spiritual substance words. They are tangible in the spiritual realm, not this earthly-human realm. I see this so much more clearly now that I’m back on track. I am an heir to God’s freedom. He wants me to fight for this freedom for others who don’t know about it. This is what happened yesterday in our meeting. I found myself fighting.
In our board meeting for the sex trafficked girls, I was hearing from others that there is “sin in our camp”. The reason we are not able to move forward with our plan is that someone is sinning, one member informed us. This set me back on my haunches and I’m leading the meeting. We were able to address some troubling actions but we didn’t make any resolve. The conflict is still very present. In journaling this morning with God about it He is reminding me of what my Experiencing God is teaching me. We board members are facing a crisis of belief. In the crisis God is working and I need to let Him do His kingdom work. The work this board is attempting to do is Kingdom Work but if man keeps staying in control God can’t and won’t. So, I’m acting on belief that this outcome will be God’s handiwork. I’ll only take steps when He opens the door shedding new light. Until then, if there is sin in the camp, He will certainly identify it. My assignment? “Be still and know that I AM GOD” Psalms 46:10
Our God is a loving, gentle, kind Father. Yet, the work He wants us to do is not called kind and gentle work. As I have expressed the past couple days, I’ve needed to take a look at the worst character defect–my personal belief of who I am–and BELIEVE what I had thought is nothing but a LIE. As difficult as it is to work through to the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, God has done His part lovingly, gently and kindly. The work I do in helping someone else work through their own ugly past is to be done in the same manner as God my Father has done with me.
Just a couple days ago I was questioning whether God actually wants me–this man who was sinned upon and has committed his own sins–to be used by Him. He gently informed me that it was for these very reasons He wants me doing this. I will always find this so amazing. Today’s devotion time led me into God’s understanding that I chose Him to be my Father. He actually said that when man adopts, the parents choose their child. However, when God adopts us, we choose Him. I had never thought through this before, even though I was very aware I chose God to be my Heavenly Father by accepting His Son Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
Today is the meeting with the board for our group working to establish a care facility for sex trafficked girls. We will be expressing our personal commitment and what God has shown to us He wants us doing specific to this work. The one thing I do know is that my old belief about myself will be something everyone of these abused kids will struggle with. I know this piece of their struggle very well. I want to commit to being loving, gentle and kind as I have the opportunity to mix with them and tackle this huge piece of work. To God be all Glory, great things He has done and is doing.
Well, the battle of the past couple days didn’t end with yesterday’s blog. I was called at noon time yesterday by the gentleman who leads our 7-Pillars group for our accountability. I told him my struggle with the lesson and the specifics of the struggle. He thanked me for articulating it to him. He talked to me about his own battle and we ended the call. The battle raged throughout the afternoon within me. When I finally got to class last night I really was not in a good place emotionally or mentally. I had begun to question the commitments I’d made for doing “God’s work”. In class I talked about the findings from the lesson. The walk away from the lesson was to replace the lies with truth in God’s word about who I am to God–“I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” for example.
This morning’s devotions brought more clarity for me. God reminded me where He has me working–in the very pits of human pain and emotional suffering caused by man’s sins. The past three days of torment have been just that–tormenting. However, God is reminding me of His love for me and then He reminded me how telling my story of His work in my life brings healing. He said that there are many who are suffering with their identity with man and particularly their identity with Him. They need to hear how God is healing this for me. They need to know that our pain turns into His passion once He is able to help us find His love, purpose and healing. The roots of abuse run deeply within our flesh, but thanks be to God–our Healer–He takes our hardships and makes them a “pathway to peace” as is stated in the Serenity Prayer. Our need is to just to take one day at a time and even one moment at a time with God at the helm. This is not easy work but it is so rewarding when we finally find God in it. I love this about our God and Father–The Mighty Healer.
Yesterday’s post was only the beginning of my learning about what the torment of “my differences” were. After I’d written my blog I began to do my 7-Pillars lesson for tonight. It was all about what from your past is still leading you into behaviors of addiction? The lesson confronted head-on the blatant abuse of my brother’s sexual use and my dad’s verbal abuse about my worth to him. The culminating part of the lesson was my writing that my only value to a man was his sexual use of me. This I knew was a lie, but I also knew it about took my breath away having the rawness of this old truth (lie) breathing down my neck again. I wanted to talk to Kathy and I wanted to call someone “I trust” but I didn’t do either. I didn’t want to say this out loud! It is too painful to risk it at the moment. The only thing I did was alert my Celebrate Recovery accountability guy that I was struggling with an old lie brought out from this lesson. I needed his prayers.
Today’s time with God brought out His Divine truth. I needed to see the “differences” conversation from Sunday’s time with my brothers tied to the old lies from my past. Yes, I did use to believe the lie about my value, but I now knew in my mind it was a lie. I needed to know in my heart and soul it was a lie. God assured me this morning that “He who begins a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1;6. God reminded me He is healing all of these old areas of bondage. These lessons may be painful but they are cleansing once I work through to the truth of them. How blessed our Lord and Savior is. He is the Healer and I want to stay on this journey to be completely whole.
In yesterday’s post I wrote about God’s nudges and His awakening regarding full obedience. One of the questions in our step study lesson was what area of your life are you facing denial and working to change it? I had written in response to the question my need to accept myself as OK. The strengths and interests I have are very different than most of the Lewis boys’ strengths. This doesn’t make me weak, it makes me different. Yesterday afternoon two of my brothers and spouses came for dinner. We had decided to start doing this monthly after being at my brother-in-law’s funeral the end of May. They were bringing up some of the ways I am different as humorous and it was. I laughed to because where they are strong I am not and it is funny–as in the time I needed to change a flat tire on Kathy’s SUV and I looked for 45 minutes for the spare. I finally found it–mounted on the rear of the rig. We had owned it for 5 years and of course I “knew” it was there, but, this is not a strength of mine!
Last night, after everyone was gone, I was being tormented about being different–weak. I wanted to escape and flee into past sinful choices. God was speaking about this to me. This morning’s devotions spoke about seeing what makes us anxious, confess it and ask God to show the root cause so it can be uprooted and replaced. I did just this. I confessed the desires to escape and asked God to show me the root. It was simple–my brothers were pointing out the differences between them and me. I saw them as weaknesses yet, they only saw them as differences. Satan has wanted me to believe these lies and throws them in my face rather routinely. I don’t need to go there anymore. The new creation I am is OK being different. Differences don’t make weaknesses. They actually make a stronger team when we use our differences for Godly means.
This morning I confessed my anxiety and asked God to uproot any last personal identity pieces/beliefs so they can be replaced with truth. How patient God is in helping us return to the one He created us to be in Him. The obedience I need to put into place is now being obedient to this truth.
This morning I’ve had a message driving itself home to me. While I was doing my devotions I had a number of things on my mind needing done. Once I’d finished my devotions and prayer time I went over my lesson today for the men’s step study we do for Celebrate Recovery. Then, following that I did a lesson in Experiencing God. Both of these lessons were about being obedient to God. The portion that really was standing out to me was the part about how we limit God’s work in our life by the belief we have in Him. How much faith do I actually have that God can and will do great things through me if I will simply obey no matter the size of the task?
I must say that this was very eye-opening for me. I needed to walk through my life listing times I obeyed with faith and those times I disobeyed for lack of faith. Each time I have disobeyed it was solely due to my belief in who I thought I was and what I thought others would think if they found out who I really am (with the past I have). Now for the first time I am seeing the full extent of what God is asking of me when he says to “take up your cross and follow Me,” Luke 9:23. My cross was certainly my belief or lack thereof. I was completely unwilling to take my past and follow Christ. I had to stay in denial about the hurt of my past in order to do anything for Christ. For in my mind, my past would eliminate my doing anything for Him.
Today God is wanting this totally gone. A couple days ago in my devotions Joyce Myers states that “out of your heart will flow rivers of living water” John 7:25-29. In this I now see that as I begin to fully obey Christ’s leading in my life, The Holy Spirit will have full opportunity to flow out of me. Joyce said that our past places stones blocking this flow. I can easily state many of these stones but what I want to do today is admit these stones blockages and let The Holy Spirit remove them so He has full access to me and I show this by obeying all He asks of me. In so doing, He can flow out of me freely. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Yesterday was an interesting day. Originally I was to help a family clean their yard along with several others. However, on Wed. evening at our Celebrate Recovery, we’d met with a mom whose son is in jail. The mom is deaf and I knew I was to go with her yesterday to assist getting help for her and the son. The son is part of our group but has some disabilities complicating the case. The mom was needing to go into Oregon for the meetings as the son was arrested there. Since the mom is deaf it is next to impossible for her to work her way through a conversation using a notepad for them to respond to questions she asks–especially when the conversation topics are so private and critical. It is equally difficult for them to want to take the time to write out their questions so she can respond to them. Thus, my reason for going.
I had prayed yesterday morning knowing I didn’t know what to do except go. I picked the mom up and listened to her talk for an hour while we drove to the destination. When I pulled into town I asked a lady on the sidewalk who was putting out a sign for her store, where B street was. She said I was only two blocks away and I’d see the courthouse as I reached it. She didn’t even know that was exactly what I was looking for. As we got into the courthouse it only took two stops to be at the exact window for our help. The lady was so nice. She printed out the details of the son’s case. We thought we’d need to ask for an attorney but they’d already assigned one. In fact, the lady said to turn around as the lawyer assigned was standing only a few feet from us. I quickly walked to her, introduced the mom and me telling about the son. She was pleasant and asked us to go to her office and set an appointment for the mom and her to meet. We did this and the meeting is now set for next Friday–two weeks ahead of the hearing.
This morning I was thanking God for his intervention. I was quickly reminded that I was joining Him yesterday. He wasn’t joining me. He’d already had these details in place. I was only needing to obey His nudges so that the mom and lawyer could meet and His intent would be accomplished. The timing was exactly what God had in mind. I am sure learning that God is at work all the time in the details of our lives. It isn’t until we open our eyes and ears and obey His nudges that we begin to recognize just how true this is. It isn’t that He is waiting to work, but He waits for us to recognize His work and join it. How Amazing God is. I even told God this morning that He is Amazing and He said, “This is Who I Am. It seems amazing because we are not use to working so routinely with Him.” As I grow in my own awareness of God’s work I find it is truly AMAZING, but this is simply natural for God as this is WHO HE IS.
Last night was a critical meeting with the second project I’d mentioned a few days ago regarding trying to know if God is wanting me to continue with it. It is a difficult commitment and has been almost from the start of working with it. Last night’s meeting had much light shed on the issues blocking the project moving forward. Another member had called me saying they were ready to pull out and I was feeling that way too. However, in the meeting we were able to define the “elephant in the room” and begin to at least address some changes that must be made if we are to make any headway. We are meeting again in a week. In the meantime each member is to pray seeking God’s insights for our personal commitment to the work and what exactly God would want us doing for Him in the work. We will come back and start the meeting with this going around the room for each member to tell what God has said to him/her.
In my own Bible reading this morning I am reading about Elijah being taken up to heaven in the chariot of fire, II Kings, chapter 2. Before he is taken Elijah asks Elisha what he would like from him before He departs. Elisha says he’d like a double portion of his spirit to be upon him. Joyce Myers, who has authored this edition of the Amplified Bible I’m reading, writes an insert regarding this request of Elisha. She says: “I have always felt that Elijah was saying, “If you stick with me until the very end, if you finish what you started many years ago–then you may have what you asked for…. We must be able to endure hardship, wait longer for results than we expected,…. Make a decision today that from now on, by God’s grace, you will always finish what you start…. God has a double portion blessing waiting for you, but you will find it at the finish line.”
With this message the morning after the meeting where my charge is to seek God’s message for me, I find this very insightful. God is so good and I sure don’t want to be “under blessed” because of my selfishness. Now I will keep listening to God to see just exactly what He wants me to be doing for Him with this team of God workers.
In the workbook study I’m doing of Experiencing God, there are steps identified which God takes us through as we truly experience Him. As we build an intimate relationship with God we naturally go through these steps at various times. I am seeing this quite clearly of late for myself. I said yesterday that I had a couple decisions I’m needing to make about involvement in some projects. The one which I so wanted to do has been in the forefront of thinking of late. I’ve had three phone conversations about it in the past two days. It involves educational work similar to the consulting I’ve done in the years since leaving the school district in 2007. I had pulled away from the consulting when I joined the Nampa School Dist. in 2013 to assist with their financial crisis–that became full-time work for 2.5 years. Recently I’ve been asked to rejoin the work that is now being adjusted to better fit schools/districts in crisis. My own crisis has been how to choose what God truly wants? In my mind I’ve thought God wants me in church type ministry because “that is God work”. However, this morning, God made it very clear that secular work doesn’t remove Him from working. He said to me that He wants me to take part so the work He is doing can be called out as His work. In doing so it helps man to get his eyes off of himself and onto the Greater Power of God Almighty. This probably seems vague to a reader, but it has been very clear to me.
I’ve loved working the past 45 years in education. As I’ve spent the last year getting to know God and journaling to Him, I’ve felt like He wanted me to eliminate all the secular related work I’ve done to only do ministry work related to church. This way I knew for sure I was joining His work. I’ve wondered if my work all these years in education has been more out of my own selfish desires than truly pleasing God. This morning God has made it very clear to me that only man calls His work church related or secular related. He calls His Work–His Work. I categorize it, not Him. He wants me working where He points me and provides the clarity of purpose.
One other item of importance that has come out of the past couple days has to do with “a heart of stone vs a heart of flesh”. In Ezekiel 36:26 God’s word says: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” When I was going through my years of counseling God gave me this promise. I thought when God gave me a clean heart He polished the heart I had–He made it shiny. How He wanted me to unlearn that lie. What I didn’t then understand about a heart of flesh is that flesh feels. He wanted my heart to feel. My past had hardened my heart so it didn’t feel the hurt of the past. Today, God wants me feeling with my heart. An incident of last night at Celebrate Recovery showed this to me. A hardened heart judges man when he hears a man’s story. A heart of flesh feels a man’s need and discerns how to support because he is led by The Holy Spirit’s nudge.
So, these are my lessons of late. God is always Good!
I don’t know how much you know about Elijah, but he was the main topic in today’s Bible reading. I love how God spoke to him and how he would instantly obey no matter how difficult the circumstances were. He confronted the king and queen ( as evil as she was) and God was glorified. Yet, he would then let his emotions get the best of him and he’d flee. God didn’t seem to be offended by his fleeing. Elijah would question God, God would guide him, comfort him at times, but then God would give him commands and Elijah would obey. This is found in I Kings 17-19.
I’ve never been one to trust emotions. I’ve always thought I learned to be this way from my dad’s emotional outbursts which only damaged us kids physically and emotionally. I’ve presently learned to respect emotions and know that they are not sin as I thought when I was much younger. They are actually a natural part of us and of God. I know that emotion is fuel. It ignites us to act on whatever is before us. It is the substance of passion. Emotion is important in sustaining us as we do our work particularly when we know we are doing it with God. However, I struggle about decision making during emotional times. In my life I’ve made decisions that were not the best when they were driven only by emotions. I know that decisions must align with God’s Word, prayer, circumstances and our church. This comes directly from working with Experiencing God.
Last night Kathy and I joined a songfest which was housed by a couple in our church. It was joyously emotional and good. I worshiped during this time and God was glorified. I have a couple decisions I’m needing to face. I do not want them to be done from emotions only. However, if they were, I’d have already done it for one is very enticing and the other is a “labor of love”. God keeps telling me to see where He is working for that is what He is wanting me doing. I’m seeking to see with spiritual eyes and listen with spiritual ears. I’ll keep you posted.