Today God has shown me a piece of His Freedom I’ve not seen until now. Last night I taught the lesson TURN for our Celebrate Recovery Group. The acrostic stands for: T=Trust, U=Understand, R=Repent, N=New Life. The lesson meant more to me last night and now this morning than it ever has before. It says that in order to have New Life we start with Trusting. We need to Understand that the battles we face with Hurts, Hang-Ups and Habits are not won with our own strength. We must surrender our will to overcome them to Christ and in this surrender we obtain His Strength to overcome them. We also must repent of our sin and desire to do this myself. When this is done we are given New Life.
Every since God removed the demon Unbelief from me I am seeing more and more clearly some things I’ve never understood as I do today. The new creation I keep talking about is this New Life–that much I did understand. What I’ve never understood was the part of surrendering my will (strength) so Christ’s Work on the Cross could do its part. I knew it had to be true but I often couldn’t find this promised strength for me. I’ve always dealt with temptation with fear and panic. When the temptation to look at porn would hit me I’d be instantly taken back in my mind to the memories of abuse and helplessness. I’d hear dad’s voice and think I simply have no capability of withstanding the temptation so lets get it over with so the temptation is gone.
Today, as a new creation and with unbelief gone, I am finally able to understand last night’s lesson. I had always seen this lesson from the eyes of a victim. Last night I taught the lesson from the eyes of an overcomer–a new creation. I sure know I can’t deal with temptation on my own strength, but I no longer see it as panic/fear. I see it for the disgusting manipulation it is. Yes, it can own me, but who I want owning me is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! This journey of “one day at a time and one moment at a time” (as stated in the Serenity Prayer) is achievable. It is achievable when we let Christ be our strength and surrender the weakness we have to Him so the temptation is faced with His defeat of Satan at the Cross of Calvary. How I love Him for this!
When Christ comes into our lives as we turn our lives over to Him, I think the work is done. For years and years I fought to be worthy of Him thinking that was the reason I still struggled. Boy, has the present few weeks been revealing and teaching me an entirely new way of thinking and living.
When we are told that we are a new creation in Christ, it is true. What we are often not told is that the new creation is first a spiritual being. In order for us to live as this new creation we must address all the earthly physical, emotional scars we have been given in life along with the selfish temptations which do not honor God’s choices. This class on Abuse is cleaning up all that I’ve needed to know and believe so I could finally see that I too am a new creation.
Christ talks about planting seed in the parable about the farmer found in Matthew 13. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this and tried to make meaning of it for me. Finally, now that I’m at this place of awakening spiritually, I can see that Christ is clearly talking about the destructive thinking and believing we have regarding our own selves. If I didn’t believe I could be effective for Christ I’d sabotage what I’d do by leaving it early, not connecting with the people to follow it up, etc. Now that God is cleaning up my mind so I can believe as He wants me to, I can see so much more clearly all He talks about in Matthew.
As I continue to be involved with our Celebrate Recovery ministry and our Recovery Classes, I want to help others find their own obstacles along this line. Satan, being the deceiver he is, wants us bound by the unbelief life has given us. I see this so clearly today. The mountain that the mustard seed sized faith removes has now been removed for me so I can see “believing as me”. How I thank God for keeping me here so I could finally find this GIFT!
Living as a new creation doesn’t sound right. Being a new creation is what I am and each one of us is. Living as a new creation is what we do with “being”. In the past week or so I’ve basked in the Light of living (being) a new creation. So yesterday I found myself up against temptation. It did its best to find entry. I grappled with it and then walked away from it. This morning in my devotions I recognized something I’m going to need to grow into.
A week ago last Sunday I had this wonderful experience of God removing “unbelief” from me. I could nicely see in my mind “The Holy Spirit” standing guard so this demon could not return. Yesterday’s moment of temptation was a time of choice. I found myself quickly processing choice from old thinking–the old creation ways which would usually lose. God is teaching me to reach out to The Holy Spirit when this time comes. He is The Gift Christ gave me and to each of us as we choose Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. I’d forgotten this yesterday at the “panic” moment of temptation. I fought alone. I am learning how to live in my new creation being. Allowing The Holy Spirit to answer the door of temptation rather than me is the answer. The deceiver awaits entrance and I never want him here again.
In Mark where my scripture reading has me, Christ heals the woman who touched His garment which stopped her blood flow of 12 years. Christ’s new creation blood healed her. This happened because she believed, reached out and touched the hem of His garment. The new creation does this–believes. This is where I want to live the rest of my earthly life.
New creation living–Have you ever tried to put words to this? Yesterday I spent the day working with the school district’s elementary site. We are in the midst of completing a huge needs assessment, setting goals from it and then we will develop a budget for their grant. All this has to be finished and submitted by Jan. 15, 2019. The same is true for the Jr/Sr High School. I’ll be with them tomorrow. I write all of this because this is where I can become very dominant–taking charge. However, I am not to be the one in charge or else the wrong work is getting done. I am to be a light helping each site see what they need to do and then finding a path that has steps for which they can accomplish the work of helping kids learn at an achieveable pace keeping them at grade level. It is so much easier to do the work and hand it to them and say, “Here is a good plan and so let me help you follow it.”
I am seeing that a new creation seldom “tells”. A new creation models and assists so the others involved can be fully engaged in the learning. Always before when doing this work I’d be full of my own doubts thinking I’m doing this wrong, etc. However, God is making it so much clearer that a new creation relying fully on His Holy Spirit’s leadership will see grappling as a part of learning. I only shed light when the grappling is leading to darkness rather than to light.
I am amazed at how God is making this happen. Tonight this new creation is walking into our recovery class. I’ll be facing the same chapter regarding “The Abuser”. Last week was grueling but this time I’m going to walking in with a new mind set. I am going to take the grappling and watch for The Holy Spirit’s Light. If I don’t see it tonight I know He will eventually show it to me when I’m ready for it. The old creation had a way of labeling me “a loser”. I’m a young new creation, but I have a fully equipped Holy Spirit within me I will lean upon.
So, I’ve tried to put into words–living in “the new creation” for one day. Today is day two. To God be the Glory, great things He has done. Today I believe that great things will be done.
As I begin today’s entry I am awakened to something from the past many days. God has been revealing to me as I’ve read through Matthew how little man actually commits to Him. Man for the most part only commits what he is desperately needing help with. The rest of life we keep for ourselves to manage. God is showing me He wants me committed in all of my life. However, this piece isn’t the revelation of the morning. The actual revelation is that I am a new creation. God is now teaching me what living as a new creation is all about.
I’ve not had this conversation per se with anyone, but I would imagine if I did most of us would admit we spend our life after accepting Christ into our hearts, living as best we can for Him. The idea we are actually a new creation is great, but the reality of it stays more in “the great idea” arena. God is not wanting me living there in this great idea arena. If I am a new creation, I am to live as though I am. This living as one is all about believing I am one. Today I am going to intentionally live as a new creation which will mean I believe it.
It has been a week and a day since God removed from me the demon named “unbelief”. God even said The Holy Spirit would plant the seeds of belief in me (the new garden called the new creation). I haven’t discredited this at all, but today God is wanting me to not just think this is nice, but to TRUST this as I live each day. I’m also recalling God told me the fruit from the seeds of BELIEF are Trust while the fruit of the unbelief, I’ve lived with forever, are doubt. The last piece God is wanting me to know about the new creation for today is that this new person gives thanks to Him ahead of even seeing any fruit developing. The new creation knows it will happen because it is all about the seeds planted in him. I am no longer living on my own strength, but on the strength within me from The Holy Spirit. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Today’s bible reading was Matthew 26. I don’t usually stop with one chapter of reading, but in this chapter there was much I needed to read and reflect upon. In this chapter Peter is being challenged by the message Christ gave him about his denial of Christ and the rooster crowing. I’ve read and heard this so many times I have not a clue how many. However, in reading it this morning following the day to day messages of my current walk with God, the chapter took on an entirely different meaning.
Christ had told Peter and all the disciples about his crucifixion forthcoming and the need for this to come about once and for all. He had also told them about the Gift He would be giving to each of them and to each of the followers from that point forward. However, this message was all information which hadn’t become tangible. When Peter saw Christ arrested, tormented, beaten and He did nothing, then where was this power He had? Was He for real?
For over two years now God has had me journaling to Him. During this time He has not only proven Himself over and over to me as a Loving God, Promise Keeper, Kind Father and Almighty God, He has wanted me to turn my trust over to His counter-parts: Christ and The Holy Spirit. Christ seemed so helpless when He was crucified. The Holy Spirit seemed so helpless when He was “living in me” and just remained silent. I wonder if Peter was pondering all this helplessness that one night over 2,000 years ago?
I do know all of this with Christ was fulfilling a much greater purpose, but at the moment of crisis in each of our lives, Christ often asks us to TRUST the plan we cannot see at the moment. This morning I know God is asking me to now trust all of these characteristics of Himself to be as real and alive within His Son and His Holy Spirit. When I hear God’s voice within it is The Holy Spirit. When I feel the nudge it is The Holy Spirit. Today my message was to join The Holy Spirit rather than asking Him to join me. If I obey this message I will respond to His voice and nudges rather than asking Him to respond to mine. In so doing, I am trusting there is no mistake in God’s Leading of my life. I want to be one who leaves a legacy of Trust for these kids and grandkids of mine. I want to choose to live in obedience and no other way.
Thanksgiving is behind us, Thanksgiving evening shopping is behind us, Black Friday shopping is behind us. Yes, we were active participants in all of this. After the delicious dinner with family and friends the grandkids and adults got the ads together and made their Christmas lists. Actually, my 2nd oldest grandson and I were able to complete everyone of the boys’ lists by early afternoon yesterday. It is a good feeling knowng we got all of it done and all of it is within the “budget”! Not sure how the girls did. Kathy takes the girls and their lists while I take the boys and their lists. There are six granddaughters and six grandsons so it is evenly split.
This morning I feel like I’m back on planet Earth once again. As I was having my devotions I found myself being confronted with a message from the Blackaby’s devotional I use. The message was saying God cannot use a double life (or doesn’t use one). If one is saying they are “alive unto God–living for Him” but secretly living for self with private sins, etc., God will not profit their work. We have to be sold out to God and all He puts before us if we are to truly see His Work come to life through the talents and capabilities He gives us.
This message brought me right back to the recovery class I’ve journaled about many times of late. It is so easy to “leave good enough alone” for one’s selfish reasons (sometimes fears). This would be privately sinning when God is asking you to step out in Faith to live a freedom one doesn’t know as of yet. He is challenging me to do this more than I have. I think back three years ago when my book was just coming out and I thought my freedom was complete. Now I can see where I need to take further steps. Once I can see them I must either take the step and obey God’s leading or “call it good”. I don’t want that to happen. I want God’s work to flourish in my life and in any life my own testimony touches. God is so patient, but He is also quite relentless!
Happy Thanksgiving! I don’t know of any other holiday where we sit down to simply give thanks for God’s abundance which is shared. Our heritage is all about giving thanks for the ones we call native Americans sharing their abundance with us invaders so we could keep from starving. We need to not lose sight of this. This sharing is all about what God is wanting us to do with our abundance today whether it is a physical abundance or a spiritual abundance. God doesn’t want us keeping to ourselves what He has given to us.
Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving Everyone!
Living as a new creation is a lot like living as the old creation from the human standpoint. I still look the same. I still laugh the same and over the same things. There are many of these details which look similar, so much so that I really doubt that man notices. However, what is strikingly different for me is a peace within me. I am not left with a need to flee when things go wrong or I hear about someone else’s tragedy.
Last night in our recovery class the counselor who is with us every other week touched base with the groups and spent most of his time in ours. We were tackling the first part of the chapter addressing “The Abuser”. We didn’t get very far into it as there was much to share from the men in the group. The counselor was sitting by me and he shared somethings regarding some responses he heard which brought about some real tension for me. These were things like: intimacy, physical touch, cuddling, and more. I found myself needing to move a little farther away from him. He even said his love language is physical touch. After class he asked me if I’d had PTSD therapy and I told him yes, for two years. He said that maybe since we are now into new territory I might want to consider readdressing some of these old wounds which may still have lingering holds on me. I wasn’t wanting to hear that. I’d like to think those days are behind me. However, this morning I do know that either the tension of last night will dissipate in the days ahead or they will continue. If they do continue I will know I still need help. As God brings these things forward in my “new creation” there shouldn’t be fears of the past gripping me and staying that way. I do know I will be open to this if this is the case.
God is so good and so patient. Learning to be patient with myself is a new area too. Instead of going into denial about these feelings, I want to let them play themselves out. It is then I will know. God is good all the time–All the time God is good!
God is such an AMAZING GOD. I know I look the same and probably act exactly the same, but I truly feel so differently inside. I simply had no idea the grip “unbelief” had on me. My whole life I’ve wondered what it was like for people who had the Holy Spirit living in them and they actually knew it? I’ve privately struggled all my life with this dilemma–I am given the Holy Spirit when Christ came into my life, but where is this Holy Spirit when I’ve needed Him? Now I know beyond a shadow of doubt that He is right where Christ said He’d be–in my heart.
The emotional pain of my past which has kept me from stepping into the discovery of BELIEF is now gone. What is even more amazing is what it is replaced with. VISION–I CAN SEE! I can see what believing looks like because it is not something intangible any longer for me–it is a reality within me. This Holy Spirit I’ve longed for, prayed for, begged for, journaled to, is within me. Today I see Him within me. What has been set free for me is my spiritual vision. Notice the root word of spiritual–SPIRIT. This is what I’ve not known. This demon of unbelief is one of flesh keeping our human eyes only on what has been true for us in the flesh. Yes, I was abused by dad and Rich, neglected by my mom. Yes, I was called many names when I was growing up which I had come to believe were true for me. Yes, I had much sexual damage done to me which I had believed I only deserved. BUT, now this belief is gone. The damage to flesh is healed and I can see the truth in the scripture that God’s Spirit lives within me for I can see Him.
This morning in my scripture reading of Matthew 14:27-32 you find Christ coming to the disciples who were in their boat struggling with the strong waves. Jesus was walking on the water to them. Peter had said if that were Him to command him to come to Him on the water. Christ had said come so Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water…. But when he perceived the strong wind he panicked and began to sink. He cried out to Jesus so Jesus reached out His hand and saved him. Christ’s words to Peter at the time were: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
I have doubted all my life knowing I have not been worthy of this precious Gift–The Holy Spirit. Yet, today I now know and believe I am worthy and it is because Jesus Christ has cleansed me and made me whole. This garden called Earnie is fertile and rich and The Holy Spirit is planting things like the seeds of faith. He has removed the demon of unbelief and I will praise Him forever for this!