This journey of life I’m presently walking through is teaching me in remarkable ways about living as a new creation. Of late I’ve been sensing the urge to begin to journal to Jesus rather than to God the Father as I have been for almost 3 years now. However, each morning I start with Father God. In my journaling today I awakened to something I know God was wanting me to finally see. In the almost three years of journaling to God, He has taught me to experience Him as God Almighty, but also God as Dad. His intimate love, compassion, patience, and more, are all a part of His Power and Strength. Today, I saw Jesus as the Powerful Son of God He is!
My whole life I longed for intimacy with God, Jesus, The Holy Spirit. I knew they were important but somehow I just wasn’t important to them. I wanted so much to be acknowledged by them. I felt more like I was a child to be tolerated rather than anything else. In these past 3 years God has taught me so much and helped me experience just how much He loves me. Today, I see this same love from His Son, Jesus. I want Jesus to be my Model in life as well as my best Friend in life. Not because He is a nice guy, but truly because He did something for me no other could do or would do.
This morning in my devotional reading it was talking about Timothy being raised by his mom Eunice and grandmother Lois. They taught him to love God, know His Word, and to be teachable and humble of spirit. A new creation, which we are today because of Jesus Christ, knows to be humble and teachable because they recognize who their creator truly is–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This is true for you and me! Praise God!
Our God is an Awesome God! He truly is! As I got home from church yesterday and was going to settle into reading the newspaper, my brother called saying he thought he’d come over and finish fixing the valve and hydrant. We did just that. It was like an ox in the ditch which needed to remedied. I was very grateful and we had it done in just a short amount of time and the hole is now filled so no more “falling into the pit”.
Last night our church staff hosted a dinner for all the volunteers in our congregation. There were about 350 people in attendance. The staff had all of their family members assisting them. It was a beautiful experience to witness just how huge the amount of God’s Kingdom work He is doing and the amount of giving being done to complete it. I love how complete God is. It is so easy for me to think there are so few helping when my lens is only on what I personally do. It was beautiful to be reminded for a moment how big God’s work is. This morning as I was thanking Him for this reminder, He also reminded me that this is just a speck of His Work throughout our world. He has millions of workers in the field faithfully completing what He has given them to do. He is such a faithful God!
There is an issue I’m deeply concerned about which I don’t see changing for the good. This morning as I was journaling to God about it, He reminded me that a new creation keeps his focus on God’s Strength and what He does and not to keep my focus on man’s weakness. This is the sin of worry. I don’t want to step into that. I will stay focused on God’s Strength and trust what I do not presently see.
I don’t know if the testing is done yet with the underground sprinklers and the hole I had to dig getting it repaired. I didn’t fill the hole because my brother helping me thought I needed to wait to see if any leak is there. We don’t want a leak 4′ underground and then redig it all. Well, yesterday as I was cutting back an old flowerbed to ready it for this year, I carried a pitchfork load of the clippings to my burn pile. In so doing I was watching the pitchfork load so it didn’t drop anything on the lawn and proceeded to step right into the hole with my left leg. The hole is deeper than my leg so my right leg got somewhat twisted. I laughed when it happened thinking how stupid I was to walk my old path forgetting the hole in it! Nothing hurt so I went on with my work the rest of the afternoon. Well, this morning I do have one stiff, painful knee. Oh the lessons to learn!
This morning as I was having my devotions I found myself worrying about the “things” needing to be done and I don’t have the inspiration presently to get to them. They aren’t things with deadlines, but they do relate to the ministry work. I found myself feeling guilty putting in so much time with my yard and garden and little time with all of the other. In talking to God about it He reminded me that first and foremost I am to “be” His child and follow His lead. His Light is to be my inspiration, not my worry. I don’t need to feel guilty about doing what needs to be done in my own yard. Besides, it is a gift He gave to me and I do love this gift. So, from this insight I will “be” grateful for the time to get the yard work done instead of “being” a worrier where God’s Light isn’t presently shining.
Yesterday was a day of testing for me. I started it by working in the yard, beginning to turn on the underground watering for my lawn and yard. However, one of the valves 3.5′ underground would just spin and not turn anything on. I ended up calling my brother, digging a large hole deep enough so we could get to the valve and then letting my brother do the work–it is beyond me when it comes to plumbing or mechanics. We spent a couple hours trying to find the part for it is 20 years old. It’s fixed now but Satan has a way of testing me at times like this. “How can I be a new creation and be so helpless/stupid/incapable? I awoke in the middle of the night with this sense of panic that I’m really not anything but the incapable man dad labeled so long ago.
As I took this to God this morning He simply reminded me that I am still human in flesh, but I am a new creation in spirit. I should also rejoice in things like yesterday for it gives me a chance to see how God works in my weakness. He gave me a brother who is skilled in everything I am not skilled in and together we take care of the problem. In my weakness, God demonstrates His love for me by taking care of these needs.
I know God is teaching me how to live as a new creation letting go of these old character defects. Rejoicing in weakness is exactly what Paul told us to do. He said that in his weakness God is made strong. I’ll rejoice today knowing this!
At Celebrate Recovery last night our testimony was given by a lady. She used a line which stood out to me above the entire rest of the story. She said, “I finally gave God my bad.” For some this could be just a play on words. However, for me, it was the bulls eye. I’ve spent my life confessing sin to God. But, what I “gave” to Him were my efforts to do good for Him. I wanted to replace all the bad in my life by hiding it from God and instead, showing Him what I could do for Him, hoping all the time, it would be good enough for Him to forgive me for the sins I would confess.
As I have come to Celebrate Recovery over the years I’ve realize the purpose of giving to God my bad–my hiding, my secrets. As long as I held onto the bad God could not replace it with His Good. As I’ve given my sin, my past to Him He has taken it and used it to His Glory. He literally takes our bad and makes it His Good.
The struggle of first telling my story was a start for giving my bad to Him. It grew into telling what my story had done to me personally–leaving me with struggles of porn and homosexual thoughts. Now today, the struggle still exists sometimes but it is no longer being housed in a body trying to hide it. It is housed in a new creation which God uses just as he used this lady’s story last night.
God is such a wonderful, patient God. I want to serve Him well as my life continues.
Have you ever considered how God just keeps repeating Himself until we finally “get it”? In my scripture reading this morning God changes Sarai’s name to Sarah (princess). Abram’s name is changed to Abraham (father of a multitude). God did this in spite of their previous choice to have their “promised son” born through Sarai’s maidservant–Hagar. They had to wait another 14 years for the original promise God had given them to take place, yet it did take place and that was when God changed their names. This is all found in Genesis 16-18.
In my Joyce Meyer Amplified Bible I’m reading, there are footnotes from commentaries and notes from Joyce going into greater detail regarding these events and their application for today. Israel, the promised land, wasn’t to be a tiny country as of today which I mentioned yesterday. It is the land God promised Abraham. Sarai and Abram decided to take matter in their hands and Abram gave birth to Ishmael through Hagar. These descendants are our Arab nations today surrounding Israel. I know all of this but this morning God was pointing out to me how patient He is as well as what the consequences of our choices are when we don’t wait on God.
I have always wanted to prove myself worthy to God when God has been wanting me to believe He provided my worthiness. I believe this now with all my heart. When God changed the names of of these people, He was giving them a new identity. This might sound trite, but when I was born my older siblings named me after an older cousin, Ernest Nichols, who had been killed in WWII. They liked him a lot. My folks didn’t have a name for me so I was given this name. When I was in my early elementary years, my name was changed to Earnest which means honest and sincere. I have always thought this was something to live up to even though I knew I couldn’t because of my past. However, God, making me a new creation, tells me this change was on purpose. He didn’t create me to hide something but to be honest and sincere about using my past in an honoring way as He would direct me. How much I love Him for this too.
What an amazing God we serve!
As I was reading my bible reading this morning I find that God promises Abram (not yet Abraham) the land from the great river of Egypt to the river Euphrates. I don’t know if you realize how much land that is, but it is huge. Today it encompasses many nations only one of which is the small country of Israel. As I was reading it I was stricken with the reality that still today we limit what God wants to give us by our sinful choices. I realize more and more just how much the cost of sinful living is. I also am realizing just how much we limit God’s blessings by these choices.
To be a new creation as Jesus gives to us when we accept Him as our Savior, is wonderful. I am only now learning that living in this new creation is to awaken to the monumental lies Satan wants us believing about living for God. This idea that I could work my way to God and someday be good enough for Him is one of the biggest lies. I keep coming back to the fact that in my mind I needed to do all the things I thought dad should have done and then I’d be better than him thus making me pleasing to God. How awful that thinking! I now see dad was a sinner saved by God’s Grace through Jesus Christ. This is the same that I am. In my living for Jesus today, I now see the sinfulness He has erased from my Father’s eyes through His Work on the Cross.
I don’t want the ending years of my life to only be a speck of what God intended for it as Israel is only a speck of what God had originally promised for it. As I awaken more and more, also what awakens within me is this commitment to live well in obedience to Christ one day at a time. As He sheds His Light, I want to recognize and take each step with Him.
Every spring I have this sense of urgency to get everything done in the garden, yard, flower beds, lawn all at once! Of course it isn’t necessary but my love for doing them and my emotions tell me I must do it now. This morning is no different. Being gone all last week and working yesterday I want to be outside from the moment the sun is up until it finally rests tonight hoping by then the yard is finally complete. Now that I’ve written this I find nothing in it which addresses what God would have me do today. I write this sentence and realize that the beauty of every flower, tree, vegetable growing in the garden, etc. is all a gift from God for us. So, as I do what I do today I don’t want to forget this gift He gives us.
My spirit has always wanted to please what I love. The Holy Spirit within me wants me to please what God loves. So, now that I’m much more aware of the Holy Spirit within me I want to please Him most. I’m glad God has given me time today to be in the yard. I’ll be grateful for this all day long!
How glorious to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Then, all of a sudden, it is the day after and life continues. However, I don’t want it continuing as it had. When Christ left this earth He promised the disciples His Gift–The Holy Spirit. He said to linger until their infilling came. That they did–they lingered until they were anointed with The Holy Spirit. (Read the beginning of Acts and you’ll see this).
This year, for the first time in my life, being filled with The Holy Spirit is done. I know in my mind that this gift was given when I accepted Christ, but for me to be awakened to the powerful source of Him has taken all of my life. The truths of the Bible revealing God’s promises is so marginalized by man and our own selfishness. We want God to be in our lives instead of us being in God’s life–His Spirit. It isn’t until this fundamental shift fully awakens in us that we can be surrendered. And, most importantly, it needs to daily take place. If I don’t daily bring myself to the Throne of Grace and surrender my will, I will slowly but surely shift back into the selfish me that wants God supporting me rather than me supporting God. It is just a shift of a few words when writing it, but it is a life-changing shift when we live it out each day.
Being Spirit-filled has had a lot of twists put on it from man and from our many denominations supporting Christianity. However, the one thing we all have in common and that is surrender. We will never be free of our daily selfishness if we don’t daily surrender it so God’s Spirit can begin its intended purpose. God is patiently waiting for each of us to daily surrender. I do this today.
He is RISEN! He is Risen Indeed! I can hardly fathom the depth of love it took for God to give His One and only Son for each of us. Knowing He would accomplish is one thing, but to actually give your son to die for each of us is the greatest demonstration of love I can imagine. How fortunate to serve this God!
We got home yesterday without a hitch. It was a couple of great flights. I hadn’t anticipated however the disconnect I feel this morning from our own Easter at home. Having gone through the Easter week with Amber’s family and church family and now being here to go to church at our own, I lack the connection I’ve always had. It’s an odd sensation but I know it is one which will soon dissipate when I get to choir practice and the Hallelujah Chorus begins to resonate in my spirit to Worship this Son called Jesus Christ! What a wonderful Savior He is!
Today all of our family here will be coming for Easter dinner and the little ones will find eggs while the older ones hide them. Kathy spent yesterday prepping for the meal and I kept myself from mowing the lawn so the grass will hide the eggs just a little bit more.
I’m in a whirlwind of learning from the book, The Spiritual Man. I just wonder if I can ever be so free of flesh and soul sins. As I was journaling this I was instantly reminded that I can be “one day at a time”. This is how God works with me and each of us. I want to be free forever, but for this earth, it is one day at a time. This is my commitment and I’m so grateful God made a way for us!