Our class, Mending the Soul, is now taking each of us into the reality that God is still God no matter what is in our past. Yesterday, we finished Facing the Brokenness, chapter 8. In so doing each one has to face all of the lies we have had about ourselves: our value, our capabilities, our purpose, and more. So much of what we have believed are lies which Satan has tried to keep us in limbo to whom God created in the womb of our mother. I know the difficulty of staying awake to these lies long enough that they become replaced with truth–the original value and purpose God had in mind for each of our creations.
The other real awakening in this lesson is the awakening to believing in truth of spirit. We have believed all of our lives what flesh has taught us. It is flesh that Satan has used to make one believe all of the lies that continuously circle in our minds and emotions. However it is in spirit we are to believe these are lies. When we start to believe we then begin to have this glimmer of trust that maybe there is value. We can also grasp for the first time in faith that there is more purpose than we ever thought possible. Talking this through yesterday in class was an eye-opening event seeing the men challenged to believe what they never thought they could.
I know this road which takes one to this point of awakening and I know the struggle of staying awake to the realness of being a new creation. It is Spirit facing flesh. In truth, I’m still on it. But, it strengthens my own commitment when I see others taking their first steps onto a road they’ve not dared attempted until now. Wow, our God is so patient and loving and how much I appreciate all of this about Him!
Today I begin with a much clearer head than yesterday. It is so nice to feel rested. A clear head also helps understanding what I read and hear when I am having my devotions. What is standing out to me as I am reading in Romans is Paul’s persistence in helping the reader understand our need to separate works from grace. In the old Laws of the Old Testament everything was built around works. Somehow that root is wired in our flesh. However, what is wired in GRACE is Trust & Faith.
As I ponder all of this I go back to my own struggle with value. What also came to mind is my struggle with porn. These are things I’m helpless to break on my own. I’ve always thought I needed to take action on them and I have many, many times! However, my actions never led to conquer. What has worked is my giving up on my efforts and simply trusting God and having faith that He in His Grace will take care of these issues. Yes, I need to turn away from my fleshly beliefs/desires. That is my part. But from there, the battle is not mine but God’s.
When I was journaling about struggles I asked Jesus my daily question. “What do you want me to know from You for today?” His response was amazing. It was the words of a song my friend and I have sung many times in years past. They are, “My name is Jesus. I know this road. I’ve paid the price for you. I’ll carry your load. I’ve just come from Calvary. My work there is o’er. My Name is Jesus. You’re not lost anymore!”
When I feel helpless to know what to do, it is for good reason. I’m not to do anything except Trust and have Faith. It is not for me to do. It is what God is waiting to do once we learn to stop and surrender.
Today’s entry is rather late in being written. My three days in Montana were productive and almost like a whirlwind. There is much to address and limited time to do it so all I think about for those three days is the work to be completed. Well, something I should have been thinking about is my return trip. I needed to drive 2 hours to get to the airport and when I looked at my itinerary I saw a time which I kept in my head. The problem was the time I saw was the time I would land, not the time I would take off. So, my arrival to the airport was too late to catch the flight. The other thing I hadn’t noticed was that my carrier going to Montana wasn’t the same carrier I returned with. (I really do need a secretary!) Fortunately, the airline agent was most thoughtful and got me on the last flight to home but it got me home at midnight rather than 8:00 pm. I’m rummy this morning, but I’m so grateful for thoughtful people who have their act together when I don’t!
This item of love I wrote about yesterday has been addressed again this morning in my devotions. The idea that God invites us to “sup” with Him, “dine” with Him is something to ponder. When we are invited to dine with a friend they want to not just eat with you. They want to delve deeply into life with you because you are a “trusted” friend. This is not different with God. He WANTS to dine with me (us) and He invites us to do so. We just have to show up and wake up to this truth. This is such a great indication of LOVE. Light is shining into an area I’ve shied away from far too long. Thank you Jesus!
This morning as I began my journaling I ended by asking the question I do each day of Jesus. “What do You want me to know from You for today? His response was unusual but immediate. He asked, “Do you know that I love you?” He usually has more to say than a question but that seemed to be it for this morning. I started to respond to say that I did, but I started to take a look at my actions towards love and began to realize just how much I don’t know about love. So, I wrote that I know about love but living through my childhood where love was never addressed, I learned to isolate myself from abuse and I called isolation safe.
This morning my mind began to open to what ladies call the man cave. I’ve always pushed that statement aside thinking it is silly. Yet, this morning I realized that my man cave is the place I go to be safe–isolation. I do this mentally whether I’m in a crowd or alone. It is safe and it is relaxing. I don’t find myself doing this nearly as often as I use to do, but I sure recognize it.
This morning I felt challenged to face love and I asked Jesus to awaken me to it. I’m not sure what this is all about, but I do look forward to being awake to it. Receiving love is something I’ve been told I don’t do well, so now I’m ready to accept this truth and to grow into knowing and receiving love as well as giving it. What a morning!
If you are like me at all, you sometimes wonder how living out Romans 8 is possible. Paul does a fabulous job outlining the transformation from living in the flesh to living in the Spirit. It all begins when we accept Jesus as our Savior and then begin to live with Jesus as our Lord.
This morning as I was journaling I asked Jesus how this transformation actually takes place? How did He do this? Immediately I was given a word picture which was like this—-. Jesus said, when I gave My Life on the Cross for you I then created the capability for God to now see you as the perfect creation He made you to be originally. So when you accept Me as your Savior and live for Me as your Lord, God sees you as the perfect child He created. This isn’t dependent now on what you do, for I have already done it! This isn’t just a possibility, it is a fact. I’ve known this in my own mind for a long time, but today it was like my committed mind to Christ heard it and made it true (a fact) for me.
I had no idea just how much damage my childhood abuse did to my belief system until I came face to face with my disbeliefs regarding the promises of scripture. But, I can honestly say that these promises of scriptures are not just to be hope, they are fact. Living life with God’s Holy Spirit leading each and every day will eventually bring us to the complete truths of God’s promises. They are not eventual truths for living in heaven, they are truths for living each and every day today!
This morning’s journey starts quite early as I head to the airport to work with the school district in Montana. I was concerned yesterday with the work in the one school I’ve taken on in our valley this year. However, just as each week comes I am impressed with the commitment of the staff. Also, when there needs to be a difficult conversation because of the changes that need to be made, the conversation is received openly. This is such a good sign of one’s capability to overcome.
As I write this I think just how applicable this is to one’s recovery. I’ve needed to have many difficult conversations with myself from counselors/therapists in my past. Yet, my willingness to accept the message and act on it determines God’s strength given to me for my own overcoming. God is so patient with us waiting for our hearts and minds to be ready to “receive the message” and then act on it. I want to stay faithful to this the rest of my life.
This morning’s devotional time focused me on something I don’t often do. The devotional I am using this year asked that the reader read Psalms 119 to wrap your heart, mind and spirit around it’s message. It is in this chapter we are told 7 times to mediate on the precepts of God (in other words, on the Laws found in God’s Word). So, rather than continue my reading in Romans, I paused and read this chapter. I knew it was the “long” chapter in Psalms and that was all I could recall.
God has been challenging me to see Him differently than I have for quite some time now. I have grown a good deal in my view of Him too. However, as I began to read Psalms 119 I immediately remembered always reading this book as the one that repeatedly tells me to live by God’s Laws. What I was missing was the meditating on this message. The Father who is telling us to live by His Laws is doing this with a very important reason. For, when we live within the Law–Precepts, we live in peace and contentment. I also know that within this way of living is Trust, Faith, Hope and Believing.
I have always seen God’s Laws as controlling. Not until now do I begin to see them as freeing. Having good boundaries for living each day is greatly important and that is exactly why God has given us His Laws. My interpretation in past has been as though my own father gave these laws to me. To recognize that God my Father has given them takes on an entirely new picture. I will meditate on God’s Word, God’s Laws for I want to grow in this understanding and wisdom.
Yesterday was one filled with insights. In Mending the Soul class the topic had arisen about why God doesn’t step into stopping the abuse of a child? Why does He let this happen? I had given the group 50+ verses that provide insight about God giving man choice and God providing a way of escape. I do know that this topic is one which has to be worked through by every victim of abuse. I am no different. I will say that the more one faces abuse and the wounds left from it, the more one sees man separated from the healing work of Jesus Christ replacing the wounds with freedom from the bondage of it. This is certainly a process, but it one worth taking.
The training in Celebrate Recovery about the Power of Prayer was likewise very insightful. As we processed the material, the insights of binding Satan through the Power of Prayer loomed to the forefront. Each and every week the work of Satan is brought inside the room for which we meet. He wants to keep each victim locked in their beliefs even though they have taken the step to come. We as leaders need to remember to pray over our meeting place and bind Satan through the Power of Jesus Christ for he has to flee in Christ Jesus’ presence.
These great reminders are so important. We often get caught in little details like the amount of food, the materials on the tables, etc., when in reality, the importance of the spiritual tasks far outweigh these details. I sure want to remember this.
The power of obedience is something to be strongly considered. Not only the power of obedience, but the influence of obedience coupled with the power of it, is huge.
Today is our monthly Celebrate Recovery meeting. I am doing a training from the book I’ve mentioned several times in past posts called I Give You Authority. The chapter is “Using Your Authority Responsibly”. I’ve wanted to address this chapter with our group because so many of us who come to Celebrate Recovery suffer from value–self-worth. We undermine our value to man and particularly our value in God’s eyes. I’ve struggled with this seemingly forever. However, God has been helping me trust like I’ve never trusted before and have faith knowing it is not about me, but Him.
To use our authority responsibility we have to overcome this fear of no value and replace it with trust/faith. This in and of itself is another “one step at a time–one moment at a time” (from Serenity Prayer). One of the authorities we have is power of Satan’s attacks through Jesus Christ. Not only do we need to believe this for ourselves, but for others too. Obedience plays a huge part in acting on this. If I am nudged to pray over someone and I say I’m not worthy to pray over this person, I am acting in disobedience if I let my fear/belief stop me.
As leaders in Celebrate Recovery this realization is big. People come to find hope for their recovery. If we are modeling the lack of faith and letting fear rule, the modeling we portray has consequences we never want taking place. Its a sobering lesson, but one I’ve sure needed to learn and one we all need to address personally in our daily living.
It was an enjoyable day yesterday. Last night we went out to dinner with close friends. She has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and has been quite fearful of treatment options. When Kathy and I were in Branson the week before I had found a necklace with a pendant which read–Fear Not (Isaiah 41:10). I had purchased it and we gave it to her last night. It was gratifying to see her response. She said she had wanted something to wear as a witness during all the treatment time, like the angel pin some wear. She said this fit her perfectly since she struggles with fear so often.
Thursday of this week I was asked by a consulting firm in Montana to do a monthly zoom session for their school administrators who are seeking help. The firm has consultants who work with teachers, but I’ve been their first to work with admin. I had already committed to do a session for their instructional coaches helping them know how to address some of the admin issues. This led to them wanting something more direct for the admin. I had told the caller that I’d have to ponder this and see what God says.
This morning I spent time asking God for clarity from Him about taking on this assignment. The first thing that hit my mind was, “Do you know what would need to be brought out in the monthly sessions?” For this question I simply said yes. I then heard in my mind, “Then what clarity do you need? The problem is not whether you could do this. The problem is tied to your identity. Do you believe you could do this?” When I heard this I knew immediately this is true. I’ve doubted this value all of my person all of my life. I’ve tried to create value, but nothing one does brings the value we already have in being a new creation. I’m not ready to say yes at this point, but I have a much clearer picture in my mind now as to what I must face in order to fully address the commitment.