Today is one of those days I’m grateful comes along. I’m not going to any school and instead, I have a meeting with our church outlining more details for the forthcoming ministry of lay counseling. Then, until late afternoon, I will be working in the yard getting all the watering up and running. We desperately need more spring moisture so I’m needing to get the well water in operation.
As I was completing my devotional time with Jesus, my scripture reading was the last two chapters of Luke. Jesus is judged and crucified, however, before the chapters end–HE IS ALIVE! I’ve always known and trusted that Jesus is alive. What I can’t seem to hear often enough is that He is ALIVE for me. Over and over in these past few years and particularly in the past few months Jesus has proven this again and again. How I love Him for this and want so much to help others know this is just as true for them today as it was when He arose over 2000 years ago! Hallelujah!
Last night our step study group of men finished the 6th lesson which now closes the group to any newcomer. The lesson is ACTION. The action to be taken is accepting Jesus as our Savior and Lord. I love how the lesson emphasizes our need to accept Jesus as our “Higher Power”. I hadn’t thought through this correlation of the term higher power being Jesus as Lord until last night. Yes, every man in the group has accepted Jesus as Savior, but the idea of Jesus being our higher power is something we not only do today, but often we need to do it many times during the day. Realizing that our willpower is not the power for which we change is huge. It is Jesus as the HIGHER POWER that makes all the difference. We must use our willpower to turn our pride, ego, embarrassment, and more over to Jesus, our Higher Power, so He can take these “hardships and turn them into a pathway to peace” which the Serenity Prayer tells us He will do.
Last night was an amazing night to witness once again these men recognizing this incredible discovery of our Savior and Lord. If Jesus is going to be our Lord we must recognize this as a daily surrender of our willpower to Him as our Higher Power. My day begins with this surrender.
Today’s devotional read in part, “I am strengthening you today. I know just what you need and how to give it to you. There’s no need to worry, for I am your strength. Be carefree. Shake off the heaviness and come as a child in complete trust and abandonment. Dance away the heaviness and unbelief that have tried to restrain you. Find your freedom from the past in my every present grace. I am more than enough. I am the joy of your salvation.”
There are some things I’m facing about myself which I’ve never done as a “new creation”. The last big step I took in my work life was stepping into the consulting world 15 years ago. At the same time I was also just starting the work with our Celebrate Recovery program. I didn’t live as a new creation at that point. My past haunted me continuously. I thought all of the worry I had originated from my past. Now, stepping into this new venture as a new creation I find myself “worrying” and needing to over plan in my mind all the steps I need to take. These characteristics are simply me.
It is easier to let go of worry when I own it. I could never before truly let it go because it owned me. God is such a miracle worker! The line “dance away the heaviness and unbelief that have tried to restrain you” becomes possible when the shackles of the past are gone! PRAISE GOD!
Today I return to the schedule of school/district visits. In the next 3 months I will be wrapping up the work of this year and the work of the past 3 years for this group of schools. Bigger than that is that I’ll be wrapping up the work of the past 50 years in education. I never thought I’d come to the end of this career path with a new path in front of me, yet I am so grateful to have this opportunity.
Today’s devotional stated, “Do not be afraid to follow me into the unknown…., I will restore you…., I will restore your mind and your heart…., I will restore your dreams. I will fulfill those desires within you and bring them to completion….” It concluded with the scripture from Psalms 51:12: “Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say.”
Over and over God is grounding me in Him. It seems to me He is creating a foundation built on the fundamentals of spiritual living: TRUST, BELIEF, FAITH and so many more. These are not tangible in the flesh, but in the Spirit they are SOLID ROCKS!
My word, the journey not only continues, but the lessons for each day continue likewise. God’s Word seems to be in BOLD of late. The lessons He wants me to learn and believe are ones for which I’ve struggled all of my life. The big one for today is relying on God for finances. I know a good deal about the need to rely on God fully and that everything in the universe belongs to Him–He created all of it. However, trusting Him in this new venture that has no financial backing is testing my faith–trust–beliefs. In fact, every venture I’ve ever taken has had me worrying about finances. I don’t usually talk/write about this particular worry because out of my own pride I don’t want others to know I worry about it. I want people to think I leave this worry only with God.
This morning as I began my journaling I wrote about this concern. My consulting has had good financial compensation eliminating any need to “worry”. This new venture for God may have something, but it isn’t known at this point, yet I know beyond a shadow of doubt God wants me moving forward trusting. I’ve also said I won’t hide behind pride as a new creation so I’m confessing this and giving it to the One Who is growing my Trust.
Luke 17:33 says: “All who are obsessed with being secure in life will lose it all–including their lives. But those who let go of their lives and surrender them to me will discover true life.” This was part of my bible reading this morning which summarized all I needed to hear. I take another step into FAITH.
Today’s scripture reading was a direct hit for me. It was Luke 13 & 14. Throughout these two chapters Jesus is addressing His people about living for Him or living for themselves. Luke 14:33 says, “Unless you surrender all to me, giving up all you possess, you cannot be one of my disciples.” Earlier in the two chapters it says we are to put Jesus ahead of all other relationships. Living for Him is to be our first and foremost priority.
Today as I write this, and think about what I wrote yesterday, I know I’ve held back from this full surrender. What I do know today is that putting other relationships second to the one with Jesus is actually a blessing for the others. When I am fully surrendered the others in my life are receiving an unselfish person as defined by Jesus. There is much unknown in all of this, but today I am taking one step at a time into full surrender. I don’t do this alone for Jesus is leading me and within me. There is great assurance in this!
The resolution I set for this year to live each day as a new creation keeping God in the center of my day 24/7 is revealing so much I hadn’t wanted to believe about myself. I felt God prompting me to set this goal. Little did I know in order to have Him in the center of my day 24/7 I’d need to get myself out of the way. I sure didn’t realize how much Earnie was restricting God’s leadership in my life. The things about me which were in the way were weaknesses too–things like fear, anxiety, and lack of trust and belief. Scripture is very clear regarding all of these as sinful. I was using them as boundaries for what I do/did.
Stepping into this new venture of counseling has triggered a host of these weaknesses wanting to stop this. However, God has been relentless in helping me see what has hindered me from relying on Him so that I can more fully keep Him in the center of my life each and every day.
As I was journaling this morning and asked Jesus what He wanted me to know from Him for today, He said He wanted me to not be discouraged about moving forward. Instead, He wanted me to be encouraged. When I wrote this I realized for the first time that “courage” is the root word for these two words. All of these years I’ve let fear and anxiety overtake the courage God wanted me to have by Trusting in Him. It’s a big lesson I want to make permanent in my daily living.
I love how God works and what a privilege it is to get to work with Him! My talk yesterday with my sponsor was a treat. It was good to see him face to face. After I told him what I wanted to share, he asked how I felt about it? I told him I struggled with the fact that I have all of the shortcomings he knows about. His response caught me off-guard. He said, “Do you know of any counselor who isn’t human with their own shortcomings?” It is funny how one can stew and stew about all of these things and then a simple statement from someone will completely wipe all of the “stew” away!
I have not known how much I limit my trust in God until this venture came into my life. God keeps challenging me to believe and trust. I keep journaling every morning how much I want to fully do this and then I find myself “stewing” again over something connected to it. God is wanting me to grow as this new creation He has made me to be through His Son Jesus. I sure don’t want to disappoint Him!
Today is my dear sis Bonnie’s birthday. Our niece who lives close to her is taking her to see our older sis and then to lunch. It will be a nice day for her. She is such a cheerleader and always has been for me. I love her dearly and thank God for gifting this brother with her.
Yesterday was just a nice day being able to get everything planted in the garden I wanted. It was fun to run the rototiller for the first time in the season! Days like this are a wonderful gift from God. Yes, my muscles ache, but it is a good ache!
Today I’m meeting my sponsor for lunch. He and his wife moved closer to Boise a year ago and so we don’t see one another nearly as often. I haven’t told him about this new venture. I’ve wanted to do it face to face. He only knows I’ve had some troubling days but today we get to see one another so I can tell him all of this. In many ways it is a praise, yet I want him to be praying as he knows all of my shortcomings. God is so GOOD!
As I had finished writing yesterday’s blog I prayed and said to God that maybe I needed to talk to someone about my worries/voices of incompetence, etc. I had gone outside to pray this and when I returned inside my cell phone rang. It was my younger brother calling about coming over to help me with a couple projects at our home I was unable to do. He said this morning would work well for him to do this. In my head I yelled to God–“Not Ron, he’s the last person I’d want to talk about this with. Sometimes it is his voice I hear in my head!” Yet, I knew better than to question God so I said that would be great. We needed to run into town and get what he needed to fix the problems. In so doing, he began to tell me about the things one of our older brothers would say to him. Cutting remarks which stung him. I felt the door opening so I then brought up the voices I’ve been hearing and what those voices said. He then said some things to me which I could hardly believe were coming from him. He told that what was said to me last Saturday when we were all together were true. God had put this counseling offer together and I was the right one to do it. He then said, “The good thing about you is that you don’t hold inside what needs to be told. No matter how difficult the message is you will tell it to others so they will tell you their own trouble. Most of us would never admit this.”
There was more to this, but this is the heart of it. God is simply so GOOD! What I was needing to hear not only was said to me, but it was said by the very person God knew I needed to hear it from so I would then believe it. Later in the afternoon a friend called who wanted to know more about this counseling venture. I was able to tell them all about the day. It was uplifting and confirming. How GOOD our GOD IS!