God is never, ever done molding us into more and more of His Son’s likeness. I feel like I have a long way to go! My devotions are not letting up on God’s intent in making this new creation a person who believes, hopes, trusts and knows the power within him because of The Holy Spirit’s residence in me. It’s a choice on my part to “step into God’s transforming love and expect God to move on my behalf”. (As quoted from my devotional). It goes on to say, “My strength will overcome your weakest flaw until every part of you is filled with the energy of grace.”
I could go into a lot of detail here, but each one of us has our “weakest flaw” which God’s Strength is waiting to overcome as we grow in our new creation belief, trust, hope and knowledge. Seeing myself stepping into God’s transforming love and staying there is a step for which I am taking. I know I’ll need to take this step each and every day so I can be very conscious of Him within me and surrounding me.
There is something steadfast about God which is amazingly solid and assuring. The more I awake to the emotions of man–my own, the more I am realizing just how wonderful it is to have God as my Solid Rock. Emotions do tend to control much about us if we let them be the controller of our actions. However, as I look deeper into our daily living it is not my emotions I want controlling me. I would not write a daily blog if I were living on emotions only. I’d write this only when “I felt like it”.
God plants seeds in us which He wants us to nurture and grow into maturity–well anchored within us. This would mean that these characteristics aren’t rooted only in our emotions, but within our surrendered spirit now motivated by God’s Holy Spirit within. God’s Spirit nudges and reminds what our commitments are and when necessary, why we are to follow through with them.
I no longer hate emotions as I did for most of my life. I have learned to respect them and appreciate them. Yet, I now also realize that emotions left to the flesh alone can look way too much like abuse, selfishness and so much more. However, emotions committed to supporting God’s Kingdom Work can look like tears of joy seeing this work being done.
In this journey of mine I’ve lived through the days of abuse, I’ve lived through the days of keeping the secrets, I’ve lived through the days of disclosing the secrets and finding freedom from them, and now today, I am learning what it is like to live in freedom. This current living all started when I would no longer believe I was not a new creation. Instead, I believe I am a new creation. I still marvel at this reality.
Today’s devotional had a sentence in it which caused me to quit reading and soak in its meaning. (Yes, and it brought me to tears). Here it is starting with the paragraph which houses the sentence. “I want you to think of the most beautiful elements of nature–the ones that have caused you to gasp in wonder and left you in awe. The brilliant sunsets that paint the sky are merely a token of beauty compared to you….”
Have you ever fathomed the truth that this is how God sees you and me? When a baby sees its mom or dad you can see its face light up with brilliance. When a mom or dad sees his/her little one, their face does the same. I’d never thought in a million years that my presence would bring a brilliant smile to God’s face, but in reading this I believe it to be true for His Word acknowledges such truth. This devotion references Song of Solomon 4:1 which reads: “Listen, me dearest darling, you are so beautiful–you are beauty itself to me!” God wants His new creations to believe this!
Last night was our weekly Celebrate Recovery. I had thought it was testimony night and I’d tied a devotional message to read during worship to it. However, the message of the night had been adjusted due to one giving the testimony. Thus, we had a lesson–Sanity. That turned out to be just what I needed to hear. These are never new messages, but the content within the lesson always brings insights which one needs at the moment. The one for me is the definition for Insanity: “…doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.”
Temptations are the natural part of living in our flesh. Maybe women are wired the same, but I do know that every man I’ve ever talked with will say their pride keeps them from wanting to admit they have a struggle, particularly when they’ve already confessed it and moved on in their life. This is me! I know the steps to take when I’m tempted–walk away from it, call/text my sponsor, etc. However, fighting it with my own strength is always my first attempt. It is such a natural thing to do–I think. When I heard last night’s lesson I was nudged with the reminder to take heed to it.
This morning’s devotion said it well, “When you feel pain, anger, hurt, or any negative emotions, lean in to me and bring that pain with you. Don’t dismiss your reactions to life’s uncomfortable moments. Together, we will get to the root of what’s triggering you so you can find freedom from its crippling efforts. I am the God of wholeness–mind, body and soul….” So, rather than fight, “lean in”. I loved this message.
Every morning I am inspired by what God has to say to me through the channels of devotion. It is as though God orchestrates every aspect of the devotions to address exactly what I need for starting the day. Today was no exception. I’ve always loved starting the day with the personal contact with God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit. Now that I know them so much more intimately, I relish this time even more. What I keep growing in understanding is the flip of the coin for this intimate relationship. I am utterly amazed how much THEY relish me and spending time with me. It isn’t just the devotional time, They want me to be in spiritual contact with them throughout the day. I’m beginning to find the reality of this more and more throughout the day. I find myself reaching to them.
The counseling ministry is a good reason for much of my learning to reach out. I find myself preparing for sessions, but in the session God’s Holy Spirit just takes over. It is simply humbling, yet rewarding, to be serving God in this capacity. I’ve spent years getting my own help, I’m so grateful to be able to share the wealth of love God has provided me with others who aren’t there yet.
I have written a few times about my attitude towards the Psalms. So many people talk about how they love the Psalms. They comfort them, I’ve heard all of my life. Up until recently, I have read these chapters more out of obedience than anything else. Within me, unconfessed to anyone, I would resent the fact that someone would let their emotions get the best of them and write about them as though that was inspiring. I grew up in a home with such an explosive, emotional father that I grew to resent emotions thinking they were sinful. My makeup is different from dad’s, but I still have emotions which I’ve fought to recognize never wanting to look or be like dad.
Today I began reading The Psalms in The Passion. As I read the preface for them yesterday I was looking forward to getting started this morning. Before reading my bible, I started my devotions and was journaling to Jesus telling him how emotionally spent I felt this morning after such an emotional day yesterday with the services for Wanda, my sis’s physical state (even though the pain is much more in control now), and a couple more concerns shared with me. Today is a full day of counseling so I want to be strong for those coming. As I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know from Him for today, He asked me how it is with my soul? I wanted to hide my emotions, but had to admit the truth. It was then He revealed something to me I needed to hear. He said, “If I am unwilling to admit my emotional weakness/need, I am crippling The Holy Spirit’s ability/desire to be my strength.”
A few days ago I wrote that God first reveals and then He teaches. Well, this revelation was exactly what I needed revealed. I’m looking forward to now learning about opening up to Him and others when I need emotional support. Today is one of them.
Today is a somber one. It is the graveside service and then celebration of life for the secretary I had the first 20 years of my career. She was the mom to two sons of birth, but she always said I was given to her as her oldest son. I didn’t contest this for she was truly a mom for me in so many ways. She set me on a path of success I would never have known otherwise. She helped me find confidence when it waned (which was often in my early years). I have the honor of singing a couple songs which were some of favorites. I’ll do this as a duet for which I’m grateful. Singing solo would just be too emotional. How I loved this dear lady–Wanda Allington.
Yesterday I was able to talk with my sis Bonnie who is in the hospital where she lives in California. She’s in so much pain. I grieve for her with this. Her body is suffering so much and the doctors can’t give too much pain meds for her organs can’t handle them. She needs comfort from above. Along with this I have a niece who is in the hospital locally suffering from the cancer treatment for lung/thyroid/liver cancer. All of this along with Wanda’s service makes me throw up my hands and know only God can deal with this and the beauty is–He Wants To. I can surrender these dear ladies to Him and know only in His Ways are they protected and cared for.
Being at the age I am, there is much more suffering, and death is much more common. I know to release this truth to Jesus Christ trusting the door of death to eternity. It is just emotionally painful to be part of the physical suffering. Thank You Jesus for being the Savior to these dear ladies!
Today I finished the book of Revelation. As it concludes we are reminded to not add anything to it or to take anything away from it. It is overwhelming in its content. I do believe all of it but can hardly fathom what the reality of it coming to fruition will be like. The big item for me right now is to not try and put a timeframe around it. God’s timing is perfect and it sure doesn’t fit with man’s selfish timing.
Today I ponder, (yet know my pondering needs to focus me on Jesus Christ within me), how one helps a struggling believer? Last night a man who recently moved here and came to Celebrate Recovery called me. He has struggles I know well but he is lost in them as I use to be. Finding the freedom I know today has taken me a lifetime. He is much younger than me and wants to know freedom, but FEARS the steps he would need to take. And I know fear! This is one of the times I would like to put a timeframe around his moving forward. Yet, I know to trust God’s timing and I put him into God’s timeframe. My role is to give assistance as God opens each door for it, responding to His nudges rather than my emotions. The Holy Spirit is good at helping me separate the two.
Our world is so full of hurt and how sin glorifies itself in it. Being a vessel of God’s Light which heals and restores is something I never want to question. Today I TRUST God!
In yesterday’s blog I wrote at the end that I am enjoying living so much more because of what God is teaching me. What struck me this morning as I’ve been in His Word is that before God teaches, He reveals. When He reveals it is then that the desire to be taught comes. As I begin to reflect on this one thing my mind races into this present journey, my learning of being a new creation.
From the time I accepted Christ into my life as a boy of 10 or 11, I’ve been made aware that I’m a new creation. When I was in college I attended an event where the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross was made abundantly clear and I wept and wept for many hours, well beyond the event itself. I just couldn’t fathom Christ doing this for all of mankind–especially me. I wanted to live for Him in such a way that I would be worthy of such a Gift. To receive the Gifts of Him were too much for me to fathom due to my unworthiness–my uncleanness.
This morning’s devotional messages were very clear about Christ’s Gifts of Mercy and Grace and what that looks like to a new creation. I felt God asking me to open myself and allow His Holy Spirit to offer these Gifts He has to offer me. My first part is to accept them–receive them for His Son Jesus within me has made me clean and worthy. As this is revealed I can now be taught–I can be a learner of what a new creation receives. Oh my goodness!
This journey of mine is keeping me focused on being a new creation in ways I never dreamed. I’ve always stumbled around the topics of soul and spirit and which is which as far as desires go, etc. In my journaling today I was writing about this. In doing some research I find that soul is of my flesh and the house of my senses. Spirit is inanimate where soul is animate. Spirit is also what we can surrender to The Holy Spirit and in so doing receive the “power to overcome” the sinful desires of our flesh/soul. This is why in yesterday’s blog it is so important to be conscious of taking Jesus/The Holy Spirit into every action we take as well as thoughts where we might want to linger. The idea that I would take Jesus into these areas is revolting when I actually stop and try to picture such a thing.
What’s even more remarkable about all of this is that when we take the opportunity to address our spirit rather than soul desires, God has so much more opportunity to reveal Himself to us. I find myself questioning nudges much less and I also find that nudges come more frequently and I trust them where before this year I’d question them and often leave them there with the question.
I know the learning of living as a new creation will last as long as I’m alive in my flesh. Yet, today I enjoy living so much more knowing what God is teaching me.