following Jesus

Love God and do what you please _St. Augustine


Keep your relationship to Jesus right and God will fulfill His purposes in your life. Get out of touch with His Living Spirit, go in your own strength and you will walk in flesh. 

Oswald Chambers was the one who pounded this into my heart when I first became a Christian. I lost it countless times since those early years but it has echoed again in my heart when I realize I’ve been going it alone and trying to become right and be made whole by my own works instead of because and through Christ’s work in me. Namely, if I have taken of praying with desperation of myself. Praying with desperation for God to be at work in me. Also praying with faith that GOD IS. God is at work in me and that He has won the battle. 

FAITH.

Do I believe the promises for my life? Do I live in conscious dependence on Him? He’s the Source. 

Are we seeking to work for Jesus or to LOVE Jesus? Love Jesus and He’ll work through you His work. 
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exposure therapy

I was in the basement when I saw something scurry past. It was huge and  a spider with an egg sack on it.  I was horrified. It was silver dollar sized and looked like a mini hairy legged tarantula. It ran into a rather large pile of Kia’s doll clothes. Lovely. I knew I didn’t want that egg salk hatching but I didn’t really want to rifle all those clothes to find it either. I pulled up the courage as I horrified envisioned hundreds of them hatching.
Before I started picking up articles I realized I was going to have to do something to catch this spider because I didn’t want to squish it. So I went and got a jar. I finally trapped the spider in the jar and gingerly slid the lid underneath. Suddenly I was staring at closer range than ever before with something that made me squirm and shiver. There enclosed in that jar was that huge ugly spider.

At first I didn’t want to look at it at all for that matter even hold the jar. I brought it upstairs and put it as far away and told myself that my husband could let it out somewhere far from our house. But first I did need to do our home school duty and show my daughter and let her learn a little more about spiders. I explained it was a mama spider and other sorts of information in my most “I am not scared” matter of fact voice.  Kia was fascinated. We talked for a while. Andrew ended up not letting that spider go for several weeks actually and I began to look at it every few days I’d pick up the jar and look at the spider. Each day with less trepidation. Soon the spider didn’t bother me much. Today I found another of her kind and swiftly dealt with it. No biggie.It struck me suddenly that I had become desensitized to the horror of spiders. I realized it has also happened somewhat with my more dreaded fear of snakes since we had a mama snake have her babies in our window well. I see lots of snakes and while I don’t like them they don’t make me die with fright either like they used too.

Exposure treatment  works and in our hearts in regards to sin it works too well. When I tolerate that “little” sin of complaining to creep in. When the horror leaves after I’ve gone off on a tirade of frustration. When it’s no longer a big deal to allow some of the world to shape my ideas, my entertainment, my limits, my style. When not praying is just “being too busy” and perfectly “normal” for a mother. The “tiny” black widows slip in and well, we allow them to crawl behind a curtain in our life and sit there having babies making themselves comfortable in our turf. We begin to not notice them. Just as the dust accumulates in my house I notice it less and less. How the clothes on my dresser just stack and I don’t notice until it’s to the ceiling. We don’t notice the ordinary sins in our life, we tolerate them. The constant exposure deadens us to what it is actually doing to us. The danger we are in.

Today I told God to please not allow me to live with any sin releasing it’s toxic gas into the air of my heart. I want to live with a pure heart one that is constantly cleansed by coming to Christ for forgiveness as soon as I’m aware I’ve relied on my flesh instead of His Spirit. I want to come right back into His presence and communion. I want to walk in that sweet peace and communion. I don’t want the spiders and snakes of sin to live in my heart and not notice them until it’s too late and they’ve allowed death to wreak havoc on my heart and those I love. I want to live in the fullness of Christ’s inheritance for me. That fullness means that I don’t have to live blind to my sin. God’s Spirit is so willing and desires to show us how to walk, how to please Him in every way. How to walk in His power and abide in the Branch resting in His sap for the life to walk in holiness.

I’m done trying this sanctification in my own power. No thanks. Jesus You are more than enough for my justification and You are everything I need for sanctification as well.
No more “little” or “big” spiders. God You will rid me of all them as I rest in You and someday, blessed day I will be completely free and never more have to daily battle the old nature. Child of God, that’s ours, let’s walk in it.

God’s will today

To accept His will with thanksgiving is contentment.

What if God’s will for me today is a sticky floor, sticky faces to kiss, diapers to change and an achy body to carry around? What if His will is unpleasant to my flesh? Repulsive to my self life? Give thanks. Those very moments when flesh revolts I will give extra thanks and remember the joy found in dying to that old self. Give thanks for these reminders that I am dead to you, flesh. I am alive to Him, my Husband and Maker. These very days are where we remember we have been set apart, we no longer live in dominion to our flesh. We have died, our life is now hidden in Christ. His will is ours. His will is sweet, not to our flesh but to our spirit in Him. Thank God for motherhood, for in it I see how I cannot live this life without His grace. All grace.

Motherhood how sweet you are to a crucified Christian. How sweet it is to find we don’t have strength except in our Lord. It’s a beautiful thing to know this is the will of God for me today, yes even these tiny precious love hungry hearts, sticky floors and sinks of dishes. To do Your will is my delight. We  have the mind of Christ, let us live in that.

hungry heart

He’s asking me to die to other’s thoughts of my dirt smudged house.

To come to Him with a quiet, hungry heart.

To die to this flesh that cries for other lovers.

My heart longs for stead fast love, unfailing love.

The sirens call, I go to the world’s streams.

Returning, withering, heart panting for something Solid, something True.

Oh to die Jesus calls me.  

To die, yes, but oh that death is life. Joy.

A constant denying of every lover, everything that deadens me to Joy to my Life, my Husband.

all must be done by Him

God does not share His glory with us; therefore He is obliged to bring us from failure to failure – not however to end in discouragement, but that we may come to condemn and abhor ourselves. Then when we have found there is no more anything to hope for in ourselves, we learn to come in a new way – perhaps after a long career of Christian profession – as undone ones at His feet; ready now, on the ground of our dreadful experience, to be introduced into the Divine simplicity of a life like Christ by the Holy Spirit, who never ceases to work even when we are halting at the first steps of Christ’s redemption. He introduces us, through the Holy Scriptures, into the simplicity of Divine secrets when we are yielded up to Him in full despair about ourselves and in despair of bringing forth anything worthy of Christ and of God. Then we learn how all must be done by Him in us and that the Holy Ghost waits to show His power to transform us into the image of Christ, even through our very failures.”—Otto Stockmayer

This sums it up…God must bring us to see that there is “no good thing, residing in my flesh” and that I can not make myself grow the fruits of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh. No, it’s by death that God comes and takes His place and lives in us. His fruit comes from His abiding in us. When flesh is ruling, He’s not abiding. 1 John and Romans talk about this. It’s a moment by moment thing. I can’t feed my flesh and expect to be living in Christ’s light or joy. Lord, give light and open our hearts to You.

An encouragement to all of us when we face trials of any shape or sort, remember, these are some of our Lord’s greatest mercies to us:

“The deepest death to self lies in the motives and intentions, hence this all-consuming motive to want to be nothing but a capacity for Christ to live in lies at the foundation of the death of self and the highest life of Christ. With this pure motive fixed in the heart, we are to habitually and willingly accept of every occasion for humiliation and self-abasement which God’s providence brings to us. While on the one hand we are neither to make or seek a cross, on the other hand we are to sweetly and willingly accept of every blow, or mortification, or inconvenience, or painful annoyance which comes to us in the order of God’s providential will. Humiliation is the very quintessence of the Christ-life, and we must appreciate every opportunity of sinking into humility. Hence when reproaches, unkind treatment, poverty, loneliness, persecution, mental distresses, seeming failure in our work, disappointments, deep perplexities, or any disagreeable thing comes to us, if we are in a state of divine recollection, we are to calmly face these things as appropriate occasions for losing our own will and letting the omnipotence of God take charge of them. We can thereby in these humiliations be more delicately and firmly knit to the will of God.”—G. D. Watson

power of godliness

“I used to be looking for a series of experiences … of dying with the Lord, hoping that I would have done with that lesson and pass on to the next, that I would be able to appreciate I had risen with Christ and then pass on to know what it is to reign with the Lord. These are true together, they are always true and they are only true as they are held together in one complete identification of the sinner with the Saviour. Only as we die daily do we reign. We are never more reigning on the throne than we are dying on the cross. Daily we, too, are invited to save ourselves and come down. Whenever we do, we cease to reign and we cease to bless. Some small trial of daily routine, a crossing of personal preference in a very little thing, an accumulation of duties, unexpected interruptions, unwelcome distractions. Yesterday these things merely fretted you, and internally at least, ‘upset’ you. Today on the contrary, you take them up, and stretch your hands out upon them, and let them be the occasion of new disgrace and deeper death for that old self-spirit. You take them up in loving, worshipping acceptance. You carry them to their Calvary in thankful submission. And tomorrow you will do the same. These things naturally fret us and upset us. Let them be a call to deeper death. The cross never grows easier, but is inseparably linked with spiritual power.”—Fred Mitchel, a former Director of the China Inland Mission

More excellent quotes on this subject here

Christian Hedonism: seek true happiness

Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased. CS Lewis

I’m re reading John Piper’s book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (it’s free online) and it’s reminding me how our hearts need to be awakened to JOY. So much of the church is deadened by the world. It’s desperately looking for joy and fulfillment in people, places and things not in the Only One who gives joy and true happiness. God doesn’t tell us our desires for happiness are too big, He tells us they are too little. We think that this world can satisfy but it was never meant too. How can we follow Christ half heartedly? We can’t! We must have an undivided heart. We must decide to seek God as our happiness. His joy must be our highest pleasure and goal. We must give up our life to Him and be amazed at how much beauty He forms from the ashes of our sacrifice. We cringe at the words die to self and the world but when we have we can’t imagine ever going back to the misery of seeking this world or our own way. Oh Lord, that YOU might capture our hearts and never let us go. Captivate us. Lord, may You satisfy our hearts in the morning and fill us with Your goodness. Our joy doesn’t depend on any circumstance our joy depends on enjoying YOU. We were created to ENJOY you. To find our happiness in You. Open our eyes, may we taste and see You are good. Blessed are all who seek You!

 I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord.  The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord;  but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished.  George Muller

Cry out to the Lord Jesus to fill the dry beds of your rivers until they overflow, and then empty the channels that have until now been filled with your own self-sufficiency. Ask Him to fill these also with His superabundant grace. If your heavy trials cause you to sink deeper in the flood of His consolations, be glad of them.. CH Spurgeon

Abiding: position or condition?

I found an article that explains what God’s been showing my heart lately. For years I had wondered at the references to “Abiding in Christ”. I’d prayed and desired that in my life however the concept never seemed to realize in me for very long. I just kept going back to relying on myself to have patience and even though I’d ask God for it. I guess I didn’t really believe He’d give it to me. I think I kept getting out of the abiding also by saying I sure don’t “feel like I’m abiding” or take how I felt that moment as proof I was or wasn’t abiding. Trusting my feelings is a huge mistake I’m realizing. My feelings are easily swayed as my husband says by even what we ate the night before. I need to bank my mind set on what the word says. This is what grounds us. Since I’ve gotten married and had children especially I’ve seen that my flesh cannot give the fruits of the Spirit. I can’t live relying on my self. Now, God is showing me that believing the promises of Christ and walking trusting God for His life to flow through me is the way we can walk in patience, joy, love and hope. I am by no means saying I am walking without sin because I stumble but these stumblings work as reminders to return to abiding in Jesus’s strength and power. Right away I have to fight the enemies accusations but those are silenced by looking to the cross and then reminding myself of my position in Christ. I want to live in my position not on the day to day “condition” of whether I’ve messed up or not. What a joy to walk in our position as holy and blameless in Christ! His fellowship is sweeter than any thing on earth. A godly lady told me that her fellowship with God is what she looks forward to more than anything else day or night. It is her greatest delight. When our hearts come to that we can know that the Spirit is abiding and we will walk in His joy and peace even if we are in a concentration camp like Corrie Ten Boom, or beaten and shipwrecked like Paul, or a mother with little sleep and cranky children! The Lord is our helper, we shall not be put to shame as we trust in Him!

For more on condition and position read The Green Letters. I have the hard copy at home but it’s all available online. It is a life changing book. I’ve been reading it the past year and bit by bit it’s been growing my view of myself and who I am because of the Gospel.

the mystery of faith

When self-doubt whispers, “I’ll never change.” Throw that lie away and hold onto this truth: “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in [me] will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6, –  A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

 

Faith allows us to see past our mistakes and see God’s hand and His power. We realize that God is the One who will complete the work He’s started in us. When I start doubting I’ll ever be good enough I have succumbed to the accuser of our souls and forgotten the gospel. It has been an incredible comfort the past while learning anew to rest and rejoice in the certainty of my heart growing in God’s way. With God on our side how can we not win? Satan can not mock God and tell Him that His redeemed will fall away. We cannot be snatched from Christ’s hands. We are redeemed. Let us give thanks and stand in awe. God’s love is unwavering. We waver, yes, but He holds us always.

A Confident Hope is an amazing book. It really addresses the core issues I think all women struggle with. She has a lot on motherhood and our core identity among other things.

Lie: it gets easier

I’ve listened to this lie countless times. You’ve heard it too: the golden and sweet sounding thought that holds a fools gold above your head and says “oh once this circumstance is over things will be wonderful. Oh if only this trial would pass quicker, grumble, grumble. I can’t do this—((self pity)).”  Thoughts like: things will be better once my two year old turns three or once he’s potty trained or once the house stays clean or is clean, once my husband starts doing a or b, once I have oodles of energy, everyone’s healthy or once I start those projects you’ve wanted to do for so long, or have more “me time”. Satan wants us to focus on the hazy future saying to ourselves  “I’ll have joy then! What we lose in this process is the joy now. We lose the ability to give thanks and know God through this trial. We will always have trouble in this world. If now one  issue/trial is  getting far too little sleep then next year(s) it will be something new.  Jesus says In this world you will have trouble, but take heart—He gives us peace and has overcome the world. Some new trial will crop up in God’s providence. Consider the word trial. God is using it to grow you and test your faith. No, God’s not trying to ruin your life–He’s actually saving us from ourselves. It boils down to not fighting Him:

Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Psalm 32:9

God will graciously use each trial He portions to us. Do not let the enemy deceive you that God is far from you and that you are alone in this. These circumstances that pain and trouble you are life saving and will be hedges that guide you to Christ.. They will cause you to find joy in God if you learn to lean into Him through the pain.

  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30

Beware of self-pity while dealing with the trials you go through. Self pity is demonic and will sap you of all strength and cause you to feed off of others sympathy. It will cause you to become a complainer and to focus on how hard your life is. You will lose sight of the goodness, strength and power of God at work in you and this situation. Most of all it is a sin and grieves our Father as it shows we are not walking trusting His promises and thanking Him for what He will do for us. We must rise above and claim the promises (these precious gifts are yours, your birthright and inheritance!)  He has given us. We must boldly come before Him, yes confess our sins and then realize we are made right with Him through Jesus and therefore we must ask for an increase of faith, and then walk in that faith and light He will give us. We must ask to be made humble like Jesus and ask that our spirits might submit to His training and to His love and fellowship in the trial we are facing today. We also  must not walk in fear of tomorrow’s trial. We must know that each day God will give us the strength we need as we look to Him in faith. We must lean hard upon Him. We must ask in desperation of all other help. We must go first to Him for help and we must believe that He will faithfully give it!

Today whatever trial and hardship you are going through whether it’s a seeming mountain or a screaming toddler (all trials are hard whether the biggest or the most mundane seeming!) go to God’s word ask in desperation of all else for God to give you one promise and hang on for dear life. Tomorrow repeat. Go to God hungry and watch as He fills your soul with good. God must create in us a hunger for Him and that blessed hunger He will fill!

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2and He began to teach them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Ref.

I’m writing this post because I’ve been stuck here too many times. I can tell you from my own off track pit stops that this is a lie that will rob you of the precious gifts of God to you His child. You have an inheritance in Christ. Walk in it. Claim it. Hold on to it and live it! Ask God and see how He pours down His mercy and answers you in your time of need.