The word "Christian" is such a vague word when you think about it... so many people refer to themselves as Christians. I looked up the definition of a Christian... just for discussion sake... it says one who adheres to the life and teaching of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. By that definition, we will surely all fall short in so many different areas. I can't even begin to name them all... one, for instance, is cross bearing.
His way is the way of the cross. We want to line up for all He has for us but we don't want any suffering. However, in His Word (that we're adhering to...) it says... Luke 14:27 "And whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple." Disciple is actually (in a "roundabout" way... through the Latin) a root word for discipline. If we discipline ourselves in prayer, fasting and reading the Word, the "cross bearing" will be so much easier. II Tim 2:12 says "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him..."
Psalm 32: 8-9 "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with Mine eye. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they not come near unto thee."
My goal and prayer... "Lord, let me be a good student (disciple)... eager, ready, willing and sensitive to each turn the you lead me on. I want to be willingly led by you. Let me not resist your guiding hand... even when I don't understand what you're doing or how you could possibly be in it. You see the end from the beginning... even when there's a little suffering in between.
I was sorting through some pics today on my computer and came across these from this summer... this is our "other family" that we hang out with on Monday nights... I think everyone agreed that this was our favorite Family Night!
Brenda Linda and our most famous cousin, Bro. Breeze...
You know... there are areas of my life where I have absolutely no problem recognizing that I can't do a "dad-gum" thing (how's that for southern slang?). I need His help beyond measure! My goal, however, is to recognize that in every single facet of my life... I don't ever want to think I can do anything on my own. It's only in Him that we move and breathe and have our being.
2 Cor 3:5 says "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves but our sufficiency is of God."
The word "sufficiency" made me think of the opposite of that... a "deficiency"--in our bodies, when there's a vitamin deficiency, we will crave all kinds of things because of the imbalance that it brings to our "nutritional state". I've even heard of being craving dirt in extreme cases...ugh! It's no different with our inner "spirit man". Our soul was designed to have Him be our sufficiency. When He isn't, we seek after anything and everything to fill that void. Until we allow Him to be our sufficiency, we will forever be "out of balance"... never satisfied... this world can NEVER satisfy our inner man.
His grace is sufficient. Like the song says, "His Grace is Enough For Me!"
I read this very interesting verse that hit me really hard... Acts 4:32 (NKJV) "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common."
They met the needs of others out of their resources. I John 3:17 (AMP) "But if anyone has this world's goods (resources for sustaining life) and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him?"
Wow! It's a scary thought that if I don't have compassion, then His love does not live and dwell in me. Do I hold all I have with OPEN hands? ...am I willing to give at all times to a brother or sister in need? This whole vein of thought has caused us to realign some things in our lives. Our society tells us it's never enough... we always need something more, something newer, better... our decor is outdated so quickly... we have to update... and on and on it goes... there's always a better, more updated gadget that we need! ME, ME, ME! Feed my need for more! And so, we become so stretched financially that we aren't using our resources for the purpose He intends.
According to Acts 4:35--37, the believers would give their money to the apostles who would distribute it according to the need. What a lesson in denying yourself! We always want ownership, entitlement--give me what's my portion!
I want to do better! I pray He helps us have more of a "funnel" mentality than an ownership mentality. All that we have is His... James 1:17 says "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
Do you ever notice how "adult like" we are? As adults, we reason out every circumstance--we've been trained to find a logical solution to everything. Children don't do that. They trust that anything is possible... especially if Mom & Dad say so. Well, guess what? Our heavenly Father says so! His way is a way of faith. It doesn't follow human understanding and reasoning. His ways are so much higher than ours. It is placing complete trust when we don't see how the solution can possible come but we know our Abba Father is in complete control!
Matthew 19:14 (Amplified) says "...He said Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such (as these) is the kingdom of heaven composed."
What does that say about us? According to I Thes 5:3, "...unless you repent and become like children (trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving), you can never enter the kingdom of heaven (at all)."
Yikes! ...and yet "Whew!" all at the same time... I'm so glad I don't have to figure it all out! There's such peace in that. Whatever I face... whatever decision or trial or sickness or sadness... and on and on... no matter what... He has it all taken care of! Of course, we can't put it on cruise control... we still have to do our part but I'm so glad He equips the called!
This is to give you insight into the personality of these Cook boys in case it wasn't obvious at the beginning... well... only one will allow me to post his craziness online... the other is much more mature these days... he chooses to PRETEND he's all cool & serious... however, he is quite quick witted and keeps us in stiches...
I know... not the most modest picture but he's looks like he's feeling pretty cool... ha ha
I am new at this but was convinced to give it a try this weekend while spending time with our church family at Family Weekend. We all bring our food, kids, campers, tents, chairs, and whatever else we feel we may need and spend the weekend at our District Campgrounds. It's a lot of fun, food and fellowship. My concern was that it would take up too much of my time but some friends convinced me that I could do it without a lot of effort, so here I go.
I don't know if it's that I'm getting older or that I'm consciously spending more time in prayer and the Word this year but I have a volume of thoughts and words pouring out of me... I've started a prayer journal this year and have been amazed at how clearly God speaks to us if we only take the time to listen. I recently shared this vein of thought with our ladies' prayer group but wanted to share it here.
A week or so ago in my morning prayer time I felt as though this was the word He was speaking to me... "whisper". I even looked in the concordance of my Bible to see if there were scriptures with this word but didn't really find a lot. Running out of time, I finished up prayer time and headed to work. When I opened my email there was an email with the subject "Whisper". Of course I was totally intrigued. I opened it up to read it… it spoke of all the ways God uses to speak to us and not to discount the small things… one line that really stuck out to me was this… don’t miss out on your blessing (or from hearing his voice) just because it isn’t packaged the way you expected! How true! We think we have God figured out and want to tell Him how to fix our situation or how to bless us and on and on… He always has our best interests at heart. We need to learn to pray the blessing or the “fix” He has for us. He does a much better job and dreams bigger for us than we will ever dream for ourselves!
Needless to say… I was feeling like I was walking in the 3rd heaven! God has given me a “whisper” today! I left work to go get in the pick up line at my boy’s school. I intentionally go about 30 minutes early so I can practice this “whisper” process… getting still, getting quiet, no sound… just me, Him, His Word… I was a day behind on my One Year Bible reading so I finished the current day while sitting there. I got to the New Testament passage for that day and there it was… my other whisper… Col 4:5 “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.” (Forgot to mention that this was the other verse He had led me to that morning--specifically about "redeeming the time").
I just sat in awe of the presence of the Lord. The very fact that the Maker of the Universe… Creator of everything… would take the time to give me a couple of “whispers”… I started thinking about whispers… they are usually used in a bad context… even in the Word it tells of backbiters, whisperers… but when you whisper something, you are sharing a secret. You only trust your secrets with those you trust completely. If we want to know His secrets… hear His whispers… we must first have a secret place where we can steal away with Him and hear what He wants to whisper into our spirit.
I Kings 19:12 “And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.”
A still small voice… there it is… right there in the Word… the whisper. I do want to hear His voice… even if it is the slightest whisper. I know there are so many things in this life that will always try to stifle His whispers. Just help me discipline myself to steal away with Him… away from the noise… I want to align myself to hear—laying aside those things that steal my time and crowd out that still small voice.
One more thing... the following day I had just dropped the boys off for school and decided to turn up the radio. There it was... a song I had never heard before on a cd that had been given to me... the song was called "A Whisper Is Enough". Again... He gave me another whisper... I have to share the words...
"Lord, you are my shepherd and the keeper of my heart. You guide my steps when I can't find my way. And yet I know for you to truly lead I must live in such a way that when you call to me...
a whisper is enough... when I'm close enough to hear... when my one desire is just to have you near. You still the storms around me with gentle words of love. I want to live so that a whisper is enough.
Is it any wonder that it's hard to know your voice when so consumed by the cares of this world? But in an age that competes with everything you say, please give me ears to hear above the noise it makes..."