sunday may 15, 2011
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God." Psalm 42
Have you ever gone on a hike? a long hike? If you have ever hiked a long distance - then you understand the value of water on such a trek. Water is critical to the success of the hike. The scenery could be incredulous - but if you do not have water, you might as well forget about enjoyment. Thirst - deep down thirst is a joy robber. Jesus knows - more than anyone - that we will grow tired and thirsty in our travels with Him. He, himself, in flesh, felt tired and thirsty as the Spirit led Him into the wilderness - into the cities - the mountain tops - the valleys - the cross. Jesus knows the capacity of flesh. He made it. He walked in it. He defied it. So, would He not know that, as we follow Him where He leads - we would deeply ache for times of refreshing? Absolutely. He knows all. The question then - that grips our heart and stymies us like quick sand - is DOES JESUS CARE??? I mean really, girls - isn't that what we cry out? "GOD, DO YOU REALLY CARE?!?! I can "YES!" that question with so many examples in my own life - where I have ached with thirst for God's LOVE, WORD, PRESENCE, TOUCH, ATTENTION, PROVISION, DIRECTION, INTERACTION, INVASION, HEALING, JOY, PEACE, HELP, COMFORT, and HOLD; and He indeed was there - just. when. I. needed. HIM. most. And I have to tell you - as much as I hate what I had to endure - what I love about those memories is that because of them - I was made more aware of just HOW MUCH God really. really. does care. I want to share with you a conversation I had with one young woman - who is pursuing God - and experiencing thirst in her love life with God. Maybe you will relate - and be encouraged. I hope so.
I love Christ. I truly, truly do. I know that I should seek approval from Him and not from people on earth. I know that He thinks I am beautiful, and that He loves me beyond comprehension. But even knowing this, I feel a disconnect between my head and my heart. I have extreme self-confidence issues. I feel like I have lost my passion in my relationship to Christ, and I do not know how to get it back. I pray. I read. I have been given so many opportunities from God (which I am amazed by because I am so udeserving) to witness to people, to point them to Christ in their struggles, giving them verses and advice, and yet I cannot seem to find my way out of my own struggles. I want to know how to be a woman confident in Christ...not a man - or my friends - or anything else. I'm wondering if you have any insight or advice or anything like that for me... I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Hi! Thanks for messaging me! I am soooo excited to hear you love Christ! That is such a gift for my eyes to read! I love that you are serving and seeking to glorify God. You have addressed so many heart issues that you are dealing with; I am praying that God's Word will wrap around each one of them. Each issue is significant as far as what God wants you to understand about HIM. Our lessons from God - always teach us about Him. And in the light of the TRUTH about our God - we are then able to understand something of ourselves...which is pretty incredible.
You expressed that you felt that you have lost your passion for Christ, and you do not know how to get it back. Have you felt this way before? or is this a new experience? I ask you this because sometimes God leads us into a desert so that we are souly dependent on Him for the faith and fruit that we may have assumed was OUR doing. ALL of it is from God. He is the author of our faith. God is the gardener. His Son is the vine. Apart from Christ - we can do nothing. Fruitless - dead - kindling is what we'd be without our God. We know that in our heads but - in the desert experience God allows us - in our hearts - to be weaned off of the authority of our emotions - so that we can be led by pure - powerful truth - and sometimes with that truth - obedience - to our God. Consider this for a moment. Will we follow Him - love Him - serve Him - even if we do not FEEL like He is there? Will we believe that He is - simply by faith? struggling - friendless - tired - thirsty - broken...will we still follow Him? It's one thing to say "I believe" in our heads - and it is also a whole 'nutha situation when we are thrown in the deep end of the faith pool that seemingly has no bottom... Is God there? and does He care?
It is often in the "desert" that we are made most aware of our true source of life. And you, my friend, may be right. there. God said to Israel, as He was growing her and shaping her to reflect His glory - "For I am the Lord who takes hold of your right hand, and says, 'Do not fear. I will help you." Isaiah 43:1 Would we understand the need for this help apart from the sense of helplessness? would I get that I must cling to faith were it not for moments that could in fact invoke doubt? I know I did not get this with my whole heart until I was challenged to live for God apart from how I "felt" in the moment. The question in my mind was, "Are you there God? Are you really going to help me? because I do not feel like you are. And maybe - just maybe you are not." UGH! Such a lie! He already told us that He would make a home in us. He told us that He would define us - help us; He would strengthen us. The doubting is absolutely a challenge for our faith - a challenge to define it - grow it - see it for what it is - OF GOD. People and circumstances should not define our faith. We must let God - HIS WORD - define what we believe. AND THEN!!! what we believe as we live in the midst of people and circumstances - is how we get to glorify GOD, and bless others, and affect circumstances because of who we are IN CHRIST!
That thought - IN CHRIST - is what I hope you will consider carefully. Who are you in Him alone? Not with your friends - or in your serving - or with family... Who are YOU - IN HIM alone? Ask Him to teach you that in this desert? He is living water - and I believe He wants to bless you with refreshing understanding. Please take some time and carefully read John 14 and 15. Consider what it means to be IN CHRST as He is IN THE FATHER. "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. John 13:23 This is HUGE to me for understanding what living - full life living - with God really is... Please also read I Peter 4 and Psalm 42. Lastly, remember, as you help others with God's Word, you can ONLY do so SINCERELY - if His Word is to you - a help.
Please know I have prayed for you. I have loved this learning time with you. Thank you for it! and I hope to hear from you - how God blesses and refreshes your soul! He is God, and He will do it.
"He leads me beside the quiet waters. He refreshes my soul." Psalm 23 TNIV
posted by laura lewis