Saturday, March 24, 2012

If Your Gonna Get Told, Who Better to do it then Beth Moore

I am currently going through the Bible study "Believing God" by Beth Moore.  This is my third study with her and I can say that I am hooked.  I have nothing but absolute respect and appreciation for her ability to be used by God to speak truth and light into the life of women.  Not only does she have such a deep connection with her faith and with Him, but she is educated.

Last time I blogged, I talked about the situation my family (specifically my husband) was going through and how it was weighing on me spiritually and emotionally.  Through last weeks study and Sunday morning church, God showed me much, but in the is past week study - He blew my mind!  I had to laugh because this study is years old, but it was breathed into my life in just the right time.  I got told and if God is gonna use someone to put you back in your place, why not Beth - we are old friends ;-)

I hate being in a place of unbelief and as we hit week three, my world was rocked open.  We have a place to journal at the end of our everyday homework and I have been consistent in asking Him to move me into a deep rooted spirit of belief, to push my faith into an even deeper place and to grow even deeper in my relationship with Him.  Now this is something I ask for all the time, to grow closer and draw more near to Him, but since this study has started, I have been really begging for it.  

Beth said during our video session that, In our moments of despair, we cheat ourselves out of hearing Him tell us that He has got this for us. She also later told us that we can't base our theology on what we see with our eyes because most of what we see has a stronghold of unbelief. The world is a wicked place, filled with people living for the wrong things, striving for the wrong way and life and we see things that make us question and doubt the goodness of God, but God is still God and He is still good and the world that strives for and does bad things, are not living for Him and walking in His ways.  That is not His fault - we have free will and when we allow those things to change our perspective on who He is - then we are not believing the God of the Bible and we are denying the truths He has given us in His word.  I am guilty of this sin and I am tired of being guilty and doing nothing about it.  As the words from the song "You Love Me Anyway" by Sidewalk Prophets says:

I am the thorn in Your crown, but You love me anyway.
I am the sweat from Your brow, but You love me anyway.
I am the nail in Your wrist, but You love me anyway.
I am Judas’ kiss, but You love me anyway.
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd,   
for Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground.
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
with this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life
But You love me anyway 

And praise Him because in-spite of me living in unbelief, questioning and doubting Him at His word, He loves me - I am the one who knew this sin in my heart was there and tried to bury it deep in me, not wanting to face my unbelief, but in the end, I found myself crying to Him - with tears streaming down my face, begging Him to free me from myself and I am ashamed to say that I have been a Christian for years and still find myself doubting Him in times of despair, but He still loves me and He still shows me that I have no reason to doubt Him because in my time of unbelieving, He showed me just how much He is God. God is so good!!! And as He started showing me, He used this last session of study to pound in every single thing because my God is the God who performs!

Mark 9:23 tells us that, Everything is possible to those who BELIEVE.  Psalm 77:14 says that He is the God who performs miracles... and many may say that what I am about to say is not a miracle, but I say it is because this is the God that is making me from one who questions Him about every despairing thing, that is confused and doubtful in the times that are rocky into one that stares those times in the face and says: God IS who He says He is, and He can do what He says He can do, and I am who God says I am, and that there is nothing that I can't do through Him and that His word is alive and active in me! because having His word is having truth and His truth is life - like it says in Habakkak 3:2 - Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds... I have heard of His fame and I believe His name and most of all, I have seen His amazing deeds in my life since the moment we started this study....and I am on fire in my heart to learn more, to let myself become a woman of GREAT FAITH! Just like the Canaanite Woman I spoke of in my last blog (Matthew 15:21-28) bring it on Beth! I look forward to digging into the homework and hearing you drive it home every video session - my prayer is that at the end of my life, He will look at me and say that I became one of His children who truly believed Him - not just for who He is, or what He says, but for what He can do - that I believed Him. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Learning to Strive for the Narrow Gate - Through My Unbelief

Before you read - know that I do not post this to gossip or to be hateful.  These are my feelings and I do this because of what I allowed to happen to my faith in this time and where it has left me.  I am reluctant to post because I do not want to be dishonoring to God so I have tried my hardest to be as evasive as possible with the situation and who and what caused it.  This situation put me in a place of being in belief to unbelief and I think that it is important to show what this is doing in my life.

Last week, my husband was completely wronged and was treated so poorly - by "Christians".  He had been told one thing for weeks and that ended up being a huge lie and he was left hurt and disrespected while the one who had done the things gave no care or concern.  Yes, I am angry and yes I am so hurt for my husband.  This situation has impacted our family and our lives a lot and it has really shaken my faith and belief.

I was left asking Him "why?" and getting no answers, confused because I felt like this was something  unnecessary and I did not understand why it was allowed to happen.  I have watched this person do ungodly things for a long time - lying being at the top of the list and constantly caring only for themselves - to see my husband be a recipient of this behavior was abhorring to me.  My husband is truly a good and honest person.  He has amazing ethics, values and morals - puts others above himself and even throughout this situation, has never once spoken a harsh thought or word about the person...He has truly set a powerful example of what it means to Christian in a time that would be hard for most.  I could not wrap my head around this.  I just was shaken to the core of who I am and what I believe.  I felt like God allowed the serpent to spew his venom on us and that we were just left alone with the repercussions - I was broken and I was angry at Him - 

Ironically, the day before, I started the Bible study Believing God...and the next day, I went from having that belief to not believing in His promises and truth at all - in my anger I thought there was no way I was going to keep going with that study - He was crazy to think that I wanted to hear this now, but Sunday morning I began to be humbled.  We are going through the book of Matthew on Sunday morning and ironically (again) he was preaching on Matthew 15:21-28

The Faith of a Canaanite Woman

21 And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22 And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” 23 But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26 And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” 28 Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

This woman was constantly being thrown barrier after barrier by JESUS and she never stopped pursuing Him - in turn was reward by her GREAT faith. (The word great here is actually the greek word MEGOS which means "mega" so He is telling her that she had mega faith...) He was testing her and narrowing the gate 
 Matthew 7:13-14  “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 
She kept on striving to enter through the narrow gate - the one that is hard to find...

I found myself realizing that I was allowing myself to pursue the wide gate - allowing my anger and confusion to push me into a place of feeling left and done wrong - frustrated because my husband was treated poorly and letting the after affects put in a place of unbelief.  So I decided to continue with my Bible study homework and realizing that I had no right to let go of my belief - I was wrong to let the evil of the world and of others shake me when I should have been clinging to the five pledges of faith given to me the night before all of this happened:

1. God is who He says He is
2. God can do what He says He can do
3. I am who God says I am
4. I can do all things through Christ
5. God's word is alive and active in me

 Scripture tells us that God works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28) and in my hurt, I should have turned to Him instead of away from Him.  My husband said that God has put us in this place to teach us something and that He believes that He will work it out for us and it will be better than it ever was.  The key thing here is that my husband has never let go of his belief and I did - 

The irony of starting a Bible study about Believing God the day before is not lost on me - I let it become lost in the overtaking of my feelings - but He quickly humbled me in many ways - 

Let me be clear - I never stopped believing in Him and who He is but I let go of the Truth and promises that I know to be true (makes no sense, I know) so I begin my path back to belief - one that I will seek diligently, more careful and that I will allow to root in me and learn to cling to those promises when my faith is met with barriers - to strive to be like the Canaanite woman...

It is embarrassing to me that I have been a Christian for this length of time and that I go through ups and downs in my faith, but I think that it is important to realize that others go through similar times and that what is important is to learn from these things - I was not so closed off that I did not hear the messages being given to me to come back to Him - I am so grateful for grace and forgiveness because I defiantly need both - God will work something mighty through this and I believe that we will be better for it...I look forward to the next 9 - 10 weeks of this study, to become a woman who believes God in a whole new way.  

Monday, March 5, 2012

I need Him to "Steady My Heart"

I have been through seasons of quiet in my walk with Him.  The first few times it happened, it absolutely devastated me...I could not understand where He had went...for me, I have realized that these are the times that I have to be the most trusting and faithful...faithful in my effort to spend time in His Word, in prayer and trusting that even though I think He is not there, He really is...

I believe when He is quiet in my life, it is because He wants me to seek Him out more and look for the things that I need to work on in my walk with Him - unfortunately, this is one of the times where I epically failed...for about 5 days, I felt myself being confused, frustrated for no reason, irritated....I just felt out of sorts...I was aware that He was choosing to be quiet with me and in that time that I should have been seeking Him, I wasn't - hence the feeling out of sorts...I have really come to realize how much I NEED to read His Word and meditate it into my important it is that I slip my iPod in and allow myself to praise Him with song and let my heart speak to Him through music...When I don't do these things, I feel empty.  I need Him to "Steady My Heart"...

There has been so many things going around me that doesn't make sense, things that are painful, things that are heart wrenching, but when I am faithful to my God - seeking Him, searching His Word, I feel a peace that even in the times that do not make any sense, my heart is steady....Kari Jobe's new album is amazing...(I know I have plugged this album a few times now, but it is amazing) and her song "Steady My Heart" says exactly what I am trying to explain...I know that I am not able to go through life in my own power and control and that I need Him...that I can't do anything without Him - so even when He is being quiet in my life, as long as I seek Him, He really is not because I have His Word and I have the truth in my heart - His promise to never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) and that He holds me in the palm of His hands...