These Dry Bones and this Superficial Life

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Even as a child, I have always loved the Lord and wanted to be pleasing to Him.  I can remember at a young age walking to the church right down the road from my house. I loved going to church and Sunday School. Every day after school I would come home and do my little Bible study/devotion from our Sunday School class for that week.

At times during my life, I have strayed from the path that the Lord set for me.  Some times it was through my own rebellion of wanting to do things my way.  Other times, it was because of hurts, disappointments, and disillusionment.

Many of you know that I have struggled terribly this past year spiritually.  I was a child of God.  I went to church every time the doors were opened.  I served in every area possible. I went to every ladies meeting, camp meeting, this meeting, that meeting.  I did Bible study.  I exhausted myself trying to be the perfect Christian.  Let me say it again…. I exhausted myself trying to be the perfect Christian……..  all the while, my spirit man was starving, my dry bones in a heap….. but by God, my spirit man might have been starving, but I had a [fake]smile on my face!  There were times when I would think, ‘Lord, there’s got to be more than this’, but day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year, I’d get up and go around that same mountain of religious tradition.  It’s funny how we are such creatures of habit and those habits can actually wind up imprisoning us and keeping us in bondage.

I would say that mid year of 2016 was when I hit the proverbial brick wall, and that wall came crashing down around my feet and shook my entire being– the very core of who I thought I was. NEWS FLASH …  after that wall came down, I was left with anger, bitterness, offense, hostility!  I had downright hate in my heart!! I just couldn’t understand how my God, the God that supposedly loved me so much could allow such hurt and rejection?  How could my God allow others to maliciously attach my family and do so without a second thought?  I felt that everything that I had believed and been taught wasn’t necessarily accurate or even true! I felt that people who I’d looked up to had failed me.  Talk about overwhelming— I was there, and I was over all of it!  I wanted nothing to do with anything or anyone ‘churchy’, or anything to do with God, for that matter.  Now, before any of you get on your high horse, we are all human and I was having a moment, be it a long moment of 8 months, to be exact.  If you have never had one of these moments, or never questioned God, well, I commend you, but I am just being real, and honestly, it is quite liberating!

God is so gracious in His mercy and loving kindness , and even though I wanted to walk away from Him, He NEVER left my side.  He was always right there with me.  He kept trying to deal with my heart, but I kept pushing Him away.  I was so angry inside, my heart so hardened.  My thoughts were, “Why even serve God?  Look where it has gotten me? No where!” That very statement shows just how spoiled rotten I was, thinking I could just pitch a fit and God would give in to me!  BUT… He loved me far too much to give in to me, for He wanted to change me!! Praise God!!

At the beginning of January 2017, I felt so strongly that I was to do a fast.  In doing so, I laid EVERYTHING down at the feet of Jesus, and let me just say that there was a lot of ugly crying….. gut wrenching, side splitting, deep down in the pit of my stomach, crying.  Day after day I would get up and sit before the Lord sobbing, repenting, praying, and worshiping.  I stood before my Savior raw and broken; a mess.  I had so much junk that needed to be poured out so that my loving Father could heal me and restore me, and each day, He did just that!  God was putting me back together piece by piece and making me whole!!

Today, I stand humbled.  For when we come to our end, then God can step in and make all things right in our lives.  I am not the person I was a year ago, and honestly I have no desire to be that person.  She was fake, she was man pleasing, she was superficial. Somewhere along the way she got it all twisted up.

God had to break all of that down so that I could be the woman that He called me to be!  I am here to tell you that it was a painful experience and at times I thought I just might die, but it was all worth it!  I stand on the other side, free, the chains are gone!  I am free to walk in total liberty with my Jesus!  I am free to be ALL that the Lord has called me to be!  I am free from the opinion of man!

 

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Keeping the Faith

The Lord has been dealing with me a lot lately on faith.

So, what exactly is faith?

The Oxford dictionary states that faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Faith is absolute confidence in God’s will, God’s purpose, and absolute belief that God will answer your prayers –all this before you see any physical proof.

Faith is vital in our walk with God and faith is what helps us grow in that walk.  In thinking over the many stories of the Old Testament, I have come to realize that God required a great amount of faith from his children.  Noah had never seen rain, yet He was told to build an ark in preparation for a great flood and he didn’t question God… he simply built an ark.  Let me take a minute to mention that all of his friends and family thought he was crazy, but that didn’t stop him from obeying God.  Ruth was a woman who left everything she had for something far more greater than anything she’d ever imagined, but she first had to step out in faith.  Abraham followed God even though he was not sure where he was going.  That was faith as well.  In Romans 4, it says that Abraham was saved because of his faith and not because of his works.  You see, faith is what God responds to.  He doesn’t respond to fear, worry, or doubt.  These things actually displease God.  When we are operating in fear, worry, or doubt, God is not able to work through us to accomplish His plan and will for our lives and the lives of others.  Faith is what moves God!  Hebrews 11 is a great chapter all about faith.  In verses 33-34 it says, “who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.”  ALL OF THESE THINGS WERE DONE BY FAITH!!!

So, how do we ‘get’ faith?

We get it by reading the Word of God.  We get it by trusting in that Word— no matter what the situation may look like.  We get it by choosing to believe the truth over the facts.  James 1:6-7 says, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.  For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.”   I like the way minister and author, Phil Pringle, puts it, “The Word of God leaps into action when it is believed.  The Word is Jesus.  Jesus is the Word.  When we believe the Word, we are believing Jesus.”

We must get this truth deep down in our spirits:  If God said it, then He is faithful to perform.  He does not lie or change His mind.  We must stand in faith and declare that though the storms rage, though the winds blow, we will not be moved.  We must be firmly planted in faith, knowing that God is there with us and that He is in control.  Friends, God is for us and our faith is what moves Him!

A Call to Awaken

So, I have a question:  As Christians, what are we doing to help our country, the United States?

I have read countless articles over the past few days about the Ebola case that is in Texas.  Just last night, I read another article about a reporter that has Ebola and is being sent here, to the US, for treatment…. along with other possible infected crew members.  This will cause fear to grip your heart; I know that it did mine.  It is with this recent information, that I feel such an urgency to share with you what the Lord has been dealing with me about.

As Christians, we have the power through Jesus Christ to see this virus and any other attack, be gone from our country.

How, you ask.

The Lord spoke this scripture to my heart this very morning, 2 Chronicles 7:14.  It says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  First, let me start by saying that 2 Chronicles 7:14 is a promise with a condition.  Now, let’s look at it more closely.   It says, “if MY people”.  So this tells me that the Lord isn’t talking about sinners, but His people….. Christians.  Then it goes on to say “will turn from their wicked ways.”  According to this scripture, we have Christians walking in wicked ways.  Folks, sin is sin.  Gossiping is sin.  Hatred is sin.  Strife is sin.  Envy is sin.  Gluttony is sin.  Any kind of addiction is sin.

So at this point, you may be thinking, “but those aren’t really a big deal, right….. Murder, now that’s a sin!”

Actually, having anything before God or entertaining any idea other than God as number one in our hearts is sin.  Sin is sin and we don’t get to choose what is a ‘little sin’ or what is a ‘big sin’—it’s all sin, plain and simple.   But wait, the scripture then tells us what we can do to save ourselves and our land.  These are the conditions:

Step 1: Humble yourself.  According to the King James Bible dictionary humble means to “make humble or lowly in mind; to abase the pride of; to reduce arrogance and self-dependence; to give a low opinion of one’s moral worth; to make meek and submissive to the divine will.”

Step 2:  Pray and seek God’s face.  Seek means to be actively looking for something.  Saying a 5 minute prayer in the morning and before bed is not enough.  If someone loses their car keys, they are going to seek for them until they find them.  We must be this determined with the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:13,14 says,  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with ALL your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.'”

Step 3:  Turn from our wicked ways.  We must repent for our sins and mean it.  We must be grieved by our actions and desperate for God to redeem us.  We must walk away from our wickedness and not return.

Then, this is what God promises to do for us:  FORGIVE OUR SIN AND HEAL OUR LAND!!

My fellow Christians, I urge you all to get down on your knees, humble yourselves before your Maker, pray and cry out to the Lord asking Him to forgive you—turn from your wicked ways.  His Word plainly states that He will forgive our sin and heal our land.  We must all band together.  We, as Christians, have been in a state of sleep and slumber.  The devil, our enemy, has lulled us to sleep, but it’s time to WAKE UP and RISE UP in the Name of Jesus and see our enemy defeated!