Complacency to Joy

My heart is full tonight.

Have you ever battled complacency? If I admit it, I am very content and thankful with life. I love the Lord, my family, my home, my church, my town, my job. It’s easy when things are going along so well to find myself wondering what else God would have me be doing. Am I doing the things He wants? He has given so much. Am I praising Him, thanking Him, daily seeking Him?

There’s nothing I can point to that should cause me to be complacent. But I often wonder, “What else? Am I missing anything?” I am often haunted by time that I waste on meaningless things instead of things I could have done instead.

I think this is because I know the difference with living with less wasted time and more intentionality than I am now. I think about the work the Lord has done in my life, and how after that time my heart longed daily to know what He had for me that day. I know the difference in wasting time on a TV show (a struggle in my past) or Facebook (a current struggle) instead of writing a note of encouragement to a friend or taking time to read my Bible or a book or praying. How many moments and hours am I wasting?

Tonight I was refreshed in the Lord. This is the 8 year anniversary of me bowing on my knees by my bed and surrendering my life to the Lord. I’ve written about it before here. It was life-changing. The things the Lord showed me over a two-day period were that He is my Rock and He is my Strength. Many times over these 8 years, this day, April 28, turns out to be a really special day. One year, I met Beth Moore on this day. She has had a huge impact on my walk with the Lord through her Bible studies.

I don’t want to make too much out of certain days, but I do love to celebrate this one! And tonight at church, the Lord met me. We sang a song about Christ the Cornerstone, the “weak made strong,” the theme of 8 years ago. I wasn’t going to make too much out of phrases in songs.

But then the preacher started preaching from Phil. 4:4-8. During his message, he went to 2 Corinthians 11 talking about Paul boasting in weakness. And then before I knew it, he was in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

These were the very verses God used back in 2005!

The preacher gave the benediction from Psalm 40, how God lifted us from the miry clay and set our feet upon the Rock!

God is my Rock and my Strength, and He used tonight to confirm these truths and remind me of 8 years ago and fill my heart and stir me again with the conviction that He has purpose and plans for me to know Him and to trust Him and to walk with Him.

During the next to the last song, God brought to mind a couple that I felt like He had been prompting me to reach out to about a month ago when I was praying. I had dismissed it later, thinking it might seem silly to them. But God brought them to mind. We then went to sing the last song, and it was the song that I have for this family! A Chris Tomlin song from 2009, a song I have never sung in church. I was just amazed that as God brought them to mind again, He brought this song. Maybe this is the next step I’m looking for, the step to break out of some of my complacency and reach out beyond myself.

He’s shown me that He puts people in my path, and there are several now that I know I need to act on. So I pray for wisdom to know how and when and ask that God would move me from complacency back to joy and a heart filled with Him!

 

His Strength, My Weakness

This is a banner that hangs in the stairwell at work. I see it every day on my way up to my office. It is a favorite verse of mine and a good reminder each day that I live my life not in my own strength, but in God’s and in the power of His Spirit.This verse is a big part of my testimony as God used it to remind me that His grace is sufficient for me, and His strength is made perfect in weakness. I praise Him for tangible reminders and encouragements in my life of this truth.

My Rock

Psalm 18:1-3:
“I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised;
So shall I be saved from my enemies. ”

Thankful today that 5 years ago today, the Lord gloriously invaded my world and revealed Himself to me as I had never known. He is an awesome God, my Rock, my strength. Praise Him!

Lifesong

I wondered tonight what I should write on, reflect upon. I thought that as I did my Bible study, the Lord would reveal it. I first read through some old journals as I was looking for something else, but I was struck as I read those journals about how much the Lord had used Isaiah 40:28-31 in my life. These verses tell me to trust in Him, to wait upon Him, to hope in Him. He gives strength to the weary, power to those that trust in Him!

I then proceeded to do my very last lesson in Breaking Free, a 10-week Bible study by Beth Moore that some friends and I started months ago (we stretched it out)! What (among other things) did she talk about in this last lesson? Isaiah 40:28-31!

Beth asks the reader to offer feedback concerning the relationship between weariness and self-effort or renewed strength and the presence of God. Doesn’t it seem that it is often the weariness in self effort that ultimately brings us to the end of ourselves and to God? A few years ago, God very vividly showed me that I lacked strength, but that His strength was perfected in my weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9-11). I often think of this concept of His strength in my weakness as my “lifesong.”

As literally everything I do and am is under Him and His authority, I am dependent on Him and accountable to Him for everything, from the breath I breathe, to the thoughts I think, to the actions I take. His Word provides me with everything I need for life and godliness. His Spirit guides me into truth. I am filled with hope because He has given me all I need and truly gives me the strength to be and do what I cannot in my own strength.

These truths have changed my life, and I want others to know these truths, too, and to not miss the exciting walk of faith God has for us as we trust in Him and allow Him to be our strength. I hope to share a story of one way He has shown me this in my next blog entry this week.

Isaiah 40:28-31:
“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”

The Spirit-Filled Life

As I’ve reflected on my last post, I think I’ve combined two separate ideas: how God reveals Himself and His character to us and how God speaks to His people. I think one point I was hoping to establish is that God is vast and boundless and not restrained to act just as our minds can understand. He is above the natural, and it’s incredible when you find Him invading your life in supernatural ways.

The way God has most powerfully revealed Himself to me is as my Rock and my strength, which are parallel Hebrew words. This was on April 27 and 28, 2005 (which I wrote about in an earlier post). He is also a God who can speak and act in our daily lives through His Word, prayer, and the power of His Spirit. Since April 28, 2005, He has shown me this again and again, but prior to April 28, 2005, I would have been skeptical and reluctant to believe that.

One example jumps to my mind. A couple of years ago, I was at a friend’s house and we were watching the kids play in her yard while we shared what God was doing in our lives. When we started to pray, she felt led to pray a psalm for my husband. This was not a familiar psalm to me. I thought that was sweet. A few weeks later, I was waking up one morning and my husband had been awake for a while. He said he woke up in the night and felt led to read his Bible. He had been drawn to a particular psalm and couldn’t explain why, but felt like God was showing him this. This was the same psalm my friend had prayed for him a few weeks prior to that.

Those kinds of stories are just unmistakable evidence to my heart of a God who speaks, who is intimately involved in our lives. In many ways, I think I’m writing this blog to recount His work in my life, to remember what He has done, to praise Him — but I also find I want to encourage those who might have grown up in a way similar to me. I not only had no expectation that God would speak to my heart through His Spirit, but I also rejected any notion by anyone else that He did.

But look at the promises of God in the Bible! I was missing something so wonderful, so amazing, and I never even knew! It’s called the Spirit-filled life. It’s not one that’s directed by me, dependent on me. It’s one directed by the God who has saved me and rescued me from death and the power of sin and raised me up with Him, given me new life, and given me the gift of His Spirit! The very moment I believed Him to be more than I thought or understood or could mentally manage, He absolutely revealed Himself to me that this was true!

Another thing I want to clarify is that I am talking about something here that is on the other side of salvation… after we are saved. There is only one way to God… Jesus! His shed blood on our behalf. For those who believe on Him, they are given eternal life and their sins are forgiven. He died on the cross to bear our sin and take our punishment so that we could live. And He was able to do that because He was sinless, fully God and fully man.

But I do believe that many people stop there. They believe the gospel, pray asking God to forgive them and save them, and then go on living the same way. That’s what I did. And I thought I was doing pretty good because I acted nicely, behaved well, and did what I thought was right (in my own eyes) and what I had learned by being in Christian circles. But I was missing so much!!

Christ came to transform us, to mold us into His image, to sanctify us. As we seek Him daily through the Bible and prayer, His Spirit is at work to do these things. We yield our lives to Him, and He fills us with His Spirit. And He is not confined by any limitations that we want to set upon Him.

This morning, I praise God because He loved me and saved me. And I praise Him for opening my eyes to see and know more of Him.