Mother-Daughter Tea


Today, my daughter and I attended a Mother-Daughter Tea at our church. It was a sweet time, and she loved it. She seemed so grown up today, in a new dress from her grandmother, sporting a new haircut. I love time spent with each of my children individually.

God keeps driving home to me the point I made in my last post — that He is strong, and I am weak, that I live this life by the power of His Spirit providing me the strength I need, not through my own self effort.

I had the opportunity to go out of town last weekend and visit friends we knew when we lived in Virginia. We had a nice day and a half of visiting before I got sick with a stomach bug! It is not fun to be sick away from home, and I was praying I wouldn’t infect this sweet family. (My friend is pregnant and has a young child, and her husband has a busy job… the last thing I wanted to leave them would be this “gift”!)

I have to say though that the Lord used this time to give me a great deal of sleep and rest and time to read and study for longer periods than I normally have. He continued to speak to me about the topic of my last post and some things He is helping me understand right to my core.

I had the time to read a great book by Andrew Murray entitled Absolute Surrender that my friend had. It was exactly on this topic of living in surrender to God, allowing His Spirit to fill and lead me, and how He is strong when we are weak. I was absolutely weak, recognizing that in this sickness I was experiencing my weakness in a very physical way, but that this is just a picture of how I really always am, whether I feel it or not! I so need God and His power and strength, and I need to trust Him!

Murray described more about this surrender to God:

  • God expects my surrender,
  • God accomplishes my surrender,
  • God accepts my surrender,
  • God maintains my surrender
  • God blesses when I surrender.

Murray says, “I come to you with a message, fearful and anxious one. God does not ask you to give the perfect surrender in your strength, or by the power of your will; God is willing to work it in you.” (Philippians 2:13) “Look away from ourselves and look up to God.”

Here are some quotes from Andrew Murray’s book that I loved:

“The Spirit of God has come to make our daily life an exhibition of divine power and a revelation of what God can do for His children.”

“May God grant that the Word may enter into the very depths of our being to search us, and if we discover that we have not come out from the world entirely, if God discovers to us that the self-life, self-will, and self exaltation are there, let us humble ourselves before Him.”

“Why is there not more blessing? We have not honored the Holy Ghost as we should have done. Is there one who can say that that is not true? Is not every thoughtful heart ready to cry: ‘God forgive me that I have not honored the Holy Spirit as I should have done, that I have grieved Him, that I have allowed self and the flesh and my own will to work where the Holy Ghost should have been honored! May God forgive me that I have allowed self and the flesh and the will actually to have the place that God wanted the Holy Ghost to have.'”

“Religious self effort always ends in sinful flesh.”

Murray states that we must:

  • Humble yourself in His sight.
  • Acknowledge that you have grieved the Holy Spirit by your self will, self confidence and self effort.
  • Bow humbly before Him in confession of that.
  • Ask Him to bring you into the dust before Him.
  • Then as you bow, accept God’s teaching that in your flesh there dwelleth no good thing (Romans 7:18) and that nothing will help you except another Life come in.
  • Denying self must every moment be the power of your life, and then Christ will come in and take possession of you.”

So the sickness, though at first glance could have been a temptation to feel disappointment, instead was meant for good, to give me rest, to give me time to think and pray, for God to continue to teach me what He’s been showing me, to give me more opportunity to trust Him. He is so faithful, and I am thankful.

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.