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!

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.

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.”