Saturday, June 4, 2011

Do You Struggle With Reading Your Bible? (Part 2)

I journaled a little bit about the lessons God has taught me these last few years, the lessons that brought me out of being luke warm and into the furnace of refinement:

  • It all begins with Prayer - radical prayers bring radical change! * Not only radical change in you, but in those around you. My husband would say he grew more in the last few years than his entire Christian life put together.
  • Getting to know God is a journey that grows through experiences and faith lessons. Be prepared for a great ride!
  • Diving into God's Word is more exciting than I ever imagined, each precept builds on another and the scripture is illuminated with new discoveries about God's unwavering character. It is like falling in love one page at a time. It just takes time, prayer and daily renewing of the mind. Each passage can be read over and over and yet there are new treasures to be found.
  • Left to my flesh and my own feelings, on any given  day, I'll fall into the happiness cult, or become an angry mother, wrought with guilt which will end in laziness and depression. That perfectionist in me would rather give up than get up.  I've finally  become dependent on the power of the Holy Spirit, there is no going back. God brought me to the end of myself and I realized I can't do anything without Him.
  • God is always faithful, but I must be faithful to accept hard work, conviction, and life altering change that isn't always conducive with societal norms. God's faithfulness also provides thick skin and a love for mankind that is unexplainable.
  • Daily renewing my mind releases the Holy Spirit to recalibrate my thinking and expectations - He aligns them with Christ's agenda and channels them through my actions.
  • When walking in the Spirit I'm reminded daily of  what really matters.
    When I walk in my own flesh my mind constantly reminds me what the world thinks is important.
  • This is a journey that will leave lots of bruises and bumps - plan for them, plan for the failures, plan for the days I'm not walking in the spirit, then when failure happens, realize its all part of the journey, get back up and try again. God wants our messy, he wants our flesh and never expects perfection, in fact he planned for our imperfections before the foundation of the world!
  • Intimacy means revealing my most sacred and off limit feelings and failures.
  • Immersing my mind for an entire  evening, through various pod-casts (John MacArthur, Focus on the Family, Family Life, Chip Ingram), quiet reading times with great books by authors like Richard Foster, A.W. Tozer, and Francis Chan, and then sprinkle with tons of worship music. I try and do this at least once a week, it is a simple and great way to renew my mind and provide wisdom and insight from believers farther along in this journey. It is normally on a day when I stay home, we turn off all television and internet and create an atmosphere of peacefulness - which is hard with two boys! The boys are actually getting into it a little and enjoy listening or at least enjoy playing quietly and having mommy read them tons of books. Then I tell them a few little lessons  I learned. I hope they catch onto this one day!
  • The power of God is beyond words
  • Living out my identity in Christ results in thanksgiving and rejoicing -  even amidst trials
  • God's Word won't return void - it is my weapon which needs to be exercised daily.
  • There is no  quick fix - just daily disciplines!
  • Change isn't visually seen for months and months and months or even years.
  • What I dwell on in my mind - each moment of each day, either builds me up or tears me down. I had to choose to take every negative thought captive and dwell on God's gifts, searching for things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, & excellent (Phil 4:8).
  • Television gets cut most evenings when God is my first priority - shows I use to watch no longer seem appropriate and what I use to justify watching becomes shocking and undesirable. Warning - it doesn't make you not very sociable when groups begin talking about the latest TV show.
  • An expository Bible study that shows you how to study the  bible,  is great for accountability - this was key for me, probably the most important thing I did! I knew that there were others counting on me to get all my homework done and there was so much of it I couldn't wait until the last minute - I had to be disciplined. I've come to love looking up Greek and Hebrew words on Blueletterbible!
  • A mentor or mentors are vital - someone who will encourage and build you up with the greatness of God.
This journey is sometimes weary. Drew and I read through the Dangerous Journey this past month, I couldn't help but parallel my own  Christian walk to Christian's journey to the Celestial City. His battles were difficult, temptations so great,  but his passion for God was greater. Christian even teamed up with a man named faithful who was his companion when the battles became too great!  God is faithful - He was faithful to send me into the Valley of the Shadows of Death to refine me. Then God showed me how beautiful this Christian life is when Christ lives through me, not just within. I have wonderful days  - they always include early mornings with my Papa. I have bad days - they normally happen because I overslept, didn't read God's Word before my kids woke up and then I play catchup all day.  Thats ok, those bad days just remind me why I am so committed to walking in the Spirit. There is no more guilt and no more duty - just a sinful girl who can't do this life on  her own and knows the recipe for a faithful life in Christ.

There is no greater place I'd rather be than where I am right now...

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