Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Motions

There’s a great song by Matthew West that says, “I don’t want to go through the motions, I don’t want to go one more day, without your all consuming passion inside of me,” and the first time I heard it – I cried.  “That’s me! That’s how I feel!” I said, I had been in a rut for a very long time and really wanted to feel that passion once again.  The problem? I wasn’t even going through the motions any more!  I had gotten to the point where I had given up, I said I believed but I knew that faith without works is dead (James 2:20), and I didn’t have the “works” in me any more.  I believed, but I wasn’t really following, and part of me was probably even doubting God at the time.  In fact I had come to the conclusion that I was going to hell and that there was no way out of it. How pathetic is that? The problem is, I wasn’t going through the motions any more.

Now, Matthew West’s song makes a lot of sense, if all you’ve been doing for a while is going through the motions and there’s no difference. Don’t get me wrong, your walk with God should definitely come to the point where you are in tune to what the Spirit is telling you and you joyfully listen and obey – I just wasn’t to that point.  I had cried more nights than I could count and begged and pleaded for forgiveness from the sins that I was sure were holding me back, and I went through this for nearly two years.  Some times were harder than others, other times I just walked around in a fog like nothing mattered any more.  There were even times where I read my Bible every night and said a couple of short prayers throughout the day, but when I didn’t get immediate results I quit and gave up once more. 

Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find….” And I followed that, and then I felt like God had failed me when I didn’t get what I had asked for which was peace, and passion, and love, and to feel God near me once again. However, I like the way the New Living Translation puts it a little better: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking and you will find. Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.”  That’s what got me, I asked and then I quit, I didn’t keep going.  This is not to say that any of us can secure our own salvation by works, the Bible makes it clear that salvation is by faith alone, just that if we’re in a rut keep on trucking.  We have to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.  What was stopping me? Laziness, pure and simple. 

I knew that God was with me, even when I felt like He had forsaken me, because He promises that He would never leave me and at one point before this season of draught we were walking quite closely.  I had prayed that God would help me, give me an out when those familiar temptations rose in me, give me a desire for His will and He did! The problem is, I didn’t take the outs, I can look back and see that I knew what I was doing was wrong, that while I was doing it I was convicted but I was too lazy to do something else instead.  It was easier to sin.  I even had a desire for God, albeit a small one, but it was there! I would wake up early on Sunday mornings, before my alarm even went off, and yet I would go back to sleep and slam the off button when it was time to get up.  I was too lazy to get up, even when I was wide awake, and I would force myself to go to bed because if I got up then I may be tired earlier in the evening (as if I really needed to be up until 3 am anyways).  So I was stuck, in a rut, without much passion and desire, and no peace at all, and was just plain lazy.  I have decided now though to go through the motions.  It’s not gonna be easy, no way, and it scares me a bit, but I know if I let God work in me He will.  Sure, I’ve said that before, but was I really letting him, and believing whole heartedly?  Even part of me, this very minute, is trying to creep up and ask if I’m sure this will work – and that part of me ladies and gents is about to be squashed like a bug.

Yes! This will work. Yes, it will be hard! Yes, it will be tedious, and yes I will have to get off my butt and be proactive.  Christ told us to go forth and multiply, so where are my fruits?  If I truly believe, then why am I in this rut two years later?  Because I stopped going through the motions and I gave up.  Writing this is the first step of what may be a very long road, but it’s the first step in the right direction.  If you’re in a rut, start going through the motions, even when you have to force yourself.  I promise, we can all do this together, lean completely into God and when you don’t know if He’s there lean even further.  If you’ve walked with Him once, He’s still there; He’s chosen you now you choose Him.  No, this will not be easy, but ask me tomorrow how I’m feeling, and ask me again in a week and then a month because I’m rebuking the spirit of hopelessness right now. 


Friday, July 3, 2009

To forsake or not to forsake

Since I began to read the book of Hosea it has given me some problems because it does not read out anything like I imagined it would but finally, in chapter 5 maybe I've made some connections so here goes!

Here it is again, one of those things I just don't understand, that offends my sensibilities.  I think though, I am beginning to understand at least a little.  God is punishing Israel, or foretelling their punishment at least (I'm not quite sure which it is!). Because even though He loves His children, and is faithful to forgive when we truly repent, punishment of some kind is still needed. A child will never learn if their parents never let them know the consequences of their actions, at least to an extent. 
Here's what got me again though: vs. 6 - "They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord; but they shall not find Him, He hath withdrawn Himself from them."
I asked God, how could the never-changing God that promises to never leave or forsake us do just that? Miraculously He's answered me! Because didn't He do just that to His own Son, Yeshua, who lived a sinless life while he was dying on the cross for all humanity? Didn't Christ cry out "Why have You forsaken me?"
It's because at that moment, he had all the sin of the world on him and God could not look at that sin.  (Now, God does not see our sin He sees Christ, and before Christ, the sacrifices made, etc.) Now, Israel has committed so much sin that maybe God can't look at them?
Maybe the reason God will not be found at first in these troubling times is because Israel's not truly repenting, they just want His help. Because He does promise that He will be found when they "acknowledge their offense" (vs. 15) And when they realize that God is the one that was punishing them, but He'd also be their healer (6:1).
And lastly, maybe, just maybe, though these were God's chosen people, they didn't actually belong to Him because they weren't following Him? Maybe they were not "saved" at the time He turned away, and that's why He was able to. If you think about it, His promise that He'll never leave or forsake us, is to His followers, those that are "saved."
Maybe I have no clue what I'm talking about, but that all makes sense to me. 

* I put the word saved in parenthesis because when people talk about salvation, they usually think of when Christ died on the cross. However, this had not taken place at this time. The Bible does make it clear though, that people were "saved" before Yeshua even took his first breath on earth though.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Like Father Like Son

So here I am a few chapters later in Genesis saying "what the heck God." Maybe I missed the point completely with my last blog so here we go again. Here it is, six chapters and quite a few years later in Genesis 26. Abraham has died and gone to be with the Lord and now we're dealing with his son Isaac.
Now there's a famine going on, and God tells Isaac to move so he will be taken care of. Well of course Isaac's going to listen, I mean God's telling him where to find food...and food's just a little bit imporant to life I would say. God told him not to go to Egypt, simple enough request so Isaac goes back to Gerar where Abraham had gone in chapter 20! Exciting stuff, King Abimelech is still around and what does Isaac tell everyone in the land? You'll never guess, he says "Rebekkah (his wife) is my sister." Good job Isaac, good job!
This time King Abimelech's got some wisdom on him and when he sees Rebekkah one day he goes to Isaac and pretty much says "Why did you tell us she's your sister? She's hot! What if a man would have slept with her? You would have made us guilty!!" Here's what's funny, Isaac tells him, "I was scared someone would kill me for her." Well here's an epic fail, like father, like son. God tells him He'll protect him if he stays in this land, and even says He'll bless him and Isaac is scared and lost faith for a while.
Well once all of this is straightened out we get to verses 12-14 "Now Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. And the LORD blessed him, and the man became rich, and continued to grow richer until he became very wealthy; for he had possessions of flocks and herds and a great household, so that the Philistines envied him." (New American Standard Bible).
Despite his mess ups God still blessed him, the same way he had blessed Abraham before him, making him rich. This isn't to say that we can go around and sin because we feel like it and God will bless us. However, God had made Isaac a promise earlier on that if he dwelled in this land, he would be blessed and God is no liar. At first it didn't seem fair to me, but that's the beauty of it is life's not fair. It wasn't fair that God pulled me out of the darkness where I deserved to be but He showed mercy any way. Isaac was truly afraid so he lied, and I'm sure we've all been truly afraid so we've lied. Maybe we weren't scared for our lives but because we did something that we thought our parents would "kill us" for, it's the same thing really.
God knows we're only human, He understands that we'll make mistakes it's in our nature. However, God still is our Father, and He still wants to bless us. He didn't tell Isaac, "I'll bless you only if you don't make a mistake." He said He would bless him if he dwelt in that land which is exactly what he did. I suppose what I'm trying to say is God wants to bless us if we'll only let Him. We have to follow Him, that's what He's called us to do, but if we make a mistake it's not the end of the world.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I was just reading in Genesis 20 and it got me thinking. I'm sure there's a lot of other stuff to be learned from this chapter and maybe I went for the most obvious but it's also what's been on my mind lately. This is the chapter where Abraham and Sarah are traveling and they tell King Abimelech that they are brother and sister. This is, of course, partially true at least, they are half sibling but they're also married (they just left that little detail out).
God came to the king in a dream that night (funny, I was just wishing today that I wish He'd do that for me!!) because he had taken Sarah to be one of his wives. He didn't sleep with her that night and God told him it was because He was keeping Abimelech from sinning since his heart was truly innocent. Then God let Abimelech know what the punishment would be, now that he does know she's someone's wife, if he didn't give Sarah back. Not only did Abimelech give Sarah back to Abraham but he also gave him money, animals, and servants!
My first thought when I read this was "Whoa! Abraham lies, SINS, and this dude is giving him things because he's a prophet? A prophet of God that just LIED?" I kept reading though and remembered why he had lied. He was scared for his life. It was God that told him to leave his home, and he had enough faith to do that, but not enough to trust that God will take care of him?
I've been going through the same thing lately. I've been getting homesick, and worrying about financial issues, and getting good grades and yet I came here because I thought it was what God had planned for me. I was exacted when everything was falling into place perfectly but things start getting rather rough and I get scared, and not only scared but doubtful. I've been dealing with a lot of other issues too and have just recently begun to realize I can't handle it on my own. When Abraham doubted God, and sinned it affected himself, his wife, the person he lied to, and the entire kingdom, and didn't make God look too good either. I'm not a prophet but isn't it likely that my lack of faith is affecting at least one other person than myself? Who else am I causing to stumble because of my fear when I should have enough faith and sense to know that God is in control? That He wouldn't have brought me this far just to leave me by myself? Just something to think about....