Thursday, September 29, 2011

Obedience with a cost

God is in relentless pursuit of us. He is not satisfied with luke warm, He wants all or nothing. He longs for every single one of His children. There are no exceptions, no unlovables, no favorites, all are welcome. He sees us all as His children all precious and beautiful, all needing His touch, His unconditional love based on grace, not anything we've done, can do, or will do. . . We are all His and He is all ours. He doesn't hold Himself back from us. We are safe with Him, no shields or walls need built, He is our shield and our protection.

Psalms 18:2
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

He wants us to know Him and love Him and be transparent before Him and to others, right where we are in our lives. That's where we have to count the cost, ask ourselves honestly if we want to love Him and be loved by Him bad enough to lay ourselves down. He asks for obedience and gives joy no matter what our circumstance. I have let myself off the hook, in thinking I don't need to apply some of the requirements because after all sometimes I'm not healthy and I never know how my mind is going to process or see things on any given day. My pride and flesh convince me that I have reason to not follow Jesus's commands all the time because I can't see right when I'm in a depression episode.

Phillipians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

He requires us to choose truth and dwell on things above, even when everything inside might feel like it's dying. It's a choice, it requires us the laying down of self, even when it seems like the last thing we want or can do and when life feels unbearably painful. He longs to fill in our gaps and show Himself strong in our weaknesses. We have the greatest example of obedience and courage walked out through the redemption story, God surrendering His greatest love, His Son, knowing His son would endure great pain, even until death. He loved enough to find us worth His life, His pain, His separation from His father, even unto death. . He loved us enough He was willing to do anything for us. He never counted the cost, He knew what He wanted and He did what He had to do. He was willing to do anything. when we remember the cost Jesus paid out of love and the desire to set us free. He wasn't thinking about himself, He was outwardly focused on us, and willing to do anything. Are we willing to do anything for God?

It's hard to put into action what He is asking and expecting sometimes. Part of it may be that so many of us think we have to acheive or earn our places. But even in all things we cannot accomplish anything aside from Him. We have to speak to Him, to ask what His heart is for us, and how He sees these things, and ask Him to give us the strength and ability to obey. That middle ground, that process of walking out the pain, with Him, without resisting, it's a hard process. That's where the healing begins, the walking through to the places that don't feel so good, the scary places, that is the beginning of deeper healing. It requires a constant giving up of our own expectations, our point of view on things, the lie that He's just not listening or pulling through for me. The healing starts to go deeper as we begin to allow God to show us His point of view. To ask Him where He was and what He saw and thought. We ask and He follows through with His promise, He comes close and He speaks. He begins to put His finger on places that hurt, places we have lost hope, places where we thought He may not be working on our side.

Zeph. 3:17 The Lord your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you and quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing.

Out of Obedience alone, not based on anything that we can do, and no attempts to bring about any good on our own. God speaks and He listens, nothing comes back void. Change of heart comes with surrender and submission, God striping us down to nothing, crucifying us unto death, and His exchange of life in Him. We want what it takes to love Him with all of who we are. We must CHOOSE to give up our own expectations, our own pretenses, and CHOOSE that even though we don't understand His ways, we know they are good, and trust He has the best for us. We have to give him every ounce of our being to Him, believing that in that obedience He will give us all of Him. Us growing in anticipating and longing to be whole as we wait, accepting God's process and timing. I am not God, and I do not know His ways. He wants us to have faith and trust that He is who He says He is, and that He keeps His promises. This comes from saturating ourselves in His Word. It all comes from clinging to His Word.

One who embraces waiting with an open heart for God to speak, to move, can be confident that He will come through and answer, because He says in his Word that He will speak, in His own timing. He is a good God with Good plans, and good gifts for His children. He holds nothing back, He gives His all, all the time. We are given the ability to choice truth or wallow in the grip of satan's games and lies.

Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

Only by the grace of God working, and only as much as We allow Him will He work to Bring his freedom to the darkest places. Freedom that comes by surrendering, submitting, holding back nothing, giving Him all, and giving up every room of our heart to Him, even if it hurts to the point of not being able to bear. He carries us, He honors and is pleased when we Surrender, and submit to what He wants and requires.His truth in the midst of the valley, that's where hope and faith and joy come together and move mountains on our behalf.

What an amazing choice. What a step of obedience and faith, what an exchange of beauty for our sin, what a hard and hopeful act of forgiveness and trust. what a glorious act of faith and courage when we reach out with our eyes closed and our heart and hands open wide. What an exchange of dark into light and life in Him.

There is much hope through faith in our precious Jesus. Praise the Lord!! If we ask He will fully give us Himself in exchange for ourselves.

If God is for us who then can overcome us? Nothing, no Nothing can overcome the Love that God has for His children, every single one of us. His power is much stronger than satan's pursuit to destroy us. God's love and blood shed on the cross has already fought the battle and nothing can separate us from God's love for us. Romans 8:28

Sometimes when I write with fingers to the keyboard, and the Holy Spirit speaks to me, in ways that express and expose parts of my soul I can't do talking outload. He uses writing to reach deep in my soul, to learn things, about Him, about myself, about others, about His heart, my desperate need for Him, His love and understanding of my need for him flows through me at times and I just type what my mind and heart thinks or feels.

In looking back in past posts on my blog I realize many words are love letters from Jesus typed out. Love letters to me, to all of us. Words of conviction, hope, courage, obedience, repentance, freedom, joy, surrender, redemption, forgiveness, grace and love. My heart cries out like David in the psalms, times of praise, times of brokeness, desperation to understand, and a longing to commune with Him. The psalms are a great comfort and reminder that I am not alone, I am never alone. Thank you Jesus! You are enough for me, Even when everything around me screams the opposite. I'm clinging to you. You have shown yourself trustworthy and true time and time again.

Psalms 27: 1,3-6,13 The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
Though an army besiege me,my heart will not fear ;though war break out against me,even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord,this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
I remain confident of this:I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

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