March 1, 2009
It’s really incredible how You send along messages to us when we really need them. And You use so many different ways. This past week it’s been, nearly every day, a totally appropriate devotional from “Words From the Creator” by Robert Soto (on Tribes of Christ).
Yesterday’s, February 28th, was based on Deuteronomy 3:12, and read, in part, “Sometimes we need to stop and learn who we are and who God the Creator made us to be. We have to listen and learn what our path in life will be and how we can accomplish what the desires of our heart tells us to learn… There are some things that come naturally to a man, and there are other things that we have to learn… so we need to learn what our relationship to God the Creator is each day of our lives. So listen and learn what God desires of your heart.”
Yesterday, when I was kind of hurt from ___’s nasty emails to me, the word was, “It is not my job to hate and get even. It is God the Creator’s job to take care of both the one who got hurt and the one who did the hurting” (based on Matt 5:11-12, Feb 27).
And a couple days back, wondering what You might be wanting from me, I read “Among the Apache, they would name a person according to his character, or what best described who he was… If God changed your name today, what would you be called”? (based on Is. 9:6)
And here’s a good one for me lately as I’ve been foolishly worrying again about wanting to do something “worthwhile” : “We need to look at the circumstances we are facing each day and just carry what we need to survive. Look at the spiritual burdens, lighten the load a little and learn to rest and just do what we can do. When life has become too burdensome, take that which has gotten you down and give it to God the Creator who is always willing to help you.” (Based on Psa 68:19).
And of course I have again felt my heart being turned toward first nations people AND toward simple church - and a few days ago I read, “if Christianity had come in its truest form, our Indian people would have openly embraced what Christians had to offer. Instead, they came with demands for changes that would have destroyed all of who we were, and all of who God the Creator had created us to be… The gospel is not a doctrine of outer change, but a doctrine of inner change…. He [Jesus] was talking about simple faith in the One who gave His life for you.” (John 6:45, Feb 22). That really helped me after I watched that Truth Project video where the speaker talked about how the Mayflower Compact presented their undertaking to plant the first North American colony in the area of Virginia “for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith” … which unfortunately was followed by, not too long after, King Philip’s War and other similar events…. hmmm…
So yesterday a friend called and we talked a bit about church stuff… and she emailed me a website to check out: www.edgenet.org.nz
Anyway, the Edgenet site has a lot of really interesting articles. This morning I read “The Problem with Preaching” - which is the best article I have read on that topic! Also read, “An Interview with Brian McLaren”; awhile back I had read his book The Secret Message of Jesus" - which was interesting, but sometimes it seems to me that he is “pushing” his thesis just a bit too far and too hard, still it is worth considering….
So this morning I wasn’t really sure about “going to church” but decided to go anyway. When I got there, I mentioned to someone that I wish the seats were more in a circular setup so people could see each others faces, not just the back of their heads as it is with the perfectly straight rows! I admit I was feeling pretty “rebellious” when I saw how straight the rows were set up today. I didn’t even want to sit down. I though of pulling out a couple chairs from the rows and putting them along the side wall so I could at least see peoples’ profiles, if not their full faces!
Eventually, though, I sat in the back row. And immediately noticed that the people in front of me were heavily perfumed. I’ve had to leave “church” several times because of my allergies to scents, and I have actually prayed not to react at church…
The worship leader was very excited and joyful, literally laughing and praising God, lots of “hallelujahs” … it was a lot like my memories of “native chnurch” (he is native, too)… There was a time in my life when I would have been really excited and thought, “Wow, this is great worship” … and likely it is pretty good worship, and the team really did seem to be really in the Spirit… only it was just the “worship team” speaking (singing) to the rest of the congregation, and there was no give-and-take (or even hardly any participation since the songs were all new). A couple people did get excited and clapped to You, it’s true… but it was, I think, I kind of restrained response; they just aren’t used to such enthusiastic worship I guess!
The perfume wafting straight at me was so strong, that when the worship team finished their songs, I put my coat on. The preacher gave time for people to greet each other before the sermon so I just slipped out. A couple people asked why I was leaving; I just said, “perfume” … and they agreed it was really strong… (though I was using it more as an "excuse" than anything...
I am feeling too rebellious, I think… not “filled with the Spirit” and “speaking the truth in love” …. I do want to fast and pray this week, only I don’t want to do it in a “packaged, programmed” way. The church had a big basket of “fasting packages” to hand out after the service…
(So I just now read Isaiah 58… and realized that my heart isn’t right about all this… and that I need to stop, repent from, my self-righteous finger-pointing attitudes, and instead become one to remove the yoke and loose the bonds, to share with the poor, to be led by God….
I have been wishing I could open my house to the poor… But wondering how I can do that if my family doesn’t like the idea… and what if people steal our stuff (ha! we have precious little worth stealing!)… and what would the landlord say?…. and so on…
Maybe that’s why I’m wishing for a place of our own (owned, not rented) preferably with a big, welcoming, open area… I don’t mind tiny private living quarters if I can just have space to welcome people in!
Anyway, even way more important right now: I am longing for Your Spirit in my life!!! I have been dry. Please, please, please come in, dear Holy Spirit. Please, please, please teach me to love, dear loving Heavenly Father. Please, please, please renew in me the joy of Your salvation, and give me the great, longing desire to pray, to walk with You, to trust and obey, to believe, dear Jesus my Savior! And please, my Lord and my God, use me as You will! Please forgive me for how I have been. Thank You! Amen!
Yay! (That was easy… Thank You!!!)