Revival Starts With Me

I started out writing a journal entry today at lunch. However, I feel like the Holy Spirit was moving, and the following is what happened:

Today begins our month-long focus on corporate prayer at Gateway Assembly of God.  As I enter into a new season of my walk with Christ, I am determined to pray more, with more focus and with more faith.

My God has been completely faithful to me, even though I haven’t always been faithful to Him.  I am determined to change that.  I am determined to worship Him with my life–reflecting the life of Christ within me…worship in spirit and in truth!

Much like the handful of expectant mothers at our church, I am going into this month full of expectancy. I expect God to shift things, work miracles, bring great provision, answer prayers and breakout in complete revival across this land. However, I also know that revival begins with me.

If there is no change within me, how can I expect to see change any place else?

So…there we are–it begins with me…and it begins with you…and you…and even you.

To see revival spread beyond the four walls of our churches, it must first start within ourselves. How? Here’s a list of what I am currently working on…maybe it will work for you too.

  1. Introspection:  The Word says for us to examine ourselves. In 2nd Corinthians 12:5 it reads, ” Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”  Psalm 26:2 says, “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.”  If we do this with an open heart, the Lord will show us areas where we need correction and cleansing.
  2. Repent:  yes…repent and turn away from those things that the Lord reveals to you during the time of introspection.  Matthew 3:2 reads, “And saying, “repent ye; for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
  3. Be Obedient:  When the Lord speaks to you, do it…right then. You’ll be amazed at how He moves on your behalf when you are obedient.  “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
  4. Pray:  Here’s where some of us get bogged down. Some don’t know how to pray. Some think prayer is only a list of requests. Some feel unworthy to come before the Lord.  Man, it is amazing the lies we believe from the enemy.   Prayer is simply communing with our Lord.  Its should be praise and an outpouring of our love for the Father. It should be baring our hearts and souls to Him (He already knows it all anyway). And yes, it is presenting our requests to Him in prayer…but they should be according to His Will. Prayer is interceding for others. It doesn’t have to be flowery or perfect. Simple speech and praying His Word over things is an excellent plan.  Matthew 21:22 says that “and all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing (emphasis mine), ye shall receive.  Phillipians 4:6 tells us to “be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving (again…my emphasis), let your requests be made known to God.”
  5. Worship: Ah….here’s the one that the Lord has been emphasizing to me the past few days. He has been telling me that my worship was not complete. My very life needed to be expressing my worship of Him…not just the songs we sing in church on Sunday morning or while I’m driving down the road. It isn’t to be just posting a scripture on some social media site.  Everything in my life should be in worship to Him. My thoughts?  They should be grounded in the truth of the Bible.  My words?  They better be the loving, grace-filled statements that Jesus would speak. My actions?  They better reflect the life of Christ living in me.  You see…I’ve said many times to myself and others, our worship has to be a way of life.  However,  I didn’t really have a grasp on what that meant, until the Holy Spirit showed me how I was NOT doing these things. (This points back to #1.) So…its time to update the way we worship.  John 4:24 says, “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”  Psalm 29:2 states, “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.”  Phillippians 3:3 says, “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”  We see in Revelation 15:4 the following: “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?  for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.”    Our worship should be all about Him, and our lives are to be lived in worship by reflecting the life of Christ within us.

I have put these words to paper, to finish with this:  These suggestions are what the Lord spoke to me for me.  Do I think they were only for me?  No…if I did I wouldn’t be posting them here.  I do not claim that they will spark a world-wide revival if put into action (but it could happen…our God can do anything). I can only say, without a shadow of a doubt, that…as I have already begun to take these steps in my own life, I’ve already experienced change. I am experiencing a revival of the Holy Spirit welling up in me that has not happened in a while.  When revival of the Holy Spirit wells up in me, then the fruit of the spirit will pour forth and start to feed some other starving soul…and so on, and so on…and that is how I see revival starting with me.  I pray it starts with you too.

Let’s pray:

Father God…we thank You that You love us so much to not leave us in the mire into which we get ourselves stuck. Thank you, Lord for your Word and the instructions contained within it that show us how live and how to worship You. Father, help us in those moments where we are stuck or our sight is covered by a dark cloud, to see Your Holy Truth, examine ourselves and make sure we are reflecting You in our lives. I pray that You bless each person reading this with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and a mighty move of revival within their lives, their churches and their communities.  We love you Lord and we praise and honor Your Holy Name. Its in the Precious Name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

 

Dis”banding” the idol

I haven’t written in a while.  Nothing major has been happening. I’m doing well with the LAP-band. This Wednesday, March 21st will be exactly 8 weeks post-op.  I’ve lost 36 pounds!

It’s hard to believe that its only been 8 weeks.  It seems like I’ve been living with this thing forever.  I’m so used to the way I have to eat now, that sometimes I find myself thinking that I’ve eaten too much…and I’m not even full.  Exercise has become a “must-do”. I feel bad on days that I don’t exercise.  I’ve even signed up for a 5k fundraiser for my son’s school and a 2-mile walk for March of Dimes–in the same weekend! (I think I’ll take a vacation day that Monday to recuperate! LOL).

It’s all good.  However, I’m realizing that this has really been a bit of a spiritual journey as well as a “get healthy” one.  God has really shown me some areas where I’ve been more focused on this weight loss thing than I have been on Him.  I’ve been more apt to log into my food journal or read a WLS (weight loss surgery) blog, than I have been to read His Word.  The thing is, THAT is really where I gain my strength because “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

I realize though that I have not been giving my Lord the Praise and Worship that He deserves.  Not just for making a way for me to have this procedure..No no!  That’s not what He is to me. He is not a prayer vending machine where I can drop a quarter in and get a prayer answered for what I want. Nope.  This is a relationship between me and Jesus…and I’ve been ignoring Him a bit.  You know, if I treated my husband the way I’ve treated Jesus lately, we probably wouldn’t have a marriage..and the thing is…Jesus has given me more than my spouse ever could.  However, Jesus loves me unconditionally, and He’s been patiently waiting for me to return.  Softly and tenderly, He’s been calling me back to His side, back to His purpose.  He’s been reminding me not to worry so much about the weight loss (or anything else for that matter), because He’s already worked it out on my behalf! Praise God! What a promise!

So, I’m going back to focusing on what’s really important–Jesus!  Because when THAT relationship is right, everything else will fall into place.  Can I get an Amen?

Don’t Worry…Be Happy

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e] 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t worry…be happy!  Ha!  That song is going to be stuck in your head now–rolling around and around all day–isn’t it? 🙂  I hope that makes you smile. I love to make people smile.

However, I have to admit that I’m not always smiling.  Which, as a Believer, is hard for me to admit since our Joy should come from the Lord; always springing up from within us.  I know though that I worry too much, and allow that worry to squelch that Joy inside me. 

But…worry is not what Christ wants from us. In fact, it is not what He commanded of us.  Take a look at our reference scripture above, from the book of Matthew.  Those words, in the Bible, are written in red. “So what?” you say.  Well, words written in red were spoken by Christ.  Our Saviour told us (not asked or suggested) not to worry in verse 34.

Yet, we worry anyway.  Have you ever thought about this as being disobedient to our Lord?  I hadn’t until recently.  When I think about how I’ve grieved the Holy Spirit in my disobedience–simply by worrying (of all things)–well it breaks my heart and I have to stop and apologize to my Lord.

I must also admit that I struggle with truly repenting of worry.  See, repentance is not just admitting your sin & asking forgiveness for it.  It is actually recognizing that sin and consciously turning way from it, never to return again.  My struggle comes in the “never to return again” portion.  The least little fall in my budget or possibly the wrong word spoken…those little things can send me into a worrying tailspin.  But…I’ve noticed that as long as my prayer life is strong, and my Bible study is dedicated–basically when I’m in communion with Christ–I don’t worry very much.  It becomes much easier for me to take one day at a time and allow the Holy Spirit to guide me.

But…when I step (even a 1/2 step)  outside of that communion; outside of His Will, I’m in a state of worry and fear.  Whether it’s over bills, lack of money, my job, relationships, health, whatever…I can start to freak out over some of the smallest things in my life.

So, what can we learn from all that I’ve been rambling about here?

Well–first, worry is a form of fear–a fear that something’s going to go wrong or not the way we think it should, etc.   And what have we previously determined that fear is?  Fear is a lack of faith. Now, I’ve written about that being a lack of faith in skills, experience, abilities, other people. But…in the instance of worry (at least for myself anyway), I see it as a lack of faith in our Lord. 

He is:  Jehovah Jireh–the Lord of Provision;  Jehovah Rapha–the Lord of Healing; Jehovah Shalom–the Lord of Peace; Jehovah Sabaoth–the Lord of Deliverance; Jehovah Shamma–The Omnipresent Lord; Jehovah Nissi–the Lord of Victory….and many, many more.

Jehovah is the highest, most Holy name with which the Jewish people refer(red) to God. I’ve read that, they revere it so much that the names of Jehovah God are not spelled out completely because of their complete Holiness and Power.   This means He is absolute.  LORD, RULER, and CREATOR of all.  So…being LORD of All, shouldn’t we trust that as children of God, He will provide great things for us?  (Matthew 7: 9-11– 9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!)

Secondly, as absolute Creator, He created us not with a spirit of fear  but with power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).  So if we are created (born) without fear–why do we worry so?  I think fear is a learned behavior (and that will be discussed further on another day); but things come into our lives that shatter the trust with which we are born.  Whether it’s an event that someone else forced on us or whether it’s a bad choice we’ve made on our own, those negative things can tear down the confidence (trust, faith) we have in ourselves or in others.  When that is gone, fear (or worry) starts to make our consciousness its home.

However, if we read more of Matthew, Chapter 6, we see that our Father has adorned the lilies in the field in their finery; and the birds of the air He says do not toil for their food.  He loves us even more and the Word says, “will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?”   We have to trust that He will…and He says He will…”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ”

I admit that there are days when the world caves in on me so hard that I have trouble trusting that Provision. But I am His child and He has never  failed to provide what I or my family needed.  We might not have what we want but we have food, shelter, clothing, transportation, water, electricity and work.  It is in the moments when I realize that, despite my doubting, my Lord has delivered me anyway…well, that’s when my faith grows a little stronger and the worrying becomes a little weaker.

I am making a conscious effort to trust Him more everyday to take my worry away.  I hope you will take this walk with me.

Heavenly Father, help us to trust you more…to focus on You and Your Wil rather than worry over the little things in this life.  After all, You already have all those things under control anyway.  We may not understand the hows and the whys of your Control and Provision–but helps us to trust it anyway in order to live life to the fullest, inside Your Will. 

In the Holy Name of Jesus I pray…Amen.

Fear? What Fear??

Fear.  What is fear?  Well, my dear friend and pseudo-mom, Brenda, has told me (too many times to count), that fear is a lack of faith. Wow. That’s simple. Yes, it is…and to quote a line from a movie I saw recently, “Its simple…but its hard.”

Now you can probably surmise from the previous paragraph, that I’ve had some fear in my life. I mean, “Fear is a lack of faith” has become a mantra in my head (and its ALWAYS Mama Brenda’s voice. LOL!)  Fear is something I work on daily to overcome.  It isn’t always big fears. In fact, its usually little things like: “Did I say the wrong thing to that person?” or “Am I doing a good job?” and “Could I really write a devotional?

Of course, a lot of people who know me, will think that I’m writing about faith and fear from a purely spiritual aspect. I will admit that, for the most part, it will be.  But faith isn’t just about God, Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost.

I’m also talking about faith in one’s self, other people, abilities, dreams, etc.  Remember, fear is a lack of faith. If you are afraid of driving a car, your lack of faith might be in your ability to handle the car or in the ability of others to watch out for you…or even a lack of faith in their driving skills. My fear of large bodies of water and/or swimming comes from my lack of faith that the water will buoy me, and my lack of faith in my ability to actually swim.

So…the question is..how do we overcome fear??

This is something I’m still learning daily but I believe its quite simple.

1) We gain faith to over come that which we fear.

2) We trust that God is purposeful and omnipotent in His creation of us, so why should we fear?

So we gain faith…well how in the world do we do that ChrissyLu?  Well, we learn more about that which we fear. Take my aqua-phobia for instance.  I should learn more about the properties of water and how it would carry my body.  I could take swimming lessons to help me learn how to manipulate the water and my body to make me float or to give me the ability to swim.  Then I put those things into action. When I “test the waters” so-to-speak, I will learn to trust what I know, thereby increasing my faith in that thing.

Well, “what about trusting God?” you might ask.  Again, its simple…but its hard…because it takes some discipline.  It goes back to learning more about your subject matter.  Its hard to trust God if you don’t know Him.  He gives us a wonderful book called The Bible which reveals his character and nature to us. It shows us His promises and His love for us. By learning more about Him, and how He can live in us, we learn to trust Him…and His creation of us…and the fact that He gives us what we need on a daily basis.

Both of these things, I’m putting into practice right now.  You see, I’ve had a fear of writing this devotional series, even though God has been telling me to do it for a couple of years now.  My fears have been: “What if no one likes it?”  “What if I write something that makes someone else angry?”  “I’m not as far along in my Christian walk as other writers…what if I say something wrong.”

But God says those things are not for me to worry about…or to fear.  You see, writing this is part of MY journey in dealing with fear and worry (yes..the two go together). But if someone else benefits from this, then all the better.  I have to trust that God knows what He’s doing in planting this idea in me. I have to trust Him to bring it to fruition…not myself. 

I plan to take a look at scriptures that pertain to fear–mainly ones where God tells us not to faear.  Of course, ultimately, I plan to follow wherever He leads me. So, here I go.  You can come along for the ride if you want. There’s plenty of room!

Isaiah 41: 8-13

8 “But you, Israel, my servant,
   Jacob, whom I have chosen,
   you descendants of Abraham my friend,
9 I took you from the ends of the earth,
   from its farthest corners I called you.
I said, ‘You are my servant’;
   I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
   do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
   I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 11 “All who rage against you
   will surely be ashamed and disgraced;
those who oppose you
   will be as nothing and perish.
12 Though you search for your enemies,
   you will not find them.
Those who wage war against you
   will be as nothing at all.
13 For I am the LORD your God
   who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
   I will help you.

Starting to blog….

Well friends…here I go. I’m branching out into the world of blogging. This is one area of the internet that I thought I might shy away from. However, God has a plan for me and I see blogging as one of the tools He intends for me to use to work that plan.

So, with that being said, I hope you’ll take a few minutes, when I start posting, to take a break and read the blogs. Share your thoughts…just be gentle. I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t take harsh criticism well. LOL.

Hope to see you all on the blog-side!

ChrissyLu