Monday, November 21, 2016

Hang-Up's

Sometimes I wonder what the hang up is. I wonder how I could know and experience the raw over-the-top grace of Jesus~ flowing all over me ~and still feel like I am in a "barren" place and unfruitful at times.  Every Christian goes through a time of being in the "desert".  The route there is different for each of us, because we are individuals, but alas, the place is the same.


pic by Silvia Ganora/Dreamstime Stock Photo
THE DESERT

It's a dry, "barren" time of feeling far away from the Lord. Out of touch. No flowing relationship. A stale time. I know God is still here because, "If you feel far from God, He is not the the One who moved",  and no matter how far I stray, He will never lose track of me. There are times that I get busy or distracted and go for days without praying, or weeks without getting into His word.  Which seems ludicrous since scripture, His word, is my happy place. But it happens. I find myself trying to survive my hectic, chaotic days on praise and worship music which last only for a short while because, how can I praise my Savior if I am out of relationship with Him? The 'love' tank is empty.  Yes, I struggle.

THE ANSWER

So, I have come to the conclusion (and you have probably seen this before on my blog) that the answer to EVERYTHING, and I mean EVERY. THING. is: Run to Jesus. Oh I know sometimes it can be daunting...or even confusing. In the desert my mind grows stale, my vision grows dim and my perspective shrinks. I wonder sometimes, 'Where do I even start?'  But I have learned that even if the only thing I can say is "Jesus help me", it is enough.  In fact, He loves it. That little sentence gives Him the permission to swoop down and wrap His arms around us. (Permission I say because Jesus is a gentlemen.  He absolutely will not force Himself, His help or His word on any of us.)

I found this scripture in my daily reading plan that might also help with where to start... a step by step of what to do:

2 Peter 1:5-9 and 10-11

"Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is short sighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. ...if you do these things you will  never stumble."

What that means to me:

With all diligence add to what you believe (without seeing)-goodness and uprightness of conduct.  To this add/have an acquaintance with facts and Truth of God's word~be familiar with it! To this be able to manage your emotions and actions~ in these things continue in a state of grace to the end in spite of difficulties or discouragement.  Not only believe~ but act in agreement to the wishes of God. Be kind to your brothers and sisters and love your fellow man.  If these things abound, you will neither be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE KEY

Verse 9 completes the thought~the reason why verses 5-8 are so important~ "For he who lacks these things is short sighted-even to blindness."

Something (or someone) that consumes our thoughts and makes it difficult to manage our emotions outside of God, causes us to be blind to God. We can't see Him if we see other things instead.

2 Peter 2:19b says 'For by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage."
Those thoughts and feelings can trap us, even if they seem good, or so strong we can't overcome them.  So strong we get lost in them, ~consumed~, then blinded.

2 Peter 1:9b:  "...and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins."
It is difficult to remember just what kind of over-the-top extravagant grace and love God is and has given us, when we are consumed by our circumstances, thoughts and feelings.  It is also easy to live in guilt and shame when we know that those thoughts and feelings are not pleasing to God, they can go against Him and His word ~yet we can't seem to shake them.

*Run To Jesus: flood yourself with Him. Spend time in His word and prayer. No matter how you feel. If you don't know what to do~ just open your Bible! (Ps. 119 is my go-to).

*Concentrate on who He is (not what your circumstances say) ~and praise Him through scripture.

*Get your gratitude on! Be thankful not only for His Saving us from the pit of hell, look around you...even the simple things.  Family, friends, loved ones.  Did you get to take a shower in HOT water today? Do you have food on your plate? Clothes on your back? Are there blue skies outside? Being grateful gets your eyes off of yourself and on to Our Beautiful Father.

*2 Peter 2:28~ "it is good for me to draw near to God."

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