Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ephesians

Where do I even start?  I was asked to speak in the morning at our community Bible study wrap-up a few weeks ago.  I knew God is good and that I was sure I would always have something to say because, well, He saved me, etc.  Lots of good to talk about.
I had no idea of the work that God would do in my heart.  I have been saved a long time.  I mean over 25 years.  I guess I just didn't expect God to do any more in my life.  I think I probably asked Him, but realistically didn't expect anything else to change.

I feel like I have been saved, again.  I feel like I would not recognize myself if I looked in the mirror because I am a different person than I was before.

For as long as I can remember I have dealt with bitterness, depression, paranoia, etc.  I would praise God out of one side of my mouth, but not be able to fight the feelings that were inside. I think I would feel justified in being critical of other Christians, people, etc.  I'm not sure why, but I always seemed to feel sorry for myself.

I could go on and on that I let this go on for a long time.  I would want to be happy and to be able to truly love people freely, but would always be plagued with these feelings.  They were like a family pet.  Someone close to me said that they didn't think I wanted to be happy.

Some truths that God has used to transform my life with these past few months:
- I have a choice to live as a new creation in Christ....to accept the power that has been given to me....the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, or to stay the same.....dead....in my own sins.
- My flesh is a strong force.  I do have an enemy, too, but he only has the power that I give him.
- I was created for a purpose....even for good works that were prepared in advance for me.  I don't have to be ashamed of the gift that God has given me.  It is a tool to be used for Him.  Just like when Eric Liddell said that when he ran he felt God's pleasure, I can enjoy singing....it was given to me an it is OK.  It is not useless like I have thought in the past.  When I sing I feel God's pleasure.  He made me this way.  I am going to sing at the top of my lungs for His glory!
- Everyone on this earth is not my enemy.  I can and will assume the best.  It is OK to be happy.  Yes, there are really people who live in God's peace.  I didn't really believe it.  I think I thought that people must have ulterior motives in everything.  How could some people be so nice? Well, you become different when you let God's spirit live in you.  He makes you different.
- I have a calling.....to live for Christ.  I am not my own.  It is time to woman up and to step outside my own comfort zone and see the needs around me.
- It is a blessing to submit to others and love people just because you do.  No strings attached.  Not like in junior high when I wanted people to like me so much and to vote for me for cheerleader.  I don't think I was a bad person back then, but people were votes to me.  Now, I love people and see them for the creations of  God they are.  I think about their hearts, their souls.  I don't always have the strength or knowledge to know what to do for people, but I am going to do the next thing the Holy Spirit puts on my heart.
- I am going to quit questioning my thoughts and think about what others might think of me.  It's not really my business and it does nothing to bring me closer to Christ.
- I am nothing without Christ.  I am totally grateful for the life He has put in me.  I am alive.
- I am not perfect and am sure that I will fight the flesh and the enemy of our souls, but I am not alone.  Like my wise youth director growing up said "A christian is someone who gets up one more time than he falls down."  I will live like this and show this kind of grace to others.
- I can't do any of this on my own.  I need to be filled daily, hourly with the Holy Spirit.
- If I feel like this, then a lot of other people probably do, too, and would be blessed by hearing about what God has done in my life.
- I am burdened for my children who have lived with my bitterness.  I am praying that we break this cycle of bitterness and that they, too, can live.
- ASSUME THE BEST!!  And above all....LOVE GOD, LOVE PEOPLE!
The Bible is my food.  Stay in it and grow....be fed.  Don't be timid.  Being timid does nothing for anyone, except keeping yourself and others from a blessing.
I love you, Lord.  And I lift my voice, to worship you, oh my soul rejoice, take joy, my King, in what you hear....may it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.
Have a very blessed week everybody.  See you in the morning, Community Bible Study. Thank you, Joan, for inviting me to go with you last August.

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