Monday, January 30, 2012

Know God's Ways

God spoke a Word to my heart to share of which I did, and even now He is still speaking. He wants you to know that He is not in one place. That He is not where you put Him. That He is not a one way God. That He cannot be boxed, that He cannot be put into a frame, that He cannot be contained.

Too many of us are looking for God in certain ways. To show up in our situations, in our circumstances, at certain times and God says, “Stop.” Not stop looking for Him, but to stop looking for Him in that manner. You won’t find Him.

We have learned so much about religion, that we have failed to learn about God. Our walk is not so much about what we are taught, but how the Spirit of God leads us to do what we have learned based on the character of God. And somehow we have taken what we learned about religion, about God, and packaged it up with a neat little bow and put it on a shelf. And we have resigned ourselves to looking for it when we need it back on that shelf where we put it. But God wants you to know today that He is not there. He is not where you “put” Him, because He is not a God that can be put anywhere.

God says that “Yes, I am the God of yesterday, today and forever and I change not. But that does not mean that I do things the same. My Word is the same, it does not change, it will not change. My will is the same, it does not change, and it will not change. And My way is the same. Just because I delivered that way in the past, does not mean that I will deliver you that way today. You just need to know that I am a Deliverer, that is My character. That is My way. It is Who I AM. And I do not change. Who I Am does not change.”

God says if we really want to know Him, we cannot just base things on His acts, we have to get to know His ways. If He answered you before, His character, His way, screams I WILL ANSWER YOU again. But it does not necessarily mean He will answer you the way that He has done it before. Don’t look for ‘the way’ He did something before, look for ‘His way.’ Get to know His character.

Now there is certainly nothing wrong with knowing God’s acts, those are the wonderful things that He does, the things that give us testimonials to His goodness and the realness of God in our lives. But there is more to God than what He does, just as there is more to us than what we do. We are not just waiters and doctors and mothers and fathers, etc. We also have to know His ways. Because then we will be able to identify Him in the middle of our messes. In the midst of our situations and our circumstances, when we are looking for an answer, we will find it, because we will know God’s ways.

Whatever way you are looking for God to answer you, do yourself a favor and stop. He may come in another way. In fact God said today, He HAS come in another way. Stop boxing Him up to your limited thinking and by your limited faith. Think outside the box. Stop drawing guidelines in your invisible sand, thinking things are not possible, just because you can’t see them your way. With God all things are possible, you only need to open your eyes and see His ways. They are not designed to line up with yours. They won’t. The Bible says, His ways are not our ways, neither are His thoughts our thoughts.

Now that we have learned about “religion,” God says we need to learn about Him… what motivates Him, what stirs Him up, what moves His heart. What makes Him tick. His ways. His way of thinking, His way of doing things.

And God makes a promise today, that if you set out to learn His way, you will find it a whole lot easier to hear and to recognize the answer to your prayer. And that He has already answered.

Be blessed. God is real.

A servant of the Lord,

Sis. E

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

God’s Christmas Trees… Before and After

Shortly after we have gotten our Christmas tree, it was up for a little bit before we actually decorated it and everytime I walked into the family room I would see it standing there. So one day I went and got my camera and took a picture of it.

A few days went by and we began to decorate the tree, putting on the lights and the bulbs. Then we put the star on top which usually indicates the finish. But in the next day or so each time I would pass it I knew it was not quite there. It was not quite finished. So I added a few more bulbs one day and the tree skirt; strings of garland the next day, moved around a bulb or so, then I declared it a finished work. It was what I wanted it to be.

But in doing this I had noticed that a string of lights had blown out. A little disappointed, my husband and I decided to remove the string of lights, seeing as they were on the bottom of the tree, summarizing that it probably won't make much of a difference, anyway. Somewhere though in the next few days, I guess I had been meditating on the tree, what it looked like beforehand, what it looked like after, the string of lights that we had to take off and God began to speak.

Every one of us is like a Christmas tree, especially when we first come to Him. First get saved. We are a creation, a clean slate for the Master Designer to work on, to decorate, to adorn and God begins His work.

First he fills us with light, His light. The light of His Spirit. Then He adds some bulbs, the fruit of His spirit… love, peace, joy, faith, gentleness, goodness, long-suffering, meekness and temperance. Things that help to adorn us. Praise. The Bible says it looks good on you. All of these things that enhance us, like the bulbs do for the lights on the Christmas tree. As the light shines on a certain bulb, it highlights it. It shows what the bulb represents, the design of it, the texture, the shape, the color, even the imperfections. So God adds bulbs to our tree.

Then He adds strands of garland to add to the décor. The experiences we have with Him at different stages in our walk. The things that He has pulled us through. I thought about the different types of garland that people often decorate their trees with. Sometimes people put strands of popcorn, (things that they have done themselves or have accomplished with the help of some family members). Sometimes the garland is stringy, very fine. Seemingly ready to break at just the slight pull. Sometimes it’s shiny and colorful and thick. And sometimes they put strands of ribbon, trimmed with lace, or silver or gold. And all of these strands of garland represent something that the person decorating wants to say, or to remember. And for God, the strands of garland that He decorates us with are the experiences that we have with Him. Those times that we have gotten through with a little help from our friends. Those times of trust, times that have tried us and challenged us almost to a point of breaking, but not quite. Hallelujah! Those times of triumph and victory where we clearly have been delivered and overcame some things and we have the “metal” the trimming to prove it. These are all strands of garland designed by God to be our enamor. They are highlights of our walk with our mighty God Who has seen us through some things.

Then God might cover us. As we cover the tree with a blanket or a tree skirt, on its stem. At the root. And depending upon the theme or the message that we want to convey, it might be a certain color or have some texture or maybe even substance, like when we layer the tree with a blanket of snow. God covers us. He puts His loving arms around us to protect us and to keep us, lest we stumble and fall.

But while we might add a star to indicate that we are finished decorating, God said the star He does not add while we are here. The star is added when we accomplish His will on the earth. The star is a soon to be added ornament. It is a crown of glory waiting to be awarded. Because we are God’s before and after picture and He is constantly at work on us and in us to get us to the finish.

And as I thought all of this I asked God what about that lights that went out, or the bulbs that fall of the tree, or the branches that seem to start sagging after a while and God said those are the things that happen to us when we try to do too much or when we go outside His will. Sometimes our lights burn out, our branches begin to sag, we are not as strong in our faith as we used to be. He said that it is a part of our growth process. A part of adjusting to our new environment in Him. Just as the tree adjusts to its new environment in a house, (rather than being outside), its branches might begin to sag, or some of its pines might fall off, or it starts to dry out, that is the tree adjusting to being inside. And we adjust to our new inside when God begins to work on us, and teach us and show us things. And as we follow we grow and things to begin to fall off. Or if we don’t grow and refuse to adapt to the changes that God wants to make, He begins to purge things. And He makes them fall off. We are a work in progress.

We are constant before and after pictures of God’s Christmas tree, waiting to be topped with a star. A stamp of approval. A crown of glory. A finished work.

But we have to continue to stand, stay in the tree stand, and do the work that God has called us to.

And lastly God said this, just as a tree has an aroma (which is one of the reasons why we decided to purchase a live tree) but just as it has an aroma, a fragrance, we do. We give off an aroma as well. The Scripture says “Now thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14) We are triumphant in Christ, we are victorious in our stance IN Christ and since we are, we leave behind the aroma, the fragrance of God’s knowledge in every place, in every situation. So that when people come to see us and begin to admire our décor, what they sense is God. His love, His environment and the sweet smelling savor of His precious spirit and aroma.

Christmas as we know it, the day may be over, but for God it is continuous in us. We are God’s Christmas trees waiting to be completed.

Be blessed.

A servant of the Lord,

Sis. E