Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm exhausted!

I finished reading "Shadow Boxing" today, and I strongly recommend it to any Christian. While reading this book, God brought many things in my life to mind that are strongholds. But today specifically, as I was trying to read the last chapters of my book, I was exhausted. I've been tired since I woke up, and I'm so tired all the time. As I finished reading my book 20 minutes ago, I decided to take a little nap. I hate taking naps in the middle of the day. It feels like such a waste of time, but I was so tired. Right before I went to sleep, I decided to make good on my promise from yesterday to pray more. I began talking to God, asking Him to please show me what I need to do and how I can change some of the patterns and break the strongholds in my life. And then it happened, God said..."Stop drinking caffeine." I'm like, "Well, that was fast." But as soon as I started to dismiss this "voice", I decided to submit. I said, " Yes, God." It was so easy and freeing, and I immediately had more energy.

Now I'm not saying caffeine is bad, or you should give it up. Maybe you don't have this issue in your life, but how many times have you prayed for God to relieve you from a burden, and then ignored the simple clear answer He gave you. In the following moments while I lay on the couch with my eyes closed talking to God, he gave me some other obvious things that cause me to be tired. These things of themselves are not sin, but I know they cause me to be tired, therefore, preventing me from getting up early to spend quiet time with God, accepting opportunities to do God's will, and being in a good mood. Because these things prevent me from obeying what God has commanded me to do, they are sinful for me. It amuses me how Satan often uses the little things to keep me from experiencing the true bounty of God's grace in my life. So, as I lay there on the couch, thinking about how awesome God is, I think, "Alright, great! When I'm done with my nap, I'll do something." LOL! Yeah, I know. "Why not now?" It finally clicks. Have faith, and do what God says. Some days I'm a little slower than others, but God is so faithful to continue pushing me in the right direction!

Father God,

Thank you for answering my call. I accept Your wisdom and guidance and fully submit myself to your will. Forgive me for choosing small conveniences in life over You and allowing Satan to deceive me that any sin is small. Send your Holy Spirit to fill the holes where my bad habits once were and encourage me, and give me strength and grace through your son, Jesus Christ, to resist temptation. I commit to put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provisions for the flesh, to fulfill its lust (Rom.13:14). By resisting Satan and refusing to conform to this world, I take authority by Christ Jesus over being tired. I give all the glory and honor to You, Father. Thank you for your wisdom, grace and mercy. Please continue to give me wisdom through Your Holy Spirit to recognize my sin, repent, and change my actions.

In Jesus name,

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Faith Or Fear In The New Year

I was sitting in church today, and realized I had been ignoring my blog because I didn't want it to fall short of my expectations. Fear...My own expectations often breed fear, which is why I've come to loath the New Year. Year after year, it's the same thing. I focus on all of the things I failed to do, and I start by trying to fix myself and "be better" this year.

I got the title to this post from my pastor. He was preaching from Isaiah 43:1.

"But now [in spite of past judgments for Israel's sins], thus says the Lord, He Who created you, O Jacob, and He Who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you [ransomed you by paying a price instead of leaving you captives]; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned or scorched, nor will the flame kindle upon you."

So, no New Year's resolutions this year. Resolutions are based in the future, which makes them useless. Only God knows the future, and so I must place my faith, which is now, in God. My faith will manifest in the future, if I have faith now to follow God today, my future is guaranteed to be in God's will. God's will is good and perfect, and no amount of worrying about what I can't predict or focusing on the past, which I can not change, will accomplish anything for God. I've already proven that I can not do anything in my own strength, but through Christ, nothing is impossible.

I often learn so much by teaching, especially, children. The term, "Faith like a child," come to mind. I was teaching Sunday school today, and the new memory verse is Philippians 4:6.

"Do not worry about anything, but pray about everything."

My first step in the New Year is to stop making plans and plan on praying. I need to clear my thoughts out of my head, so God has some room to move in and make His plans. I often try so hard to fix things and pray only when I've tried everything and failed. Let's see if GOD can make this year better, while I learn to listen and obey.

Father God,

Thank you for calling me by name, despite my past sins and failures. You created me and formed me in Your perfect image, and I am Yours. I will not fear because you have promised to be with me, and I will not be overwhelmed or harmed by the natural struggles in life. Thank you, Father, that I'm not where I used to be, even if I'm not where I'm supposed to be. Help me to hear your voice and just have faith.

In Jesus name,