Oct 052015
 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  John 8:31-34

 I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

I have been bombarded with truth this week.  A little much if I do say so myself.  Part of me wants to deny it and run and hide from it.  The other part of me (the Spirit in me) recognizes truth, real truth, absolute truth, Jesus truth will only set me free.

One of my “truth moments” happened as my youngest daughter set out to give everyone in the family another name to go by.  I am guessing in her mind, we all needed to be called by what we were “all about”;  as in the 7 dwarfs for example.  She started out by naming her older sister, “Nature” (because truly, every time we dive into an area of forest on either side of the road she comments, “oh how I wish I could be in that nature and walk around, don’t you?”).  She proceeded onto naming herself, “Dancing squirrel” (because my girl’s have a crazy obsession with squirrels in play and real life and she joyful dances whenever she gets the chance).  My husband was then given the name, “Games”, (in which I chuckled to myself because of how right on she had been for everyone.  My husband’s strengths are in strategy and competition and his love for games is evident in spending time playing or reading up on various games).  I was the last to be named and I was curious and also a little nervous as to what I would be “known by or considered to be my big thing”.  And then out of the mouth of a child, the humbling truth of my name she blurted out, “Napper”.  She followed it up with an explanation, “Because you are always sleeping, Mom.  You love to take naps all the time.”  Ouch.  Whoever said the truth hurts was right.

As I walked with the Lord the next day I wrestled with my “Napper name”.  As I was giving Him my justifications of “why naps were happening a lot lately” I couldn’t help but notice a massive slug in my path.  I had never seen a slug on my regular walking route before.  But this fact isn’t the part which took my brain to all consuming thoughts about slugs.  It was the 4 additional slugs in my path which put my curious mind into overdrive.  I began to wonder what made the slugs come out today rather than any other day?  I Googled “Facts about slugs”.  And amazingly I gave myself a school lesson in slugs this particular morning (and most of you probably already know this fact, so thank you for humoring me by listening briefly to my “Ah ha” moment).  We had just experienced our first long, hard rain of the fall season.  This was the reason for the slugs coming out into the “slimelight” (Google included this and I admit I am a sucker for dry/play on words humor).  Slugs traditionally in the summer time will hide under rocks and hang out in dark, damp places, but when the rain comes, they feed on coming out into the wet ground in the light of the day.

And how does learning about slugs have anything to do with my life you may be asking yourself…well, I was asking God on my walk the very same question.  And He revealed His Truth to me.  He spoke to me about how when the Holy Spirit “rains down”/empowers/speaks to us, we, “like slugs” are imparted Truth.  Absolute truth.  Which brings us into the Light.  When others give us constructive criticism, or we feel guilt over acting upon our selfish/flesh/sin nature, we have an opportunity to test if this is real truth in which we should accept, ask forgiveness for, or simply learn from in order to be more like Jesus.  So as I thought back to my daughter’s “Napper” name for me, I recognized “‘testing truth” and “being sanctified by His Truth” should be continual part of my life as a follower of Jesus.

Ways we can test if a message/thought is True in this world;  the world says all truth is relative, but we as Jesus followers know God’s Word is the ONLY absolute truth:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Check the message/thought against the Bible and see if it follows it or is going against it

  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12                                                                    
  •  (Jesus prayed for His disciples) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:16-1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2.  We must humble ourselves.  Then ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as believer’s in Jesus, to give us a peace about how to proceed from here.  Ask Him to reveal if this is absolute Truth (because He is actually the definition of Truth).  And if it is, what our response should be in order to allow this Truth to sanctify us (change us to be more like Jesus) and bring it into Light.  
  • Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  James 4:10
  • When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth John 16:13a
  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7
  • Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  John 3:20-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3.  Ask a trusted, follower of Christ for wisdom to confirm the message/thought resonates with their spirit
  • But speaking (practicing) the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15a
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Proverbs 19:20

We must know and learn to recognize Truth.  We must humble ourselves to not be discouraged, defensive, or not accepting of Truth.  We must seek out ways to grow in Truth through the Holy Spirit’s gentle guiding.  And just as slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go, we also leave a “mark” when we walk in the light of Jesus!  Because we know coming out into the “slimelight”, acting upon the Truth of God’s Word and guiding of His Holy Spirit of Truth only brings about True life, freedom, joy and peace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 272015
 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Today marks a day of change.  Fittingly, it is also the month which beckons it-January.  I had lost my self discipline somewhere along the way these last months.  All my “must have’s”, God driven passions have been put on the shelf.  But not today.

My inner commentary went something like this:

Writing.  Hmmm.  I know God would have me to be writing.  But I can’t seem to fit it in my day now with my new part time job.  And it would be a lot of work to start another book.  And it would mean getting up real early.  And I’m real tired in the mornings.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Running.  Hmmm.  I know I previously found such life and intimacy with the Lord on my runs.  But I am watching my eating habits now and so I don’t really NEED to run for the weight loss benefits.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And my race is completed.  And running in the coldness is not a joy.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Having a regular first fruits quiet, prayer, and God’s Word time.  Hmmm.  Sure I used to give God my firsts by talking to Him and reading His Word before doing anything else.   But with my new Pastoral position, I find myself reading God’s Word and praying with others sporadically during my day, versus having a regular-early- set time.  And I don’t want to “put God in a box” and say waking up with Him is a NECESSITY to do life with Him.  And my God is with me all the time and I shouldn’t HAVE to talk with Him privately at the beginning of EVERY day.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

So there is my mental list of excuses.  For NOT being obedient to what I believe God would have me to be doing.  To be honest, I was doing good for awhile.  My self discipline ranked real high.  Getting up early was part of my routine, it was never easy, but I had consistency.

I began to wonder where my consistency turned to complacency.  And here is what I think-I believe the game changed when I started listening to and acting upon my selfish, sinful desires rather than Jesus.  The rationalizations and excuses for NOT won out.  I chose flesh desires over Spirit desires.  I am a weak one, my friends.

And the enemy plays to my weakness.  Some themes from above came down to this, it is hard to obey Christ when:

  • I am afraid of the dark.
  • I have to get up early.
  • I don’t have accountability.
  • My life is undergoing change in routine.
  • The comforts of my body have to be put aside.
  • Regular self discipline is required.
  • Selfishness must be sacrificed.

Knowing my weak areas helps me to recognize when I am choosing complacency over consistency in Christ.  Knowing my weak areas is not something to be shameful of, instead, it is the reality of our human nature.  But the reality of my human nature does not mean I must succomb to it.  Because “when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Jesus in me is stronger “then he who is in the world”.  I have the ability to fight and win these spiritual battles when all the above weaknesses arise.  Always knowing, “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”, there is grace waiting when we are disobedient to the Spirit’s leading.

It gets me every time when I realize the enemy’s lie/selfishness tactics have worked.  I mean, it’s not like he is using new strategies.  He began with questions, self doubt, lies, playing to the desires, and a way to rationalize disobedience with Adam and Eve’s fruit eating episode.  And he continues to use what worked then, on us now.

The rub is this:  We will constantly battle an enemy who’s plan is to “kill, steal and destroy” us.  But-we serve a God who loves us SO beyond anything we could comprehend.  And, in turn, has fabulous, life giving plans for us here on earth.  It will not be easy to sacrifice our own selfish desires, while embracing God’s voice above other/our own, discomfort, risk, trust in Him, faith without seeing, a lack of control, hard work and self discipline.  But it is WELL.  WORTH.  IT.

Our loving Father says to us:

You need not fear the dark, my child.  Because I am with you in the dark.  When you feel bad-I am here.  When you battle selfishness and flesh desires-I am here.  When self discipline seems unattainable-I am here.  When excuses and rationalizations seem to reign, I am here.  When needs are beyond, I am here.  When rest is needed, I am here.  When waiting, I am here.  When hope seems far off, I am here.  When plans seem destroyed, I am here.  When weakness turns to strength, I am here.  When then enemy cowers in defeat, I am here.  When my Spirit equips you, I am here.  When my Word speaks real truth, I am here.  When mourning turns to dancing, I am here.  

When darkness turns to light, I am here.  

Come.  Walk with Me.  In the light.  My sweet child beloved. 

  

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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