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Saturday, August 11, 2007

ReCaP!

I am going to share my notes from the weekend but let me start out with a quote that I read by Phillip Yancey's latest book Prayer. I have been a little slow in getting to read this one but I always love his work.

"Prayer, and only prayer, restores my vision to one that more resembles God's. I wake from blindness to see that wealth lurks as a terrible danger, not a goal worth striving for; that value depends not on race or status but on the image of God every person bears; that no amount of effort to improve physical beauty has much relevance for the world beyond."

Here goes! The passage that she spoke on was 2 Corinthians 1:1-11.

Before the conference the Lord led me to several passages of scripture regarding putting no confidence in the flesh. I think it is fair to say that we try desperately to flesh out obedience, forgiveness, peace, and the hard stuff without really relying on the Holy Spirits help. We are told that upon conversion we receive the Holy Spirit and we are sealed unto the day of our redemption. So as believers in Christ we have the Holy Spirit but are you and I quenching the power of the Holy Spirit? Are we trying to do this walk without relying on Christ in us? We simply aren't able to love, forgive, die to ourselves, or really live apart from His help. I spent some time outside tonight just gazing up at the stars and thinking about the Awesomeness of God. How He is infinitely wise and holy and how vast He is. I can not even begin to comprehend. Anyway, I have been struggling with some things lately that I know I am not capable of dealing with on my own apart from His help. I am asking Him to help me and give me more of the Spirit and that I would not "do as I please" and live to gratify my flesh. I really believe that so much of the stifling of the Holy Spirit is a refusal to submit and we make the decision that we are going to "do as we please". That phrase really speaks to me because Isaiah 58:13 speaks of doing as we please. I can not even begin to count the times that I make decisions based on what pleases me. Anyway, that begins where God was leading me before the conference and then I pick up on her topic "The God of all Comfort".

Here are my notes just so you will know and I wont have to interject with "she said this" and etc.
The word comfort appears 9 times in this passage of scripture (count it for yourself).

"God cannot have compassion without being moved. Compassion is the emotion, comfort is the response."
What is comfort?
What is it not?
How can we be vessels of comfort?

God reveals Himself to Moses in Exodus 34:5-7 as compassionate and gracious.
5 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation."

The New Testament is replete with Jesus being moved to compassion and healing people. His compassion has a response.
Our culture is training us to be compelled in life by our comforts. I had a very tangible example of this at the conference. I was like Lord, why do I have to have an example even while she is speaking. The chairs in most arenas are hooked together. As I was sitting on the front row and Shelly and I were praising the Lord I thought yeah maybe no one is sitting in the seats next to me and I can have room to move around in our praise time. Wrong! A woman and her daughter came in while Beth was speaking. The lady was a large woman (I am not saying anything about her being large...just stating the fact) and she sat down and took up half of my seat. I was struggling at that moment with my rights to my own chair. I could not believe that for the next several hours I was going to have to sit on one side of my chair...not comfortable. Shelly very kindly let me share half of her chair. Don't you love the Lord for working on us in the middle of giving us a word? He wants me to apply it QUICK! Anyway, I forgot to mention that her and her daughter talked the whole conf (LOUDLY). I was like woman don't make Beth get on to you. We are on the front row!

Several things that come to mind:
We want comfortable homes
Comfortable cars
We want comfort food
We want to comfort ourselves when we have problems...maybe by shopping or something
We don't want to get our hands dirty...we want comfort.
Our way...Now!

She said that in our relationships we want comfort. When it gets uncomfortable...we want to bolt! She said that America is suffering from Agliophobia-paranoia of pain or fear of pain. She is so right. As I listened to her I thought about how many of us really want to dive into the book of Job. If we offered a study on Job at our churches I wonder how many people would truly sign up. Probably not many because we are afraid that if we read it that it just may have to happen to us so we just will sit back and read all of the feel good passages. We are scared of suffering and we are afraid that God will hurt us.

One point she wanted to elaborate on was this:
Will we go through suffering and allow God to comfort us or will we make comfort our God?

Will we drop the cult of comfort and really start living?

1. We will live in a rut of relational disasters...paths strone by one messed up relationship after another after another if we refuse to seek comfort in Christ and seek to find comfort elsewhere.

Being comforted by God will involve us getting hurt and just living life to receive His comfort. She pointed out Gen 5:28-29 28 When Lamech had lived 182 years, he had a son. 29 He named him Noah and said, "He will comfort us in the labor and painful toil of our hands caused by the ground the LORD has cursed." Noah sounds like the Hebrew for comfort. How strange it was that his name meant comfort yet he was to build an ark and the earth would be wiped out because of wickedness yet God used him to build the ark and he did not completely destroy the earth. Noah would be sent to bring comfort from our labor and painful toil. Because of the fall we have uncomfortable relationships. Case in point...Adam and Eve's eyes were opened and they felt shame...so they hid from God and their fellowship with God was broken. It was not what it was or what it should have been. I personally love how God works to clothe them immediately which to me points to Christ even then. He covered their nakedness and clothed their shame and He comes to do the same for you and me by the shed blood of Christ. Work became toil and it was meant for enjoyment, se*uality became uncomfortable, their surrounding was uncomfortable. All because of the fall.
Seeking comfort in flesh and blood will always fail us. If a human gets put in the place of God our soul will be tempted to find comfort in someone else. Then our need to find comfort or affirmation keeps amassing itself until our need for filling, comfort, validation becomes titanic. No one else can fill that need in us but Christ. I have been in this place so many times where I so desperately sought the world over to find comfort, and approval that it almost killed me literally. We get hooked on people, substances, media, just about anything to try to fill the void in us. I have found myself in great need lately for the Lord to come and fill me. I have been crying out to Him for His help. That He would be more than my senses, more than how I feel, that He would be enough and that with every single let down that I would see that as an open invitation to come to Him. To fellowship in His suffering and allow Him to deal with the needs in me that only He can properly deal with.
-Unhealthy attract unhealthy and as long as we seek comfort in a person other that Christ we will have a power-play until we self destruct. We have got to seek God and seek our worth in Christ alone.
How many of us have experienced first hand the train wrecks that occur relationally by seeking to put others in the place of God?
Look at the extra-marital affairs that happen in seeking comfort. The substance abuse addictions that occur from trying to get comfort and all manner of addictions that result.

2. We will sign up for a lifetime of addiction if we do not drop out of the cult of comfort.
Ask yourself: Am I a comfort addict? The whole basic addiction thing begins with comfort. We try to medicate and then we have to continually up it. We have to keep feeding and sustaining our addictions. Can I get a witness?

3. We will miss the full measure of our callings if we forfeit true living for comfort.

Then the acronym E-A-S-T-E-R
E-every
A-alternative
S-savior
T-takes
E-early
R-retirement

This is so true. No one will be unfailing to us but the Lord. No one. The full measure of our call in Christ is to make Him known. To make Him obvious. Not to just blend in with the world and what it has to offer which will leave us cheated ALWAYS. We are called to live out of our comfort zones and make Him obvious. This does not mean that we deny ourselves in every way either.

4. We will miss the Presence of God if we seek to meet all of our needs ourselves. I was reading the other day in Phillip Yancey's book that the majority of people in the US can not truly prayer in earnest "Give us this day our daily bread" because our pantry's are stocked to the brim. That really spoke to me and gave me the best word picture of us trying to supply our own needs instead of waiting on God and truly knowing what it means to fellowship in His sufferings.

The actual definition in the Greek for the word comfort is the word Parakaleo and it means to call to ones side. I looked up this word when it is used as a verb and not a noun and it means this:
exhort, urge, beseech, intreat - comfort.

When used as a noun it involves exhortation.

-"If we constantly supply ourself with comfort we will miss the grace of God."

How would we know like Paul if we seek it out on our own what it means in 2 Timothy 4:16-17 when he was deserted by everyone but the Lord stood by his side? We can't know that if we are busy trying to help God out in this area. I can tell you from all that is within me that I know what it is like to be forsaken, betrayed, lonely, suffering and experience the comfort of Christ.
When my first born daughter was born and died I went through a period of grieving that I truly felt alone and it was in that time that the Lord met me. Rod had seemed to have moved on a couple of weeks later and I was still crying and in despair. I did not rely on Rod, I relied on the Lord and I saw firsthand what it means to receive the comfort of Christ. At first I was like Rod why aren't you helping me through this and by staying in the word daily I knew that only Christ could meet the depth of my need. If I had not been in the word daily there is no telling where I would have been in my heart. I can pour out a HUGE bag of cards and etc from my brothers and sisters in Christ that came alongside to encourage me and God used that...but I can say it was God alone who had to walk me through the valley of the shadow of death. No man could do it.

My neck is killing me and I need to go to sleep for church in the morning so I will have to pick back up on this. ;)

12 comments:

Shelly said...

I'm SO glad you posted this!!!

I'm going to link it on my next blog post (to come sometime in the next few days) so that others can have the blessing of it.

Hugs

Ang baylis said...

THANK YOU!!!! I feel like I was there with you guys!
Comfort... what a great message! I also like how you said about... "Give us this day our 'daily bread'... but our pantry is full! Wow!!!!! I will be back to read this again and again and again!

I am so grateful for you taking the time to take such detailed notes and sharing them with ME!

Much Love,
Angie xoxo

Ang baylis said...

p.s. I am SO sorry about your daughter! I am very glad you turned to Jesus for your comfort!!! There is no better way and I'm convinced of that more and more every day!
xoxo

Tam said...

Hey! K, so I read your recap late, late last night. When i saw how long it was, i thought, no way will i finish this....I started reading and couldn't stop. I felt like I was there!

Great stuff! Comfort Addict - me? Sometimes. I identified with much of what you wrote. When you look at things like this issue in a practical manner it really can put things into perspective real quick!

Funny about your seating situation! Yah - God won't waste a single moment will He?!

Glad you're home safe! Welcome back!

connorcolesmom said...

Jenny,
Oh thank you for the recap!! I wanted to be there with you and shelly so bad!!
This recap makes me feel like I was there for the lesson too :)
Oh and the final count was 500 women saved at that conference that is awesome!!
Love ya siesta,
Kim

Teri said...

Thank you Jenny! You rock! (Hope your neck is better!)

Lindsee said...

Thank you for sharing, Jenny!

So glad you and Shelly got to meet. What a fun time! I just loved the pictures!

Hopefully one day I'll get to meet all y'all in person. Oh, what a day that'd be!

I guess y'all will have to come to Houston sometime for some Bible Study! :)

Have a great Monday!

Lindsee

Faith said...

Thank you SO much for posting this! It really spoke to me. I'm going to link to it on my blog as well; hope that's OK!

My husband has pointed out many of the same things about our culture and comfort addiction. Neat to see it in the context of the Corinthians passage, which is so dear to my heart.

sammie said...

At the Passion 2006 I think maybe 2005 conference Beth and Louie Giglio did a scripture reading song medly that was so powerful, and your writing brought it back to me: "Nothing but the blood." I'll send it to you. Leave address

Suzanne B said...

I just loved what Beth had to say on Friday! She was RIGHT on as always!

Darla said...

Thanks for the recap..between you and Shelly I almost feel like I was there. :) I get my turn on the 24th, so I will not whine too much...but I am praying that I can meet some Siestas while I'm there.

You take really good notes! We all can use that message...maybe every couple days :)

Little Steps Of Faith said...

Great notes, and I don't know if you have seen LIFE TODAY yet this morning, but another awesome message from Ms. Beth:)

I love that you have let the story of your life, become a song to Jesus, whenever I read your posts you just seem to be praising Him off the page:)

I felt I would tell you that:)

Of course, I can relate to the whole loss of baby thing, but again, isn't God just so awesome!

He is real, He is forever faithful...He's God, and we are not!

I love ya siesta, you should go to Jacksonville in March:)

Angie