"Beware in your prayers, above everything else, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time, before you Intercede, be quiet first, and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, and how He delights to hear the prayers of His redeemed people. Think of your place and privilege in Christ, and expect great things!"-Andrew Murray
I love this quote above by Andrew Murray. I studied a couple of verses yesterday that had me thinking how lifeless and mechanical our relationship with the Lord can become. Yet He is mighty, wondrous, everlasting, worker of miracles, awesome in power and He is love. He is to be feared and reverenced above all, yet we get our head so stuck in the dirt on earth that we can't live the lives that God has intended us to live when we house in our body the Holy Spirit. We can quench it and quench it in our quest to feel, to matter, to communicate and we lose our joy. When we drive by the cemetery on the way to church Morgan yells out, "hey Shelby!!! I hope you have fun at school today!" She is on her way to school so Shelby must be in school up in heaven. Yes she is because we will never know the vastness of our God. We will continue to learn forever. Wouldn't heaven be so stinking boring if we weren't going to learn something! We will set foot on real live property and one day a new heavens and a new earth sort of like this earth but only perfect and restored. We are so busy fixing up our bodies, better yet being infatuated with our earthly tent. I will be the first to tell you I have fallen into that trap over and over. There is the verse above my mirror in the bathroom that reads: "Charm is deceptive and beauty is vain..." Because it is! Satan wants us to become so self-absorbed in our outward appearance that he truly turns up the heat to lure us in. If we are so flipping insecure (been there, done that) we will not operate in the way that we were created. We will just be "lovers of self" even if we are downgrading ourselves. We are to be holy, consecrated, set apart for the Lord and we nod and say yes! amen! yet that is not our belief system...it can just be words on a page. Yet how many times have you and I been a tool in the hands of the enemy because we weren't willing to throw our self at the mercy seat of God and get our worth from Him? I have often chided (if you know me this is nothing new) that the Lord put me and Rod together so that I could work out all and I mean ALL of my insecurities. The Lord is perfecting that to this day as Rod will present many opportunities for me to have to run to Jesus and seek Him through His word. Rod is not the gushing affectionate type. In fact, when he hugs anyone (except Morgan) he gives three taps on the back almost as if to say we are...just...friends. He doesn't come from a family who is just gushing out love or being demonstrative. DO NOT get me wrong his family loves like mad it just doesn't come across in the way of external expression. So over the last 7 years I had to come to a point (after one year. We had the roughest start and thank God we have persevered. I think both of us wondered what in the world we got ourselves into.) where I had to just let Rod off the hook on thinking that he was going to meet my needs in a way that only God can. We are wise to not put all of our hope and expectation in flesh and blood it will usually disappoint.
So, before I write a novel are you wanting me to get on with those scriptures I was talking about or not?!?
1 Corinthians 8:1Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. 3But the man who loves God is known by God.
Man the Lord has been taking me back to some basics lately. For example when a passage of scripture is used over and over and it becomes cliche I tend to stay away from it. Wrong on my part because it is God's word. Well, 3 times in the last week the Lord brought up the "love" passage. And to put under the microscope what he has been teaching me it would be these verses in a nutshell:
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1. Knowledge puffs us up. It eventually leads to pride and we know that pride comes before a fall. We can become so familiar with a passage that we know it but we don't apply it and we are not operating out of love. So, we become proud. We need zeal coupled with knowledge that comes out of a heart of love for God and God is the one that fills our hearts with love (Romans 5:5).
2. We become like a noise, like some loud brash sound, when we function out of legalism. God wants us to delight in Him. He desires for us to guard our hearts or let Him be the watchman on the city wall of our hearts to delegate what can come in and what can't. Yet it is easy to turn to ritual and legalism when we aren't coming before the Lord and allowing Him to speak, or not confessing our sins, and allowing Him to heal us. We will never experience His love or full redemption when we wallow in unbelief. What can cure us is to hang onto His word and allow it to penetrate our hearts. It takes work and confrontation. Case in point...There was a commitment that I failed to keep recently. The lady in charge basically told me that I needed to be a doer of the word and not just a hearer. We don't live in the same state so she doesn't really know if I am a "doer" or not. Nevertheless, I welcomed her words because I know I am not always a "doer" but at times a "hearer" when I don't put what I have heard into practice. Love is going to have to be what motivates us to action. If you need some ask God for it. As we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us!
3.Having a pseudo knowledge, but possessing no power. We can think we really "know" Him and can rattle off a thousand scriptures but our hearts can be so far from God. Yet this verse says: 1 Cor 13:3 But the man who loves God is known by God. To know Him is to be known by Him. He reveals Himself to the contrite in Spirit. There are times where I have a bad attitude or I am holding a grudge and I literally have to lay prostrate on the floor and acknowledge the Lord in that and allow Him to change me. Heck, I have been mad at some catty little 5 year olds this week (for being rude to my child)! We just need Him!
4. Love builds up. Pride seeks to tear others down. The enemy has been on mission to do just that for a mighty long time. To have agape love, from cherishing our Lord, is to build up one another. We are so good at tearing people down but what if we didn't participate? Can we have a new start even if that has been our pattern for years and years and people know us for that? YES!! And God will be glorified in our turning around. The word for build up is oikodomeo means "to build up, build, edify, strengthen, build in a spiritual sense, built up and to embolden." I don't really use the word embolden much but it means "to foster boldness or courage in; encourage." Won't it be so much better for our inner man if we were encouraging, building up, helping people to be built up when maybe they have been torn down their entire life.
The wording for love switches in the verses from agape love (from God) to agapao in the Greek. This is God's love which is revealed through Christ namely. We love because He loved us.
Knowing and doing should be coupled together but knowing is not really "knowing" if it does not motivate our feet.
I am asking God to fill us and that we would delight in Him like Psalm 37:4:
"Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart." When we indulge in delight over God we look more like His son. He transforms our sin nature into something more liberating. Our desires change.
I was reading this morning about the Pharisee's (the term Pharisee didn't become something negative until later among Christians...they were very zealous for God). They resorted to the law and legalism over and over and they missed The Christ. We can be saved all day long but never awake from our slumber and really know Him. Anyway, the Pharisee's got ticked at Jesus' disciples for picking some heads of grain on the Sabbath. They were not supposed to even spit in the direction that the wind was blowing for fear that their saliva would be working as to grow something, like they were watering grain or something LOL. There were hundreds of man made rules that they kept in their religious piety. Like Paul he was flawless in following the law but I am sure he was so stinking miserable yet maybe motivated by his anger because anger can be a big motivator. That is why we need to stick to the scriptures when it comes to us following a bunch of man made rules that can enslave us and separate our hearts from life and vitality. So Christ, always blowing the door off of its hinges, answers them and tells them that "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."
In essence they are so busy being over zealous that they miss the point. The Lord had appointed the Sabbath as a day of reflection leading to worship and also rest. They took it and made it harsh, strenuous, and legalistic. What God set aside for their good they turned into a burden to heavy to bear. Let's be careful to not only draw near with our mouths but to draw near with our hearts.
Here is another quote by C.S. Lewis. I don't normally quote him because it seems that only the super spiritual quote him and I am not all that. LOL.
"The happiness which God designs for His higher creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other in an ecstasy of love and delight compared with which the most rapturous love between a man and a woman on this earth is mere milk and water. And for that they must be free. Of course God knew what would happen if they used their freedom the wrong way: apparently He thought it worth the risk."