Sunday, October 21, 2012

Don't Hang Your Harp!


Psalm 137

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?

I am such a visual learner and these pictures of my baby boy speak so much to me.  Some of you who know me may have decided that we have the plague over here.  It seems like there is no area that the enemy is leaving untouched and as I have said, I am not one to blame everything on the devil.  We live in a fallen world.  Our righteousness is as filthy's only Christ in us that is our hope.  Yet our adversary wants to take any ground that we have gained victory over, and lure us back to sin like a dog returning to her vomit.  He wants to oppress us and wear us down.  He wants to steal our witness, our effectiveness, our joy.  I loved learning the warfare tactics that the Assyrians were known for: psychological warfare, battering rams, diversion of water ways where they crept up under and took over cities, and tunnelling. Right now I have felt assaulted when it comes to having a sound mind so to speak.  Just dwelling on things that are not true according to God's word.  OH HOLD THE PHONE can we talk about what a number the enemy does with us regarding pyschological warfare.  He wants us to live in defeat and lay down in that defeat until we just make our bed in it. Battering rams...the times I just feel so beat up, especially by other believers.  You know what I am talking about if you have lived any amount of time, it's the whole lets come against her and just beat her up with accusation, past sins, or condemnation. DIVERSION of water ways: As they diverted channels of water to sneak in under a wall we become so diverted by the material things that will be shaken when the earth is refined by fire.  We lose sight that our battle really is being waged in the heavenlies, in an unseen's not about flesh and blood yet we waste so much time biting and devouring one another that you know the enemy is laughing in our faces when the world is supposed to know believers by their love and instead we are busy getting down and dirty in the mud with one another. The Lord has taught me through the book of Nehemiah about walls in our lives and how they can be broken down or how the enemy wants to make a mockery of Gods people by baiting us and us falling for it and being ensnared.  Then, he has all kinds of leverage to mess with us because of our disobedience.  One of my favorite passages thus far is Psalm 130 and I truly believe that there is full redemption for anyone with a track record and unfortunately a lot of times that is believers who allowed a little here and a little there in areas of compromise and our walls just got broken down, or burned down by us pouring the gas around us and lighting the match.  Or maybe someone deeply offended us, betrayed us.  Whatever it is we have a mess on our hands and what are we going to do?

Don't hang your harp while the enemy taunts you!  He will want you to sing songs about how great your God is when you have blown it and are experiencing repercussions of the chastisement from sin.  Don't you dare quit praising because you fell short or jumped head long into sin.  Don't put your bible down.  Don't quit your praise.  He will send forth His word and heal you and rescue you from yourself and the enemy.  Keep on with Jesus when the enemy is at your heels. 

So, we know that God's chosen people, whom He set His affections on, lived under oppresion.  I am always in need of Him filling up what I lack. The enemy wants to take you back to your land of slavery, rob you of your joy, and get you to quit! DON'T LET HIM!  He does not have that right.  I've kidded with some lately but I'm so serious.  I picture myself elbowing my brothers and sisters in Christ when we are in glory (since there will be no more pain) and jumping pews to get to the front row without spilling my cherry limeade that never runs out or my junior I can see the enemy and his cohorts meet their fate.  They have gloated so much over some of us.  Let's not let the enemy get any victory over us if we can help it.  May sin that was once so pleasurable to us be such a stench that we know the cost of leaving the God we love and saying you know what...that's not worth it to me.  Anyway, as much as he has gloated over us don't you know we are going to get to gloat over him!  I am getting a front row seat to see him get his tail whooped.  I'm just saying! 

Let's keep longing for His appearance and panting for Him like a deer panting for streams of water.  He is Life and He gives us weary sojourners dignity! 

Moving from fear to faith!

Are the eyes of the Lord still looking back and forth across the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him? When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth? My answers to both of those are a resounding YES! 

In all honesty, I have been through a lot in my tenure here on planet earth, yet I can say from the depths of my soul that It is Well!  Whatever the enemy has meant for my harm God has used it for His good.  I was sitting in my kitchen floor earlier thinking some things through and how thankful I am that along the way I have known the Lord in ways I could never have known Him apart from suffering.  We become so afraid of the unknown and the what-ifs that we can become paralyzed and waste our life here always trying to play it safe.  Some decisions we have to make are life altering and they are hard yet they have to get made.  Just like Gods chosen people.  He pulled them up by their scrawny necks (literally) and led them out of their land of slavery and they suffered from unbelief and fear and their carcasses fell in the wilderness and they never got to go into their promised land. They did not take hold of the milk and honey!  They wavered, they grumbled, they complained, and the bottom line was that they lost sight of how Great their God was and instead had their eyes on their circumstances or their enemies.  When we don’t fix our gaze on seeking first His kingdom…we too will tend to focus on circumstances and begin to despair.  Another danger as we are on pilgrimage to our heavenly Jerusalem is to put your hope in man.  Let me assure you of this: YOU WILL BE LET DOWN MISERABLY if you haven’t figured that out already.  Don’t let people trip you up because we live in a fallen world and you will have a big fat bag of excuses as to why you didn’t live full throttle for God during your time here if people are getting in the way of it.  I mean look no further than Adam and Eve…I can hear him in his best whiney voice as he points his finger toward Eve (hear me pinching my nose shut while I say this) “…but God, the woman You gave me, she made me do it!”  PLEASE!!!!!  It’s high time we quit comparing ourselves to others and blaming others for why we are the way we are and take some of the shackles that are inhibiting us from being able to run the race that has been marked out for us and let those weights fall to the flipping ground and stay.  I get the fact that so many people are living in addictive sin.  Yet when you go to your meetings and life is all about what you shouldn’t do and you get a misplaced focus…you are setting yourself up to be the one who sees the wet paint-DO NOT TOUCH sign and what do you do? You touch it!  It’s our nature. Knowing where we are weak and making a battle plan for that and being accountable to others…that’s a different story.  Letting what you did (sin) and what you shouldn’t do, define your every waking moment is not going to produce lasting change because what you have to have is a new heart and a renewed mind and you can’t get it if you are wallowing around in the mire of what you did in the past.  You won’t taste and see that the Lord is good and won’t learn to love Him with all that is within in you if your whole focus is on your addiction.  The addiction then defines you instead of God defining you and changing you with His word.  We need more then just addiction meetings while they are good.  We need to be going after THE Rabboni and learning what we can through His word.  It will change us and make us MISERABLE to be the dog returning to its vomit.  That’s what will change us!  God on the throne as we see our own sin in the mirror and His word will be our freedom as it kills our flesh.   We tend to focus on the one unmet need, the one thing we think will make us happy, and those things rob us of what all we have been so richly blessed with.  As I was going over some different turning points in my life it bolstered my faith even more because there have been times in my life where I’m talking I had no clue what I was going to do and God showed up.  Times where I would tithe my $30 and not have a clue what I was going to do to make ends meet and while there wasn’t some huge monetary prospering, there was a prospering in my soul.  Trials that have literally turned to gold!  The gold of knowing the One in Whom I believe even though I can’t see Him. I’ve learned through suffering that the next time I face this or that I want to do it with some faith because the Lord has brought me a mighty long way.  What if the Beth Moore’s, James MacDonalds, Erwin Lutzers (just to name a few of my heroes in the faith) where scared to death to do what God called them to do and didn’t do it? Well, we sure would have missed out!  That is a vast understatement for me.  They have brought me up in the Lord.  I have no clue where I’d be when there was no Titus 2 woman in sight taking me under her wing.  It was years of bible study that have taught me how to love the Lord and look to Him.  I shudder to think where I’d be without all that these men and women have poured into my soul.  So again I have learned not to live in so much fear when it comes to stepping out and believing God.  It doesn’t mean ease…but the riches you will gain from what seems the black of night aren’t worth comparing to just living at the status quo.  I’m not just making this stuff up!  If you will abandon your ideas of the peachy little cushy life you should have and just throw your hands up you will never be the same. So while I am over here in the thick of it…I look at you and say sister/brother…walk in the word!  Let the Lord strengthen your heart.  Make your ONE THING Him!  Seek Him with all that you have.  He will be found by you.  Go forward with some courage and you will be shocked that as you stay in the word by faith…the very things that you thought would kill you just might be what heals you.  He is so worthy.  His word works.  May we abandon ourselves to Him.  I guarantee you this: You are a lot stronger than you think!  The freedom that comes from making it to the other side of what you thought you could never make it through will teach alright!  Everytime I start to panic all I have to do is jog down memory lane over the rocks of rembrance that are along the ol' timeline.  Places where God showed Himself strong on my behalf.  Or things like the death of a child, I never thought I could get through that sort of thing and I did and I'm whole.  Maybe some of us need to step back a tad from being constantly torn to shreds by the fat mouth of the Lion...the accuser of the brethren.  Maybe we need to spend some time in the word gaining God's thoughts toward us and not let man or the enemy continue to be the loudest voice in our head but let His word dwell richly in us and change us so that we operate as the blessed children of God and align our lives to His word.  I know I'm miserable when I'm not right with Him.  Once you have tasted and seen that the Lord is good...all else while some may be good, is a cheap imitation.  It won't satisfy you.  Let's quit squandering anymore time meandering around in mediocrity.  If God is for us, who can be against us?

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