Posted in Faith

Walking with the Lord…new steps

Who wouldn't gladly follow Jesus here?
Who wouldn’t gladly follow Jesus here?

It is often said that the life of a Christian is a “walk with God”.  Once you step (fall, stumble, tiptoe, lean, leap) over the fence of unbelief, it becomes a journey.  And a journey typically includes having a map because there is a destination.

Those of us who walk with the Lord certainly have a map with a destination, but the ways we get there are incredibly different.  The path isn’t always gorgeously laid out with flowers and greenery on either side.  Sometimes it looks like this

Where do you even begin to cut back on these things?
Where do you even begin to cut back on these things?

Or this

Stone path leading up a hill.

Or (yikes!) even this

Where do I even start?
Where do I even start?

Why?  Why, when we are going through life difficulties, do we have to have paths that have thorns, or that go upward (where I have to exert energy…ugh), or that don’t even have a semblance of a path?  Why would we follow someone blindly through a desert?  Why would we take the road less traveled to get to someplace others tell us doesn’t even exist?  Why put ourselves through emotional and physical turmoil like that?

I have an answer.

Because the God of the universe who did create everything (Colossians 1:16) and who does have crazy paths to follow (2 Corinthians 5:7) LOVES you incredibly.  Do you believe that?

He loves you so much He sent His son to die (John 3:16), but also because He knows there are changing terrains (Deuteronomy 5:33), paths that look daunting, days that are overwhelming, kids that are screaming, conversations that are worth having, lies that are worth rebuking, people worth loving, and hearts worth stretching.  Psalm 119:133 is a cry to keep our steps steady.  Why?  Because the Lord knows that LIFE will overwhelm us and create a path that is unstable.

I do believe that God does not change (Scripture confirms this in Malachi 3:6 when He is speaking about his nature).  However, since I’ve been walking with Him, learning His ways and have felt Him softening my heart, I’ve learned that He is extremely creative and ultimately lovely.  His character doesn’t change, but His methods for seeking me (us) will and does.

One aspect of the Father that I can resonate with (and have incredible admiration for) is an adventuresome, loving Father who is constantly looking back to take my hand and show me something wonderful.

My earthly father did that a lot when I was younger.  My dad would pack us in the little red Chevette (all five of us, Mom too) red chevetteand my two siblings and I would do creek walks, flip over rocks to look for crayfish and go on hikes until our legs burned with pain.  All because Dad wanted to show us something amazing!  Sure, Dad could’ve gone and jogged the trail ahead of us, and came home and told us the story about what he saw/experienced, but it was worth more to him to have us experience it with him!  And I’ve learned our Heavenly Father is like that too.

Walking alongside someone also gives time to have conversations.  Have you ever gone on a walk with someone else and remained silent the entire time?  Doing physical activity together like walking, is a way of sharing hearts and opening up about something in life or an opinion.  Many of the times that I spent walking with my parents gave them opportunities to talk and share things with me, and I in turn would share my opinion with where I was at that time.  It is a relational activity.  So walking provides the Lord a place of communication with us.  When we communicate how much we hate anything that goes uphill to Him, it allows Him the opportunity to reach a hand out to help us up.  It builds dependence.

reaching outTrusting in Jesus, who is unseen, is a step of faith altogether.  We choose to believe in Someone who chooses to remain hidden to the outside world.  He manifests Himself in many things to affirm He is with us, and He reveals Himself in ways that are not tangible.  Since Jesus ascended to Heaven, He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us, to guide us, to lead us, to be our “true north” and it is up to us to seek Him out. When we accepted Jesus and made Him Lord of our lives, we accepted the call to be Jesus’ hands and feet and show the world who HE really is.

My journey with the Lord has changed, grown, stretched incredibly over the last year, and my walk has mirrored each of the paths above.

I’ve learned He is faithful.

I’ve learned He is silent for a time.

I’ve learned He is loving during the wait.

I’ve learned He has a plan that is the best for me, and it’s worth waiting for.

I’ve learned I can’t do everything on my own, which is what sent me to Him in the first place.

I’ve learned that sometimes He speaks and I need to drown everything out to hear Him because I’ve let too much of the world in.

I’ve learned He is hope.

He created me (and you) with unique, special gifting and He will share with me (and you) when the time is right to reveal them.  He longs to be close to us.  He desires the relationship.  He loves when you pray because He hears from your mouth and heart where you are, even though He already knows. He created you with a desire to be known, and He knows you best!

He continues to reach out His hand to help us up those tough hills.  He continues to wrap Himself around us through the thorny paths.  He makes a way when the path isn’t even a path.  He CAN be trusted.

My journey is changing, and my new path is being revealed.  I will share more as I am able.  But it’s worth the wait, as long as I am holding His hand, walking alongside Him and trusting what He is doing.  Stay steadfast, dear ones!

walk Love, G 🙂

Posted in Faith

Being wholly committed

I’ve written before about commitment, especially how overcoming a divorce and allowing God to show me my core issues with trust has helped me recommit myself to those around me and my new husband.

ImageBeing wholly committed means to be completely sold out for something…believing in something so much that you hold fast to it, proclaim allegiance to it, and will die for it.  Many people we know are soldiers in our nations’ military branches and they sign papers stating as such.  In relation to God, where does being wholly committed fall?  Do we worship on Sunday and then grumble when someone is taking too long to pull out of their parking space after church?

ImageDo we share a word of Scripture with a friend in public, but then shake our head when we get off the phone with them when they need prayer?

Are we ALL IN?  In poker, it means “wagering one’s stake”.  Do we do that with our faith?  Can we claim to be completely sold out?  If so, I would venture to say that our lives would reflect it.  Right?

After all, we claim to be followers of Jesus, so I’m sure anyone watching us would say our faith is evident and our lives reflect just what we say.  {Are you already shaking your head because you know that couldn’t be further from the truth? 😉 }

Here’s the reality: We’re all fallen.  Yep, fallen.  We were held in such regard that angels admired us.  God did make us with the intent of glorifying Himself in a way that angels can’t.  And yet, we, through Adam, have lived with sin from generation to generation.  We can’t escape it.  Even though Jesus died on the cross and rose for our sins, we cannot get away from the taint of sin and its effects on our lives and the ways we affect others on this Earth.

ImageIsaiah 1:18  promises that “though our sins were like scarlet, they will be white as snow”, but we won’t see the change until we are present with God at the end of the world when He returns.  For now, it’s going to continue, and we can’t change it.

So does being a sinner mean that I can’t be wholly committed?  What makes believers different?  I believe the difference should be the whole title of this post: being wholly committed.  And more truthfully, we need to be wholly committed to our relationship with Jesus.  Because by connecting with Him, He will align our days/times/events/appointments, etc.

In the realization that He is ordering our steps, Image we become committed to many things: HIM, other people, the calling He has designed for us individually, sharing His gospel, loving when others don’t know how, forgiving when it’s not easy, being a listening ear for those who are hurting, etc.  Being committed to those things and Jesus will show the world the difference in our lives.

We still sin and have it in our bloodline, but we have the Holy Spirit in us, who can rebuke, change, humble and convict us.  Instead of giving into sin, which is what the world does, we have the opportunity to say no to it, and move on, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 assures us, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”  Image

God does not do the tempting, but He does allow it.  He uses it to test us, and He provides a way out for us.  The world may ask why does God test us at all?  It’s because He is sharpening us, for something more than we can understand.  He has Imagegiven us the tools to fight Satan, but it’s up to us to use them.  Following the flesh is what the world does.  Following Christ is what Christians do.  Allowing the Holy Spirit {who is also God and Jesus} to do His job, allows us to see the need to detour instead of walking down the wrong path.

So one of this week’s online bible study questions is: Is God calling you to a deeper commitment?  My response is YES. He has and He is.  He knows me so well, He knows this is going to be a challenge for me, but this is how I look at it: I tend to get overwhelmed when I do things my way (it took 33 years to accept that truth), and when I finally give up, He has always been there with the strength, grace and mercy that is necessary for me to trust Him.

Looking at my three day planners (yes, three), I have something almost every day, in almost every block.  One is for school tasks, one is for my AVON business and one is for family and friend events, so we don’t overlap things. For those who say, “there’s an app for that”, I would have to tell you that I do keep track of immediate appointments that way, but looking at a constant colored schedule of what I am SUPPOSED to be doing, is quite disheartening.  Many times, my appointments have run over, and I have to rearrange the time increments and it’s just too much work.  It’s much easier to just cross off when complete! 🙂

Thankfully this past summer, our women’s ministry has been meeting at the lake on Wednesday evenings to talk about making time for God, and how it shouldn’t be an add-on to our day, but it should be the start.  It should be penciled in.  It should be a primary focus on how we arrange our time.  We all have twenty four hours in a day.  I know I’m always busy because of my interests and heart for people, but I’m also just human.  I’ve realized I cannot be everywhere at once, and Jesus couldn’t do it either when He was in bodily form.  By taking the time to go to those Wednesday meetings, I learned that I’m not the only crazy woman who needs to rest and say no to everything that begs for my time. Image

So the reason I know God is asking me to go deeper with Him is because I just started school again this week.  There is another schedule to consider.  Going back to school requires time in the books and preparing papers.  It will impede my time with Him.  But I have to dig in deeper with my heels because when I don’t commit fully to Him, chaos abounds.  I have gotten to a good place where I focus on Him, but I know He wants more than just a 1/2 hour to an hour a day.  I’m learning to let him have my whole day.  That HAS to continue.  I have to be wholly committed to Him.

Lysa commented in her book that,

“Radical obedience is not just following a list of right things to do.  Nonbelievers can do that and call it ‘good’.  Radical obedience is choosing to exchange what is ‘right’ for God’s righteousness.”

For me to SAY YES to Him, I have to be understanding that His schedule is COMPLETELY different than mine.  I’m totally believing that God wants me to complete my homework assignments on time, simply because that is for school and is part of my obligation to my student loans.  But I also understand that the time I waste, may need to be filled with something He desires for me to do instead, and I’ll have to be obedient.  And be assured, awesome reader, that God is not being the fun police.  Much of our fun is not fruitful or reflective of our love for Him and others.  So, if He calls us out of something, to do something that serves someone else, He is backing up what He said in Scripture.  He doesn’t contradict Himself, He proves Himself over and over again.

If you are concerned about becoming completely and wholly committed to God, I’d like to share with you Lysa’s words of truth from chapter four:

“God made us for the relationship of His perfect love.  While we are not capable of perfect performance this side of eternity, we are capable of perfect love.  We can settle in our hearts that we will choose God’s love and the pursuit of a love relationship with Him above all else, no matter what comes our way.”

I’m going to spend some time with God alone now, asking for His continued guidance, and help in allowing me the opportunity to see what is important and what isn’t.  I desire to serve Him fully and daily I choose to reaffirm my commitment to Him.  May you also be compelled to let go of all that is holding you back, and re-confirm your commitment to our Lord.  He is so faithful, and is the definition of commitment.  Jesus went to the grave and back to prove His love for us, surely we can give Him the time He requests.  Have a blessed week!

I’m going all in!