Friday, March 23, 2012

Created for Freedom

On my way to work this morning on the radio they were talking about all the hype going on right now for the Hunger Games movie premiere opening this weekend. There are Hunger Games recipes, a weather forecast (for a fictional book), hairstyles...you name it. To be honest, my husband and I are also caught up in the hype since he first read the book series a couple years ago and introduced them to me.

As I listened to the radio dj, I began to wonder why we are so caught up with the Hunger Games movie. We loved the book, but more than that we loved the concept of the book. My husband and I have also loved the movie, "V for Vendetta" and the book, "The Giver." What all of these three pieces of entertainment have in common is a society that is ran by a leadership that, in order to promote unity, safety and security, has limited freedoms or has created a very strict environment in which to live. Choices are made for the people of the society in their best interest, but the truth is that the people in these societies are actually in a sort of bondage, unable to think or feel for themselves. The reason these societies rub us all the wrong way is because we were meant to be free.

Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Within each of us is a God-created desire for freedom. Freedom from sin, from slavery. There is a part of us that resists confinement because God created us for freedom. The truth is though, that this freedom can only be found in Christ. The world will offer us various counterfeit freedoms, but they cannot and will not fulfill our desire for freedom.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Source of Struggles

I have been having some problems lately with people in my life I interact with on a frequent basis. I was torn over what to do as all of my attempts to be peaceable seemed to be met with resistance, defensiveness and attacks at times. I began to feel hopeless, devalued and defeated. I was asking the Lord to help me forgive, to help me prevent these problems. I was repenting, asking for help to forgive, praying my eyes out and felt that the problem was actually getting worse! This morning my mother-in-law reminded me of this word:

Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
 
My focus was on the wrong thing! I was trying to fix people, fix myself, but there was something greater involved in our problems. I needed to realize that there are spiritual forces at work and I needed to shift my efforts to see this problem turn around. The Lord revealed to me that I was living a defensive Christian life waiting for the enemy to attack to defend and protect myself. I needed to also live offensively. Rebuking the enemy and advancing God's kingdom should also be part of my Christian life.
 
When my thoughts are spiritually focused, I can look over offenses and forgive easier because I understand that there are spirits influencing this person (as well as their own selfish desires). Though they will be held responsible by the Lord for their actions, there are spiritual forces in the heavenly realms that are influencing their attitude and actions, just as these same forces influence mine. I can pray and ask God to give me discernment to know what part of the problem is a spiritual problem, what is an attitudinal problem and what part is a sin problem and how to respond to it.
 
Thinking this way gives me freedom to love, forgive, bring unity and peace.
 
James 3:17 (NIV)
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Testing the promise

I recently took the James study by Beth Moore at Stone Church. In the seventh session she talked about rain and how rain is a sign of the blessing, the outpouring, the word of the Lord. Here is the verse she was teaching out of:

James 5:7-11 God's Word Translation (GW)
"Brothers and sisters, be patient until the Lord comes again. See how farmers wait for their precious crops to grow. They wait patiently for fall and spring rains. You, too, must be patient. Don't give up hope. The Lord will soon be here."

Beth talked about how we will all experience a series of rains throughout our faith/our lives. It is our job to understand the law of the harvest and know what season we are in (times for sowing and times for reaping, Ecclesiastes 3:1-3). God's calling or word for us is irrevocable according to Romans 8:28. When God gives a word to us (a rain), the word must be tested to prove it's value, it's validity. When Beth shared this revelation, it brought so much healing to my heart.

When my husband, Brandon and I were trying to conceive, we prayed that it would be the Lord's will for us to bear children. I believed that the Lord had called me to be a natural mother and I often dreamed about what children He would bring to us. I knew so strongly that I would be a mom that when I did conceive, I felt immense gratitude and overwhelming love for the Lord and His gift of not just one, but two baby girls. The Lord revealed to me in Luke 1:14, "He [They] will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his [their] birth" as a verse I could pray over my girls as a promise for me as their mom and for them.

To my surprise, when the girl's arrived I was soon attacked with anxiety, depression, fear, and guilt among many tremendous negative thoughts and feelings. I questioned the Lord's promise to me as revealed in Luke. I didn't feel full of joy and I didn't have time to delight in them as I was in survival mode almost 24/7. I thought I was being ungrateful because of all of these feelings. The Lord began to reveal to me that my problem was hormonal as well as an attack from the enemy. I had to change my prescription and begin renewing my mind and noticing that when the enemy was attacking my thoughts, I had to defend myself with the word of God.

When I heard Beth Moore speak on this at the study, I realized that God's promise/calling for me as a mom has been tested in this season. The Lord allowed this testing to prove my value, my faith.

"Here is the sobering truth about the nature of trials in the life of righteous persons, that God allows them to be tested in order to prove their faith...In some ways their endurance proves the Lord's boast in them" Kurt A. Richardson

God has called me to be the mother of my beautiful girls, sunshiney Audrey and curious Gracie - I am a blessed mama.