Friday, January 18, 2013

His Love Awakened Souls to Radical Action

When words stumble...when my thoughts seem to fail and the heart can't grasp the right words to bring...I pray my soul--You will hear--my soul that sings.
 
I have not been able to put into tangible words what the Lord has been doing...Even if words went unwritten--my soul has been singing--and He has been listening. The past couple of months have been an adventure.
 
From Thanksgiving to Christmas and onto the New Year...everything was crazy busy...trying to enjoy each and every moment was chaos...not wanting to miss a second, but the seconds continued on...not waiting for us to catch up.
 
So often during the winter months I sit back and wish for it to be 85 degrees so I can go sit on the beach and...breathe...Just to be still...to praise my God that He is God. Just to marvel in the truth that He is good and I am loved.
 
So often we complicate life. We clutter the simple. Make lists and agendas. When our plans become our focus we forget truths...we forget who we are and whose we are...When the Lord has told us over and over what it is He desires for us to do.
 
There is always a purpose.
 
To live the way the Lord has called us to...
 
My friends and I finished going through the book Radical by David Platt. This book ripped me open forcing me to look into hard places in my hidden heart.
 
God has challenged and called us all to be Radical.
 
In this crazy world we live in--to be different is not that far of a stretch. Read the Word, Share the Gospel, Pray diligently and intentionally, Leave your comfort zones...He is worth the hard, ugly, painful, frustrating, crazy-joy-filled, adventurous journey.
 
The answer to Jesus is always a yes.
 
Do I trust Him? Do I believe His love never fails, never gives up or never runs out on me? Life slowed down this week...a chance to be Radical...a chance to live out a yes to Christ. A chance to be still in sunshine and soak in His presence...to breathe and be used by God.
 
His love awakened the soul to action.
 
 
We just returned from a Missions trip to the Dominican Republic. The Lord worked in so many ways...to experience His power, see His faithfulness, be filled with love to pour it out...His presence was real. The Holy Spirit led us into worship and service. Overwhelming prayers, truth defeating fear, it was all real.
 
It isn't a secret that I have an out of control fear of flying. Before we left I was digging into the Psalms--hungry for promises and comfort found in the Word. I read Psalms about praising the Lord from the mountain tops...from the highest of heights. I prayed the airplane ride would be a ride of worship. I prayed I would be able to praise the Lord at a new elevation.
 
In reality I still did not want to get on the plane...faithful friends had to pull me on...but through it God gave me a picture of peace.
 
We often pray for Philippians 4:7 "peace beyond comprehension". How often do we confuse what this peace is? If I would have stayed home I would have felt peace. My stomach hurt, fear was ripping my insides apart and anxiety raged...if I would have refused to step onto the plane--I would have felt "peace"...the fear and stomach aches would disappear but I would remain unchanged.
 
It would have been total disobedience. Stepping onto the plane--I felt fear and I was nervous...I would be lying if I said I "felt" peace...but the truth is I felt Jesus. I felt the Zephaniah 3:17 love song rush through me. I felt my soul clinging onto the promise and hope that I was obeying Christ and He was stretching me--I was growing by being forced into an uncomfortable situation--Thankful He doesn't call us to settle and stay stagnant but wants to mold and shape us to become more like Him.
 
He calls us to make bold moves.
 
 
There were so many lessons...so many truths learned on this trip...
 
1. Where is our focus? Who are we living for? Where is the praise and attention going? Do not get distracted or sidetracked. He should be the main focus--always.
 
1 Corinthians 1:17-18 The Message
"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him. And He didn't send me to do it with a lot of fancy rhetoric of my own, lest the powerful action at the center--Christ on the cross--be trivialized into mere words..."
 
It is never about us. We are totally inadequate to do anything on our own--in our own strength
 
1 Corinthians 2:3 The Message
"I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate--I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it--and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God's Spirit and God's power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God's power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else."
 
2 Corinthians 4:5 The Message
"Remember, our Message is not about ourselves, we're proclaiming Jesus Christ, the Master. All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you...we carry this message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us..."
2. We pray for peace but He is peace. We pray for love and comfort but He is love. He is comfort. He is joy. Let us never grow numb..if we no longer "feel" are we not diving deeper--have we stopped experiencing God? Let us never doubt the power that IS WITHIN us. The friend--the Holy Spirit that guides, leads, convicts, comforts and is with us Always.
 
Galatians 5:25 "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit"
 
3. No matter the language--His name will be praised. We can shout it from the mountains, we can scream it to the masses and tell the world--He is God. Shouting the Holy name of the Lord--power in the name. Worship is sweet and God is ever present in a church in America, a house in a village, or the streets of the Dominican Republic in the pouring rain. Invite God--whether guitars are in tune or harmonies are pitchy--God deserves the praise that our hearts were made yearning to give Him.
 
4. He is always at work. Always doing something new. Are we willing to join Him...with willing and obedient hearts the Lord can flow out and do work for His kingdom...will we be aware of it? Surrender. Surrender the plans, worries...empty hands so He can fill you with what He is doing today…

Isaiah 43: 18-19 NASB
"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert."

I was stuck here this week...in Isaiah 43.

After sharing my testimony the enemy tried using it to remind me of all the hurts, all the past failures, all of my shortcomings...instead of focusing on grace and victory I started to focus on the unworthy and unclean side of the story--pondering on the past. Do not turn back. We are new.
 
He is pulling us deeper--keep the eyes open--Remind us of Your faithfulness Lord--just recognize that He is working in the now. We are loved--scars and all.
 
5. We all have gifts. We can't compare. We are originals.
 
This trip was amazing and one of the main reasons was because of the group of believers I was able to share it with. I love these people and I am so happy that I was able to share life with them. One of the best moments was being able to dig into the Bible each morning and night and dive deep into prayer. It was awesome to see God work through each of us throughout the week.
 
My big sister. She has always been the adult. The mature one. The one who feels the need to take care of everything and everyone...this trip I saw her as a little girl again. She climbed a tree, she explored the heights, she ran around and acted crazy...to see her bubbling over with pure joy was one of the best gifts I could have experienced. She was born to teach. I watched passion pour out of her when telling the kids about Jesus. She was free.
I watched friends use their gifts all week. From sharing the truth, passionately preaching, communicating in different languages, playing with the kids, singing vulnerable heart songs, leading worship, praying deep prayers, writing words of encouragement, making others laugh--I will never forget the grace and truth spoken into me and prayed over me as I struggled with fear on the way home as the plane hit turbulence--everyone played a role in our little church family.
 
Galatians 5:25 The Message
"we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. EACH OF US IS AN ORIGINAL..."
 
Galatians 6:4-5 The Message
"Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life..."
I am sure there are more words to be written...from worship on the roof, to marching through the village singing to the people, to loving on the little ones, to the fellowship of my friends...the trip was a gift.
 
 
Forever my lifesong will shout Hallelujah.
Forever I want to follow the path You have laid before...to walk the way of truth--
You are the God of my salvation...because of You...
I can sing hallelujah...my soul will sing.


Thank you Jesus. For love that never fails...never gives up...never runs out on me. For the overwhelming and satisfying love that defeats fear and ignites action. Thank you for allowing us to go on adventures to shout Your name. Thank you for Your strength...for being all that we need--for Your power and presence. For lessons learned--for always pushing me to step out of my comfort zone.
 
 
 

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