Tuesday, November 11, 2008

It's my party and I'll cry if I want to...

Much revelation has occurred in my life in the last several days. My understanding of the many things my family has endured in recent months has come full circle. I can so clearly see exactly what happened, when, and even why. I'm not certain as to how God will use it in the future but I'm certain it all will be used for good to glorify his name. I can see every decision that was made and the effect each of those decisions would bring. I can see the full story and all that I was meant to gain from it.

Last week the Lord started to speak loud and clear to me about where I have been. All the perspective I gained last week came full circle at church on Sunday. I'll explain in a second. First, I want to mention, now that I know exactly where I have been and how it all came to be, I'm so excited to see where he plans to take us. Giddy!

Anyway, last week I started to see all the puzzle pieces come together and my role in the process. Then, things went a bit further at church. We studied out of Mark 4 and Job. In Mark 4, after teaching, Jesus begins to explain the parable to his disciples. This particular parable is an explanation of what happens to the word of God (seed) after his has been preached (planted) depending on the condition of our hearts and our level of maturity in our spirit life.

The parable is this (Mark 4:3-9), a farmer plants seed. As he spreads it across the field, some seed falls onto the footpath, and birds come to eat it. Some seed falls on the shallow soil with underlying rock, it sprouts but quickly but dies in the hot sun because it doesn't have deep roots. Other seed fell among thorns, grew up, and choked out tender plants so they couldn't produce. The seed that falls upon the footpath (Mark 4:15) represents those who hear a message or teaching only to have Satan come at once and steal it. For me, this used to be when Todd and I would start to discuss the message and get caught up in the parts we disagreed with and forget all about the message and just argue. Seriously!

We eventually progressed past that part of life and began to actually receive God's word, it became planted. But, we were not "deeply rooted" (Mark 4:16-17) so we were easily distracted in and out of church and in a bind the word was not deep enough to be brought from our spirits to be used in life to combat trials and temptation.

Still, we managed to eventually overcome. To be consistent. To commit to church and other ministries at church. I volunteered in the nursery and Todd taught children's church. Which brings us to the seed that fell among thorns (Mark 4:18-19). The message is crowded out by worries of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things, so no fruit is produced. The part that got us, the lure of wealth.

In 2004, we owned this tiny house, less than 900 square feet and had just given birth to children numbers four and five. We lived pay check to pay check. Not because God didn't provide but because we were irresponsible. We started to discipline ourselves with our finances and as we grew stronger as Christians and became more involved at church we started to tithe and the blessings followed.

The lure of wealth mentioned above is false prosperity. There is true prosperity where God blesses you and fills your store house overflowing because we have proven ourselves faithful. Because we live righteous lives within his will. Because he trusts that what he blesses us with is just that a blessing, that we are not tied to it and we'd give it up in a heart beat if he asked us to. As in Job, if you read Job 1:3, he owned a lot! A day comes when Job's sons are before the Lord and Satan comes along as well. Read how God refers to Job in Job 1:8 that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil. God speaks highly of Job and even Satan admits that Job is untouchable in verse 10 saying God has set up a hedge (protection) around Job, his house, and everything he owns on every side. Satan continues by saying God has blessed Job's hand and increased Job's substance in the land. All that Job has came from God because he is perfect and upright and fears God and shuns evil. True prosperity does exist.

False prosperity is a trick from Satan and one that I fell hard for. We had become more involved at church. We were tithers now too. But, we did not have prayer lives separate from church. We did not have our own consistent study time. We did not put much effort into praising him, thanking him, and praying between Monday and Saturday. Still, the blessings flowed. We thought they were blessings from God.

Later in 2004, we bought this great house, had new cars, our kids had everything they needed. Each step of the way brought us farther away from God. What we did do with our prayer lives slowly began to slack even more. God didn't seem to get mad or take any of our "stuff" away so he must still love us. Slacked even more, and even more, until we weren't even bothering to attend church anymore either. Still, we had our stuff, God has tremendous provision for us, and he loves us. No?

This is the part where Satan rubs his hands together and says "muaahhhh." My daughter Faith personifies this evil laugh really well when she's up to something. Satan is thinking Ha! I have them right where I want them! He is about to pull the rug out from underneath us and guess what he is counting on. He is counting on us waving our finger at God, blaming him, and asking "how could you do this, how could you let this happen to us?" Much like what Satan tried to do with Job. (Job1:11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.) Satan promised God that if he removed his hedge of protection and allowed Satan to bring great calamity against Job he would curse God. So between verses 12 and 21 God grants Satan permission to bring about calamity and calamity he brings but, Job didn't curse God. He never wavered. Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

I don't think God granted Satan permission to bring about calamity in my own life. I think I did a fine job of cracking that door open all on my own. When you step out of the will of God, you step out from under his umbrella. Satan no longer has to go through Jesus to get to you, you just let him in. So Satan did indeed pull the rug out, if your a follower you know we lost our house this year, and I've had a long pity party but thank you Jesus I knew all along where the blame should lie. I'm grateful that I knew enough about the character of Jesus and the character of myself to not angrily point my finger at God. Instead, I did an awesome job of feeling sorry for myself.

So there was a big scheme at work in my life. I still made the decisions to follow that path every step of the way but still, in the grand scheme of things, it was a trick carefully played out by Satan. The best news of all. I've passed the first three stages. I've been in a place where the seed fell on the footpath and it was eaten by birds. I've been in a place where it was sweltered in the sun because it wasn't deeply rooted. And, I've been in a place for far too long where it was choked out by the cares of this life, the lure of wealth, and the desire for other things. So now I'm onto the place in Mark 4:8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!" Translated by Jesus in Mark 4:20 And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God's word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!"

He continues in Mark 4:22 For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light. FYI, this is a one-sided conversation between me and Jesus right now and each scripture is a new "ah-ha" moment! So, if you're not following, I'm sorry but I know I'm getting it!

Mark 4:24 Then he added, "pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given-and you will receive even more.

Mark 4: 26-29 Jesus also said, "the Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, while he's asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens. The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens. And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.

For those of you out there that are not part of my immediate family and might not benefit from all I learned this morning there is still something to gain here. Satan is still after you. If you have been born-again for thirty days or thirty years, he is still coming for you. If your heart is tied to "things" he will steal those things from you to get you to blame God. Whatever door can be opened, whatever he can steal or destroy in your life that is precious to you, he will attempt. His very purpose is to get you to permanently turn your back on God. I am only thankful that his attempts on my life, my fate, only brought me close to my Lord and solidified my family and made us even more united.

Credit for much of the above goes to my Pastor Ron Raciti because although some of it was revelation this morning, much of it was Sunday's message. Credit for my relationship with Christ and the condition of my life and family today goes to Jesus himself and to every person who has ever uttered a prayer for me and my family.

I swear I'll try to make them shorter!

This is not the direction I intended to pursue today but I'm so glad I did. And, the pity-party is over!

1 drops of sunshine:

Tabbie:) said...

Yes I sure do believe God will use this to bless others.
I am very proud of you. I know God gets all the Glory for this, but you have choosen not to blame Him and I am proud of you for that. Thank you for being willing to share, for that takes power away from the enemy and gives so much power to Jesus. It definately helps build faith and open our eyes to see what traps our enemy can set.
Fantastic. Praise Jesus!
I cannot wait to see where God takes you from here!