Stumbling Progress

“A person’s steps are directed by the LORD, and the LORD delights in his way.” “When he falls, he will not be thrown down headfirst because the LORD holds on to his hand.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:23‬-24

I am sure you find joy as much as I do when admiring a beautiful young child earnestly wanting to walk. They may not be graceful about it. They may fall face first or become weak in the knees very quickly, but yet again and again they just keep on trying. Does that ring a bell when it comes to our personal, spiritual walks?

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus (Hallelujah) then you have felt the fire burning passion when you were once first saved. Every where just seemed to be a bit more clear, for a moment. We would tackle some scriptures, walk around public with our tabbed saved bibles, and speak to homeless Joe on the street corner about the “everlasting life” we just found.

Then… BOOM! CRASH! Like takes a swing at our souls and shatters it like a crystal mirror. Each shard cutting us deeply, until we only can feel and think about our pain. We slum around, frantically searching for that spark we once had.

My friend…. this is how our walks are supposed to be down here. It’s not supposed to be sunshine and rainbows all the time. We’re going to have times where we have droughts, and times we have harvest.

But one thing to remember is: God is still God. He understands that we will falter and cannot possibly respond to life with “God abounding” reactions. But… in the times we do, He called that Stumbling Process.

So… if you’re stumbling right now, just keep on stumbling. You’ll make it with God. He directs our lives and lights the way for us. We need not to be afraid.

Out of the Depths.

Tonight I was reading some wonderful insights on how to cope with anxiety through a spiritual sense when I read within the article this verse: With you [God] there is true forgiveness, so that you may be held in awe,” says Psalm 130:4. I was drawn into that verse deeply so I wanted to look more into it and the title of this beautiful song is called, “Out of the Depths.” I started to tear up a bit because that is exactly how I have felt the last through days. God has led into some deep waters, just watching me treading and freaking out basically. I have developed an irrational amount of anxiety and I have felt like there has been no escape.

I really would like to break this psalm down piece by piece so I can vividly express to you exactly how my life, and maybe even yours relates back to it.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

So I can imagine you must have read this with a stabbing feeling straight to the gut, right? This is kind of  what happens when we allow sin to overlap the presence of our Lord. Sin lures us deeper and deeper into dark waters; our eyes are not even paying attention to what our feet are cutting on as we shed our Saviors’ love he willingly poured out into our dying souls. Then once we realize we have ventured off too deep, we begin to panic. Our hearts become weak, our minds begin to wander off into millions of directions.

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

We lose sight of God, when in reality He never leaves our sides. EVER. I had this happen to me….I had to allow so much pain and fear fester into my heart, so I could completely surrender it over to God and allow the proper healing to start in my life. I needed His relentless mercy.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.

I love this imagery used by the psalmist about how our souls earnestly wait for the Lord as the watchmen wait for the morning. This is an example from the Elliot Commentaries for English Readers about watchmen waiting for dawn:Watch for the morning.—Comp. Psalm 123:2 for another figure of the same earnest upward gaze. In the “watcher for the dawn” there may be an allusion to the Levite-sentinel whose duty it was to signal the first ray of dawn, and the moment for commencing the sacred rites of the Temple (Psalm 134:1), but the figure if general, as marking the impatience of a deeply agitated soul—a sufferer waiting for relief, a contrite sinner for forgiveness—is as striking as graceful. (See Deuteronomy 28:67.)”  

We all go through the season of waiting. Our souls long for the things we think we desperately need in this EXACT moment, when in reality God’s timing is higher, better, and will last forever. Take heart my friend, God is carrying you out of the depths.

 

 

Pursuing Christ.

The dictionary defines pursue as (of a person or way) continue or proceed along (a path or route. That is the core statement in our daily lives of pursuing the call of Christ. I know we all go through our seasons. A time to thrive, and a time to wither. I have had that very thing happen to me. I deliberately wrapped my arms around temporary satisfaction and turned my back against God. The more my soul was being sucked by sin, the less I began to pursue call and I suddenly began to feel at lost of my purpose.

Months and months I awoke in a frantic on dark nights just entrapped by the heaviness of guilt and shame. When the sun finally rose in the morning, it still felt as if the night never left. I began to feel hollow on the inside, ashamed to even call myself a Christian for all the mistakes I have made. I almost was tempted to turn away from God because I felt like I had ran my course with Him and there was just no hope in Him still using me as a vessel of His own heart. The voices of the Liar began to overpower me. I believed I was not good enough. I believed there was no way I could even enter church or sit with a Christian friend because of the sin still encrusted beneath the surface of my skin. My vision, passion, and just soul felt dry and meaningless. I could not find a possible way to escape this endless cycle of despair.

Yet, my friend, Jesus was there all along. The nights where I felt like ice, His loving light burned brightly to satisfy my warmth. The days where I sat in quietness of my car or laying naked in my bathroom tub, God stroked my hair and whispered sweet melodies to try to entice my broken heart. Each day Jesus pursed me, because He will never abandon or give up on me. Jesus saw my agonizing weakness as biblical value to my personal relationship with God.

For it is through human weakness that God’s strength upholds us and is displayed for the world.”

God compares us to a jar of clay. Before we are made into His perfect mold, we need to understand that our clay is a brittle, easily broken substance. Through that, though, He makes our clay into jars–designed to hold the most valuable treasure: the Holy Spirit. God places His treasure within our clay selves so that we can withstand the damaged, broken cracks life causes toward us.

God still uses us in the midst of our wandering. There is a requirement of focus: We need to seek things of Heavenly value, not Earthly value. This is to be a continuous act of never taking our eyes of the Cross. The word is our instructions to a heavenly life and to live righteously.

“God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.” Acts 17:27

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:14

“Sometimes Stars Fade”

It begins unexpectedly.

Sometimes things break. We strive to protect our desires, basking in the euphoria we feel when our needs are met. But once those desires become flat, we feel deprived.

Sometimes stars fade. We see the light. We know the path, it’s lit for us. No stumbling, just smooth sailing. The wind is blowing in the right direction, no clashing thunder tries to rattle the mahogany boards that make up our ships. It feels safe, comfortable, and secure. That is, until the stars start to clash down abruptly from the heavenly skies, making our clear path ambiguous. We begin to panic. Chests tighten, palms shake, hearts race.

When I put my hope and trust into things that are earthly, I’m choosing to quench my spirit with temporary water. I get flustered when I’m constantly thirsting for more earthly values. I shame God, and turn my bare, cold back against His warm, immeasurable embrace. I cut my feet constantly onto my shattered dreams, expecting to escape the bloody chaos. He still rescues me… because He knows that I don’t belong in the ground, I belong on the clouds.

Sometimes things break, but He chooses to fix our undoings over again. Sometimes Stars fade, but His ceaseless light burns my unlit eyes so I can see life through a perspective of the Savior, not the Serpent.

“Submit To God.”

Hey guys! So…. I totally get that I am jumping ahead just a tad bit in James, but James 4 was laid out completely by God into my heart, so I need to share with you all what I took from it.

I have been in such a dark place these past 5 months total. I’m going to be straight up: I have been consumed with sexual sin. It almost got the best of me and destroyed me, but God prevailed and is saving me daily. I have to die to my flesh every morning/night, but I am on the road to recovery. It’s been so comforting knowing God doesn’t just walk away when we chose to deny Him, instead of submitting to His presence. Hey… kind of what today’s topic is? Well, now that I have settled that, let’s get started!

James 4:1: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?”

Okay, so when I first read that, something within me struck like lightning in my chest. Basically what James is discussing with us here is that the “quarreling” we sometimes enter into with one another does not necessarily mean that other person did us wrong, it’s our flesh that’s blinding our eyes. We live in a narcissistic place where it’s all about me, me, and me. A envious life is a lonely life, my friend. It will leave you always feeling unsatisfactorily and deprived of the lack of “materialistic” pleasures that seem so spectacular. My friend, we need to grasp that fighting against our brother because they have what we have been praying for is not only wrong, but it can cause a void between you and God. Ouch!

James 4:3: “You ask, but do not receive because you ask God with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.

Friendship with the world is hatred towards God! Our hands were created to work for God’s kingdom! We are his craftsmanship! What good is it that the beautiful gifts He has given us be thrown away for flesh, sinful desires? Why drink from the mud when God offers eternal, spiritual waters that will let us be thirsty no more?

Let’s all take away this: God is a jealous God, meaning NOTHING shall separate Him from us. He cannot stand the fact of anything keeping us from His presence! So when He countlessly rescues you and I from sin, it’s because He wants to! He loves us that much! Wow….

Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

“Perseverance”.

This past month has been a whirlwind of changes and growth. God has revealed so much to me in what my flesh is still desiring and what my spirit needs to desire. This morning I read this powerful “sticky statement” (a statement that sticks out the most in an author’s piece or work) and it struck the rift I have been feeling in my spirit right out: “God leads us all into situations, circumstances, and experiences that break me, but mold me into a better version of myself.” We all can agree trials and tribulations are down right awful. None of us like the feeling of disappointment, failure, or my favorite word this week: perseverance. Today, I want to write to you what I have learned from our friend of the bible James, and how trials should be counted as “great joy” in our personal walk with God.

I entered into the dating arena again with hope in my heart and excitement in my brain. The last relationship I had been in was almost 2 years ago! I have been fresh out of the game for quite some time. I will tell you on a personal note that the last 2 years of being single were the best couple years of my life. I grew so intimately with God, learned heavily about forgiveness, and I found a love for myself I never knew I had instilled within me. I prayed for months to share what I learned with the opposite sex (of course, a relationship). God eventually did lead me to someone who was incredible. His mind, body, and soul attracted me so profoundly. I desired to be in this persons’ presence, sadly, more than I did with God. The relationship abruptly ended, and I surprisingly did not leave the relationship empty or broken. I felt two things I have never felt in my life over a break up: hope and peace. I quickly began to understand and truly see how much work God has done within my heart when I had to endure multiple trials of perseverance. James, incredible book of the bible, teaches us that very thing.

James 1:2-3:

Take Hope When Tests Come

My Christian brothers, you should be happy when you have all kinds of tests. You know these prove your faith. It helps you not to give up. 

What a bold statement, right? “Be happy when you have all kinds of tests”. I am currently enrolled in school, and I can gladly tell you I do not find any joy in tests. In fact, I LOATHE tests! But… what would be the point if we did not have tests? How would I be able to see if I understand what I am learning and able to retain it if I do not endure tests of learning? The same exact principle is used when it comes to our faith. We are commanded by our Lord to read His word and apply to our lives so that when we do enter into “trials of tribulation” we can have a hope that surpasses all worldly understanding. We can have joy in knowing that we can endure all attacks because of the living Spirit inside of us.

James 1:4

Learn well how to wait so you will be strong and complete and in need of nothing.

Patience is one of the most used words in the bible. We are called many, many times to be patient. I sometimes like to explore many different versions of the bible, and one version replaced patience with “long suffering.” Wow! My mind immediately went to the cross. Jesus endure an immense amount of long suffering. He was so faithful to God’s will, even though He was in great anguish. That powerful, loving example is what Jesus expects of us. Waiting is an act of obedience; trusting God to do the possible when contradictions around us say impossible.

James 1:6

You must have faith as you ask Him. You must not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave which is pushed around by the sea.

Trials are stepping stones in our faith. We must endure pain and tribulation, so that we will rely on God more and more. Just like the butterfly must complete the whole stage of metamorphosis, we must endure the whole trial of perseverance. We must allow God to mold us into His perfect character!

“Thrive.”

The enemy is nigh, my brothers and sisters.

He lurks in the darkness, using swaying language and taunting actions to dim our lights.

He wants us all to falter. To take our heavy eyes off the cross. Off the truth.

We cannot let this happen. We have to keep fighting. We all know the truth. We know we are all deeply loved. Deeply wanted. Deeply desired by our Abba.

Yet, we keep dimming our lights. We keep letting the darkness overshadow.

We press into the world, forgetting all we know.

We list after false hope. We crave desires of man. We use up all its resources until we are like a hollow, dark cave; caked with dirt and grime.

Alas. Abba is there. Outstretching his arms to us; inviting us back in. Let us keep going my brothers and sisters. Let us never stop thriving for greatness.