Sunday, February 22, 2009

Resting

OK ... so the Lord is ever the teacher, and this week he as been teaching me about rest, which is really just the next step in the journey of really evaluating the time I have and what I use it for. I began the process this week of taking things off my plate and have realized that somewhere along the line I have forgotten that my time is limited. Yes, limited as far as the amount of time I have to live, but even more so in the time that I have to give. I also realized that the choice to spend time with the Lord is made near impossible by just how many things are on my to do list. What really made this hit home is that the choice to spend real quality time with my children is also made near impossible by the amount of other things that are on my list. Taking things off my plate is difficult for me, but as I am doing it ... I can see that my plate, or the time that I have to give, is more than sufficient for the things that REALLY matter and SOME of the things that really don't.


Rest

Rest
The word falls
Silently upon my soul
Another minute slips by
As I hurry through life
Trying to appease
The demands of self
Rest
The word waits
For me
Knowing its time will come
Waiting for the day
When I am undone
And ready to curl up
At the feet of the one
Who’s lips
Whispered
Rest.

May rest fall upon you today,
Lisa

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Re-learning

Hello dear friends,
I have emerged from study hall and am ready to post my next verse. My hope is to memorize this one by this Sunday, leaving a full week to memorize my fourth verse, just in time for number 5 to be posted. My verse for this week is:

“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet.”
John 13:13, 14

When I first was given this verse, it was on the heals of two emotionally amazing things that touched me deeply ... both of which involved helping and doing for others. One being the day a dear friend of mine and her husband sacrificed their wedding rings to bring home 3 orphans, and the other being a friend who went to Ethiopia to serve the people and children there. Two people, both willing to give and obey the call to action when it was given by God, both willing to humble themselves to meet the needs of someone else and serve them in love. It was in thinking about them that this verse was given to me, and right away I knew what it was that God was trying to show me ... that my focus should be on doing for others, and giving to others.

A week later, I have to tell you that I have learned a few things. No, not the verse ... What I learned is that I sometimes God has more than one layer to what He is trying to show you, and often the choice to peel past the first one reveals a more personal lesson beneath it. I also learned that one shouldn't rush to put your own understandings on something when God is trying to reveal it to you ... If you do you might just miss just what God is actually trying to show you. You see, this verse is just a continuation on the lesson He began teaching me with the last verse. Last time, the focus was not only in the truths about Christian attitude found in His Word, but about choosing to make time to memorize Scripture. After that conversation, I have put forth a little more effort, and was in fact feeling a little proud of myself. (Anyone else ducking a little?) Have no fear, God was faithful to His feelings about pride, and quickly revealed to me that I did not actually learn the lesson he was teaching me last week. I had not actually spent time with Him DAILY. My argument, I was studying a verse everyday ... wasn't that spending time? How quickly he answered me in the form of a devotional that I read today. Although there were a number of very applicable and interesting things taught within it, the following jumped out of the page and pretty much knocked the pride right out of me. (I was not ducking.)

"The believer's permanent relationship to Christ is pictured in the bath. The believer's daily fellowship with Christ is pictured in the foot-washing. The bath is for union--in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). The foot-washing is for communion--with Christ (notice the "with" instead of "in" in verse 8). The link of union is so strong that nothing can break it (see John 10:27-29 and Romans 8:38-39). The link of fellowship is so fragile that an unholy walk will always break it (see 1 John 1:6).
How does the Lord wash the believer's feet? It is accomplished primarily by the frequent application of His Word to our lives. The Word of God is the means by which we get the bath. (See Psalm 119:93, John 15:3, Romans 10:17, 1 Peter 1:23.) The Word is also the way we get the foot-washing. David said, "How can a young man cleanse his way? By living according to Your Word" (Psalm 119:9). Our Lord said that those who believed in Him would be sanctified (kept pure and set apart for God's use) by God's Word (John 17:17, 20). Our bath and our foot-washings are both accomplished through the Word of God! In Ephesians 5:26 we read that "Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word." How important it is for us to read the Bible every day!"

The bold words were bolded by the author, not me, and it was all to clear what the Lord was trying to drive home: "Be in My Word every day!" Spending time working on memorizing one verse is not a substitution for getting into His Word. I admit here and now that there has not been a time in my walk with Christ that I have ever picked up the Bible every day for more than a few weeks. I start of with great intentions ... (I have proven that) ... and then life happens. A few days missed here, translates into a few weeks there, and before I know it my Daily encouragement has turned into my daily reading about God. The bold words in this devotional, however, made it very clear to me that I am to read the Bible every day AND memorize the Scriptures that I am given along the way.

As I type this, I am still grappling with the excuse of time ... and yes I am ducking! I am the queen of procrastination and there have been many a week that I have done 5 days of Bible Study in one day. I am so remedial at times, that it amazes me that God continues to pursue me and try to teach me the same thing in yet one more way.

Lisa

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Admitting

It is the 6th of February and I am compelled to share what God has shown me. Flash back to the first post where I shared about not being able to memorize things and how I had used that as an excuse for not memorizing Scripture for years. Remember how He revealed within days that I could memorize, placing it in my heart without me even really trying to memorize it? Things were looking so promising. I was so excited. Then can week two. God just a quickly revealed to me a verse and how it applied to me. Long post ... long two weeks ... and before I knew it, it was the 15th and it was time for my next verse. The only problem being that I had yet to even write my verse on a card, let alone actually spend time with it.

Fast forward to my class last Friday. We HAD to have a heart to heart. They were turning in work that looked like it had been done by chimpanzees .... holding pencils in their mouths to write. They were not reading directions. They were not checking their work. They were not doing what they needed to do to make sure that they were successful. I was FRUSTRATED! I do every thing I can to make sure that they can do the work! I don't give them anything that is too hard ... anything that I have not first taught them. I explained to them that they had a choice to make, and that they were simply being flojo. (Lazy in Spanish.) I talked with them, I talked with the parents, and things are better this week. They are trying harder and putting forth a great deal of effort. I have assured them that they will see the fruits of their labor.

Like any teacher, I have spent some time reflecting on the situation in my room and what my part was in it. It was in this reflection time that I once again felt that hair raising feeling when you know that you are about to have the ugly truth revealed to you. I knew right away what that truth was going to be. I knew that word that was going to race through my spirit and land right in my heart. Floja. (Lazy in Spanish if you are talking about a girl.) Right away I got a little defensive ... right away I had a little talk with God about it ... I spoke for both of us ... meaning I did not actually hear His voice, but this is what I could imagine Him saying ...

"I learned the first one."
"I gave you the first one."
"It was too long this time ..."
"I have written longer."
"But the first one was shorter. If this one had been short I would have memorized it, too."
"Child I gave you the longer one so that you would have to work for it. I wanted it to cost you a little time, require a little effort ... I wanted you to see the fruits of your effort."
"This is all new for me."
"It is not new for you. I have taught you how to do this. We have done it together. I have given you the tools. You did not use them."
"It takes a long time to memorize ... I have so much on my plate."
"It is a matter of commitment ... You have a choice to make. You had time for me when you had cancer. You chose to sit at my feet. You chose me. You chose. Choose now."

I could have gone on, but I think it is right to leave it with Him having the last word on this. I do have a choice, but all TOO often I choose the complete opposite of what I should be doing. This is not a new concept ... I eat seed. I admitted that in my very first blog. I was a little naive to believe that all the weeks would be like the first. That week God was teaching me His provision. He provided me with the ability to memorize. Now he is teaching me something else. I need to choose. There will be a choice made. I will choose Him OR I will choose something else. But there is a choice to make. Also, making that choice once does not work for me. I need to make that choice every day ... many times every day ... many, many times every day. I already have His provision. I have the tools to use. Now it is time to learn to choose daily. (OK .. Luke 9:23 is crashing down upon me as I type this ... Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross DAILY and follow me.") When reading it, the word that popped out at me was the word deny, so I looked it up in Strong's and found the following definition (which I expected): not to accept, to reject, to refuse something offered ... AND these (which I did not) 1. to disregard his own interests or to prove false to himself ... and 2. act entirely unlike himself.

It is time to disregard my own interests and act entirely unlike myself. It is time to deny myself whatever is getting in the way of me committing to this journey ... to spending time with God. It is time to choose to choose.

I will post my new verse when I have my 2nd one memorized. I have a little make-up work to do. Looks like I am in for Lunch Bunch ... just like my students. :)

Lisa