Sunday, July 27, 2008

No More Stops & Starts

Life is to be lived with expectancy and enthusiasm. I remember years of being high in the clouds or groveling in the valley of worry. My life didn't mirror what I read in the Bible and the witness I saw in some Christians. I refused to settle for less than the promises of the Bible for abundant thriving life.

At that time I was going through some struggles in my family. I'm going to be honest with you. I won't spell out the messes in my life in detail. I don't think you need all that. All of us have issues and messes. The good news is that God has always made beautiful transformations out of chaos.

My faith was so weak back then that I could not have joy when anything was missing in my life. When concerns filled my mind I saw the whole world through my gray lenses.

Momentarily I would have a lift from a book or a message. I would have a burst of joy and I could delight in the Lord again. But my spiritual journey was not blessed with a continual awareness of God in my life. No, a better description would have been "Stop and Start."

Biographies of Christian men and women inspired my faith. While I was wrestling with the need of God's presence continually in my life I heard Elizabeth Elliot speak at a meeting in North Carolina . This amazing saint shared with us when her missionary husband, Jim, was executed by people he introduced the gospel to.

She lit up with joy as she told of taking her infant daughter into the jungle to live primitively with the natives who killed her husband. She was radiant as she told us of spending eight years translating the gospel into their language. Her eyes danced with delight as she told us that the chief of the tribe became the preacher of the newly established church in that jungle.


"Oh, God, You are not one to choose favorites. Fill me with Your Presence and Your Spirit. I want to live fully every day of my life in You. I desire to be vibrantly alive in the middle of life's messes like Elizabeth, " was my plea in those Carolina mountains years ago.


Shortly after that conference in NC I took a day to pray for help with my problems. I took a hike in the Georgia foothills. On the trail I walked along a bubbling brook with a constant sound of the water crashing into the rocks. I was praying for a sign that God was with me. I kept feeling a need to study this brook. I became frustrated that all I could concentrate on was this brook. I finally prayed, "God, are You telling me something in this brook?"

Then it hit me. Elizabeth and the saints in the Bible had a fresh flowing "brook" of living water of God's presence, Holy Spirit with them consciously every moment. This was what I had been seeking. I hoped that this was my day to begin living with the continual presence of God in my life that I could "know" He was in me at all times.

Now some 20 years later I can tell you there is no more "stop and start" with my knowing God is with me. I live In Christ and everything is done with the sense of "us" not just "me." As I realized those many years ago, God does not have favorites. He desires an intimate knowing relationship with all His sons and daughters.

Relationships with others are critical to our good abundant life. My hope is that you will take all your life and relationships and dare to trust God to be Lord of your life.

My pain back then had to do with broken promises. Oh, promises....they get broken, overlooked, or even ignored. It hurts to our core when people don't come through.

In John 16:33 Jesus Christ offers you and me a twofold promise:"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

This journey of life is exciting and some of that excitement isn't always pleasant. So how is it that I can take heart despite my troubles? Because Jesus Christ has overcome it all.

My part is to stay "clean" with my sin and living for selfish interests. King David had the answer:

Psalms 51:10 -12 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me [with thy] free spirit.


5 comments:

Starr said...

Kay, I have tagged you over at my blog! Stop by to read the rules and see what you need to do next!
This is a fun game of tag and I hope you will jump in and join us!
Love and blessings,
Starr

Joanne said...

Kay,

Thank you for your sweet comment. I loved this post of yours. You have a gift of writing. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing Elisabeth Elliot in person, oh how I'd love that. But if you would like to go to a blog of a relative of Jim Elliot's, go to my list of blogs on my site and click on "Portland Granny" or maybe it's grandma, not sure which.

I see that you are friends with Starr, I see her comment above. I just love that gal.

Glad that my post inspired you to get going on your book idea. Can't wait to hear all about it.

Oh, and I LOVE transparant and REAL Christians too.

Blessings, Joanne

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Hi Kay. I read your comment on Nicole's blog. I thought it was very sweet...and you read all her posts! Wow. She has become a good friend outside of blogland via email. She has an amazing spirit.
I read this post of yours. It really tugged at my heart. I know that we are to have joy regardless of our circumstances. I know that God is with me and He is doing a wonderful work in me and my life. However, if I'm real (as you like it -smiles), then I would have to admit I feel like I'm on the stop and start roller coaster. I never doubt God's love for me nor His presence with me. I am just in terrible pain emotionally and desire to see the full fruit of His plan to make the terrible into the beautiful, to transform the impossible into the miracle.

You quoted Ps. 51:10 and that is one I desired to write on my heart...I think another translation says pure because it seems that is how I memorized it. God create in me a pure heart. I want to be pure in all ways, even those I may not realize are unpure.

I love John 16:33. It reminds me of James 1:2...consider it all joy, my brothers, with you endure sufferings....I forget the rest but it's something like it develops perseverance, and perseverance character.

I do know that the joy in trials is becoming more like Christ but for me, for right now, it is still extremely painful and very hard to understand why the other party is doing what he is and how he, a child of God, could be so gravely deceived.

I will ponder a bit and read a couple more of your posts.

Your visit to my blog would be most welcome. I have blogged on very similar issues: schemes of the evil one, A Fire...Aaaagain, Faith.
In Christ,
Paula

Plant Lady said...

Kay

Thanks for stopping by Plant Lady's Ponderings. I am a relatively new blogger also, since March.

The comments (the responses) you left are in the right form - you just need to post them on your blog so everyone who visits can see them.

As for linking, I usually have the blog I want to link to in an open browser window, copy the web address, and back in the edit box of my blog, I highlight the name I want to hyperlink and choose the "add a link" feature at the top of the window (tool bar), then paste the web address or retype it there.

Hope this helps! Stop by my blog anytime.

Plant Lady

Edie said...

This was a great post Kay. I can relate to so much that you said. God used Elisabeth Elliot to really begin to grow me in Christ. I have read many of her books and lots of other biographies that fueled my desire for total Faith in God. You are so right that we must know that He is with us all the time. Blessings -

© 2008 Kay Martin

Thrive In Christ

Who I Am In Christ by Neil Anderson

For several months we will center on this book to pursue Thriving in our Christian journey.

Neil challenges us with: "Do you know who you are in God's eyes? We are no longer products of our past. We are primarily products of Christ's work on the cross. Who we are determines what we do.

You are not who you are in Christ because of the things you have done, you are in Christ because of what He has done. He died and rose again so that you and I could live in the FREEDOM of His love."

That's just the introduction. More to follow.