March 6, 2014

Christ Is My Strength
Back when I was a new believer in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, and had surrendered my life and soul to him, I was extremely excited to begin a study of THE BIBLE.

Growing up and being "churched" by a group of well-meaning but ignorant people, I considered THE BIBLE to be a book of mystery. Full of strange language (the language of the King James Version is so difficult to comprehend), stories of the supernatural (who actually believes that three men were saved from a fiery furnace, or that the Red Sea parted at Moses command?!), promises that the world will end and some sort of judgement will occur, my white leather-bound copy of this book sat on a bookshelf in my bedroom alongside my Girl Scout Handbook, brought out for special occasions only. Such as carrying into Sunday School to look "cool".

However, after I had my own supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit in which my heart was changed for good and I began to understand the grace and mercy of God the Father, and the extent to which He had gone to save my sinful soul, I became hungry to learn more about the work of the trinity. And THE BIBLE was going to be my authority.

It took a few years, but God led me to a church I would call "home". Biblically solid, led by pastors who hold to a sola scriptura foundation under a reformed theology, taught by Godly men and women, I began to walk a road of sanctification that included intensive study of the bible.

I first learned that there are different "versions" of scripture being published. What a dizzying array of choices out there! My first major bible purchase was a New International Version. Goodness, what a difference it made in my understanding of the inspired work of God! Today, I own a few different versions of the bible, however my "go to" bible is one in the English Standard Version.

At my new home church I was able to sit under the teaching of a couple of ladies who shared scripture in a group setting. Their depth of knowledge of scripture was so amazing to me. I was being fed knowledge from God's own word! Oh, I was so hungry and eager to feast at that table!

Joining me in those meetings were other ladies who felt the same as I did in regards to bible study. I found fellowship with other believers to be so sweet.

One evening, another gal and I sat and chatted after our study time had ended, and she asked me if I had a life verse.

Well, no I didn't. What was a life verse?

She explained.

And soon after that evening I opened my bible and re-read portions of scripture to which I had been exposed. For my life verse I chose Philippians 4:13. I wish I could remember what drew me to that particular verse. But I do not. I did pen the reference inside the cover of that NIV bible, so I could remember it.

Perhaps I simply felt very weak in those early years, mature in chronological years but just an infant in my Christian walk. Reflecting upon this verse taught me that I was going to be prompted by God to act in His service in ways that I never would have even considered before. After all, I wasn't qualified enough to do much, for goodness sake. And the commands came.

Such as putting together songs for worship during a ladies' retreat. What did I know about doing that? Phil. 4:13.

Or singing solo for God's glory and to edify the body of Christ. I'm not a good enough singer for that!! I get too nervous!! Phil. 4:13.

Or going to Zambia and ministering to the people there. What have I to offer those people halfway around the globe? Phil 4:13.

And now my life's journey has led me here, to the blogging world. I would not ever have thought I would own a blog, that others would actually take an interest in it, and that it would be used to edify the body. 

I am so thankful that I don't have to rely on my own strength in order to be in God's will. The Holy Spirit prompts, I respond, and God is glorified. All in Jesus' strength, because I have none of my own on which I can rely.

Which brings me back to this first life verse of mine, chosen sort of randomly, and begs the question: When is God ever random? Never. God is always intentional, and my trust is in Him.

By the way, I changed my life verse about five years ago to Jeremiah 29:11.


Because God is NOT random.

And the truth of the sovereignty of God has become a very important reality to me after living these past 17 years as a follower of Christ. My life is evolving still as the Holy Spirit continues to work in my heart, molding me into a closer image of Christ himself. 

God plans, the Holy Spirit prompts, I act. It's a simple formula.

Praise Him!

March 2, 2014

Boundaries For My Heart

I have a very rebellious heart.

In my youth, I rebelled against my parents, authority figures, any person or structure that tried to restrain my wild nature.  I was a child of the 70's, immersed in the sexual revolution, drug culture, in the abandonment of self control.

You can probably guess how that all turned out. Not well, let us say.

Now that I have the wisdom of 4 more decades behind me, and now that I have fallen in love with my Savior, I find that I cherish boundaries.

I find myself unsettled without defined boundaries.

The control that felt so constraining in my youth feels secure and comforting.

Is it because these "new" boundaries are self-set?

I am learning to add boundaries in two areas of my life that I hadn't considered before, around food choices and activity choices.

It is a choice I can make daily, hour-by-hour, moment-by-moment, all choices to glorify God through my decisions and choices.

I rebelled as a young girl and young woman against external bounds.

 But self-set boundaries are incredibly freeing.

    And I find this to be a very restful place in which to live.