Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Walking in His Will

Walking in God's will for our lives isn't always the easiest thing to do. Often times understanding what He is asking us to do can be challenging, and even when we are sure we know what we're supposed to do, we sometimes have to push past our desire to either do it our way or ignore His instructions completely and run the other way fast!
Sometimes when God asks me to do something I struggle with surrendering my will to Him. Even though He has shown me time and time again how much He loves me;  for some reason I believe that I know more about myself than He knows about me. Which I'm certain makes Him grin and think "Oh, Lori, what will I do with you?" 

These days so many people live their lives enveloped in noise; stereo and television, or from behind a computer screen; noses firmly planted into social media, totally penned into the thoughts of others. Those thoughts become our thoughts and before we know it, we miss His thoughts and His plans for our lives. Instead we stare blindly at poster after poster, inventing our own interpretation of  the wisdom they carry and forgetting to put everything past Him, forgetting that anything we read or see, should align with His word or be discarded. The best advice I was ever given concerning the word of God was simply, 
"Don't read books about The Book, read The Book. 

When we overthink things instead of turning to our maker for advice, we not only miss that wonderful advice, we miss the gifts He has for us.  

Remember Abraham? Although He was madly in love with God and desperately wanted a son, he was very skeptical of God's promises, which was infuriating to both his wife, Sarah and God.  Maybe, he was afraid that God's promises were a mistake, maybe God was confusing he and Sarah with a different, younger couple. Or maybe he didn't think he was qualified for Gods plans at all, after all he was older and had made mistakes in his past. 

The truth is, God loves us in a huge way, and there is nothing we can do about it! Running from Him and His will for our lives, changes nothing, it only prolongs our discomfort and His. He is our 'Good, Good, Father, and He loves us more than any really great earthly father ever could, and that's a lot!

He knows what lies ahead for us, so He has already made plans and prepared a way for us. His plans are always better than any we could ever make for ourselves. So knowing that, why do we run and why do we ever worry?   

Matthew 6:34(ESV)
34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
Five years ago the Holy Spirit began prompting me to 'Go home.'This came at a strange time in my life; my mom had just died, so there was really no reason for me to change my entire life around and move back to a place I hadn't lived in nearly forty years. It made no sense at all. Despite my own reluctance,  I soon found that the desire of the Holy Spirit was firmly planted within me. I was going. There was no getting around it. 
Although my friends and family couldn't understand this sudden desire on my part to change my life so drastically, I felt like I was being pulled by my umbilical cord to the place where I grew up. I have since learned that when I am walking in His will for my life nothing or no one can prevent things from going the way He wants them to go.

Isaiah 43:18(ESV) Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. 19. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. 

As with all of us, there seems to be no end to a change of seasons. Franklin Graham says it is always "one thing after another." and that is the truth. When I try to handle things myself, it only seems to muddy the waters. When I try to run, there is no escaping, He catches me up in his huge loving arms and makes me all the more thankful for his mighty love for me. He has a way of reminding us and making us cognoscente of the fact that we can do and be nothing without him; yet at the same time, we can do all things with him! He is always a gentleman, incapable of lying, a gentleman who watches over his flock and always keeps his promises. 

The move home has meant a great deal of independence for me, and some very interesting moments embracing my growing up years. I have had the opportunity to revisit and remember many people, places, and things. I have experienced joyful moments as well as some painful and very difficult ones. 
Jesus has been with me through each and every one of them; encouraging me, coaching me and giving me instruction and the words to say many, many times. My relationship with Him is like none I have ever experienced in my life. In spite of all of the hardships, I have obeyed him and I consider each and every moment, no matter how wonderful or difficult it has been, a great blessing to me. 
He shook me up, opened my eyes, and placed me in the loving care of people who have tutored me in His ways. He has displayed His sovereignty for me to see with my very own eyes and He has whispered things to me that only He could have known. 

It has been an amazing and overwhelming five years of my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

To anyone reading this who doesn't have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I urge you to reach out to Him. Talk to Him, He will hear you and He will listen. 

John 20:28-30 (ESV) 28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" 29. Jesus sad to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  

Walking in His will may be difficult at times, but the rewards & adventures are priceless.
What are you waiting for? 

Good Good Father, Chris Tomlin

Sanctuary of Tranquility Walking In His Will

 Walking In His Will: Walking in God's will for our lives isn't always the easiest thing to do. Often times understanding what He is asking us to ...

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Seeking God's Help So We Can Be 'Equally Yoked'

Sanctuary of Tranquility: Seeking God's Help So We Can Be 'Equally Yoked': I was visiting with a dear friend the other morning about how blessed we are to have the ability to communicate with God through the ...

Seek God's Wisdom to be "Equally Yoked'

I was visiting with a dear friend the other morning about how blessed we are to have the ability to communicate with God through the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful blessing Jesus left us. Although the Bible warns us to be prudent (Matthew 7:6), and reflect on what we hear inwardly, (Luke 2:19-20), it does the heart good to find others of like faith to talk to and share experiences with. Several years ago this same friend confessed that in the past, she has tried to talk to her husband about her experiences with the Holy Spirit and he would refuse to listen, became angry, and went so far as to forbid her to speak of it ever again. His behavior has caused her much heartache and despair, for he made her feel like she was crazy when deep in her heart, she knows she is not. My heart really aches for this woman, I have known her most of my life and I know that she is not crazy, nor am I. We have a God who created the earth and every living thing on it, why in the world would anyone think for one minute that He can't communicate with us individually? Especially since the Bible clearly states that He can, and will, and does with many people! John 10:27 

I can't even imagine not being able to share at least a portion of what the Holy Spirit does and has done for me with my husband. So, when I get married again, I want my relationship to be God-centered, without anything between us that would produce that kind of sorrow. God should be involved in and not evicted from, any and every portion of a marriageAfter all, marriage is and was His idea. He wants us to spend eternity with both Him and our life partner, so it is wise to choose well.   

When our call ended the other day, my heart ached for her situation. She told me of something the Holy Spirit had told her quite recently and how when she eluded of it to her husband, he stormed out of their home. As I reflected on her situation, it occurred to me how many couples are in fact far from being "Equally Yolked" and gave the term an entirely new meaning. My thoughts drifted to other couples I know who have areas that are taboo or off limits in their relationships and marriages as well. They are couples who for whatever reason can't be themselves. Can't be honest, and have dreams and desires that just don't line up. It all became clear how significant being  'Equally Yolked' really is.   

2 Corinthians 6:14  
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

Not being yolked together with unbelievers doesn't just mean we should make sure we marry a Christian. It means we should marry a Christian who follows the doctrine of Jesus Christ. God wants us to have like faith. Like faith; having the same or equal amounts of Faith; which is defined by Paul as  'a belief not based on truth'

The Equally Yolked term also reminds me of the first time I met my pastor. After being introduced to him, he asked me some questions about myself.  When he found out that I am divorced for reasons that would permit me to remarry, his line of questioning changed a little bit. He then asked me if I had a list. I recall asking him just what kind of list he had in mind. He looked at me for a moment before calmly replying,  "The list you prepare for God telling him what you want in a husband."
Um..no list...
What No list? 

The person  I had come to church with that morning wasted no time chiming right in, "She may not have a list, but I can take a guess, Christian, conservative, and a great sense of humor."  
My future pastor took a step back before saying "There better be more on her list than that!"

I didn't realize at that moment just how right on he was. Although the person with me that morning at church had part of it right, several things have been added and one portion has most definitely changed. Calling himself a Christian is not enough, my future husband must love God more than he loves me, or anythinelse for that matter. You see, I know in my heart that if he loves God more than anything else; as I do, God will show him how to love me the way I need to be loved. God will prepare him to love me, in the same way, that He is preparing me to love him. God knows the values and mores and ethics that we crave in our worlds the most.  He knows just who would be perfect for us, and who would break our spirit and our hearts. That's what God does if we walk in His will. Because He knows us personally, He is always preparing us for future seasons in our lives. That way when He finally allows us to become one, it will be a perfect union. We will be prepared to accommodate each other, be patient and kind with each other, and worship Him together. 

I have seen both kinds of marriages, I grew up in an alcoholic home with parents who tiptoed around each other. I followed their example and was married to an alcoholic myself. Praise God, I was spared the addictive personality traits and was able to move on and away from that lifestyle. Praise God, I have Jesus now and I know I could never live that way again. I crave peace, tranquility and the simplicity of living a Christ-filled life. 

The marriages that I have seen that are the very best, are God centered and therefore, truly blessed.  So, the #1 thing on my list is a man of God. I know God will give me this because I have total faith in Him. I do in fact trust the Lord with all my heart and I lean not on my own understanding and in all ways I do acknowledge Him ..so yea, you know the rest...  He will direct my path. 

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a man are established
                                            by the Lord, when he delights in his way

There is not a matchmaker in the world who is more reliable than Our Almighty God. Who better to know what kind of person would be perfect for any of us more than our Heavenly Father? 
Including Him in every major decision in our lives should go without saying. After all, He is the wonderful, glorious, perfect one, the one who knew us before time began, the maker of heaven and earth. No one on earth is better qualified than God to lead us to our 'perfect one' 
When He read my list He reminded me of other qualities I need in a husband. Because He knows all of the details of our futures, He knows what we will need and how those needs will be provided. 
He loves us that much!! He wants us to be married, for to God, marriage is a perfect friendship. In Genesis 2:18  God declared, "It's not good for man to be alone, I will make him a helper, a companion. God has never wanted people to be alone, but He also wants their union to be sacred. So, if invited, He will gladly lead you to 'your' perfect one. Nothing with God is overnight, it takes time for Him to prepare us and set things up for His perfect plan.
Unfortunately, most of the time people forget to include Him, they get caught up in worldly things like Match.com, someone with a fat bank account,  a pretty face, a killer body or lies they want to believe; forgetting that none of that means a thing to God. 
He designed marriage to be Holy, the ultimate friendship between a man and a woman. If he had wanted us to choose someone based on looks or money, He would not have come to Earth to fellowship with us and to save the world looking and living the way He did.                
Despite all of the pretty pictures Isaiah 53: 2 tells us that He had no form or majesty that we should look at him and no beauty that we should desire him  ... 
He was just an ordinary average guy; God, the originator of the 'don't judge a book by its cover" rule, who came down from Heaven to teach us about love, looking just that...
ordinary. And He was the perfect one. Spotless in every way. So since I can't marry Jesus I ask the great I AM to find someone suitable for me. We all should.  For Proverbs tells me this...  If you find a good spouse you will find a good life and favor from Him. (proverbs 18:22) 

"Every man needs to know that someone, somewhere in the world, cares about him. He needs to feel warm, friendly acceptance from a committed, intimate friend who will be devoted to him no matter what he does. In other words, just like you, your husband needs the security of genuine love." All of this being said, without intentional investment in a marriage, none will be successful, no matter how equally yolked. We must strive to take what God gives and turn the relationship from two into one in Him. That is what being equally yolked is all about.  

*Never Forget: The Holy Spirit is Our Ultimate Wing Man*