"With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments." ~Psalm 119:10

Monday, March 28, 2011

Total Surrender

The Lord has been teaching me a lot the past couple of weeks. Mainly the importance of simply surrendering everything, and following the Lord wherever he leads. I need to let him control my life. I need to trust in him always, no matter what. This is a very broad description of what God has been teaching me. There is so much, I'm not even sure where to start!

One very important thing is the power and importance of spending time in prayer. Yesterday, at church, Mr. DeVowe preached on Exodus 16; the chapter about God giving the Israelites manna and meat in the wilderness. God gave them specific instructions on how to eat. He told them to gather enough for each man to be filled (a homer), every day. He said that what they gathered would not carry over to the next day, it had to be gathered every day. Mr. DeVowe said that this is an analogy of how our prayer life should be! We need to draw on the Lord every day, enough to fill us. We can't do extra one day so that we can skip the next day. It does not carry over. We should draw on the Lord morning and evening.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. ...And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst."
~John 6:32-33, 35

That is a huge part of what the Lord is doing in my life. He is showing me the incredible power and importance of time spent in prayer and reading scripture, and he is also growing in me an ardent desire to share my faith with others. I don't really know how to put into words everything that Jehovah has been teaching me, so I will end by saying that he is Good, he is Wonderful, Powerful, Awesome, Merciful, Patient, Just, our Strong Tower, our Strength, our Savior, our King! Worthy of all the praise and glory we could ever give! Keep seeking him. It is worth it. If it's not about God, it doesn't really matter. Praise the Lord!

"Our biggest battle in life will be our daily time with the Lord. If we do not win this battle, all other battles will become bigger." ~Ravi Zacharias

"A desire for God which cannot break the chains of sleep is a weak thing and will do but little good for God after it has indulged itself fully." ~E. M. Bounds

"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, he will be in the last place the remainder of the day." ~E. M. Bounds

"I beg you to pray about going to the places where there is no gospel witness; but only if you have a gospel witness." ~Paul Washer

"We have an eternity in heaven to enjoy rewards, but only a few moments on earth to obtain them. Run for the prize." ~Paul Washer

"As we gather today, lets remember that we are not an audience of spectators; we are an assembly of disciple-makers." ~David Platt

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength." ~Isaiah 26:3-4


Monday, March 14, 2011

Praise The LORD!!!!!

Praise the LORD! This has been the theme of the past few days in my life. The past few weeks I have been backsliding. Slowly but surely becoming more and more selfish, prideful, wanting my own way, doubting God, no longer putting Him first in my life, not praying or reading scripture as much, etc. I knew it was happening, but I did not know what to do about it. I felt stuck. But in reality, I simply was not willing to give God the time required to give everything back to Him and allow Him to once again control my life. I was lazy, and it was getting worse. Finally, I'm not sure exactly when it happened....Friday or Saturday, the Lord began majorly working in my life. He brought me to the point of feeling absolutely helpless and miserable, knowing that I could not get back up from this place I had fallen to. This is right where the Lord wanted me. He was waiting for me to realize how much I truly NEED Him.

I cried out to the Lord, BEGGING Him to pick me back up and help me return to a place of true fellowship with Him. I knew I was absolutely helpless without His power. He answered my prayer. Suddenly I felt His strength and power all around me! And His forgiveness. I was given a glimpse into what He was going to do in my life as long as I didn't stop there. I praised the great and wonderful, merciful God that I serve and He gave me joy again! However, I knew this was not the end, this was just the beginning.

Over the rest of that day and the next day, there was a lot of spiritual warfare, but by God's grace and power alone, I was able to put God first despite the temptation to take my life back into my own hands. It's amazing how pathetic I am. I finally began feeling spiritual freedom and joy & peace from the Lord, and then I wanted to stop giving SO much time to the Lord. "Maybe it's not really so necessary to pray for that long." "Maybe it would be okay to skip my devotions this morning. I can just do them tonight instead." Lies like these, and fear at night were all ways the enemy was attempting to deceive me into giving up the ground the Lord had helped me to gain. I said "NO! I'm NOT listening to your lies Satan! I am following the LORD!" So I pressed on, and the Lord has been with me every step of the way.

Sunday morning I gave into the lie, thinking "maybe sleep is more important than getting up early and doing devotions before church", and I promptly shut off my alarm and went back to sleep. I then woke up 15 minutes before we had to leave and I had no time for devotions. I sinned in valuing sleep more than precious time with my Savior. I repented, and hoped that the Lord would have mercy and allow me to get something out of the sermon even though I had failed that morning. He did! Praise the Lord!

(And just a little side-note here. My fear that I may not get as much out of the sermon because of my disobedience that morning was wrong. It implies that I can somehow earn the right to have God speak to me through the service by doing my devotions. This is wrong! I can never earn the right to have anything good from the Lord. It is He who is merciful enough to give it. And I praise Him for that!)

The service was absolutely amazing and convicting! During that service I gave everything back to the Lord completely! I hadn't even realized that I was keeping things back until I gave it all to the Lord during that service. Total peace and joy from the Lord followed! I was filled with an excitement to follow my Lord and a desire to tell everyone I spoke to how GREAT our God is!!!! I wanted to tell the world! I talked to a couple of very good friends after the service and they had recently gone through a similar experience, causing them to want to give everything to the Lord, be totally focused on Him in every area, and Praise Him every chance they got! It was SUCH an encouragement to fellowship with them after the service.

I ended up going home with them and sleeping over at their house. More time of sweet fellowship followed at their house. I was so excited about the Lord and what He was doing in our lives by the time it was time to go to bed that I knew I would probably experience spiritual warfare that night. It happened. I did not fall asleep. I could sense evil in the room, so instead of falling asleep, I prayed in my head for hours just praising the Lord, singing in my head, blessing His name, begging him to fill me with boldness and courage, remove the fear I was feeling, fill me with his presence and love, surround us with his presence and angels, make the evil feeling leave, etc.

After many hours of this, I heard my friend turning pages in her bible and I saw a flashlight on. I asked what she was doing and she was looking up verses in her bible. She also had been experiencing the same thing that I had all night. She had not slept at all either. Then my other friend (whom I had thought to be asleep) laughed and said she had been experiencing the same thing and had not slept yet either! All three of us had been feeling major spiritual warfare and had not yet slept, but we all thought we were the only ones until that moment!

One interesting thing one of my friends said she experienced was that while the spiritual warfare was happening, before she knew me or her sister were awake, she could hear me praying...even though I was praying in my head. And the words she said she heard me saying were very similar to what I actually said. Not really sure what that means...but I think it's a good thing! The Lord was using my personal prayers to comfort others without me even knowing it was happening! We truly serve an awesome and amazing God. PRAISE THE LORD!

So, we all prayed out loud, bound and rebuked Satan, praised the wonderful Lord we serve, begged him to come into the room and fill it with His presence and drive out the evil presence we had been feeling, and fill us with His joy and peace. We then quoted scripture until we had quoted everything we could remember. We were filled with such amazing peace! The evil had completely left and we were filled with the peace and joy of the Lord. At this point it was about 3:45am. We were even more wide awake than before, and were so full of the joy of the Lord that we did not think we'd be able to fall asleep.

So, we went up to the living room and had a bible study for about an hour, and discussed what had happened that night and why it may have happened. We then prayed together, then went to bed.

One thing the Lord revealed to me about that night was that I tend to focus on the problem, analyze it, and try to figure out why it is happening, rather than focusing on God, trusting Him, and asking Him to show me what to do. I believe if I had put this concept into practice sooner in the night, the spiritual warfare perhaps would have been less. When the Lord revealed this to me I repented and asked for forgiveness. Only then did I feel totally flooded with the perfect peace of the Lord and was able to fall asleep. We all fell asleep fairly quickly and slept wonderfully the rest of the night.

We serve a truly amazing and powerful God! He is Good! He is Holy! He is ALL Powerful, ALL Sufficient, ALL Mighty! Always Trustworthy! The same yesterday, today and FOREVER! PRAISE BE TO GOD ALMIGHTY! To Jesus Christ! My Savior and Lord and King! I want to bring Glory to His name wherever I am, wherever I go and whatever I do from this point and for the rest of my life! Oh dear Lord PLEASE help me! I know I am helpless without you and I am begging you to please give me your strength, work in me and through me and draw me closer to yourself! PRAISE THE LORD!

In Christ my Savior,