Sunday, February 23, 2014

did I really sign up for this?

"If our relationship with GOD gets beyond talk..... we are in for some pain."  Pastor Dave Mudd, Alpine Church

I guess I will start this blog off by letting you all know that I am in a new season of growing, and with that I am also in a new season of thinking.  For the longest time I have said that growing is tough, however since I have started this new season HE has revealed to me just how AWESOME growing is.  I won't tell you that growing has been easy, but I can tell you that it has been worth every single bit of pain that I have endured. 

I love how when I am feeling convicted about how whether or not I am modeling CHRIST for others, HE quickly lets me know where I am falling short.  I am thankful today for HIS Daily Teachings to let me know that I really did sign up for this.  This meaning, the CHRIST LEAD life!  

For some reason I foolishly thought that by accepting HIM as LORD of my life, then everything would just be "easy."  On the contrary HE is letting me know that not only isn't it easy, but that I will have to endure pain and suffering in this life that I am given when I choose to do what HE tells me to do, because of WHO HE is, what HE has done, and what HE will continue to do.  Once again HE has reminded me that I am going to suffer just as HE did, because I have chosen (meaning I have died unto myself, and am picking up my cross daily to walk with HIM)   

"If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me." Mark 8:34

Today when our Pastor said that the message was going to "really be in your face," I prayed, "LORD let me hear everything that I need to know.  I am ready for YOU to teach,lead, and guide me through YOUR message."

We have been listening to our Pastor preach on a series called "Misfits."  "Misfits" is the term for those who have chosen to follow HIM, and to strive each and everyday to make sure that what they do, think, and say are all a reflection of WHO HE is.  This means that no matter what may be happening in their lives, how badly they are hurting, you will be able to see CHRIST flowing through them, and out of them.  You will be able to look at them and see HIS light, feel HIS love, witness HIS compassion, and be blessed with HIS grace.

True to my Pastor's warning the very first scripture he read, was really in my face, so much in fact that I broke into tears.... and continued crying for the next 20 minutes.  

 " Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you." 1 Peter 4:12

HE is wanting me to know that it should be of no surprise to me, that when I live out my faith, there will be people who completely disagree with me, and will feel the "need" to let me know that I am wrong.  HE is wanting me to know and understand completely that every single trial, and test is designed specifically for me, so that HE will be able to stretch and grow my faith in HIM.  HE is teaching me that everything that I am suffering for because of my faith has been for HIS plan and HIS purpose for my life.

One of the biggest areas of struggle I have in my life of faith is choosing to always be the one who goes first. I say this because, really I have grown to be so weary of always being the one who goes first.  By this I mean, being the first to apologize, to love beyond being hurt, to forgive, to extend grace, to show mercy, to in what the world's view says, "letting them get away it."  HE is wanting me to know that no one is getting away with anything,  but rather I am gaining something so precious, and that is my righteousness in HIM.  HE is showing me that when I choose to follow HIM, and do what HE tells me to do, ALL praise, honor, and glory are being given to HIM.  When I choose to forgive others, JESUS HOLY name is glorified for all to see.  

"The ROCK won't move and HIS word is strong, the ROCK won't move and HIS love can't be undone.  The Rock of our Salvation"  Vertical Church Band  "The Rock won't move" 

As we sang those lyrics this morning, I found myself so caught up in HIS grace, as I felt HIM saying to me, "do not worry about anything, all this is happening for MY plan and MY purpose for your life.  I am doing all of this to grow you stronger and because I love you too much to leave you where you are."

Today I am confident that HE wanted to fill me with as much of HIS word that I could possibly handle in one message.  My Pastor read over 20 scriptures that said of the pain and suffering that I would endure in choosing to follow HIM, to live out HIS will, and to live in righteousness of HIM.  HE is wanting me to know that HE did this so that if ever I begin to doubt what HIS calling is for my life, all I have to do is look into HIS word, draw close to HIM, and HE will reveal to me everything that I need to know.

HE is wanting me to know that in choosing to follow HIM means that I am going to be put at odds with other's.  Other's including my own family.  HE is wanting me to know that HIS calling for my life, is designed specifically for just me, that HIS calling is a one-of-a-kind just for me.  HE is reminding me of all that I have been through, where I was when HE found me, when HE captured my heart, when HE began teaching me, and just how far I have come, because I have chosen to seek HIM daily, and have asked HIM to teach, lead, and guide me throughout every single step of my journey towards wholeness with HIM.

"Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But everyone who denies me here on earth, I will also deny before my Father in heaven. Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! I came not to bring peace, but a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household!" 

HE is wanting me to know that instead of crying because I am suffering, HE wants me to rejoice that I am choosing to live so differently that people can't help but to notice.  Instead of wishing I could be like everyone else, and be accepted, I must choose to be thankful that I am a one-of-a-kind, that I am living for HIM and only HIM.  I am learning that I must rejoice that I am being tested to see just how strong my faith in HIM really is, and I am able to answer the question, "did I really sign up for this?" with a resounding YES!!!!

"What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man.  When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way." Luke 6:22-23

HE is wanting me to know that HE is using ALL of WHO I am and all of what I do for HIS plan and HIS purpose for my life.  HE is wanting me to  know that because I have chosen to walk with HIM, according to HIS will, I will suffer for it.  Therefore, I must be obedient, and not act on my "feelings" but rather act as HE has called me to.  This means that if I am going to come under HIS will, I must get the mindset of being "set apart" from the ways of this world.  I must learn to say NO to this "all about self" world, and say YES to HIM!  I am learning that in choosing to say YES, this means that I am standing with arms wide open, willing, ready, and waiting for HIM to tell me where to go.  I must remember that I don't belong to this world, rather I belong to HIM.

"If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.19 The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you." John 15:18-20

Today HE is filling me with HIS word, as it has been written in the BIBLE how we are called to suffer just as HE did, and as we are suffering, to rejoice, as HE is worth suffering for, because after all HE paid ultimate price for me, for my sins, and that in of itself is worth ALL of the pain and suffering that I have had to because of my faith.  It is because of HIS unfailing love, that I am able to go first, love first, forgiven first, extend grace first, and show mercy first.

"For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later." Romans 8:16-18

He is wanting me to know that it is because I am the daughter of THE KING, that I, Heather, am HIS heir of HIS FATHER's glory.  HE is telling me that in being chosen means that HE when I come under HIS will, will testify for me on my day of judgement that HE knew me in this life that I am living right now.  HE is wanting me to know that the all the pain and suffering that I am enduring is for GOD's plan for my life so that HE will be glorified in every area of my life!

"The others accepted his advice. They called in the apostles and had them flogged. Then they ordered them never again to speak in the name of Jesus, and they let them go. The apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus.  And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: “Jesus is the Messiah.” Acts 5:40-42

This is HIS loving reminder that I in being chosen I am NOT alone.  Today I am comforted in knowing that other's have suffered in the same way I am, and have helped write a "beautiful message" of HIS hope, and how with HIM they too were able to endure, and their lives glorified HIM in every single area known to man.

"We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us." 1 Corinthians 4:12

I have endured much in my short life, but it is because HE is my hope that I have been able to endure, and forgive those who have hurt me.  It is because I have chosen to BELIEVE that my reward for obedience will far out weight the short-lived satisfaction I would otherwise have in holding onto grudges and wishing ill-will on those who hurt me.  HE has asked me to trust HIM, and know that HE truly does have my best interest at heart, and because HE has proven HIMSELF time and again, I do trust HIM, and it is because of my trust in HIM, I know that HE is my anchor, HE is my hope that keeps me firmly planted on the ROCK of my Salvation.

" For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:5

If ever I find myself asking myself, "did I really sign up for this?" all I will have to do is remember all the times where HE has been my source of comfort.  Even long before I even knew it was HIM.  I am so thankful to say that in searching for HIM, seeking HIM daily, has drawn  me closer to HIM with each day passing, and every day I am learning more about HIS unfailing love for me, and just how far HE would go, is going, and has gone for me.  

"Those who are trying to force you to be circumcised want to look good to others. They don’t want to be persecuted for teaching that the cross of Christ alone can save." Galatians 6:12

HE is teaching me that being chosen I must let go of my "need" to be right with this world, and speak  HIS truth, and make sure that my life of faith is lived out as a constant reflection of WHO HE is.   I must keep my focus on HIM on what HE is telling me to do, and stop worrying so much about being "popular" and pleasing to this world.  Furthermore, I must let go of my need to let other's know that I am "right" and instead be right with HIM as I come under HIS will, and live out HIS plan and HIS purpose for my life.

"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

HE is wanting me to remember that I am NOT called here to persecute and judge people, but rather to love them, as when I do I am fighting against the evil of the unseen world.  HE is wanting me to do that when I choose to do the opposite of what the world tells me to, Satan loses one more battle.  It is because I know that in the end that JESUS wins, and JESUS saves!

My final thought for today is this, if at the end my life on this side of Heaven I will have left a mark of compassion, love, grace, tenderness, kindness, mercy, forgiveness, and most importantly love.  Then I will have done my small part of bringing HIS kingdom of HEAVEN here to Earth.  If I will have left a legacy that changes my families generational legacies for all the world to know and see, then I know when I meet GOD face to face HE will say to me "Well done good and faithful servant."   Oh how I long for that day, to hear those sweet words.....

I pray today that if you are questioning whether or not you can do this, that you will know the answer is YES.  I pray that you will have the courage to endure the pain and suffering and rejoice because you will know that you too have been chosen.  I pray that if you don't  know JESUS, I pray that you will seek HIM today, right now, and ask HIM to come into your heart.  I pray for HIS favor and blessings to be poured over your life when you do.  I pray that when you come to know HIM, you will be filled with a peace and comfort that surpasses anything of this world.  I pray today that you will have the courage to sign up!


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