The past 24 hours have been a spiritual roller coaster. I have to confess that for the last couple weeks I have, in fact, been cocky. Really cocky. Life has been going so well that I began to feel like I could handle life on my own. It was as if I said, "Ok, God. Thanks for getting me out of that mess. The road looks pretty straight from here and I have a GPS, so if You don't mind, I am going to take it from here."
Thing is: He does mind.
That was never more evident than last night when the utter blackness and depravity of my own heart scared me. Even when regenerate, we are such sinful creatures. Even when desiring a walk with God, we are so prone to fall. In time, our eyes adjust to the darkness and we find ourselves walking just fine in the black night, until God's light shines in. Then, we find ourselves truly blinded, shocked by the contrast of Truth and the reality we have been living.
Last night was a serious time of reflection before my God. A prodigal son moment, if you will, when this heart came crawling back to her Maker, battered and bruised yet again. Yesterday afternoon, I read a blog by Leslie Ludy in which she tells the story of taking her two oldest children to a local pumpkin patch. When they arrived back at their car, a swarm of bees decided to attempt to ride home with them. Leslie tried to heroically defend her children but finally called her knight, Eric, to come rescue them. When their oldest son, Hudson, heard Leslie talking to Eric, Hudson exclaimed, "Daddy, help! Come save us from the bees!" It is a heart-warming story, and Leslie, being the gifted writer she is, draws a beautiful parallel to our walk with Christ. That is the reliance, the dependence we are supposed to have on God. We are supposed to run to Him yelling, "God! Please save me!"
That was our conversation last night. It was a "God! Please rescue me... from myself." Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. If we weren't so darn independent, we wouldn't have this problem, but our nature makes us act as if there is no God and we are in no need of one.
Yesterday I also came across a video blog by author Joshua Harris. In the video he was talking about self-control and how we have to make ourselves make time for God. How we have to actively alter our life schedule and make time for God. He was speaking on a passage from Proverbs that talks about sleeping leading to poverty. He says that it doesn't always have to be sleep. It could read, "A little Facebook, a little e-mail and your poverty will come upon you..."
It made me realize that my priorities have been, once again, way out of whack. Instead of getting up at 5:30 to read my Bible and pray and eat breakfast, I have been getting up at 6:30 to check my Facebook, e-mail, Beggar's Daughter and leave. The ministry God gave me began to become more important than my walk with Him. Everything in my spirituality had grown to center around what it would do for Beggar's Daughter. It had begun to consume me in an unholy way.
This morning, I decided to change that. Because change, really, is within our control.
I woke up at 5:30 this morning, took a shower while my mom was out on her walk. Emptied the dishwasher and settled in on the couch for a solid, uninterrupted time before the throne of Grace. This morning, God was waiting there for me, with a message very clear. I opened my Bible to Job 23 and read chapters 23-28 where Job is talking about how he would come before God. Somewhere in the middle, he says that hypocrite has no place before God. Ouch. The last verse talks about the fear of the Lord being wisdom and that departing from evil is understanding.
I then turned to Psalm 25-26 and read that 'the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.'
On to Proverbs 2 where the fear of the Lord brings wisdom.
It all started tying together.
So often we pray for wisdom and understanding. We will ask God to give us discernment and guidance. Here it is, in black and white. God's plan- the source of our wisdom, understanding, discernment and guidance is to fear God. When I am searching for a topic for an upcoming speaking event, my first step is not an outline or research. My first step is to fear God, to remember that I live and breathe only because He allows me to intake oxygen. To remember that I write because He has gifted me, not for my own glory, but for His and He is jealous of that glory. That is what it means to fear Him, and He is a God worth fearing.
Read on to Jeremiah (I did not write down the chapter). God is dealing (again) with the nation of Israel. Talk about a group of rebels! He discusses how He does not take sin lightly and is not at all happy with what they are doing and that He will be sending wrath, and lots of it, on them and their enemies. It awakened the realization that my God is not just a God of mercy. Is He a God of mercy? Yes. However, He is a jealous and holy God. He wants me to have fellowship with Him and only with Him. He wants my entire heart. He wants my entire life and, if history bears any likeness, will go to great lengths to bring me to Him.
Prayer this morning was bittersweet. Bitter because of the mud and filth that had to be cleaned out of heart and mind. Sweet because there was a restoration of fellowship, even if it was slight. There is a scar, a reminder that this is not a wise path to take, and Lord willing, I will not take it again. The Facebook was deactivated this morning. I probably will not sit in front of my computer for a while. It is a media vacation of sorts. I am finishing up an editorial project for the 10th Anniversary Edition of "An Anchor for the Soul" by Ray Pritchard. It is a beautiful 'Wal-Mart English' read about the Gospel.
That is as far as my media goes. My speeches will be hand-written. This is a time to sit and relish in the God who made me, loves me and desires to be with me. This is a time to restore a fellowship that has been broken and to bring healing where healing is needed. A time to learn what it means to truly fear the Lord.