I recently found myself with a few moments of quiet time, contemplating about what God is doing in my life. So this post will be a little lighter in content than the last ones, but it's message is what has led me to this blog and the weightier opinions I've shared. For one, I am amazed at the people He is bringing into my life. Among them are new people, with whom I have no prior history -- friends of friends, or family members of friends who have heard of our ministry, and are tired of fighting their demons and willing to give our unorthodox calling a try. My husband and I are always grateful for the opportunity to speak Jesus into someone's life who isn't really familiar with Him. We are willing to plant the Seed and let the Holy Spirit water it.
And lately, I have been marveling at the renewal and restoration of old friendships; people that I know God has put in my life for a reason. These are people who encourage me with their persistent obedience to God. They are people who, like me, are not perfect, but they have a heart for serving God and are trying to walk that narrow path that leads to God's Kingdom.
I know that sounds corny and simplistic, but it really is the impetus that changes minds, hearts, and spirits. When I challenged myself to read the Bible (the first time) it was basically to familiarize myself with the order of it; with how the events in the Old Testament led to the circumstances in the New Testament. I loved the historical aspects of the Book and was able to see how [and where] concepts I had heard in Church sermons fit into the grand scheme of things.
When I began to read it the second time, it was then that I was really seeking to know about God and how He wanted to relate to me. I saw Him as a more personal and intimate God, while seeing just how detached I was from Him. My life, as a so-called Christian, looked no different from an agnostic's, an atheist's, or someone who worshipped Buddha, Allah, or Mother Earth. And I realized that my spirit wasn't happy with the things of this world. I wanted more of Him!
It was when my husband felt the same longing for more spiritual substance in his life -- and he began immersing himself in the Word -- that the Bible truly began speaking to us. It's hard to explain, and again it will sound like a cliché, but God really does begin revealing Himself to you when you spend time with Him in His Word. And the by-product of that relationship is this: You want to be a better "you"; you want to live a life that is pleasing to Him; you want to change the parts of you that aren't Christ-like; and you want to change how you relate to this world, and the impact you will make on it.
It is this third time through the Bible that is truly revolutionary. It is as if a veil has been lifted. Both my husband and myself are seeing God like never before! The Word is alive with new meaning, and we are receiving new impressions on our hearts of just who we are in Christ -- and it is so much more than we've ever been told or imagined! It has changed how we see ourselves in this world, and it has made us bold in our faith. And the greatest blessings come when we see the same transformation in our Christian friends; both old and new.
And God is blessing us with new relationships among Christians who aren't afraid to step outside of the "Church box"; these new friends actually believe what the Bible says about how we are to exercise the Authority given to us by Christ [as His disciples], and aren't afraid to do the works He has commissioned us to do, using the Power He has given us. It strengthens our faith to share this boldness with other followers of Christ; not fearing failure, but continuing in the maturing [of our faith]. We are trusting Jesus and the Father; and we are confident of this, that He who began a good work in us will continue to perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. All we have to do is believe what the Word tells us and try. We won't always succeed, but it is God who has called us to heal, cast out demons, and share the message of His Kingdom. And what He has begun in us will be refined and purified each time we act out our faith. And with each step of the way, we are taking back territory from the Enemy!
But as much as the Word unites us with fellow Christians, it is exciting to introduce the Word to new friends; even those who are not yet saved. It is amazing how the Bible can speak into someone's life if we will just spend the time studying with someone one-on-one. It has truly been inspiring [for me] to watch my husband study the Book of Matthew with unchurched people and to hear how they respond. At least three nights out of the week, he is on the phone introducing these people to Jesus; and they actually experience an encounter with a man who is at the same time, God. They learn how He wants us to live, and how the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables really speak volumes to them about how He can be real in their lives. Sometimes these people are left weeping at the realization of the time they've lost, but they are well aware that Jesus is ready to receive them now and transform the rest of their lives. They may have lost time with Him here on earth, but they can spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Isaiah 55:11 "So shall My Word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it".