This hit home! My daughter found an envelope last Sunday. She handed it to me. I rolled my eyes and put it in my Bible. This morning as I was cleaning, I found that the envelope had fallen out of my Bible and under the couch. It hit me yet again but harder today. AM I GIVING GOD MY BEST or what is left over after I get “the goody” out like a stick of chewing gum? He deserves my first fruits because anything (this is not just money and things but time, talents, etc-anything) HE ALLOWS me to have is HIS ANYWAYS!!! God bless!
I asked God to speak to me, and He did. You know that saying. “Be careful what you ask for. You might get it?” Lately, I have been feeling distant from God, and I do not like that feeling. I know that He will truly never leave or forsake me, so I knew that it was I who had moved not my Jesus. As I have been digging into His Word and praying, I thought He might reveal Himself like a warm hug. Nope. It did not happen that way. The Holy Spirit has really convicted me, and I am so thankful for that.
I was convicted listening to sermons from faithful pastors and through His Word. I have noticed that I have been spending my time on lesser things like scrolling social media and painstakingly cleaning the house. Yes, I will bury myself in business until I make it an idol. I am very aware that I have to be really careful with the use the time God gives me. The good thing is not always the best, and I have just learned that it is important that I seek out Jesus. He loves me, sees the whole picture, and will always protect me.
I can also let fear and worry rob me from Jesus’ peace if I am not careful. Our family has been struggling some this summer. You know those “spells” in life when everything wants to tear up around the house, and it ain’t cheap to fix it. Yeap-stuff like that. Satan trying to rob our joy. Nope-I won’t let you do it, evil one.
I have been convicted that it is not just time that I do not always use in His obedience but monetary blessings as well. Y’all I love lit tea, but it is expensive. I also love “plundering” at the dollar store and buying some things that I really do not need. I am truly thankful that I am convicted. Now, I must pray hard for Jesus to help me be obedient. It is a struggle for me.
As I began really trying to study the nature of who God is and how Jesus lived His earthly life out as an example for us, God used faithful servants and His Word to speak into my life. One of those faithful servants is my pastor, John Durden. This past Sunday, John preached from 1 Peter 3:1-7. Let me tell you where my ears really perked up-the last part of chapter 7 reads “so that nothing will hinder your prayers.” Well now, my husband and I do our best to live out our lives for Jesus and lead our family in His will, but we fall short. Lately, I have just taken my shortcomings as part of being human and telling myself that God understands. Yes, He understands. Yes, He forgives me when I truly repent (turn from my ways). Could my ways be hindering my prayers? I have been doing a lot of soul searching-just sitting and listening to Jesus, and as I explained earlier in this post I can see where my ways could be hindering my prayers.
God also spoke to me in my quiet time with Him. Going back through my journal, here are some of the scriptures that I specifically wrote down.
“Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; They must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. ” 1 Peter 3:11-12.
“In the days of His humanity, He offered up both prayers and pleas with loud crying and tears to the ONE able to SAVE Him from death, and He was HEARD BECAUSE OF HIS DEVOUT BEHAVIOR” Hebrews 5:7-emphasis mine. That verse breaks me to pieces every time I read it. My Jesus was obedient. He did not have to come to Earth. He came so that you and I could be in right relationship with Him and spend eternity with Him. The Creator of the universe loves you and me. It just plain gives me chills that the Maker of the universe was tempted in everyway that I am, so I must do my very best in this fleshly body to be obedient, and I have not been doing my very best. Father, forgive me.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need. Hebrews 4:15-16
“He was a son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8
My prayer life can always use improvement, and in Luke chapter 6, I was reminded that God prayed all night before choosing His twelve disciples. Then Mark 1:35 reads, “And in the early morning while it was still dark, Jesus got up, leff the house, and went away to a secluded place, and prayed there for a time.”
I am so thankful for His conviction. I am reminded that I must seek Him out. He will draw close, and He does forgive me. I cannot imagine living on this earth without His presence. After being in His Word, having faithful people speak life into me, and praying in the Spirit, I do feel like I have been brought to a closer relationship with God. His word tells me to be obedient. Jesus, my Lord and Savior, was obedient when He walked the earth as a faithful example for us. I see where I need to change my direction. I had veered off the path and was going the wrong way. He is faithful to guide me and lead me when I truly seek Him and listen to what He has to say to my heart.
On the night of October 22, 1983 my pastor had a dream. I praise God for giving Carl Campbell that dream and for the fact that he was obedient to our Lord and Savior. I was ten years old and had already made a private confession of faith by repenting of my sins and asking Jesus to live inside of my heart. I had been convicted for quite a while to make a public profession of faith. However, week after week, I would not step out from the security of my pew and take the walk down the aisle, but October 23, 1983 was a different day.
I have no idea what Elder Carl Campbell preached about that Sunday morning. I just remember when the pianist and song leader were about to stop the invitational hymn that my preacher would not let them. He said that he had a dream on the night before that someone really needed to walk down that aisle on this particular day, and that we were not leaving until he had peace over the situation. I was only ten, and I don’t recall the song or how many verses we sang, but I know that we sang for a while.
If I remember correctly, a young lady finally went down front during that altar call and made her public profession of faith. We all thought, “Well good, we can go home now.” Not so quick! Brother Carl said that he knew in his heart that there was another person who had to come down that day before we left church, so we sang and sang. Finally, I surrendered. I looked up at Mama and said, “I want to go.” I asked her to walk with me, and she did.
I was a very timid child, and I often wonder if my life would have taken a different turn had a man named Carl Campbell not obeyed God that day. What if Mama had not taken me to church that Sunday? I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and I truly believe that when God says, “Move,” we better move. When, He says, “Speak,” we best speak. I am thankful for the faithful saints who led the way before me. They obeyed God, and it has made all the difference.