I have just returned from the 1st session of the Deeper Still conference. Kay Arthur spoke tonight, and she went through the book of Matthew breaking it down into 4 main truths about the book.
1. Who is the Christ and what is He called?
2. The cost of the cross. Do we understand what it means to follow Jesus?
3. The gain or loss in our lives. The rewards (we gain or we lose rewards)
4. What He has commissioned us to do and what would happen if we did it?
While she was speaking on a variety of things about life, I kept thinking about how I have come to a point in my life lately where I often think that I have enough of God. Here have been some real life thoughts I've had...
I really don't have to read my Bible everyday or spend as much time with Him as I used to. I am more spiritually mature than most people around me. I go to church regularly, and do most of the things "Christians" should do. I read my Bible when I need guidance from God, or encouragement from him....or when I just don't know where to turn in life.
But when things are going good (or when I THINK things are going good) that's when I think that I really don't need God as much.
Oh how wrong my thoughts have been! Kay Arthur challenged us women to go home and search the Word of God...especially the book of Matthew. So I did.
I scanned through Matthew, and stopped at Chapter 10. I don't know what made me stop there and read the whole chapter other than the Holy Spirit doing so. Here is what I have been filled with.
The chapter is talking about Jesus calling the 12 disciples into his ministry and sending them forth.....pretty much warning them of all the persecution they will face and telling them to be prepared. I feel this just as much applies to us today, after all, aren't we supposed to be disciples as well?!?!
He gives them instructions beginning in verse 5 about where to go and what to preach. In verses 9-10 Jesus continues with His instructions saying:
"Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep."
Oh my gosh! What if God called ME and MY HUSBAND to do that?!?! To take absolutely nothing with us as we go and serve God. I can't imagine. More of my sinful thoughts....'
But God, how in the world would we survive? I couldn't raise children moving from place to place, not taking any money or extra clothes! And oh, how I want children in my life!
No bag? That's pretty much saying to just to go with the clothes on your back! No gold, silver or copper?? So surely I could take my debit card, right? That's a huge calling....you'd never call me to do that, right?!?! That's just for those really radical people who move to Africa and stuff....
Well, I kept reading....
Jesus goes on in verse 11 to explain how they will live.
"Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave."
So I am guessing God just answered half my questions about needs being met, huh?
This is where I got scared. More so than the whole, go without anything with you ordeal.
"Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you."
My initial thought here was, dear Lord, is this what America is going to be like???? Is Jesus warning us today that we, as radical Christians, are going to be thrown in jail because of Him?
To be honest, I think we (as America) is already headed in that direction....
Praise be to God that, once again, He immediately responds by meeting our needs. He says that it won't be me speaking to the officials (in court, maybe?), but rather the HOLY SPIRIT speaking! Thank you, Father once again!!
Hang in there with me, please.....this is good stuff!
Verse 34, Jesus continues by saying that He didn't come to bring peace to this earth....but a sword! WHAT?? I thought Jesus was the Prince of Peace?!?! (HE IS!!)
But here, he's talking about peace as in us believing that everything in life will be hunky-dory if we just follow Him. WRONG!
"For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-- a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is NOT WORTHY OF ME; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is NOT WORTHY OF ME; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is NOT WORTHY OF ME. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it"
What's Jesus saying here? That I should turn against my family? No, I don't think he's saying that. What I think Jesus is saying "WHO CARES about what your family thinks......SERVE ME!" "WHO CARES if they think you're crazy for living radically and following me?!"
I know some of my 1st thoughts (and often verbal words) when I think about the thought of moving away from my family are "I can't be away from my parents.....I want them to help out with the grandkids!" or "What about my grandparents.....I want to be here for their final days of life!"
I have tears in my eyes as I type this thinking about all of the excuses that I could go on and on writing. What are yours?
But I think it is plainly written as Jesus said in those verses....
"ANYONE WHO LOVES ________ (fill in the blank) MORE THAN ME IS NOT WORTHY OF ME!!!!!"
Not worthy of God!?!? Wow. We so often think we are entitled to God. As if HE owes us something in life if we even give him $20 or go to church. But Jesus died for us, people! God watched his ONLY SON be slain....just so us selfish, ignorant, sinful, disobedient, hypocrite people could be saved from all of that sin and spend eternity with Him.
And let me just say here, that JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN...no matter what you believe!!!!
God is eating my lunch, here people.....(or should I say midnight snack?)
Just to be real with you some more tonight.....I'll share some of my idols and things God has convicted me to do.
1. Spend MUCH LESS time on facebook and watching TV, and more time devoted to doing some of the things He has called me to do such as to begin using the talents HE has given me in life once again (singing, piano, sign language)
2. That means getting off of my butt (#1) and joining the choir at church.
3. Along those same lines, that means finding out a way to begin playing the piano regularly again, as I haven't played in almost 2 years! And using that talent for His glory as well.
4. And finally, for the past several years, I have said that I want to get my license to be a sign language interpreter. I will also get off my butt here, and practice / learn more sign language and seek the resources to get my license in that area. I know he can use that as a ministry!
Will you please spend some time in prayer with Him now? He may not be calling you to leave everything and serve him elsewhere in life....He may be. I don't know what exactly He's calling Thehubs and I to do, but I do know that I am going to be laying down some idols and placing my Savior back where HE deserves to be in my life.