July 10, 2010

Looking For The Next Turn in the Path

Good Saturday Morning! I had a very good night and actually slept in! Hooray!! I got up about 6 am, and I fed the cats, then stumbled bleary-eyed back down the hallway to bed. My boys were very kind to let me stay in bed, and in fact, Gus, was particularly polite to me. I was able to sleep in peace -- no pouncing on my feet or hands!

It is a humid morning, and our office area is especially unpleasant. Our AC is good in the house, but out in the converted carport area, it doesn't seem to work as well. We do have good insulation, but our unit simply struggles to push the cold air across the living room ceiling and into this space. We probably need a bigger unit, but until money arrives, our old one will do. It is on it's last legs, and I am guessing it is probably 15-20 years old. We do keep it serviced, and I try and change the filters regularly. Still, it makes funny noises, and I am sure it is struggling to keep on keeping on. Oh, please don't fink on us yet -- we still have the rest of July and August to suffer through -- and no money for replacement.

I may go with my parents to the movies this afternoon. My Dad wants to see the new Tom Cruise movie. I am not a TC fan, never have been, but Dad wants to see it, and I am sure it will be exciting. I may just send my son, and then stay home here. I am not sure yet.

I also have to get out to Walmart. Just a few items needed this time around, but still I am worried about spending the money. I was able to pay my credit card this month (PTL!) and I will be able to pay my car insurance (due at the end of the month), so I am OK for now. It is so hard living this close to the bottom line. I know that the Lord has His Mighty hand on my home, and my checking account. He has never allowed me to run out yet, and I don't think He will ever. I know a job is just around the next bend in the path (hence the title of this post), and that good things are waiting for me there. I need to keep on moving down that path, keep on walking after the Lord. I am ready, I just need to not stop at any place until I get to where He wants me to be.

Doing that is harder than it seems. Often, we start out strong, following after the Lord I mean; and, then we stumble at some point. We pick ourselves up (or the Lord does), and we move along. Depending on how hard we stumble, sometimes we stop to catch our breath or take a short rest. This is fine, so long as we don't stay sitting down. Sometimes we do that very thing, and we stop moving at all. We sit, and rest, and rest, and rest. It is like when you are on a long hike and are about 1/3 way up the mountain. You stop to rest, but you know that you have to keep moving, or you will never get to the top. The same is true on the way down the mountain. I remember when we were hiking in Glacier National Park several years ago. I am not a hiker, in that I don't hike regularly. I like to do it, I just don't have a lot of opportunity to do it regularly. So, hiking up in those very high altitudes took a toll on my breathing. I have exercise-induced asthma, and the thin air caused me to really wheeze. I had to stop frequently just to catch my breath. On the way down, my legs ached, and my chest hurt. I took it slowly, but I was so tempted to just stop and sit. I couldn't do this because I knew I had to get back down the trail to our car. Even though I really, really, really needed to stop, I had to keep on pushing myself down the mountain. I knew that once I got to a lower elevation, my breathing would return to normal, and I would be OK.

It really is the same way with the Lord. The path we are on often moves up and down hill. Sometimes we are in deep, dark valleys,

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever. ~Psalm 23
(NIV)

and sometimes we are led beside still waters and into green pastures. Our time with the Lord changes based on His plans and purposes for our life. He always leads us out, and into His House, where we will dwell (live) with Him forever. But, the path we walk is not always beautiful and easy. Often, it is hard and difficult, and stresses our system. We must keep on moving, we must keep on following after Him. He will guide us, He will lead us -- but we must make sure to always follow Him.

This is where I am today. I have made great strides in moving forward, following after Him. I see His Guiding Hand, and I am following that Light. I know the plans He has for me are GOOD, for He is GOOD. I have been sitting down and resting for so very long, and now I must walk, walk, walk.

My path has taken me right into the "valley of the shadow of death," and now I am on an uphill trek -- going upwards to some new place. I am glad to be done with that valley, and I am so looking forward to the next turn in the path. I don't know what it will bring, but I do know this:

"Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." ~Hebrews 13:5 (KJV)

God has promised to never leave us nor abandon us (turn away from us), though we must keep in mind what the Scriptures actually say on this point. Often, we say that God will never leave us in any circumstance; but, we only quote the last part of that verse. The first part says:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have

In other translations it says this:

  • Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have (NIV)
  • Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have (ESV)
  • Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have (NKJV)
  • Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have] (AMP)

I think I like the AMP best -- I think it shows exactly what God expects from us for this promise to come to pass. I am not suggesting that He will leave us permanently, but I am suggesting (and I think rightly so), that we can sense a loss of relationship with Him if we practice these things to the point where they change our character. Our hope is to be conformed to the character and likeness of Jesus Christ; therefore, we cannot be conforming our character to these types of pursuits -- it is the antithesis of what is supposed to take place in the life of a believer. The Word clearly tells us that people who practice such things will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God. We must make sure that we are always putting on that new man, living in the new man, and putting off (forsaking) everything belonging to that old man. If we do this, then we can take this promise from God's word to heart: if we are walking after Him, following Him, allowing His Spirit to conform us to His likeness -- then He will never leave us or abandon us.

I am content to know that my Lord is with me, and that He is here to guide me. My part is to follow, and in doing so, follow the Word and follow His example to me. I am to be conformed to His likeness, to allow His thoughts to be my thoughts, and to put off every vestige of the old way (through His Grace which has provided a way to do that). It is all of His Grace -- so I stand under that Precious fountain of Grace and allow it to run over me. In His Grace, I can do all things. I can follow after Him, I can heed His Spirit, and I can walk up and down, and around every bend in the path -- as He leads me.

Dear Lord,

I think I have discovered the key to following after you. I have surrendered everything to you, this is true; but I haven't always surrendered my thoughts on the matter. I have said I surrender, but then I have continued to think contrary thoughts. Your Word tells us that we now have the "mind of Christ," that we are to THINK like you think. It is a gift of Grace to think like you think, but without doing so, it is virtually impossible to follow after you and NOT desire earthly and fleshly desires. The flesh wages war agains the Spirit, and tries to pull us off point, to make us stop and sit. The mind, being transformed by the washing of the Word, wants to follow after your ways, your plans, your very thoughts on every matter. If we would only allow your mind to change our mind, our walk on this path would be without stops and starts. I ask now, in Jesus Name, for my mind to be conformed to your thoughts and ways so that I no longer desire the earthly fleshly things of this world. May this be so now, and may I renew my mindset every day that I am alive, and every moment that I am breathing while still on the earth. Amen, so be it, thy will be done.

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