May 9, 2015

Feeling Great

Psalm 34:8 is one of my favorite verses. I love the Lord. I post this all the time -- the Lord is good! Today is a great day because the Lord is ruler over all, and He is so good. He cares for us, He loves us, and He saves us - praise be to God that He is enthroned in glory, and He is sovereign over all of His creation!

It is a beautiful day in Phoenix. It is cool, only 66 degrees out right now (at 11 a.m.), and the expected high is only going to be 75! Woohoo! Now this is May in the desert!! So, NOT!!

Our normal May temperatures are in the 90's. We often hit the 100 degree mark early in the month, so having a week of cool daytime highs, well, it is such a blessing. It is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful outside! I just checked the weather report, and it looks like we have another week of cooler than normal temps. I watched the news yesterday evening, and the weather forecaster said that there is a good chance that we will have a very active Monsoon season and that we will have more rain, and cooler than normal temps (still highs in the 110's), but generally less oppressive heat than in the past couple years. I am down for that bit of news, so ready for something besides SUNNY AND HOT!

I was talking with my good friend about living elsewhere, and I mentioned how I do not want to remain in Phoenix any longer than necessary (read: any longer than the Lord desires me to stay) because I long for and I miss the green grass, trees, and woodlands that are typical of the West, Midwest, North and Southeastern portions of the country. Heck, green is everywhere EXCEPT for Phoenix. I miss the green, waaah! I miss gardening, and I miss the rain, the variable skies (clouds, sun, rain), and the variable temperatures. I need some spice in my life, some variety, and something new -- just to get me revved up and ready to go! Yep, I am hankering for some new times right now!!

I understand that I am right where the Lord has me, right where He wants me to be, and I am content in remaining here for a time. Still, I long to be someplace else, to move so I can begin the life I believe the Lord has for me. I have to be patient, of course, and that is the difficult part. Right now, I have to finish my course work at Regent, get some more teaching under my belt, and well, get my finances in order. I think this is what the Lord intends to do over the next year -- prepare me to move. I have felt the push to get started, but whenever I have stepped out in faith, the door hasn't opened. I believe that the right door will open for me, and then nothing will keep me from walking through it. I will move, get the job, be settled, etc., and nothing will stop this from happening. Until then, I wait as the Lord prepares me, changes me, creates in me -- whatever -- He needs done so that His will can be accomplished in His time. I am OK with waiting, with allowing the process to unfold because I am determined to have His best only. I don't want anything less than His best in my life, and that means in every area of my life. Let me explain...

I believe the Word when it says in Romans 8:28, "And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." If you read this verse in context, this verse sums up the preceding thought where Paul asserts that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us when we pray so that our prayers are aligned with the will of God. This suggests that when we pray for our future, including our eternal destination (forward thinking), the Holy Spirit prays to the Father for His will to be done in our lives. His intercession then is to align our life with the temporal plans and purposes of God in order to bring us to the full stature of maturity when we will go home to be with the Lord or for when the Lord returns for His bride. Paul is saying in essence that God's will for our life contains two components, the temporal and the eternal. In the temporal, God causes all temporal things (life events) to work together to bring about our eternal good. The outcome is to bring us to fullness of life, of maturity, of completeness in Christ Jesus. Thus, when we affirm our faith in God, in His will for our life, we are saying that we believe that the circumstances we face are purposed by God for a specific outcome. In verses 29-30, we read this,

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Therefore, God's overarching plan for our life is to conform us to the image of His Son. In a nutshell, no matter what we do in this life, the work, the job, the livelihood, etc., God's plan for each of us is to bring us to glorification in Christ Jesus. It is progressive, it is positively purposed and it is planned. We can rest and we can know that we are being conformed, daily, to the image of His Son.

It is my contention that because of this overarching plan, God's design, we can either work along with the Holy Spirit or we can work against Him. In working along with Him, then the outcome (temporal) often brings blessings to us because the more we let go of our own desires and ways, the more we are being conformed to the submissive nature of our Lord (who readily submitted to the Father). We are becoming more Christ-like in our relationship with God, and the Father is able then to bring about events that will bless us (yes, and at times, challenge us too).

I believe that living a yielded and submitted life is the first step needed to experience true blessing. Blessing is something that many Christian's misunderstand. They see it as monetary gain, power, prestige or position change. It is not any of these things because these things can never be associated with the Father. This is not to say that the Father doesn't move people into positions of power or bring prestige to them, because He does, but it is not about "getting" these things from Him, but rather it is about receiving what He offers to us because it has been determined for our good. I hear and read admonition from some Christians that seem to suggest that blessings from God are ours for the taking. It is like "you are anointed for blessing so reach out and grab them!" This attitude suggests that God has a "candy store" waiting for us to rummage through and take what we like. This is faulty thinking and doesn't align with Scripture. God does choose to bless His children, but it is not a free for all. Rather, blessing comes as a result of yielding and submitting to the Father just as Christ did. Submission, humility, and seeking the Lord's favor result in blessing. The outworking of such a life is one of obedience and faithfulness, attentiveness to the Holy Spirit's work, which in turn then produces an attitude of serving and loving others. In short, blessing and favor are gifts of the Lord. They are not ours for the taking but they are ours for the receiving as reward for allowing the Holy Spirit to accomplish His work in us.

I am a recipient of blessing and favor. I see the Lord's blessing on my life, and I receive His favor as I make choices in my life that direct the outcome I experience. The Lord's favor is what I seek because I want to receive His blessing on my life. I don't want to live my life without His grace, His provision, and His wisdom. I am so in love with the Lord, and I thank Him today for the blessings He has given to me. He is my everything, and I worship Him today with my whole heart. He is God alone, and I worship Him as such. Amen, so be it. Selah!

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