It's been a week since I've done the last installment on this Romans study. As I sat here this morning, contemplating gearing up again to do it, I have many thoughts and emotions running through my heart and mind...
So, before I write one more word, I just ask that Your Holy Spirit would guide the words I write, even in this prayer. Please let it make sense...please let the meaning in my heart, transcend this written word. I just need Your help this morning in a special way Father.
Ok, so...if I hafta try to describe this past week, perhaps it might make sense if I illustrate it like this (and SURELY Lord, I'm not the only one that is experiencing things like this...):
I'm very much a 'heart' person...that's my first default setting and where I've operated from all my life. It's been a struggle over the years, to incorporate my 'logic'...to reason things out in life and to use the mind that You've given all of us, so that wisdom and critical components like that could be exercised.
So there I was in 'life', making a mess of alot of things...consciously making a decision to be the 'god' of my life, when I heard "The Call". I didn't hear "The Call" with my mind, I heard it with my heart and while I struggled with answering "The Call", I just couldn't find a way anymore to say, "no...while I hear "The Call", I'm not going to do it, I'm not going to answer, nonononono".
So, I answered You, and for the first time in my life, I said, "yes Lord".
Now little did I realize that all the years preceeding, You had been working in my life all the time...working out situations and circumstances until You got me in the exact place I needed to be because You knew that only THEN would I ever answer, "Yes Lord". So even back then, You knew what You were doing I guess...lol
So, I 'joined' up, left all I had ever known behind, put my hand in Yours and said, "let's go Father". I actually was kind of excited to do something that I knew was within Your perfect will for my life, and while I was a little nervous and uncertain, I knew that I was with my Heavenly Father, and that You alone are God. I knew that I was a good recruit because You have given me certain personality traits that can take risks, that can rush forth with complete abandon...I have that knack of relentlessly pursuing something that has meaning to me, and You were growing so fast and so strong in my heart that nothing was going to stop me from completing this journey that You've called me to.
So, blindly and naievely, trusting You, we started out. There have been times when You've whispered to me that there is danger up ahead, and I've believed You and have reached out and asked the Body of Christ for prayer. I've fasted, I'm doing this study in Romans because You've asked me to, I'm doing all that I currently know to do, and yet...
You and I arrive at the fringes of the battle...the spiritual battle that rages over this earth. The power of the evil one defiantly, secretly, insidiously, craftily (etc etc etc), versus the One (Jesus) who already fought and won this war for our souls. Now, I don't think that I've rushed ahead of You thinking that I'm ready to handle this battle, but I am beginning to think that even the freaking fringes are deadly.
So, we're at the fringes of this battle and I hear and see all kinds of weapons being used (some I've never seen or heard of before). I hunker down in my bunker, 'just me and You God'...I hear bullets flying all around me, whizzing past my ears and oft in the distance I see a few of Your 'officers'...a few sergeants, a few lieutenants, and one or two generals and oh my gosh, those generals are splendid. How they can stand with the onslaught that is coming against them? How do they stand and be hit with the weapons of the enemy, and not fall?
So, I focus back where I'm at, and as the battle heats up a little, I begin to get a little annoyed..."I, I, I, I, I"..."this enemy is ticking me off, I'm gonna this, that or the other". So I take my weapon (little did I realize THEN, that all I had was a freaking BB gun) and begin to fire back, defiant, yet ridiculously (I didn't know I was so ridiculous at the time). Who knows if *I* hit anything but one thing for sure, *I* got hit myself. It was a shot to the heart, and while it actually didn't penetrate through the skin, it sure did bruise up and swell a hole heck of alot and I was in pain like I had never experienced before.
But Father, You saw that shot coming, and You had already dispatched support personnel who began to minister to me. The Body of Christ instantly was surrounding me and all the while, Your watchful eye never left me. You, Yourself, placed Your hand in front of my heart and forbid that shot to break through the skin.
So, I learned some battle tactics through that experience. I learned that this battle we fight spiritually is a team effort. I learned that I need to shut my big mouth and remember that there's really nothing that I, alone, can accomplish. I learned that this battle is very real and much bigger than I comprehend. I learned that I have alot of knowledge to gain before I'll ever make a competent officer. I walked away with a peace because I understood a little better, things that I didn't understand before.
Back to the fringes of the battle I went, hunkering down the best I could, not really quite sure exactly what I'm supposed to do, other than to listen to the Orders that You've given me Yourself (that in and of itself is very difficult at times...as pitiful as it sounds, it's true), clutching Your Word to my chest, knowing that in this Romans study that there are some critical battle tactics, strategies that I need to learn, to be able to victoriously walk this path You have set before me. I know the battle and war is already won, but I don't know how (yet) to arrive at that victory. It's like we start at our "life", inbetween that is this battle, and on the other side of the battle, is You. Now, You're always in communication with us, You're always with us each step of the way as we walk through this battle, but this battle is really difficult and hard to get through.
By the same token, every successful step we take through that battle, gets us closer to You, closer to Your glory, to Your presence, to Your annointing, to Your everything, and I think that the lure of that glorious position (me being closer to You) is the reason that I'm even willing to walk through this battle.
So, here I am back on the fringes, knowing I'm not competent to proceed much further into the battle. It continues to rage around me and I start to think. I start having thoughts like, "this is so nuts...why do we even hafta live a life with this kind of spiritual battle...I'm sure not having 'fun' yet...I don't wanna obey any orders that tell me to "stop and stand still"; that standing still is frustrating me..." I begin to get frustrated and discontent in my blindness to the bigger picture that only You can see...I begin to question alot of things and I begin to weaken.
The enemy points, shoots and I get hit...bang. It's only a .22 that went through my shoulder. It isn't life threatening, but it still hurts. So I tell myself once again that this is nuts, that I'm going to take things into my own hands because I obviously don't know how to arm nor fight spiritually with much class or grace and that upsets me too. So, I start to run...that is something I do very well, I've done it all my life. I get a little defiant in my heart and I start to run and I fall. That fall hurts more than any shot to the shoulder cause I feel like I failed. I failed me, I failed You, I failed others and my heart is full of remorse and guilt and shame. I try to hide but that doesn't work anymore so I once again, hafta come before You and confess this mess I've succumbed to.
I dunno why Father, but You just wrap Your holy arms around me. You forgive me, You love me, You extend mercies I sure don't deserve. When the truth of Your love and forgiveness penetrates my heart that hurts, I once again say, "Let's go".
2 days later, the enemy points and shoots, and hits me in the other shoulder. At first I thought it had gone clean through like the first hit, but I later realize that it had barely grazed my shoulder and the wound wasn't as bad as I thought it was. By that time though, I'm worked up once again, throwing my arms up in the air and saying, "this is nuts, I can't do this, I'm the total opposite of what I *think* I am, I don't even WANNA do this anymore. I'm outta my league, I wanna go back to what I know, regardless of knowing already that that isn't the answer. I'm done, I'm done, I'm done"...
So I fall down again, a little harder than the first time and that scares me. It scares me because I know this road, I've been here before and if You don't do SOMEthing, I know I'll screw everything up.
Once again, I spend all day yesterday, full of remorse, guilt and shame and when I finally approach the foot of Your throne, I'm a little upset (can ya say more than a little?). You once again, wrap Your arms around me, letting Your forgiveness, understanding and love flow over my heart until I believe once again. All the orders You've given me over this past couple of months still stand and You lead me to pick this Romans study back up after I abandoned it for a week, and I feel nervous.
So Father, the above is the best I can glean from this past week. I find that I'm still on the fringes of this battle because I can still hear the shots flying all around me...I can even feel the breath of wind that they sometimes leave when they get too close.
So Father God, I wanna have a little talk...please.
We both know I'm not going to make it, status quo. I know that there are answers that are holy and perfect, that I currently don't understand, so You are just going to hafta teach me, and I'm asking that You step up this 'education' to the next level. I know that the commitment I made in my heart almost 2 months ago where I totally surrendered my life to You, still stands. I meant it then and I mean it right now. But I'm reminding You Father, that we both know I'm outta my league. I obviously don't comprehend how to fight this spiritual battle correctly cause I keep screwing it up. But YOU know how, and if we're going to do this, then I'm totally at Your mercy, asking please oh please oh please Father, that You teach me what I need to know. I don't know anyone off hand that seems to be trying, but failing as miserably as I am so that makes me feel kinda sensitive. The only thing I asked of You when I answered Your call, was that I walk this walk out with class, and that I maintain my femininity through it all.
Well, yanno, I'm doing anything BUT that. So I need Your help. This past week, You've brought a few tools that I need to study...and I suspect that some of what I need to learn will be in there. I know that this Romans study is vitally important because when I was arguing with You about doing it (I was nervous about tackling this book in public), You told me that I needed to do it because there would be critical things I (and we) would learn that we'd need in the days ahead.
So, here I am Father, not feeling the greatest, but willing to walk out what little I know so far. I feel a little embarassed about writing all that I have above and putting it out there in public cause it makes me feel exposed, but I guess that's why You've asked this of me...You already know that I can. So, I'll post this prayer as I lead into the next verse of the 2nd chapter of Romans and trust You.
As I glance at Newell's study in Romans and see the header for this next verse, I see "According to Heart-Secrets". I guess I'll know shortly what he has written about this 16th verse that pertains to the heart. I understand the heart Father, and the way these first 2 chapters have unfolded, I'm sure it won't be very flattering either.
Oh, and one last question...couldn't You have made me a little more polished...a little more "in line" (I seem to just zig zag back and forth across all those lines)...did You REALLY hafta give me such intensity...couldn't You have spread it around a little bit more? Couldn't You have made me a little more like other women who respect boundries better than me?...who aren't so defiant, who appropriately do not throw caution to the wind as easily as I do?
I'm kinda upset at the moment and I'm in tears. I sure don't understand much but I love You and I will trust You.
It seems I'm back to square one, once again.
Ok Holy Spirit, do that holy thang that only You can do. May this somehow bring glory and honor to the One who died for me.
In Jesus Name I pray,
16. - in the day when God shall judge the secret counsels of men, according to my gospel by Jesus Christ.
Newell writes in the rvbv, "...The sixth principle of God's judgment here is that it comprehends the very secrets of men. Within every human heart, in hours of consciousness, there is going on a constant dialogue, as we read in verse 15: "Their conscience bearing witness therewith, and their thoughts one with another accusing or else excusing them." There are those, indeed, in whom conscience has been "seared as with a hot iron," so that its voice is no longer heard in protest. In these, also, however, God continually reads the dark, secret things of sin. And in the coming "day" all secrets must come to light. For the wicked, what an outlook! Even the saints, when Christ appears the second time, will come before the judgment seat (bema) of Christ (II Cor. 5:10). And, while the question of their works as sins will not be brought up at all, - for it is "apart from sin" that He appears to His own (Heb 9:28), - yet to these, nevertheless, it is said in I Corinthians 4:5: "Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall each man have his praise from God." It will be a solemn enough time, even for the saints, to have the works of their lives since their salvation examined, yea, even concerning the "counsels of the hearts," their hidden motives. For the saints will receive only such "praise from God" as is righteously possible for each. But how unutterably awful even the contemplation of appearing unforgiven before a God Who will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, - no longer a patient and willing Redeemer, but God's appointed Judge in righteousness! (Acts 17:31).
In this great passage, verses 12 to 16, review carefully these facts:
(a) Absence of degrees of privilege possessed by others, excuses no one.
( The greater the privilege, however, the more searching and severe the judgment.
© All have committed sin, but it is the life-choice of sin, the life looked at as a whole, that is considered, in this place.
(d) Merely "hearing" the Law by a Jew (or, today, by Gentiles, the gospel) justifies no one. The Jew boasted in knowing the Law, but Christ said, "None of you keepeth the Law." Thus, today, millions conscious of "Christian" privilege, and making "Christian" profession are going steadily on to judgment. For the Jew did not obey the Law (which commanded righteousness), and the merely professing Christian has not obeyed the gospel, which commands personal faith in the shed blood of the Redeemer, and confession before men of faith in Christ Risen.
(e) The Gentiles, by their very moral constitution, "by nature," approve the things of the Law: that is, all men know it is wrong to lie, steal, and murder. I asked Chinese who had never heard the Law or the gospel if they knew these things were wrong; they all admitted they did. Consequently,
(f) They are said to be "a law unto themselves, since they show the work of the Law, written in their heart." It is an inner moral consciousness "written" in a man's heart, a "work," which while not the Law (though of course not contrary to it), must nevertheless, not be confounded with that operation of God in the future in the hearts of redeemed Israel, when He restores them: "I will put my Law in their inward parts [they will love it], and in their hearts will I write it." [They will not have to try to recollect the Law: they will have it constantly and always before them] for the "stony heart" will have been "taken away" (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:24-27). It is then that the (Mosaic) Law will be fulfilled in "every jot and tittle," by redeemed Israel.
But the work of the Law appears in every human being; so that we read,
(g) Man's conscience bears fellow-witness to this law - work in his moral constitution; consequently men daily, hourly, constantly, are having "inward thoughts" which have voices of accusation or approval, according to a man's conduct may be.
To repeat, then, God here declares that there is a righteous "work" Divinely written and maintained in all men's hearts, from which they cannot escape; because their consciences "agree" with it (with this inner working). This "work" is evidently what lies at the root of the human conscience. The Law (of Moses) has never been written in the hearts of the Genties; but a Divine "work" is present in all men. The moral and spiritual constitution of man came 2,500 years before Moses' Law; and the latter could only be the written expression of what existed before as a work, or witness, in man's being, to which his conscience attested."
Well, I must admit that the conflict I was feeling inside before I wrote out today's study, is now a quiet peace.
I may not know much but I do know I need You desperately, I want You just as much, and I'm so sorry I've been such a brat at times, this past week. Even there though Father, I know that YOU know that I'm doing the best I can. I also know that I can do better, but it's only going to be because of You, that I can.
So teach me Father, help me. Increase my ability to absorb and comprehend Your Truths. Open these locked doors to the secrets in Your Word, whatever is necessary to progress.
The last couple of days Lord, something that an old missionary once shared, keeps coming to my mind...he had been wrestling with You over going to the mission field in Africa and yet the 'converts' were few and far inbetween. They loved their sin and wanted no part of the "gospel". He felt disillusioned at how hard he had tried to serve You and one day when he was flat on his face before You in prayer, and as he wrestled with You over quitting, You said to him:
"I didn't send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen, I sent you to Africa for My sake. They deserved Hell! But I LOVE THEM!!! AND I ENDURED THE AGONIES OF HELL FOR THEM!!! I DIDN'T SEND YOU OUT THERE FOR THEM!!! I SENT YOU OUT THERE FOR ME! DO I NOT DESERVE THE REWARD OF MY SUFFERING? DON'T I DESERVE THOSE FOR WHOM I DIED?"
So, Father God, I'm asking You not for me...because the above quote quickly reminds me that this isn't about 'me'. I'm asking You for Christ's sake...because of all that He endured in my place...because He is Your only Son and yet You sent Him because He was the only way that I, and we, could have this relationship with You, our Heavenly Father...I'm asking for His sake that You move in a mighty and powerful way in my life...in all our lives that desire You to, and grow us spiritually so that we might walk with the grace of a mature man or woman in Christ. I'm so tired of the status quo so I turn to You, Who is able to do all things, and ask for Your Son's sake that You will accomplish this work so that my, and our lives, honor You.
The days of being luke warm have passed for me Father. You've filled my heart with this yearning for more and so I'm asking that You fill that yearning in abundance, over and above anything I can imagine so that I may be an effective witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I think that's it for now. It's been an exhausting morning, processing and writing all this. I have Your peace which is so precious to me, so thank You...thank You for all that You are.
I love You.
In Jesus precious and Holy Name I pray,
1 reply to this topic
Posted 01 February 2009 - 03:38 PM
"One day, we’re going to stand before the gates of Heaven. Some of us want to be able to walk up there in a white robe and we want to sing Abba Father and Amazing Grace and we want to say to the Lord, “I worshiped You.” But I want you to think about this: Heres the way I want to enter the gates of Heaven. I want to come skidding in there on all fours. I want to be slipping and sliding and I want to hit the gates of heaven with a bang. And when I stand up and I stand before Christ, I want there to be blood on my knees and my elbows. I want to be covered with mud. And I want to be standing there with a ragged breast plate of righteousness. And a spear in my hand. And I want to say, “Look at me, Jesus. I’ve been in the battle. I’ve been fighting for you.” Ladies and gentlemen, put your armor on and get into battle. God bless you." ~ General William G. Boykin, U.S. Army (ret.)
Posted 01 February 2009 - 08:19 PM
Darlene, I just want to say that I admire your willingness to open up the window to your heart and allow us to peer in. Not many people would be so transparent with their most intimate struggles. I pray that God will bless you tremendously in reward.
I absolutely loved the quote from the old missionary. What a unique perspective that I myself have never considered. There was much good stuff here today, but that's the gem I'm leaving with and claiming as my own.
I absolutely loved the quote from the old missionary. What a unique perspective that I myself have never considered. There was much good stuff here today, but that's the gem I'm leaving with and claiming as my own.
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