Scripture Sunday week six. Six. One, two, three, four, five, six. That’s all, but somehow God is like “ok, let’s just cut to the chase here.” 1 Peter 4:11 says If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Fifteen years ago, I recognized this verse as my life verse. The one verse that defines my life’s mission and gives me constant direction from God. I haven’t always upheld my side of things, but I have always known it was what God wanted from me.
Yesterday I found myself jotting down notes about the anticipation I was experiencing. I wrote about sensing greatness on the horizon. “I’ve been nudged along a great distance and I feel like there may be a giant leap on its way.” “I have felt an enormous amount of fulfillment in the past five months from being obedient to God and living in line with my created self.” “It’s like everything I knew before was coming back. I have a huge restoration of self.” “I find myself asking God ‘what are you doing? What do you have planned?’ when I really need to be asking myself ‘are you willing to follow?'”
Fast forward to this morning. Yesterday I could sense that something big was coming, and today it decided to manifest. Sometimes it feels like it takes forever for God to reveal Himself to me, but then there are instances like this. God didn’t even wait for the pastor to start preaching today. One of my youth group kids sang with the worship band this morning. She sang “Oceans” by Hillsong United. I didn’t think it would affect me like it did, since she had just sang it on Thursday night for the youth group. As she neared the end, a tear dropped down my face. Then another fell. And another. Then I noticed that the top of Asa’s head was covered in my tears.
At first it started out as being proud of her for sharing her gift of singing to glorify God. Then it was because I love her. And I love the friend she was sitting with during church this morning. And I love the row of teens lined up in the middle of the Sanctuary. And I love the ones that were practicing in the teen room during service. And I love the teens that only make it out on Thursday nights. And so forth. My heart breaks over their struggles and I am excited for their triumphs. So as I sat crying, I prayed to God and answered His calling. I have no idea where this will take me next, but i am oddly at great peace with this unknown.
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Time to kick of Scripture Sunday: week three with an encouraging reminder of God’s unfailing love! Romans 8:39 says neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No matter the height of my highs or the depth of my lows, I will continue to receive the everlasting love of God. For the days when I find it hard to love myself, God still loves me. As a human being, it is difficult to understand God’s unconditional love. My mind is so trained to think of love as a reward. Well I wasn’t able to do the things that this person needed me to do, so they can’t love me. I fell short of their expectations, so it makes sense for them to withhold their love. These are some of my rationalizations in my human relationships. I have a tendency to transfer these beliefs to my relationship with God. I haven’t lived up to my created potential, so I must be such a disappointment to him. My circumstances that I have created only stand to keep me from openly receiving God’s love because I don’t think that I deserve it. Amidst my darkness, God’s love is there waiting for me to overcome my thoughts and receive it.
This week, I will be concentrating on opening myself up to God’s love. I am hopeful that His love will strengthen me to love others unconditionally, so I can help others overcome their beliefs about what love is. I understand that human relationships will always be flawed, but I am assured that God will use me to assist in building up His Kingdom.
A week has flown by, so it is time for Scripture Sunday Week Two. I have spent the past week reflecting on the verse from week one. Part of me didn’t want to move onto my second verse because I feel like I need to continuously work on surrendering my thoughts and actions to God. Since I want to experience growth, I knew I needed to continue. I chose a verse to complement Romans 12:2, so that I may continue to reflect on it throughout this week as well.2 Timothy 1:7 says For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
The presence of fear is a sign that I have not fully surrendered my thoughts to God. I need to let go of my apprehensions to make room for God to work in my life. Fear and the Holy Spirit cannot coexist. I have things holding me back in my walk. There is a voice that whispers to me that I am not worthy of love and grace. The voice is wrong. In His crucifixion, Jesus has proven that I am worthy. In order to bridge the gap of sin, He died so I can be close to God. It is a complete disservice for me to continue to live a timid life since I have been called for so much more. Just imagining what I could accomplish empowered by God’s love and with discernment of His will gives me an indescribable hope. I am choosing not to fear, and am placing my trust in God for things to come.
The new year offers an opportunity for changes. If you have been here before, you may have noticed a couple changes that have already been made to my site. This is my first week in a new series I am starting, Scripture Sunday. Every Sunday, I will be posting a verse that I have been reflecting on. It is with great courage that I am sharing about my faith because I know with conviction comes conflict. The conflict may be with people that may be deterred from reading, or the conflict may be within myself. No matter what, I’m ready to meet it head on.
My word for 2016 is renewal. My years living in the Bible belt and my encounters with megachurches left me with a bitter taste for religion. I have since begun the process of healing from my experiences, but it took a lot to get to this point. Another problem I have to overcome is in my intellectual approach to church. When I became pregnant with Micah, I was just five courses away from my degree in Christian Studies. I listen to sermons and fight my instinct to predict where the sermon is going. It makes it difficult to truly listen when I am determining what I think God wants me to hear. I am trying to find a balance between academia and spiritual learning, and it is definitely a struggle.
Romans 12:2 says Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I chose this verse to kick off the new year because it focuses on change and transformation. Paul wrote this in a letter to the Romans as they were establishing the world’s first christian churches. While this letter was intended for spiritual babies, I feel like this verse is applicable to people of every spiritual maturity. Since I wrestle with God over control of my life, I know that I need to change the way I think and act. By relying on the Holy Spirit, I will be able to discern what God’s will is for my life. I hold an untapped potential in my created self. While it scares me to give over complete control, I am also anxious to see where God takes me. I desire that my pursuit for renewal finds me regaining the sense of purpose and vision that I thought my life had when I was in my 20’s. I’m not sure where this year will take me or this blog, but I hope you will come along for the journey.