Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lord, I [want to] Believe.

So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
-John 11:17-27
So often I feel like I do not have this kind of faith.  I want to be able to believe with every fiber of my being every second of the day, without a shadow of a doubt that I am supposed to be in Berkeley, that the Lord can raise his people from death into life in this city and that only He alone can do this work. Alas, I doubt.

Often I feel like not doing anything except praying is useless. So often I feel like I need to say along with the child’s father: “Lord I believe, but help my unbelief”.

I desire to be the woman that emanates the light of Jesus with my very presence. I’m not that woman yet and that’s okay. I’m only 22 (and three quarters). I hope to have many more years for Jesus to work on me and continue to chip away my hardened heart and make me supple.

I’ve learned that the work that Jesus does on me isn’t easy and isn’t overnight, but it will be good and He will keep it going, because He promises to do so.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-8)

Some things that I have prayerfully considered and know the Lord wants to continue to work out to make me into the woman that emanates the light of Jesus are as follows: 

1.       I’m a control freak. If you are reading this you probably already knew that, though. I’m sad to say that it’s not news to me either.
a.       “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30
2.       I’m quick to worry and fret and conjure up unprecedented unbelief and forget His faithfulness.
a.       “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
b.      ”Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24
c.       “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:10
d.      “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which He has given you.Deuteronomy 8:7-10
e.      And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ Exodus 3:14-18
3.       The Lord IS my fullness and my portion-  So often I idolize just like the Israelites so often did in the Old Testament. I seek counsel from my “Wooden Idols” (a.k.a. clothing, shoes, food, friends, relationships, family, cars, cameras, technology…)* rather than the One True God.
a.       “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry. But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works.” –Psalm 73:25-28
                                                               i.      I just need to remember this….
b.       “ And it shall be, in that day,”  Says the LORD, “ That you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’ For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more.  In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the air, and with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, to make them lie down safely. “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD.” Hosea 2:14-20
                                                               i.      Explanation: God is talking to the nation of Israel they have been playing the harlot and going to other gods which are not the one true God and have been sacrificing to them. God throughout the book where He explicitly shows His anger he also generously shows His love and kindness for His bride, Israel. God wants us to seek Him and have a multi-faceted relationship with Him.

I want to first thank you for reading all of this and secondly ask you to help me stay on track with what the Lord has been teaching me. The Lord loves knowledge (proverbs 23:15) and I pray that I can continue to soak up the knowledge that He gives me through His word.

*Those things aren’t necessarily bad, but when you hold them higher then God’s authority- it’s the sin of idolatry. If you struggle with this- I’d like to encourage you to seek counsel from your pastor/ women’s group leader. Get into a safe small group where you can confess and get accountability. Get real with a solid Christian of the same gender.

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