My mind is swimming this morning. The thoughts are all over the place.
Its Veteran's Day and naturally, I am so thankful for the men and women who have served our country. Many of them gave their lives so that we could be free. A freedom that let us cast our votes -even this week, of who would lead our land. A freedom that we often take for granted. I am so grateful for the Armed Services- today, when I know they are over fighting a war that I believe we should never have entered. Young women and men who are passionate about serving. THANK YOU.
I have been reading in the book of Acts this weekend. I am thankful that God's Word is always new and fresh. That words of the Scripture can bring new insights even when I might mistakenly think that I know the Bible-that I've read it before. Over twenty years ago, I decided that I wanted to read the Bible thru every year. If you know me, you know that I am not always conventional. I tried reading plans, but couldn't wait till September before starting the New Testament.
Given this information, this is at least the 20th time that I have read the Book of Acts. I know the stories. I've read them. I have studied them in bible studies. I thoroughly LOVE how the LORD allows me to be surprised by new insights or convictions. Yesterday, as it was snowing outside and I was sitting by our wood burning stove, I read the fifth chapter of Acts. It is the story of Ananias and his wife Sapphira. The background of this story is that the community of believers in Jerusalem experienced an unusual type of fellowship and community. They shared everything with each other; when someone was in need, the church would provide for their needs. They pooled all their money and resources and really took care of each other. Side note: wouldn't it be absolutely incredible if we, the Body of Christ, would do this today?? The implications would be astounding-worldwide. If we, the church of Jesus had really done our job, the government wouldn't have had to develop programs to care for the poor and disenfrachised.
Ananias and Sapphira had a piece of property that they were going to sell. They conspired together to "keep" some of the money from the sale before they gave into the community treasurechest. What happened is that they didn't remember that GOD saw. GOD knew. And what they did was basically lied to the LORD and to the leaders of the early church. Somehow, God let Peter know this and when Ananias came to give the money, Peter confronted him. Told him that satan had deceived him and that he had lied to the Holy Spirit. The result: Ananias immediately fell dead. Hours later, Sapphira not knowing what happened to her husband, appeared before Peter and also lied. She too, immediately fell dead.
This story might seem extremely harsh. I think one of the main messages to us is: we cannot fool God. We cannot rationalize our actions that are impure to a Holy God. We cannot lie to Him and get away with it. HE KNOWS. Nothing escapes His gaze. But what also struck me and really has captivated my mind is:
Where have I tried to rob God?
What am I trying to keep for myself?
What am I lying about?
What am I trying to control and hold on to?
Gosh, I have tried to hold on to control in so so many areas of my life over the years: Trying to hold on to the family and how I wanted it to be. Trying to hold on to the control I had in my children's lives. Trying to hold on to my life in San Jose when God was calling us to Woodleaf. How have I tried to rob God?? This question haunts me. I have robbed Him of really giving all of me to Him. Of completely surrendering myself to Him. Why? Because I want to remain in control. The selfish me wants what i want-when I want it, how I want it to look like, how I want to live my life.
Ashamedly, I admit that I have wanted to serve God on my terms, in my time frame, when it was convenient for me.
I have had "my plans" and often forgot to include God in them-or ask Him to bless them without even talking to Him about it in the first place. I ask myself "WHY?"
Why would I not confer with Him? Why would I not want His take on ANYTHING I was undertaking or wanted to pursue?? Who do I think I am??
It has been a hard day of wrestling thru these questions. All I do know is that I truly want to be one who pleases and brings Glory and Honor to my Father and His Son. I am again so thankful for His mercies that are new everyday.
I am grateful that once again, my Young Life College friends, are pursuing God and they are challenging me to Pursue His Holiness. You can't fool these gals-they can see thru hypocrisy, so I have to be honest and real with them.
Most importantly, how incredibly humbled and blessed I am that the LORD has not given up on me. That He hasn't shown me all of my ugly self at once, but gently prods-altho sometimes He has to POKE HARD to get my attention, to show me how if I just gave Him full control, life might not be so hard at times . It might be hard but if I hold on to Him, the trial or hardship will eventually pass.
I don't have to be in control. I don't have to keep things for myself.
GOD has always taken care of me. He has promised that He will provide for all my needs.
I don't have to hold back.
HE certainly never has.