April 20, 2007

Where do you lay your Burdens?

Do you tend to carry stress & worries along with you through out the day...
or do you pack it up & bring it with you wherever you go for days, weeks, & months at a time?

What are the signs that your body gives out to remind you that you are, once again, carrying a heavy load that you are not called to lug around? For me, it can be simply feeling exhausted, or a headache, or tightness in my chest, neck, & shoulders... when I find I am dealing with these symptoms or signs for more than a day or so... I have to stop & take account of what my thoughts are focused on & what 'tape' has been playing & replaying in my mind. Sometimes, the sound can be so low that you don't even really pick up on it! Ask my daughter, however, - I have miracle ears! I am sure it comes from the combination of being born with poor eyesight & being a waitress, but my hearing capabilities are always in tune!

I have to say, I come from a long line of worriers. As much as we were raised with little plaques that read "yagottawanna" and "If you can Think it, you can Be it!", the power of positive thinking never really overtook the power of fear & worrying in our household growing up! We rarely traveled out of town - & we never left the city limits without some handwritten will & all of our blood types written down. (Seriously!) Negativity & Fear are familiar spirits for me. I want to praise God & give Him all the glory however, because now - as an adult, as a Christian, that is not a familiar battle for me! If the enemy is going to get me to fear or worry - he is going to need to be a bit more creative in the attack. Oh - he is up to it, & he is persistent in his attempted onslaughts, but thank God - I have been taught how to take every thought captive. Do I fail in doing that from time to time - of course. But - overall, God has transformed my life & my bent to that of a positive person. Let me assure you, it CAN be done! (but... you DO 'gottawanna'!)

I am a firm believer in taking your burdens & worries to the Lord! I am firm believer in keeping a 'clean slate' if you will with the Lord, as well! After being involved with Moms In Touch ministries, I began to notice the tangible difference in answered prayers & the connection with staying confessed up & repentant. So, I share all of this to say that when I come to the Lord & offer my worries & burdens to him, I have always envisioned myself coming to His Throne & laying them at His feet! What about you? How do you 'see' it in your mind when you bring your troubles to the Lord?

During Prayer on Tuesday, I began to ask the Lord to show us our 'pits'. Our church is currently going through "Get out of that Pit" by Beth Moore. So often, I believe, we are completely unaware of even being IN a pit, let alone knowing what that Pit is! I also believe that many of our 'pits', if you will, are caused by the same root issue that we have not yet dealt with. The Lord showed me that many times, in many situations, with many people, we stay in our pits because we don't really see them as bondage. They are just our way of life. It's the way it's always been & we do not stop to pray & ask Him WHY it has always been that way. He also reminded me that the one personal issue that I felt I would focus on through out this study was one in which He has been revealing truth to me for years. He has told me that the Pit is not the problem, but the issue that keeps dragging me back INTO the pit is what I need to deal with. I am excited about this study & looking forward for Him to reveal & empower me with tools to get out & stay out - once & for all!

During our Bible study on Wednesday, we listened to a powerful song about Deliverance. As the song played, & we all closed our eyes & drank in the words & worshiped God - I saw, in my mind's eye, myself, approaching the Throne. When I tried to lay my burdens, my worries, my pits down at His feet, the scene shifted & it not only took me by surprise, but it broke my heart.

You see, as I mentioned, I always pictured myself taking my burdens, lifting them up off of my own weary shoulders, & laying them down at the feet of Jesus... clean, holy, manicured feet of a pure & righteous (flowing-garment-wearing-) God. This is how I pictured it for years & years in my walk with the Lord. But what He showed me was as I was trying to place these things that bind me up & steal my peace at His feet... He bent down to catch my eye, & insisted that I placed them on his bloody shoulders, as He hung on the Cross. I couldn't bare the thought of adding weight & pain to him... the burdens He was already taking on while on the Cross were not His to bare. But - that is what He did on the Cross... He took ON our sins... He took ON our burdens... & in exchange, we are to live pure & without the heaviness of sin & oppression from the enemy! That is our call... our right... and our freedom!

When we worry & try to carry burdens that are not ours to carry... it is sin to us. It belittles the work of the Cross. He so desires to see us free, & victorious, & living in the fullness of Joy & abundance... He has done the work... it is finished... we MUST be willing to give it over to Him & trust Him with it enough to lay it on the Cross... & leave it there... let it die with Him so that His resurrection power will bring victory to whatever it is that we are battling! After all - the battle is the Lords, not ours!

One thing that He does seem to be highlighting for the past few months is really remembering that there is Creative Power in our words... so we must remember to take every thought captive that exalts itself against the knowledge of God... we must renew our minds with the Word, & we must remember to speak words of faith, & life, & hope, rather than words of fear, & death, & doubt! It is a discipline in our culture, I know. But if we expect to be victorious... if we expect to be blessed, we simply must learn to follow the Lord's example! In the book of Romans, it says that God spoke those things that are not as though they are, (& they came to be!) We know in Genesis, God SPOKE & creation formed in obedience to His Word... we know that there is power in our words, life & death are in the power of the tongue! But let's not forget, what a man THINKS in his heart, so he is... and out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks! So - what comes out of our mouths - actually starts with our thought life... and when we are allowing ourselves the freedom(?) to worry & fret & let our minds flow over to the worst case scenarios filled with fear & doubt, we are sowing seeds into our own lives to give power to the words that we speak!

So... again, where do you lay your burdens? How long to allow yourself to carry around PITiful thoughts, worries, & fears, before you remember to approach the Lord. (...& - in all honestly - how long do you trust Him with it before you run back to put it back on & carry it yourself again!?) I encourage you to run to the Throne... run to the Cross... put your burdens on the bloodied capable shoulders of your Lord - and allow Him to carry them to the death... and bring the victory and resurrection power to your life! Often times, we simply think we can handle it on our own. After all - it's not THAT bad... however, God has set us free... let's determine to live that way to bring Him glory!

Bowed Down, so that He can lift me up!

April 10, 2007

High Places and Pits connected!

(Photo above is of the altar "To the Unknown God" located in Rome)

It's been an interesting couple of weeks...
full of Spring & newness & you can feel Change
in the air! I can feel it in the Spirit as well.

I strongly believe that we are now entering a season
of such rapid growth and advancement,
that we will look back over this year in retrospect
& be astounded at all the God has done
in such a short amount of time!

It is an exciting time... and yet,
I am not one that quickly embraces change.
In fact, as I began to sense Change approaching,
I also felt a bit of uneasiness and reluctance.
To be honest, I am really just tired of feeling
unsettled & uprooted - while having really not
relocated or gone very far (at least in the natural?!)
Also, I was just last week reflecting on my life
and was literally just thanking and praising God
for my life and this season. I love my life.
I am blessed beyond measure... beyond reason...
I love the order of my days, the ministries I am involved in,
the relationship I have with my husband, and my daughter...
I am blessed with close family and great friends.
I have been very aware of these things lately.
I am humbled and in awe that He loves me
so much to let me live this life that some may
look at and consider 'small' or 'middle class'
& wonder why I feel so rich!

So... the other night, when I could not sleep
I tossed & turned for longer than I should have
before realizing that the Lord had an assignment for me.
I got up and began to pray.
I prayed in the Spirit for some time...
then, moved on to other prayers for people
& situations that I could think of.
There was not anything specific that I felt burdened to pray for.

In times past, after praying in the Spirit, God would reveal to me
what I was praying for... however, this was not happening...
so - without feeling a release - I pressed through.
It felt like I was actually covering a number of things in prayer.
There would be times of deep intercession & intensity,
times of joy & victory... times of heaviness & urgency...

In the end, God sent me to 2 Chronicles
where it sums up King Jehoshaphat's' reign.
The verse that stood out to me during prayer was
"He walked in the ways of his father Asa & did not stray from them;
he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.
The high places, however, were not removed,
& the people still had not set their hearts
on the God of their fathers." 2 Chronicles 20:32-33

I find it interesting that after it goes on to say that his reign
is recorded in the book of the kings of Israel,
it talks about how the king aligns himself up with a wicked ruler
& God tells him that because he did that,
the Lord would destroy the works
& not allow their plans to succeed.
The next chapter tells us that King Jehoshaphat
rested with his fathers... he died?!
Hmmm... so - maybe there was a connection
with the high places that were not destroyed,
& his aligning himself with King Ahaziah.
We can so easily forget that there are
unseen forces at work either for us
or against us all the time!
We must pray through & ask God to reveal to us
our own High Places that need to be destroyed!

Basically - the Lord spoke to me the following morning

& said that often times - our 'pits' & the enemies 'high places'
are one & the same! This is cool because, here at home,
we are just beginning Beth Moore's new book
called "Get out of that Pit!"

I believe that the season that we are just now entering into
will be a season of change... a season of rapid growth...
but in order for us to step into all that God has planned for us,
we'll need to take care of those High Places...
we'll need to go back & deal with the pit that we so often
find ourselves at the bottom of again & again.

When I asked the Lord today at Prayer how we were to go about this,
He reminded me again of the Power of the Blood...
the power of PLEADING the Blood - in faith, not fear!
He reminded me that there is power in our words
& we simply must pay attention to what is coming out of our mouths!
I heard a voice ask, "Where do you go to climb out of your pit?
Where do you go to tear down the enemies high places?"
& immediately I knew... we run to The Cross!

It's when we fall again at the foot of the Cross...
when we realize yet again our need for Him
& the greatness of our God...
when we think of His Love and Sacrifice...
& we look up on the Cross...
His Blood flows down and covers us,
and we know that we know
that we are in His hands.
Whatever Changes may come,
we can rest assured that He is aware & at work...
IN us, THROUGH us, & FOR us!!!

May you find the way out of your Pit...
by tearing down the High Places
that the enemy has set up in your life...
& may the Shadow of the Cross be your guide!

And maybe, just maybe...
"a Change is gonna do (us) good"?!


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