Saturday, February 11, 2012

(day eighty-four) Well Dressed Poverty: the stuffed starving souls and cardboard mansions

Tomorrow I will be kicking off a brand-new challenge that I'm VERY excited about (because I can already sense how much I'm gonna learn and grow!)... and slowly but SURELY will complete this one. Didn't finish it as soon as I had set out to, but I will definitely cross the finish line... which is quickly approaching! God has been speaking to me so clearly the last few weeks through the gospels and I can't wait to share it all with you. As I've been talking with others I'm starting to see that God is moving in a BIG way in a lot of people. If you don't feel like He's speaking to you.... press in deeper, ask for that hunger, and plug into the source! He doesn't withhold His love from His children... just believe, ask, praise, and receive. You might need to start consuming yourself with HIS truth... dive into the word! Do this 90 day challenge from the beginning. If you read the word and still don't feel alive, then i encourage you to take the 12 week journey through the spiritual disciplines that I am starting on Monday. Please ask for MORE of Him... and trust me, your mind will be blown! (In the best way possible). You won't be able to restrain His love any longer....

I had quite a revelation the other day about this very thing... and like most other things, it's easier for me to relate it to food because it makes sense. It seems as though I've seen a lot more apathy among Christians in the western world than anywhere else... so I started asking the Lord WHY? Is it because we haven't REALLY seen Him move, as though we need some sort of proof?? Or maybe just more encouragement that He's powerful? Is it because it's just another religion to us where we follow rules and know there's grace if we don't? Is it because we are so consumed and numbed with media and technology that we can't even hear His gentle sweet voice? Are we so drugged in our little world that we just can't feel anything anymore? Are we too prideful to ask? Too shy to receive? Do we think "well God does what He wants anyway so it's really not up to us"?? Or what? Why are we not hungry for MORE of God in each of us and MORE of His power on this earth?? Or are we?

All of those questions (which by the way are not just directed towards American Christians but any of us that find ourselves in this binding category).... led me to this single thought. Is it possible that some of us don't even know that we are hungry??? Because I have to believe that if we know and have Jesus in our lives... and if we knew we were deficient we'd want more... right?? Maybe the reason we haven't experienced ALL of what He has to offer is because we first need to acknowledge our deeeeeepest hunger and desire for a continuous flow of HIM and desperate need in our own lives. We NEED a daily love encounter with Christ and most of us are not getting it. WHY? Is it because He's not giving it??? Abso-freaking-lutely not.

He is the SOURCE of all that is good for all of eternity that spans beyond time. The Source is always there... never moves away or changes... remains full of these things and never runs out of anything for those that love HIM. So (I'll ask again)... .why in the world are we so deficient of this LOVE??? And why don't we even know it??? Is this concerning anyone else out there? Or do you relate at all?? Again... I'm not trying to bunch every Christian up into this group... I'm only trying to bring some light out there for those feeling around in the dark wondering if God turned the switch off. I'm hoping and praying that those who know Him but feel like the "walking dead" are REVIVED... and those who don't know Jesus truly find LIFE and freedom in these words today!!! If you are FULLY alive in Christ please be encouraged to keep pressing in to Him and pointing to HIM no matter how tired or weak you may sometimes feel... He WILL sustain you!

Ok, so here's the deal. I've been learning a lot about our temple the past few years and how we can properly take care of it. What I've seen is that I've made a lot of excuses over time for how I've eaten- not really understanding how it really effected my walk. Well, now it's clear to me that it does. As you've read in posts I've written before... how we eat can determine how we think, feel, look, and even act. Ok, so now for the connection...

Our body NEEDS and WANTS nutrients to survive. Our body could heal itself a lot easier and faster if we treated it the way it was intended. But the problem is: We don't even know that our body is deficient or truly hungry because we fill up on things that give us false satisfaction and fulfillment. The only thing processed foods, sugars, carbs and preservatives are doing is filling our stomach and telling our brain that we are full. In the meantime our bodies are truly suffering and not being nourished.... hence one of the reasons why we experience so much sickness, disease, and untimely death in our world. We don't even know how hungry we really are....

So is it possible that, in the same way, we have filled up our spirit, soul and mind with so much else that we've temporarily satisfied ourselves and become full with things that give us the illusion we are being nourished when in all reality we are becoming sick, diseased and dead?? I'm just curious. Looking back, that's exactly how I lived my life... even as a believer. I had no idea that I was so malnourished in the spirit and that God wanted to give me more of Him.

Sadly there was absolutely no more room in the inn because of my own selfishness, ignorance, and apathetic attitude spiraling out of control. It took me digging deep in the word of God, asking for the desire to become truly hungry for Him and making the necessary steps to cut the crap out of my life. It's so very simple, but not easy at first. Then... you began to see glimpses of His love, mercy and glory and it snowballs leaving you doing anything for more!!! He is the same... all we have to do is TAP into the SOURCE. Ask for God to show you what that means for you personally... since we are all so different. YOU are His child and I know God wants to reveal who He truly is to you :)

While I was in Nashville I was sharing my story of "missionary debt" with a friend and complaining about my complete hatred for money. She quickly checked me on it... like a good friend does... and i was instantly convicted. All of the sudden my eyes were opened. I realized that I had been suppressing these issues for so long because I was afraid of something. Whether I was afraid of money controlling me, me succeeding or being a failure I did not know... but in fact because of this it WAS controlling me!!! Over the next few days I got given the Dave Ramsey book, workbook, and cds. Crazy right? Anyway... I've been listening to them for about 4 days and finally beginning to feel some freedom already in this area! Yahoo!!! I see hope!

What I've realized though ties into the illusion that we are fine and full, but really in a way starving for more of His love. In the western world we have this way of making things look bright and beautiful to cover up a rough internal struggle of insecurity, doubt, pride, etc. Whereas, if someone is struggling with poverty, hope, or shame in another world it is easier exposed for all eyes to see. They don't have the advantage... or disadvantage... to "buying" their way out of it. Then I started to wonder if we didn't have credit... how many of us would be in the very same boat they are? What do we ACTUALLY own? Right now, if I were to count up how much debt I owe... as compared to cash in the bank I would possibly have less than the homeless man on the corner or the family in the slums of Nicaragua wondering where their next meal is coming from. I know i know... it's a lot to chew on. What I'm NOT saying is that we should stop giving or that we should feel sorry for ourselves.

But what I AM saying is that we've got to get past our illusions of wealth, satisfactions and fulfillment and start looking at the TRUE reality of our lives... align it with the word of God and discover our desperate need for HIM. Then and only then do we have SOMETHING to offer the world that the world can find no where else. We have the SOURCE of all that is good and beautiful and we have it for all of eternity for anyone who so desires to lay down his own life and pick up the cross that is offered. We must recognize our own deficiency, acknowledge that God is the source, and choose to plug into Him and receive. Then, because of our extra-ordinary lives who have been changed by His love... others will desire the same encounter, want the same REAL fulfillment, and count the same costs.

B90: (Galatians 1-Phil 4:23) Gosh, there is so much packed into these three books that it would be impossible to cover it all!!! It's hard to even know where to start... so I may just highlight certain verses for you to meditate on but my hope is that you would spend some time digging into Galatians, Ephesians and Philippians the next few days.

Know your inheritance and recognize your need: do you know WHO you belong to and WHAT He says about you? "When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons (and daughters), God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, CRYING, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God." Galatians 4:4-7. Listen to the cry of your heart... we must put all things aside and ask to hear the hunger that your very soul is singing.

"For YOU were called to Freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another..." Gal. 5:13 There is so much freedom and healing in knowing we are sons and daughters of the King. He loves us so much and desires for us to overflow with all of that into the lives of others.

Ok here we go... "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES (that we can tap into), even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. IN LOVE he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the RICHES of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we obtained this inheritance....." Eph 1:3-11

I hope this is all sinking in. YOU ARE LOVED and God desires for you to WALK in the fullness of the inheritance He's set before you. It's too precious and valuable and eternal for us to "cash in" and squander in the world. He wants us to stay connected to Him always so He can continuously flow through us in a powerful way!

Read Eph 2:1-10... He's made us ALIVE in Christ and seated us in the heavenly places so that the coming ages may show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ! "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ for good works, which God prepared beforehand, THAT WE SHOULD WALK IN THEM.

..."so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that YOU, being rooted and grounded in love, may have the strength to COMPREHEND with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be FILLED with all the fullness of God!!!!" Eph. 3:17-19 Amen amen!!!

"Therefore be imitators of God, AS BELOVED CHILDREN (kids who know their Papa loves them and act accordingly, full of Him... not deficient in anything)... and WALK in love." Read Eph 5:1-21... It's all good :)

Let Eph. 6 always remind you that our battles are not of this earth but in the spiritual realm. I could write another whole blog on this alone... but I know that if we begin to see this and rely on the power of God in the spiritual, we will begin to see more victory on earth. But if we decide our battles are here on this earth and try to win them with our own strength... we will find defeat around every corner. He does desire for us to plug into Him... and God desires to see ground taken for him in the spiritual and physical.

"IN ANY AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE, I HAVE LEARNED THE SECRET OF FACING PLENTY AND HUNGER, ABUNDANCE AND NEED. I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH HIM WHO STRENGTHENS ME." Phil. 4: 12 & 13.... "And my God WILL supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen."

Father, let your words sink deep into our hearts tonight as we ponder your amazing love that simply takes our breath away......

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