Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Spiritual Spankings

You know how sometimes God uses people in your life to tell you exactly what you DON'T want to hear but probably NEED to hear? Yeah, He's put a couple of those into my life -- but a big chunk of my spiritual spankings have come straight from the mouth of my dad. For example, there was once a time when my dad insisted that I acted too much on my own impulses without waiting for God's instruction...however, I know it was God speaking to me through my dad because in order to communicate this message, he used an analogy of two of my favorite things: running and shoes (of which my precious daddy knows little to none about!). My dad (aka God) said, "Your problem is that you take off to run a marathon at a 5K pace and you don't even stop to think about the terrain you will come across or what shoes you should wear - which is why half of the time you end up sprinting in stilettos on quicksand." OUCH!

After that lovely advice, my dad also pointed me to Scripture, where another child received the godly counsel of his father. How would you like for God to descrive you as "a man after My heart, who will do all My will?" Okay, minus that whole man thing, how awesome would that be to have God speak that hightly of you? Well, Acts 13:22 gives that exact description of David from God. So let's take a minute to examine the spiritual spanking He gave to his son, Solomon.

I Chronicles 28:9-10
"As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. Consider now, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act."

*Learn everything you can about God.*
Want to know the best and worst part about being in seminary? The best part is everything that I am learning matters. No more pointless math problems that calculators were designed to do anymore or licking rocks in geology to figure out the difference between limestone and granite (seriously...gross.) And the worst part? Everything that I am learning matters. No more skimming or shrugging off that halfway doing assignments is acceptable. While this can be overwhelming and even frustrating at times (especially around mid-terms and finals), God always shows up to remind me that genuine followers of Christ NEVER stop trying to learn more about their Savior. Last semester before my first round of final exams, I was so humbled by walking into the cafeteria and seeing two of the oldest professors huddled over the Bible, discussing a passage. Here they are, teaching at a seminary, and they are still striving to learn more about their Savior. Spend time in the Word, and treasure the heartbeat of God that He has so graciously given us for daily guidance.

*Serve Him with wholehearted devotion.*
Have any of your friends ever tried to date two guys at the same time? (I mean, surely, you've never done that yourself! :) How did that work out for her? Chances are, eventually, she realized that it's an impossible situation. Sooner or later, she had to pick one. It's the same way with God. We can't just give Him half of our heart. He wants ALL of us, and it takes every piece of our wholehearted devotion to do His work. He knows it is difficult for us to do on our own, so He offers to do it for us so that we may truly experience life in Christ. Deuteronomy 30:6 teaches, "Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live." Remember, like David, a heart fully devoted to God is ultimately, a heart like His.

*Serve Him with a willing spirit.*
Many selfish motives can get in the way of the willing spirit's intent of bringing pleasure and delight to God. As humans, particularly as FEMALES, we desire for other's approval. Sometimes when you serve others, you just long to hear, "Thank you!" or "Great job!" Or even, "I don't know how we could have done this without you!" But repeat this statement outloud. "IT'S NOT ABOUT ME." That's a hard statement for a selfish creature to admit, but it's true. Reflect on Colossians 3:23-24. "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

*He has given you a job to do and has put you here for a reason. DO IT!*
God gave Solomon the task of building the house for the sanctuary. Are you doing the job that Christ has called you to do? Have you asked Him what His plan is for you? Do you listen when the Holy Spirit speaks to you? You know, that voice that tells you to go and talk to that girl who sits by herself everyday in the cafeteria. Here's a hint. When you hear a voice telling you share Christ or to serve someone for the glory of God, that's the Holy Spirit talking. Satan will NEVER tempt you to share your faith or bring glory to God's kingdom.

God, I pray that you would always give us the thirst for more knowledge of you. Please help us to acknowledge You and give You our whole devotion everyday. Purify our motives for serving you, Father. Make us women after Your own heart, that we would do everything according to your will. Use us in anyway that will bring glory to you. Give us the boldness and courage to do the work you have called us to do. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

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Esther 4:14b

"And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"