Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Where Do Our Real Affections Lie....

We were recently at a conference where the topic was I Cor. 3:10-15 about building with gold, silver and precious stones and not wood, hay and stubble.  Building with eternal treasures and with our minds set on eternal things.  Then my thoughts drifted to the parable in Luke 12:13-21, the parable of the rich fool.  In order to hold more of his earthly possessions, grain, he pulled down the old barns to build new, bigger ones.  Hold more "stuff".  When that night his life was being demanded of him, everything stayed here on earth.  It says in Luke 12:15 "Take care! Be on guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."  Was the things this man was storing up bad?  No.  It made sense to him.  It was useful things.  But, the real matter lies in the heart.  In verse 34 of the same chapter of Luke the Lord says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  

Luke 12:29-34 and Matthew 6:19-21 they speak of not storing up treasures on earth, but to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.  I know there have been times in my life that the Lord has asked of me things and some of my first thoughts have been about my stuff or my earthly possessions.  There are times that people I know have not been quick to do what God has asked them to do, or put it off, because it interfered with their mountain of activities, busyness, and stuff in their lives.  It's not about having things that I feel we need to be on watch for, but, the things having us.  If the things in our lives keep us from being obedient to the will of the Father, then our hearts affections are not towards God.  Not fully at least.  

I know for our family, had we been in debt to stuff in our lives we couldn't freely have moved to other countries to fulfill the will of the Father for those times in our lives.  Had we been too busy or over scheduled, we would always have found reasons or ways that we couldn't do what God had been asking of us.  

In July of 2011, God asked us to come back to the States from Nicaragua.  It was a hard move for us and for our family.  We had not been in the States for 9 years (living here at least). We sold or gave away most everything we owned and our kids had to make the same difficult decisions about their stuff.  It was not an easy transition.  But wouldn't you know it, 2 1/2 years later, we have stuff.  It's amazing how quickly you can accumulate things, useful things, but it's still just things.  Also living here in the USA I have realized how everything revolves around more things/stuff.  The commercials, seeing others homes, lifestyles all lend to the desire for more.  

But, the questions we must ask ourselves are real, necessary and need to be confronted:

Where, now, does our desire for more of the Kingdom fit in?  

Where is our desire for more of God?

Desire for the things that moth nor rust consume and where thieves do not break in and steal? (Matt 6:20)

I believe that God is causing us to turn our affections towards him...not out of fear, but out of love for our Father.  Not because the economy or future is unknown or seems uncertain...but because the one rock we can stand on, the one true foundation, that does not change, shift or shake is Jesus Christ and the faithfulness of the Father.  In Him we have the strength to do all that He could ever ask or require of us.  

Matthew 6:25-33 and Luke 12:22-34 encourages to trust in the Lord and not worry.  He knows what we have need of.  He is a good Father!! All He desires is we follow Him with our whole heart, obedient to His call.  Matthew 6:33 says,  "But strive first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" Many of times we have put our focus too much on the latter part of that verse...all these things will be given to you as well.  Things, amazing how our focus can shift.  But the true focus should be on the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  It even says that we must strive, put great effort forth, first for the kingdom of God. 
Have we spent enough time daily focusing on the kingdom of God first?  

I encourage you, forget putting all your thoughts and emotions into the things of this world, the busyness, accumulating more stuff/things.  Seek the Kingdom first!!! He is a good Father, He promises to take care of us, and He will.  

Take some time and search your heart.  Where do your affections lie?  Have there been times that things of this world affect your ability to do the things God has asked of you?  This is a daily dying to our flesh, the ways of man, but the results are worth it.  Fully submitting to the Kingdom of God and receiving His full Kingdom backing in return.  God is good, faithful, eternal. 
Let's dwell on the eternal!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's Time to Return...Now to Some Questions

Well, I guess it's a bit funny that the day I decide it's the day to resume the blog is April 1st.  I promise, I did not orchestrate this, maybe the Lord did.  I'm sure the Lord enjoys the joy in this.  

I'm sure you noticed the looooong hiatus taken from this blog.  It was a complete walking away for a season.  I felt like the Lord was asking me to refocus my time and my energy.  First and foremost comes my children and my husband.  We have had the unique opportunity to move to Wisconsin this past fall and enjoy a much needed focus on our family.  

It may have been the coldest winter in over 30 years here...people kept apologizing...but the growth and warmth that has been felt as a family is wonderful.   I would suspect God knew what he was up to :)

I fear many times we miss out on some amazing times that God has for us or those around us because things don't appear as anticipated.  Wisconsin wasn't a place that many would have expected.  We had questions and many from others.  It may not appear to be a "good" idea, by our standards.  Or maybe it doesn't fit a five year plan that's been well thought out.  It may come across as more of a detour than a direct route.  

But the real question is, 

Do we really trust God? 

Do we really trust His direction?  

Do we really trust His ability to do the work in us that is needed to form Himself in us?  

What is our real desire?  

Isn't it to be more like Christ? 


Is it to be more well-liked or well-known? 

Are we afraid to confront these questions that face us?

Have we been avoiding the very working of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

I propose that you and I, stop, and allow some of these confronting questions to be answered.  To ask the Lord, the Holy Spirit, to do His very working in us to be more like Christ.  

I encourage you to do as it says in:

Romans 12:2 - be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable of perfect.

James 1:2-4 - My brethren, Counting it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Words of encouragement come bounding off the pages of the Bible, like life giving oxygen, but to our spirit.  What could be more amazing than that!! He desires us to be COMPLETE, lacking NOTHING!! The goodness of God is immense!!

Be encourage, don't resist the working of the Spirit of God.  Humble yourselves, He gives grace!

Be blessed,