Monday, March 17, 2008

Why Does Everything Come Down To Exercise!?

This may not make sense if you have not been reading the blog this weekend. The last post would kinda make it more clear.

I am amazed this morning with the correlation between our need to discipline our bodies to exercise, and our spiritual need to exercise our discipline in the word of God.
My emotional state the past few days has made me not desire to get into the Word. I was spiritually exhausted. Yet, God in His amazing grace allowed me to be pushed with the need to finish my bible study before I go to it today. Such a loving Father he is. I really wanted to just stay in my state of mind and had no desire to push myself out of it. I wanted to be out of it, but I did not want to do the spiritual exercise that required. Once you get off the "spiritual treadmill" you think the same thing when you get off a physical one....duh. Of course I feel better, of course I am encouraged, of course God's word is living and active, sharper than ANY two edged sword dividing my soul and my spirit and moving in me the glory of Christ. Duh, Alicia, duh. And yet, that emotional phase of downerville has to just lift in God's timing. These are times when I cherish so much the poem my dad taught me when I was a young teen.

Feelings come and feelings go
And feelings are deceiving,
My warrant is the word of God
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token (1 John 3:20-21)
I know one greater than my heart
Whose word cannot be broken. (John 10:35)

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging word
Till soul and body sever;
For though all things shall pass away,
His word shall stand forever. (Heb. 7:24)

My study took me first in significance to Lam. 3:17-24 which has been one of my favorite passages since I discovered it in reading on my mission trip to Honduras. Jeremiah is in a spiritual depression of sorts. I found most interesting the phrase "This I recall to mind, therefore I have hope" (you can read the section yourself for further context). The effort to "recall to mind" is no small thing when you are like Anne Shirley, in "the depths of despair". Yet, how ironic that Mirilla is quite right when she replies to Anne "to despair, is to turn your back on God." Sometimes we turn away and refuse to accept what he freely gives. Sometimes we are not willing to use our spiritual muscles to turn back around.

Next, the Holy Spirit gave me a refreshing read of a very familiar passage of scripture. John 15:1-8. It was asked of me in the study, but two things were highlighted by the Holy Spirit as if he had reached down with highlighter and said "Alicia look at this". One was the words in verse three, the reassurance of my position in Christ: "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." This ministered to the guilt and burden I carried from my frustration with my human frailty of mind. My depression about my perspective on what God was presenting me with. It was a reminder that "I'm in" so to speak and no thing can push me out once God says "You're in!".
Secondly, and the most amazing, was that the Spirit led me to read the passage over again as it pertained to me. You may want to put your name where I was led to put mine. It is amazing.

I ,(Your Savior, Alicia) am the true vine, and My Father (Alicia's Heavenly Father) is the vinedresser.
2"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; (Alicia is a) branch that bears fruit, He prunes (Alicia) so that (she) may bear more fruit.
3"(Alicia, you) are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4"Abide in Me (Alicia) , and I (will abide) in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can (Alicia) unless (she) abide(s) in Me.
5"I am the vine, (Alicia is one of) the branches; (If Alicia) abides in Me and I in (her), (Alicia) bears much fruit, for apart from Me (Alicia) can do nothing.
6"If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.
7"If (Alicia) abide(s) in Me, and My words abide in (her), (Alicia should) ask whatever (she)wish(es), and it will be done for (her).
8"My Father is glorified by this, that (Alicia) bear(s) much fruit, and so prove to be My disciple.

This was such balm to my soul. Thank you Lord. I will say however, that any drawing back was a work of the Holy Spirit alone. These emotions are just simply not able to be conquered by me! It was gracious of God to draw me out of my despair. I am still thankful that when in that place I can hide in His wing.
The Lord has made me ponder in thanks this morning as well, the blessing of my sisters in the Lord. In a world where every man for himself is the motto, the body of Christ shines as a place where his people reflect his character in different ways in different means and he uses them to build each other up and bring glory to the heavenly father. The good that comes to us from that is just a blessing of His love. People don't behave this way naturally and if they do, it's for what's in it for them even if it's just a high feeling of goodness. How much deeper the joy of the Lord is, and how much more penetrating.
Thank you to my sisters, you know who you are. I am blessed. May God grant me the privilege to be to you in your day of need, what you have been to me. Not for the sake of my pride, but for the privilege of his instrument of love for you.


tricia w. said...

I enjoyed this week study, too. I readed those same sections over and over again in the Bible. I look forward to our discussion today. I am so happy you are feeling better. Thank you, God, for seeing Alicia through this valley.

Alicia said...

Yeah, and thanks to you for encouraging me to do my study! You are my official kick in the pants!:0

Amy B said...

Praise Jesus! Thanks for sharing how He works!