Thursday, March 06, 2014

Learning Something New Every Day

Sometimes I find the Lord speaks to me when I don't even know He's speaking.  Then along the way somewhere comes a circumstance that enlightens exactly what He was saying or trying to teach me.
Today, I was having a conversation with someone that was just simply edifying.  This person is so incredibly dear to my heart and I see so much Spiritual growth within that soul.  It just makes my heart happy.  But there was something said today that stuck out to me.  It was more relevant than anything else that was said and more edifying as my day went along.

You see - a year ago November - we found a wonderful little church.  W.O.N.D.E.R.F.U.L!  We thought it was a direct answer to our prayers; and it was.  But you know the saying... "be careful what you pray for..."?  It was, indeed, a direct answer to our prayers, but not always is a direct answer to prayer a good thing (in the temporal).

This little church was an independent fundamental baptist church (IFBC).  With no real knowledge of what that meant we poured ourselves into it - heart, mind, and soul.  We attended there - serving and giving as much of ourselves as we could, but things at home were beginning to erode.  There was strife.  My husband was tired since he works six days a week AND we were attending church four times each week.  We met ourselves coming and going....  My husband pulled [what he calls] "a leader of the house, decision" that we would only be going to church twice per week; Sunday morning and Wednesday night.  We needed to disciple the children God had given us to raise up in the fear and admonition of the Lord as well as make time for our marriage.  It wasn't until we made the pledge of membership that things changed drastically.

On the fourth Sunday evening we were not in attendance we received a knock at our door at 10:30pm.  It was the pastor of this little church, accompanied by his wife.  We were confronted with this "sin" of not being in church.  We were referred to a very common passage of forsaking the gathering of fellow believers.  We didn't and still don't see it the way they do, but that was ok with us.  As for them... it wasn't ok.  They delivered our consequences verbally and we ultimately chose that we couldn't remain in fellowship at that church.  We were good enough to clean the toilets, but our children couldn't be in the Christmas program.  We could continue to mow the lawn, but we would not be allowed to serve "up front".  Upon entering our home, there were (metaphorical) boxing gloves worn and I was the unknowing opponent.  I was needlessly  attacked and it crushed the Spirit within me.  This has been an issue, within me, for several months now.  I *know* forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.  And I stand on the fact that I have forgiven the two people that entered our home that night.  I have to fight the enemy in regards to that, but I have chosen to forgive.

Well, today during my conversation with the person I was speaking of earlier I was explaining the situation that had transpired, leaving us to make the decision we did and what this person said was not only profound (to me) and incredibly encouraging, but also very edifying.

"Our Spiritual life is personal. We learn how to live by reading the bible and God speaking to us through His word, not by someone dictating how we should live."

I know this seems very simple and common sense, but who it came from, when it was said, and how it effected the rest of my day was where the power lie.

Tonight we went to see a wonderful God-loving family worship our Lord through music and song.  We haven't missed a concert in three years and we look forward to the next time they come through our area each and every year.  We introduced this family's ministry to our newly-found, little church last year and they loved it so much - they were there tonight.  God used this event to make evident that I still need to deal with wounds that haven't yet healed.  I'm not sure how this healing process is going to look, but I know God is faithful to lead me.

After a long struggle with the decision to stop attending that church, we did some research on the particular denomination.  What we found was alarming!  We weren't the first and I'm sure we will not the last to be ripped apart by their 'organization'.  However - in all circumstances - we need to be careful of what we pray for - God may give us exactly what we want.  And we need to walk away having learned something.  We got exactly what we were praying for - and it taught us that what we had been praying for was a church of Pharisees.  Wrong thing to pray for.  I think, sometimes, God shows me exactly who I am through those that are around me.  Yes, that would lump me in as a Pharisee too :o(

The Pharisees gave oral tradition equal authority to the written Word of God.  Did you know they had over 600 "rules" they had to obey?  Wow!  That's why they were always thought of as the holiest.  But their spiritual life was not personal.  Their holiness didn't come from a broken place in need of the Savior, but rather the dictation of man; women wear skirts/dresses, saints be in church every time the door is open, don't mow your lawn on Sunday, men shouldn't wear shorts....  Lip service - that's all those things are, but those things don't defile who we are in Christ.  The journey for me is just beginning...

There is so much more to say on this topic, but then I might simply start venting.  That's not where I want to be tonight.  I want to stay right where I am - learning from the Master.  Sanctification is a process - and that is exactly what is beautiful to the Lord.  Being willing to lay down me to go through His process of becoming like Him.  When I am going through that process - I am beautiful in His eyes.  I want so badly to bask in His Holy Presence - I want people to see Jesus when they look at me.  

Be my reflection, Lord!

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