Thorns among the Barbs

Thoughts on my journey to heaven

Posts Tagged ‘obedience

What is at the heart of anxiety?

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Anxiety seems to be so prevalent in our world today – and there are so many factors that can quickly make one anxious. Look around and the economy is alone a challenging factor. But add wars, natural disasters and the basic stressors of daily life build up.

The truth is anxiety can disable us. We can become so engulfed in the floods of emotion, sense of helplessness, and fear that we loose sight of what is true. Anxiety is a monster that needs to be tamed. At those darkest points of my life I have willingly let anxiety wash over me in wave after wave, resulting in days wasted in gripped fear, and apathy. But this is not the abundant life Christ calls us to.

At some point I am thankful that the Lord does not allow me to stay in that place of discouragement. And I am thankful that his word, the bible, has a powerful effect on my soul. So if you are there can I encourage you to read Phillipians chapter 4:

Phil 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Phl 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

First lesson learned – when I am discouraged, or anxiety riddled I need to turn back to the lord and pray. He already knows where I am, and what my needs are, but I need to surrender them to my creator, and choose to trust in him with my whole heart, mind and soul. Prayer is a discipline that should grow to be more automatic as we grow in our faith. And I must admit that when I pray I am washed over with a peace that can only come from God.

Supplication is defined as : (also known as petitioning) is the most common form of prayer, wherein a person asks God to provide something, either for the person who is praying or for someone else on whose behalf a prayer of supplication is being made.

Lesson 3 – Everything must be with a thankful heart – Can I thank God in the hard times, when my heart is heavy, or the situation has pressed in and there is no way of escape, and no obvious solution? Can I thank God that he knows my frame, and knows what I can handle each moment of the day? My heart says there are times when I cannot look beyond the desire to respond, answer, fix, resolve the issue at hand. But the truth is we are never really in control. But we are HIS, bought with his precious blood. And Jesus knows the plans that he has for our life. We can trust in his faithfulness and his character to see us in the midst of the situation. An old pastor years ago reminded me that everything is filtered through the hands of God. How comforting to know even the most unsettling storms in our lives are in HIS hands. So am I thankful? I am learning to say thank you, not trust the emotions, but by faith thank God and move forward.

Lesson 4 – Don;t trust the emotions, or your eyes. What we see and how our emotions engage situations may not be the truth. We must stand on the word of God, rest in his character and wait for his peace to flood our souls. Don;t let the enemy distract or cause you to stumble. Hold fast to the truth and fix your eyes on Jesus.

OK, so you have prayed, and made requests for others with a heart that is thankful to God. Now what? I love this verse – get it in your heart and your head because it is so good – Phillipians 4:7 says that the result is peace, flooding our soul, and protecting our mind as we remain sheltered in Jesus. Peace, Shalom, that unspeakable “I can;t get there myself” everything is a storm but I am at rest knowing that God sees the outcome peace. And it is a response that comes from the heart of God.

This passage mentions the heart and the mind – have you ever thought about that for any length of time? Heart, the center of our emotions, and mind, the center of our thinking. Both are engaged – not just one or the other. I know that I must yield both mind and heart to God and allow him to syncronize them as he alone can do.

Father, take this word to release us from anxiety, and give us the boldness to come to you with every care, worry and problem. Grant us the ability to thank you for each situation, knowing that you are working out in us character building as you shape us into the image of your precious son. Flood our minds and hearts with your peace so that we may watch as you direct our paths through the danger. Thank you for your powerful love for us. In you will we trust and wait. Amen


How am I like Uzza?

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Remember Uzza, the guy who was helping to escort the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. The ark was on an oxcart and at some point the cart began to wobble. The oxen stumbled as they approached a threashing floor. Maybe it rode over a rut or a big boulder, but the cart became unstable, and the precious contents began to slide off. Uzza reached out to the ark to steady it and was instantly killed.

David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God. -2Sam 6:5-7

I have been thinking about that passage a lot, and it seems that I have been hearing about it on christian radio often also. So how does this apply to my life? Is there an wisdom here that will help me with my life? my christian walk?

Hmm, Still in deep though about it, but I can say that I know I am guilty of loosing sight of the complete and absolute holyness of God. It seems that every mention of God in the old testament was of pure holiness, and we sinful people could not look upon Him and live. And the new testament ends with a vision of Jesus standing among the lamp stands of Revelation in which he shows his sovereign power and holiness. Countless people have fallen before God’s presence as though they were dead because they sensed his absolute pure sovereign nature. And that very God lives in me because of salvation given to me through the death of Jesus.

I have been praying that the Lord would renew in my heart that sensitivity to his holiness, and that passion to obey and follow him. I want to know what it is to work out my salvation with fear and trembling – fear of God alone. Trembling because I know my weak frame and my sin nature that cannot be trusted.

The ark of the covenant was never meant to be placed on an ox cart, but instead to be upheld by priests of the tribe of Levi, sanctified and set apart for the purpose of bearing the ark. And with at least 4 men holding up the ark by the special poles they did not risk instability of the ark. Every footstep of these men carefully moved the ark to the destination. The priests bore the weigth and responsibility on their shoulders. An ox cart was a seemingly easy choice becayse the cart would hold the weight, but the cart only has 2 wheels, and would be much more unstable. Perhaps it was the absence of sanctified priests to transport the ark, or perhaps the cart was just there… the bib

So then there is me. I have trusted in credit cards, rather than God to provide, or just done without. And over time my finances hit the rocks. It was not God’s plan to build debt. When I begin to rely upon other resources, and different ways to achieve the goal and disobey God;s direction on how to live this does lead to death in my life. Death is a profoundly overwhelming thing when it involves my walk with God. Unfortunately sin leads to death of sensitivity to HIS spirit, and Death to the access to his presence, power and grace. And the sin blinds me to what is the right thing to do. Like David making the choice to put the Ark on an Ox Cart, I made choices to instantly gratify, or source out answers that would bring death to my spirit.

And in the old testament the name of the person is always significant. There is deeper and more profound meanings to each person’s name in the bibile. Uzza, coincidentally means strength…. human strength. His name speaks of being self sufficient, capable, and one who has physical capabilities. He is the man who can handle anything. He takes care of business. I don;t believe it was a coincidence that the man who was struck dead for trying to stabilize the very presence of God manifest in the Ark of the Covenant would be named “Strength”. God’s word is clear about his absolute holy presence. How offensive that must have been to think a strong man would stabilize the manifest presence of God. Who are we that any one of us would ever think we have the ability to help God. I could begin to understand how the anger of the lord stirred – disobedience coupled with human intention is not a good mix.

God himself is strength, and our mortal feeble efforts pale in comparison with his all powerful, all knowing, always present manifestation in humanity. We must realize that HIS holyness cannot be taken lightly.

And as new testament believers we must realize that we are the temple of God – Where we go we always take the presence of God with us. How we act, think and live demonstrates to a watching world what we believe of our God. Am I living my life dependent upon his spirit, his power and his wisdom?

Application challenge – am I choosing easy and logical ways to get through times where there is a need, or am I looking to the God who created everything and trusting him absolutely to provide for my situation.

Lord, you know every detail of me – my thoughts, my ways, my hopes, dreams and fears. And you are intimately acquainted with my life and my situation. I surrender my cares, and burdens to you and I also surrender the ox carts of my life to you. Now take my life and reshape it to glorify you as I learn to trust you more. Amen”

Written by Barbara Bloom

September 30, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Growing lessons with Gideon.

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Recently my husband and I found our new church home.  After 15 years of very tough inner city ministry we believed God was calling us out of there, but for over a year we wandered from church to church, until we found this one.  It is truely a gift of God and a blessing to be a part of a congregation that loves one another, and wants to nurture and fan the flames of faith in each other.  Last sunday there was a guest speaker who opened up Judges 6 in a very powerful way. 

 white as snow

In Judges 6 we meet Gideon, and learn that he is not a strong guy – in fact he is a bit whimpy.  He meets God in a powerful way and is given a work to do… but he is afraid of the townspeople so he tears down the alters and idols of false gods at night.  The news travels fast, and soon the town is banging on his dad’s home. Yes, Gideon still lives at home with his father.  But for the first time in Gideon’s life he witnesses his dad’s willingness to stand behind his boy’s actions by telling the townfolk that if they want to fight Gideon they will have to come through him (dad). 

And even after being visited in powerful ways by God, he still questioned, and still tossed about fearfully, questioning, needing to get confirmations, clarifications. 

Lesson learned was that when we meet God in a fresh way he may call us to uncomfortable tasks, but with faithfulness he demonstrates his grace and shows us a blessing.  Gideon had not known his father’s support or encouragement until that day.  So Gideon witnessed a powerful moving of God in his life, but that was enough supply for that moment – and seeking God needs to be a daily, ongoing passion to pursue him, allow his spirit to lead, fill and guide.

Sad post script – Gideon died having wandered away from his faith, and returned to the idols of the past.

Challenge to me (and you): Set time aside for God daily – fall in love with Jesus, and let his word wash over your mind.  Keep seeking the fresh renewal of God’s spirit daily.

Lord, you know my frame and you are intimately aquainted with the very core of my being.  You knit me together in my mother’s woumb.  You know me full well.  And I know I was made to love you, to shine, to reflect your glory in everything I do.  Help me to always seek you, keep looking for the fresh touch, the fresh wind of your spirit.  I want to finish this life with no regrets, no holding back, but finding freedom in Christ that touches the world.   Amen

I keep returning to an old hymn that keeps feeling like it is the theme of my life:

Prone to wander, Lord I fear it, Prone to leave the God I love.  Here’s my heart now take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

Longing for heaven, but living here for Jesus – amen.

Written by Barbara Bloom

May 4, 2009 at 7:07 AM