Tag Archive | spiritual growth

Cottage by the Sea #6 – 3/6/15

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Abba Father;
Gone.
The evidence
Of its existence
But for squishy soil
Drying decks
And piers.

Days.
The hours
The powers
Of relentless freezing
Rain and
Frigid winds.

Gone.
The evidence
Of its existence
But for squishy soil
Drying decks
And piers.

Sin.
Hangs on
Through the dawn
Is my faith
That little or
Unbelief that strong?

Father,
Help my unbelief
So my belief
Then becomes
All that stronger
For next time.

Sin.
Hangs on
Through the dawn
Is my faith
That little or
My unbelief that strong?
               d.f.a.v. 3/6/15
–Donna

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Saying “Change Me”

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Thinking about my prayer for God to change me, I have been trying to pinpoint EXACTLY what I’m praying for Him to change.  Am I wanting Him to MAKE me over?  Change who I am?  Alter my attitudes? Remove those sins I just can’t seem to give up?

“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” James 2:19-24 N.I.V.

These verses in James remind me of a parable Jesus told as recorded in Luke 8:4-15.  To paraphrase; a farmer sows seed and the seed falls onto four types of soil.  The first was the soil on the path and birds quickly devoured or feet trampled it.  The second was rocky soil where it grew but quickly withered for lack of moisture.  The third was soil where thorns grew and when the seeds sprouted and grew they were overwhelmed by the thorns and weeds.  The fourth was good soil, ready to receive the seed, and a fine crop was reaped. 

When Jesus explained this parable He said the seed was God’s word.   The birds and tramping feet were Satan whisking the seed away before it is heard.  The rocky soil represents those who believe God’s Word yet don’t establish deep roots and during testing times they walk away.  The thorny soil is to show a picture of those who hear God’s. Word but the pressures and pleasures of life help them forget. Finally the good soil and crops mirrors those who hear and believe God’s Word and stays the course, bringing others to Jesus.

When I am praying “change me” this is what I mean.  At times we are every one of these soil types.  I want to be more like the good soil, less like the other three more often. Less me, more Him.

When I pray “God change me” I am praying for His strength through and in me to LIVE HIS WORD. I can’t look in God’s Word then turn away if I am SERIOUS about God changing me.  I have to be willing to stand the pressures of life and turn away from the pleasures that are sinful.  I have to HEAR and BELIEVE God’s Word immediately before Satan has a chance to sweep it away from me.

“Change me!”  It sounds so Christian doesn’t it?  But, if I MEAN IT it is Christian for it means yielding me to Him for His use in whatever way He plans.

Are you still willing to pray and mean the same? Are you willing to be in it for the whole race?

Praying,
-Faye

Less of Me

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My heart remains involved and entangled in John 3:30, where John the Baptist said, “He must become greater, I must become less.”  It seems like such an elementary concept, more Jesus in our lives, less us.  Less me.  But to leave it there, a concept undeveloped changes nothing in my life.

Less of me.  Well, I could use less of me physically and given that I am an amputee to a degree there is less of me.  But, I know, as surely you do, John the Baptist wasn’t talking about physical appearance.  So what was he talking about? 

As my understanding of it is, John the Baptist, was Jesus’ cousin, Mary’s cousin Elizabeth’s son born after Elizabeth’s childbearing years.  When Mary visited Elizabeth before telling Joseph she was expecting the Messiah, John leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary came in with Jesus in her womb.  John recognized Jesus as the Messiah before either were born! John was older than Jesus by a few months I believe.  When John grew up it is said he lived primarily in the desert eating locusts and wild honey and dressed in animal skins. A wild man to some degree.  Not your image of the one to herald Jesus’ “coming out” when Jesus would reveal who He was to anyone.

Jesus sought John out so John could baptize Him and John consented, though he felt unworthy, because Jesus asked.  John the Baptist was not an arrogant man, neither did he indulge in gathering the things of earth that would make him esteemed among men.  John spent years telling people Jesus was coming, then that He was here and eventually losing his head for speaking the truth and two women’s need for revenge.  How much “less” could a man be?

John said these words when those who followed him pointed out that now Jesus was baptizing people, although it was actually the disciples baptizing, not Jesus.  John recognized his role in Jesus’ life was shifting.  Jesus was here now, He could speak and act for Himself.  But that didn’t mean John the Baptist no longer had a ministry just that the ministry shifted.

Now exactly how it shifted I don’t know but I imagine John began to point people to Jesus for discipleship and to hear, see, and learn from Jesus Himself who He was in relation to Scripture and mankind.

John the Baptist never stopped preaching and I don’t believe he stopped baptizing either.  He certainly never lost his zeal for truth!  So how did he become less so Jesus could become more?

My goodness, compared to John the Baptist there are multiple ways I could become less if my goal was to imitate John.  But that’s not my goal.

My goal is to imitate Christ.  For spiritually my life to become more about pointing others to Jesus than about my works, my ministry, my roles as wife and mother, sister, aunt, blogger, author, artist…it’s about laying me down and holding Christ up.

That is not easy.

That is not simple.

That is not without cost.

That is no elementary concept.

This is not something to give mere lip service to. This is where the ” rubber hits the road”.

“O Lamb of God, Change me!  Change me!”*

Becoming less,
-Faye

Quote from poem Change Me by d.f.a.v., published on fvbf 8/26/13.  All rights reserved.

Change Me! Change Me!

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30 N.I.V.

 

One of the greatest hymns still sung in churches in America, usually during the time of the service pastors are giving us opportunity to respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit is Just As I Am. Its words alone are words to sway us toward turning to our Heavenly Father.

“Just as I am, without one plea,

But that thy blood was shed for me,

And that thou bidd’st me come to thee,

O Lamb of God,

I come!

I come!”

The words, penned by Charlotte Elliott in 1834 are tenderly moving and they linger in my heart when I hear them. I am comforted, now, by the assurance that I am enough, as I am, for Christ. That is such a sweet knowledge to hold to my heart for so often in life I’ve felt as if I was just not “enough” for people I’ve loved.

What hit me yesterday in church (and we didn’t sing this song) was that if I believe, as I’ve come to see recently, God isn’t finished with me yet; was gratitude Jesus takes me as I am but also a new revelation of sorts; “don’t leave me this way Lord”! If I am to be part of the Great Commission, if “He is to become greater so I must become less” then I have to surrender myself so He can prune me. I must be willing to be refined in the fire. I must be willing to give up my prideful will, my selfish desires and my defeated attitude so Jesus can be the Lord of my life.

I’m just not sure what God has in store for the next twenty-four hours of my life or the next year or any years beyond that He sees fit to leave me here but I do know this:

Just as I am, without one plea,

But change me Lord to glorify thee

Remove my thorns and set me free

O Lamb of God,

Change me!

Change me!

 

My flaws, my sins, my selfishness,

I surrender them for Your best

Don’t leave me Lord without the tests

O Lamb of God,

Change me!

Change me!

 

Replace the milk as babe I drink

And help me on thy Word to think

From child to adult Lord I plea

O Lamb of God,

Change me!

Change me!

 

Prune from my heart the weeds of sin

Refine in fire the filth within

Create in me the daughter You see

O Lamb of God,

Change me!

Change me!

d.f.a.v. 8/26/2013

 

Being improved!

-Faye