With my lips I declare
all the rules of your mouth.
In the way of your testimonies I delight
as much as in all riches.
Psalm 119:13-14 ESV
Fifteen years ago this month my life changed forever. For six years my husband and I had been ministering to college age adults out of our home once or twice a week, sometimes three times a week. Every Sunday evening, we had a Bible study and fellowship time for them, followed by dinner. We had an average attendance of about 25 young adults each week, during most of those years. And, all four of our children and their spouses were involved in the ministry at one time or another, too.
And, sometimes we did midweek Bible studies, and part of that time we also were involved with 2 different Christian coffee houses where we also ministered to college age adults, and where we also involved these young adults in ministry. And, we were very big on giving everyone something that they could do where they felt needed and wanted, whether it was cooking a meal, or singing or playing musical instruments, or making coffee at the coffee house or whatever. We really felt like we were one big family.
Some of these young adults were now graduating college and we were all talking about the possibility of making this ministry our church home. So, my husband and I began the process of preparing for ordination (consecration for me) through our home church’s denomination. Now, this was the second time we had been church planters. But, let’s just say that God had other plans for me, which became abundantly clear to me, and that was that church planting was not the direction the Lord was taking me.
I know I have shared this before, but during the summer of that year, the year 2004, I began reading my grandmother’s journals. She kept quoting this same phrase over and over again, but I was unfamiliar with it, so I finally looked it up. She was quoting Habakkuk 2:2-3. And, then this passage of scripture kept showing up other places, too, and then the Lord began speaking to me about him having something else for me to do – something I would not have even dreamed about, and he was right.
Then, in November of that year the Lord began to speak to me through the scriptures in a very unique way. As I was reading the scriptures, he was giving me visions of how this was being lived out in our day and time. In other words, he began showing me the times we are now living in, and he opened my eyes to see so many things that I had no clue about before, regarding what is going on in our world and inside the institutional church, and with regard to the spiritual condition of the church here in my country, in America.
And, the Lord led me then to begin writing down some of the things he was teaching me through his word in all practicality to our world and church today, and he led me to post these on the internet. So, this was completely new to me. I had not ever done anything like that before. It was not every day back then, though, for we still had the college ministry out of our home. We had just stopped with proceeding any further towards church planting.
Then, by May of 2006 the Lord closed the doors on our college ministry after seven and a half years of that ministry. And, immediately after that, in June, he called me to begin writing daily what he teaches me from his Word and to post it on the internet. So, I have been declaring “the rules of the Lord,” his Word, on the internet pretty much daily since June of 2006. But, it was this month of November of 2004 when the direction of my life changed forever. And, I am so glad it did.
I will meditate on your precepts
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.
Psalm 119:15-16 ESV
There have been times in my life when I was quite serious about my walk with the Lord, and there were other times in my life when I got more caught up in the world, and the Lord was not the center of my life. But, since November 2004, he has definitely been the very center of my life, and my life has been given over to him to do what he has called me to do.
Especially since 2006 I have been able to focus my time and talents on this calling on my life to write out what he teaches me each day from his Word and to post it on the internet. But, it isn’t just that. It isn’t just that I am giving more time to the Word of God so that I can share it with others. It is that my eyes truly are fixed on his ways, and I am dedicated to following him in his ways and in doing all that he leads me to do.
The Word of God is alive in my heart and in my mind all the time, even in my dreams. When I awake in the mornings, I am hearing the Lord speak to me through a song or through a dream or through a scripture in my head. And, he continues to speak to me all throughout the day in many ways. He does speak to me a lot through songs, which are scripture put to music, because I remember things better when they are put to music. Plus, the music and the words do minister to my heart so much.
But, the joy of my heart is my Lord, and it is to do his will. That doesn’t mean my flesh always rejoices when he gets me up after I only had 2 hours of sleep or he keeps me up late when my flesh would love to go to sleep. Yet, I yield to him, and I do what he says, and he sustains me, and he gives me his strength and endurance, and I am able to do his will because he strengthens me and he gives me the guidance I need to do his will.
I am a sojourner on the earth;
hide not your commandments from me!
My soul is consumed with longing
for your rules at all times.
Psalm 119:19-20 ESV
I don’t think I truly realized what it means to be a sojourner (a stranger) on this earth as much as I have felt it since November of 2004. For, when I made that choice then to accept God’s calling on my life, I realized that I was shutting the door completely on my former life. I would never go back to where I was before. Holiness is where I had to now live. I truly had to live separate (unlike, different) from the world if I was to do what God had called me to do.
This is not saying I have been perfect since then. God is still growing me. He is still changing me and making me who I ought to be. Every day I still have to say “NO!” to the flesh and “YES!” to God. Daily I am being conformed to his likeness as, by the Spirit, I am putting to death the flesh and I am putting on Christ and his righteousness. So, I press on, like Paul said.
But, the closer my walk with the Lord has become, and the more that my soul is consumed with longing for His Word, and that my heart cries out to God when I see so many people who call themselves Christians forsaking the ways of the Lord to follow after their flesh, the more I feel that I am a stranger on this earth. This world is not my home, I’m just passing through on my way to heaven.
I feel like an oddball lots of times. I don’t fit in with most people groups, not even with most church gatherings. But, you know, we should all be oddballs. We should all stand out as different from the people of the world. We shouldn’t be like the world – none of us! It is a lie of Satan to tell Christians that they need to blend in with the world so that the world doesn’t think we are oddballs. But, we are supposed to be different.
We are supposed to be different, for Jesus called us out from the world. But, somewhere we have gotten this idea along the way that “different” is bad, and that we need to mix more with the world so that they can see that we are “one of them.” But, Jesus said we aren’t supposed to be “one of them.” We are supposed to be his possession, that we might live lives which are different from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus.
The Spirit Calling
An Original Work / November 12, 2019
Hear the Spirit calling.
He’ll keep you from falling.
Tenderly He’s calling,
“Come and follow Him.”
Walk with Jesus daily.
Don’t give in to lazy.
Folks may call you crazy.
Fellowship with Him.
Follow where He leads you.
Eat what Jesus feeds you.
His love will renew you
If you follow Him.
Do what Jesus tells you.
Don’t let your faith fail you.
His love will avail you
If you walk with Him.
Jesus, Lord and Savior,
Reigneth now forever.
He gave us His favor
So we’d live with Him.
Turning now from our sin,
Holy Spirit live-in.
Holiness we walk in,
Purified by Him.