Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eve and I

This week has been quite interesting. It's been full of ups and downs, and yet... I'm learning constance. (Repeat: Learning! I'm still a student of faithfulness as I write this, and a stubborn student, at that.)

I find that I'm still deeply affected by Dr. Beal's quote from the tribulation lecture at OCU a few weeks ago:

"Either Eve didn't know God's Word well enough, or didn't regard it highly enough." You know, I think I've always sort of loathed that woman. I mean, WHY did she have to eat from the apple and bring her husband down with her? Have you ever had an apple? So not worth it. But when you put it into terms as Dr. Beale did, well, that changes things.

Which am I guilty of? Surely the first is the result of the second. If I regarded it highly enough, then I would take the pains (and joy) to learn it well. And this would keep my foot from slipping as I so often do.

I yearn to be a woman of God in the deepest sense that God desires it for me. And this conviction of not regarding God's Word highly enough, in practice as well as theory, weighs heavily still. In my experience, I can spend a few weeks coming up with a list of verses I've memorized until I have a list that takes several minutes to recite in my mind everyday. Once, the list was sixty verses long (which just proves to me that it can be done). But the first few days I lag behind, due to sickness or vacation (as though that's a good excuse), I get overwhelmed and feel that I shall never work my way back to where I was. And certainly never get further! But hey, let's break off that lie of in the name of Jesus. I am perfectly capable of learning His Word in my heart and mind to the extent that He desires it for me.

If anyone has any good tips for guarding against this tendency- to get overwhelmed- please let me know. :) And I confess that the biggest challenge for me is remembering the references for each verse. Someone told me recently that it's okay to just say, "Paul says in Ephesians," etc. So perhaps I'll try that.

Life itself testifies to me that learning scripture is so powerful... so crucial to our constant spiritual warfare. And yes, I believe that spiritual warfare is constant! If not in the sense of angels and demons, then certainly in the sense of killing sin and living by the Spirit moment by moment and praying through everything. This morning, I sat down with my worship music playing and began to journal to my Father (as I'm trying more and more to make a daily routine in spite of varying circumstances). Something felt lacking- was it sin in my life? Was it a spiritual issue I wasn't taking to Him, to my Healer? Was it a lack of faith? I expressed to God my honest and confusing lack of enthusiasm and peace in coming to Him.

I glanced down at my sheet of handwritten verses, and my eyes immediately drew to Psalm 51:10,12.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me."

Thank you, David! And thank you my dear Father, who gave me the very words my heart was searching for. Every phrase of these two verses echoed what I so desperately longed to convey to my Savior. I need God to CREATE in me a pure heart. I need God to RENEW a STEADFAST spirit within me. I need God to RESTORE to me the JOY of his salvation and grant me a WILLING spirit to SUSTAIN me. I seek a pure heart; I seek renewal and steadfastness. I seek restoration and joy in his salvation, and- yes, I seek willingness! I have faith, but, Oh God, help my lack of faith!

I'm not sure exactly how to say this... But there have been times of great revival and passion and intensity in some of the people around me, and I feel that we have dipped into a valley of sorts. And I think my perseverance in my exuberance for God's Kingdom is being tested. Where will I fall? I may traverse through valleys, but my eyes must rest on God's hills, on His glory.

Anyway, when my enthusiasm seemed so weak and lacking, I rallied the help of some heavenly friends. Sometimes, we need to go out looking for inspiration from other Godly women when we can't seem to come up with it ourselves. I picked up "Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God" by Noel Piper. I reread the end of Esther Ahn Kim's story, and began that of Helen Roseveare. It was like one really amazing pep talk!

Friends, we must lift up the anthem. We must start each day with all we've got. It isn't enough to give almost all we have.

I'm reminded that Jesus was never afraid of difficult conversations. He dove straight to the heart of things, whether by way of parable or some other story, or just direct confrontation. We mustn't fear the conversation. But perfect love drives out all fear.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7

When I read that verse, I think of it in terms of THE Spirit. For I cannot muster up power and love and self-displine on my own. I am only enabled in as much as I go to the Spirit for these things, and in as much as I have grace to live in power, love and self-discipline.

Don't you remember, oh friends, and oh soul of mine?

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

That's what we do with our lives, with our words. In our joy, in our pain, in our waiting and confusion and affliction. We declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. You may not feel much like getting down to business today- getting to the heart of things, working out your salvation, reaching out to someone in love, or giving your all for the Kingdom. But God is just as worthy today, perhaps in the valley, as He ever was on the mountaintop a week ago. Though your arms and soul may be tired, lift up your hands to Yahweh, and ask Him to create in you a pure heart, steadfastness, joy, and willingness to do His will. He loves to give good gifts. But we must learn to ask for them!

Cheers and God Bless,

Natasha W.

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