And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full (1 John 1:4).

Friday, January 8, 2010

At His Feet

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!" (Revelation 1:17-18)
Photo by Mary Williams Hyde

A late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Praise God, at least He knows what I'm doing when it seems to me like I'm just wallowing around in myself.

A lot of things have changed since the last time I was truly available to the Lord. At times, as I struggle to have a deeper relationship with my Lord and Savior, I seem to run into those conflicts of the soul and spirit. Thank God that He is in control and all I have to do is wallow around until HE BRINGS ME OUT OF IT!

Have you ever noticed that at times God gives you an idea, through the Holy Spirit, and you know it is truth and may be a new revelation to you, but you feel you haven't quite got a full grasp of it yet? In the meantime, the Lord puts someone in front of you that was rather unexpected and they seem to need or be struggling for the very thing that He just let you in on a while before. The coolest part of that is that we didn't have to go find someone to share with, He provided that, and in the process of us sharing, the Holy Spirit is truly our Teacher and reveals what we're speaking in more detail. Even to the point of conviction or edification of our own understanding, so that all parties become blessed. Amazing and Awesome to me!

With the New Year there have been some changes in my little family's life that I believe have started a new chapter in more ways than I am probably aware of yet.
In November, Ronda, the girls, and I left the ranch in Nevada and moved to Idaho. That is a huge change for me, as well as my girls. God is doing a mighty work in my remaining family there and I was hindering that for now. He opened up a way for us to move to an empty house that a friend and brother has here.

The only reason I've shared any of this is not really for what I'm doing, but for what God is doing with me and in me. PRAISE GOD!

It amazes me how at times I can be so submitted and pliable to the Holy Spirit to teach me and help me, and a month later wake up and realize that somewhere along the line I lost focus and have pretty much been running on my own strength, in a way useless to God. Thank God sometimes He shortens the chain and it doesn't take too long to hit the end of it and be snapped back into His reality.

About a week ago, God brought to my attention that I'm not exactly walking completely in His will, and therefore, I'm not truly in His presence. When we were in Nevada, I had been praying for direction. I had been telling Him that I wanted everything He had for me, that I wanted to give Him all of me. I desired His best for me even if that meant giving back some of His blessings.

Praise God! He opened a door and my friend had an empty house to move into, when He saw it fit for us to move. I really never thought I would do this, seeing as how the last year with the Lord has been so filled with Him, but some how on the move up here I put Him on the back burner. And yep, I'm sure I left Him simmering. Forgive me Lord! Praise God for His GRACE!

I didn't even feel the need to call upon the Holy Spirit to feed me or teach me.
Because God was sending us to Idaho and His timing is perfect!

An empty house!
Hey, we were in need of a house.

A job?
We'll worry about that when we get there. Thank God for an open door and a house. Let's get packed and move!

After about a month of moving, back and forth between states and holidays, Ronda and I came up with a brilliant new plan. We'll take the month of December off! A great plan, had I used it to benefit my spirit more than my flesh. I went to ropings and saw friends I hadn't seen in a while. All the time my conscience was on being a good example of Christ. I hadn't forgotten about Him completely!

What I didn't realize until just hours ago, it seems, is that He's upped the ante!

Now I have time on my hands. I don't have a day full of jobs that we'll never get done in a day, day after day. I had learned to stay focused on Him throughout the day because that was my escape from never being caught up with our work. I just praised Him, did the work we could, and went on in His bliss.

Haa! Now I have no work to speak of. So it should be simplicity, sublime, right? WRONG!
Now my mind, out of desperation, is waking up 4 hours before daylight, just to pace back and forth with a cup of coffee in my hands, realizing that I could step out the back door and spit on three different neighbors' property, and I begin to make up things that we need to work at figuring out.
What do I want to do when I grow up?
How are we going to make a living? Etc...
The thing that cracks me up is that, I STILL DON'T KNOW!

Here is what I do know.
God's timing is perfect!
He moved us down here!
Had a house waiting!
I got to spend more than a month with my girls uninterrupted because of work, some times pushing Ronda's sanity, I think!
We found a church and bible study that feeds me and challenges Ronda and I!
I lost my way and got stuck trying to make plans in my own strength!
When I try to press in or seek His presence it just felt dry, until 2 days ago!

Other than a small testament that you may be able to relate to, most everything up to this point is irrelevant compared to what I would like to share now.

As I've shared in the past, scripture and the revelation He gives us is all woven together, kind of like a ball of yarn, one thing leads to another. I'm going to attempt to try to make this simple without too many rabbit trails.

I said before that I felt like all I was getting was this dryness when I tried to press in and enter His rest. I believe the reason was that in the process of moving, I not only put Him on the back burner, but I may have moved the stove to the back yard.

Revelation 2:4 "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love."The word "left" means "to send away or to neglect."
I had done that and He had that against me.

How now do I fix that?
Revelation 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--- unless you repent."

Where had I fallen?
What is the first works?
Matthew 22:37 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
Matthew 22:38 "This is the first and great commandment."
Mark 12:30 even adds not only our heart, soul, and mind, but with all our strength. "And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment."
Wow, that sounds like something that we might have to put forth some effort to do!

There are a few things that I would like to expound on before we finish the rest of Revelation 2:5. The first works, if some of you got lost in my thinking, is to love our God, our Lord, our Savior. The word for "love" there, if I understand correctly, is agapao, the verb or action of the word agape. If you remember from the previous discussion a few months ago, this love is the type that we cannot achieve without the Holy Spirit, without Helper, without the Spirit of God!

Bare with me here, because we're going to get off on a bit of a rabbit trail, but I promise I'll wrap it all up as the Spirit leads me to.

Do you remember the scripture where Jesus speaks about a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand? (Luke 11:14-26) He's talking about being demon possessed, which I don't believe is possible for a believer. However, what the Spirit revealed to me through that scripture is that in Luke 11:23 "...he who does not gather with me scatters."The move up to Idaho had scattered me, not to the point of no return, but to the point of losing focus on loving on Him. I wasn't loving Him with all my strength, because I had shifted my focus from Him to what He had set in motion! That dryness that I was feeling was there because I had let something other than loving Him take up residence in a house that had been put in order prior to that (Luke 11:24-26).

So now what?
Well, the rest of Revelation 2:5 answers that!
Repent!! And return to those first works.
Loving on Him is key as we'll find out, because He states (remember this is Christ speaking in Revelation) "or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place."

Wow, does that mean He's going to come and snuff us out?
Ahhh yes, in the sense that in Matthew 5:14-16 and Luke 8:16-18 you are no longer effective for the Kingdom of Heaven and in Matthew 6:22-23 you would no longer have spiritual eyes to see with, but slip back into seeing nothing of God's reality.
Repent! Repent! Repent!

So hopefully you followed me up until now, because I have one more example, I pray, that will help us realize the importance of just loving Him, and lead to another piece of our flesh being nailed to the cross.

In Luke 10:38-42 we meet Martha and Mary. It says that Martha pretty much busies herself with serving the Lord, basically being a good hostess to her guest. Mary on the other hand just plops herself down at His feet and listens to Him talk, probably as He taught His disciples, leaving Martha to do all the work.

In Luke 10:40 we see that she is distracted with much serving and finally loses it, and demands Jesus to tell Mary to help her. Jesus in a loving tone (I believe) says "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things." He states a fact that we can gather from previous verses and our own experience. Then Jesus defends Mary.

Because of all the things that were needed, Mary had found the best one and that was at His feet loving Him, hanging on every word!

If we might take this a bit farther, as I was writing this down my eyes were opened a bit more. So for the sake of revelation, PRAISE GOD, let's say that Martha represents our soul, which is either led by our carnal desires or by our spirit, and Mary represents that spirit inside of us, that pure seed.

Now look at the scripture again, Luke 10:38-42.
In verse 38, notice that Martha (our soul, led by the flesh) invited Him in because she knew that is what she should do because of who He is.

In verse 39, what did Mary (our spirit) do? She immediately began to worship and love Him.

In verse 40, Martha (same one as before) after welcoming Him in, began the task of serving and busying herself with those things that SHE THOUGHT would be important to Him. To the point that Martha (same one) tries to throw a guilt trip on Jesus because Mary (our spirit) is worshipping instead of scattering herself all over the place trying to serve Him.
Don't you think that if Jesus had asked Mary to get Him something she would have leaped up and done so? The difference is Martha was trying to do it in her own strength, and was getting worn out, where Mary could have done it filled with the joy of just being in His presence.

It's becoming apparent to me how important it is to start the day at His feet as Mary did, before we start doing those tasks that Martha had put in front of herself. When we do this, it is easier to go throughout the day doing the tasks God has prioritized, and our spirit can stay at His feet loving Him!

Those desires of our soul must come into line with our spirit; Martha must sit down with Mary and find rest, so that Mary can lead Martha to do those things which Jesus desires.

Heavenly Father,
I thank You for Your grace. I thank You that You allow us back even after we've neglected You. Thank You that the more love we give to You, the more love You give to us. Lord, I pray that eyes will be opened and hearts softened when this is read and that your anointing would go forth and minister to those that can receive it. May You create in us a hunger to ante up when the stakes get higher.

WARNING: Please take everything you read and hear concerning my Lord before Him and get His opinion of it. I share those things that He has revealed to me at this time, but I reserve the right to change my opinion as He brings me into an ever deepening and revealing relationship with Him!

Ty Van Norman