Two nights ago I felt something in the spirit shift and it felt like a 'hard heartedness toward God' that came upon my spirit and I thought this is unusual. Didn't feel like worshipping, listening to praise music or anything which is highly unusual for me and so I wondered what was happening. Then yesterday morning something else happened that made Jim & I reflect and ask the Lord what was happening in the spirit and the things that have come out in the past 24 hours are things I want to share with you.
Blame shifting, not taking responsibility and a hard heartedness toward the things of the Lord and others. Big heavy topics but ones that need addressing I believe and ones we all have issues with at some time in our lives, but topics which all lead back to pride. But when we keep out hearts soft and open to the Lord and to others, we release heaven to earth and we see things shift for the better in our circumstances and in our relationships, in fact in everything.
There have been many times in our lives where things have come at us that we had choices to make. To follow what the word of the Lord said, trusting that he would work all things together for good, or to follow our emotions, our hurts and move on, or seek justification/retribution for actions done to us or whatever the case has been. Its also a place where we can choose to stay in 'self pity' because it is actually easier than forgiving those who have hurt us or asking for forgiveness for what we have done to others.
1 Peter 5:5 All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble".
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble". Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you."
Grace is the key. We cannot do it. We need God to come into our situations and when we wait upon him we begin to get an understanding of actually what Grace is. Grace is a word we hear a lot about but to really understand what it is we have to walk of journey where we need God to step into things and see his hand in it. Where we see his provision come in a way we never thought possible. Where we receive strength to forgive someone who has harmed us. Where we can love someone who may have damaged our family. Where restoration happens because God does something in us to love and forgive others that we could not do ourselves.
In Jonah 2:8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord."
When we hold onto worthless idols such as pride, self righteousness, selfishness, finances, anger, unforgiveness, whatever it may be, we forfeit the grace from God. We forfeit his help coming in to our situations. But when we let go of those idols in our lives and allow him to come in, we see amazing things happen, not only with us but also with those around us.
We have had some times in our lives where it has been so 'black' we have not seen any way through anything and that place has been absolutely horrible and if God didn't intervene I don't know where I would be today, but I choose to trust in the Lord and his word and we saw his grace come in a way that was unbelievable, that turned everything around from a place of total despair and hopelessness to one of a hope and a future.
I looked back on the last blog about the storms coming, and our foundations needing to be secure and I want to encourage you again today that if you fear the Lord, if you open your heart to him and his word and choose to stand on his word, you will not be disappointed. You may not see through the place you are in at the moment, but the Lord is able to give you grace for the day which will enable you to stand and see the deliverance of your God. But if we harden our hearts toward God, towards others, we will never see the deliverance that is at hand.
When a hardening of heart happens we need to ask ourselves and the Lord some questions and when we get the answers, we need to listen to them and do something about them.
Sometimes when we don't feel like praising God, then that is the very thing we need to do. A sacrifice of praise because it truly is a sacrifice because it is the last thing we feel like doing, but when we do that our eyes are turned away from our situations and put back on God who is our deliver of that situation. When we keep our eyes on those things that are causing pain, that is all you will ever see and you won't see the deliverance when it comes.
Trust me when I say, Jim & I don't have it all together and certainly teenagers show you your own areas that need a 'readjustment', and those hard hearts that can be put up because you want your way as it says in James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight." And teenagers certainly test your hearts on some issues of authority, respect, honour etc. but I now see all of these as times of growth, or breakthrough, of shifting things that will bring an inheritance in our lives. Once I would have seen it as failure as a Christian when I got it wrong in the Lord and I would have stayed in that place of condemnation but not any longer. When we fall over in some area in our lives we also see God's grace there to pick us up and forgive us and say "Come on daughter, lets have another go at this" You fell over in this area but my grace is sufficient, let's try again. I do not stay in condemnation any longer because that is not God, but I do have a choice to make when conviction comes, to do something about it.
And so Lord help us today to receive Grace from you and to give Grace to others. Lord we can't do it, we need your help to come into our situation today. Lord I open my heart to you today, show me the areas in my life that there are walls that need to come down and Lord help me to let them fall. Lord forgive my pride, my selfishness, my need to be in control when you want to be in control and realise your ways are better than mine. Lord help me to love those who hurt me, to forgive them and to see them how you see them. Lord if there is someone I need to forgive today, please show me. Lord if there is someone I need to ask forgiveness of Lord, help me to go to them and ask forgiveness for how I have hurt them because I can't do that in my own strength. Lord thank you that you have forgiven us our sins so that we can forgive others theirs. Thank you for your grace and your mercy, your love that covers a multitude of sin, your love that casts out all fear. And Lord for those who don't know how much you love them today, please give them a revelation of that love for them today. That they are the apple of your eye. That you delight in them even when they don't feel that delight. That nothing they could ever do will ever push you away from your love toward them. That you love each one of us unconditionally!
Thank you Jesus.
I was looking for something else but stumbled upon this after writing the blog and thought this is a good word to add that would bring encouragement! Psalm 112 "Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house and his righteousness endures forever. Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righeousess man. Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice. Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever. He will have no fear of bad news, his heart is steadfast trusting in the Lord. His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes. He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever, his horn will be lifted high in honour. The wicked man will see and be vexed. He will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing."