January 18, 2009
Based on Romans 4:18-21
Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
In the movie The Fellowship of the Ring, there are some great scenes of Gandalf the Gray, a wizard, visiting the home of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit. Hobbits are small beings, resembling humans, who live in nicely furnished burrows dug into the sides of hills. Wizards, on the other hand, are tall and slim. Imagine then, Gandalf stooping to enter Bilbo’s dwelling, ducking under doorways and past chandeliers, as he follows Bilbo from room to room. It provides some humorous moments!
I sometimes wonder if that’s how God experiences it when we invite Him into our lives.
Where He wants us to expand our hearts, minds, and souls to grasp the wonder, mystery, and power of Him, we try to compress Him to fit into our pre-existing framework.
We don’t understand what He is doing, so we pray for Him to stop. When He doesn’t stop, we beg Him to stop. When He keeps going, we demand that He stop.
How do you respond when God bumps into something you’ve placed in your life that gets in the way of what He wants to do in you and through you?
Do you ignore it so that you won’t have to talk about it with Him?
Do you complain about Him touching your things?
Do you ask Him to stop?
Do you question His authority to move around freely within you?
Do you want Him to make Himself at home in you?
What if He knocks a few holes in the ceiling to let some daylight, some God-light, into your life?
What if He wants to rearrange your priorities?
What if He wants to throw out some of the trash?
What if He has a better idea?
What if He wants to rip the roof off of your house or tear it down completely before He begins rebuilding?
What if the rebuilding process goes on for months, years, or even decades?
What if God’s re-creation of your life is a lifelong process?
Is that what you signed on for when you invited Him in?
Thoughts from God—
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.—Isaiah 55:8-12
Allow God’s Spirit to roam freely within you. Let Him knock holes in the ceiling of your understanding and faith, so that He can reveal God’s truth to you and give you peace as He rearranges your life until God lives fully within you and you develop the very mind of Christ—
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.—John 14:26, 27
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” [Isaiah 64:4]—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned... "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.—1 Corinthians 2:9-16
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!—2 Corinthians 5:17
I’m reminded of a Christian classic Your God is Too Small, by J. B. Phillips. And I wonder if God isn’t using the things that shake me so that I will come to know that He is the God of Abraham, the God who loves to knock holes in the ceiling of my life and do what I think can't be done!
To view the worship celebration related to this Next Step, visit http://www.touchandchange.com/artman/publish/article_1587.shtml