Wednesday, June 27, 2012

God's Politics

 "Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished." ~Romans 13:1-2 (NLT)

Politics, politics everywhere...I can't turn around without seeing a commercial, billboard, getting an email forward, or seeing cartoons on facebook having to do with our current leadership or the upcoming election.  At least 90% of these are all some sort of slander or ill comment toward the other party, or person.  In complete honesty, sometimes I think they are really funny or they are true and I used to pass them on, until I began to study this chapter in Romans.  I think I read these first couple of verses over about 5 times and really felt convicted about being a part of the trash talk and jokes.  Who am I to make jokes and slander our authorities that God has placed in leadership?  I should be praying for them and the decisions they are making since God has delegated them to be where they are.  It's a job that I would not be able to do or want!

As Christians, we lead by example.  So how is it that we constantly walk around, speaking negative about our current government leaders?  There is a difference between opinion and slander/judgment.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we shouldn't have an opinion or a choice, because I absolutely think we do!  President Obama is our president for a reason and according to this verse - God has placed him in this authoritative position.  I am not too proud of my example when I forward these trashy emails or cartoons and the longer repercussion of actually engaging in these activities.

I have been learning a great deal about sowing and reaping.  "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life." ~Galatians 6:7-8 (NIV)  Our words are like fiery darts.  We are speaking and sowing curses over our government and our nation without even realizing it.  I don't want to reap the product of curses I am speaking over others.  Now with technology, I am sending curses with the click of a keyboard.  To think that something so tiny can become something so huge and come back to us is scary!

As a Christ - follower, I am called to speak and pray - truth, life, and blessings over those around me AND those in authority.  When I am making judgment on our government, I am basically saying that God made a mistake by ordaining these authorities.  When I choose to rebel against any authority, then I am rebelling against God.  I don't want to rebel against God or insinuate that He is making mistakes (because I know He isn't)!

As Christians, we should be constantly speaking blessings over our government and praying for them.  We should pray that they face each day with the Armor of God, with Godly wisdom, and pray blessings over them.  We should pray that God gives them vision and they can hear His voice.  Then we should pray for the future of our nation, that our future leaders are hand-picked, blessed, and ordained by God!  We aren't called to judge but we are called to pray. I would like to reap blessings, how about you?  "Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness." ~James 3:18

Let's Pray:
Heavenly Father,  thank you for loving me so much that you have and will place the correct people over me at work, in government, and all around me in my everyday life.  Lord, I repent of speaking negativity and slander against my leaders and authorities and ask for your forgiveness.  Please help me to remember to pray for my government and my leaders, and to sow seeds of righteousness every day in my life.  Father, bless our president, nation and state governments and authorities with wisdom and protection.
In Jesus's Name,

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Wilderness

14 "So I am going to attract her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. 15 There I will give her back her vineyards, and I will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope. There she will respond as when she was young, as when she came out of Egypt." ~Hosea 2:14-15 (NCV)

I recently prayed with a very good friend, a little sister, that I spent 5 months living with in New Zealand and Fiji while I attended YWAM (Youth With A Mission) in 2005-2006.  During our skype prayer time, God gave her this above verse for me and it seems to keep popping up everywhere since then.  It has kept coming up in devotions and messages at church.  I guess God really wanted me to dig in and study it a little bit more.  I wasn't really even familiar with the book of Hosea until we had that skype conversation!  The more these verses came up, the more I realized it fit so many situations in my life at the moment.

Hosea is an interesting book written by the prophet Hosea.  There are actually two parallel stories in it.  One is of God's unhappiness and disapproval with Israel, and the judgment He would bestow on them.  Things were going great for Israel and when things are great, they tended to forget about God and become unfaithful and rebellious.  The second story is about Hosea's marriage to his wife Gomer.  She was a prostitute and chose unfaithfulness over Hosea and their children.  This story is used as a metaphor for God's forgiveness and unending love for his children, Israel.

So back to these similar situations in my life.  The first parallel I realized was that I left many people in New York whom I loved dearly, to move to South Carolina.  This was no accident, it was because God "attracted" me to SC and he has led me into the "desert" where I currently am now.  No, not a desert in South Carolina - but a desert season of my life.  Yes the desert is a dry, hot, weary place but it can be fruitful.  It is fruitful because He is "speaking tenderly" to me here. He is healing my heart of the wounds and choices that weren't made with God in mind or heart.  He is "speaking tenderly" to me here because He loves me so much.  He is not an angry, vengeful God - He is a loving and caring Father.  I find happiness in this hot, dry desert because the heat of his love has me sweat out all those impurities and poisons from my wounds so I can heal!

Then He s going to "give me back my vineyards" when He is finished.  He will give me back and restore what the locusts ate!  "He will make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope".  All the pain and doubt will give me hope for an amazing future.  I will be able to use this season to help restore hope to others!  That is so exciting!  He is able to turn around and use everything for his good. We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him... ~Romans 8:28 (NCV)

"There (in the desert at the door of hope), she will respond as when she was young" - that innocence and trust is regained, the wild abandonment of a child is rejuvenated in my heart.  "As when she came out of Egypt" - Oh how many times Lord have You taken me out of Egypt!  I can count five actual physical moves where God has taken me out of somewhere I shouldn't of been.  The joy and peace that followed was amazing and to know that is what He has in store for me is the best part!

So, being in the desert isn't a bad place to be!  God meets me here, He called me here, and He speaks tenderly to heal my broken heart here.  Then he restores my joy and hope for the future here.  Enjoy the desert with Him.  You will learn new things that you can't learn anywhere else.  On a side note, try not to grumble too much because then the 11 day journey may take you 40 years when it doesn't have too!  Do everything without complaining or arguing. ~Philippians 2:14  All is does it waste precious healing time anyway. ;)

You may not be in a desert season of life but how do these verses speak to your heart?  Are you running towards God or are things good so you are just coasting through, waiting for the next speed bump?  God wants to always meet you where you are and speak tenderly to your heart in every season.

Lets pray:
Father God, thank you for loving me so much that you call me back no matter what I may do to push You away.  Thank you for loving me through the hurt and pain, and using every circumstance to teach me.  In this season, show me where I am and continue to speak tenderly to me Lord. Help me to find joy and hope in every season of life. Please continue to restore my joy and hope and to help me be able to share this joy ad hope with others around me.
In Your Precious Name,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My First Revelation - Titus

Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. ~Jonah 3:3a

Before my first writer's small group, I went to pick up my wonderful friend Lindsay who is someone I look up to and learn from everyday.  She has four children whom she home schools and a wonderful, Godly husband who is like a big brother to me.  On this particular night, her husband was attempting to feed the kids dinner.  All of her kids (well the ones who are of speaking age), call me Auntie Ryssa.  As I walked in the door, her two oldest boys greeted me with hugs and "Hi Auntie Ryssa!"  Titus, her 2 almost 3 year old, was strapped into his chair at the table and was just screaming.  I tried to say hello but he just kept on screaming. Andrew (Lindsay's hubby) said to me that he was unhappy because he was restricted to his chair for being disobedient about his dinner.

I thought about this as we began out first five minute free-write in small group.  I was thinking about how he was crying and carrying on, and then his joy, smile, and pure love when he was able to leave the dinner table.  How funny that a simple reaction of a child can be so profound!  He was unhappy because of restrictions. How many times as adults, do we get upset, angry, and throw inner temper tantrums because of boundaries and guidelines that God gives us?  Sometimes we blatantly disobey God and the outcome of that is almost a restriction.  We are strapped down at God's table until we obey.

It is like Jonah disobeying God and not going to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-3).  He ran the other way and got on a ship.  Because he chose to disobey God, he got swallowed by a whale.  I think that is a bit restricting, don't you?  Until Jonah decided to obey and until Titus decided to obey, they were being restricted.  The great thing is that when Jonah decided to obey, the fish spit him out (Jonah 2:10). 

The other great thing, that God showed me visibly, was when Titus obeyed - he was let out of his booster seat and had the joy that came with freedom!  The best news yet is that when we obey God, He brings us freedom!!!  When Jonah obeyed, he was freed from the fish.  When Titus obeyed, he was freed from the dinner table.  God brings us freedom from those things that hold us back when we disobey.  And with that freedom comes JOY, unspeakable true JOY! 

God showed me all this through observing a child for five minutes.  What are your internal temper tantrums holding you back from?  What has God asked you to do that you have refused and it is causing you to be strapped down? Remember, He knows what is best for us and would never ask us to do something that isn't.

Let's pray: 
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me enough to die for me on that cross and for always knowing what is best for me.  Lord, please reveal to me any disobedience that may lay hidden in my life.  Show me how to live in true obedience to You.  Thank You Lord, for Your freedom and fullness of joy and for allowing me to walk in it!
In Your Precious Name, Amen.