Friday, December 2, 2011

Growing in Awesomeness

I have this really awesome nephew (I have a lot of awesome nieces and nephews but Gus lives close so I get to see him regularly and experience his awesomeness).  Gus is merely  21 months old but in so many ways he is much older.  He is bigger in stature than the majority of kids his age.  His ability to figure out how to be places and do things that he shouldn't is unmatched by other boys his age.  As far as I am concerned, Gus is brilliant. Now Gus is going to be getting a little brother in a few months.  He will be, I am certain, equally brilliant but he may progress at a different speed, he may grow at a different rate.  Perhaps he will walk later but talk earlier.  Perhaps he will grow at an average rate instead of the early growth spurts.  However this next little guy grows and progresses, he is going to be just as brilliant and just as awesome as Gus... just different.

Our spiritual lives our similar to the growth and maturity of children.  Sometimes people grasp spiritual concepts quickly and grow rapidly in their relationship with Jesus but there are others that may take a little longer.  It may be that someone has been living for God for a long time and they may not be as spiritually mature as someone that has just recently surrendered their life.  Our physical age or even our spiritual age does not dictate how mature we are spiritually.  Perhaps this is a redundant thought but I feel that it is important.  If we are not careful, we can start to show a lack of compassion and understanding toward those that do not progress at rate that we feel they should.  When we show that lack of compassion, understanding for those that grow more slowly, we can sow discouragement and frustration in a fertile heart.  When that discouragement and frustration grows, it does not cause spiritual growth but spiritual death.  We cannot badger anyone to grow in Christ.  It is not possible to shame anyone into a relationship with God.  There isn't anyway we can force someone to become spiritually mature.  The only thing that we can do to help them mature into spiritual awesomeness is to pray for them, love them and encourage them in Christ. 

Jude 1:22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference"

I want to encourage each of us to "make a difference" by showing compassion to those of us that are not quite as spiritually mature as you.  They will reach their own personal state of spiritual awesomeness in God's time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful for the Waiting

Earlier this week, I listened once again to a message that Rev. McKemy preached at my church in December of 2009.  He preached regarding the "Weariness of Not Waiting." He spoke how many times we feel that we have gotten weary in the waiting but actually that is where we get our strength.  The weariness comes from trying to force things to happen, trying to fulfill God's promises by our own hand.  When we truly wait on God is when we are made strong.  As I listened to the message, my mind went back to the where I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually. To be completely transparent, I was a wreck. God had told me to walk a certain path, pray a certain way, and gave me promises regarding that path and those prayers.  I must admit, I did not want to pray those prayers or walk that path and I most certainly did not want those particular promises.  But I did want to be in the will of God so I chose to pray the prayers and walk the path and believe in the promises.  As the months went by and 2009 was drawing to a close, I grew impatient with the prayers, path and promises and decided that I had invested enough time, energy and tears so it was time for all to be fulfilled.  I demanded answers, begged for it all to come to completion and most of all pleaded for God to release me from the heartache of what he had asked of me.  Like I said, I was a complete and total spiritual mess. The hurt and pain that God had asked me to endure was... hurtful and painful (for the lack of better words) and the fact that it was apparent that the promise was not coming in the short-term only seemed to magnify the hurt and pain.  But 2010 came and went, as has 2011, still without fulfillment of the promises and answers to the prayers.  And again because my fondest desire is to be in the will of God, I continue to wait, sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently, but still waiting nonetheless.   As I sat there working and listening to this two year old sermon, I started rejoicing and wave after wave of thankfulness flooded over me.  You see, even though two years later I am still walking a path I didn't want, praying prayers that God asked me to pray and believing for promises that I didn't choose, I have been strenthened and transformed.  As I thought about how God has seemingly delayed the answer, held off on the promises, it was truly for my good.  If I would have gotten all my answers right away, would I have continued to grow or would I have grown stagnant?  If God would have fulfilled his promises immediately, would my faith be rooted solidly or would I be fickle in my convictions? Would my desire have been for God or would it have been merely for the fulfillment of the promise? Perhaps it because hindsight is 20/20 but I truly am thankful that God hasn't yet fulfilled all that he promised and that he continues to guide me on a path that, though not always comfortable, is perfectly in the center of his will.  For in the waiting there truly is strength.  I am so thankful for the strength, understanding and growth that this waiting has brought to my life.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say on the Lord."

Isaiah 40:31 "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint"

And finally one of my favorite scriptures:
Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."