Out of the Desert

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I’ve been attending this one particular Bible study for over a year now, and we are currently studying the book of Matthew. It’s been three weeks and I have been pleasantly pleased with the new insights and revelation I have received. One thing in particular, which led to this blog which has been on hiatus for far too long.

The other night, our group leader was discussing the role of John the Baptist. He came out of the desert boldly proclaiming the coming of the Lord. As I sat there, my thoughts wandered to Jesus. Interesting, he also came out of the desert before his ministry took off. As I sat thinking of its significance, I was prompted to write:

Desert periods bring about spiritual renewal.

Maybe I’m not the first person to say this or something like it, but to me the Holy Spirit was reinforcing one important fact. A year and a half ago He told me, “Behold! I do a new thing… I will make a way in the wilderness and create streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19. This “Behold! I do a new thing” prompted me to quit my job, spend six weeks in Europe, and experience God like never before. It was an amazing time in my life, but then, all of a sudden– silence. I whined. I prayed. I cried out. “Lord, where are you?” I moaned. “I don’t feel you!” While that in itself could be an entirely different blog, nevertheless, here I am; and, while God is still not talking to me like He was in 2012, he is moving. I just know it. And that’s why I find encouragement in the stories of John and Jesus. They, too, had to spend time in the desert, but once God brought them to the other side, their ministry and their lives were changed, and more importantly, the lives of others were altered for all eternity.

Now, I can walk through the desert (not wander, mind you) knowing that soon enough, God will bring me to the other side, into my land of promise.

Make a way, Lord. Keep making a way. And soon enough I will be drinking from those nourishing streams.

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Don’t Forget Where You Came From. Ditch it Altogether.

You may have heard that saying a million times, “Don’t forget where you came from.” Well, I had a kind of epiphany this morning. Why not? Why in the world do we hold on to who we once were? That’s not what God says. He says, “Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past” (Is. 43:18). So why do we do it? Nostalgia? Fear? Insecurity?

Let me try to explain:

I gave my life back to Christ nearly 6 years ago. I was raised in the church but went away for quite sometime. From the beginning of my departure of the heart all the way to my return, many emotions and heartaches occurred. These things are part of everyone’s life, but these disturbances really have a way of shaping who you will become. I constructed walls to keep people out and I was always sure to be on the defense. Well, you live this way long enough and it sticks, even after giving your heart back to Christ. So, here I am 6 years later struggling with all the baggage I accumulated over the last decade or so. It’s almost as if I believe, somehow, this was my baggage to bear. I have to pay my penance, if you will, until I deserve to be free. We may never say it like that, but subconsciously, that’s how we live sometimes. Today, all that changed, almost instantaneously.

I was walking my dog and talking to God like I usually do. And God spoke to my heart.
“You are not who you once were.”
“What? Excuse me, God? I don’t understand.”
“That person you think you are because of your past, isn’t you. You are a new creation.”
“I’m a new creation? I’m a new creation! In that case I’m like a baby all over again. I can start all over. The past, all those things that happened, they don’t have to affect me anymore. They may have made me one way, but God has saved me in another.”

What revelation! What freedom! After Christ, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING is new. It’s your chance to start over. Stinky old sin. Doesn’t matter. It’s been cast as far as the east is form the west. Hurt. He’s got that too. He came to bind up our wounds. It’s done. All of it. You and I have the opportunity to start again. Why are will still living with the repercussions of our former selves and former sins? We are free. We can do and be whoever we want now! We can forget what other people have called us. Forget about what we have called ourselves! We can be all the things God has called us: blessed, co-heirs, righteous, children. Whatever God has called you to be, confess it today. Out-loud. Tell God, tell yourself, tell Satan who you truly are-a new creation in Christ Jesus!
“All things have passed away. Behold! All things are new” (2 Cor. 5:17).