Wednesday, July 2, 2008

In the Midst of the Wilderness

In the midst of the wilderness...

In my God appointed quiet time this early (4am, I have been up since 2am) morning I read an account of the Deeper Still conference and I was touched... I say God appointed because this week I have been up at 2 or 3 am almost every night. I have felt Him gently wake me and say "come." The harder I fought to go back to sleep the more difficult it became, He kept gently saying "come" let's sit a spell. So here I sit for the 3rd early morning in a row... There are no distractions and He knows all too well how easily I become distracted these days. I have had some sweet times with Him this week. Praise Him...

from Deeper Still:

Priscilla Shirer speaks about seeing God in the midst of the wilderness using Exodus 19:9. She said that when God wants to lead you into a divine invitation, He'll often lead us into the wilderness. It is in the wilderness where intimacy is ignited.
She talked about how it was God's choice to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness. There was an easier way, but He took them a different path to allow them to see His provision. Mount Sinai was the furthest possible place away from external blessing, but it was at this place that they received the biggest internal blessing. Sometimes it takes hard times and difficult circumstances to make us really see who God is and His power.
Priscilla used an example that has stuck with me. She compared having God's spirit poured out on you to being caught in a rainstorm. It can be uncomfortable, inconvenient, and make us want to run back to where we came from. Sometimes the hand of God doesn't look the way we expect it to.
I have spent much of the last couple of months feeling like I'm in the wilderness, often wandering aimlessly and wondering if God has a plan or a purpose. It has been hard and at times I have felt like I can't take anymore, but God has been faithful to sustain me. And, honestly, I have grown more in my faith than at any other period of my life. It's made me seek Him more because I've realized I'm not in control and I don't have the answers.
As Priscilla said, it's being able to say God I trust you. I'm not going to fight this season of life, but settle in and trust you.
There are three things we need to do to prepare to see God.
1. He calls us to remember what He has already done for us. Where you were and what He has delivered you from. We will be thankful when we remember where we've been.
Honestly, my list is too long. She also made a reference to digging through the garbage and, have mercy, I was a professional garbage digger for many a year.
2. Recognize your spiritual identity. God is the only one who can label us. He gives us our identity. Knowing who you are is dependent on really knowing who He is.
3. New levels of surrender. Holiness is important to God. Find an area you don't want to surrender and SURRENDER IT.
As Priscilla said, the Holy Spirit empowers you to submit to surrender.
Girl, I need some empowering.
When the children of Israel reached this point, God descended on Mount Sinai in the form of a mighty cloud filled with thunder and lightning. Ultimately, they let their fear hold them back and they kept their distance from the mountain. They were afraid to get the word of God for themselves.
So, Priscilla's question was "What is holding you back?"
It challenged me to take a hard look at the things I let hold me back. Things like fear and uncertainty. But I'm working on the surrender because I don't want to miss out on what God has by holding on to what I think I need or want.
I want Him to pour out His spirit on me. Even if it's uncomfortable at times. Even if there are days I can't see through the storm.
I want Him.
Is anything holding you back?

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