Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Oh what a crazy week it has been! I have, what I believe to be, tendonitis in my right knee. It is either tendonitis or a torn meniscus. All I can pray is that it heals quickly--though considering I have been hurting for a week already, that does not look particularly promising. I finally have a knee brace and I hope that helps the pain somewhat as I walk. But in addition to my knee, I believe that the LORD has stepped on my toes so many times in the last few days that I should almost be completely crippled! Let me share let me share!!!
I was in church, and the pastor delivered a strong message on one of the passages in Matthew. It was from Matthew 15:53-58 and talks about Jesus' inability to reach people in His hometown because of the people's unbelief in Him. The pastor brought up these points:

*Unbelief is the refusal to submit to the revealed person and plan of God. ie: my belief becomes unbelief which brings about the altering of the experience of the power of God. Unbelief changes our experience of the PERSON, POWER, and PLAN of God.

*Our faith is not a controlling force over God--He's already decided what He will do. Effective faith (belief) is submitting to the person of God, whatever His plan may be.

This question followed that and really pounded my heart:
"Do I ask God to bless my plan? Or do I submit myself to His?"

WOW. That was so deep and almost difficult for me to hear. I am one of these people who makes up my own plan, and then asks God to bless it. But He didn't call me to that! He makes the plan and expects me to believe in Him and His plan and follow accordingly. Sometimes (ok probably most of the time) our plans are not going to match completely. That is when I must die to myself and sacrifice my unbelief to give Him my faith and trust.

This lesson came in three parts...all on the same morning.
Lesson #1:
My measure of beauty is so distorted from what God tells me beautiful looks like. According to me, whatever that "mirror mirror on the wall" tells me must be true beauty. But according to God, fear of the LORD, a gentle and quiet spirit, good deeds, quietness, and submission are to be set above pearls, charm, and beauty. (Prov. 31:30, 1 Tim 2:9-10, 1 Pet 3:1-6) Anything other than these traits is not of God and will not be blessed! Ouch.

Lesson #2:
Jn. 15: Jesus is the true vine...and I am a branch. If I am not bearing fruit, God (as the Gardener) will prune me that I may produce more. That pruning--oh precious reader, how painful it may be. I have been placing a lot of pressure on myself to produce fruit lately. I feel almost like a little kid sitting on the commode and squeezing until he turns red...hoping something would pop out! *sorry for the gross analogy but I couldn't help it ;)*
No matter how red I turn in the face, I CAN'T PRODUCE HEALTHY, LASTING FRUIT! But oh, John 15 revealed the error of my way: I can only produce fruit if I am remaining in the vine! *duh, Sarah...duh!* I have been trying to perform good "fruity" deeds. They may look good--and they probably taste sweet. But in essence they are exactly this right here:

*don't throw too many tomatoes if you are a koolaid fan...I'm really sorry he's only 10% real juice* This is what I have been looking like lately: running around in my Hawaiian shirt trying to prove that I'm fruity!! Oh, I'm fruity tasting alright.....but basically I'm just sugar flavored, red colored water. I had to realize that apart from the Vine, I CAN DO NOTHING! Only by remaining in the Vine can HE produce the fruit THROUGH me. I don't know about you, but I want to be this juice right here:

Oh, the power of those verses nearly killed me! Jesus reminded me, "you did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last..." (Jn 15:16a) I'm ready for some JUICE! What about you? Think that was a tough lesson to learn? Yup....

But God wasn't done!

Lesson #3

Mom and I have been talking about how we are to be set apart. As I walk around on a college campus, I find myself surrounded by people and yet somehow still feel alone. We all do this on some level. And God reminded me why! "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you..." (Jn. 15: 18-19). Oh, precious reader, if you are feeling alone right now, take heart....if the world hates you, it's cause they hated Jesus first. And if they hated Him, and now they hate you too.....that's proof that you are stepping in the footprints of the Ancient of Days. In other words, YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL! Wow, who knew being lonely was a mark of success? It's a strange world we live in.


Oh, this morning was another toe stomper.....I was doing Bible study and the author of a book I am currently using *Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets them Free* was wrapping up the chapter on "Lies women believe about themselves." As if this chapter hadn't already been piercing enough, her final day was on "surrendering our longings." One of the questions required me to write down desires in my heart that weren't yet fulfilled. Oh that was an easy one! I wrote them all almost in a daring manner, as if showing the Lord in writing just how unfulfilled I felt. Marriage, family, writing literature, traveling the world, leading someone to Christ, going on a mission trip, adventures beyond a college campus...oh yes I had a list. But then, I was taken to this verse: "He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone by on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." (Deut 8:3)

Here we see the Children of Israel...and how unfulfilled they felt! They were hungry, after all, and stumbling around in a big desert with no food. Naturally they felt unfulfilled! They were dreaming of honey! milk! olives! dates! figs! green grass! barley! FOOD!...................and God gave them manna *which means "what is it?"*.......they'd never seen it before. They felt unfulfilled. But God did not give them every desire of their heart so that they would have a heart that continually longed for their promised land. And He is doing the same with me. He does not give me every single desire of my heart so that I will find my fulfillment in HIM (Psalm 16:11) and keep my eyes focused on HEAVEN as the ultimate fulfillment of my dreams and goals. WOW....that hurt. But somehow I will learn, like Elisabeth Elliot reminds us, that unfulfilled longings provide "material for sacrifice"........Excuse me. I have some sacrificing to do.

I know this was a long post, but I hope you were blessed by everything the LORD has been showing me the last couple days! I can't wait to see what He shows me tomorrow =D

Because He lives,


1 comment:

Becky Dietz said...

I love your points! (And especially love the Kool-Aid/Fruit Juice illustrations!!)

Yesterday, I was reading in Matthew 8. The chapter is full of the miracles that Jesus did. Then the last verse ends in a totally unexpected way: "Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region."

Jesus was rocking their boats--upsetting the norm. So they asked him to leave. Made me wonder how many times I'd done that.

And yesterday, James Greer filled our pulpit and used Deuteronomy 1:6, "The LORD our God said to us at Horeb, "You have stayed long enough at this mountain." Mount Horeb was the "dusty place." And God gave them marching orders---leave the dusty place and go into the Promised Land. In God's grace, He sometimes tells us we've lived in the place of unfulfilled dreams long enough---go on into the land I promised you. Praise God!! I guess the moral to that story is to know what God has promised you.

I love your heart, Sarah!! Blessings!