Well, this has been the most amazing Christmas ever! I can’t put it all into words and I have no pictures or gifts to tell the story except the beating of my heart! What I do have is JOY UNSPEAKABLE! You can’t buy that in a store or grow it in a garden. That only comes from GOD.
I have struggled for months with myself. I am finally free from that bondage and I have to be intentional about NOT picking that stuff up again. My mind is full and ON for God and God alone. I have dealt with issues of anger and selfishness and have had to be brutally honest with myself concerning these things. I let them separate me from God. I have spent much time alone in prayer and in God’s Word. I have accountability people in my life who hold me to being the best that I can for God. They have prayed, counseled and helped me lay down my issues. It’s not always easy, but it can be done.
Pastor Ronnie gave a beautiful sermon on IDOL WORSHIP this past Sunday. It was Christmas Day but it was NOT your standard Christmas sermon. I’m glad. I would call it more of a New Year sermon compelling us to cleanse ourselves before 2012 arrives. He preached with much boldness on what our idols are and what we need to do to release them. He can’t do it for us-but he can be there to help us. There may be other people in your life who can help you, but they can’t help you if you don’t let them. Sometimes it takes a different viewpoint to get to the root of the problem. What I mean by that is taking yourself out of the picture and then looking in as a spectator and really force yourself to see, hear and discern what the problem is. Most often it is within ourselves. Sometimes our vision is so clouded that we can’t see what’s right in front of us. Until we can see and be brutally honest with ourselves the problem will always be there. No one can change you but you.
We all want to point fingers and play the blame game. It’s not until we see the 3 other fingers pointing back at us that we begin to realize that it has to start right here, in our own heart. “Sally” can’t blame her husband for her selfishness and “Harry” can’t blame his wife for his drinking. But it is interesting to see what begins to happen when “Sally” starts changing her attitude and her reaction, action, and inactions. It takes being intentional to change. There is no magic pill but we do serve the GOD who WILL and DOES strengthen us with resolve, determination, patience, love and trust when we ask for it. We must ask. We cannot do these things alone and sometimes our “idols” are so huge that we need extra help. Help that comes in the form of a doctor, a counselor, AA, NA, AL-Anon, Suicide hotline, TWLOHA and many other organizations that are out there to help people. Some folks need serious personal financial counseling and my husband is going to be going to school this summer to provide that need for people. Why? Because he has been there and he asked for help. Right now he teaches a personal finance class. Most people don’t think that finances have anything to do with illnesses but they are dead wrong. When you are in debt up to your eyeballs you don’t know how to get out. So what do you do? You get depressed. You get more credit cards and rack up more debt, you drink, and you may even try to commit suicide. Why? because you can’t see the way out and YES there IS a way out of every idol ( debt is an idol) but you have to be willing to ask for help. It’s not going to go away on it’s own.
Part of the training my husband will be taking will cover suicide counseling. Being in debt literally kills people just as accidents, alcohol, drugs and other things do. This is serious stuff folks. Pastor Ronnie said that he would not put alcohol into his body because it steals, kills and destroys lives, families and homes. Debt is the same way. We do not use credit cards because they do the same exact thing. Steal your money, your joy and your life. They kill your credit and destroy your family. Ask me. I know. We live differently because we have been down the road of debt. Now I’m not saying we are perfect because we are NOT. What I am saying is that there IS help for you if you are willing to be honest and ask for it. We are here to help. It’s part of who God made us to be.
Idols. What are yours?
Are you willing to put them down and be intentional? Are you willing to swallow your pride ( which is also an idol) and be the person God intended for you to be? I heard the urgency in Pastor Ronnie’s voice as he pleaded, in love, for all of us to get rid of our idols. Will you do it? Will you do the right thing for God? The right thing is always the hardest and it is always the purest and holiest thing you can do for God. Give up yourself and your idols. Then watch God work!
I’m working on giving up my selfishness and it is a daily intentional walk I will take to serve God and others with my whole life. I am also giving my art over to God. In the past I have made things more about the art than I have about God. It’s a fine line-one that needs constant, intentional work. Now it is time for me to see and use art, as a tool,to share my First Love, Creator God, with the world. It has become my passion. Like Paul, I want every heart to know God’s heart and to become one with Him. Paul understood unity in a way that most of us don’t. I understand it too. Now, I intend to live it, but I know I cannot do it alone and I must walk daily with my Lord and seek His strength in doing it. God must be my head and I cannot let anyone or anything get in the way of doing God’s work. I must be a horse, or a beast if you will, with blinders on. I’m learning, Lord, I’m learning.
God bless Pastor Ronnie’s message, heart, boldness, courage and fire for God!
My JOY is as complete as it can get here on earth! One day it will be forever complete~! I wait for that day with great anticipation!
Blessings for your New Year and for your renewal and recommitment to GOD.