When Jesus came to earth his people had for the most part completely missed him. The reality for our day is Jesus is still around, but I have to wonder when was the last time I saw Him?
“These scriptures have shaped me”
It is important to remind ourselves that the process of restoration is long and slow. It cannot be rushed or it will sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation. When we realize that God is making all things new (Rev. 21:5), it is important to realize that is an ongoing present tense, which stretches itself over all of eternity. Our own personal and internal restoration is ongoing over a great matter of time.
But as you restore a piece of furniture over time, it is great to look at the before picture to recognize the progress thus far. While the piece is not yet finished and is still being restored, the progress is worth noting.
Our own hearts and lives are being restored one broken place at a time. The overall restoration project of our broken hearts and lives will not be rushed or it would sacrifice the quality and integrity of the transformation.
Also, though we wish for the final product to arrive within our own broken hearts and lives, we will not experience that complete change and restoration until that final day. There will be more broken places yet to be restored.
But take courage in the progress thus far.
Our hearts are truly and terribly wicked. THey need to ALWAYS be focused and disciplined to obey, follow, and love God above all else. But because of the fact that our hearts just really are so so wicked (depraved) there simply is no room for comfortable apathy in this life. Every day my heart is drawn toward its own wickedness, and I have to intentionally focus my heart each and every day on Jesus Christ and the God who demands that I follow Him and obey Him.
My heart is so easily turned away; like terribly easy to be turned away. This depravity and wickedness angers me. I hate that my heart is aligned toward sin and terrible choices, but over and over again I see this in my life.
O God, my heart is so wicked and prone to wander, I am truly prone to leave the God I love and turn from you.
Here is my heart, LORD, take and seal it for thy courts above. Seal and cap my heart for you and your alone. O God, my heart is prone to wander. It is so easily turned from you. Seal my heart. I hate my wickedness. I hate that I am always turning from you if I am not remembering the grace you have given me in Christ. I desire to follow you and lead your people with a fear of you, but heart pulls me.
My heart is depraved and wicked. While I have been redeemed in the blood of Christ on the cross, I still feel prone to wander and leave the path of the God I love. I hate and despise that feeling.
I also realize if I am not intentionally focusing my wandering heart, I will be too easily turned. So seal my heart. Draw me close to you and I will obey you. I will follow you and honor you.
With Psalm 80 I pray, "O God, restore me, and cause your face to shine upon me and I will be saved."
My heat is truly wicked and prone to wander from you. When I do wander, I find brokenness at every turn. So I pray for restoration, and I pray this on a consistent repeat.
Restoration is a return to an original condition before wear and tear and brokenness began to set in.
When I consider the depths of who I am, I realize I cannot even fathom what is there. I am a mystery even to myself when I strive to understand the depths of the soul, spirit, and body. I read Psalm 139 about a God of light and dark. A God of mountains and ocean! Even those things I can at least see and take in, but Psalm 139 reminds us that we are further, deeper, and greater than even the mountains, light, dark, and ocean.
Psalm 139 reveals to us the depths of our spirit, but it also praises a God who knows and controls all these very depths that we cannot even reach with any entirety. Ozzie Chambers says, "The work of the Holy Spirit is in the dim regions of our personality which we cannot get at."
We are reminded by the Psalmist that God is deeper, further, greater than we can grasp, but that His Spirit truly does change and restore that core place of who we are; that place we struggle to get at. That ongoing restoration is entire and complete (1 Thess. 5:23)
The greatest disappointment is for us to assume these depths of ourselves and the work of the Holy Spirit with these depths are myth because we have no conscious experience of them. There are depths to our spirit we cannot consciously experience, but we need God to be our God, who can search and restore the depths we cannot get at.
We need the cleansing of sin at the very depths we cannot get at. We are terribly mislead when we say we are not conscious of our sin. Sure! There are depths to our darkness we are not conscious of, and God does regenerate and restore those things if would but ask.
There are depths to our light that we are not aware of either, and God will reveal the brighter parts of who we are when we would but ask.
There is depth to our greatness as men and women created in the image of God, and He will reveal and unleash those things if we would but ask.
When we think on these things of soul and spirit, we realize God truly knows us better than we know ourselves.
Jesus tells each of his disciples to forgive his brothers' sins against him and others. He tells them "Things that cause people to sin are bound to happen." After challenging his disciples to forgive and love when they want to accuse and hate, the disciples attempt a subject change from discomfort to comfort. "Increase our faith!" (verse 5) Jesus speaks to them where they went with the subject, but I believe He ties it in with their unwillingness to forgive and love when its hardest. He says, "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed..." (verse 6) I believe Jesus was placing the ball back in their court. Jesus does not let them off easy. He challenges them to realize it is not Jesus who needs to give them more faith to love and forgive. They need to understand that it only takes a little to do so much. Even the smallest amount of faith is plenty to forgive if a person is willing and wants to forgive. There are risks of course! We are called to love in a fallen world. We will forgive and love at the risk and inevitability of seeing more pain. But we MUST love and forgive. We must be willing to give at least a little faith. It goes a long way.
Now remember, these thoughts came through a struggle. (Tying it all together) This came after expressed HONEST struggle with God. I believe God honors our struggle and despises our tepid, lukewarm droning. We are not preschoolers who walk straight lines because we are attached to a rope. God honors the honest struggler. There are too many Christians trying to find life through soothing their soul, but I believe true passion is brought forth in honest struggle. I think our wrestling match with God is pregnant with passion and confidence. The good news is hatred of God and others decreases as Christ takes the heart inch by inch, but it comes only through honest and passionate struggle with God. We may be a new creation, but we are not a perfect creation.
The war over hatred and sin may be won ultimately, but the battle to replace hatred with love will be over only when we see Jesus in flesh. We can and will be angry with God, but have to be honest without reserve. We must understand the Holy Spirit will not allow a bottomless cup of anger to exist, and most often the heart will be engulfed in love when we are honest with God.
Devastation OR Desperation will bring transformation…which one will I choose
Transformation prayers are repentant prayers. It is because of us that we are where we are in all this. Humility is our first step to transformation.
Why do we wait on God? It is NOT because he trying to catch up.
Transformation prayer is also unified prayer. Join hands in prayer with leaders, pastors and intercessors. After all, if we sin together, we should be in prayer together. Do not leave it to that prayer warrior you know to pick up the mess of your sins, but if we sin together, lets repent together.
Life has changed dramatically again! We went from being Tonya, PC, and Bryleigh to being "The Walkers". Instead of being attended by Bryleigh, I entered into the stage of life of being flanked by "the girls". On Friday, February 24, 2012 we welcomed into the world and our life, Haddisen Peace Walker. I believe that you speak life into your children's name. You speak meaning into their name and life.
"Addison" means 'son of Adam' or earth. We added the H because we love the nickname "Haddie" but do not like the names traditionally paired with it (Harriet or Henrietta). We also love that Haddisen is a unique name we have not seen elsewhere.
As a whole, Haddisen Peace is very redemptive as a name. The meaning of Haddisen draws you back to God's original and peaceful plan for His world and His people. There was perfection and true 'shalom', but of course, with generations of choice, humanity has terribly broken the orignal state God put in place.
Followers of Jesus and believers look to scripture without getting stuck in the cynicism and skepticism typical of our world's outlook. They actually believe and take God at His Word that he is making all things new (Rev. 21:5). They believe God will restore and repair what is broken. Not only WILL but IS! They believe peace (shalom) is possible.
My hope for Haddisen Peace is that she will live her life with a restoration lens through which she sees herself, God, and God's world. I hope she learns to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be.
res*to*ra*tion [res-tuh-rey-shun]noun 1. act of renewing or reviving 2. a state of being restored/returned to original 3. a restitution of something lost or stolen 4. recreated setting, as in a historical house 5. repair or replacement
re*store [ri-stawr, -stohr] verb 1. to bring back, as to use or good condition 2. to give back
This is my word of the year. I want these things in my heart, soul, life, and world. I want this for me. I want it for those close to me, and I want it for strangers.
Restoration is not a switchGod will throw on 'that day'
Restoration is happening now and will be complete on 'that day'
I was catching up on my list of blogs, and my friend, Malisa shared this website and challenge today.
I think it is a great way to look into a new year. It is a great way to make movements toward truly seeing things grow in the right way within and around us.
The one word website describes the challenge this way:
"One word can change everything. Forget New Year’s Resolutions. Scrap the long list of goals that you won’t remember three weeks from now anyway. Choose just one word. One word that sums up who you want to be or how you want to live or what you want to achieve by the end of 2012. One word that you can focus on every day, all year long. It will take hard work, and will require intentionality and commitment. But if you let it, your word will shape you and your year. It will guide your decisions and help you grow."
My word for this year will be: RESTORATION
What would your word be for this year?