It was just a simple question sent to me by email, but my heart jumped when I read it. It said,
“What ten things has God done for you that you want to tell the world about?”
In an instant, there it was before me!
I had been struggling with what to do with all the things God has worked into my life, and longing to reach others with it. My wish is to encourage others with the same encouragement I have received from God. For this reason, I immediately saw this email as an answer from God—here was an open invitation to share with the world the gracious message He has given me.
Well here’s the list, and in the days and weeks following, I plan to write an article for each of the ten things I want to share. I hope they will be a blessing to you!
1. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE
God's grace is a free gift. Absolutely free. There is nothing we can do to add to our salvation. Nor is there anything we can contribute to God's sanctification of our lives. Why do we have such trouble grasping that? We like to contribute our own efforts. Yet God's grace requires that we rest from our labors. We must cease from our works, and enter ino His rest. Otherwise, it is no longer God's grace in our lives...it is our own works. The two cannot exist alongside each other. Either earn it yourself, our live out of grace. Which will it be? The motto of our lives should be, "Let go and let God."
You and I must step out on that limb of grace in order to discover that it will hold us up.
2. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE SECURITY OF HIS FATHERLY DISCIPLINE
"For whom the Lord loves, He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives" Hebrews 12:6 (NKJV)
If you are a child of God, then you have experienced His chastening rebuke at some point in your life. His discipline can be a devastating, crushing experience, but there is such sweetness to it! We know that it is necessary for us to be broken, and He is crushing us in the most tender way possible. The chastisement comes wrapped in love...He is not casting us out in anger. He has only our Good in mind...His one goal is to present us to Himself as perfect, and beautiful.
The discipline of God is a token of His love to us; It is evidence that we are His true sons and daughters. Why else would He spend so much time on us?
3. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE JOY OF CALLING HIM "ABBA FATHER"
It is precious when the time of chastening is over, and we suddenly have new respect for Him as father. Though the rebuke was not pleasant, He managed to win our hearts! There is nothing sweeter than placing our hand in the hand of our heavenly Father, and to look up at Him with the trusting eyes of a child. To let His footsteps lead us along step by step. We know Him; we trust Him; He won't lead us where it is too dangerous to go. As His plan for us unfolds, we will see that it is good...A father only gives good gifts to His children.
4. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE PEACE THAT COMES WITH ABSOLUTE SURRENDER
There is nothing better then surrendering every detail of our lives into His hands! His Sovereignty, though sometimes difficult to swallow, is the bedrock which we can rest upon, knowing that His sovereign good pleasure is indeed GOOD!
How beautiful, to offer up our lives entirely to Him to do with as He pleases! To say, "Here I am. Take me Lord. Every part of my life is Yours. Make me who you want me to be. I will do whatever You want me to do. Open the doors and I will walk through them. If you send pain, I will trust you. I give you all that I own to use every bit for your glory. I give you my time, my will, my desires, my dreams, my future, my family...take it Lord, and do as you will."
What a joy, to lose ourselves in absolute surrender!
5. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE CHARACTER THAT WAITING FOR GOD PRODUCES
God doesn’t answer us immediately. Neither does He sanctify us instantly. In fact, He never seems to be in a hurry for anything! His work is often slow, careful, and detailed, and somehow, as we wait for His plan to unfold, He produces in as that lovely character—a reflection of Himself!
God, in His wisdom has chosen to make us a waiting people. We are always waiting for something, aren't we? Ultimately, we are awaiting that final day, when we will be made perfect--one with the Father, and one with each other.
As we anticipate, He teaches us patience and reliance on Him. I don't know how He does His work, but I have experienced that waiting has been a valuable shaping tool in the hand of my Potter.
6. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE CONFIDENCE OF FINDING A NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST
Jesus Christ is my life! All of my worth, and sense of belonging are wrapped up in who He is.
We naturally look to people to give give us a sense of self-worth. We seem to think that we can find a sense of meaning and belonging in another human.
Well, I've learned that another human such as I can not add a mite to my value. Who I am flows from who He is. As I remain connected to Him, my new identity in Him becomes more and more visible.
This sense of identity in Christ gives us the confidence to drop our dependency on people. We no longer need them...we just have to love them! We don't need to look to them for approval, acceptance, affirmation...there is nothing that we need from them. All we need is to live our lives before the face of God, and face each circumstance with the character which flows from Him.
7. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE JOY OF HEARING AND FOLLOWING HIS STILL SMALL VOICE
Have you trained your spiritual ears to listen to His voice? Do you recognize His nudges, and the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Do you obey Him when He tells you what to do? God’s word tells us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me.”
I come from a Christian community where the direct promptings of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a Christian are dismissed as "sentiment." If I would say, "God told me to..." the reply would be, "well, how do you know that it was God who told you?"
Unfortunately, that still small voice of God is dismissed as simply unreliabel feelings and emotions. We are told that God speaks to us only through His word, and we must not rely on our feelings to guide us through life.
Well, I am so glad that God taught me to hear His voice! There is no greater joy then being urged on by the Spirit, and going forward in the confidence of knowing you are in His will.
It is true that our main source of guidance comes from God's word, but scripture also teaches us that if we are children of God, the Holy Spirit lives in us, and directs us into all truth. It shouldn't surprise us when the Spirit speaks to us. He will never tell us to do anything that is contrary to the word of God.
It is wonderful to hear and obey the voice of God. Don’t miss out on the joy!
8. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE FREEDOM FOUND IN THE LOVE OF GOD
Understanding God’s love frees us from needing it from people. It frees us from the fear of man. It frees us from worrying about what others think of us. It frees us to be ourselves. We must grow deeper in the love of God to experience this freedom
9. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE FORGIVENESS THAT CUTS THE TIES THAT BIND US TO THE PAST
Does your past bind you? Does who you were in the past dictate to you who you are today? Does what others think you are dictate to you how you behave? Do you carry ideas and emotions from your past into your present relationships?
God is able to cleanse your past entirely, so that every string can be cut, and you are entirely free to be that new creation He has designed you to be.
10. I WANT TO TELL THE WORLD THAT WE ARE LIVING IN THE YEAR OF JUBILEE
Why did Jesus come, anyways? Was it to mend us? To help us church folk live a little better? No! Jesus came to restore sight to those who are spiritually blind; to set the captives of sin free, to make the ones crippled by life’s burdens whole again. If you are entirely broken, and long to be restored, then He came for you! However, if you are generally okay, but just need a little help from God once in a while, well…
God wants us to become shattered, broken, and helpless. He wants to do a radical heart-transformation in us! He wants little sinners to see that they are big sinners, and cry out to Him for mercy. We are living in the day of grace…the year of jubilee! Now is the time for the captives to go free. This is the time for our debts to be forgiven.
Rejoice in your liberty!
©Lisa Pennings, 2006
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