G.F. Ranch

The beginning of His vision

Sunday Notes

As I was driving into town heading to church, I already had a joy and peace I knew was not mine alone.  Jesus was already with me.  It just feels so different when I’m in His presence. And church was amazing today!  It is always a blessed event when we share in the Lord’s Supper together as the body of Christ.  It’s often a reminder to ask God to check my heart and reveal what shouldn’t be there, in case I hadn’t done that lately.

27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood[c] of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  I Corinthians 11:27-28

These are the verses that always come to mind before receiving the Lord’s Supper. We followed this by long, deep worship.  Let me explain, I HATE crying in public.  There are numerous reasons we cry…physical or emotional pain, extreme happiness, and another for me is the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I’ve learned to not even try to control those tears, because I can’t.  And I’ve even learned to enjoy those tears, even when they are pouring out my eyes and down my cheeks in public.

I love that we are part of a church that seeks the Holy Spirit to lead our services.  And if that means worship lasting longer than ‘it’s scheduled for’, then so be it.  Worship seems to be the time I feel I can most connect with God.  When I am able to focus on Him, sing to Him and praise Him…that’s when I most hear Him.

We humans do so much to fill the empty hole in ourselves; wether it be shopping, drugs, alcohol, gossiping, crafting, sex, etc.  I too have used a few of those, but I’ve realized that peace I feel when in His presence is that exact relief I have searched so hard for in the wrong places.

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I have been going through a spiritual struggle this past year.  I think it’s been a combination of the enemy attacking and partly me fighting my growth process.  Even though I KNOW it does no good to fight against God.  It’s soooo much easier when we just listen and do as He leads from the beginning.  Seriously, He is for us, not against us!

The sermon was on the three phases of baptisms.  The first baptismal is Salvation in which we admit we are in a sinner and receive Jesus as our Savior (1 Corinthians 12:13).  God never intended for us to stop at attaining salvation.  He has so much more for us.

Then there comes the Water Baptism; which is our public declaration that symbolizes being buried and raised in Christ.  This is the one most people think of when speaking of baptisms.  Although, this is done in numerous ways depending on religion and beliefs.  I was raised that being baptized meant being submerged in water.  And as more mature (comparing myself to then, not comparing to other people) christian I believe that to be the correct way for a couple of reasons. 1) the word baptism comes from the Greek word baptizo, meaning “to immerse”. 2) All examples of baptisms in the New Testament (including Christ himself) were all done by submersion.

The water baptism represents us dying to ourselves and becoming a new creation in Christ.  I may not yet be who I am called to be, but I am NOT who I use to be!  I need to remind myself of that often because otherwise I beat myself up tremendously because I am not who I feel I should be in Christ.

The third baptism is the Holy Spirit Baptism.

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  Matthew 3:11

Let me share with you that I was raised Southern Baptist.  I have never been one to believe something (usually) just because I was told it.  For example, my church believed dancing was a sin.  I was just never comfortable with that belief and took some slack because I did not believe the same.  Yes, you can dance in a sinful nature, but just don’t believe ALL type of dancing in sinful.  Dancing, and let me just insert musical instruments, are in the Bible as uses of worship.

Let them praise His name with the dance;
Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.  Psalm 149:3

I can also say not much (at least of what I remember) was taught about the Holy Spirit beyond the God Head – the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Ghost).  We are taught there are Fruits of the Spirit and Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but the gifts were assumed to be only for biblical times.

4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.   I Corinthians 12:4-11

I say this because I don’t think I was directly taught against, we use speaking in tongues as an example, but it was something freaks did.  So as an adult when I was first around those speaking in tongues and laying hands on others, it was extremely uncomfortable!  But there was always an inner conflict I felt, so I began to read in the Bible to learn more here and there.  In 2009 we began attending a non-denominational church that did not hide the fact they believed in the gifts of the Holy Spirit; although you did not see or hear it in-your-face at all times.

One thing I could never find in the Bible was where it said those gifts were only for Biblical-time days and were no longer relevant.  And our Father is wonderful!  He does not push us to learn everything at once.  He takes us at the perfect pace.  After about 5 years of going deeper in the Word and learning more, I was finally at a point where I decided if this is from God, then I wanted it!  But it HAD TO come natural in a way I knew it was Him and not me.  It wasn’t until this year, that I received my prayer language and spoke in tongues.

The first thing I noticed was I had NO CLUE what I was saying!  I assumed if it was my prayer language that I would have some sense of what I was saying.  That has not been the case for me at least.  But I remember that night I tried to stop and speak normal and could not.  Time after time of trying to speak, I was unable to.  I thanked God for that because to me it was a sign.  That this was from Him and not me!  And I was more than okay with that.

I won’t say that speaking in tongues feels natural to me yet. I had even stopped doing it for a while because it just made me feel odd.  I’ve been assured it takes practice.  But I try to relax when it comes because I know it is the Holy Spirit praying through me to agree with God’s perfect will. Or something like that….I’m still learning.

I know I am jumping around a lot.  But these post have two purposes: 1) for me to review and meditate on what I learned and 2) not so much to teach you, but maybe give you something to think about.  God has a way of connecting us together in a way to learn and grow.

There are times I feel as if I am in stand-still in my Christian walk.  It may be God’s way of saying I’m having foundation issues.  That will cause Him to stop us from proceeding onward.

6 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.  Hebrews 6:1-3

Just as with buildings, we need strong foundations.  And the taller the building, it is that much more important to have the proper foundation.  Maybe we only prepared our foundation for a 4-story building when God wants to make a skyscraper out of us? Reflect on that!

You recall after Jesus was baptized, he went into the wilderness where Satan tempted him. In what aspect did Satan attack Jesus?  In his identity!  “If you are the Son of God…”  And he does the same to us; which is why we need a strong foundation of who we are in Christ!

I think I recognized one issue I need to learn to deal with….it’s a DAILY thing!  I tend to like to do a bunch of something at once that will last for a while.  But it’s not that way with God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit.  God provides all our needs for this day only!  Jesus gives us the strength we need for this day only!  We are cracked pots and need daily refilling from the Holy Spirit EACH day!

I apologize for the delay in getting this post to you.  I began it when we got home from church on Sunday, but then I realized my son needed a day with me.  And I’m sure you would agree that was more important.  We snuggled, played, watched a couple movies, I made him dinner and then we had ice cream that he so sweetly scooped into waffle cones for us.

One more thing to share…..

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This is one of the movies we watched.  I would not recommend it for small children because there is some inappropriate language and references; mainly in the beginning.  Bug gave me a few choices of movies and I chose this one because I enjoy Morgan Freeman.  His character begins out-of-character for what I expected from Freeman, but the movie did not dissappoint!  I don’t think Bug enjoyed it as much as me, so maybe it’s more of a Momma Movie?  Although there were good lessons for him to learn in it as well.

 

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Sunday Notes

Ever go through the week feeling as there are things God is saying to you or putting on your heart?  Then you go to church and it’s in the sermon?  That is me and that is now.  Let me start by saying I have had many highs & lows as a Christian.  Times I feel so in tune with the Lord and other times I’m sure I am running from and hiding from Him.  Thankfully I am coming out of one of those lows. I wish I could just download directly from my brain as it always sounds better in my head when I first think it.

I find myself seeking God more.  Seeking His opinions and thoughts on things in my life.  It is so simple….seek Him and you WILL find Him!

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.                                  Jeremiah 29:11-14

Abba calls for us to share our testimonies.  I am sure there are many reasons and I feel I understand some of them.  Not that I don’t get caught up at times ‘trying’ to wrap my head around God and understand Him and the ways He thinks, I remind myself I can’t.  He is infinite….I am/we are finite. I don’t want to serve a god that I can wrap my brain around because that would make him less than me.  Instead, I serve a God who is greater than anything.

The past few weeks our pastors have been doing a sermon series on Colossians called rooted.  I’m not going to repeat the sermons, but feel free to watch them HERE. Today was the 4th, and I believe final.  I just feel led to share some personal thoughts I had from the sermon.

In Chapter 3 Paul speaks of things to ‘put off’ in verse 5 and in verse 12 of things to ‘put on’.  Pastor C said that whether we like it or not, fair or not, we are judged my the clothes we wear.  That often our clothes = our identity.  This can be a touchy subject for me.  I have never had much of any ‘fashion sense’ and honestly, I’m too cheap to invest in good clothes. Occasionally I will get a good sale on a piece of clothing, like the shirt I wore to church today.  However, the jeans I wore are pretty much a pair of work jeans so it takes away from the niceness of the shirt.  Part of me doesn’t really care and part of me does and is embarrassed.  But I wrote in my notes ‘I put tattered clothes on daily’.  So what do I think of my identity??

Be as intentional to dress in character (love, peace, forgiveness, unity) as the clothes you pick out to wear.

He went on to list ways a life that lives and remains In Christ looks like.  Colossians 3:12-17 speak of character of the new man and they sound very much like the Fruits of the Spirit.  The past couple of weeks this has been on my heart and mind a lot.  I haven’t seen much fruit in my life lately.  I try, but I can only do it for so long.  That’s my mistake!  “I” am trying.  I have to allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with them because they are only achievable by Him.  Another mistake I have been making is focusing on what is bad or wrong in me, rather than concentrate of what I want to be.

“Offensiveness” has been something that has weighed heavy on me lately, especially the last couple of weeks.  I’ve really begun to notice how quickly I am to be offended by such simple words and actions.  I also think about how Christ had every right to be offended, yet he wasn’t.  Now he had righteous anger, but that’s not the same as a spirit of offense.  And I see this same spirit in my son and husband at times, so I am praying that God directs us & teaches us to rebuke it as the spirit of offensiveness kills all fruitfulness.

Another subject that came up was Gratitude.  Another area that I do better in at times and not so much at others.  I am a bit picky on some things, and more than a bit on others.  I have yet to find the ‘perfect pillow’ (at a price I’m willing to pay, lol).  Most nights when we head to bed, the words exiting my mouth often sound like “have I ever told you that my pillow sucks?!”  And I felt totally reprimanded by God one night when I was thinking that.

I have always known the importance of gratitude and have often used it as a measure of where my heart is.  Another words, how hard do I have to try to be grateful? I have been at all stages at different times in my life.  The times where it is actually easier to be grateful than try to find something to complain about.  Times where I know in my heart I have so much to be grateful for, but my mind has to stop and think about what those things are.  All the way to when I feel little to no hope and it’s hard to see anything but all the negativity.

There is a difference of stating a fact and complaining.  And when it comes to my pillow, I was doing A LOT of complaining!  So I made the choice to not complain about it anymore.  If I compared my pillow to all of the pillows in the world, it is by far not the worst pillow in the world.  So I am grateful for that.  Let my mind & heart focus on that!

a-grateful-heart-is-a-magnet-for-miraclesI’m thinking about making Sermon Notes a regular feature.  I have thought about doing it many times, but just never have.  So we will see.

 

 

 

 

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