To Be Obedient To His Call

Romans 5:19 

“For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.”

I’ve realised by now that many of my blogs have revolved around the theme of obedience, including this one. But this is just the subject that the Lord has really placed on my heart to write about, mostly for myself but also for others who maybe need to hear this same message. It’s so easy to talk about being obedient to Him and what He wants for my life, but it’s also another thing to live it. As I sit here writing this, I think about all the things I’m probably missing back at home. My friends, my family, the experience of being a normal teenager again…. I miss the days where I could just go to school and go about my daily life, it seemed so simple back then. But here I sit, in the middle of Guatemala where I have been for the last almost 5 months of my life. I never would have imagined myself here, but that’s just it. I wouldn’t have picked this for myself, but it’s what God ordained in His perfect will. Yes I made the decision to come to Ignite, but it was out of my hands where I went for my field time. Through the circumstances in my life that He is complete control of, whether what class I was in or how I graduated high school a year early, or how I found out about this program simply from a friend’s sister… it all points back to Him. Only He could have made this all possible. 

There’s always going to be disappointment in life, but that doesn’t have to govern my emotions or outlook. The only thing that matters is that I allow myself to be moldable in the the hands of the Potter. But what does it even mean to be moldable? I like to think of it as being completely submitted to the will of the hands that are shaping me; not fighting back or longing for a better set of circumstances which I so often find myself doing. Each time I have to check my heart and see the areas where I am not allowing the Lord to take control of, like perhaps my future or where He has brought me to. I have to constantly bring to remembrance that He has been faithful in my past and will continue to do so in my future. I’m being molded into a vessel that God can use, and it’s not an easy process. It hurts, and I’m being stretched beyond what I thought possible and yet He comes alongside me with comfort and peace beyond comprehension. 

I have to remember:  because of Jesus’s obedience we are made righteous. I can’t even imagine about what God can do through my obedience. 

Test of Faith

Genesis 22 

God tested Abraham’s faith in Him by commanding that he take his one and only son, whom the Lord promised him, and offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain. I imagine if I were Abraham I would be completely confused and angered by this command. God had just promised him a son and to bless him with many generations, and now he’s asking that he give Isaac up? That doesn’t make any sense! But that’s the thing about faith. It doesn’t make any sense to the world, but to the eyes who have faith it’s obedience. And that’s what Abraham did, he was obedient. It says in verse 3 that he rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey. If you remember in verse 2 the command that God gave Abraham was that he would “take NOW your son”.

He did was asked of him without hesitation and did as the Lord commanded early in the morning. I’d like to think that maybe Abraham was questioning why the Lord would have him do such a thing, but it doesn’t say that here n Genesis, all it says is that he obeyed.

I think it’s easy for us as humans to receive that command or call and just ignore it, or to not obey immediately, but that’s not what the Lord asks of us. His timing is perfect and his words are true. Sure I may not understand what He is orchestrating in my life or why He has called me to a certain place but I can sit and rest with comfort knowing that he is working all things out for my good. It may not feel good and it may not feel right, but it’s “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.         (2 Corinthians 4:17)

So Abraham took his son up to the mountain, the place of his trial, and bound Isaac up and laid him on the alter, ready to sacrifice His one and only son, whom he loves dearly. But right as he stretched out his hand with the knife to slay his son, the angel of the lord stopped him. And in vs 12 he says, “do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

What a test of faith. Abraham was willing to do it, because he was obedient unto the Lord no matter if he understood the reason why or not. And here we find out that the Lord was using that situation he brought upon Abraham to test his faith. God knew it all along, before the foundations of the world he knew, but did Abraham? While reading this passage I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s sacrifice for us, giving his only son to be sacrificed as a lamb for the sins of the world. Abraham did not withhold his son, his only son, from God, and neither did God withhold his only son for us. God’s plan and his timing is perfect. He knew that Jesus would be this sacrifice before the foundations of the earth as it says in the very last book in the Bible. Revelation 13:8 

And yet here we see in the first book of the Bible, way before any of the events of the New Testament, God using this same concept to test the faith of Abraham. He is not a cruel God. He’s loving and He’s just. He loves us so much that he actually did give his only son, what he held dearest. I think that God takes us through these trials of life to where we can get to a point where we can say, “I have not withheld anything from you.” Where we can be completely submitted to His will and fully His. Abraham submitted to God’s way of bringing Him to that point no matter the road of getting there, or even the mountain so to speak.

Vs. 16 “by myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because yo have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall posses the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

Abraham received that promise from God long before in Genesis 12, but he had to wait and be patient for God’s perfect timing. His promises are never failing. Abraham first had to be obedient and trust in God for these promises to hold value and for Abraham to receive them. Remember the last part of this passage? “Because you have obeyed my voice.” All the blessings before this phrase were dependent on this, whether or not Abraham would be obedient. 

Following God and trusting in His voice is not an easy thing, I’ve experienced this personally these past 4 and a half months. There’s a cost of discipleship and sometimes that cost can be everything. But to put my trust in God alone and to follow Him no matter the road He takes me through is so worth it. It’s such a beautiful thing to see where He can take me when I submit myself completely to His will. It’s not about me anymore but rather sharing God’s love and his heart towards His people: and I get to take part in that! Sure it’s not the way I wanted but it’s what God wanted in my life to break my self-centered will and make me completely His. He’s changing me little by little, taking out my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh, a heart that breaks for what breaks His. Ezekiel 11:19-20 “then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the soft heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my judgements and do them; and they shall be My people and I will be their God.” 

Test of Faith

Genesis 22 

God tested Abraham’s faith in Him by commanding that he take his one and only son, whom the Lord promised him, and offer him as a burnt offering on a mountain. I imagine if I were Abraham I would be completely confused and angered by this command. God had just promised him a son and to bless him with many generations, and now he’s asking that he give Isaac up? That doesn’t make any sense! But that’s the thing about faith. It doesn’t make any sense to the world, but to the eyes who have faith it’s obedience. And that’s what Abraham did, he was obedient. It says in verse 3 that he rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey. If you remember in verse 2 the command that God gave Abraham was that he would “take NOW your son”.

He did was asked of him without hesitation and did as the Lord commanded early in the morning. I’d like to think that maybe Abraham was questioning why the Lord would have him do such a thing, but it doesn’t say that here n Genesis, all it says is that he obeyed.

I think it’s easy for us as humans to receive that command or call and just ignore it, or to not obey immediately, but that’s not what the Lord asks of us. His timing is perfect and his words are true. Sure I may not understand what He is orchestrating in my life or why He has called me to a certain place but I can sit and rest with comfort knowing that he is working all things out for my good. It may not feel good and it may not feel right, but it’s “working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.         (2 Corinthians 4:17)

So Abraham took his son up to the mountain, the place of his trial, and bound Isaac up and laid him on the alter, ready to sacrifice His one and only son, whom he loves dearly. But right as he stretched out his hand with the knife to slay his son, the angel of the lord stopped him. And in vs 12 he says, “do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

What a test of faith. Abraham was willing to do it, because he was obedient unto the Lord no matter if he understood the reason why or not. And here we find out that the Lord was using that situation he brought upon Abraham to test his faith. God knew it all along, before the foundations of the world he knew, but did Abraham? While reading this passage I couldn’t help but be reminded of God’s sacrifice for us, giving his only son to be sacrificed as a lamb for the sins of the world. Abraham did not withhold his son, his only son, from God, and neither did God withhold his only son for us. God’s plan and his timing is perfect. He knew that Jesus would be this sacrifice before the foundations of the earth as it says in the very last book in the Bible. Revelation 13:8 

And yet here we see in the first book of the Bible, way before any of the events of the New Testament, God using this same concept to test the faith of Abraham. He is not a cruel God. He’s loving and He’s just. He loves us so much that he actually did give his only son, what he held dearest. I think that God takes us through these trials of life to where we can get to a point where we can say, “I have not withheld anything from you.” Where we can be completely submitted to His will and fully His. Abraham submitted to God’s way of bringing Him to that point no matter the road of getting there, or even the mountain so to speak.

Vs. 16 “by myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because yo have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son-blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall posses the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

Abraham received that promise from God long before in Genesis 12, but he had to wait and be patient for God’s perfect timing. His promises are never failing. Abraham first had to be obedient and trust in God for these promises to hold value and for Abraham to receive them. Remember the last part of this passage? “Because you have obeyed my voice.” All the blessings before this phrase were dependent on this, whether or not Abraham would be obedient. 

Following God and trusting in His voice is not an easy thing, I’ve experienced this personally these past 4 and a half months. There’s a cost of discipleship and sometimes that cost can be everything. But to put my trust in God alone and to follow Him no matter the road He takes me through is so worth it. It’s such a beautiful thing to see where He can take me when I submit myself completely to His will. It’s not about me anymore but rather sharing God’s love and his heart towards His people: and I get to take part in that! Sure it’s not the way I wanted but it’s what God wanted in my life to break my self-centered will and make me completely His. He’s changing me little by little, taking out my heart of stone and giving me a heart of flesh, a heart that breaks for what breaks His. Ezekiel 11:19-20 “then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the soft heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep my judgements and do them; and they shall be My people and I will be their God.” 

We Would See Jesus

The purpose of my life: not joy or peace, but God Himself, that’s what this book has really opened my eyes to. It really gave me a fresh perspective on seeing Jesus and not making a formula out of it, but rather simply seeking Him in the purest form and understanding that He is a blessing and not a means to gain something. He is far greater than I deserve and yet He still accepts me, desires to use me, and delights in me. It’s important I realize that nothing I do will ever make me more acceptable to God. Serving Him and allowing Him to set me free from the bondage and sin of my past leads me to a life of abundance, more so than I could ever attempt to attain in my own strength, it is solely through Him that I can serve in the freshness and freedom of His Spirit.

One main point that I saw in this book is the fact that by grace we have been saved through faith, but what is grace? It’s an underserved love and favor of God. It isn’t a blessing or an influence from God which we receive, but rather an attribute of God which governs His attitude towards man. Grace is what permits us to come as empty sinners and be redeemed. I have to remember that what I receive from God isn’t dependent on what I am or what I do. What I receive is measured only by the face of God, and that is abundance. His love has no limit and His grace has no measure.

The book talks about how if we don’t first seek Him and want Him, He often may allow sorrow, suffering, trials, and failure so that in our need we will find our need for Him. As soon as I read that It really clicked in my mind just how true that is. “Such suffering, however, is never punitive, but wholly and only restorative in its intention. It is love humbling us and drawing us to the place of repentance and to God.” (pg.21) I recall a time in my life of great suffering, when I had lost all hope. In my complete desperation I finally discovered just how much I needed Him. I’ve seen so much in these recent years just how much the Lord has drawn me closer to Him through allowing me to struggle so I can seek first His face and His council. It’s hard thing to really understand at first, but Whom the Lord loves He corrects. It’s His love that allows suffering in order to restore my relationship with Him.

One of my favorite quotes from Roy and Revel Hession in this book was, “He sees a sharp point in our makeup that is continually wounding others. He sees within our hearts the motives of self seeking and pride. He, therefore, allows someone to come and work alongside us who will rub against that sharp point and round it off…. But if we will bow to what God has allowed, and repent of our sinful reactions, we will find that that very situation has led us into a deeper experience of His grace and of His power to satisfy our hearts with Himself alone.” (pg.24) This was so convicting to me. I am truly just the clay in the potter’s hand. Who am I, as clay, to tell the potter how to shape me or how to make me into the finished piece he intended for me to be. He’s of course going to stretch and mold me, and its going to hurt… a lot. But that is just how He chooses to break self seeking will and replace it with Him. I love how much this quote applies exactly to my life. The phrase, “rubs you the wrong way” could never be more true, but what most fail to realize is that it’s actually smoothing our sharp edges. It’s the Potter shaping us, and He allows people in my life to help get the job done, and then I find myself coming to the realization that the problem was first and foremost in me, rather than that other person. Instead of trying to run away from a situation that causes me suffering, I can press on with full confidence that I am in the Potter’s Hands, exactly where He wants me. Whatever situation I am in, He is in complete control of, and it’s for the building of my character and foremost, my relationship with Him.

I can’t make my service for Him an end in itself. It’s not my ultimate goal, how well my service is, or how much of it I do. If that is the case, then any time something goes wrong my reaction will be to break away and seek my own self first and foremost. I’ve got a track record in the past of running away when things get tough, but I truly believe this is something that the Lord is really working with me on; not to give up. To press on, leaning on His strength completely. Someone once told me in training that during field time your going to have all these expectations on what God is going to be working on in you, but you’ll soon learn that He has completely different plans for you. Sometimes He needs to fix problems in my life that I didn’t even know I was aware of. Just as the quote has said, I truly have found that the very situation I am in has led me into a deeper experience of His grace and power working in my life. I’ve come to a point where I’m learning to satisfy my heart with Him alone, not anything else which so often in my life I had found myself doing. “Mere earthly things, even service, will never satisfy our hearts, Only God Himself can fill thank blank [in our hearts] which is made in His shape.” (pg. 26) I also love how in the chapter of “Sinai or Calvary” it talks again about the vision of grace given to Jeremiah when He went to the Potter’s House. This has been such a big theme in my walk with the Lord and I love the way this book describes it. “He makes the mess the raw material for a fresh purpose of love.” (pg. 92)

When the Potter saw the marred vessel he could have just disregarded it, but that’s not the way the Lord works. Instead he “made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the Potter to make it.” This is what God loves to do with us as marred vessels when we truly humble ourselves as such, broken. He brings order out of our chaos and new purpose to my life. The new purpose he is working out in my life will surely be marked with discipline and trial, but His grace assures me that it is going to be for my infinite good, and so I rest.

 

 

Deer’s feet

Habakkuk 3:19

“The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet, and He will make me walk on my high hills.”

Feet like a deer: able to climb steep mountains and and stay steady even when the path is slippery. God gives me the strength to get through the steep and slippery places in life- when I am faced with trials and affliction or when life just gets hard. He is my strength that enables me to stand strong and bold when things get rough. Those deer feet aren’t the product of my own strength, they come from His Spirit inside me and my faith in Him.

The troubling thing is, I am not give those deer feet automatically. I often times find myself feeling what it’s like to slip and almost fall, especially when I start up the mountain by myself. But I can look at those times of stumbling as a gift from God. He’s showing me that I can’t make it without Him. When I do start to fall, its a reminder that those deer feet aren’t from my own strength. Whatever the mountain or high hill may look like to me, I will not be moved. I have to trust that He can and will give me deer’s feet to get through it and walk faithfully.

Zechariah 4:6 ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’
Says the Lord of hosts.

It’s so funny how whenever I find myself operating in my own strength, the Lord always brings me to a place of humbleness and brokenness where I realise how foolish I was. This week has definitely been a hard one for me. I’ve been incredibly stressed with trying to finish all my assignments and planning for curriculums. My mind is so occupied with getting the work done that I’ve neglected by devotional time. The Lord really broke me down of my own strength last night when my computer freaked out and deleted all of my word documents, including the ones I had been trying to get done by a certain date. My camera that I have been using to collect media also shattered, and my wifi time to talk with family has also been cut down. I know that God is in control of all my circumstances, including a broken camera or some lost documents. It’s His way of revealing to me that I’ve been too focused on the work rather than Him. That’s what this is all about anyway, but no matter the circumstances I can’t be moved. I won’t let these roadblocks get in the way of what is before me. The Lord is my strength, He will give me feet like a deer to climb on the high hills.

 

Deuteronomy Study Chapter 1

Every Thursday the girls here at Potter’s Field Antigua have decided to have a morning bible study going through the book of Deuteronomy. I honestly had no idea how much this book would speak to me already, I assumed that since it was in the old testament it would just be a bunch of old stories that didn’t relate to my life at all. But what I’ve come to understand is that I’ve never related more to the people in these verses. While the New Testament is more topical and easier to glean from, the Old Testament is enriched in truth, it’s just a bit harder to dig for. That’s also what makes it so special to my heart: I know when I get something from this book just how powerful it is because the Lord used those past experiences of the Israelites to speak into my life.

The first verse thing that really spoke to me was verse 6 where the Lord is speaking to the Israelites on the journey to the promised land and said, “You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey,” For me personally, it’s as if the words jumped off the page and the Lord was using it to confirm in my life the time He has appointed me to be here in Guatemala. Almost as if He were saying, “Autumn, you have been comfortable on this mountain long enough. I’m taking you to the unknown, to a place where I will grow you and make your name completely Mine. Here you will need to rely completely on Me.”

It made me think of a quote by Oswald Chambers in my devotional book that says, “After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but its in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountain, but we never live for His glory there. It’s the place of humiliation that we find our true worth to God-that is where our faithfulness is revealed.”

But here’s the thing: just like the Israelites were discouraged and complained about the way the Lord was bringing them to this promised land, so have I. in verse 21 it says, “look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and posses it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.” But I have done exactly that, and so did the Israelites. (vs.26-27) “Nevertheless you would not go up, but rebelled against the command of the Lord your God; and you complained in your tents, and said, ‘Because the Lord hates us, He has brought us out of the land of Egypt to deliver us into the and of the Amorites, to destroy us.”

Canaan was the land the Lord promised to Israel, but they were afraid and felt as if there were so many things against them, like there was too much to handle. They didn’t trust the gift the Lord put before them, and that’s me a lot of the time. God has set the land of Guatemala and my team before me, a perfect gift from Him, and yet I still grumble and complain. I get so discouraged and afraid just as the Israelites did.

(vs.29) “Do not be terrified or afraid of them. The Lord your God, who goes before you, He will fight for you, according to all He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness where you saw how the Lord your god carried you, as a man carries his son….yet for all that, you did not believe the Lord your God.”

Just like the people of Israel, I sometimes find myself thinking it would be easier to return to my “Egypt”, where I was comfortable in my chains, but that’s exactly where Satan likes to see me. However, God told them not to be afraid because He has gone before them and will fight for them. This same promise remains true in my life and for all of God’s children. He promises to be there with us, to fight for us, and to go before us. If there’s one thing I can declare with absolute certainty its that His promises never fail. They may not be answered in the way or the timing I wanted, but His ways are better. I love how in this verse He also assures them with His past faithfulness, how He took them out of Egypt and how He carried them like a man carries His son. Why should I be weary of what’s ahead of me when I know the Lord my God has gone before me and I have seen Him working in my life before; how he delivered me from bondage and the times when He carried me. Whenever I find myself in doubt, I need to simply look back on His past goodness and faithfulness in my life and I will once again realise that He never fails us. Yet though all that the people still did not put their trust in Him, and God punished them for it: He didn’t allow them to enter the Holy Land, the goodness and blessings that He had prepared for them. The Lord wants to give His children good things and many times those things may not seem like blessings to us at first, but truly they are the best things for us. God won’t force His will upon us, its our decision whether we want to allow Him to work in our life or not….

Lead Me to The Rock That is Higher Than I

Psalm 61:2 “When my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” 

What is the rock? God is the rock of my salvation, he is my rock, He is far higher than I. I am but I speck of dust on this earth yet He still cares for me and loves me as a Father loves his daughter. That’s love, that’s so beautiful. 

Psalm 71: 19-21 “Also Your righteousness, O God, is very high, You who have done great things; O God, who is like You?”

He is so far above anything I can ever think and imagine, so much greater than my mind can even comprehend. All powerful, mighty, love, Savior, Redeemer… He’s all of these things and more.

“You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.”

Did I read this correctly? He, as in God, has shown me great and severe troubles? But that’s not what most people will preach to you at Sunday school, they’d say to you that He’ll give and give and give and you’ll be happy forever and it’ll be the greatest thing ever. But that’s not reality. That’s not the truth of the bible, that’s not the character of God. He loves us greatly, yes, but these words above only prove even more than any and all circumstances in my life and guided by His sovereign hand. 

“I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness you ha e afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75

Not a hair on my head is touched without His say. Yes, he allows trials, it’s a part of life. It’s a part of growing and it’s a part of living. God had a purpose for all the seasons of our lives. It’s for brokenness to become completely surrenders to the hands of God, where I can be tested through the fire and come out as gold- as His child. Someone who He can call His. But again there is promise that He will revive us, and comfort us. His Word, his goodness, they delight my soul and keep me satisfied with the hope of Him. When my heart is overwhelmed and I’m full of anxiety, I can lean on Him.