I cannot see it…

“Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water?”  John 4:11Traditional well in Senegal, Tambacounda region

The Samaritan woman talking to Jesus was confused.  How in the world could one could get water without a rope and a bucket (or a pot)?!  Yet Jesus had clearly said that He had water and she could have some of it.  She was perplexed.

I think I must be like her sometimes – it seems like I limit the work of God, I hesitate in obedience, because I cannot imagine how in the world He would do it.  Yes Lord, I hear You clearly – but how in the world are You going to do that? How?  I cannot see it.

I am convicted that I must obey what I hear clearly, and let God sort out the how… After all, He is the Lord of the Universe and the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills.

Are You A Mature Christian?

She’s at it again: * Guest blog by Susie Walther, http://www.thewellbiblestudy.org

 

Would you say that you are a mature Christian?

Why would you consider yourself “mature” in your faith?

Susie writes, “I recently attended a Verge conference, and one of the speakers cited some recent statistics from the Barna Group regarding women in the church.

She said that 74% of Christian women consider themselves mature in their faith.

But the Barna poll also revealed that less than 25% of those same women actually shared the gospel, helped the needy, valued volunteering/serving or gave financially to support ministry, and that only 13% viewed their main role in life as being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

So, that really begs the question – exactly what do these women mean when they say they’re “mature?”

Obviously, Christian maturity for them has little to do with being a disciple, which would involve spending time with Jesus through the Christian disciplines of daily quiet time and prayer, and intentional involvement in the Great Commission. Maturity for these women did not include the pro-active sharing of their faith, serving others intentionally, helping the world around them or giving generously out of their monetary means.

So, again I have to ask, what the heck do these women mean when they call themselves “mature???”

Are they defining maturity as time in grade – you know, “I’ve been a Christian for 10 or 50 years…so I’m mature” or “I’ve attended church all my life, so I’m mature?” Are they the ones who “read through the Bible once?” Are they dubbing themselves mature because they’re uber-involved in their kids’ lives or they home school, eat organic foods, run marathons and are nice people? Is maturity to them volunteering once a year on a missions trip or helping with VBS, attending a Bible study, listening to Christian radio, and reading Our Daily Bread when they can?

Whatever the case, we should be absolutely alarmed because we are a generation of Christian women who consider ourselves “mature in Christ” who don’t live like we need the Gospel and certainly aren’t living our lives to advance the Kingdom of God.

Righteous King of Heaven, wake us up from our slumber and show us the peril of our deception!”

So I ask you again, “Are you mature in your faith?”

What evidence of maturity can you point to in your life?

Waiting Quietly

I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem.” – Neh 2:11-12

 I can’t keep a secret.  I’m always talking to everyone about what is on my mind.  I’m just a very transparent character.

Nehemiah had the ability to keep his mouth shut.  I’m impressed by that.  We know he prayed for four months before he went to see the Persian king to ask for permission to rebuild Jerusalem.  He’d taken a lot of time to think, plan, and shape the idea that God had planted in his mind.

Nehemiah had the FAITH to WAIT for God, patiently waiting for His direction.  Warren Wiersbe writes, “True faith in God brings calmmness to the heart that keeps us from rushing about and trying to do in our own strength what only God can do.  We must know not only how to weep and pray but also how to wait and pray.”

Then when he got to Jerusalem he set out to assess the situation, to see what exactly what kind of project this was going to be.  And he went at night, almost tiptoeing around the walls, trying not to be noticed, keeping it all a secret.

He had with him a few men – trusted souls, who could obviously keep their mouths shut too.  Men with whom he had probably shared his vision to rebuild the walls.  Men who were like-minded.  It’s important that Nehemiah was not totally alone, for an assessment build on the eyes of one man is not necessarily accurate.  He needed the wisdom, eyes, and input of other men… to see what he could not see.

I envision Nehemiah and his little team discussing and revising their assessment, making certain it was accurate.  I picture them discussing how the idea of rebuilding the wall should be presented to the residents of Jerusalem… refining their “project launch” and marketing strategy.  I know they were praying about every detail and seeking God’s guidance and His timing for the unveiling of their plan.

How do I know that?  Because when they finally began to speak publically and call local residents to join in the work… everyone did it!  If you’ve ever worked with a  volunteer organization, you know that a mass movement of people that involves hard work is not so simple!  That means that God was behind it all, preparing the hearts of the people so that Nehemiah arrived at exactly the perfect moment and it all came together.

Kelly writes, “Sometimes God drops a dream in our hearts that we must pray over and develop, that we must cultivate by His Word and direction before we share it with others.  Here we get a beautiful example from Nehemiah who nurtured a seed of vision into a fully recognizable bloom, before making it known.”

Has God given you a passion for something?  A vision for how He might use you for the glory of His Kingdom?  Have you been praying about it?  Have you been evaluating the need?

Wait for His direction.  Resist the urge to run ahead of God.  He has a plan.  Listen to Him and He will let you know when the time is right for you to run.  And then you must run, and not delay.

*Nehemiah, a Bible study by Kelly Minter.

I Cannot See Clearly

… and the road seems winding, shrouded in clouds.   I am in the right place.  My heart is right.  I am willing, and waiting.  Yet there are so many things I do not understand.  Sigh.  Have you ever felt that way?

In My Utmost for His Highest today, September 12, it seems as though Oswald Chambers is speaking to me (the green highlights are mine):

“Going Through Spiritual Confusion”

Jesus answered and said, ’You do not know what you ask’ —Matthew 20:22

There are times in your spiritual life when there is confusion, and the way out of it is not simply to say that you should not be confused. It is not a matter of right and wrong, but a matter of God taking you through a way that you temporarily do not understand. And it is only by going through the spiritual confusion that you will come to the understanding of what God wants for you.

The Shrouding of His Friendship (see Luke 11:5-8). Jesus gave the illustration here of a man who appears not to care for his friend. He was saying, in effect, that is how the heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think that He is an unkind friend, but remember – He is not. The time will come when everything will be explained. There seems to be a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller fellowship and oneness. When God appears to be completely shrouded, will you hang on with confidence in Him?

The Shadow on His Fatherhood (see Luke 11:11-13). Jesus said that there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father – as if He were callous and indifferent— but remember, He is not. “Everyone who asks receives . . .” (Luke 11:10). If all you see is a shadow on the face of the Father right now, hang on to the fact that He will ultimately give you clear understanding and will fully justify Himself in everything that He has allowed into your life.

The Strangeness of His Faithfulness (see Luke 18:1-8). “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). Will He find the kind of faith that counts on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand firm in faith, believing that what Jesus said is true, although in the meantime you do not understand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you are asking of Him right now.

So I remain in my cloud of confusion – knowing He is faithful, waiting with confidence and anticipation, standing firm, and trying to remember that it is probably NOT all about ME.

Courage dear friends, you who walk in darkness with me.  The sun will rise again.

http://utmost.org