Friday, September 13, 2013

Tired of ME - Part I

Good Evening - I have been trying to decide how to start my first blog since May.  I was going to say that I was so tired from "preaching" that I needed a sabbatical.  I thought that would be witty.  Then I was going to say that I had taken a long nap, but ole' Rip would be insulted.

I guess the best thing to do is to tell the truth.  God has been doing an extraordinary work in my life - at my request, and I truly have not had the freedom to write until now.

I don't know if any of you have ever reached the point when you are just sick of yourself.  I did.  I was struggling in so many areas of my life, but no one knew.  I was too proud to admit it.  "The pride in my heart had deceived me.  I had lived in the clefts of the rocks and made my home on the heights and asked myself who could bring me down?" Obadiah 1:3  Really, I thought if God be for ME, then just who in the world could be against ME? (said with slight sarcasm and upward tilt of the voice on "ME.")

I was the elder son in the story of the Prodigal Son. I looked right, acted right and said all of the right things (well, at least I "thought" I did); but in reality, my rags were much filthier than I ever imagined.  As I begged God for answers to unanswered questions, in His steadfast lovingkindness to me (whom He calls precious in His sight), He answered, "seek ME and My kingdom first, Mec, and all of these things will be added unto you." Matt. 6:33

The simplicity of that command (promise) and the complexity of being obedient to that command presents the greatest conundrum in the world for me.  Does it for you? Am I the only one?  Do any of you struggle with seeking Him first?  Most often I seek what He can do for me, but not Him.  Do you?  I ask because misery loves company; and I guarantee you, I needed company.

As my Heavenly Daddy's words burned into my heart, I lay face-down on the floor, hands stretched out in front of me.  I realize that sounds dramatic; but the truth is my knees are getting old, and it hurt to kneel.  Whether I knelt or lay prostrate, I was humbling myself in His presence.  

Now, stop with me for a minute and think about that.  As the child of "I Am," I have permission to be in His presence at anytime, and He promises not just joy but "fullness of joy."  I realize I didn't have to assume any particular physical posture to approach my Heavenly Daddy, but it was symbolic of the desire I had for a "humble heart."  

The words I spoke out of my repentant, beleaguered heart, and into the heart of my God, made Satan shutter, hiss, and sling that tail of his to and fro, and  began a series of events that changed life.  Any idea what those words might have been?  There were 17 of them.  

"Lord Jesus, I am asking for all of You, and none of me, no matter the cost."  

Two things happened immediately.  First, there was a powerful sense of peace and release; and second, Satan and all of his minions began slithering and hissing these words to my heart. "What is God going to do to me?" Satan said (I hate him).  "What if He takes everything away from me?" Satan said.  ( I still hate him).  He didn't stop for what seemed like an eternity. To my shame, after lying prostrate on the floor and pouring my heart out to the Savior of my soul, I actually listened to Satan.  The disobedient children of Israel don't have anything on me.  Neither does Peter who denied Him nor Thomas who doubted Him.

In spite of me, My sweet Jesus, in all of His glory, humility, patience and love for me, said in a loving whisper that drowned out the voices of Hell, "Fear not for I am with thee; be not dismayed for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Is 41:10.  "For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for good and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11.  

After every discouraging, evil thought Satan hissed into my heart, Jesus would pull me closer and whisper another promise.  That's what He does.  He never fails to do it in spite of me.

I have much more to tell you all, but I don't want to make this too long this evening.  Will you read again tomorrow?  I will share with you what the Lord Jesus has shown me, the tenderness with which He has dealt with me, and the extraordinary results of genuinely desiring to follow after the great heart of God.  Makes me think of the words to that old hymn: 

"There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.  
A place where sin cannot molest, near to the heart of God.
Oh Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God.
Hold us who wait before thee, near to the heart of God."

It's nighttime here in Atlanta. I am resting and breathing to the beat of the heart of God. That is the very best way I know to describe "fullness of joy." Sleep sweet.  Love to you all, dear ones.  Mecca

Stay tuned for Part II.