A Desire to See God

Last night at Revival, the preacher talked about Exodus 33, where Moses was asking for God’s presence to be with the Israelites.  After much discussion with God, Moses says “Please, show me Your glory.”  Although God says that no one can see His face and live, Moses is begging to SEE HIM.  So God agrees that Moses can see Him from behind.  He hides Moses in the cleft of the rock, covers him with His hand, and then uncovers Him so that Moses can see His back.

Desire to See God like Moses

At this time, Moses has been meeting with God for a while.  A lot has happened since the burning bush–which I came across in my daily reading this morning.  In Exodus 3, when Moses sees the bush, he was intrigued and wanted to see what “it” was.  God calls to Him and stops him, telling him that he must first take off his sandals.  He then introduces Himself to Moses, saying “I am the God your your father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

When Moses hears that this is GOD speaking to Him, the Scripture says “Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.”

Moses was AFRAID.
Afraid to SEE GOD.

Often in Scripture we see the reaction of people being afraid of God, and even of angels.  Since the Fall, man’s natural response to seeing that level of holiness is almost always fear.  Immediately after the fall, we see Adam and Eve–who had previously walked with God often– now hiding themselves from Him.  Mary was afraid when the angel came to tell her that she would give birth to the Son of God.  When Saul met the Lord on the road to Damascus, he was trembling.  Granted, Jesus hadn’t just shown up as a guy walking next to Him.  When Jesus appeared, Saul became blinded by a great light.

At first response, man sees God’s holiness and wants to hide.    In comparison to God’s holiness, we feel guilt.  Shame.  We want to hide.  Even in my own life, when there is sin in my heart–my first response is to close my Bible.  If I’m not willing to give up my sin, I generally don’t want to face God.  And when I do face Him, I come to His Word with a sense of trepidation.  I’m nervous, because I’m expecting His conviction to set in and I know it’s going to change things.  I know it’s going to change me.

So what about Moses?  He started the same as many of these other men and women.  He was afraid to see God.  And just thirty chapters later, He is begging to see Him.  What changed?

A lot happened in those thirty chapters.  Moses had gone to Pharoah asking for his people’s freedom.  God had performed signs and miracles through Moses.  He had sent 10 plagues on the Egyptians, and had saved Israel from the worst of them–via the Passover Lamb.  God had parted the Red Sea to save them.  God had provided water from a rock, and manna from the sky.  Had guided their every step of the way with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  Perhaps it was this myriad of signs that drew Moses to the Lord, but I don’t think so.

I imagine those signs would only further prove the Greatness of God in a way that would leave most of us lying face down on the floor, ready to obey His every command, but still afraid to lift our faces and behold His glory.  I imagine there was something else going on through all of this–something that seemed even MORE miraculous to Moses.  Through all of these signs and wonders, through Moses experiencing the greatness of God, Moses was also given the grand opportunity to meet with God often.

In Exodus 33:8 we see that whenever Moses would go out to the tabernacle to meet with God, “all the people rose and each man stood at his tent door and watched Moses until he had gone into the tabernacle.”  And as Moses would enter the tabernacle, the people would watch as the pillar of cloud came down to the tabernacle.  There, the Lord would talk with Moses.  And all the people would worship God.  Can you imagine?  All the people would see Moses heading to the tabernacle.  They would ALL quit what they were doing, and watch Moses–knowing that GOD HIMSELF was about to come down.  And though they couldn’t see God through the pillar of cloud, they were able to worship His greatness.  It’s unfathomable to even imagine myself one of those Israelites, nevertheless as Moses!  Can you imagine what was going on in Moses’ heart and mind during those times?  During that walk to the tabernacle?  What was he thinking as he journeyed to the tabernacle?  Was he expecting God to come down and meet Him?  Or did he wonder, “Will God show up this time?”  Obviously we can’t know what he was thinking, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, I can know one thing:  He was able to meet with God, and through that He developed a desire to see Him.

What used to be fear became longing.  The more Moses got to know of the Lord, the more He wanted to SEE HIM.  What had changed?  For Moses, it was more than just the miracles that every other Israelite was a witness to.  For Moses, it was one big change:  Relationship.

Moses had a relationship with the Lord.  He had spent personal time with Him on a consistent basis.  He had experienced God meeting with Him each time He went to the tabernacle.  God was faithful to Moses.  He knew Moses by name. 

How did Moses respond?  With one statement.

“Please, show me Your glory.”

Moses’s response to God’s presence?  He wanted to SEE GOD.  I’m the same way.  In my flesh, I first come to God with nervousness.  Sometimes even fear.  My sinfulness placed beside His holiness is overwhelming.  I feel unworthy to face such a holy God.  But just as God came each time Moses approached the tabernacle, the Holy Spirit is always there when I open His Word.  He lives inside of me, but my sin creates a barrier between me and Him.  When I open His Word, He’s faithful to come to me and help me tear down those walls.  And brick by brick, as He removes the walls of guilt and shame, He creates the same desire in me that He created in Moses.  A desire to SEE HIM.

The more I experience God, the more I WANT to experience God.  The more I know Him, the more I want to know of Him.  His presence in my life, though met with fear, creates a relationship that dispels the fear and replaces it with longing. 

I long to see Him,
and to know Him more.

Do you?  Or have you allowed your fear to keep you from His presence?

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Rachel  🙂

Here’s a song to enjoy:

God Didn’t Save Me So I Could Have a Nice Life

We’ve all heard those powerful testimonies from Christians who were converted out of extremely wicked lives.  They were addicted to cocaine, prostituting themselves, living a homosexual life, bouncing from one sexual partner to another, suicidal, or perhaps had even committed violent crimes like murder or aggravated assault.  We hear their stories, and we’re blown away by God’s power to change someone who had been so obviously callous to the Gospel.  Their testimonies are powerful, and are used for such greatness.

I don’t have such a testimony.  I grew up as a pastor’s kid.  I accepted Christ when I was six years old, and so, no–I wasn’t addicted to drugs or porn or sex when God saved me.  I remember being in college and hearing awesome testimonies, and wishing that I had something in my past that would make my testimony powerful.  Something in my story that God could use.  God was using these people greatly, but I didn’t feel like He’d ever be able to use me like that.

Then I heard a testimony from someone similar to me, who focused on the things “she could have been” without Christ.  She looked back at her life and saw clear paths that her life could have taken if God were not in the picture.  I could do the same, and YES, it is incredible to see the things that God saved me from.

He saved me from having premarital sex.  From getting pregnant outside of marriage, or getting an STD.  From embracing a lifestyle of drinking and partying.  From dying in a car crash due to reckless driving.  From becoming anorexic or bulimic.  All of these things are possibilities that I can look back at, and can see the turn that could have taken me to those places.  I can’t even begin to imagine the secondary or tertiary roads that those paths would have brought me to.  There’s no way for me to grasp all the things that God has saved me from, but I do know what He saved me FOR.  The truth is, though it is incredible to see what God has done in my earthly life, and all the things He has protected me from, those things are not the reason He saved me.  The past, or a “possible past”, is not the most powerful part of my testimony.  The most powerful thing about salvation is not the past, but the future.  It is the WHY He saved us, and this is what He tells me in His Word.

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Photo Credit Here

He didn’t save me so that I could have this awesome life here on earth.  He didn’t save me so that I could have a good story to tell, although He can most certainly use our stories.  He didn’t save any of us so that we could have a better life here on earth–although many of our earthly lives are transformed by His greatness.

He tells me why He saved me.  He saved me for HIS glory.  For His plans.  For His eternal purposes–purposes that last far beyond the 80 or so years that I’ll spend on this planet.  He saved me for His work.  He saved me for the furtherance of His kingdom.  For the equipping of the Saints.  For the discipleship of others.

For a testimony of His Salvation.  For Holiness.  For displaying His power.  For training up a third spiritual generation of believers (I stole that line from Pastor Dwayne Carson).  He saved me to mentor my own children in the faith, and to mentor others too.  He saved me for an eternity with Him.  For a personal, intimate relationship with Him.

This life and the story I have here….they are only a starting point.  Sure.  God can use my story (no matter how boring it may seem to some), but He didn’t save me so that I could have an awesome earthly life.  He saved me for the same reason He desires to save everyone.  He saved me because He desires relationship with me, and because He is building an eternal kingdom filled with believers that will give glory to Him alone.

If you don’t have such a relationship with Christ, please know that no matter your story, God desires a relationship with you.  He wants the rest of your story to belong to him. If you look at your life and think your past is too big for God to take you, think again!  Look at the Apostle Paul, or the former serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, or James Flanagan, who was incarcerated for a life of drugs, alcohol, and other crimes.  A simple google search for “Criminals Who Became Christians” will bring you to thousands of stories that prove God can save ANYONE.  Not only that, but He desires to save everyone!    2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”  No matter your story, God is calling YOU to leave your sin behind & follow Him.  He wants to know you.

On the flip side, you might look at your life and think you aren’t so bad.  You may look around at the world, and see yourself as a kind and compassionate person who cares for others, serves others, and is a “good person.”  You might be right, in comparison with the world.  It is entirely possible for you to be a kind person without Christ, but without relationship with God, all you have is the story of this life.  It may be a good story, but it is only a starting point.  What will be your end?  With a relationship with Christ, your earthly life will pale in comparison to what God promises in eternity.  He promises an ETERNAL life of relationship with Him.  A life of living in a kingdom that is entirely free of sin.  There will be no sadness or pain when that day comes.  There will be worship, and love, and joy, and peace as all believers come together and live a life of unity and grace, and worship for the God who created us and saved us.  God wants YOU to be there, and He wants His relationship with you to begin today.  2 Corinthians 6:2 says that “NOW is the day of salvation.”  Come to Him.  Leave your sin behind you–sins of pride and selfishness, or simply the sin of rejecting God–and choose to follow Christ.  He is waiting for you.

If you want to know more about my story, or if you just want to talk with someone about Christ, please PLEASE comment below or send me an email.  I LOVE to talk to others about our amazing Creator God!

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Rachel  🙂

 

A Heart that’s Entertained by Worldliness

Disclaimer:  I write this post not to convince anyone of the evil that is in one particular show, but to tell the story of what was deep inside of MY heart.  I do hope that each of you might examine your own hearts when it comes to your relationship with television, and allow God to show you any idolatry that may lie beneath the surface, as it did in mine.

During my sophomore year of college a dorm-mate lent me the first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD.  I breezed through it and LOVED it.  I began to faithfully watch every season as it came out on DVD, and I invested in purchasing the series.  By the time I got married, 8 years later, it had easily become my favorite show.  I watched the entire series on repeat.  I watched all 7 seasons, and when I finished the series finale, I’d wait a few days before popping season 1 back into my DVD player.  My husband watched an episode with me every few days, and he enjoyed the witty banter as well.

Over the years I had grown convicted about a lot of shows I watched, and had gotten rid of almost every movie I owned—but not my Gilmore Girls.  It seemed so much more wholesome than other shows.  There was a little worldliness in it, but compared to other shows—the sin seemed pretty light.  So I kept watching the series on repeat, year after year.

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Fast forward a couple of years, and I became a mother.  The familiar dialogue became my background for nursing sessions and tummy time.  I started to become a little uncomfortable when my baby saw a bedroom scene, so I began skipping those (rare) scenes.  In spite of those few sinful scenes, I kept watching.

That fall we had a yard sale, and as I was going through all of my things, the Lord impressed on my heart that it was time to let go of my precious, beloved Gilmore Girls collection.  I put them in the box, and then took them back out.  I moved on to packing other things, and then came back to my stack, just to touch them and ponder their place in my life.  I couldn’t even picture my life without this show.

It had become a part of me.  All things in life related to an episode.  “There are no stupid questions” always brought out a “HOW does ink come out of pens?”  Preposterous stories were followed up by an “Oy, with the poodles already!”  ‘Running late’ was met with an urgent “Copper Boom!” as I ran through the house grabbing my keys and phone before heading out the door.  I could go on and on. I had basically become a Gilmore Girl, and this was precisely the reason I knew God was right.  I had to let go.  I needed to make time for Him.  Seek Him.  Listen to Him.  Let HIS Word become the part of my life that had been so impacted by this television show.

I boxed up my movies, and priced them to sell.  They went quickly. And what happens next?

Man, the devil is good.  Oh, he’s real good.  But God’s better.

The very next week my husband brought up the idea of cancelling our Netflix subscription.  I agreed.  That $8 a month could be better spent elsewhere.  And wouldn’t you know it….A week after our subscription ended, it was announced that Gilmore Girls was coming to Netflix!  I breathed a sigh of relief that God had led my husband to cancel our subscription before it happened.

A little over a year later, we moved to a new home and town.  Our pace of life changed, as did our income.  Top that off with a month of sickness, and boredom from lying in bed, and we decided to get Netflix again.  I determined not to watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, and for the most part I only watched any sort of show when my husband and I were relaxing together after putting our boys to bed.

I heard there would be a new season coming to Netflix.  I was intrigued, but I decided against watching it.  Then one day I got sick.  {Why does sickness always lead me into temptation?}  I was lying around with nothing to do, so I turned on an episode.  A few episodes in, I figured I’d just watch the whole series again ONLY ONE TIME before the new series came out.  So I could be caught up, of course.  I finished Season 7 the SAME DAY the new episode aired.  I was over-the-moon excited to watch WINTER and turned it on!

I quickly noticed a few things about it that were ‘worse’ than the original series as far as worldliness.  I kept watching anyway.  “It’s not too bad”, I told myself.  I watched all of Winter, and then Spring came on.  At this point, I was nursing my baby and my husband was sitting next to me on my couch.

The town all files into Miss Patty’s for another town meeting.  Taylor gets up and announces that they will have their first ever gay-pride parade in Stars Hollow.  My husband looks over at me, and suddenly all of the excuses in my heart didn’t sound so good anymore.  I wanted to say something to him that would prove it was okay to keep watching, but I fumbled over my words.  I just couldn’t justify it anymore.  I reached for my remote and turned it off.  We sat there in silence for a few minutes, and then we moved on with our day.

A few days later I was up late working on some things.  Everyone was in bed, so I turned on Netflix planning to watch an episode of House Hunters.  There it was staring at me:

Gilmore Girls.  A Year in the Life.
Continue Watching?

I arrowed over to House Hunters, then back to Gilmore Girls.  I was drawn in.  I loved these characters and their witty banter.  I loved the relationship they had with each other.  I wanted needed to know what had become of their lives.  I selected the show, and on it came—right back to the place I had left off.  They were trying to find more gays to march in their gay pride parade.  I assured myself it would be a quick and quirky scene, and that it would move on.  I kept watching.  And wouldn’t you know it?  I hear my husband coming into the kitchen to get a glass of water.  I feel a pit in my stomach, fumble for the remote, smash down on the “Return” button over and over hoping my husband doesn’t see.  I select House Hunters just as my husband peeks in.  My heart was pounding.  He didn’t see.

“Good night, honey!”  (Awkward smile.)

He didn’t see.  But God did.

I felt ashamed.  Why had I been continually drawn in?  Why can’t I seem to give up one TV show for the Lord?

I knew the answers to these questions, but it’s hard to admit out loud.  The truth?  I struggle with giving it up because I love it.  I struggle with giving it up because my heart is entertained by it.  It doesn’t matter that it’s a show that consists mostly of worldliness.  I still love watching.  In spite of the adultery, fornication, divorce, partying, and language.  In spite of an overall horrible message the show sends about marriage.  In spite of the message it sends about womanhood.  In spite of the message it sends about Christianity.  In spite of the message it sends about the purpose of life.  I still love it.  I’m entertained by it.  I’m entertained by a show that is 100% worldliness.  There’s really nothing godly about it, yet I watch it as if it’s virtuous—as if the characters are good.  God says otherwise.  God says, first of all, that there is none good (Romans 3).  God says, secondly, that I should have nothing to do with worldliness.  Yet here I am, year after year, still deeply invested in it.  It has just always been what I do when I’m sick or need a break from life.

But here’s the thing. When I’m sick, I hear the Holy Spirit within me, calling out, “Come to ME”.  When I need a break from life, I hear the Lord whisper, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.

I don’t need the show.  I don’t need the superficial relaxation that I get from these characters and their witty dialogue.  (I’m speaking to myself here!)  I don’t need it.  Instead, I need TRUE rest, and that’s only found in Christ.  I don’t need to finish watching Spring, or Summer, or Fall in order to satisfy my own curiosity about the “last four words”.  I can move on with my LORD—in the freedom that He gives over the bondage of sin.  I can walk away from characters that I used to love. I can turn from them to a God who is truly virtuous.  To a God I can depend on to walk with me daily, and to be with me just as this show has been for the past 13 years.

moments-remind-me-of-a-tv-showThis show had once been a part of my heart, the guiding principle for my every thought, and the relating point to every moment.  God wants that position now.  He wants my heart to be focused on Him.  He wants His Word to guide my thoughts.  He wants the moments of my life to remind me of truths from His Word—not of a quote from my favorite TV show.  He wants my heart—not just during my quiet time, but all through my day.

He wants a heart that is not entertained by worldliness, but is enraptured by His love, above ALL else.

“Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day.”  -Proverbs 23:17

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Rachel  🙂

Finding Your Constant

In the summer of 2006 I spent a summer overseas, where my roommate Megan introduced me to the first two seasons of LOST.  Back home in the U.S. I was able to watch the next 5 seasons as they aired.  Then when my husband and I were engaged, we watched the entire series again on Netflix, and actually watched it again this past fall.  It’s hard to find a show that both of us can enjoy, so when we find one, we hang on to it!

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If you haven’t seen the series, I will warn you now that you might be “LOST” on this post. If that’s you, I’m sorry about the post–but you should definitely check out the show on Netflix.  Just make sure to watch it in order, and remember that the pause & rewind buttons are your greatest friends.  This is not an affiliate thing where I make money for my recommendation.  I just think you should watch it!  🙂

Anyway, in Season 4 there is an episode called “The Constant.”  In this episode, Desmond begins to suffer some unexpected side effects of the radioactivity he had been exposed to on the island.  Somehow, Desmond becomes “unstuck” in time.  His body seems to “zone out” in the present, but he–in a sense–wakes up in a previous time of his life.  In one instance he wakes up and is in the military, in 1996.  Even when he wakes back up to his present reality, he has no memory of anything that has happened in the 8 years since 1996.

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As time goes by, these “flashes” through time begin happening more and more frequently, and begin to last much longer than you and I would expect for something called a “flash”.   While back in time, Desmond visits Daniel Faraday, a physicist who studies time and later comes to the island.  While together, they manage to impose a similar effect onto a rat, who runs a maze that Daniel Faraday was not going to teach her until later that day.  Sadly, the rat dies after enduring her flash through time.

Worried that Desmond’s brain will be unable to handle the constant flashes, Daniel tells Desmond he needs to find a “constant”–something that exists in his life in both 1996 and in the present.  Desmond, of course, chooses Penelope Widmore–the love of his life.  She becomes an anchor for his brain–the one thing that remains constant throughout the constant changes he is facing.

Though Desmond’s story is a bit far-fetched, I wonder how easily many of us would be able to find a constant.  Many of us might choose as Desmond did–a significant other.  We might also choose our parents, a home, or even a car.  For me, if I were to go back 8 years in time, I would not have even met my husband yet.  The longest I’ve ever lived in any specific town is 6 years.  My parents have always been in my life, but for 7½ of the past 13 years I have lived 10 or more hours away from them.

Of course in that sense I will probably never need to find a constant.  (Thank Goodness!)  However, what if I woke up one day and had none of the previous things I had relied on?  What if I lost my family, my home, and my church?  What, then, would be my anchor?

For many in this world I think this might be one of the hardest questions to answer.  But for a Christian?  It’s an easy answer for me.  There is only ONE constant that I KNOW I will always have.

  • Deuteronomy 7:9 says God is the “faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
  • Daniel 6:26 says God is “the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end.”
  • Hebrews 6:19 refers to God as an “anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.”

Can you feel your heart just “settle in” a little while you read those passages?

God.   Is.   Faithful.

He is steadfast forever.  He will endure.  His promises and His mercy will be here for you.  He is the ANCHOR for our souls.

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I can’t read those things without His peace flooding into my spirit.  With my eyes off of all the things I might choose to depend on, and with my eyes off all the things that I worry might fail me, I find an anchor.  I find the ONE THING that is my constant.  I lift my eyes to that one thing–to THE ONE who holds the future in His hands.

To the One who saved me.  To the One who raised me up to walk in newness of life.

He will be here.  Come what may, He is MY CONSTANT.

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Rachel   🙂

 

Photo Credit: LOST-moviesfilmsmotionpictures.com;
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Faith on Dry Toast

A while ago my husband preached from Psalm 19. As he read about how desirable God’s wisdom was to David, the analogy kind of fell flat to me.

“The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.  More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

On both accounts, I’m just not interested.  I don’t care for gold, and I don’t care for honey.  As I listened I almost found myself snarling at the thought of that sweet honey.  “Sweeter also than honey”.   Yuck.  I know I tend to be a picky eater, but I’ve just always thought honey is much too sweet.  To think of something even sweeter than honey makes me shudder.  Someone else can keep the honey.  I’ll stick with my bread and potatoes, and some beef or chicken on the side.  Nothing with too much flavor though.  I like my plate to be tan in color, and subtle to my taste buds.

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As my mind drifted to all the foods I like and dislike, I admitted to myself that my tastes were not the norm.  I’m the oddball.  In fact, I don’t even have to guess what others think about my food preferences.  I’m constantly met with raised eyebrows and shocked responses when people find out how picky I am.  “How can you not like cheese?”  “You seriously don’t like dark chocolate?”  “There are thirty one flavors to choose from, and you choose vanilla?”  Oh, yes.  Most people love the sweetest of the sweet foods.  Some people even have to lock up the sweets to keep themselves from indulging a little too much in them.  Sweet honey, to most other people, is enticing.  And I am that crazy woman who is repulsed by the sweetest food they’ve ever tasted.  There must be something wrong with me, right?

“So maybe the Scriptural analogy makes sense,” I thought, “and it’s just me that doesn’t get it.”  As the thought crossed my mind, though, another dark thought came creeping in.  “Perhaps, I’m a better analogy of the world.”  Hmm.  Sure, David desired God’s righteousness even more than this sweet honey, but not many people are like David.  As I look around, I’m not so sure that most people wouldn’t relate more to my tastes than to David’s.

In fact, most Christians today are filling their spiritual plates with dry bread, bland chicken, and pinto beans.  They have enough of Christ to fill their spiritual bellies, but no more.  Nothing too flavorful, nothing too sweet.  Just some plain old comfort food will do.  Truth be told, a lot of modern Christians want a bland spiritual life, though they’d never admit it.  They desire all the warm and fuzzy parts of Christianity, but none of the struggles of faith.  They want church, worship, and fellowship without intimacy, life-change, or accountability.  So they keep things at a basic, lower level.  They can get all the comfort they want from faith, but they won’t have to actually change their lives.  They are threatened by anything that’s too pervasive into their daily life, but they still want the peace, contentment, and fulfillment that is supposed to come from Christ.

I’m convinced this is the one of the crucial reasons that so many Christians have become disillusioned with their faith, and end up walking away from the church completely.  TRUE contentment can ONLY come when we are seeking God and obeying His commands.  We only find the joy of the Lord when we are FULLY handing our lives over to Him.  Yet much of the church still comes to service each Sunday, orders up their faith on dry toast, and then expects a 5-star dinner that will leave them spiritually nourished until next Sunday when they’ll have a few stale worship biscuits that were left over from someone else’s plate.

Sadly, they leave unfulfilled each week without even noticing the buffet line of beautiful fruit and pastries.  They could have chosen to fill their plate with love, joy, and peace.  They could have even filled a to-go box with truth, faith, and accountability, and then feasted on His Word all through the week.  Instead they left empty, knowing they wouldn’t eat again for an entire week.

Let’s look for a faith that isn’t bland.  Let’s dig into His Word and taste every sweet morsel.  Indulge your appetite in Him, and let Him fill you up with the fruit of His Spirit until you begin serving others and feeding the spiritually hungry.  “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”  (Psalm 34:8)

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Rachel  🙂