Galatians 5:22-23 - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
My mind is reeling again. I wish I could express all the emotions that are running through me. But I really cannot. But that's okay. God knows, God understands. No one else needs to.
Whaaat? I've been weepy for weeks now. Not sure why. Things I've not figured would cause me to become emotional, either through anger or weeping, are doing just that. It's a mystery.
As I drove to church this morning I felt an amazing sense of peace. Like I knew it would be a good day. I was not disappointed. Our worship was off the charts, out this world, knee-weakening and emotional. It was, in a word, amazing. And definitely not long enough! The power of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the Lord, was heavy on us. It wasn't about the songs we sang. It was raw power in the atmosphere. There was one song, however, that had so much meaning, at least for me. It was like I was, once again, really pouring my heart out to God in song, prayer and worship. It was like I had become a new person all over again.
The song was The Stand by Hillsong. As we sang the song the words started out: You stood before creation, eternity in Your hand. You spoke the earth into motion, my soul now to stand.
The words gripped me like I'd never seen them before. Take them in. God stood before creation...already knowing the beginning from the end...it was all in His hand. Then He spoke and all things came into being...not through evolution, mind you. He spoke and it was good. I came into being; you came into being. He knew me, and you, before creation, then created us (knit us in our mother's wombs...picture that in your mind's eye) and He knows the plans He has for us. Some will see the good plans He has set before us, some will avoid those plans like they were a plague. Some know where our souls are bound, some could care less...but they should...because they are eternal.
I have been overcome over the last couple weeks with the stuff that is happening in this world. In Sunday school we discussed how the world is in a spiritual battle yet many don't see it that way. I've mentioned time and again how I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, but not sure what it will be. It might be about ready. And how I sensed it could only be considered spiritual.
We blame political parties, we blame religious fanatics, we blame our friends, family, spouses, the weather. We point fingers here and there. But what if this has nothing at all to do with people at all? Huh? I said it's a spiritual battle. And yet because we only see it being played out physically we don't look at it that way. Huh? Not making any sense?
There IS a spiritual battle being played out. It's been a spiritual battle since Adam and Eve. That slithering, slimy snake... Evil has taken over the world. It has wormed its way into all things. We have an enemy who is greater than any physical enemy we point our fingers at...political or religious. He has a name. It is satan. He is known as a deceiver and it is his job to steal, kill and destroy...and he's doing a very successful job of it. But the good news is: Jesus will be the final Victor and all those who follow Him will be victorious as well!
The enemy takes the truth and turns it around to make it sound good. He takes evil and makes it easy to the eyes for many to fall into. If we can't recognize it, we don't know what truth is. We don't know Jesus Christ, to be quite honest with you. The only way we understand truth is to know Truth and Jesus is Truth.
The song went on:
You stood before my failure, carried the cross for my shame. My sin weighed upon Your shoulders, My soul now to stand.
Jesus did it all. I was a failure until I met Him. Although I'm not perfect, He carried the cross for my shame and for the sins of the world. Every sin I would ever be guilty of He knew about before the cross! But He went just the same. Every one of your sins, past, present and future, He knew about before the cross. Does this mean anything to anyone?? How can He do that? How did He do it? He knew what He was getting Himself into and He died on the cross willingly, lovingly, shamefully just so we would all be free.
And the song went on:
So what could I say? So what could I do? But offer this heart oh God completely to you.
This is where I fell apart. This is when, I believe, the Holy Spirit of God came so strong to open eyes and hearts, to revitalize and reconnect and hopefully to draw new people to Him. There were people worshiping who have not lifted a hand in a long time. Hearts were being poured out all around. All that Jesus has done for us...for me. Where have I gone with it? What have I said, what have I really done with it? What could I say or what could I do? All He wants...ALL HE WANTS...is our complete devotion to Him. When we allow this, He will give each one of us exactly what we need. My need may be different from yours, but He knows that and He gives accordingly. How could we turn such love and provision away?
I hear and read hateful words being spewed across the internet, on Facebook, on YouTube, against any and all things and others that people disagree with. And I have fallen prey to "liking" some of it. Shame on me. Why? Because there's a spiritual battle and the enemy is working hard to bring division among us all. Amazing how he can deceive through blindness and delusion...and amazing how he has succeeded. And what does Jesus want? Unity...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Where are any of these in our hateful words?
Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life. Satan causes us to wander the wrong paths, learn a lie and then live it and he brings death in the end. And yet people don't understand this. Because he has deceived them!! Some even think Jesus is a fraud.
What could I say, what could I do? What could anyone say or do? Offer our hearts completely to You. It's time to stand up for the truth. It's time to stop hiding behind whatever we hide behind. The darkness of the world is overtaking us. Funny, as our pastor was praying about the darkness this morning, I had a very vivid vision of darkness all around me...yet there was a light that surrounded me, lighting the way for me. That light is the light of Christ. It is the light of His truth. It is the light that causes darkness to stay at arm's length or farther from me. It is the light that is available to any who seek Him.
How did the song end? A declaration, my declaration...to God:
So I'll stand with arms high and heart abandoned in awe of the One who gave it all. So I'll stand my soul Lord to You surrendered. All I am is Yours.
Are we all surrendered? Surrendered to the One who will dispel the darkness when it rises around us by the power of His Spirit within us? Surrendered and about His business, watching His plans play out in our lives...or are we watching as life looms heavy and creating chaos in our lives? With Christ there is no chaos. What can you say or do? You can say you trust in Jesus. You can stand for the truth of His Word...plain and simple...and be in His will. There will always be darkness but those standing closest to the Lord will be victorious in the end.
John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.