Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Entry #10 (1 Peter 2) - Talk, talk, talk...

Processing 1 Peter 2:9-10.
It looks like to me that a lot of people get paid tons of money to sit behind a camera and give their commentary on a variety of subjects.  Can you imagine being paid money to talk, talk, talk and share your opinion?  I can't even.  
In fact, most of the time I am pretty sure those around me are not interested in my opinions and that I should just keep them to myself.  I think I finally realize that if people aren't asking me for my opinions, then well....they aren't asking for my opinions! Zip it on the opinions, Sally.  
I know I should zip it, but it's so hard because the spiritual mother in me wants to coach, guide, mentor, encourage, share hard earned wisdom, teach, impart and so on.  I want to spiritually mother the precious people around me.  I mean I've learned so much and most of it the hard way.  I have some wisdom and knowledge that might be helpful.  
These are the desires God has put in my heart and how He's wired me.  It's how I love to invest my time and what I love doing.  But, I find my gifts and abilities are not in high demand these days.  I don't have folks lined up asking for my knowledge and wisdom (a/k/a/ opinions)!  You know?
So, what do I do with all these desires, abilities and life experiences? What's my responsibility to those around me who may or may not be interested in what I have to say? And, what does any of this have to do with 1 Peter 2:9-10?  Hang with me a minute as I process with my fingers.
A week ago:
Our pastor is doing a sermon series at church entitled My People.  A week ago, he was teaching out of Acts 2 where it talks about how God's people were continually devoting themselves to teaching, fellowship, eating meals together, prayer shared everything in common and that God was adding to their numbers daily those being saved.  #wow.  God was using what He was doing in their lives to draw others to Himself.  People saw what God was doing among His people, and they wanted to be part of that.  
Then, our pastor asked a really great application question that I have been pondering about ever since. The question went something like this:
What's God doing in your life today that draws others to want what you have with Christ?
My pastor went on to imply that perhaps we don't have as great of an impact in the lives of those around us because we aren't allowing God to impact our lives in a great way on a daily basis.  #ouch.
Our pastor talks a lot about active faith.  So, his question spurred a series of questions for me to ponder before the Lord all week.  Questions like:
  • How active is my faith?
  • What am I trusting in God for today?
  • What is God doing in my life and heart right now?
  • What do people see about God and my faith in Jesus when they look at my life?
  • Is my relationship with Christ so dynamic that others are drawn to Christ or drawn to ask questions about Christ?  
These questions have moved me to think more intentionally each day about my active faith.  Every day to seek Him in His word and expect to hear Him talking to me.  To ensure His voice is louder than all those giving commentaries about all the things going on around me.  To be intentional every day to seek and discover something new about Him and His ways or at least a deeper understanding.  Since His mercies are new every day, then look for them and then discover each mercy by name.  To look harder, eagerly expect and long for more of Him each day and when my head hits the pillow at night recount His wonders one by one for that day with praise on my lips.  
Sure, I know it's what I should do and try to do but am I always so focused and intentional about it?  No.
Being this focused and intentional makes me more aware of God's presence in my life and His presence moves me to be excited about sharing all God is doing in my life.  But this takes me back to where the blog post started.  Who wants to hear what I have to say?  
This week:
As I was writing out 1 Peter 2:9-10, my heart was encouraged.  I love these familiar verses.  I never grow tired of reading them because they are so amazing.  But reading them with these thoughts in mind is a word for TODAY!
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are a people of God; you had not received mercy buy not you have received mercy."
Aren't these the most beautiful and amazing truths?  They give me and you such purpose for our lives.  I am, and you are to proclaim His excellencies.
Reality check this week: There is a big difference between sharing my opinions versus sharing what God's doing in my life. 
Bottom line:  It doesn't matter who is or is not listening.  I just need to keep proclaiming and sharing what my merciful God is doing in my life - each and every day.  My responsibility is to proclaim.  Who listens isn't to be my focus.  And, here is how God make this point very clear to me this week!
This past Sunday one of the other pastors took us to Luke 8:27-40.  So, as I read 1 Peter 2:9-10, this story was so fresh on my mind.  The story is about the man possessed by many demons that Jesus casts into the pigs who ran into the sea.  As awesome as the miracle was, it scared the people, and they asked Jesus to leave the city.  Of course, the man just saved wanted to go with Jesus but here's the part that grabbed and instructed my heart.  Jesus said:
Return to your house and describe what great things God has done for you.
Here's what the saved man did:
So he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
He wasn't waiting for people to ask and he wasn't talking about anything else other than the great things Jesus had done.  And, you know what?  They couldn't deny the fact that great things had happened to him as he went from being a crazy man running around naked or chained to keep him from running around to being a clothed man in his right mind proclaiming the truth that Jesus healed and saved him.   They couldn't deny the man had changed or his passion to proclaim Jesus!
You want to know what happened as a result of his proclaiming Jesus?
As Jesus returned to the city (after being asked to leave), the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him.  Many heard and saw the change in the man and wanted to experience what He had experienced with Jesus.  Oh, it's a beautiful thing.  I want that...I want my proclamations of Jesus to cause others to wait on and welcome Jesus.
A people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9.
I have much to proclaim...and that's why I sing:
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips
http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/bethelmusic/everbe.html

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