Tuesday, February 21, 2012

PART TWO: Blessings Follow Obedience

Blessings Follow Obedience

I have journal pages filled with  countless blessings in my life.  There was a long time that I felt that I had to be quiet about all these blessings. Embarrassment of the BLESSINGS.  What I soon realized was that more important than the blessing was that painful process, the journey, the surrender and the obedience that came before.  Most don't see that journey and there lies the story of our blessings, of my favor and joy in the blessing of following Jesus.

Our speaker, Amanda Higgins, shared the amazing heaps of blessings in her life.  The struggle before would have been unseen, but she shared that.  Losing a job, needing to work, and God placing her on a two month journey of quietly and painfully growing closer to Him during that time of not working.  She shared how that  painful refining was a gift.  

Do we view that painful refining as a gift?
What is God asking you to do?
Do you shrink back from the pain of refining?

1 Peter 2:19 
"For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly."

How many times have we encountered that unjust suffering?  
Asking God how this could happen and why is it happening.    In those mourning times of unjust is when God is there, every tear, every turn and our response to Him is what He desires.  He is choosing you. It's easier to choose the world, run into the arms of idle chatter, discontentment, and babble on to everyone else, when all God desires is for you/me to come in closer to Him, so he can speak into our hearts what His next move is, His calling in our lives. 

2 Peter 1:10
"Therefore brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble."

Wow HIS calling and choosing you and me.

The stumbling  happens when I dip my heart  and thoughts into the world, and then confusion sets in and I have no idea what my calling might be.  How about you?

CALLED TO GO-------------------->DESIGNED TO GO-------------------->TIME TO GO

Our struggles He knows.  The details of our challenges, He knows every single detail.  Are you practicing, developing habits of running to Him?  
Think about Daniel in the old testament.  Where did God place him?  In the courts of the heathen monarchs.  Daniel who loved the one true God with outward passions is used among heathens.YES!!!  Daniel was given a place of prominence and responsibility in Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom.  I have often felt like a modern day Daniel.

I use to feel like a "Christian Misfit".  Yes, a true modern day outcast among my Christian friends. I am quite fond of Daniel and his heart to be used right where God had called him.  I did not understand my own calling in my late 20's.  I worked alongside the world.  Not in a church, not in any form of Christian circles.  I did not volunteer in the nursery or lead Bible study groups.  I said "no" when asked to be on the worship team, and no in other ministries.  It was not where I felt called, and it was not a popular choice.  Sadly I gave myself that title of "Christian Misfit".  When my Christians friends sat around talking about being home full time, and leading Bible groups, I went quiet.  Working moms, were viewed as ungodly.  Working in the world was even more "ungodly" so I shrunk back and just smiled with my "Christian Misfit" smile.

Daniel did not shrink back.  His calling was a testimony to the power of God working in his life among the heathens. Daniel was favored for his obedience to God.

Daniel 1:9
"Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials."

Daniel 2:48
"The the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts and made him ruler over the entire providence."

As I began to understand God's calling on my life, my confidences grew up too.  I had confidence that God had me right where I should be.  Working in my own business that allowed me to have that stay home mom presence to my children.  Working in my own business that had huge financial blessings.  Those blessings used to pour into his Kingdom in ways that were needed to grow ministries.  The enemies lie "Christian Misfit".

"If you character is not ready, God's anointing will not bless." 
Amanda Higgins

What is God trying to work out in you? In your character?  Are you ready? It might hurt.
"Favor is more than we deserve, but we have to be ready to step into it." 
Amanda Higgins

Phil 4:17
"Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek the profit which increases to your account."

Proverbs 10:22
"It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow."

Do you look to another and complain that they walk in God's favor?  
Begin to measure your heart and ask God to open your heart to His calling in your life.  
Are you shrinking back and away when that painful refining begins?
God has to establish our hearts towards Him in order for us to hear from Him.  There are many distractions that the enemy uses to try to keep us busy, and loud and not able to hear from God.

He wants to bless us, and He wants to give us more.  In that favor there is protection.

Psalm 5:12
"For is is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord.  You surround him with favor as with a shield." 

Obedience requires that we press in very, very, very close to God.  He goes before our thoughts, our actions, our interactions.  He will guide in the smallest of ways.  I said earlier that I have many journal pages filled with the ways in which God has blessed me.  Friends let be clear on one thing.  Many of these journey's have been very painful and very hard.  Unseen, but no more in hiding.  No longer that "Christian Misfit".  No longer embarressed over just how much God has heaped on me, the blessings, the favor and the protection.

I chatted with a lovely young mom a few weeks back. If you are reading you will know who you are.  She shared with me her lovely life.  In almost a whisper she said,
 "I feel like I just need to be quiet with how much 
God is blessing me
I get to be a full time stay home mom, I love my husband so much, 
he is so amazing, and well it's kind of embarrassing."

As I listened, I understood clearly her struggle of "embarrassment of blessings" as I too have struggled with the same.  I mean really how do you share with your friends that your tiny little business just grossed over 3 million in one year and much more the next.  How do you share the blessings of being on the cover of Neiman Marcus, and Better Homes and Gardens.  Sounds kind of braggy doesn't it?  Especially when others are struggling so much in their marriages, their relationships, their jobs.  When Amanda Higgins shared the blessing of landing the most fantastic job ever, it was not about her.  It was not about her gifted and amazing skills. It was about her painful journey to surrender and obedience.  
Dear Mom, who shared on the phone, your story of obedience gives credence the favor and blessings God has surrounded you with.

Dear Elizabeth, your favor and blessings in a business were from a heart that said, "God I will share who you are in my life with strangers, and I will share all this blessing to give in ministries that I can not work in, but can write a check for."

Nothing in the blessings of business show the painful journey of meeting furniture trucks at 5am in the pouring rain and unloading 184 pieces of furniture in the dark with a fever of 104 degrees.  Asking and crying out to God why he would have me in this silly business. Nothing in my journey shows the pain of holding countless mother's hands, losing their babies and having to come in to face me and cancel the order for their baby's room.  Did God need Elizabeth to sit with these strangers and reveal to them a God who was bigger and greater.  Crying with them and praying with them in a store.  We can never know or we know it plain as day, why God calls us.
Blessings follow our Obedience!

Find a journal and begin writing.  Thanking God for His favor in your life. Pick up the phone and share your story.  That journey that brought you to a place of favor, that others may see your life.  Like the blind man, who could see.  He went running off and praising God for what God had done in his life.  Open your eyes, and see!

Next in this series: Cultivating Favor 

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