January 29, 2009

God Spoke

A little over a week ago I received a letter from a friend. God used this letter to bring me to a place of brokenness before Him. While reading the letter God spoke to me clearer than He ever has before, and what He said tore me apart.

The letter was a very encouraging one. It talked about how God had been working in my friend’s life and how she was continuing to submitting her life to Christ. This was an answer to my prayers. Her growth in Christ has been something I have been praying for. About half way through the letter I started to thank God for what He was doing and how He had answered my prayers. That is when I heard God speak to me. He said in a quiet and pained voice, “Titus, you have been neglecting me” and then after a short pause He asked, “Why?” Hearing God say that and hearing the emotion in his voice broke me. I felt terrible for the way I had treated Him, for choosing other things over Him, for creating idols in my life, and for just simply ignoring Him. I ignored Him in ways I never would ignore a friend. I was and am so ashamed of neglecting Him.

Why had I been neglecting God? Well, it is because I am afraid of something. What that something is I don’t know. I fear something God will ask me to do or something He will say no to. I don’t know what I fear. I am afraid of spending time with Him, afraid of what He will do, and of what He will think. I don’t understand my feelings. However, they are there and are keeping me from enjoying being in the presence of God.

Sunday at Church Mr. Pulver, who was leading worship, asked if anyone had something to share. Quite a few people shared different things. I don’t remember what they said I only remember God wanting me to share what He had told me. So after our last song I said, “I have something to share” I started off by reading James 5:16. As I read I had to bite back tears that where threatening to overwhelm me. Next, I started haltingly to tell the story of what God had said to me, and then I attempted to share the answer to God’s question “why.” I was unable to get through it all before I broke down completely and started to sob my body shaking. I was filled with grief over neglecting God and with shame for what I had done. Guilt plagued me. As soon as I could no longer talk Mr. Pulver asked everyone to get up and pray for me and my family. They stood around us and prayed.

As they were praying, God started to bring thing after thing that I need to confess to my attention. I sat and cried while my body shook quaked confessing things to God. Everyone probable prayed for us around fifteen or twenty minutes. I was unaware of the time passing just God, and the people praying for me. God was breaking my heart, humbling my proud spirit. That day He did a major work in me.
Right now, I am still full of shame for what I did. God has taken away my guilt. He has forgiven me and for that I am thankful. Still at times I am not far from tears, the sorrow and regret is still there. My heart is laying in pieces in God’s hands, which He is slowly putting back together.

One of the many things that God has showed me through all of this is that He truly values spending time with us. He really enjoys hanging out with us. He longs for an intimate relationship with each of us, a relationship in which we share life together.

January 6, 2009

Sharing from my Heart

Pride…..Fear of rejection……Fear that I will not say what needs to be said…… Uncertainty.… Disconnected….Shame…. These are the feelings that are flying through my heart… These have brought me to tears many times over the past couple of days.

Pride: within me saying “I don’t need God I can go through life without Him.” And “God does not mind if I don’t spend time with Him tonight. He will understand that I need some me time.” My pride has led me to follow these suggestions even when I knew them to be false.

Fear of rejection: Afraid to do what God wants me to do, because I am afraid that if I do what He wants, I will not be received the same way by someone I look up to greatly.

Fear that I will not say what needs to be said: God has asked me to talk with one of my friends about a topic that is very emotional. He has asked me to say something that my heart does not feel like saying but I know that it is the right thing to say. I fear that I will let my emotions rule during the conversation and will end up saying the wrong thing.

Uncertain of my future: I am not sure what God wants me to do over the next two years, and I need to make a decision within the next ten days. Where will I be going to college next fall? I am uncertain about the future and am unwilling to give it to God, because I feel disconnected.

Disconnected from God: a feeling that I have caused by deciding to do other things rather than spend time with my creator. I have made idols of those things be putting them before spending time with my Lord.

I am filled with shame because of this fact. I am very disappointed with myself, because I know that this disconnection is completely my fault. Also I know that if my relationship with God was in the right place then all of these troubles would not be causing me pain. I would have laid them at Jesus’ feet, but due to my pride I am unwilling to do this.

Thankfully shame is not where my journey ends. It is actually the beginning of a turning back to my Lord and Savior. Tonight (1-5-09) God has greatly blessed me by drawing me back to Himself. After a conversation with a friend and reading Psalms 58, 61, and James 4:1-10, God has started to humble my heart before Him once again. As of right now, I am still trying to lay all these things at his feet. I am still not where I should be, but I am moving in that direction.

James 4 speaks directly to my issue of pride as you can see below.

James 4:6-10
6But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 7Submit yourselves (A pride issue), then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Psalm 61 was a huge encouragement to me to. Specially the first four verses.

Psalm 61
1 Hear my cry, O God;
listen to my prayer.
2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
5 For you have heard my vows, O God;
you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.
6 Increase the days of the king's life,
his years for many generations.
7 May he be enthroned in God's presence forever;
appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.
8 Then will I ever sing praise to your name
and fulfill my vows day after day.