Friday, April 10, 2015

Philippians 4:8-9

As I have journeyed this life in the variety of places one thing I have come to see is our need as believers to set our minds on things of Christ rather than things of this world. The verse the Lord is constantly putting before my heart is Philippians 4:8-9. Its putting that into practice daily and intentionally wherever I am. 
Its so easy to stay bitter and stay in a place where there is no growth and your relationship with the Lord gets blocked. Life is hard, people are hard I completely understand that but I have also learned I have a choice. I can stay in a perpetual state of criticism and bitterness or I can chose to believe the best in others.  
God has done a huge work in my heart because when I came to Korea I had some bitterness spilling out me. I missed out from complete fellowship with the Lord  by remaining in bitterness and hurt . It took me a year to process and release all that junk and unclog the arteries of my soul and restore a peace in my heart.  Restoration requires pain to be restored from and that requires a Savior to be the redeemer and restorer. 
I am all to familiar with feelings as I am a deep, deep feeler.  My 5 strength finder results are: Empathy, Restorative, Connectedness, Belief and Developer.So what? What does this mean? 

Simply put, I feel deep for others and long for them to be restored to the Lord and with others. I see all things connected and I feel their pain.  In ministry this is so helpful but personally its really hard to not feel. For years my feelings ping around like an uncontrollable ball bouncing. That's always a fun person to be around.  What I learn thanks to great leaders and mentors who poured into my life is deep feelings for others is a wonderful gift but you need to be under the control of the Holy Spirit and the Kingship of the Lord. Without feelings under control you will burn out and fry. So, painfully I began to practice intentionally bringing all my thoughts and feelings captive unto the Lord.  

Just like with anything you move two steps forward and one step back.  The key is to never give up. In my weak times I got hurt and had a hard time climbing out from that hurt and forgiving. Yet again a fellow follower of Christ leaned in and pushed me back into the fold and road to Christ. I am so grateful for the willingness of the Body of Christ to be bold in LOVE to encourage me and challenge me into a right unclogged relationship with the Lord.  This requires humility. It is Humility that you learn to see what others see (good and bad) and grow from that. Unfortunately I see so many that ignore wise counsel and walk in pride thinking they are always right and they have no faults. That is so hard to see others bash leaders in their lives because that leader was courageous and exposed a blind spot. I say this mainly because my life has been so radically changed by allowing God fearing leaders access into my life and heart. While it hurts to hear the blind spots and hurts to hear you are broken in areas the growth that comes from those crucial conversations if your heart is walking in humility is SO GREAT! 

I again for the past few weeks began to struggle a little with feeling so deeply with others and that quickly began to bring up past pain. Again, I had to daily take thoughts captive and focus on Philippians 4:8-9. Also, I cried out for help from a fellow God fearer and God used her in a mighty way to bring me back into unclogged arteries.   

I have been working through a series through Philippians and the podcast I listened too wouldn't you know what 4:5-6.  But what struck me was a part that I had glossed over time and time again. I love that about Gods word, its living and breathing. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

What the Lord pointed out in my heart is: if there is anything worthy of praise, if there is any excellence think on these things. Did you catch it? With other followers of Christ what are you thinking on with them? When you get wounded, what are you thinking about? Are you thinking on their demise or that you have been a victim and you need people to take sides? 
What does this say? IF THERE IS ANY EXCELLENCE. That means, with those that wound you, in order to have peace and fight for peace, find the nuggets of excellence, and find the nuggets of things that are good. Yes its hard to fight thru the pain and fight through the feelings of " you hurt me, I can't believe you did this" .  An amazing thing happens when you constantly bring your thoughts captive to Christ.  Slowing through a constant putting your thoughts captives and not letting your mind wander into hurt and lies,  your feelings begin to catch up to your obedience to the Lord.  You begin to bear fruit of the Lord, instead of fruit of Satan. When you allow your mind to wander into lies, there is no good fruit that comes from that. Think about this right now in your life. All your past self conversations that dwelled on hurt and anger, what fruit came from that? Did you feel peace after it? Now think about turning the rutter in your head to focus on Godly things and focusing on excellence. What  happens then? I realize you will start about fighting through this and fighting those bad thoughts coming back. God says if you think on Godly things, YOU WILL HAVE PEACE! 

I needed the reminder to focus on the excellence of the people that hurt me, and as fellow brothers and sisters I have no room for thinking on anything other than Gods design and God's qualities for them.  Does this mean I bring them back into my fold and allow them full access into my heart? I don't believe so, but I do strongly believe I need to push my thoughts about them into Gods thoughts about them. Anything less is sin. That's so hard to hear and so hard to come to terms with.  

Bitterness is like a plumbing pipe that has a clogged. It blocks your complete fellowship with the Lord.  Believe me, I had been stopped up for a while, and it took and takes hard work ti unclog and fight for peace. This world does not want us to be at peace. This world wants us to think on revenge, think on anything other than the best on others. 

I think about how many years I spent with a blocked pipe. I do know God brings us on a journey, and Philippians says 
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Be encouraged as you begin this journey and fight through this journey. God promises peace when we think on things of Him! 

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