Over Taken

I remember the days when I was absolutely smitten with my husband, those early days when my every thought was punctuated with him. When I rose in the morning my first thoughts turned to him, and my mind would whirl all day long with pieces of the moments we shared. I was head over heels with him. Over taken with a love for this man, a love I had never known before. If I asked you if you knew such a time in your own life, you could most likely echo back to me your own remembrances of being smitten. We know those feelings well. A love that transforms us, it causes us to be filled with happiness and brings a skip to our step.

I want to talk about a different love, a love so perfect and complete, a love that never disappoints our pushes us away. This is the love of Jesus. I have been over taken by it. It has become like a consuming fire in my very spirit.
I remember as a child of about 8 years old asking Jesus into my heart. I can still picture sitting in a room in my old church, with a couple of other young girls saying the words of the prayer. I lived years with Jesus as my Savior. I did my best to follow the example set by other older woman. I tried my hardest to change my behavior. Usually failing, and failing badly. I walked around holding a sign that said “Christian”, but I was not over taken.

There is no behavior modification plan I could put in place that would fill my heart. It took being in a place where I could do nothing myself to fix my brokenness, hearing about Jesus that loved me so completely even though I couldn’t fix what was wrong, and believing that God was who He said he was before I bent the knee, both literally and figuratively. As I was studying a Beth Moore bible Study on “believing God” that’s when it happened. I climbed out of my chair and hit my knees. I asked him to fill me, to reveal himself to me. Just like those first few months after meeting my husband, that feeling of being smitten over came me. A love that had not let me go as a young child, was now alive and active in my being. I hungered for time with Him. I found myself having a love for His word, I would dig and search out a morsel of truth at a time. I wanted to know Him, to see Him for who He was.

Submitting my empty behavioral modification plan to him was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I had to stop believing that I was in control and could handle my own sanctification process. That all consuming love became the catalyst of turning it all over to Him. Off the throne; daily became my prayer. Jesus was no longer a part of my life, He was and is my life.

1 Peter 1: 18 – 23
18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.[b] 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

I am so very thankful that Jesus has over taken me, that His love has redeemed me from an empty life. When you and I try in our own strengthen to change, it is a lie and it is empty. He longs to fill us with His complete love, a love that will over take us. When we try to live a ‘godly’ life with out being over taken by the Spirit of God and filled with Him. We live a lie, produced by self. Submitting to the work of the Spirit is the only thing that can produce a life worthy of the name Christian. Time to drop the sign and live in the Spirit. Be over taken by Him.

Prepare Your Minds

Our minds are our greatest battlefield. it is there that we initially believe in anything. There are a mulitiude of books written on this subject. One that I have read “As a Man Thinketh” By James Allen; This “classic” has been around since the turn of the century and it seems to be even more relevant in today’s stressful and competitive society. As Allen states, “a man is literally what he thinks”, or as the saying goes, garbage in, garbage out! Or put another way, “All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts.”

I have learned that I cannot blame others for my life, or my state of affairs – they very well can be my creation, the end product of my thoughts and actions. Allen states that “man makes or unmakes himself by the thoughts he keeps and cultivates. Man truly is his own worst enemy!” Allen goes on the say “Thoughts of doubt and fear never accomplish anything, and never can. They always lead to failure. Purpose, energy, power to do, and all strong thoughts cease when doubt and fear creep in.”
How profound and how true. How we let fear run our lives – again proving how powerful our thoughts can be.

That is what man has to say about preparing our minds. Allen’s self-help style book has indeed helped many find ways to think their way to a positive life, but God has something even more for us. Positive thoughts are great but when we apply His ways and not just the “positive thoughts” what a profound transformation of our minds that will come about; So what does God have to say;

I Peter 1: 13 – 16 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do, for it is written “Be Holy, because I am Holy.

God and Allen have something in common. Both state that our minds need to be prepared. But they differ in what we are to prepare them with. Allen wants us to replace fear and doubt with “positive thoughts” That can be a pretty wide field, as one mans positive thought might be another mans undoing. But God says: Focus on the Grace I am offering you. Jesus the gift of Grace given you when He was revealed, fill your mind with him. Now that is the true “power of positive thinking”. When I focus on Him, he will remove my fears and doubts and replace them with his protection and will.

I’ve read alot of “self-Help style books over the years, I guess I need to know the “how to”. The Bible is one of the best self-help books I have ever picked up.
I Peter 1: 13-16 lays it right out there. It starts with telling us we need to be self-controlled, not in a self over God way. But in a submitting self to God way, as we can never truly control our selves. It’s when we submit self to the Holy Spirit we will be able to begin to prepare our minds, then we are to focus on His grace, which then will lead to living obediently, and not conforming to this worlds evil desires. And then Peter ends with; In all of this he longs for us to be Holy as He is holy.
We start with Prepare your Mind and end with Be Holy. That’s a huge undertaken if done in the flesh. There are not enough “positive thoughts” I could fill my fleshly mind with to produce Holiness. I pray that as I focus on His Grace I can then be Holy as He is Holy.