Thursday, April 09, 2009

Getting fed up!

Hello friends,

Sorry again for not being a regular updater on this thing! I just write when things kind of build up over time and then I feel like I have something slightly worthwhile for people to read :) Maybe? ha!

To give the most recent update I have been living with my grandfather now since December and it has been a blessing beyond what I could have imagined. It hasn't been without its trials though...2 BIG ones to be exact. One back in January, and one just this past week.

To give some background: my grandfather has been a compulsive gambler for 60+ years. I don't know how many times in his life he has blown it big and then regretted it, only to fall back into it again and again "like a dog returning to its vomit." (sorry to use such a gruesome example, but it describes what sin is well).

When I moved in here back in December, I didn't imagine his gambling to be so bad that I would end up having to pay all of his bills for the month of January and then some, plus my own. Needless to say, I was quite frustrated and warned him that I would only help him in that way just that one time. He seemed so remorseful, and promised me to never do that again and that he would stop going to the casino boat, etc., etc. So I took him at his word and left it at that hoping he would be able to pay me back in a timely manner since that money was my savings money specifically dedicated for paying off my student loans.

Well, he did it again this past week to where he blew the rent money; and we were served with a warning notice that an eviction process would occur if we didn't pay it by today (with a late fee on top of it). This left me with the past few days of wrestling in prayer over the decision to either give him the rent money or just take that money and get a place of my own and leave him 'high and dry' in a 'tough love' sort of way.

I don't tell you all this to paint a bad picture of my grandfather and to whine about the trials that I am facing. My purpose in writing this is more of me just processing the past few days and some of the lessons I think the Lord may be trying to work into me. So bear with me on some of these thoughts!

First is:
This realization of just how disgusting, vile, putrid, and asphyxiating sin is. As I have lived with my grandfather, observed other family members lives, work with my counseling clients, and as I deal with things in my own life, I am seeing more and more what the word 'stronghold' means. Sin has a STRONG HOLD on lives. It's suffocating. It's maddening. It brings feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, despair, and self-pity. We are powerless to bring everlasting change in our own lives to fix these things and this nature that are wrong in us. Sin has a CHOKE HOLD, a DEATH GRIP, a VICE GRIP on us apart from Christ.

Secondly:
Because of these strongholds I see in my family members' lives, my clients' lives, and my own life, it often leads me to faithless, weak, and unbelieving prayers, which is probably a sinful way of praying if there is such a thing. And then with that, when these faithless prayers of mine haven't gotten answered I turn away from or on God like a pit-bull on its master. I blame Him for my trials and choices, for my family members' choices, and I stomp out of the throne room of Grace like a 5-yr old having a temper tantrum because I don't get it my way, right away (at Burger King now...sorry I couldn't resist! ha!).

Or I am too often looking at it from the human perspective of, "Oh, he'll never change, that's just the way he is, " or, "you've done this for so long, what makes you think you'll be able to change this now?" or, "this change will only last for so long, and then she'll just go right back to doing the same thing" or, "nobody's perfect." As if any of these excuses help focus my heart and mind on a BIGGER-THAN-LIFE, MIRACLE-WORKING, INDESCRIBABLY AWE-INSPIRING, INCOMPREHENSIBLE, ALL POWERFUL, HOLY GOD.

Thirdly:
For a while now, I have been asking the Lord to teach me to pray, what to pray for, as well as what true repentance is because I honestly feel clueless in these matters. I am still often looking for a 'magic prayer' or the 'magic words' that will turn the keys of my family members' hearts to open them to Jesus. But I have not figured out these magic words or prayers yet. I think I am finding that it is less about MY words and more about GOD'S WORD and believing Him and taking Him at His word. And letting that Word that He sent to heal, restore, convict, train, rebuke, encourage, admonish, search, teach, empower, and dwell in me richly.
Repentance...I am still learning this concept, but it has been becoming more clear to me the difference between the worldly sorrow that brings death and Godly sorrow that leads to repentance (2 Cor. 7:8-11). I heard a wonderful sermon by James MacDonald a few years ago, and I have been listening to him a lot lately on this very subject of change and repentance (He did a series called "Lord, I really want to change...so help me, God"...it is amazing! Look it up on his website Walk in the Word!).

One of the components of repentance basically includes an action plan with specific actions in mind of what things need to change and how it will happen (with the Holy Spirit's power and guidance of course!)-- such as: seeking out accountability, going to support group meetings, destroying the things that are tied to your addictions (i.e. cd's with bad music, romance novels that are bad, even computers if you struggle so badly that you can't control yourself when you get on the internet, etc). There is also an earnestness, longing, and strong desire to see these things change in one's life as well as a desire to make restitution where needed. There is much more to it, and I may add some of the points to his sermon later, but I will spare you for now since this is getting longer than I intended it to!

Prayer...ahh...another doozy of a subject that the Lord is continually teaching me about and I'm sure will continue the rest of my life! Basically the thing that the Lord has been reminding me of is what an incredible privilege and powerful tool He has given us in this mystery of communication and intimacy with our Creator and Heavenly Father. And we often use it as a last resource and think, "Well, all I can do now is just pray..." JUST pray?? That's it?? We can't do any better than that?? Are you kidding???!!! That's probably ALL we should be doing!!! There are more passages in the Bible than I can count right now this late at night that COMMAND and INVITE us to pray!! "Pray without ceasing..." (1 Thess.5:17), "Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence..." (Heb 4:16), "...if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear..." (2 Chron.7:14). Oh may we wake up from our slumber, Christians-- 'little Christs', loved ones of the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY!!!! May we wake up and realize that there is a very real enemy out there and a very real war going on. And the battle is for the souls of our brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, aunts, uncles, grandma's and grandpa's.

Over these past couple days, I feel like God is stirring up in me this indignation against the stronghold of sin and the enemy of our souls...and I am GETTING FED UP with this enemy beating me, and my brothers and sisters in Christ, down into a corner like a puppy with its tail between its legs telling me, "Oh, he'll never change" or "your prayers aren't doing anything but bouncing off the ceiling, you might as well 'curse God and give up' on yourself and your family."

OH NO HE DIDN'T!!! NUH-UH!! NO MORE OF THAT MESS!! How dare the enemy speak to us this way!! We are children of the MOST HIGH GOD!! THE KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS!! Have we forgotten Whom we serve and belong to?? "Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting GOD, the CREATOR of the ends of the earth" (Isaiah 40:28a). Does the One who made the heart and mind of a human not know how to reach it and change it? Does the One who changed your life not know how to change your loved one's life?

It is time we WAKE UP loved ones!! "Take up [our] positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give [us]..." (2 Chron.20:17b). "Put on the FULL ARMOR OF GOD so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes...And pray in the Spirit on ALL occasions with ALL KINDS of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Eph.6:11, 18). I find it very interesting that after all the pieces of armor were mentioned, the last 2 things that Paul mentioned were the Sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God) and Prayer to tie it all together. We MUST keep fighting and persevering in prayer for our lost family members and friends.

Persevere-- that's a whole other blog topic right there!

I'll leave you with 2 final Scriptures and then some song lyrics to the cry of my heart right now for my grandfather and the rest of my family and friends that I long to see answer the call out to come out of the darkness and into His wonderful light that they may declare His praises (1 Peter 2:9)!!

So without further ado:

2 Corinthians 10:3-5: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have Divine Power to DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

What weapons do we have?? Check'em out!! Ephesians 6 sums them up :)

Nehemiah 4:14: "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the LORD, who is GREAT and AWESOME, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

Who should we remember?? OUR GREAT and AWESOME LORD!!

O praise Him.

Here's the song that has been on my heart lately:

"Hear Us from Heaven" by Jared Anderson

Lord, hear our cry
Come heal our land
Breathe life into these dry and thirsty souls

Lord, hear our prayer
Forgive our sin
And as we call on Your name
Would You make this a place
For Your glory to dwell

Chorus:
Open the blind eyes
Unlock the deaf ears
Come to Your people
As we draw near
Hear us from heaven
Touch our generation
We are Your people
Crying out in desperation

Bridge:
Hear Us From Heaven,
Hear Us From Heaven,
Hear Us From Heaven
--------------------------------------------


If you made it this far into reading this entry, may the Lord bless you!! Thanks for reading and bearing with me and all my random thoughts :) Love to you!!

LET'S FIGHT IN PRAYER and DEMOLISH STRONGHOLDS dear ones!!!!! With God ALL things are possible (Luke 1:37)!!

3 comments:

Kinsey said...

Miss Misty Miller (also an MM!) This whole situation seems sooooo frustrating. Take heart though, and continue to seek after God. And it was something I really needed to read as well. Thank you so much for posting this, it really impacted me. I'm always getting discouraged about my sin beating me and the enemy just having his way and this really helped me out. :) I love you and I am praying for you mdear!

LMT said...

Thank you Misty...
~Lisa

Anonymous said...

Thank you and Thank you Misty!! I Love you and will continue to pray for you.
~Shela