Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Being Called" to "Being Consecrated" - Part 1


It is obvious that God is calling us to Africa.  I would give anything if we could go right now! 

But God reminded me of something this past week.  He reminded me of the very first in-depth Ladies' Bible study that I did 9 1/2 years ago - Beth Moore's "Breaking Free."  He reminded me of the Bible verse that intrigued me.  The one that resonated with me the most throughout the entire study.

“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do
amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5

Do you know what consecrate means?

It means to set apart as holy; to make or declare sacred for religious use; to devote or set apart something for the worship or service of God.

For us, this means that God is working in our hearts & lives and having us deal with our "stuff."  A few issues have come up recently that I thought had already been dealt with.  But, obviously some things still have a grip on us, and we need to break completely free before we can move on. 
God is growing us and wanting us to trust Him on a whole new level.  It is a process.  We are being refined.  We are being purified.  We are being consecrated.

A very wise friend told me one time that the "stuff" in our lives is like an onion.  God peels away one layer at a time.  And we have LOTS of layers!   

When I looked up the verse Joshua 3:5, I decided to read several verses (which turned into chapters) surrounding it so I could understand what was going on when Joshua told the Israelites to consecrate themselves.  I was amazed at what I read.

Don't you just love how God shows you something new from familiar Scripture you have read several times before??!!!

Joshua was telling the Israelites to prepare themselves to cross over the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  FINALLY - THE PROMISED LAND!  After being freed from slavery in Egypt.  After 40 years of wandering in the desert. After the death of the previous disobedient generation.  After the death of Moses.  After Joshua became their new leader. After waiting and waiting and waiting some more.  The Promised Land!

God dried up the overflowing banks of the Jordan River & let the Israelites pass through safely.  Just like He did for Moses & the Israelites at the Red Sea.  While Moses and his crew were breaking free from slavery, Joshua & his crew were moving into a whole new level of faith & fulfillment with God - the Promised Land.

The first thing God had Joshua & his crew do was to put memorial stones in place at the Jordan River so that they, along with generations to come, would never ever forget what God had done for them.

Joshua said to his people: "He (God) did this so
that all the peoples of the earth
might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful
and so that you might always fear the LORD your God.”
Joshua 4:24

Then, do you know what God had them do next?

"At that time the LORD said to Joshua,
“Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again.”
So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth.
And after the whole nation had been circumcised,
they remained where they were in camp until they were healed."
Joshua 5:2-3, 8

WOW!  This journey to the Promised Land seems to get harder & harder instead of easier, doesn't it?  But I love how God gave them time to heal.  He is so compassionate!

Next, Joshua and his crew had to trust God, obey Him fully, and fight for their Promised Land.  The land was not empty & just waiting for the Israelites to move in.  No. There were ungodly people living there, and they had to go.

So you see, the journey into the Promised Land was quite difficult.  But, God was so faithful - He made it worth every single step.  

Now, my husband & I find ourselves longing for the Promised Land (spiritually speaking.)  Turning 40 has really intensified our desire too.  We want our lives to matter and point others to Jesus.  We want to make a difference, an eternal difference, in the lives of others.

So, why do we often find ourselves like Moses' crew wanting to run back into slavery when things get hard?  Running back into our old sinful ways & unhealthy habits?  Well, I guess because things are familiar to us there, and we know what to expect.  In a strange way, we find comfort there even though it's not where we want to be.  Not to mention that  moving forward into the unknown requires trust, lots & lots of trust.  And the journey can be hard - WORTH IT, but hard. 

So please pray for us. 

Pray that our trust in the Lord will increase each day as we wait for God's specific direction. 

Pray that the comfort we find in our slavery to strongholds & sin will become distant memories, replaced with new memories of God's deliverance and freedom in our lives. 

Pray for us as God circumcises our hearts & minds and then gives us time to heal.  

Pray that we enjoy the JOURNEY with Our Heavenly Father, no matter what it brings.  Because HE IS WORTH IT!!  HE IS SO WORTH IT!!!

Pray for us as God prepares us to go to Africa in His perfect timing. 

We obviously have a lot more to do than just pack our suitcases to be ready to go.

Loving HIM with all my heart & soul,

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