Monday, November 26, 2007

My Heavenly Father: The Ancient of Days

I thought I was going to have time today to write a new post, but I've ended up using today to get all the emails that have been piling up in my inbox, so I haven't had time to write about some of the things God has been teaching me. But that's ok, because there are so many things I've been learning, I don't know if I could easily compress them all into one post. God is starting to tie everything together though, and with a little more prayer and meditation and study of the Word, I think I'll be ready to write.

Until then, here's another post that I wrote earlier on my other blog, although compared the last one I posted -which I wrote last June- it's from just last month. It is still very good for me to go back over what it was I wrote then, and I can tell that much of what I wrote wasn't directly from me, as I don't remember writing it. (Not that I don't remember actually sitting down and writing, I don't remember thinking some of the thoughts that I typed.)

This post continues the theme of what I was writing about in June, desiring to know more about my Heavenly Father. I hope it is encouraging.

Originally written October 20, 2007

"I have revealed and saved and proclaimed - I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses," declares the LORD, "that I am God. Yes, and from ancient of days I am he." ~ Isaiah 43:12-13

The last few weeks have been weak ones for me spiritually, because I just haven't taken the time I should have to study the Word. It's not that I didn't want to, I just couldn't get myself to do it for some reason every time I tried. Something else always came up, something else was always more appealing, or I just couldn't get into a mind set where I could study anything. I'm not making excuses, for me it's not that hard to get into the mindset needed for Bible study, I just didn't want to do it. I think part of the reason was fear; there is something I knew the LORD wanted to address but I didn't want to know what it was, and a lot of it was guilt; I couldn't get myself to turn to my redeemer because I couldn't handle the love I knew I would see there. No, I'm not sure that's what it was, it's hard to isolate feelings a few days after the fact, but I do know that I'm still dealing with guilt, and also a lot of confusion, and I'm not really sure over what. However, there is one thing I am always sure of, and that is that my Heavenly Father, the Ancient of Days, loves me, and wants to carry my burdens and relieve my anxieties. I know He sees me as victorious in Him, and He does not identify me with my sins and shortcomings, and He doesn't want me to be burdened by guilt because it only prevents me from having a rich, intimate, and fulfilling relationship with Him.

Since I can't exactly isolate at the moment what it is that is causing the almost constant pit in my stomach, let's take some time to review what God has been teaching me about Himself the last few days.

Walking the Christian life, I believe, is completely wrapped up in understanding our Heavenly Father. Only once we are focused on Him, relying on Him completely, can we benefit from His wisdom and understanding. A relationship with God requires us to pay attention to Him, preferrably an almost constant attention. Not that we can't think about anything else, but it should be the thing that fascinates us the most, the thing that when we think about it, peace immediately washes over us like a good memory we forgot to think about and have been looking for without knowing it. My first priority should be my relationship with God, and one of the best ways I can act in that relationship is by learning about Him. Only then, since my God is an omniscient and omnipotent God, can He teach me with His wisdom about myself, so that He can begin to change in me the things that need to be changed. So that He can mold me into the women He wants me to be. I need to remember that no matter what in my life is going wrong, no matter how badly my feelings get hurt or how confused I get, nothing is worth neglecting even for a moment my relationship with God, because it is the only thing that can and will bring perfect peace and joy.

A few days ago I read a chapter in Beth Moore's book "Breaking Free," titled "The Ancient of Days." The way Moore described God in this chapter, and in the next, titled "Straight to the Heart," completely overwhelmed me, as I was hit with the enormity of how much God does for me, of just how much He loves me. Moore opens the first chapter with this statement: "Just as God's primary agenda is redemption, Satan's primary agenda is to blind people to the Redeemer. But once we are redeemed, our completion becomes God's primary agenda." My "completion" is the top thing on God's to-do list. Just like all the verses that exhort the believer to become perfect, or mature, complete, God is calling me to Him, not so He can conform me into a robot that lives just to do his bidding, but to mold me into someone who is complete and fulfilled and desires nothing more than to serve Him, for the purpose of my own happiness! Only this situation is one that offers complete freedom. Any other program is from Satan and a lie and will ultimately trap the believer in a bondage they don't need to be in. Satan is a formidable enemy, but we have the Ancient of Days on our side.

As the Ancient of Days, my God has been there since the beginning, and He has been completely aware and knowledgable of every single thing since. Even though I can't pinpoint what it is that's bothering me at the moment, He was there when it happened, and He knows exactly what it is and exactly what I need to do to relieve my unrest. And He will do everything in His power to give me that peace of mind, as long as I trust that He can do it. I say "everything in His power." Just think about how powerful our God is. He will, and can, do absolutely anything to show us what we need to know, or give us what we need, as long as we are trusting Him completely. I have a friend who was diagnosed last spring with ovarian cancer. She only just turned 20. I was worried for her, and have been praying for her, but I hadn't heard anything about her condition since the diagnosis. Tonight I found out that when she went into surgery a few months ago to have the tumor removed, the surgeon couldn't find it. It was gone. See what I mean about God being able to do anything? (And just to clarify, I don't believe that God will only give help to those who are relying on Him. I know from my own life that He will use anything and everything to turn back to Him those who aren't walking with Him. However, I know that the things He does for those who are already trusting Him are usually a lot nicer to experience than the things He will do to get someone's attention.) Of our Heavenly Father, Moore says He is able to reconstruct anything. "Nothing has ever been allowed to crumble in a Christian's life or heritage that God can't reconstruct and use." It's so comforting to think that my God can use even the ruins from the failings in my life to build up His plan for me. Curses that I brought upon myself, He can use and transform into blessings.

Many of the failings, many of the ruins in my past either caused heartbreak, or were caused by it. So many times I took my eyes off my Savior's face and trusted myself and my own judgement, and so many times I slid into a pit only to be met at the bottom by a broken heart. There were also a few times when heartbreak just came, caused by the actions of others, and those heartbreaks are the ones that hurt the most.

In the chapter after "The Ancient of Days," Moore address how God heals broken hearts. Isaiah wrote through the Spirit in chapter 61 "He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted." (vs. 1) The "me" in that verse is not referring to Isaiah. Our Heavenly Father not only loves us and wants to rebuild ruins we have in our lives, He also wants to heal the pain in our hearts, and He sent His Son to "bind up" the wounds we have there. In this chapter, Moore gives the reader an in depth study of the meaning of the Hebrew words in this verse. Focusing on the first active verb in the verse - "sent" - the reader gains insight into how God delivered His Son to us. The Hebrew word is shalack, meaning to shoot [forth.] (Definition taken from Strong's Dictionary.) The Son was "shot forth" to us, like an arrow. Psalm 127:3-4 "sons are a heritage from the LORD, ...... Like arrows in the hands of a warrior." Jesus Christ is not only God's Son, He was the only arrow in God's quiver, an arrow that God aimed straight at our brokenhearts. God sacrificed His only Son for us, because of His great love for us, a love that superceded the love for His Son. I can't help but cry when I think about this, about the sacrifice that God made for us, and the sacrifice His Son made, because They love us so much.

The second word in the verse that Moore focuses on is "broken" from "brokenhearted." The Hebrew word being shavar, which means "to burst, break into pieces, wreck, crush, smash; to rend, tear in pieces (like a wild beast.)" That sounds like a pretty good definition of what it feels like to have your heart broken to me. Keeping that meaning of the word broken in mind, take a look at the last word Moore focuses on, the word for "bind up." Chavash: "to bind on, wrap around; bind up as a wound, bandage, cover, envelope, enclose." And Strong's describes it as "to compress....to stop." According to Moore, based on these definitions, the difference between a aching heart and a broken heart is that a broken heart needs to be compressed, because it is hemorrhaging. Apply this knowlege to the image of Christ. First He was an arrow pointed straight at our wounded hearts, and now He is the hand that presses on our wounds to stop the blood flow and begin the healing process.

When my heart is broken, God doesn't want me to build up walls around my heart in an effort to protect it from being hurt again. First of all, I'm not sure I want to know how weak such a wall is in reality, no matter how strong it feels. Secondly, such a wall doesn't just keep out hurt, it keeps out everything else, including us experiencing God's love for us fully. No matter what, He will never stop loving us, but we can make it harder for ourselves to experience that love, and from giving Him love in return. When we do this, we just become captives again, caught in a fortress that prevents us from not only experiencing God's blessings, but from being used by Him as the tool He needs to build up crumbling walls and ruins. Besides that, this is the God of the Universe I'm talking about. I've already underscored how powerful He is. What on earth makes me think that I could do a better job protecting my heart than He can? He wants to protect my heart from being broken, even though heartbreak is something that unfortunately is inevitable in this sinful world we live in. But He wants to be there with a hand wrapped around my heart anyway, enveloping my heart so completely, so that when it does break, He is already there applying the pressure needed to stop the hemorrhaging. He will not let me suffer any longer than He knows I can handle, and through it all, He will be there by my side, carrying my burden for me, if I can be humble enough to just give it to Him.

The thing or things I've been struggling with the last few weeks are still there, and I'm sure it's going to take more study and prayer on my part to find what it is that's bothering me, but just reviewing again what I've learned about my Heavenly Father has been extremely comforting; it reminds me just how much He loves me, and assures me that He will always be there to take care of me. I don't have to worry about anything, because I know He is in control, no matter what happens.

6 comments:

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Amanda,

"Walking the Christian life, I believe, is completely wrapped up in understanding our Heavenly Father. Only once we are focused on Him, relying on Him completely, can we benefit from His wisdom and understanding."

Without wanting to seem fussy, I would suggest that knowing more of the Father can only come through knowing more of the Lord Jesus Christ who reveals the Father.

God Bless

Matthew

IndweltDaughter said...

Matthew,

Thank you for your comment, and I agree. I believe that what I wrote is true, that our Christian walk is "wrapped up in our understanding of the Father," but I also know that the only way we can come to the Father, in both our salvation and our everyday walk with Him, is through Jesus Christ.

Thank you for pointing that out, it's not a distinction I want to leave out either.

Many Blessings

~Amanda

Anonymous said...

ID
Great words, good thoughts. It is funny because after I read this blog I wanted to be sure to comment on the quote I suprisingly found commented on already! I guess this is a good quote to rremember :)
What I wanted to say was simply, I agree. But I think Matthew has a point too. If we are going to hit a point it is sometimes an oversight to not explain exactly what we mean. Sometimes I just say "Lord" but really have in mind the whole Trinity, who ALWAYS works together. The Father, Son, and Spirit are never disconnected in any work or charateristic.
Good quote, ID, and good reminder to be fussy, Matthew :)
TD

IndweltDaughter said...

TD,
Thank you very much for your comments, as well as for the encouragement you have been offering over these past few days. I am very thankful for your insights, and for the things you have to say.
If we are going to hit a point it is sometimes an oversight to not explain exactly what we mean. Sometimes I just say "Lord" but really have in mind the whole Trinity, who ALWAYS works together. The Father, Son, and Spirit are never disconnected in any work or charateristic.

Very well put, and explains why I then needed to make this distinction. At my former blog, I wasn't really writing with the thought in mind that other people would be reading what I was writing, I was mostly writing in order to get my own thoughts organized. Like you stated, when you say "Lord" in your mind you are thinking all three, and when I'm writing quickly trying to keep up with my thoughts, sometimes I forget to make distinctions in my writing that I'm aware of in my head.

Thank you both for the comments, and I hope you've been encouraged.

~Amanda

Uncle Ben said...

I for one was encouraged!

IndweltDaughter said...

I'm so glad you were encouraged Uncle Ben!

(Especially in light of yesterday's game....how are you holding up?) ;)

~Amanda