A Tormented Mind

I didn’t want to answer the phone. I was watching the caller ID to see who was calling, deciding whether I would answer or not. I was afraid to open emails. Working through everyday was a test of endurance. Going home and trying to rest while the mind was racing became the routine. Crawling into bed at night you prayed God would give the grace to shut the mind down long enough to rest. Prayer was offered to guard the sleep from tormenting dreams.

When I did answer the phone sometimes I could hardly catch my breath to talk as my blood pressure would pound my chest. Trying to maintain a position of grace in the midst of mental and spiritual torment was a constant struggle. What the humanity wants to do and what the Spirit of God wants to do are totally opposed.

We all want to live on the mountain top. I do. We all want to live by the shore to watch the waves and listen to the soothing sound of lapping waves. I do. But mountain tops have high winds and deep snows and ocean shores have heavy storms and hurricanes. There is no escape. Life will pound you. It is how we survive the pounding that counts.

We are urged to bring every thought into captivity that exalts itself against God. That sounds so easy. It is not. It is the hardest thing you will ever be commanded to do by the Lord. The warfare that goes on in the mind is relentless. We waver from calm to rage when we have been hurt, offended, or falsely accused. Sometimes, most times really, there is no recourse. You just have to wait on God. However, the waiting on God is not for a revenge factor; it is for God to heal you of the hurt, the growing unforgiveness, the thoughts of getting even somehow. We never walk through these things with some Mother Theresa ideal of just forgive and move on. Most of us are just too human for it to be that easy.

It takes effort. It takes pursuing God. It is confessing our weakness. It is surrendering our passions. It is utterly giving in to God. We come to the realization that we cannot do it. Every effort to be a Christian fails. Every effort of mind over matter is ridiculously faulty. We in our desperation will do anything but let go. We try to put it on the altar, but the least provocation causes us to grab it quickly off the altar and possess it again. We may do this many times until we can let go and walk away. I find that I cannot do that without God lifting the weight, the burden, the memory, the constant preoccupation of the mind.

But we must pursue or we will not see Him bring the deliverance. It is a work of His Spirit, not our will, mind, or strength. It truly is He. When it comes, there is freedom in the mind, lightness in the soul. You know it. It is transforming. It is relaxing.

The only way to peace is to continue to press toward God and wait, with persistence, for His grace to deliver.

Serve Simple, Love Deeply

Our Strategic Vision is to continue to involve ourselves deeply in the command of Jesus to go and disciple. While things cannot happen overnight, there can be steps taken regularly toward those goals. First there has to be a vision, which we have. Secondly, there has to be creative ideas toward that vision, we are working on those items and need the input of creative people. With a pool of ideas, there can be choices made that will best accomplish steps toward our vision. Thirdly, there have to be people who are committed to participating in the vision and the events that are chosen to be implemented. It is our vision to have everyone participate sometime and somewhere. Knowing each persons preferences differ, there will be opportunities to get out there and do something to serve.

Likewise, there are the internal fellowship and grow opportunities that need to be there. Freedom Groups have been especially wonderful and life changing. The Connect Youth are taking off and connecting well. Also, small groups are in the process of revamping and re-starting with fresh vision and purpose.

Where can you connect? Everyone can bring a food item that is needed for the community connect. That would be a start. Some of you could volunteer an hour or two a month to help stock some shelves at the food pantry; especially when we take our items at the end of the month.

You can connect with a small group when we launch them again.

You can connect in the future with the projects that will be coming along. Some of them will be one time events; others will need continual help and investment. We monthly give $75 to the Butler Nutrition Center which is now feeding 80 people in the Meals on Wheels program. We also give $75 a month to the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center. We invest $150 a month in helping feed the needs of the Clear Fork Valley. One problem, there are no faces on those checks. We want faces and hearts to touch the area.

While we have given thousands to the “uttermost parts of the world,” we have not done too well in our “Jerusalem and Judea.”

Our Strategic Vision is to touch our Jerusalem and Judea, Butler and Bellville and the surrounding communities.

It is not good enough to say be warmed and fed and bless you. It has to be backed up with real clothing and food. We recently helped a family save their home from foreclosure. The man had serious health problems that put them behind. We contributed to their recovery, knowing that once they were caught up, they could maintain.

There are projects and events coming. Please take this to heart and plan on investing your time sometime and somewhere in this Strategic Vision. Serve Simply, Love Deeply.IMG_2549