"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Experiencing God -- last chapters

I finally finished this book yesterday! It's not that it was so boring that it took weeks to read. Rather lots of good stuff was presented and I felt I really need to read it slowly to "absorb" it all. Now I need to review my notes because I seem to forget stuff so easily! I am glad I took notes on every chapter in this book and recorded those here. A short summary of this book would not have been good enough. Now I will record my notes on those final 3 chapters.

Chapter 17 -- Joining God Requires Major Adjustments

"When God speaks to you, revealing what He is about to do, the revelation is your invitation to adjust your life to Him. Once you have adjusted your life to Him, His purposes, and His ways, you are in a position to obey. Adjustments prepare you for obedience. You cannot continue life as usual or stay where you are, and go with God at the same time." (pg. 147)

The author gives a few Scriptural examples such as Noah not being able to go about his usual activities while building the ark, David having to leave his sheep to become king, Abram being unable to stay in his homeland in order to father a nation in Canaan and the apostles having to leave their vocations (fishing, tax collecting) in order to follow Jesus.

"Enormous changes had to be made! Some had to leave family and country. Others had to drop prejudices [Jonah] and change preferences. Others had to leave behind life goals, ideals and desires. Everything had to be yielded to God and the entire life adjusted to Him." (pg. 148) Even Jesus adjusted His life in order to accomplish God's work. He left the splendor of Heaven and took on the form of a human in order to die for our sins!

The rich young ruler wanted eternal life, but he refused to adjust. He loved money more than he loved God. "Many people may face some of the same struggle today. Prosperity and the love of the things of the world may tempt you to refuse to adjust you life to God. The love for money and things can become a substitute for a love relationship with God." (pg. 149)

The author said God can require adjustments in many ways including circumstances, relationships, thinking, commitments, actions and beliefs.

Keep in mind these things concerning adjustments:

1. Absolute surrender -- God wants to be Lord of your life

2. Total dependence on God -- "The adjustment requires moving from doing work for God according to your abilities, your gifts, your likes and dislikes, and your goals to being totally dependent on God and His working and His resources." (pg. 151) See Scripture to see how we are dependent on God -- John 15:5, I Cor. 5:10, Gal. 2:20, Isa. 14:24, Isa. 41:10, Isa. 46:9-11.

3. Waiting on the Lord --"You may think of waiting as passive, inactive time. Waiting on the Lord is anything but inactive. While you wait on Him, you will be praying with a passion to know Him, His purposes, and His ways. You will be watching circumstances and asking God to interpret them by revealing to you His perspective. You will be sharing with other believers to find out what God is saying to them. As you wait on the Lord, you will be very active in asking, seeking and knocking . . . While you wait, continue doing the last thing God told you to do. In waiting you are shifting the responsibility of the outcome to God -- where it belongs. . . . Waiting on Him is always worth the wait. His timing and His ways are always right. You must depend on Him to guide you in His way and His timing to accomplish His purpose." (pg. 152)

Chapter 18 -- Joining God Requires Obedience

According to the author, what you do is your "moment of truth" re: obedience. What you do will:

1. Reveal what you believe about Him.
2. Determine whether you will experience His mighty work in you and through you.
3. Determine whether you will come to know Him more intimately. (pg. 157)

The author discusses the importance and cost of obedience. He told how our obedience is often costly to us and those around us. Also our obedience often leads to opposition and misunderstandings. One example given was when Jesus was crucified His mother's heart was broken. I suppose even if she knew He would rise again and this was what His purpose was ... STILL! Who likes to see her child suffer the way Jesus did for us?

There are adjustments we need to make in prayer. Following a God-centered approach to prayer "would be to let God lead you to pray according to His will ... Believe that what He has led you to pray, He Himself will bring to pass. Then continue praying in faith and watching for it to come to pass." (pg. 162)

The author reminds us that while God often does give second chances, disobedience is costly. A couple of examples: David's sin cost the life of his infant son while Jonah's disobedience nearly cost him his life!

Chapter 19 -- God Accomplishes His Work

Oftentimes we want a sign from God before we do something, but the author shows us from Exodus 3:12 that "God's affirmation that He had sent Moses was going to come after Moses obeyed, not before." (pg. 166)

What? You mean we have to do something by faith!! (Okay, that was just me talking...I like signs to come before! :-) )

The author discusses what to do if it seems a door closes. "When you begin to follow and circumstances seem to close doors of opportunity, go back to the Lord and clarify what God said. Better yet, always try to make sure on the front end of a sense of call exactly what God is saying. He most often is not calling you to a task only, but to a relationship." (pg. 168)

What he said to someone who thought the door closed: "Then I said, 'Keep that sense of call in place. Because one door closed, don't assume that the assignment is over. Watch to see how the God who called you is going to implement what He said. When God speaks a word of direction, He will bring it to pass. Be very careful that you do not let circumstances cancel what God said.'" (pg. 168)

And with that, I conclude my notes, but definitely not my thoughts! Wow! I have so much to consider from what I've read and learned in this book. I am so thankful I "crossed paths" with this book and was lead to read it. I was reluctant when I saw Andrew had brought it from his parents' house, but then decided, "Eh, why not read it?" I'm glad I did!

Now I will go rest my weary wrists from typing all this. I think a walk and talk with God is in order.

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