Saturday, January 30, 2010

CONSECRATION

“Consecration is the act of continually separating myself from everything except that which God has appointed me to do. It is not a one-time experience but an ongoing process.” –Oswald Chambers

Where have I been for the past two months? I have been dealing with and coming to grips with the depth of this awesome word, “consecration.” I have no problem with its clear meaning. I have no problem with a very strong desire to be consecrated. It is a destination that is foreign to many…one that was oblivious to me most of my life. The problem with genuine consecration resides in all the barriers we must constantly overcome and choices we must continually make in order to remain consecrated. This is very difficult in the midst of life’s uncertain circumstances. For instance, as I type these words, the TV is blaring in this small camper, and all that is within me is crying out for quiet time with the Father. I am not one to simply turn on a TV for noise; in fact, God was my teacher concerning selective viewing. There was, however, a time I didn’t even comprehend such a thing. There was also a time when I lived alone and was going through a very hurtful period in my life. I had neither television provider nor computer. I was totally alone with God and I devoted many hours to prayer and reading His Word because my faith remained strong and I knew He would turn ashes to beauty in my life. During that time I came to experience and know the clear meaning of consecration. What a gift! It was something I thought I already understood and possessed but didn’t until then. Also, though my circumstances were bleak and hurtful, God was teaching me so many wonderful things which I thought I already knew and understood. During this first experience of consecration, not only did I become focused only on Him, it was through that means that He also taught me patience, unconditional love and true commitment. All of these things were previously viewed by me through worldly eyes, so my understanding was not through His insight.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. –James 1:2-5

A friend recently asked me if I was ok because she hadn’t heard from me in a while…in blogland. I feel my reply to her sounded vague since she’s got a great ongoing blog and seems to be on top of her game. And knowing her the way I do, I’m sure she found the time to whisper a prayer for me. She upholds an outstanding balance in her life between family, writing, speaking events and leading the Women’s Ministry in her church. I admire her greatly but I don’t ponder the success of people like my friend any longer because I know where her source of strength and perseverance lies. I know she places God first in her life in order for all those other things to acquire such balance. I also know that she has traveled a road, much like me, where as a prodigal daughter she was broken and transformed by the Master. She knows well that she could not do all these things under her own strength so she walks closely with Him and He supplies all her needs for His appointed tasks. That is the answer to everything and I am so aware of it…however, life enters in and it is very easy for us to conform to our daily routine or the demands placed on us by our circumstances. Such were the busy happenings surrounding me upon my return from Saudi Arabia. Everyone’s circumstances are different and what we tend to forget is that most often that is the very place God speaks to us…through our circumstances. And what do we most often do? We react or make decisions without consulting Him…much less listening to Him…and we miss His lessons entirely. We miss the very opportunities He’s provided us to ask of Him and be supplied His provision and blessing, the very opportunity to grow in Him and learn His ways...yes, the very opportunity for consecration. When you come to experience true consecration, you understand the fact that God wants all of you, all of the time and you want nothing more than to give your all freely to Him in order for His will to be complete in your life. You want nothing more than to serve Him in every aspect of your life. That means in everything you do…not only in your actions but in every waking hour of your life. Yes, that also means your thoughts…and this requires quiet time in order to study, pray and listen to Him. Living in this world, yet being consecrated in God, you will find He is insistent in a very personal way to keep you actively in His presence. You will become acutely aware of all the barriers which attempt to keep you involved and your mind occupied including the choices of others which ultimately affect you as well. These barriers continually present themselves in the circumstances of your life. You can live frustrated and beneath your circumstances or you can resign yourself to give God His first and foremost priority in your life and He will raise you above them. Yes, there is a cost to follow Him…to make a commitment to Him…and had I truly understood this the first time He asked me, like Peter, I would not have had to be asked again to follow Him.

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law --- a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” –Matthew 10:34-36

I could go into detail regarding the past two months…about the holidays, the ongoing construction of our house, the inability to use my computer, church activities, the brutal murder of a friend and active member of my church, a January Bible study, two Beth Moore Bible studies and yes, even the fact that this 5th wheel camper (which I am so thankful for and which provides our only warmth) is no place for quiet time…but the fact is that all my personal circumstances of late have only taught me how strongly my calling is to do what God has appointed me to do and how desperately I continue to maintain consecration. I have only been strengthened and have become much wiser in the understanding of true consecration.

So, what has been going on for the last two months? God has been teaching me how consecration in my life is ultimately “L-I-F-E…living intentionally for eternity,” no matter my circumstances…and reminding me He has said again to me,

“Follow Me” –John 21:19

So Father, I am Yours…consecrated and waiting…for Your appointed tasks in Your appointed time because I believe all the pain and difficulty I have felt cannot compare to the joy that is coming. I will hold on...yes, I will press on and wait for the joy in the morning. Amen.



Captured in His reflection,

5 comments:

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

Mary,


Sounds like God is doing a mighty work in you...how beautiful!!!

Have you done Priscilla Shirer's new study...One in A Million? It fits so well with what you are going through right now. Consider it, my friend. It is powerful.

Your friend that you spoke of probably struggles with all the same things that you and I struggle with, I would guess. As you said, she has learned (often the hard way) how to give and take, lay down and pick up, say yes or say no and so much else. My guess is that she still has lots to learn as she journeys this sod..just like you and me.

God bless you.

Leah

Leah @ Point Ministries said...

It's me again. BTW, my post next month over at Exemplify Online Ministry Blog is looking at our calling. Should be up around the end of February.

Leah

Mary said...

Leah,

Remember what I told you about the first time I heard you speak? I was in such awe of your genuine humility that I cried through most of your presentation. It was a very strong kindred spirit being discovered by a sister in Christ who also happened to be a prodigal daughter. Your humility is showing again. Thank you for your journey and thank you to our Father, for where He's brought you. Thank you for your witness, Leah, and thank you for the inspiration you are to me and so many others. And yes, you guessed right. She (you) and I will definitely continue learning from the Master.

Love and prayers,
~Mary

P.S. I've heard of Patricia's study and yes, I WANT it!

Sharon Brumfield said...

Not sure how I ended up here...but I see you know Holly and I see you have a Sisters By Blood button. :)
I also could not help but notice that you mentioned is this post about being in a camper....we are in one too. God has used this most unusual place to teach me so much about Himself. I have a feeling that one day I will look back on our time here and count them as the time I grew closets to the Lord. And you are right...finding time to be alone with the Lord is just a tad hard in these close quarters. :)
After reading through this post I went back and read through several of your post to see if I could learn a little more about this new sister that I never knew I had. ;)
What an incredible journey God has had you on!
I pray that He continues to expand your territory...using the things He has planted in you to bring great glory to His name.

Mary said...

Hello Sharon,
Thank you so much for stopping by, for your kind words and most of all, your prayers. I still have the email I sent you asking permission for the use of your "button, Sisters by Blood." I discovered it, the article behind it, your blog, YOU while in Saudi Arabia at a time when I was sharing with Leah my views on a discussion at her church..."real" friends versus "cyber" friends. I've never laid worldly eyes on the face of Jesus either but what a friend I have in Him!!! Fell in love with your article and wrote you during that time. It's ok that you don't remember me. It wasn't/isn't about me. I am new to blogland and still need to work on mine. It is AWESOME to know you as my Sister by Blood! Thank you, again, for your prayers and your deep love for our Father.
~Mary
P.S. Cool about our kindred mindset regarding our camper life!