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After I left the Church System (not True Church)

After I left the Church System

(not True Church)

Out of the Church System

Being new to California, most all my friends and social life was wrapped up in the church we were attending – besides people I interacted with at work. My husband and I had met some nice people and were very plugged in to the church life. Leaving wasn’t easy but we knew what God was leading us to do. The more we read and sought in the Word, the clearer it became to us what would become of the church system (not true church) and we started to see it happening around us. It wasn’t our reasons but God’s leading through His Word. On the flip side, He was drawing us deeper into His Word. In brief this is some of what we read and saw, the church system as a whole is leading people to depend on the system not God, to cultivate and nurture a relationship with the system not God, to trust in the system for spiritual nourishment not God. The church often tries to play the role the Spirit should be playing in people’s lives.

Once I started to see what was happening in the church and how blinded I had been to it all, I had to follow God’s lead to another fellowship. As an old church goer, but fairly new true follower of Christ, I needed to establish God as my foundation, something the church always had been. I had trusted the church for my spiritual growth, to “feed” me, my source of truth, and so on. I thought God was my source, but honestly my relation to Him was through the Church. But now a shift was occurring in my life. I had been greatly influenced by others, but now my influence was God’s Word. I was new at cultivating a relationship with God, but I was on the path to building a foundation in Him, something I desperately needed, we all need.

After we left, there was one woman who beside my husband and family was my “fellowship”. It was that way for several years. I prayed about being in the fellowship God desired for me, but nothing manifested. I resolved to trust God that He was able to lead me where He wanted me. During those years, God and I developed a tremendous relationship. He truly became my Rock, my Teacher, comfort and counselor. I needed those “alone” years so that He truly became my foundation, not someone or something else. Over time, my beliefs shifted from being grounded in human teachers words to God’s Word – and that changed everything.

Once that foundation was established, then God started to bring into my life other godly women for me to “fellowship” with. It wasn’t the formal gathering of being inside a church, but souls hungry and desirous coming together real, open and honest. We talked about the tough issues, scripture, what God was teaching us. In that environment encouragement, prayer, exhortation, praise, and worship from the heart came alive. I began to understand what true fellowship was about. I think we get too locked in to how we think fellowship should be and we don’t trust God to truly lead us to what is best for us and those around us – and that various for each one of us.

Many of us have been so ingrained about what fellowship is that we are blinded to other true fellowship that God has in store for us. We get wrapped up in being in the “right” one because of what others have said that if we aren’t in the church system we’ll fall away. We don’t trust God to protect and provide. We push, seek and all the while neglect to trust God and develop a relationship with Him. People are often more concerned about being in the right fellowship than cultivating a real relationship with God grounded in truth – crazy how backwards everything is.

Our life is one of faith and faith is all about trust. The question is who is our faith in really? Those years alone with God put all that to the test as well as refined it. God knows what we need. But we need to follow His lead not man’s “should dos” . We need to abide in His Word. We need to trust that He can provide and protect us no matter where we are – and that level of trust comes from taking time to develop a relationship with Him.

This is a bit of side note, but relevant. I’m having an emotional morning . . . last night I had a horrible dream. It was weird and futuristic, but the basis is there was an earthquake and I was separated from my two cats. It was days before I could get to the place where they were. My heart felt like it was torn in a million pieces. I went searching for them among all the madness as everyone was trying to take care of their own. I finally found Malcolm curled up sleeping in a corner. I hardly recognized him. Dirt covered his white fur. I picked him up. He was much smaller because he hadn’t eaten or had water for days. He was weak and limp in my arms. I was trying to find him some water, but couldn’t find any and at the same time find Sophie, his sister. She is the more frightened one. I looked everywhere. I found a cat I thought was her, but wasn’t. I carried Malcolm around running looking frantically for her and I woke never finding her.

My heart is still aching in my chest. Its amazing how dreams create real emotions in you. But the thought of them so helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing me to care for them and not being able to was overwhelming. Even telling my husband about my dream this morning tears started to fill my eyes. I love those little guys.

The love I feel is a nit compared to the love that God feels for us, and this is where this is relevant to this topic. We are just as helpless, dependent, defenseless, and needing His to care constantly. God loves us so incredibly much. But so often we doubt His love and don’t trust it. We trust man and those around us more. We don’t trust that He will really care and protect us. So, in our beliefs, we never fully step into that place under His wing. It was a hard dream, but reminded me about the depth of His love for His children.

I know many are struggling with this whole church situation. God loves you so much. We can trust His lead and that wherever we are He will guard and protect if we seek and abide in Him and His Word. The end is upon us. These days are tough. Things are changing just as Christ warned us. But God promised to always be there and protect and provide and He will not let His promises fail to His children who He loves beyond words. The journey God has lead me on has been exactly what I needed. It has been incredible. But I needed to trust Him and I was able as I understood His love for me, which came from abiding in His Word and cultivating a real relationship with Him.

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Power of Thought – Show Me the Money!??

Power of Thought

Show Me the Money!??

“Show me the Money!” A famous line from the movie Jerry Maguire reflects a state of mind most of us have experienced and perhaps are experiencing it right now.

In a previous blog, I talked about the power of our thoughts and how important it is for our thoughts to be aligned to God’s will and not our own will. Because only His paths lead to true life, love and the good for all and ours don’t. Only His wisdom ushers us into true abundant life. Only by being aligned to Him gets us where we truly want to be.

Money Focus

When it comes to the power of thought, for many people the focus of their thoughts, their pursuit, their motivation and their goals is money. And why not? Money is the means to certain opportunities and lifestyles. Money allows us to help others in ways we couldn’t otherwise. Money pays the bills and keeps our family safe and provided for.

Change of Focus

However, when we reside in God’s kingdom, God tells us money isn’t to be our motivation. Matthew 6:24 Yet money is necessary, so what do we do? We trust God for it, which can be very difficult. But there are great blessings in store for those who trust. We can pray about our concerns regarding money. Seek His wisdom in handling it (a very good idea for many of us), but our focus or our drive each day isn’t after money, but seeking His kingdom or His presence in our lives, which includes His will and wisdom. We seek His kingdom so we can walk in it. When we walk in it then we glorify Him, live in abundant life, and truly love others. As His family, this is the life He has called us to.

God’s will for us

Part of God’s will for us, thus part of our focus is the good works He has for us to do (not our own ideas of good works). Ephesians 2:10 Along with seeking His kingdom, these works are our focus – the goal we set for our lives, the purpose we strive for each day. Not money. Money is often the means to accomplish those goals. He will abundantly provide if we focus on the higher goal, and trust Him with the provision.

Matthew 6:31-33 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

A Perfect Father’s Provision

God has a higher calling for His children and we don’t need to focus on provision because that is God’s role, as He told us in verse above. God is the perfect Father. Like an earthly father, we don’t worry about money – we live and enjoy life in each moment. We focus on Him, the people He puts in our lives, enjoying life in gratitude, and doing the best with what He has given us to do in complete trust like a kid. A kid doesn’t think about the money. He knows his father will provide for all his needs therefore he lives an enjoyable worry free life. And sometimes he gets that shining new truck his been asking for. Kids often get far beyond their “needs” and God is the same with us.

There is a false notion and thus an inherent fear that keeps us from trusting God in this area – that God is a bare-minimum God. But that isn’t a characteristic reflected in His Word. God giving in abundance is throughout the lives of those portrayed in the Bible like David, Abraham, the Israelites, Solomon, Moses, and Job. The focus of these men wasn’t money or possessions – it was God and His will for their lives. They sought to follow the will of God and the abundance followed. Because God is a God of abundance. Solomon is a great example. 1 Kings 3:6-14 He asked for wisdom so he could lead God’s people, not wealth. Because He sought something higher God gave Him an abundance. God knows our hearts. He wants us to desire a higher calling and trust Him to provide as a Father who wants the best for His children. If we believe He is a bare-minimum God then that belief will manifest itself in our lives.

2 Corinthians 9:8 “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”

Trust is the Key

God is so good to us it is mind blowing. Most of us just don’t trust it. The lack of faith keeps us focused on the wrong thing and in lack. He wants to give us a fulfilling and abundant life with a meaningful purpose far beyond money. Money is a means not an end. He promises to take care of the means so we are free to focus on a higher goal given to us by Him. If we chase money, we will always chase money and never fulfill that higher calling He created us to accomplish because we were attending to the wrong thing.

Trust is the key. We need to trust God to do what He says He will do. And trust comes from cultivating a personal relationship with Him. If we trust Him He won’t let us down. But we have to make the effort to trust – and that means with our thoughts and our actions. What will be your focus today?

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