Friday, April 8, 2016

It Must Be The Holy Ghost...

It's a warm, yet breezy Sunday afternoon at the Barnard homestead.  I sit outside on my lovely patio listening to the wind chimes and watching as the breeze blows the leaves on the fig tree.  My hummingbird feeders are empty, so the hummers have abandoned me for the time being.  But they are forgiving; as soon as I fill the feeders they shall be back.

It's been a lovely day so far.   Church first thing, then a stop at a local Filipino market to pick up lunch.  Then we head to our local winery, Orfila, to sit at the picnic tables and have a glass of wine with our Lumpia and Pancit.  Many others had the same idea - the lawn is full of children blowing bubbles and climbing on rocks.  Its a beautiful safe open place for the kids to play while their parents sit in the shade enjoying a day off.

My blogging has been scarce again.  I write all the time, I just don't post it.  What's up with that?  But today, I turned a corner.  Something else is going on and I am tuning my ear to hear.  I am being pushed.  Old Wingers, do you remember the song "Something is Pushing Me".  I hear Eric singing it now - “Something is pushing me, something is pushing me.  I’m too blessed to stay under”.  If you got it, listen to it.  Its on one of the Madabuko recordings.

What has gotten my attention?  Is it Spring is in the air?  Is it the messages my pastor has been preaching that are inspiring me?  Is it because I am in the fourth month of the year and I swore 2016 would be MY year to get on the stick?  Most likely all of the above, and then some.  In my 50 plus years I know that if you don't take a plunge periodically, you will get stuck right where you are.  And who wants to do that?  So I yield to the force to get those feet stuck in the mud unstuck.  Something is pushing me.

Today in church our pastor talked about the Holy Spirit.  Talk of the Holy Spirit scares some people.  Visions of "holy rollers" dance in their head and they close their minds to something that could give them all the things they are looking for.  "It doesn't take all that" they say.  Some folks just want it nice and quiet in their church service - no hooping or hollering.  You can praise God, just don't do it too loud or for too long.  Three points and a prayer and wasn't that lovely.  The thought of going into a buck dance or shouting out a few "say that's" just isn't dignified.  Ha ha, look at me going off on a tangent!  LOL. Well, I won't go into preaching here, but admit that I would rather have a bit of wild fire than no fire at all as they say. 

Anyway, I digress - the Holy Spirit - my pastor - church this morning.  As he was speaking - actually, even before that during praise and worship - I heard "Taste and See". God was inviting us to the table He had spread.  It was a table full of deliciousness, with flavors unlike anything we had tasted before.  In that meal there was joy unspeakable, peace that flows like a river and the confidence to know that you can doing anything.  There was no fast food, no packaged entrees, no TV dinners - it was a table well thought out full of food that would leave your taste buds exploding, full of nutrients of the spirit.  God was reminding me not to "settle" for a snack when I could dine on the best.

I sensed in that moment, many times we have a very limited relationship with God.  We settle for fast food that temporarily satisfies our hunger, but holds very little flavor or nutrition.  We choose to dine on a the devil’s pink goo burger when we could have perfectly prepared prime rib.  We pick food full of additives that only make it "look" real, when the reality is its counterfeit.

And truly, sometimes we just don't know any better.  If you have never tasted the amazing, you think you are doing pretty good when you eat this stuff.  The key is to let yourself get truly hungry.  Don't allow yourself to be satisfied with the "quickie" version - just wait a bit.   There is more.  As our pastor said this morning (and my husband says all the time), when you come to the ocean's edge, don't just stick your toe in the water, jump in!

I have done both.  I have been in such deep praise and worship that you could hear the angels in heaven joining in.   There was one time when my old church was recording a praise and worship cd.  We rented a theatre to do the recording.  It was a two night gig and the first night was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  My friend Marce and I were driving together the second night.  We had both been there the night before and knew how amazing it was.  But tonight, we were running a bit late.  Since it was being recorded, after a certain point they were not letting people in.  As we are driving, we both felt the angst of being late - if we could not get in it would have been like being shut out of heaven!  Thankfully, we got there in time and that night took me to another level.

I have also allowed myself to just be nice and "fit in".  You can tell when folks don't go in for the excited stuff and certainly don't want to hear any tongue talking!  So, you restrain yourself and push down any thought of singing in the spirit or moving your hips or tapping your feet.  And there are times when it is very appropriate to be quiet and sing softly and such.  I know God moves in both.  The key is to know where and how He is moving.

It's hard to teach some of those things.  It really comes from what we used to call "catching the spirit". The water gets stirred and the spirit is there, you just have to jump in the pool.  But so many times we are just content to sit where we are, wanting someone to spoon feed the amazing to us.  Then we get mad when it doesn't happen.

God is always there - we just have to reach out and be a part of it. I am preaching to myself here - I am looking to be a part of what is happening NOW, not 10 years ago, or even 2 years ago.  I don't care what some man's "study" says we should be doing, I want to hear what God wants us to be doing. Man's ways are not God's ways. How many failures will it take for us to realize this?  It is the Spirit of God that draws us, not some program or statistic.

What am I saying?  Don't settle.  Trust.  Reach out.  Stay hungry.  Go deeper.  Ask God for more.  Believe that you can do anything.  Know that God loves you beyond your wildest imagination and has amazing things for you.  Stop being satisfied with the counterfeit and take the plunge to taste the genuine.  You won't be sorry.   Ask God for more and when He brings it, don't act like you don't know what's going on.  Dive in.  Immerse yourself.

I'll wrap it up with a piece I wrote several years ago, "Never Settle".
Never Settle

Increase my capacity, deepen my tenacity

Repair my brokenness, make alive and resurrect

Make me sure of my calling, keep me from falling

Walking with God, not with man

Make me Uncommon, an unusual Woman

Getting the “Rest”, all that remains

Make my world one that God defines, daring to color outside the lines

Resist the temptation to make nice

Refusing the words “I’ve been fighting too long”, content that wrestling makes me strong

I will not settle in or down

Who I am because God said so, letting nothing interrupt the flow

Anointed by Him, not the world

Resurrection power, I shall not cower

All that I need lives in Him

My victory is sure, just have to endure

No weapon formed against me shall prosper

As this knowledge flows in, I know I begin

To cut off the devil’s supply

My foot on his neck, his plans a wreck

“Totaled” by the Hand of God

His oxygen gone, I’m now brains and brawn

Captain of the ship, master of my domain

He made his choice; I make mine – to cling to the living vine

Never feeling sorry for the devil

© Sue Barnard