Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Progressive Nature of God

I love being 57-years-old!  It's a great vantage point.  I can look back on my life and see the progressive nature of God in my life.  He is committed to changing us from glory to glory. (II Cor. 3:18)  The process hasn't always been an easy one.  Yesterday, I talked about the defining moments of my life and there have been many.  Many of those moments have come either when I've heard a preacher teach something or when I've read a book.  But at 57, I can look back and see how God has been on a mission of transforming me into the image of Jesus Christ and used many people to press me toward that goal.  It's kind of like jumping from one leap pad to the next.  Or one veil after another being lifted from my eyes.

Since I just finished a book that has yet again taken me to a new place and unveiled a part of God and His plan I hadn't known, I thought I might just give you a short version of some of the things I've learned over the years that have brought me to where I am today...not the finished product by any means.  But I'm enjoying where I am!  And I have to say...I've been blessed to be taught by some of the best teachers in the world!
  • Dale Younce taught at a camp when I was 12-years-old and encouraged us to begin praying for God to prepare us for our mates and to prepare them for us.  I took him up on it!
  • Jerry Bryan taught a regular class for us as teenagers and I learned things like the omnipotance and omniscience of God.  He systematically took us through the Word of God.
  • I sat under Paul Burleson for several years and his teachings on the tabernacle deeply affected me.
  • Major Ian Thomas came to our church and I heard about the saving life of Christ.
  • I read Classic Christianity by Bob George.  His book encouraged me to begin seeking Truth...because knowing the Truth will set you free.
  • I read the book Love Hunger by Drs. Minirth & Meirer which began a journey of emotional healing for me.  I began to see that in order to know the Truth, I had to be set free from lies.
  • Bill & Anabel Gillham came to our church and taught about how we are made up by body, soul and spirit. I read Anabel's book, The Confident Woman, and it changed my life. 
  • God Himself began revealing to Andy & I that just as we are made up of body, soul & spirit, it correlates to the tabernacle--the outer court, the inner court and the holy of holies.  We also saw the progressiveness of the way, truth & life.
  • Around this time, I read Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere.  It deeply affected me.  It meant so much to me that he'd gone to Dallas Theological Seminary and yet was teaching on the Holy Spirit.  He gave me "permission" to pursue the life the Holy Spirit offers.
  • Peter Lord came to our church and offered a very small class to those who wanted to learn how to hear God.  I was privileged to be a part of that class.  It was life-transforming to know that I could hear God!  He also has a book on the subject.
  • At this time, I also read Peter Lord's book called, Keeping the Doors Open.  It's about dealing with a prodigal child.  I saw it more as a book on good parenting.  I highly recommend it.
  • Many of the above things happened in a relatively short time.  Then God gave us opportunity to meet with a group of friends to learn how to pray, how to hear God, and how to minister within a safe environment where there was plenty of grace.  I feel like God put us in a hothouse and allowed us to grow in the things we were learning.
  • We watched the Blessed Life video series (also in book form) by Robert Morris.  It changed how we viewed giving our firstfruits and the blessing it brings.
  • I read Deadline (a fiction book) by Randy Alcorn.  It changed my view of heaven.  I still give this book to people who've lost a loved one.
  • I went to a Joyce Meyer conference where I bought a tape of her teaching on prophesying your future.  
  • Jim Cymbala's book called Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire went on my life-changing list.
  • Jay & Amy told Andy & I about the book, Antagonists in the Church by Kenneth C. Haugk. It gave me permission to admit there are problem people in the church.
  • I know there are many other books and speakers God has used to bring me to the place I'm at right now, but I just can't think of them all.  But yesterday, David brought me the book, Pure Grace by Clark Whitten.  It's going on my list of life-changers.  Clark closed the circle for me which Paul Burleson's teaching on the tabernacle and the Gillham's teaching on body, soul & spirit began.  He teaches on the four dwelling places of God and what it means for us as believers.  It has literally changed my paradigm!  
I know all of our journeys are unique.  But if God can use any of my journey to help you on your journey--SWEET!  It's just exciting to look back and to see the message God has pursued me with--Grace.  He's wanted me to get that He loves me unconditionally and there's nothing I have to do to earn His love, forgiveness or friendship.  It's a done deal.  Do I wish I'd "gotten" it early?  Absolutely.  But I love that my Daddy has chased me down and used so many different people with different backgrounds (and my own children!) to pursue me with His message of love.  That's the progressive nature of God--changing me from glory to glory!

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