It really is amazing how Jesus uses this season of LENT to really penetrate and prune us as we seek Him to "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23 -24)...He will! Because He is GRACIOUS and wants us to TRULY enter into HIS promised land...vibrant, fragrance filled. "crushed grapes and poured out wine" (Oswald Chambers) LIFE in Christ..."pick up your cross daily and follow me."
We've been going through this refining as we seek Jesus to clean out and refine and purge and cleanse and make ready US for the harvest to come at this new church plant of Healing Grace Church in New Bern. WE NEVER ARRIVE! = ) It's a continual deepening and refining so that we can be made more and more usable in His kingdom work. It truly is a "dying to self"...not allowing the enemy to get a foothold ANYWHERE...MUCH prayer...and forgiveness "70x7 times" ...and that's forgiving others, ourselves, and Jesus in those areas that we are sometimes so blind to for whatever reason.
But to lay open...always open...open hands, open heart, HUNGERING for His deeper work in us! ALWAYS!!! And when we surrender...which is a day to day journey...His pruning yields so much fruit! But will we allow the rubbing when we enter the realm of no control...but allow Him to be in control?
I think the greatest thing is His GRACE...that as we as leaders and as followers impart His GRACE to each other at every turn we thwart the enemy from getting that foothold in there where bitterness, negativity, hurt, hardness, and what you spoke of as not trusting happens. Putting the Cross between us ALWAYS and laying ourselves down and being willing to engage the pressing of our flesh, our agenda, our fear, our control, that will lead us to the land of VICTORY and POWER.
I'm just amazed at how the Lord is moving DEEP in so many of us this LENT...and though the rubbing is hard... it is AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL and POWERFUL!!! "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead WILL GIVE YOU LIFE IN YOUR MORTAL BODIES through his Spirit, who lives in you." (Romans 8:11)
Thank you for your transparency and your post today, JT. Very cool! "Jesus, please put a salve over our hearts as we allow You to take us through your refining fire...because we know that YOU have created us for MORE and that MORE is Your INCREASE in us and our DECREASE so that we can be the crushed petal that gives off the 'Aroma of Christ in every place'. We love you, JESUS, and we THANK YOU for not ever allowing us to be comfortable, but You press us to be SATISFIED in You! 'You MAKE US to lie down in green pastures.' In Jesus name. Amen."
Peace of the Lord be with you, Jonathan ~