Open Heart; Closed Hand

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever. Psalm 23

Let him lead me to the banquet hall,
and let his banner over me be loveSong of Solomon 2:4

I don’t usually like sharing testimonies that have only just seemed to have taken place – I prefer the safety of time and benefit of allowing the dust to settle – but even as I was going through this past week I felt the Holy Spirit say “blog this”… so blog it I will.

God has been speaking to me about a change of season for several months now and the image of blossoms gets repeated often. I thought I was in a good place. I thought I was walking in faith. I thought I was waiting on God to release His promises… I had no idea He was waiting on me.

At church on Sunday evening a word of encouragement was brought about blossoms being turned into good fruit as a summer season approaches. You’d think I would rejoice. The tears began and I have no idea why. Psalm 23 was read. You’d think I would have found peace. The tears continued. After the service, one of the elders’ wives found me and told me how she felt the Holy Spirit say Psalm 23 is what God is busy doing in my life – that the scripture was specifically for me and that I’m in “this place” to learn something valuable before God can release me. You’d think I would have been encouraged. I broke down and literally ran home. Even in the confusion of my reactions I had a very real sense that despite how overwhelmed I might be feeling or how odd my reactions, God is gracious and loving, worthy of praise and that despite me, I would somehow choose to praise Him in it all. As only He does best, Monday was a public holiday which allowed me some hibernation time. Choosing to avoid ‘thinking’ I opted for a dvd and was even a little surprised at my own choice of New Moon – its by far not my usual first choice of entertainment and would never pick it out from my other options. But I did and even felt the Holy Spirit leading me to it (let me add a little disclaimer now: I have no intention of entering into the theological debate surrounding the Twilight movies. Think of them as you will, this is my testimony 🙂 ). Anyway, I watched the dvd.
Wednesday evening was Community Group (cell group, midweek church meeting – whatever your church calls it) and while worshipping God revealed 3 very interesting things…
1. The part of Psalm 23 that I struggled with the most was verse 5, the idea that God Almighty would prepare a table before me. I asked the Holy Spirit for an explanation. He gave me…
2.  Song of Solomon 2:4 and showed me…
3.  A snippet out of New Moon: Edward asks Bella why she won’t allow him to give her a gift and she replies “Because I have nothing to give you in return.”
And suddenly there was light. I finally got it.

I’ve had the same response as Bella – I’ve been happy to love God with all my heart and receive His love, but won’t accept the blessings. Not accepting something awesome because you’re unable to reciprocate; how silly, right? But isn’t that the very definition of Grace? Of having absolutely nothing of worth to give to God in the face of His priceless gift of salvation and yet still having it offered so freely. How incredible that God would still want to open the storehouses of Heaven and pour out lavish blessings upon us?
Call it a poverty spirit –call it whatever you like really, but I think too often Christians (like myself!) stand with hands open but hearts closed when seeking God’s provision. We know that He is the loving Father, Provider of all Good Things and is Able to give abundantly to those who ask in faith… but are unable to receive because of our very inability or hesitancy to receive. In essence, we limit God’s ability to be God. Now there is something for which I needed to repent!

In a way I think this post is a public declaration of that repentance. I am not sure what the next season holds or what God’s got planned, but I am certain of this: it will be nothing less than His most exciting, awe-inspiring adventures filled with great blessing and incredible testimonies of His Grace, Love and Power… and I plan on receiving every little bit with a heart filled and overflowing with thanksgiving and praise.

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