I am so very sorry that I've been somewhat absent online. I have not been feeling well lately and am behind in my writing, which I apologize for. Even though this won't be a lengthy blog post of my own words, I wanted to share a blog post with you that ties in with our theme of spiritual maturity in our final chapter.
Those of you who have visited pressing on toward the goal before have read about Christen Ringle, my dear sister who went home to be with Jesus in January. Her friendship and faith in Christ made a profound impact on myself and countless others. There are no words that could adequately describe the amazing person that she was. In her life, she was all about the glory of God. And even in her death, God has been and continues to be glorified. I count it a great privilege to have shared such a special relationship.
You may have read some of my own words about Christen but I thought it to be appropriate to share some of her own writing today. She was brilliant and had such an amazing way of communicating the truth of God's Word...
The subtitle in Stress Point is "Thriving Through Your 20s in a Decade of Drama." At the end of this ten weeks study, I want to encourage all you young ladies that it is possible to do so. You see, Christen Ringle only lived to be 29 years old. And, by the grace of God, she truly did thrive through her 20s in a decade of drama. Life was not easy for her but she embraced the grace that God poured out in great measure and as a result, fulfilled her life mission, to lead a Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting life to the glory of God and for the joy of all people. Spiritual Maturity.
I am constantly challenged and encouraged by Christen's words whenever I go back to read them. I pray they minister to you today, too. The post below, Depth Perception, was written on November 10, 2010.
This morning I was thinking about spiritual growth and stretching. I sense a real stretching in the kingdom of God right now, and personally I feel stretched as well. I started to think about this stretching in correlation with how God is undeniably doing a new thing. He has done great things in the past. We have many testimonies about His power and faithfulness, His deliverance and healing. But there is much, much more that He longs to show us about Himself and His ways. His ways are infinitely unsearchable. Not meaning that we cannot know Him, but meaning for all eternity His glory and His majesty will be ever-unfolding. We are short-changing ourselves if we stop pursuing new depths in Him.
In Isaiah 43, the Bible says, "Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old." Then it goes on to say, "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." I love the commentary in my Bible (ESV) where it says, "Where there is no clear path forward, God creates one. Where there is no natural relief or refreshment, God provides it." Don't expect more of the same old same old. God has not exhausted His power in great moves in the past. He wants to demonstrate His might in your life, once again.
My husband and I have been praying for a great revival for the past 4 years. The Lord is fanning into flame a desire in our hearts to seek Him like never before. That's when I was reminded of the verse in the gospels about patching an old garment with new cloth and pouring new wine into old wine skins. Take a look at it. Luke 5:36-39, "No one tears a piece from a new garment and puts it on an old garment. If he does, he will tear the new, and the piece from the new will not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins. And no one after drinking old wine desires new, for he says, 'The old is good.'"
Jesus came to offer real growth in righteousness, not a patch for legalism and religiosity. He came with a new era and new ways that require repentance, regeneration and new depths of worship (in spirit and in truth). Can't the same be said for those of us who long for deeper places in our walk with God? The old wineskins have no more give to them. New wine needs room to expand as it ferments, hence the bursting of the old. Yes, the old is good, but for new wine, new wineskins are required. The places we've been in God have been good, but that's not all He has.
The Lord is the one who pours the new wine. We have no control over that. But are we ready if He starts to pour it out? Ask for new wineskins in your life. Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me. Renew my mind, Lord, as I hide your Word in my heart. Prepare me for new depths in You.
May that be our prayer as well... "Prepare me for new depths in You."
Christen always wrote so beautifully and transparently. More of the wonderful truths she shared can be found at her blog, Learning Curve.