An interesting revelation occurred yesterday.
The pastor was going to mention my late husband in an honorable way during his message. I was working in the nursery and was called out when it was time for that portion of the message. Normally I sit near the back, but there were no places to sit at the back this time; so I was led to a chair in the second row middle section.
It sounds weird, but there actually is a different atmosphere toward the front than at the back. I don’t know if it’s because there are fewer distractions or the Presence really is more powerful near the altar, but whatever the case this is something I’ve noticed at every church I’ve attended. Yesterday every word the Pastor spoke seemed to sear itself onto my brain and is hopefully making its way into my soul even now.
At the Methodist church I attend, the congregation is very small, average of 9 on a Sunday morning; and the pastor is ESL. Of those 9 people in the congregation, at 56 I am the youngest. The pastor is 61. Everyone else is at least 70 and many are over 80; so we all sit toward the front to be able to better hear and understand the Word that is being taught. It’s been many years since I’ve sat in the back of that church. So, we are all fully entered into the Presence.
I believe we should all make more of an effort to sit closer to the front, even at the crowded OACF. Because, whatever the case, it feels like the Presence of God is stronger there. Since, as a human being, I do still tend to follow my feelings (and my Abba knows this), it just makes sense.
Today I made a sacrifice.
I spent the morning at one of my jobs working alone on a once-a-year project. My current favorite binge food was right there next to the computer.
Yesterday at OACF there was a prophetic word spoken that chains were being broken. I was at the altar before the Lord at the time, and I took this as a Rhema word for me. That the chains that held me prisoner to my stomach were being broken.
Yet here I was sitting at work 24 hours later with my go-to binge food at hand.
I started Grace and Strength back on July 26, 2-1/2 month ago. My first month in the program I lost over 20 pounds! Then the 2nd weekend in September, I took my eyes off Jesus and settled them on the waves (recent loss of husband, home, and worldly identity) and fell in. That resulted in an 11-pound weight gain in 2 days!
But Grace and Strength didn’t kick me out then . . .or today when I reported to my coach my struggles continue. I thank God for April.
I also felt God telling me to take the remains of my binge home and burn them on a sacrificial fire symbolizing my complete surrender of my will with regard to food. I felt led to pray “Father, from this point on, may I run to you the way I ran to this food today.” I didn’t add “Replace the pleasures derived from consuming this with a pleasant sensation or other good reason to do so.”
Then just a few minutes ago I heard Francis Chan speaking about a sin with which many Christians are judgmental. He lumped it together with all other sins as being a problem of lack of surrender. They way he stated everything absolutely made sense. He stated there may be something God asks us to do that we absolutely do not want to do. If we don’t do it, it is sin. We MUST do it. God is God and we are not.
So God brought everything back into perspective. My church’s tagline is “Church of a Second Chance” Thank God the word “Second” is just a word, and his mercies are new every morning—infinite.