I love how a couple of sermons from two different preachers can both speak to me in similar ways. It never ceases to amaze me how God can orchestrate a service and speak to each person individually. Kinda like the night I got saved. Many people were blessed to hear the testimonies of others and share their own, but God used it for me to realize that although I was trying to live a Christian life, I had never come to the place of repentance in my life to truly begin that journey thus making me lost.
God used that service, divinely planned, to touch every person in that place. And I believe His promise that where two or three are gathered, He will be in the midst of them. This is why I love to hear preaching, why I crave it some days. It's more than just learning some facts or sitting under a lecture ... it's hearing God's Word and Him speaking through the man of God. If the preaching is done through the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit, I can guarantee I will get something from it every time. You might hear something else, but because God is a personal Father ... He deals with each of His children on a personal basis.
I like remembering things like this, especially with the battles I am facing. I feel really silly even saying that because I can look at my life and it's good. I have three beautiful kids, I am married to a wonderful Godly man who desires to preach the Word, I am in a church that desires to please the Lord, I have great friends and family ... but in my mind, I just get into a very dark place. I can't seem to calm down, the Bible verses that used to comfort me just seem to stare back at me with no effect, and I feel like God has left me. That is absolutely not true, but when you're dealing with anxiety, it can feel true. A lot of things can feel true. Bro. Lee Watts described me to a T lastnight, when he was talking about getting things right with God and how we expect things to go back to the way they were, but instead it seems like we have weights pulling us down and keeping us from being able to fight the way we used to. I get angry, frustrated and wonder why this is happening. I beg God to make it go away, to just give me peace and let me go on my happy way. And yet I'm still here ... I won't even try to explain what "here" really feels like, because it changes every five seconds.
Remembering my past victories, times that God has dealt with me about something or spoke to me through a sermon, or got me through a rough time ... remembering those times can help me right now. I wish I could say that all of my problems escape the moment I turn on Gospel music or preaching, though it helps, because a lot of times I wake up the next day in the same pit I was in before. Sometimes it is moment by moment grace I have to ask for, because in an instant I can go off somewhere crazy in my head and need to pull myself out of there again. I sometimes don't feel like there is an end in sight to the thoughts and feelings that mess with me. However, I can look back and see God's hand on my life through various times and experiences. I can remember as clear as day the way He convicted my heart about my lost condition, or even after salvation when I had done wrong and I needed to get it right. I can remember sermons preached that God used to change my life. I can remember the comfort He gave when I was scared or sad. Right now my feelings are a mess and a lot of days I am having a hard time getting a grip, but I can have assurance that God is doing something in my heart and life because I've seen Him do it before. I just have to keep pressing forward and trusting Him. I turned on the Campmeeting service this morning and as I was very encouraged through the two messages I heard, believing God intended them for me even via Internet, and I got that grace. I got the little push I needed to fight back and realize this is just a rough time I'm going through and I'll come out on the other side. Either it'll end or Jesus will come back, which I'm cool with completely. I remembered Campmeeting services in the past, where God dealt with my heart and gave me a desire to serve Him, and although I want to get angry that I'm not as happy go lucky as I used to be, I'm thankful that I have that to look back on in times like these.
It goes a lot deeper than my feelings or the thoughts that seem to plague me when I'm alone. It's the Truth I can stand on and have hope in when the feeling in the pit of my stomach says something else. Its the Holy Spirit that gives me the desire and urge to dig in a little deeper and fight a little harder.