I don't understand how people can think that the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. I read a chapter in 2 Chronicles last night and it was surprisingly comforting, despite the fact that a chapter before talked about how the king of Judah, Asa, had rejected the counsel of the Lord over the counsel of men and so was afflicted with a disease in his feet that later caused his death. The king after him, Jehoshaphat, learned from the previous king's mistake and followed after the Lord, "and walked in the former ways of his father David" so he was blessed in his reign. How many times have we done that, or namely have I done that? How many times have I sought after the counsel of men rather than coming to the Father first? It's ironic because we can get so many different opinions about how to act, where to go, what we should be doing with our lives, but in the end, will we be standing in front of those people giving an account to them of what we did with our lives?
It's funny, my purity ring says "Pray Hard" on it, and I know I haven't been doing that lately. I'll say little prayers here and there for myself and for friends/family, but I honestly have not taken a considerable amount of time to just talk to my God and to hear Him speak to me. I know some people are in a somewhat spiritual "lull" as it may be, but I have a feeling that world events in the near future might shake us up quite a bit.
Lord, I want to grow in You, but that means some sort of change is necessary, and change is usually painful. Reading the testimonies of the martyrs of the past makes me wonder if I were put in their situation if I would have as much courage and strength in my faith to willingly ask for the flames to engulf me as John Hooper did in 1555. They had to ignite the fire around him three times before the flames got big enough to actually surround his entire body. After the first two fires his lower body was melting away as his upper body remained unscathed. As the third and final fire rose up around him, he began to pray out loud, "Jesus, have mercy on me," over and over again until his tongue and mouth became blackened from the smoke and his lips swelled up. He wanted nothing more than to finally be with his Savior, and he took years of physical, emotional, and spiritual persecution for his faith until that final day when he went to be with the Lord.
And it makes me think, "Wow, Lord, I am so unworthy to even be called a Christian. My conviction was no where near in comparison to that poor soul." I'm not saying I'm condemning myself, but conviction does so come from the Holy Spirit. He chastens those He loves and I know that He loves me enough to give me the harsh truth about myself and to push me in the right direction.
I know God has a distinct plan for each and everyone of us and He has set certain people and certain situations in our paths to help us grow, but also to test us. Testing isn't a bad thing as long as you're prepared for it and I know a big test is coming (at least for me, anyway) so I gotta study up and be prepared. Pray for me if and when you think of it. I need the Lord to guide me and I need to be steadfast in following Him alone.