Prepositions

When you’ve lived overseas for a time and you go home to visit,the return trip to your host country is one that sort of “seals the deal” in your mind and heart. It’s a leap that reminds you of the longevity of your commitment and disregards the feeling that this was just a “trip”. You realize that your allegiance is no longer just to one place. You ponder if you really fit in anywhere and feel torn between where you belong. It reminds you that you are where you are because you chose to follow a God that brought you there. And sometimes that is the only emotion that feels sure, concrete, and stable. I am in God. We are with Him. In the ever-changing emotions of this life we live, my soul has searched for the constant. I need one thing to cling to, to know, to hold tightly in my hands. Oddly enough, I have found that prepositions are my unwavering constant.

Back in my English class days, we learned that a preposition is anything a squirrel can do to a tree. It can go in it. It can be beside it. It can run around it. It can maybe even go through it. You get the idea. My heart cry lately seems to echo this tree and this squirrel. Except the squirrel is me and the tree is my Mighty God. (Maybe we can actually think in terms of two best friend squirrels that stick together— because Taylor and I have been on this ride together.) Throughout all of Scripture we hear God speaking of Himself in this way: THROUGH Me, BY Me, IN Me, WITH Me, FROM Me. His deepest desire and greatest commandment is that we would simply “Remain in Him” (John 15).

As the Apostle Paul writes in Acts, it is “In Him, we live and move and have our being” (17:28). As I began this quest to search the Scriptures for these “prepositional phrases,” I realized that pages upon pages of my journal were filling up with lines from the Bible that were not about me, but about God. If you’ve grown up anywhere near the Bible, you are indeed familiar with the Christian message of thinking less of yourself and more of God. It’s not about me. Others first. Make God a priority. Yes to all of those things! But it goes beyond that. It’s not about me putting Him in the proper place in my life. It’s about existing in Him. He is the vine, and without Him we are crumpled, thirsty, dying branches. What we long for is life, and He gives it. In Scripture I have found that He never requires us to be strong, to not worry, to love others, to be joyful, or to fight any battle. You find any verse in the Bible that requires something of us, and it is followed with a prepositional phrase that connects the action expected from us with the ability of our great, big God. We read that He is WITH us, He fights FOR us, we are saved THROUGH Him, and there is joy IN His presence. The first list of things are possible not because we are capable of any of it, but because we can achieve them IN the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).

>>>>>>>>SIDENOTE: A bird and his other birdie friend just flew into my house!! Like in my living room. While I was here having a moment about prepositions, he came and got me all riled up! Thankfully I texted Taylor and He told me to pull out the blow dart gun! They flew away without too much commotion! Shew! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<

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Anyways.......

I find that oftentimes, when Scripture is quoted too much in a piece of writing like a blog or an article, I tend to check out. But for the sake of what I’m learning, what I’ve begun to notice, I can’t leave it out of this message. I have no wisdom of my own or instruction to offer anyone from my own mind… Scripture itself is full of these prepositions that whisper of God’s ability, willingness, and desire to have us exist in Him. If we have our being through Him, then He lives right alongside of us, understanding our feelings, our choices, our battles, and our movements. And He wants to be a part of those things. He wants us to understand that He knows what is best for us and will act in us to accomplish those things. He wants us to live in obedience to Him so that He can bring us the fullness of life He promises. Often times, we expect such a life when we haven’t submitted to a life of living, being, and moving in Him and we get angry at God. But that’s not a fair standard to hold God to. He is clear when He says that it is in Him everything holds together and only in Him. Outside of that plan, when the squirrel runs away from the tree, it’s on it’s own. Prepositions are used to connect two nouns that are otherwise disconnected. Unless we are joined with Christ in our lives, finding our very being in Him, then we must consider ourselves disconnected from him. Unrelated. Two separate beings going two separate ways.

Know that I am preaching this to myself. I have told God exactly what I think about how He is running my life and those are dark moments that I don’t exactly pride myself in sharing on the world wide web. I have been angry. Had better ideas. Longed for something different. Explained to God that it would be so much better for me if my life looked like xyz. Each conversation that looks this way leaves me resting in the gentle hands of a Father that soothes my heart, and leaves me with a choice. “You are free to walk away,” I hear. And sometimes I think, “GOOD! I’m bout to get up outta here!” But if I keep my ears open for a minute longer, I also hear the breeze of peace rolling in. My hands sense a grasp of another, stroking my skin. I feel the joy of knowing I’m led by Someone that only wants good for me. I feel the hope of eternity beyond this broken world and the burden to share it. And then I sit quietly. Held and loved. “Please, my child, obey Me and follow Me and I will take care of you.”

My prayer for us all is found in Psalm 90:1, “Lord, you have been our dwelling place.” May we find the joy, peace, power, and comfort of simply being in Him. Dwelling in His presence and that alone. He will direct us concerning our ministry, our jobs, our choices, our families— but consider how much greater we can hear him when we are in Him BEFORE all those other things, rather than having to scramble to find Him in the midst of them all. As my sweet brother, Jordan, told me in a note many years ago, “Just BE.” The implications of those 2 small words have never made more sense than today. God is good, all the time. Let us all choose to enter into His goodness today and walk in it. Knowing Scripture will not protect us against the Devil’s schemes…he knows Scripture too. But OBEYING Scripture will lead us out of the Devil’s destruction and into the presence of God’s fullness. As we approach the day when Jesus chose to be in our world, connecting us forevermore, I challenge you to seek out the prepositions that allow us to live in Him and walk humbly with Him this next year.

Just some places to start : (look them up!)

John 4:14…I will become IN them a spring of water…

John 16:33…IN Me you may have peace…

Acts 17:28…IN Him we live and move and have our being…

Romans 8:37…More than conquerors THROUGH Him…

Romans 13:36…FROM Him, THROUGH Him, FOR Him…

1 Corinthians 16:13-14…ON your guard, IN the faith, IN love…

2 Corinthians 1:10…ON Him we set our hope…

2 Corinthians 1:20-22…Yes IN Christ, THROUGH Him, ownership ON us, Spirit IN our hearts…

Galatians 5:13-26…Walk BY the Spirit, Live BY the Spirit, keep IN step WITH the Spirit…

Ephesians 6:10…IN His mighty power…

Philippians 1:20…Christ will be exalted IN my body…

Philippians 2:13…God works IN you…

Colossians 1:17…IN Him all things hold together….

Colossians 2:6…continue to live IN Him…

Psalm 130:7…WITH Him is full redemption

Psalm 9:18…Trust IN you

Micah 6:8…Walk humbly WITH your God…

Deuteronomy 6:5-9…ON your hearts, Impress them ON your children….

Exodus 14:14…The Lord will fight FOR you…

Daniel 3:28…They trusted IN Him and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own.

Ezekiel 34-36…I, the Lord their God, am WITH them…the sheep OF My pasture…I will put my Spirit IN you…{paraphrase: you will be IN My care…)

Joshua 1:9…will be WITH you wherever you go…

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