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Faith Imagined: A Stump

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

August 1, 2010

A Stump

As you read through the final chapters of Exodus, you will find God's very particular blue print for His worship place. From the material, design, usage, accents and construction -- each aspect of the Holy dwelling was unique and intricate. After reading such detailed instructions, you might say, "Geez, God! You have pretty picky expectations!"

We are the New Testament Temple, and I want to say that God is just as picky about you (His chosen one) today as He was about His chosen people back then. You are His worship place; He dwells in you, and He has a plan for the temple He has given you.

If you daily seek God, you will find that He will give you detailed instructions. Some instructions are lasting, some are seasonal and some are for the moment; but He has a design, a purpose and a bunch of awe-inspiring accents that He wants to carve into your life. But, you have to be obedient and let Him wield the hammer.

In my life, God has given me finite laws that go beyond the 10 Commandments. The 10 commandments are the basic moral foundation for all humanity; however, God's children have very explicit commandments. These laws shape our temples and make us a unique and fruitful creation fashioned by God: "A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump; a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree" (Proverbs 11.28 MSG).

I've come to realize that a God-shaped life is a very disciplined life. I have a list of things that I can't do. I sacrifice those things for God because I know that He has amazing blessings for me that far outweigh what I have given up for Him. I also have a list of things that I must do, but I have found joy that is not based on my circumstances. I now enjoy doing tasks that I once deemed as boring, difficult or trivial. I trust God, and I want Him to mold me; otherwise, I'll be molded by the world or the insignificance of my own understanding.

So my encouragement to you when God tells you to give up something or to do something is that there is a purpose. God has a plan, and He has to make a particular pattern in your life because He is creating your temple to hold the beauty and power of His glory. And realize that your pattern will be different from other people; but don't worry, they're getting shaped in other ways.

Do you want your life to be filled with God's glory? Do you want to be more than a stubby "stump" stuck in the trappings of this world? Then forget about what everyone else is doing and live within the parameters that God has tailored to your life. Stay focused on how the Holy Spirit is leading you this day and stay obedient to where He is directing the fullness of your life. Walk in discipline; and at the end of your days on earth, your life will be a gorgeous, fruit-filled tree.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12.11 NIV).

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Blogger MTJ said...

Hi Alisa,

As I read this post my thoughts ran to 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Should I have more regard for a building than I do for the Holy Spirit in me? Since there are things I would never do in a church building, why allow my body to be desecrated?

"Do you want your life to be filled with God's glory? Do you want to be more than a stubby "stump" stuck in the trappings of this world?" -- This is a question we must answer if we desire an open, honest and meaningful relationship with the Lord.

Blessings and peace.


2:36 PM  
Blogger Daughter of the KING said...

This was a timely post for me today. It followed what God had already began saying through my pastor this morning. Sometimes, we don't understand why God would have us NOT do what seems to be harmless. Or we even question Him "why can Sally do that and you tell me to leave it alone?" Like you I am not just speaking of the Ten Commandments. Some things others might even laugh at if we were to say God told me to leave that game, that music, those books or whatever out of my life. What will disobedient cost us in the long run? Not something I want to find out the hard way.

Thank you for your way of speaking the Truth....

Linda J

2:47 PM  
Blogger Little M said...

It's so wise of you to recognize that not everyone is called to the same sacrifices or disciplines!

You continue to be an inspiration to me :)

4:28 PM  
Blogger Sharon Kirby said...

Oh Lord - prune me, replant me, water me, shape me - do whatever it takes to keep me from being a "stump" - I want to be a TREE!!

"But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like TREES planted along the riverbank, BEARING FRUIT each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do." (Psalm 1:3)


6:50 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I definitely do NOT want to be a stump...

Alisa, your devotions always reach way down and touch a place in my heart that the Lord is trying to reach...this is yet another of your posts that I will bookmark and read again....

7:43 PM  
Blogger Dean Spencer said...

Alisa -

This is such a great post.

You are absolutely right that we are His worship place. It's difficult to imagine the Holy Spirit taking residence in us and molding us and shaping us just as you talk about with God wielding the hammer. But that's exactly what He's doing.

One way I try to picture this, as you pointed out how discipline is not pleasant, is remind myself earthly fathers do things for their children to protect them and teach them. How much more from our Father in heaven?

Thank you for this very vivid description of God's work in our lives. God bless!

10:56 PM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Alisa,
Beautiful thought provoking post today and I so enjoyed your words!
I DO not want to be a stump-I want to be a tree!!Your post has touched my heart and thank you.

3:54 AM  
Blogger Lynda Young said...

Yes, I want God's Glory to fill my life to the brim and then to spill over into other people's lives.

Great devo,


7:46 AM  
Blogger Tammi said...

This was wonderful, Alisa! Yesterday at church a lady sang about the changing seasons...and I thought about the times when we are in an apparent "dormant" season, where there seems to be NO growth whatsoever..that can be so frustrating to someone who is longing to see "much more" fruit produced from their life. But this is the time for GOD to teach new lessons, pruning and shaping us. Then at the right time, the Great Vine Dresser brings forth His Son-shine and pours His blessings of rain. Springing from our lives is fruit--much more fruit! Since He chooses the seasons for our lives, no matter the current season we find ourselves, let's be assured WILL not become a stump or dried up vine. Thanks so much for this wonderful word of truth this morning! God bless you!

8:22 AM  
Blogger May said...

Thanks you for this moment of truth. I want to be able to allow myself to freely be an inspiration in other people's lives during my spiritual journey.

10:36 AM  
Blogger Toia said...

I love the thought provoking questions....I choose not to be stubby stump....Great Post!!!

4:38 PM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

You are so right! I have thought, God was very picky in the Old Testament. True, we need to live that life, and not be a stump.

6:18 PM  
Blogger Amie B said...

thanks for stopping by my blog today an entering my contest!

i really enjoyed this post. one of the things i've come to know during all my writings, ramblings and the road to publication, is that God is aware of me. and what is important to me, is important to him.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Wanda said...

Very interesting analogy Alisa. I certainly don't want to have my growth stuck in the stump stage. It's vital that we're aware of our own individual patterns for life.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

I do not want to be a stump. Thanks for your thoughts on this!

8:08 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I don't want to be a stump either. God cares so much about the details of our lives, including the seemingly insignificant choices we make to do or not to do something. It's often in those choices that our integrity is revealed.

Thank you so much for the encouragement for She Speaks! I'm home now. It was great. Posting about it later this week!

10:10 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Great post Alisa! When you talked about having a list of things that you can't do, it struck me in a different way. There are things that I sometimes feel like I just can't do and that makes me feel like a failure or that I just don't measure up somehow. But I know that is NOT the truth and I have to hand over not only those things to God, but also I must replace the lies of failure and not measuring up with God's truth.

Thanks for challenging us to live a disciplined life in God. :)

8:13 PM  
Blogger Michael Manning said...

Alisa: At the outset, this blog is a positive beacon of Hope, with a powerful and refreshing theology that so many seem to miss about Jesus Christ. His message to "Take up your Cross and follow me" requires that we place our Trust in Him, no matter how many times our own personal sense of Trust has been violated by others. I liked your statement about not focusing on what others are doing. To this point, many church denominations today are struggling mightily with secular humanism that seems to evicerate the common sense discipline Christ asks of us. Some of this is shocking. And I say this with regret, having observed the schisms in my own local church home. Know this:

You are on-target, my friend. Stay the course and know that you are reaching hearts and not merely touching heads! That is the Gospel! Amen!! :)

11:25 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Alisa, I just love this. I have never drawn the connection of the temple in the same way. It is powerful.

It is funny how He changes our perspective, not our life. I have lived that in the last few years.

Thank you for touching on this. It is a wonderful topic.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Alisa, thanks for stopping by my blog. I responded to your comment there. :)

6:29 PM  
Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

Hmmm, makes me wonder what specific instructions could I be missing?

9:32 PM  
Blogger Connie Mace said...

Oh...beautiful picture and comparison. If only we would keep raising our eyes to GOD.

Look at the evergreen in the background stretching tall and vibrant. Roots go deep, finding water. Branches reaching up to feathery clouds that look like angel wings.

Thank you for sharing Alisa

9:33 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Alisa...thank you for utilizing the gifts of God within you as it overflows and blesses others, like me. I love the beautiful picture, "We are the New Testament Temple, and I want to say that God is just as picky about you (His chosen one) today as He was about His chosen people back then. You are His worship place; He dwells in you, and He has a plan for the temple He has given you."

As I read this portion, I wept...and I also love the reminder of being obedient allowing Him to wield the!

I really was blown away by the reminder of MTJ's comment as well...thank You Lord for Alisa!

You are lovely!

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Nikole Hahn said...

Great post!

I'm learning discipline with reading His Word, writing and keeping on track with my novel, and learning that He wants me to write and not get distracted by ministry.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Cherie Hill said...

I cannot tell you how timely this post was for me. I have been so certain as to God's will for my circumstances, until recently when others started questioning my judgment. God had revealed VERY specific Scriptures that have directed me and I have been meditating on those . . . realizing that God has given ME very specific details as to how I should handle things . . . I should not allow outside influences to cause me to question Him. Thank you for this post that has reinforced what God has been telling me!
In Him,

2:48 PM  

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