Regrets are the pits. Anybody with me on that? I’m gifted at wallowing in pools of regrets and, regrettably (!!!), often have difficulty leaving them behind. I’d be a shoo-in for President of the SWC Club (The Shoulda-Woulda-Coulda Club). Sigh.
One regret I’d sorta put to bed resurfaced this week while on vacation. Now there’s a place you do not want a regret to resurface!!! No regrets, however, for the books I packed in my suitcase (As Hubster rolls his eyes over my ready-to-burst carry on). I’m especially grateful I brought God Seeker-A Journey through Exodus 33 by Kristen Sauder.
Before we dive into some of many pearls Kristen gives us in the study, I must share a wave of regret washed over me upon opening this workbook. I realized the first time I did this study, Kristen was my teacher! All of us attendees agreed it was the best of both worlds: having Kristen personally teach us her encouraging material. None of us even considered she might not be with us for the long haul.
On 12/12/12, Kristen told us her world flipped upside down. The “C” word, cancer, was discovered in her body after a battery of tests: Lung cancer and she’d never smoked. The Sauders, along with family and friends, and our church members were stunned
Initially very fearful, Kristen says the Lord whispered to her He would help her battle her fear. She began to feel His peace and assurance.
In some of her last words on film, four to five days before she went to be with Jesus in January of 2014, Kristen said, “He is my Rock. The Anchor holds.” (If you’re brave and within reach of some Kleenex, listen to Kristen and savor her message. Don’t miss its’ title: Victory: Kristen Sauder.)
2013 found us praying feverishly while Kristen battled and patiently endured cancer. She overcame hurdle after hurdle. That July I was blessed to serve on the Women’s Committee for the North American Christian Convention (NACC) in Louisville. Kristen was to be one of our workshop speakers.
We knew of her diagnosis and wondered if she’d physically be able to keep such a commitment. She and her family wholeheartedly said, “Yes! We will be able!” More than capable, Kristen delivered an unforgettable talk, armed with God’s strength and anointing. (Don’t overlook the theme of the NACC that year was “Victorious!” Is God in the details, or what?)
So, can a regret help your attitude? Absolutely. Regretful I didn’t know to cherish Kristen’s teachings, I discovered I was more intentional in reading her words in God Seeker. These are part of her incredible legacy.
I cannot recommend the God Seeker study enough. There are so many pearls of encouragement coupled with powerful, equipping Scripture. Even if you’ve taken it before, start it again anew. You’ll be amazed. (You can order the workbook as well as the DVDs from www.furtherstillministries.org )
The main goal of this study is for each and every one of us to establish a “Tent of Meeting”: A place where we go every day to meet with the Lord.
Kristen shows us what Moses did, serving as our example to follow:
Exodus 33:7 – “Now Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside the camp, a good distance from the camp, and he called it the Tent of meeting. And it came about that everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the Tent of meeting which was outside the camp.”
Kristen said, “I’m convinced that pitching a Tent away from distractions and designating a clear purpose will greatly enhance your ability to live a lifestyle, day after day after day, of seeking God.” She offers excellent ideas on how, where and what to do about pitching such a “tent”, even suggesting what to expect.
She includes benefits as well as warnings to heed. I cracked up over one of her warnings which happens to be a Disorder I suffer from. Maybe you do too: SADD, a/k/a Spiritual Attention Deficit Disorder. She says, “When I haven’t been with Jesus, I lose focus, run around like the headless chicken, grow more irritable by the second, show my temper, and live stressed out and independent of the Spirit’s direction.”
She then quips, “When we get thrown off track and stop frequenting our Tent of meeting to seek the Savior, believe me, it is a SADD thing.” Hilarious and oh-so-true!!!
She quotes an older southern preacher, who’s gone to Glory named Vance Havener. He says, “Come apart before you come apart.”
A favorite benefit Kristen teaches us is, “… by establishing a Tent of meeting, solely for seeking God, FOUR different people will be affected:
1 – God will notice.
2 – Others will notice.” Your family for starters. Kristen tells on herself citing this as a huge factor of accountability. She said once their son, Drew, asked, ‘Mom, have you been with Jesus today?’” Ouch!!!
3 – “The Enemy notices. Did you know that Satan cannot read your mind? His perfectly timed temptations sometimes have us believing otherwise, but the truth is, he can’t see inside. He can, however, read our actions. Regular treks to your Tent send a loud and clear message: I AM A GOD SEEKER.”
Kristen challenges, “Let your life be a declaration of your faith by frequenting your Tent for seeking God.” Isn’t that the best??? Wait for the fourth person who’s affected! It’ll convince you if the first three haven’t:
4 – “You will notice.” Kristen says, “I’ve often joked that my husband Kurt looks a lot better to me after I’ve been to the Tent of Meeting. But, Kurt didn’t change. I did. “
Now, soak in these precious observations from Kristen:
“I’m such a long way from where I’m going, but thankfully, I’m such a long way from where I came.
By God’s grace, I am hooked on seeking Him and can joyously testify that He has been found by me. He is the passion of my life, my bedrock.
He gently tends to me in my Tent of Meeting, peeling away sinful layers one by one to make me more like Christ.
His love is overwhelming…
The time you spend alone with your Father in the Tent is multiplied little by little, day by ordinary day, as He transforms your life.”
Stop and consider these insightful words from Kristen which were published in 2007. Fast forward to her funeral in 2014. If I was allowed two words to sum up its’ beautiful, celebratory message, it would be to “Be Intentional.”
May we all be more intentional with our relationships, our faith, and our studying of God’s Word in our Tent of Meeting. When regrets do arise, may they cause us to recalibrate our attitudes, shining for God’s glory.
Hang on to Kristen’s message, “The Anchor holds.” (Kristen’s husband, Kurt, and their children periodically write encouraging posts on their blog which you may access via their website from Further Still Ministries.)
‘Til next time!