Tag Archives: faith

Suffer with Hope

20 Apr

I don’t know why we think life shouldn’t be hard?  Where did we ever get this idea from?We all (ALL) have this idea that life should be easy.  I had to work this out myself, this legalistic idea that I somehow had become “good enough” to deserve less suffering.

My non-believing friends speak about  controlling the things that happen by “what we put in the universe”

What if I told you that it was never intended to be easy or without sorrow. Jesus, the “Son Of God” himself drank from the same cup of sorrow we suffer, on our behalf.

He suffered rejection and betrayal, especially at the end of His life. He sat at a table, washed the feet of those that would abandon Him and betray Him.  The disciples fled and left him, Peter denied knowing Him; Judas sold him out!

I saw this photo and it really brings home the fullness of suffering.

Mary, who bore our King in the most difficult of ways, also had to watch Him be beaten, dragged, mocked, spit on, nails driven in his feet and hands so he could hang on the tree until he died. His side was stabbed.

This mother, aside from being the Chosen King, loved her child,her first born son!She loved him beyond measure. How her heart must have suffered! She must have begged and had her own prayers not mentioned in the bible.
Our Lord, how He suffered! Imagine the pain and the fear! His prayers in the garden, his frantic beseeching of  his friends, his disciples to stay awake while he prayed.  He was alone, afraid, he was human in that moment.

Yet, His words “Thy Will Be Done” is the overall theme of trusting in God, trust that has so much Hope behind it.

Life is hard! This world though it has life, love, joy, and health, it also has death, sickness, betrayal, loneliness, fear, unkindness, evil.  Our poor kids don’t get to see the posts on social media about all the good there is. There is an epidemic of hopelessness.

Jesus understood us.  He knows your thoughts even before you speak them and he completely understands, completely relates to you, because he walked through this world, just like us.  He is full of acceptance, love, encouragement and understanding.

If you really get to know Him and His life, you can see how he worked out his obedience through all the suffering he witnessed to and all that he endured. He modeled it all for us.
It isn’t about how you react, it’s how you walk out a trial. We work through things. It’s not that we don’t suffer at all. We will and we do.

We stumble, we fumble, we fear, we cry…BUT peace, hope and joy can co-exist within those same feelings, when we just come to Him with it all, with every bit of it. We are set free and placed back on the path. Our circumstances may not be changed, but our peace returns, even while our trial still rages.

Mary loved her son. She was chosen by God. She suffered terribly, I can’t even imagine her mama’s heart!  But Hope.

This world doesn’t need more politics, more laws, more leaders, more religion. This world needs more hope. Hope is what I see so lost in this world.

Placing our hopes on success or people, or politicians or husbands, or friends… we will never be at peace. Placing our hopes in the finished work of Christ, the hope of all hopes, our perfect salvation, the one we don’t have to work out for ourselves, gives us renewed vigor to get through everything.

There is a divine Hope, an unsinking, unshaking, unrelenting hope I have found in my Savior. It is there even when everything falls apart. I celebrate this with so much gratitude every day., even more on Easter.

Even in the hard times, even when I sorrow, fear, or have anger. He is always near.  I am unreliable to Him, but He never leaves me, nor forsakes me. He is who he says he is, no matter what we do or say.

This beautiful Easter season, find Him. Seek Him.  He died for everyone, even those that will never acknowledge Him. He is waiting, never giving up, always pursuing you.

1 Peter 1:19-20 – “He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him for this purpose long before the world began, but now in these final days, He was sent to the earth for all to see. And He did this for you.”

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Still Someone

19 Jan

Beloved wife, soon to be ex; woman without her spouse, hear me. You were tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. There are so many intense emotions you feel, but when the waves are really rough, there is also a very steady truth underneath the dark, underneath the pain. There is a foundation of truth and faith so tangible that I beseech you to sink your whole grip into. Grab hold and hang on for dear life.

Our God hates divorce for so many reasons.
His plan for marriage was for two to become one; Inseparable. But now you are only one, severed and left to bleed. It is a ripping apart, a death for you. You have grieved and mourned it deeply.
He created marriage for us to help one another. You fought so hard for so many years, I know. He created marriage to help us walk through our lives with a helpmate. To prepare us for the day we meet our bridegroom. This is the piece missing in our churches. This is the piece society leaves out.

It will take a minute to let the aloneness become a comfort. It will feel like hell for a long time.  But the day will come when you have peace again…Maybe, for the very first time.

I know how you cry at night, every night. I know you have blamed yourself; I know you have blamed it on the other. I know you have tried to stop loving the one that no longer loves you. It is a dark and painful hell that none of us want to walk. When we divorce, we all have to go through each step of grieving the death of our other forever half. It is a death for us as difficult and tangible as the death of a loved one. But no one sees it like that. You are suffering and smiling as if you are stronger than you feel.

Trust God with every bit of hurt, every lie told about you, every friend lost during the divorce.  Trust Him when your spouse moves on quickly. It is commonplace, the one that jumps, replaces quickly, if not before. The one that is far from God has a hole they need to fill desperately and they do so, quickly.

You, the one caught off guard, is just worried about surviving. But look at you! You, on the other hand, have braved every awful, heart-wrenching night.  You learned new things, you became empowered in ways you never thought you could. You allowed God, out of need, to become your partner and provider. Look at what He did! With you, for you and through you. You had moments of panic and mistakes but you learned so quickly and altered your course back to His plan for you. You trusted Him in the dead of night to be your husband. You barely have enough to eat most days, it’s been so unfair, yet, you played so fair. Always fair.Now God will set things right.

You have lost people in this process. Let them go.  Not everyone is meant to be here when you don’t just survive your divorce, you soar!  Rejection is part of divorce. You have people that will never leave you, never give up on you, never pick a side. Never hurt you by not seeing how deeply your wound goes. You made new friends, we do that. God brings us healer friends, the ones that understand exactly what your world looks like and what your words mean, even if you didn’t know how to say them.  Friends that will always keep you on your path and point you back to Him.

And God.  He was there all along. You began to talk with Him more and more. You exposed your complete heart to Him. He knew it anyways. He sat there beside you, whether you reached for Him or not. He is always ready to refresh you, he was already to catching your tears, each one, in a jar He keeps forever. Your tears are so important to Him.  Even as other’s listened in on your prayers, your conversations with God, with friends, you just let God have that. You have given justice back over to God. This is His justice now.

You are stronger than you know my friend. Stay true to Godly truth. Stay true to God’s word. That is where your real healing comes from. People will believe all kinds of lies. You just stay with your moral compass, Our Lord. People will take sides. Let them. That is their cross to bear and isn’t about you. Just keep your eyes on biblical truth and God’s omnipotent, sovereign, all knowing, all seeing, ways, hope and blessings. He will never reject you, never take sides, never hurt you.

That is a beautiful, amazing place to be; With Him. Your world will only become more and more beautiful. Let Him show off for you. Let Him heal you. Let Him restore what the Locust has tried to destroy.

A family is broken now, yes. But God uses broken people, and He binds up wounds, making you better than ever. He will make beauty from these ashes. He always does.

Trust in Him. Do not dwell on the things of this world. See His Love in all things. Trust with unshakable trust. Let these waves wash over you and keep your eyes on Him and He will restore your peace, you will be loved beyond measure, you will want for nothing.

Amen.Amen. Amen.

Philadelphia

16 Jan

Weary one, walking this world trying to make your way. Are you tired yet?Lift your eyes, weary one. He is there, making all things work for your good. For His Glory.

This world is dying, quickly.
He is calling to you, do you hear Him?

He says “don’t love the things of this world, love me”
He says to “build our lives on the rock”. Jesus.
He says  “Keep your eyes on me”. “Let my words build you up, restore what this world has stolen from you”.
Don’t spend another moment crying over what Satan took. He say’s “I will restore everything that was stolen from you”
He says “I will make beauty from ashes”.
He says “I have placed every tear you cried, in a jar.”

Tired one, rest in Him, He is restoration. He refreshes us.
As you cry, as you fret, He says I am still here. Unmoved, unchanged.
Seek me. I will answer you.
Turn from your pride, your fear, your anger, your exhaustion, your defeat and find Him.
Trust Him with every bit of this life.

Trust Him in the aloneness, trust Him in the waiting, trust Him in the heartbreak.
Trust Him in the darkness, trust Him when everything is falling apart. Trust Him no matter what your eyes see. He isn’t the world. He is more.

To the sinners; the liars, the judges, the gossips, the prideful, the arrogant, the adulterers, the ones hiding in the dark, He is clear. Aren’t you tired yet? Aren’t you tired of sin that separates you? This world will drag you down if you dwell too long on it. God lifts you up and fills your soul.

Surrender it all. Everything. Attach to Him and let go of every lie this world tells you.
Love Him that loves you more than anything. Give Him all the love your bridegroom desires and would receive if He were flesh.  His love is first. His love is most important. His love lasts forever.

Love, The Church of Philadelphia
Revelations 2-3 NLT.

Choosing Joy

1 Jan

As we look forward to what comes next, we have to also know that what comes next isn’t always what we wish for, desire, or plan for.

I personally have family that is facing end of life. T is the bravest, strongest person I know. She is so inspiring to so many.  I have a close friend doing everything her little body can to rid her body of cancer. She is so strong and brave as well. Determined. These are not the things we plan for or wish for but they are as much a part of our life as the good.

Having had to face my own misunderstanding that life is always supposed to feel good; It isn’t and it doesn’t. The truth is, living gets really hard at times and sometimes we suffer deeply. Sometimes people do unkind things, sometimes people get sick, sometimes we are left out, sometimes relationships are really hard. … but God, but love.

Through all of the ups and downs, there is love. At the core of everything, love is there and love is truly all there really is. Some people may not treat us well or be kind to us and some may never love us, but there are those that do.  Hold on to those people.

Some people may be cruel, selfish, mean spirited. We may not want to love some people but do it, do just that! When we come from a place of love, regardless of other’s, we grow in peace and joy. We steady our hearts and minds. It isn’t determined by them, it is your heart that chooses to love no matter what.

Let go of control. We may make plans and we may think we drive this life, but at the end of the day, we really can’t control anything, and especially any one. We can only choose for ourselves how we react and respond to what we will never control.

As a woman seeking and thirsting for the truest lover of my soul, what I have learned most is this… God remains the same through all of it. When I stop comparing how I think it should be, or what I planned, to the way it really is, I can climb into the peace of knowing that through it all, He has it all worked out for my good. When we surrender to His omnipotent plans and power, then suffering last’s only a little while.

At the end of the day, we only have this very minute, to choose what we think on. To choose what we focus on. To choose if we cherish or complain.  We can choose to let go of our peace over things we can’t control, or we can gain peace by embracing what is good and steady in the face of turbulence.  We can love through the worst of times… because one day we will wish we had done more of that. I promise you that.

2019 will have it’s own wonder and it’s own trials… but today, I am centered on His Sovereignty.  Peace settles so well on my heart, knowing that through it all, He is there, working it all out for my good and for His glory.

Today… my cup overflows. This moment I choose joy.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28 

choose this day whom you will serve Joshua 24:14-15

Re-Solution

30 Dec

Every year at this time, we talk about resolutions and goals.

In truth, 2018 was the year for me to heal. 2017 had so much loss, so much sorrow, so much crazy. I needed a year of peace and God was gracious. Though there were moments, some my own doing (and in some cases, my own undoing), some were completely out of left field but God in His amazing Love, truly walked me through quickly. He nourished me, refreshed me, tested me, and strengthened me. He made me suffer through my emotions and expectations to seek truth and to find Him, who He really is, not the God I had in my head.   I had to come to terms with what faith really meant to me, from the depths of hurt and disappointments and find what trust in God really meant.  What exactly are His promises and how do they apply to me.

At the end of this year, I can look back and see how much I have changed, how I have grown.  I can see the blessings.  Yes, I was able to do some really great things, a trip to Greece, trips to the kids, a trip to Minnesota.  I have been blessed with amazing friendships, a job I absolutely love, having a social calendar again.  But the greatest blessing is finding the truth that none of this matter’s without my full surrender to Him.

I have found the rest, joy and peace of knowing that God is sovereign.  My life will always have really difficult times. My life will have amazing gifts.   It is a constant receiving and letting go. The only true constant is God. He never changes; Never.

He tells us in His word -1 John 2:15- “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.”
Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount to build our foundation of our acknowledgement of just this truth. He is sovereign. Our faith is a vertical relationship that is not distracted by the things that other people have, say, do or what we lose or gain. (Matthew 5-7) It is solid in the trust that as long as we stay focused on Him, we are okay.  He is able to work on us, through us, and for us.

I have discovered all of my barriers to really surrendering to His Sovereignty. My lack of faith in areas that I think I can do better I suppose. I hold tight to my idea of what this world should look like, fairness, goodness. I had this idea of what happiness was, especially if you are doing it “right” such as marriage, love, family, constant peace, no issues, no loss. I have grown weary trying to make it better. I have found the very last stitch of control I thought I had.
The truth says, stop looking to this world to give you anything you need. This world is flesh, this world is false.  It doesn’t last. Nothing lasts forever.

But God.

The truest lover of your soul is calling you, wooing you, pursuing you to love Him. It is the LAW.
Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself. This doesn’t mean fit in, like run a 10k or drive a fancy car or be invited to the finest events. This means to love yourself enough to lose yourself completely, regardless of your circumstances.  He doesn’t just ask us to obediently surrender to Him every need for food and shelter; He asks for so much more. He wants all of it. .  He longs for every desire. Surrender every longing for popularity, fitting in, being loved, being accepted, success, things, beauty, adventure and of perfect joy.

From His perfectly designed place of surrender, knowing who God is, and who you are and are not, who can offend you? Who can speak against you, who can hurt you, what can shake you to your core?  Oh please let these trials shake off the lies and expose to you, God’s nature.

Why on earth do we think we should suffer less in this world than the one that sent His own Son, His Son that suffered so greatly , just for us?   If we get stuck in the place of trying to play God, trying to make it make sense, we become bitter or we lose our faith.

Our resolutions should be made, intentionally, to draw near to God. Our goal should be to shake of this world and the distractions and just Love God and Love People. Learn to draw near to Him at all times and in all circumstances. Grow in your trust that this is all for His glory and His purposes. These are healthy resolutions. These are the plans that do not direct our steps but give God the reigns to speak into our lives and direct our steps.

Surrendered.

James 4: 4-8 NLT

You adulterers!Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God. Do you think the Scriptures have no meaning? They say that God is passionate that the spirit he has placed within us should be faithful to him.And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say,

“God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble.”

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. 

Christmas Devotional

1 Dec

17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.” Luke 2:17-19

We all have times of trial; Times of frustration or pain, loss of loved ones, rejection, physical pain. When we have an issue, big or small, we talk about it, we pray about it and we focus some time on it.

As we read Luke, we see a still, quiet worship in Mary. She was quiet, obedient and calm. She didn’t talk about it; she didn’t focus on the hardship. She stored and pondered “these” things in her heart. They were the promises of God.

So much of God’s Word tells us to be still and to be quiet. Mary is our example of what that is. It is worship.

What if we, like Mary, stayed fully aware of the providence of God. We have to really imagine the culture and how shameful it was to be pregnant. She knew her Heavenly Father. In those days, the stories would include our God that wiped out towns. Mary was not shaken. She was calm. She knew the scriptures, but she also knew God. He was her husband first. Isaiah 54:5. I am your husband.

If we stored the same promises in our hearts, and we trusted God with the same fullness that Mary did, writing them on our hearts and remembering them often, her peace would be our peace. The Peace of the Lord would be ours regardless of what was happening around us. God made us promises. Those promises are there whether we remember them or not.

I pray as we journey through this Christmas together, we begin to write the promises of God in our heart. To remember the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, who is there to guide us and help us.  I pray we too become so full of peace, calm and joy. To always remember to first ponder these things and remember them always.

Merry Christmas

True Religion

26 Nov

As I began my rediscovery of my faith, I promised to always be transparent. I may not always be completely accurate but I am always honest with you. Especially in the ways I doubt or mess up.

I think the hardest part of my faith journey these 10 years, is shaking off the beliefs, the ideals, the teachings that actually kept me from really knowing God, knowing Christ.  I think you can be saved, by simply accepting the gift of salvation Christ gave to you.  That mustard seed, if it took root, is enough.

Religions have made it difficult for us to really know Christ. To know God. To know the Holy Spirit. The rules and politics became magnified and we lost sight of the fact that people in need of a savior were the ones teaching and preaching and leading us.  Sadly, because of the sin in people, it is hard for people to find God.

Religion became about people; Like we did it, like we saved ourselves. We lost God in the mix. Even our non-denominational churches need a shaking up.  We spend so much time on wrong things. We waste opportunity after opportunity, simply because we missed the point.  WE are not the point. WE didn’t earn our salvation.

Sin is a black stain. All sin is a black stain. Whether you lie about why you’re running late or you harm a child. Sin is black. It is all black and in need of a redeemer. Period.  Isaiah (Isaiah 6:5) fell to his knees and couldn’t even look at God because he was able to fully see the stain of his sin compared to the Glory of God.  That is us. Each and every one of us.

That is why Jesus was born.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”” Luke 19:10 NLT

He is the seeker, the all-knowing, just waiting to be known.   Period. 

God created every life. He loves every single life. He seeks every life to know Him.

If the creator of all things,  loves every life, cherishes and longs for every life to know Him, pursues every sinner, how arrogant it is to judge any single person anything.

He isn’t doing this to you. He is seeking you. He is saying “look at me, look to me, seek me and you will find me, hear me, follow me, trust me. ”  It is not a human responsibility to fix society. It is a human response to salvation to want to share that amazing advent with the world.

God could force us to worship Him, but he seeks us. He could reject us for not choosing Him, but He simply continues to pursue us.

There is a longing in us, for more. A hole inside our heart, a wounded sorrowful place that without Him, never becomes full. He left that space inside our hearts just for Himself.  I have times where I don’t feel Him there and it hurts. Physically. I miss Him.  When I begin to worship Him, glorifying Him, I feel my whole being fill up.

My faithwalk is one of ups and downs. I go through periods of deep devotion, humbled and reverent awe of all He is. I also go through periods of time where I forget about Him, I do things out of my own ambitions and needs, and not out of obedience and submission. I am prideful at times, without acknowledgement of all He provides. I am self sufficient, moving along without thinking of Him, at all.  There are times that I have literally sat in such a place of awe, knowing it was Him with me because the atmosphere completely changed.  I have also been edgy, worried, fearful, gossipy, insecure, all things that I am when I forget who He is and who I have dwelling within me.

Honestly, I am in a weird place in my journey. It is so different that at times, I worry that my faith is going cold, yet at the same time, knowing it isn’t. I am trusting Him with this new place, not because I am so good at being a Christian…(I am not), but because I have learned that I can try to be but it really works much easier if I remember that He is in charge and He has never let me down. He is sovereign.

It is so hard to imagine a God that can dwell inside of us. How crazy does that sound? That He would choose us, to dwell within us? We know, deep down, from that humble awareness that we are probably not perfect enough for Him to be inside of us. So why do we expect perfection from the world around us?

HE is the one that loved us first. HE, the one that created the world, also numbered every single hair on every single head. He is self reliant and self existent. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need one single thing because He is omnipotent and sovereign.  We just get to travel through this world, on our way to His world.

He didn’t tell us we were so wonderful, He said we were wonderfully made. He didn’t say we were worth rubies, He said we were bought with the price of rubies.

I forget this humility.  Often. We all do.  We need to do better at loving this world, and we need to start by loving God and loving every person God created, starting with ourselves. We all walk around with that hole inslde that only he can fill and we all walk around with the big black stain of sin. No sin is exempt and no sinner is exempt. No sin is darker. No sin is less than.  Neither are the sinners. We, every single human on this earth is a sinner. Period. It isn’t that we are free to sin however we choose, it is that we are called to humble our own selves before Him and surrender our own sin to Him. It is vertical, this sinner/savior relationship. This is what Jesus meant about the plank in your own eyes. (Matthew 5-7).

My faith may not “feel” tangible to me, but He is really opening my eyes to the truth. To my lowness in the big scheme of things. That lowness is blessed with promise and joy everlasting. Truth shall set us free. I want us all to know true freedom.

So, put your bible on your bed-stand and walk out your door today and see the hole in people. Not the black stain. Find the love inside of you and look around you, see the love needed and share that love, pursue it passionately. When we do this, then we are behaving like God. Oh that I would walk this, every moment of every day.

This is true religion.