Tag Archives: faithwalk

Help My Unbelief

11 Feb

I recently wrote a bible study for a group of strong, wise women, leaders. In the writing of this, I was not really writing about what I fully know but rather what God knows and what I understand Him to be saying. His nature, His being, His qualifications. I really didn’t grasp the depth of what I was writing at the time. Truth be told, I will probably never fully grasp it all.  Sometimes God just writes through me. I just obey.

I have been drawn to Psalm 139 since my mother was passing a few months past. I would read it to her, that and several others. Psalm 139 has come to my heart a few times since. I woke this morning with this scripture on my heart. More specifically the question “do I really believe God is who He says He is?”

Omnipresent and Omniscient. Two big words at the very top of this scripture.  All knowing and all being. The understanding that God is in everything and everywhere at all times. That he is not away from me. Not ever. Nor is ever away from those that would be my enemy but also claim faith in Him. He is never away from them either.

That he knows every single thought before I am aware of them myself. (Do my thoughts always match what my words speak? Oh my friend, absolutely not. )

Omnipresent. Meaning His presence is never apart from me; Never apart from me. Not one moment have I been alone, ever.

As a Christian, we can gloss over this and say “of course, I believe this to be truth”. But last night the question came up “But do you really?”  Do I? If I believe that He is omnipresent, how could I ever feel alone or lonely.  If He is all knowing, all being, all powerful (Omnipotent). Sovereign over all and I believed Him, I would never fear, never feel alone, never be prideful, never be reactive to circumstances. I wouldn’t make bad relationship choices. I would be… like Him.

How many times in my life have I cried out from loneliness, felt too alone, felt separated, isolated? What did I feel isolated from?   How many times have I been so self-sufficient that I stood in my own sorrow, my own suffering, my own fears, rather than grasp hold of His nearness at all times.

He is near to us,  always. The truth in that then is that we just don’t draw near to Him.

Oh how my unbelief is evident in so many ways. It is not a lack of God. It is not a lack of trust. It is a lack of belief. You can’t trust what you don’t believe in. So the truth is, and this rocks me to my soul; I don’t, at the core, believe it all.  Isn’t that a shattering thought?

Christians, like all people struggle, with truth, with our quest to understand God and how it all applies to us. We struggle with our belief. That however, doesn’t change Him in any way.

Growing in our understanding, in our submission, in our belief and our faith is a journey. More times than not, because of my openness about my Christian journey, more is expected of me. To be less of a work in progress than I am.  To be without stumbles and hard times. As much as I am in the deep end of seeking, I am still at the core, ego. I will still try to do this my way. My unbelief will be exposed over and over to me, us.

However, as we learn and grow, layers of misguided thoughts, or ways that we have learned that are not His ways, get shed from us, we become more submitted to Him.

Mark 9:23-24  Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.” When he heard this, the boy’s father cried out with tears, saying, “I do believe, Lord; help my little faith!” (The Greek is “I do believe; help my unbelief.”)  What a beautiful example of humility and submission. We that can’t, ask the One that can. The One that will.

As I realize my lack, my unbelief, the beauty is, I know He knows and is waiting for me to simply ask. The more submitted I become, the more freedom and joy I have. Less of me and more of Him is not a decision. It is a work that He promises to finish in me, over a lifetime of lessons and opportunities, trials and joys.

Oh Lord, help my unbelief today. Amen.

Psalm 139 (AMP)God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.
Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”
12 Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

13 For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

19 a]O that You would kill the wicked, O God;
Go away from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.
20 For they speak against You wickedly,
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect and utmost hatred;
They have become my enemies.

23 Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
24 And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

Footnotes:  In the first eighteen verses of this psalm, the psalmist acknowledges that God knows everything that the psalmist ever does, no matter when or where he does it. Although God’s vast knowledge of an individual’s deeds can be reassuring for the righteous, it should be frightening for the wicked. 

When Evil Seems to Win

30 May

There is an ever present evil in the world. We can see it every single time we open social media or turn on the news. None of us will be spared evil in some fashion.

When your life has been touched by evil, one of the biggest challenges will be to not become embittered in the battle, especially if it seems to not touch the one that caused the harm.

We want things to be fair, and when there isn’t justice, we can lose sight on what actually is true. Evil may seem like it is winning but the truth is, there is no “win” in evil, only destruction.  Evil also loves to seduce in numbers.

Maybe that is the real goal of evil, to make us really question if there is any goodness left, to stop believing in the goodness of the world. Obviously we know the goal of evil is also for us to ultimately question our faith and hope.

Guarding our hearts against bitterness is very important during this battle. Bitterness can choke out the light in us, God in us. It is a daily battle; A war for our souls.

When we filter our thoughts on what has been done, no matter what has been done, we begin the battle of unforgiveness. When we begin to want justice, we begin our battle against bitterness. The battle will be fought in many ways, but at the end of the day, the real battle with be within your own mind, your own heart.

Trials will absolutely always come. Evil will be at times, be very strong against us. It is a spiritual war and a battle for our soul. Evil will come in many forms to wear us down. There will be attacks. There will be slander. There will be times you are or feel all alone in the battle. You will feel overwhelmed, defeated at times and you will want to give up the fight.

That is exactly when we must stay focused and steadfast in our faith. Practicing even what we can’t feel. Trusting in God’s plan for our lives even when it seems so unfair or worse, impossible. Reading His promises even when we can’t seem to believe it fully. He tells us that His word never falls void. Keep reading it.

Evil utilizes comparison, isolation, judgement and fear. The word of God, prayer and steadfast commitment to Him is the anecdote.

God will always triumph. This is His story. Evil doesn’t win. We may not appear to win in this world, but we are not to conform to this world, we are to remain in Him.

Our journey is not really about our success, how we fit in, or what anyone else does, thinks or says about us.  Our journey is to become Holy.

There is only one absolute truth, we are in a vertical relationship with Christ, He and us alone. There will not be anyone else with you when you take your knee at the throne.

When evil mocks you, pray.  Tell Him your wish for justice, He understands. He believes in justice as well. He is also merciful and gave you grace.

Praying not only for your faith to remain steady and confident, but importantly, pray for anyone being used by evil. That is the greatest weapon we have against bitterness.

Grace.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

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.

 

Sweet Surrender

4 Nov

Oh, but if only we didn’t have to suffer!

Life is so many things, but there is something about discomfort that makes us not see anything but the discomfort. Why is that?

As I comforted a friend in her grief yesterday, I realized that honestly, sometimes we have to just be in it. Just be sad. There was a time when people wore a band or put on burlap and put ash on their face, to let the world know they were grieving. They didn’t buck up, they didn’t try to hide it, they announced it. It was their’s. They owned their own emotions. They were just going through what they were going through.

Somehow in our “enlightenment”, we became unable to endure anything but happy. Truth be told, I think this only makes us more unhappy!  We say “don’t dwell on it”, “focus on the good”, “take your mind off of it”.  What a disservice we do to real grief! The strength that comes from really embracing all of life. I see it in my work as well, people trying to “avoid” death. “If we don’t talk about it, it won’t happen.”

There is a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that nothing is new.  There will always be times of joy and times of sorrow, times of birth and times of death.  Sadly we have gotten so fragile that we can’t even bear someone cutting us off in traffic or having a different perspective.

This is the root of all hatred and bitterness. This set up we create of how we think our life should look instead of embracing what we have and where we are at.

As for the modern church,somewhere along the line, we decided that being Christian meant that we would be blessed with happiness. We are blessed with peace in the trials, because of Hope, Hope for more than this hard world! Jesus was pretty point-blank when he said “you will have trials in this world”

 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33. 

I am growing to understand the depth of what He meant.  My friend and I have both walked through this harsh reality this week. She helped me really awaken to the truth. We, (me), tend to think we deserve something good because we are walking with God. Not consciously, but we still do it. This is legalism;  As if our works do anything except glorify Him. We tend to think we should be blessed with more than what Jesus was blessed with.

Jesus was alone in the garden, abandoned, betrayed. He suffered greatly, went to hell for us, all before His final Blessing.  What is it we think we actually deserve again?  It is pretty humbling to think we try to put ourselves above Jesus?

Submission is hard, faith is hard, life is hard.  We have sin in us, so this world is full of hardship. There is both good and evil here. We have to stop worrying about everyone else’s sin, about what other’s do, especially when it is aimed at us. In the end, it isn’t really about us. Our journey is our own.  We can’t control the wind, we can’t control people and we can’t control God.  As much as we love beginnings, endings are as important and natural. They just come with discomfort.  And we don’t like that. We expect it be better than that.  Disappointment is just unrealized expectations. What really do we have a right to expect?

Works is just a form of worship and glorification, not about earning.  Blessings are not rewards just as hardship is not punishment. It is just part of our journey. Nothing new. Nothing is a surprise to God. Just us.

Feel your hurt, feel your sorrow, feel your pain, feel your anger. Stop being so afraid of the hardship that you miss out on the fullness of God’s Glory.  There is something very precious about climbing into your sorrow with God. Just being still in your pain and in Him. It is a tangible closeness that I have never felt any other time.

It really blows my mind when a christian judges another for their journey. Especially when calling another christian a hypocrite. None of us is above another and humility comes as a blessing, not a punishment.  What a joy it is to know I will never be perfect and it isn’t an expectation. What a blessing it is to have exposed my entire inner thought life to Him, shared every dark detail of my thoughts, my actions and to know I am still seen as beautiful, beloved, as precious as a ruby.  To be forgiven and set free from guilt. In the end, it is His opinion of me that matters.

Now for those that are not Christian, this is where it gets really muddy. We as christians have been so legalistic that those that aren’t Christian expect us to be something different that what we can really be.

Being set free from sin, does not mean we don’t sin. There are those that think this means we are free to sin. No, we are not free to sin. Sin is our burden, we will always mess it up, but when you know you are forgiven by God, it honestly begins to change you, it brings you closer to Him, you begin to think more like Him, talk more like Him, and hopefully, love more like Him. God can’t change what you try to hide. He sees it, nothing is hidden, but being afraid to surrender it all, expose it all, before the throne, keeps you enslaved to it. We are set free from it. Confessed sin is cleaned.  It is between us and God.

Legalism is a hard, hard thing. It is prevalent in our churches as much as this world. It is prevalent among believers and non believers alike. It says, you must look and act a certain way. You must do. You must or must not be this or that. You must not sin, you must be joyful all the time, you must be… or not be. False. Relationship with God is vertical. The horizontal is the welcoming portion of the cross. The love. The all.

Faith is actually about surrender. We are all sinners and the one common thing we share is that not one single one of us has it all figured out.  Faith is this, Jesus died for us, because we couldn’t earn our way to heaven. We failed.  Faith is trusting in this. Faith is dying to your own ego and thinking it’s about you at all! It’s about God.  This is the safety to fully process everything but from a place of surrender. This is the peace that is above your circumstances, because He is beside you. He is your Rod and Staff, and refreshes your weary soul. (Psalm 23).

So feel what you feel. Climb in and let God’s glory lighten your sorrow, your burden’s because with Him, it’s not heavy.  Surrender yourself. Confess your dark.  With God, it is healing. It is freedom.

Laugh, fellowship, enjoy your life. Cry when you hurt, cry out when your are afraid. Don’t judge, not even yourself:

Submit.

Be.

Be still and let Him be God. Because He is, anyways.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

Turn Back

9 Aug

As I begin to really get into the prophecies now, I am prompted to share. One commentary brought me to 2 Peter 3:9,15.
We that are called have to first come to a deep understanding of who God is. The old testament tells us clearly that this world is a fallen world. Nothing is new under the sun.  Sin runs rampant and always has. Time after time, we lost our way from Him and His desires for our living.
Time and time again, we turn back. This new age of believers – harmed by legalism, have swung a bit too far from really knowing His desire for our obedience, and how it protects. New age Christianity will tell you that sin is not that big of a deal because you have Grace. Grace doesn’t exclude the law, it just made you saved regardless of your sin. But you have to know Him, you have to know His laws. Others may attend church, they may believe but really don’t know Him or what His word says. It’s not about punishment or judgement. It’s about freedom. The law was written for our protection and also to give Him praise. What pleasure to Him when we choose to obey rather than sin. When we choose to really be like the disciples, like Paul.
We are not meant to correct the behavior of others, we are called to love our sister’s and brother’s and help them stay the course! What is that course?

Do you ever stop to think about the way you see your Christian Life through God’s eyes?

We are not condemned. We are blessed. We have been set free and Satan knows he can’t steal our salvation, but he will try everything to steal our reputation, our legitimacy in this world, so we can’t be the hands and feet, so we can’t be the light!
He will encourage other’s to lie about you, to discredit you. He will use other’s to negatively affect your ability to touch more lives. He will use your pride, your ego to poke at you. He will use your mistakes and your past to hold you back from really surrendering. He will lie and tell you that to go all in, is to be the church lady! None of those are true. He is a liar. He is very smart and very cunning. But his power is beneath ours that walk in faith.
Every one of our sins, great and small, is still known by God, whether we ever bring it to His feet or not. You are not so far gone that Grace can’t reach you. If we are so self focused, so worried about our lives, so panicked about provision or loneliness or what other’s think of us, how can we honestly give Him glory, how can we be ready if He calls?
This is not the religion of right and wrong, this is the religion of faith, of worship, or trust, of being a disciple! We are saved, and we all sin. Every single one of us. Our salvation happened the moment we turned back. the minute we surrendered, whether we sin or not. He died for us while we were still lost. Sin is what we always battle.. for sure, but our sin, if not observed by us, acknowledged by us, repented by us, is giving Satan a handle on our lives. We give him tools to hold over us.  It causes us to harm ourselves and other’s.  Only the truth will ever set you free. God already knows it all.

Peace comes from knowing we are set free because we can take our unholiness and bring it Christ and we are forgiven. It doesn’t mean we can ignore our unholiness and continue to just be who we are. We must surrender, we must turn to him. Submit to Him. It isn’t the finger pointing, shaming of our sin but rather the “tell me everything so we have nothing between us, so we can be close and I can do everything I promised to do for you. He says to confess to one another, and forgive and ask forgiveness of other sinners. It removes all power from darkness when you do that. You break the chains that hold you back. God say’s I will protect you, love you, grow you, help you and lead you to lead others”.
Deep thoughts!! But my fellow believers, we are Babylon!! We are Isreal! We are Judah! We are Nineveh. Clean your hearts of the sin that is there. Stop living in hiding! No one can judge you as harshly as you do! Go to Him and worship Him. Give him your sin, break the chains that Satan uses to hold you back from a full relationship with Christ!! 
Amen!

Crafty Fool

19 Jul

I have had warfare going on and I knew it was the crafty devil trying to rob me of my peace this week as I dropped things, got pulled over, an unwanted text, someone trying to create an issue for their own purposes. We just need to be aware and rise above and see that we only fight one enemy.

I realized I had, for the first time this year, missed reading my one year bible study, missed my quiet time for three days in a row, I realized he was distracting me.  I am fully aware that we really only have one enemy and he is weak compared to my God. We must recognize him in all that he does.

When we slowly move through each trial, learning and growing in our faith, each lesson building our character and strength, Satan begins to come at us.  He knows that our faith is strong so he needs to stop us from helping other’s become strong.

As we grow in understanding, we learn to anticipate his attacks.   As we grow, he becomes more crafty in his attempts to sidetrack us.  He will stop at nothing to rob us of peace, to stop us from bringing even one more believer to the throne.

I have had a few successes, a few praises lately. Today I saw that I can begin to see my own success or I can stay fully submitted and give Him the Glory.  We are a steward of all things we have. He gives and takes away for his own purposes.  I was in the paper, which was fun.  As people began to say such nice things, we start to take that on and let that make us feel good.

This morning as I read Psalm 136 it hit me.  I am not humbling myself before Him. When I take my life and think I have determined my own steps, or accomplished for my own gain, then I have stopped submitting, stopped giving Him glory and stopped being able to be used for His purposes.

The beautiful, amazing God that we serve, meets us right back where we left off.  When we resubmit, recognize and humble ourselves again, he meets us right there,as if it didn’t even happen,  “carry on”.

We are not so kind or forbearing of one another, not that forgiving. But God is. What would our world be like if we all were more like that?

Recognizing He has placed it all there, not me, humbling myself, I look up and see a double rainbow in the sky. He is pleased.  He is kind and good and loving and gracious.  I forgot to give Him all the thanks in my heart for all He has done, accomplished in me, changed in me, used in me, blessed me with.  I am a handful! But, He is fully aware and loves me so.

Proverbs 1:7 Fear(Awe) of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.

2 Timothy 4:18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords.
His faithful love endures forever.

Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavens so skillfully.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who placed the earth among the waters.
His faithful love endures forever.
Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—
His faithful love endures forever.
the sun to rule the day,
His faithful love endures forever.
and the moon and stars to rule the night.
His faithful love endures forever.

10 Give thanks to him who killed the firstborn of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
11 He brought Israel out of Egypt.
His faithful love endures forever.
12 He acted with a strong hand and powerful arm.
His faithful love endures forever.
13 Give thanks to him who parted the Red Sea.[a]
His faithful love endures forever.
14 He led Israel safely through,
His faithful love endures forever.
15 but he hurled Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea.
His faithful love endures forever.
16 Give thanks to him who led his people through the wilderness.
His faithful love endures forever.

17 Give thanks to him who struck down mighty kings.
His faithful love endures forever.
18 He killed powerful kings—
His faithful love endures forever.
19 Sihon king of the Amorites,
His faithful love endures forever.
20 and Og king of Bashan.
His faithful love endures forever.
21 God gave the land of these kings as an inheritance—
His faithful love endures forever.
22 a special possession to his servant Israel.
His faithful love endures forever.

23 He remembered us in our weakness.
His faithful love endures forever.
24 He saved us from our enemies.
His faithful love endures forever.
25 He gives food to every living thing.
His faithful love endures forever.
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His faithful love endures forever.

The Human Condition

21 Apr

There are times that I sit in total awe of God and His power, trusting fully in Him, humbled, peaceful, knowing He is in charge.  There are also times that I wonder at His [perfect] wisdom in giving us free will, knowing that we would spend our entire relationship with Him in battle over it. Our struggle to be close to Him will be daily working to overcome our human condition and free will.

As we seek to stay in obedience, we will struggle with our thoughts, our emotions, our pride, our ego, our fears , and all of our sin nature. So much to overcome! But, He shows us how simple it really is, when we are humbled, in awe of Him.

We will walk a constant battle between trying to be mini-Gods, thinking we are part of God and the humbling truth that we are merely His creation, meant to submit and walk the path He planned for us, for His Glory and not just for our good but the good of His chosen people.

God shows us in 1 Samuel 25 the perfect example of the human condition with the story of David, Nabel and Abigail.

Nabel  in his time of excess, refused and mocked David and his army for asking for provisions. This is the world and the people we come across every day. This is the one that is rude or selfish, the one that hurts, harms, or attacks us. This is the consequences of our own choices or the consequences from other’s free will; the one that lies about us, or simply cuts us off in traffic.

David, the man after God’s heart, shows his heart also had the human condition. He reacted with “righteous”, justifiable anger with plans to kill Nabel and his family.  David was going to make things right, on his own terms.

Abigail (Nabel’s wife) upon hearing of her husband’s foolish arrogance, responds immediately with wisdom. She showed strength in her response. Her faith becomes obvious as she plans to face head on, the leader of an army that plans to kill her and her family.

She sends ahead of her the provisions and gifts David had requested of Nabel.  As she faces her enemy, she shows great courage and humility, taking the full blame for Nabel’s foolishness and begs for mercy. She acknowledges righteousness and God and that David is surely a man that also knows and loves God.

Nabel displays the selfish, cruel world we live in. David showed our weakness in his human struggles with his temper and emotional reaction. Was it justified and righteous? David thought so in that moment. The world would probably agree. Abigail shows the humility and strength that comes from trusting in God’s righteousness.

Abigail’s obedience and truth convicted David. He realized his folly; pride had caused him to stumble and take matters into his own hands. He reacted to the rejection and who would argue? He was justified by human standards, but God intervened. Abigail knew the greatness of God and faced her enemy with the courage of faith, humility and strength.  The call to retaliate was an emotional reaction that was all David’s, not God’s, plan. Abigail’s obedience and humility in turn humbled David and softened his response. He realized his own foolishness.

When we walk with God, no matter how closely, we must remain aware of our human condition to take matters into our own hands. We must remind ourselves constantly to humble ourselves, to seek God’s plan for each day.

In adversity, when we have our emotional reactions,no matter how obvious right and wrong are, we absolutely need to humble ourselves, stand before Him and seek His will. We can’t be mini-God’s, acting on our own, no matter how justifiable we or the world, thinks we are.

All too often I put on God’s shoes ,all too often I react and respond from my own limited human condition.
Learning to submit all matters to His hands before I take them into my own hands is a learning process and a building, maturing faith. Seeing all people and circumstances including the enemy through God’s eyes, diminishes our reactions and reminds us not of how small we are, but how big He is.

We are not God and we are certainly not God-less.

From Redpath “If you begin with God, your enemies grow small. If you begin with the enemy, you many never reach God. “

Father help me seek your ways long before I think or speak from my human condition, remembering in humility, that my ways are not your ways, and Your way is always good, always right. Help me to be like your humble servant Abigail with righteous response to all circumstances

Amen

33 “So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly. 34 Refuse to worry about tomorrow, but deal with each challenge that comes your way, one day at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” Matthew 6:33

Forgiveness

11 Mar

“It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those who don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
Takes everything you have to say the word
It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what its power can do
So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you”
Matthew West- ‘Forgiveness’

Forgiveness as a noun is defined simply as “the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven.’

The ability to forgive (the verb) becomes far more challenging as the measure of what’s in need of forgiving is far and wide, forgetting a birthday is a far cry from murder.

However deep the wounding is, forgiveness remains the same. What’s perceived to have been done or has been to us, doesn’t matter in terms of what is required, it remains the exact same teaching. The challenge of course is on us and depends on the level of loss or hurt.

When someone harms us, causes deep wounding, takes things away that can never be replaced, the action of forgiving is far more complex, and there are so many layers that have to be processed.   Knowing we need to forgive and actually being able to do it are two different things. Knowing something, is separate from our hearts ability to grip it, let alone do it.

It is so difficult when we are asked to forgive someone that isn’t sorry, or forgive what can never be replaced.  From a place of suffering and processing naturally from a healthy way, there can come that place where we want to see justice served and we want to see some semblance of suffering like we have suffered.  This has to be recognized as our own slippery place, in a way, we are trying to be God or our wish for punishment, logical or not, can become our God, our idol. You have to guard your heart and “capture your thoughts” by not allowing your mind to dwell on it; refocusing instead on Him who forgave us all our trespasses. Trust God with the one that caused the hurt. It is His.

If we are lost in our thoughts of something, it becomes our idol instead of Him who never harms, never sways from truth, never breaks a promise.

I desperately want to have the faith of Abraham. The steady, knowing faith that believes in every promise of God without falter, not just in theory, but walking, talking, living it outloud faith.  Abraham knew even before he went to the alter to sacrifice his beloved son, that God would provide the lamb instead.

Genesis 22:8 (NIV)Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Nothing that comes to us, is a surprise to God. He has approved each test. He has also equipped us, given us our instructions as to how to process every single trial. He brings alongside of us, people that will speak this truth back to us when we need to hear it. His word is true, even if we don’t rely, believe or walk in them at all times. Psalm 18:30  says (KJV)”As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Buckler is a promise in one word. (“small, round shield used to ward off blows,” ) He is our buckler! I love this word! He is all we need. He protects us and shields us from blows. When we trust Him, no weapon formed against us can win.  His promise is justice, truth, love, mercy and holiness all wrapped up in one.  When we lean in to that and let go of hurts, let go of the free will of others and take nothing personal. When we do not give to Satan in unforgiveness, what is meant to give to God in glory and trust, His mercy is beyond enough. His goodness and tenderness replaces the hurt with amazing peace.

You are not going to forget things that have rocked you to your core, but to forgive this is not just good for you, it is a requirement of our faith. He expects us to forgive other’s, it is His instruction and our entire faith is centered on this. The Cross reminds us every day.

When we realize that nothing else matters, but who God is and says He is; That Satan can only mess with our heart and mind if we agree to let him, we can began walking out in freedom. We literally have to enter an agreement with the devil in order to believe the lies he tells us.

Scripture is very clear about who God is, who we are in Him, because we are called, because He loves us. Because of that fact, we must, must release our hurts, and those that hurt us back to Him. Forgiving what has been done and those that have done against.

Because God forgave us long before we ever said “Forgive me”.

Psalm 18:30(AMP)
As for God, His way is blameless.
The word of the Lord is tested [it is perfect, it is faultless];
He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Lamentations 3:22-23(AMP)
It is because of the Lord’s loving kindnesses that we are not consumed,
Because His [tender] compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great and beyond measure is Your faithfulness.

Psalm 139:23-24 (TPT)

God, I invite your searching gaze into my heart.
Examine me through and through;
find out everything that may be hidden within me.
Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares.
See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on,
and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways—
the path that brings me back to you.

Hebrews 10:17(AMP)
“And their sins and their lawless acts
I will remember no more [no longer holding their sins against them].”

Hebrews 8:12(TPT)
For I will demonstrate my mercy to them
and will forgive their evil deeds,
and never remember again their sins.”

Footnotes:
The Aramaic can be translated “I will make atonement for their evil.”

John 10:27(AMP)
The sheep that are My own hear My voice and listen to Me; I know them, and they follow Me.

Jeremiah 33:3(AMP)‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish.

Walk This Way

31 Dec
Isaiah 30:20-21(HCSB)
20 The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher[a] will not hide Himself[b] any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher,[c] 21 and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

Sometimes events in our lives leave us so completely devastated – things we had no control over, couldn’t have predicted, and cannot explain nor justify. Something that simply just happened. All we can do is try to figure out what comes, seeking answers from God to help us find a supernatural peace that “surpasses all understanding.”

Honestly, we didn’t do anything to cause what happened (though we will replay the events in our minds a million times, just to be sure). We beat ourselves up, we torture ourselves with blaming ourselves, we beat ourselves up with  the rejection of it, we try to make sense of it. It is a torture to be sure, along with the constant desire to be rescued from the pain, the trauma and the cry for mercy and healing. Cries of  ‘ Yahweh, Where are you?’ ‘Why are you leaving me alone in this God? ‘  We are lost as to what are we expected to do now. We seek forgiveness, we seek grace. We seek to be set free. We seek to be made whole.
We grieve, we get angry, we obsess, we pray, we submit. It is all a process we have to walk. We take our time, being careful not to miss a step in the process. (and shortchange our own healing). Eventually you begin to see that though you felt He left you alone, He was beside you. He needed you to walk all the way through this, to see how strong He has made you, amid the complete heartbreak and missteps.
In the end, he doesn’t make us perfect…and we learn to accept that we are loved in our incompleteness. He makes us wiser, stronger. He makes us own our faith. He tests our trust in Him. He breaks strongholds.We learn, we grow.
So, as we look back, as we heal and see our path before us again, we learn:
It is in these time that He chooses not to rescue us; these are the times He walks with us, saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”  Amen.