Tag Archives: God

Complaining Not Allowed

5 Aug

 

Philippians 2:14(GW)

“Do everything without complaining or arguing”.

Well…this scripture literally made me stop in my tracks.

Everything.

Regardless of how difficult, painful, annoying or unfair something is, we are asked to do so without complaint.

What does your conversation sound like over the past week?

My week was full of complaint. I don’t think I even realized how much until I saw this scripture.In truth,  it was mostly a really great week. I had so many wonderful things to be grateful for. He is truly blessing me in many ways.

It was also a very difficult, painful week. So, I spent far more time talking to friends about this part of my week, highlighting how weary I become in the trial. I sought empathy, support and encouragement for my hardship (complaint).

As we go through life, our fellowship is really important. Talking to our close friends is essential to our walk. We need to share our journey! However, before we vent, before we cry out to our circle, we need to go to God first.

Philippians 4:6 (NLT)  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

He wants our first of everything. He wants our gratitude, our woes, our heartache, weakness and our complaints, and… He wants it first.

He is always the willing listener. Sharing our entire journey with Him is relational. He draws nearer to us as we draw nearer to Him. There is loving circle of protection that happens in that communion.

There is nothing Satan would like more than to have you complain, to not see the good, to not be in relationship with God. He would rather you gossip or complain to your friends about all that isn’t working in your life, rather than being grateful for all He gives.

Learn to go to Him first. Share authentically what you feel with Him before you say any more words. He loves us so much. He cares about our heartache and trials.

We don’t want to become like the Israelites in the wilderness, prolonging our struggle.

1 Peter 5:7 (GW) Turn all your anxiety over to God because he cares for you.

James 4:7-8 (ESV) Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

 

Peace In The Void

24 Jul

Have you ever had to walk only by faith in God’s promises because you can’t see or feel Him? Worse yet, a time when you need God most and He chooses to step His presence away?

C. S. Lewis stated “during one of the most painful times of my life, I cried out to God and got… a door slammed in [my] face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become.”    He wrestled with his faith, this man that gave us a glimpse of light in his words.

He added: “There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once… Why is God so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of need

Walking through such a time myself, I praise God for writers that share their testimony or the bible with stories of Joseph, and David. The sharing of testimonies help us relate and help us walk this life, including heartbreaking times in our journey where He simply doesn’t feel present.

I recently walked through a time feeling the void where God had been steady. I really had to dig deep in my faith and examine what I really believe.

He calls us to constantly grow in knowledge and strength of faith so we are better equipped to do His calling on our life. Our faith is not by sight and our faith will be tested and stretched fully. This time of void, where I can’t feel Him or find Him has been the greatest, hardest lesson of all for me.

He chose for me a time when I was already experiencing aloneness physically, and the loneliness of my divorce.  He decided to use this time to step back His presence. This void felt so devastating, cruel even. Yet, even as I could not find Him, I knew He was there, as if behind the door. I had to strain to find grace, strain to remain in His mercy. I had to work through deep anger at this abandonment, fear of rejection by Him.  I had to really stretch to draw nearer to Him and understand the blessings of grace even in this moment of empty.  I had to know His love remains. Grace is grace. It isn’t dependent upon our circumstances nor our sin.

Grace and God remain steady regardless of our feelings.

Learning to trust that He is still there because He says He is, I held tight to His word in my heart. I began to see Him everywhere, though I still didn’t “feel” Him. He was there in the sunrise and sunset.

I cannot find adequate words to describe this time. It was so lonely, so powerful in that I longed for Him in a way I never have and yet even in that longing, I was confident that He was there.

This was His great purpose for teaching me; Growing and developing my confidence in Him so I can be better prepared to fulfill His purpose for my life.  His refinement of my past, my belief of my worthiness for this journey, removal of all works based religion and the lies of the enemy.

This time. ‘A time such as this’,  there is a sense of peace from this growth. He promises us that joy comes after pain. He reminds us in His word, that hope lives on. We are here but a moment of time, like the wind. He remains. He is always there is the midst of darkness and trial as much as He is there in the mundane. He always has been and always will be.

This journey of life will bring times of abundance and times of lack.  King Solomon summed it up best when He said nothing matters but God.  God remains the same regardless of our circumstances or sin. Whether this world loves us, leaves us alone, recognizes us or ignores us;  God never loses sight of us. We are always within His hands.

What immense peace it is to know that I can sit in the center of His amazing love, feeling the fullness of the hurts and sorrows, joys and triumphs of this life, knowing with all that I am, nothing compares to just simply being in His presence.

Jeremiah 23:23-24 tells us: “”Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the Lord, “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens  and the earth?”says the Lord. “

 

Take Heart

19 Jun

There is a line in the movie “The Shack” that I really liked.  “Papa” is explaining what grace and trust look like when evil harms us; In those circumstances that we are collateral damage when someone’s free will results in grave sin.  “I am not asking you to excuse what he did. I am asking you to trust me to do what’s right and to know what’s best.”  He means inspite of what we see.  Forgive and trust God in all circumstances.

He knows our storms. He knows our sin and He knows the sins done against us. He is beside us, faithful, even when we can’t feel Him.

Faith is like a muscle. In our good times, our faith may not be getting a work out. Our gratitude may be strong, our worship may be strong but our faith truly is only tested in our trials.  Endurance is for the long term. Is faith really faith when the minute it gets painful, we fall apart?

Romans 5:3 tells us that our trials, through persevering, strengthens our character and builds us up in Hope.

He knows our circumstances and he knows our relationships. He knows where we are overwhelmed by the storms, uncertain how to navigate our way through. In Matthew 14:27 he says to Peter “Take heart; It is I. Do not be afraid”.   It is the middle of a storm, and the seas are raging, the disciples see the impossible, Jesus on the water. Peter, though he only had a small amount of faith, and probably a good dose of fear in that moment, was willing to trust and get out of the boat and walk to Jesus. “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water: Jesus said “Come”.

Faith like that, faith that says “ok Lord, I am overwhelmed by the storms of my life right now, I long for answers that don’t come quickly.  I struggle to let go of the resolutions I planned for the outcomes you have planned. Lord, hold your hand out to me, help me find my way safely, and I will step out in faith”

How confident we can be friends, that He is there in the storms. In him we can find our peace, our hope, our courage. We can cry out “Father, our little faith can let us step out of our terror, even in the midst of storm, and walk on the water with you. You ask us to trust you, to take courage in you, in your presence, even when we don’t feel you near. You help us walk on the water in the storm.”

It is then that we find what cannot be found anywhere else. Peace that surpasses all understanding. Calm that belies the storms. Hope that even if it isn’t what WE planned, we know it will lead us to the exact place to bless us and to bless other’s with.

Lord you are just that amazing and good. Us of little faith, seek you and find you when we seek you with all of our hearts. Imperfect, scared to death, hurting and lacking in grace and mercy for other’s and for ourselves. We find perfect peace in all of that, the storms that this world brings.

Thank you, Father, for never letting me drown in this storm. Thank you for giving me the courage of Peter to step out in faith I don’t always feel!

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matthew 14:27

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.Jeremiah 29:13

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b]boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:1-4

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 4:7

 

Crazy Good

31 May

“Grief does not change you, it reveals you.”~ John Green

Grief is a funny thing. Okay, not funny, but odd. Okay, not odd, completely loony toons.

One minute you can feel so at peace, so strong and the next you can be sobbing, or worse, barely able to contain the anger you want to unleash on truly undeserving people. My patience is shot, my tongue is sore from biting it so much. My body is weary. My eyes are exhausted.

To say I want to run from all I am feeling is an understatement. My diaphragm is in spasm, my anxiety is at a high. It is physiological, emotional and spiritual, all rolled into one. In the end, regardless of the feeling, I end up crying, hopefully releasing all the toxins and negative effects from my tired body.

I do become frustrated with my erratic mood swings, I feel as if I should have a better grip on this or as if I am wishy-washy. I become disappointed with the setbacks when I find acceptance and a peaceful place. But that is just ridiculousness Satan tries to beat me up with.

This is why we need trusted friends to share this journey; Strong, loving sisters that we can speak truth with and that we can receive truth from. Sometimes we just need someone to tell us, you’re okay , you got this, you are still moving forward. This doesn’t eliminate the need for God, but rather God gives us those people to drown out the meltdown in our head. He knows when we are at our weakest. Those friendships are His gift to us.

The truth is, I am moving forward. In hindsight I take two steps forward and one step back.  I have discovered that at the bottom of each new melt down, I gain wisdom or insight into myself or His desire for me. In those moments I can feel like I am drowning and lost but from that pain, comes acceptance, understanding and wisdom as I jump ahead two steps. Those are precious moments of peace and even laughter again.

The next layer of healing then has to take place. We take what feels like a step back from what we just learned but in truth, we are applying what we just learned. Without even realizing it, we test it out, work it out, try it on and let it become a part of us.Even when we think we are flailing, it ministers to the pain as we go deeper; To the next step in understanding and wisdom.

In the heart wrenching, crying out, take this pain away, it’s too much… even in that moment, I know this is temporary, I know that this unbearable pain will be used for good, to bless me and as a blessing for someone else. Even when I just can’t take anymore, I can acknowledge my depth of faith in this, “I know You have this, I know Your plans for me are so good, but help me here, in this moment, Lord”. Sometimes I just say His name because there is no other option.

There is something God has planned from this time of trial. I know this with all that I am. It is all I hang on to in the worst moments. I have felt this coming for months. The purpose He has created me for is coming.  Even in the darkest moments, I have the light of hope and peace. I even know it is being drowned out by so many layers of untruths. I guess it is a sorting, a sifting. From there will come the new.  The hurts and untruths and unforgiveness and fears all have to be cleared away, one by one, to make room for what is to come.

 

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5:3-4

 

Dweller On The Threshold

29 May

As I watch and listen to the thunderstorm off in the distance, I am struck by the sheer peace I feel. It is the answered prayer we prayed for, my God-Given, God-Designed friend and I.

Peace was not what I felt earlier today. I was angry and the angrier I became, the more my heart broke and the harder I cried.  The unexpected end of my marriage followed by my daughter and grandson’s unexpected move out of state is a trial I tell myself deserves a bit of a good old fashioned meltdown.  I know other’s are suffering greater loss than I, and I feel so selfish in my pain. I do know however that pain, whether great or small,  is still covered in the same way.  Faith and hope in our Lord and Savior.

God shows off most to me in the friends He brings to my life.  My Bou as I call her (she calls me Blondie), prayed with me, talked with me, and spoke truth back into my soul.  Because He is a God of amazing abundance, three more friends checked in on me.  I see Him. I feel His provision and closeness.

The night is near pitch with only a sliver of a moon. The fish are jumping in the water next to me, the thunder rolls quietly after a beautiful lightning display, Van Morrison is singing to me quietly. I am just sitting here taking it all in.  Peace. Calm. He reminds me in no uncertain terms, that He is not just near, He dwells here.

This warfare wears on me; this world is broken, people will get sick, they hurt us, disappoint us and sometimes they leave us.  Those are the hard things that break us or make us stronger. The depth of my faith may be tested, but my faith stands strong. When we lean in, when we trust Him in it, we are humbled. We may not always calmly endure the journey through our valleys, but journeying through them all the way, with God beside us, allows us to grow stronger. We grow in our faith, wisdom, courage,and in the end, what is lost will not go without, because something truly is gained.

I am not through the valley yet, but the path is becoming clearer and I am starting to feel that hope begin to flicker again. God breathed daylight into me when he formed me and my light has grown dimmer, my hope weaker and my heart was heavy much of the time.

I know there is something coming, I feel it. I am being put to the fire to prepare me for whatever is to come. I know there is purpose to this time of refinement, of loss, pain and trial. There is a purpose and He plans to bless people with what is gained in this. I know this as much as I know the reflection of my own face.  This path may feel too hard at times, but he has given me great strength and I have grown so brave. This is the path He laid before me, and it is stick straight. I just can’t see ahead yet.

He beckons me to look inside my home from outside. I see what He wants me to see. There is restored peace in my home. Where there was dark, there is a warm glow. Where there was careful wariness, there is comfort. Where there was apprehension, there is calm.

This is a restoration of the peace that I haven’t rested in, in a very long time.

Weeping may last for the night, but there is a song of joy in the morning. Psalm 30:5b

The Truth Sets You Free

27 May

We battle with this world on a constant basis; we war with one another, we war with ourselves, we even war with God, at times. The very basis of truth in that is this: we only have one enemy, our war is with Satan.

We are victorious in Christ.

I am so far from perfect, God knows this! His forbearance of my stumbles has set the example for me to bear all things from those around me! It is a constant decision I have to make, and don’t always, obviously. In my short marriage, I learned to focus on grace and seeing the parts of my husband that were wonderful in order to not betray, reject or abandon him. Forgiveness and Grace are only possible by submitting and seeing the greater purpose, God.

In order for my husband to betray me and bring an end to our brief marriage, he had to to tune out the voice of God and believe the lies Satan told him. He had to hear Satan tell him to focus on the parts of me and our marriage that weren’t perfect. He had to, in order to betray, reject and abandon me. When we don’t fully understand our own own salvation, or how to even embrace Grace and Mercy, we simply are too vulnerable.  That is Satan, and he will follow it up with “life is too short to be unhappy”.  People don’t make us unhappy, we allow Satan to do that to us, for us and with us.

“From Lead like Jesus:Fear and Pride always separates us from God, from one another and even from ourselves. “ (EGO= Edge God Out) 

I read an article about the Lake of Fire. Revelations is a bit daunting to me, I become a bit frightened sometimes, reading it. As a sinner that struggles to trust in Jesus, Satan can seriously mess with me with that! I can go down the rabbit hole and question, am I truly saved?  Oh God, how I fear for those that walked away and rejected Him. What about those that don’t even know what is to come?  The second death of being thrown into the sea of fire, is so frightening. Thank you Lord for Grace! Please Lord, let me be an instrument of your message of hope to save people from that death!

“What hope have we for deliverance from the “second death” if not the suffering of its pains, in our place, by the Son of God? If I receive the “crown of life”, which I don’t deserve, in place of the “lake of fire”, which I do deserve, it can only be for one reason: Jesus Christ,” Rick Warren

We are not going to be thrown in to the fire because we do things wrong! We will be thrown in because we refused to believe we have been saved from the fire by Christ!

I completely believe that that mustard seed of faith is as important as my deep end of the pool is.  My deep end comes with far more expectations than an un-awakened believer or sadly, the Christian seeking redemption through rules and judgement’s of who is and who isn’t doing it right!  But, even in the deep end, I am vulnerable, I allow Satan to mess with my mind!

God doesn’t demand order, he puts the chaos into order, because we can’t. We are constant chaos.  We are so double-minded, we lie to ourselves constantly. We get tossed about.

Who among us, truly, is so focused on Heaven, that this world never causes us distress. Who is so strong in their faith that they never battle with Satan and his lies. Who? Not one of us. Some have heard so much untruth in our early lives, we were so hurt, we truly don’t know how to not believe the lies. It is far more difficult to believe we are so incredibly loved and forgiven by a perfect God, than to believe we are not worthy by a lying enemy.

Christ was tempted. He can understand our hardships and weakness because He experienced it here. He went through horrible trials, temptation, and battles. He was perfect, victorious, every single time as an example.  I see the written word of how Christ walked this world, not as the hopeful example of how I should walk, (which my whole journey leads me down that path, but never to perfection) but the submission to the one so strong and perfect that He was able to save me from my weakness and imperfection. From that perspective, I am stronger, more powerful, because He lives in me. Satan has no hold. I can’t, but Christ can.

If we don’t fully understand the Power of the Cross, the grace and mercy that comes with that, we are powerless to give it to others. Worse yet, if we don’t understand that we are saved from the lake of fire, how can we be? It is the basis for forgiveness. If we truly believe God has forgiven us for being sinners, we can forgive others. That is faith! That is obedience.

Faith is the root, the need and the core of every bit of our walk.  We are all sinful. It is horrible to me to see the depth of suffering that is to come for those that don’t believe. There are life long Christians that have not understood the power of surrender, that see obedience as a way of living, rather than a way of submitting and surrendering, they have only a mustard seed, or maybe they don’t even have that! Hope for it to be truth is submission in its own right. Doubt that the cross was enough for everyone, is not faith at all.

The wisdom of King Solomon pours out from the pages, but at the end of the day this is his summary of our purpose.

13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty. 14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad. –Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Jesus said…Thou shalt love the Lord they God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.[h]

They come to the light. They see that their actions are sinful and they need a savior. They turn to Jesus to rescue them, to save them from eternal judgement while they are still sinners! They aren’t perfect, they are humbled and worshipful. They fear God and seek to love others enough to help them to see their need for Christ. The light, The hope.

Paul tells us this truth!

 There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom 8:1).

Those of us that put all of our hope in Christ, know that this world is short and the second death will come one day. Heaven is our hope! This world hurts! I can’t wait to be in the presence of Christ and to dwell in HIS house forever.

As long as I walk this world, I will need Christ and I will sin. I will stumble, I will fall, I will continually need to cry out to him in trials and need to praise Him for His blessings. I am just a mere mortal. I am weak, He is strong.  But God! I am made strong in Him.

I will never stop praying for those that can’t seem to find Him because they can’t seem to let go of self hatred. Stop trying to run from your sins, lie about your sins or even suffer or pay for your sins. Simply just tell him the truth! Simply surrender that you are sinful, that you are weak, that you can’t do it yourself and humbly ask Jesus to help you. Then… you believe you are saved. You then can stop listening to the lies that you are too far gone for God to simply forget your sins. When you ask Him to forgive you, believe that He does! Because He does!

There is not one single good church,good pastor or humbled christian that doesn’t welcome your honest questions, nor will they judge you for your sins. They will give you guidance and hope.

32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:32

 

Double Minded

20 May

I posted something on Facebook that touched me. This quote felt relevant to my studies, but also to where I am at in my trials.

Humility is perfect quietness of heart, It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.

– Andrew Murray

Someone responded from her heart the following statement. “I hope you can do this, but it’s just not me. I am a worrier. I’m trying to change that to a warrior!”

I wanted to respond with something powerful. Something God breathed. But I didn’t have any words.

The truth is, I long to be that;The truth is, I am not, not all the time. I have however, had enough of the taste for that peace that goes far beyond what my circumstances are, to long for it constantly.

James 1 speaks right to the truth for our Trials and our difficulties. He says to us (James 1:6-8) “But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.”

The truth is: I do worry,  I do obsess, I do have war inside. I get lost in my mind. I cry out constantly to redirect my thoughts. The truth is, I am completely exhausted from the battle. Job cried out to God and I relate. “Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household.” Job 16:7

If we could just unleash, in all circumstance, at all times, complete trust in the power that we have been given by the Holy Spirit; if we could simply stop being so double-minded and just dwell in that favor of strength, peace and hope at all times! Wow! Imagine all we could influence in this world of hopelessness and sorrow.

When God feels so far away and my mind betrays me with all that feels so wrong, I have allowed my worship and hope to be weak and given satan a front row seat in my boat.  I have forgotten every single promise and every single truth of who He is, who I am in Him. The fruits of faith that I have experienced and know so well.

When I am tossed about by fears, I have allowed satan access to my peace, my hope, my joy, my future.  He fills my mind with comparison, with feeling rejected and abandoned, I beat myself up over all that I should have done or could have done.  I become obsessed with the lies and betrayals. These are the exact opposite of the words of God. The world shreds us, Jesus refreshes our soul!

When we surrender all this junk that has us so torn up inside, He takes it. He just removes it.  We can’t stand not seeing into the future, we can’t trust an unknown future to our all knowing God. We think we need to fix it all because we don’t trust Him with our hearts, with our lives.  Humbly submitting this all to God is so brave and so difficult. It is so hard to relinquish our lives to Him.

Identifying this key decision I make to whom I am surrendering to, allows me the choice to make a different decision. I am not a victim tossed around like the waves. I am beheld by the one that makes the waves and calms the storms. Big difference.

I have known great peace in terrible trials, and I have seen God move mountains in my life. I have sat in wonder and awe at the great things He has done, the miracles I have witnessed, and the moments where I am struck by His obvious presence. Where I can say, “Oh, my soul, that was God!”.

I love God with all my heart, my mind and my soul. I am so grateful for the Grace and Mercy, bought by the blood of Christ for me! I am also keenly aware that my journey is not about earning anything. He knows my heart. This isn’t about failing in any way. He wants me to be stronger, more trusting, for so many reasons.

My Father wants to protect me, to provide for me, to give me peace in my circumstance, to keep my heart from breaking so much, to keep my spirit healthy, to keep me strong. He is there waiting to lavish all this and more on me, but mostly, He longs to have me near to Him, to worship Him, to humble myself to Him so I fully embrace and share the gifts that He has given me.  He longs to bless me because His blessings never just touch me. They flow through me and bless so many other’s. It is His way. Grace pours out so fully at times, it spills over on people that don’t even know Him at all.

So no. I don’t always have peace. I am not always humble. I do battle my ego and my fears.

But…. At the end of the day, I will always find my way back to Him that never leaves me, never forsakes me, never hurts me or lets me down. I will always long to be in the safety of His gentle arms, near to Him. I will always seek to worship Him fully, to know that He is near, to know it is Him that whispers in my ear, ‘You can do this. You can endure all things because I live inside your heart and I have made you victorious, strong, and courageous. And my beloved daughter, I love you dearly.  ‘