Tag Archives: trials

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

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Harbor

5 Apr

No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the LORD. Proverbs 21:30

I am sitting in meditation after my morning readings. I am completely blown away that God still even wants us. These Israelites are so evil. As I walk through Judges, it consists of these cycles of breakthrough, strength and redemptive faith, restoring what was promised only to fall away to sin and worship other God’s again. It cycles over and over. God never wearies, and we never stop messing up!

As I look at my own life, the choices I have made, and will continue to make; the times I have been so devoted to seeking truth and wisdom, rather than thinking I had the answers, to the times that even within minutes my mind (my heart) betrays me.
Isaiah 6 starts out with Isaiah standing in the presence of God himself. He is overwhelmed with his own dark heart,

5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King,
The LORD of hosts.” Isaiah 6:5

God doesn’t just hear what we say outloud, he is aware of your heart and intentions even before your words are ever spoken, even if you never speak a word.

4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD. Psalm 139:4

 

Our hearts are full of corners and closets. Like Isaiah, we will stand before the King one day. What is in our hearts will be revealed to us for all that it is. Sometimes I get a glimpse, when I am feeling close to God, when I feel I am being obedient, I get that glimpse of the dark that still hides in every corner. This is why we need our precious Jesus. These things are not a surprise to God.

45 People are known in this same way. Out of the virtue stored in their hearts, good and upright people will produce good fruit. But out of the evil hidden in their hearts, evil ones will produce what is evil. For the overflow of what has been stored in your heart will be seen by your fruit and will be heard in your words. Luke 6:45 (TPT)

We can’t fool God. He knows if we are being lead by right or wrong motives; jealousy, encouragement, judgement, love or hate, lies or truth, peace or war. He sees it all.

He knows before we say a word if we intend to honor, respect, guide, or build others up and He knows when our heart wants to harm, derail, disrespect, undermine or hurt others. Even if our words are unspoken, even if we never act on these things.

“Harbor in your heart” means you keep it safe within your heart. What do you shelter in the corners? He tells us to ask Him to show us:

Psalm 19:14  (TPT)
14 So may the words of my mouth, my meditation-thoughts,
and every movement of my heart be always pure and pleasing,
acceptable before your eyes,
my only Redeemer, my Protector-God.

The promise is given to us, from Him, Ask and you shall receive: Matthew 7:7. We can ask for God to show us everything that lies in our hearts and to help us remove it. But I warn you, it is not always pleasant, but always, so very worth it, so redemptive, so healing.

Christ takes away the sins power to grow and fester inside of us.  Like with Isaiah We will never have to fight this battle alone. We just have to spend time before Him, honest with ourselves that He already knows every single thought dwelling in our hearts. Standing before Him with complete willingness to change and be transformed. Humility like that is hard! Because from that request comes truth and it can be painful as He pulls the rooted weeds from deep inside of you.

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips;
Your iniquity is taken away,
And your sin purged.”

Isaiah 6:6-7

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.

Reminder of Love

11 Feb

This is huge!! God has suddenly shown me and is giving me huge understanding. All 3 of my studies have collided today. It is so powerful.
I’m reading –
the Bible and today is Exodus 19-20
-the sermon on the mount
-Hosea
None like him by Jen Wilkin

The law is/was about love. His love for us. He wanted us to focus on Him, to love Him and in turn to love others.
His love never stopped. These Israelites were so unfaithful, so unruly. They would not stop focusing on the problem of the moment to sit in wonder and peace of all God was doing. They were so unworthy of the promised land. Truly so shortsighted about their own selfish wants and desires.

He gave us the law, Exodus 20+ and then His Son to be that perfect love for us, Matthew 5-7- because that is who HE is. Not because of us but because of Him. It’s about His love.
The law is Love. His love. If you obey him and seek him and love him, you become holy through Him…And then you can love His people.
That is the purpose of love. To become holy. To love Him and to love others.
Honestly -that is why God hates lies and gossip, judgement of others. His law says stop looking at others, stop looking at what you don’t have. Stop thinking you are the one that deserves something- honestly – That is why God hates divorce. ..because we are to love each other, and to seek to help each other become Holy. Marriage is holy- It is the same covenant promises that He made with us that we make in return to Him and each other. To love Him and to love each other.
Because we are like the Israelites- so selfish, so quick to defend ourselves and our rights, but we are not worthy. But when we Love God, He gives us that love. He makes us whole. He makes us holy. We become like Him, He works through us. Not because of us but because of Him.
Don’t think for a moment he wants you to be happy while you live in sin- that’s a very destructive lie. He wants you to obey Him, so He can be loved by you. When others break our hearts or don’t love us, love them anyways because that’s the sum of the law.

He isn’t loved by us when we seek our own satisfaction. !!! This world is so fallen and our flesh is so weak but the love of God is as powerful today as it was when He came down the mountain and declared His law to the Israelites.
We make our own rules up to justify our sin. To set ourselves apart as more deserving of His Love. Ha! Fools. We are all sinners. He loves us not because we follow the law to the letter. He loves us because HE IS LOVE.
Wow. Pray for those that don’t know this. That harm us,that hurt others. They don’t know God. 💔

“Then God gave the people all these instructions: “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:36-40‬ ‭NLT‬‬
““Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NLT‬
“‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Me.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭19:4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬
“We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭5:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬
“I will plant my people in the land. Those who are not loved I will call my loved ones. Those who are not my people I will call my people. Then they will say, ‘You are our God!’ ”” Hosea‬ ‭2:23‬ ‭GW

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.

Other Gods

2 Dec

“If God isn’t enough, more than enough, no one and nothing ever will be”  

I have repeated this thought, that came from prayer time, several times lately; To myself and to the way too many discarded or left behind people I have come to know.

When we are faced with being alone (it can feel pretty awful, right?) it shows our faith by who or what we fill that space with.

Do you fill it with God, or do you fill with something else? Another person/relationship, or do you drink more, or maybe you fill it with busyness.

Maybe you have been brave or like me, simply kept apart. In that time of loneliness, of being set apart; did you rekindle the love you first had with the one Who loved you first? Did you seek to fill that empty space with your perfect Creator, Father, and with his Son, the Bridegroom?  Did you allow Him to minister to your heart, He whose promises never break, He who’s greatest desire is to know you intimately.

As you sought the distraction of anything, of others, instead of Him, who is enough, did you pray about something? As you ignored His request of you, did you petition your own requests of Him?

If you keep trying to fill the place He is trying to fill – you’re missing out on so much. He is enough. He loves us beyond measure.

Just a couple of His love letters to us:

Jeremiah 31:3

 The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying: 

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. 

Psalm 91:14-16 (MSG)

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

When you spend time in the hurt and loneliness with Him, you gain the perfect comfort of Him, the lasting confidence in Him, you heal and grow in His unfailing, abiding love and from there – He brings you “THE people” the ones to walk beside you, and the ones to share His light with.

Beloved, you must guard your fears as much as your heart. Trust in Him with your fear. Tell Him you are lonely, tell Him it isn’t fair, tell Him you are afraid. He minister’s to your obedience with peace.  You are His and you were bought for a high price. All He wants in return is your whole heart.  From that intimate relationship, He can bless you to be the blessing you are called to be.

When you can’t be alone it simply means that God is not enough for you. It may not feel great at first, but it is the most obedient, healing, protected place you can be. If you fill that gap, You are worshiping another God, You have an idol and a faith issue with Him.

What you chase after is your God.

The beauty of this amazing, perfect, loving God? As soon as you put Him back on the throne of your desires and seek Him again, you are right back in His perfect path. Welcomed with loving arms.

Psalm 23 (TPT)  

The Good Shepherd

 David’s poetic praise to God[a]
The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd.[b]
    I always have more than enough.
 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.[c]
    His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss.
That’s where he restores and revives my life.[d]
    He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure
    and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness[e]
    so that I can bring honor to his name.
 Lord, even when your path takes me through
    the valley of deepest darkness,
    fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
    You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way.
    Your authority is my strength and my peace.[f]
    The comfort of your love takes away my fear.
    I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
 You become my delicious feast
    even when my enemies dare to fight.
    You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;[g]
    you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows.
So why would I fear the future?
    For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life.
    Then afterward, when my life is through,
    I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!

Grief Support

30 Oct

“Please listen to my heart’s cry for I am low and in desperate need of you!” Psalm 142:6a

I met with a grief counselor today. I finally realized I needed to sort some things out. I don’t know why I still get legalistic and hard on myself. I have this bar of excellence I hold myself to and when I don’t reach it, I feel like I have failed completely. He helped me see that my faith and grief were walking together, not against one another.

There is counseling, and there is faith, and then there is grief counseling. I found it to be such release. I am suffering. I am processing and also sure of the simple fact that this will pass but right now, it is pretty rough

Grief takes a toll on us. We can get so lost within the trauma of it all.  I feel this weight of expectation on me, to be so strong and joyful in trial… Isn’t that what James 1 says? People are watching us as Christian’s, right? To see if it’s all for real or not.

I thought that was the needed response, to be okay, frankly I am not;  To be strong and assured, I am not. People needed to see me to be strong in my faith walk, to remain upbeat. This is the truth, this is transparency; Though my faith remains solid and my hope is still with Him and I trust Him fully with this journey, this has just been a bit too much for me to keep smiling through. The cards came tumbling down this weekend.

I need my God, my savior so much. My most necessary grief support! This, this, is the precious, precious promise part. He hears me, he draws nearer to me.

When I finally dropped the weight from my shoulders, when it all came toppling down yesterday, He caught me. He said ‘rest’.  “He restores my soul” Psalm 23:3a.  And then He provided the unplanned opportunity to sit with a grief counselor. My blessing.

There is a release and a relief when we can finally set it all down and say, it’s too much for me. To tell another person that it is too much. For them to say “wow, that is just too much” , validating your turmoil. Reassuring you that you aren’t weak, you aren’t failing, you aren’t just complaining.

There is such powerful reason I share my journey including the reality of suffering. We need to know we aren’t alone here, that God is here and other people journey through trials too. He brought us people to share that burden with.

The truth is that we all suffer and we suffer whether we share the burden or keep it hidden. But… when we hide our pain away from others, it begins to seep out. Maybe it’s physical illness, depression or maybe it’s anger or bitterness, or we become less tolerant, less loving. Satan loves to see us isolate our pain so he can bring us lower. He wants nothing more than to separate us from other people, fellowship, and our relationship with God.

He heard my cry and rescued me. He brought me support.  I am God’s girl, the “apple of His eye”. He promised me in Isaiah 54 and Philippian 1:6.  Even when my heart is weary, He will never, ever stop loving me or rescuing me.

Humility is really difficult but so necessary for clarity , true peace and true relationship with Him.  One thing I know for certain, life is really painful at times.  The life in our head, never really is the life we live. It is a series of bumps and sorrows, but with God as our shelter, there is a hope for a future that is secured.

 

From Tenth Avenue North’s “I Have This Hope”

“As I walk this great unknown

Questions come and questions go

Was there purpose for the pain?

Did I cry these tears in vain.

I have this hope

In the depth of my soul

In the flood or the fire

You’re with me and you won’t let go. “

 

Amen. Thank you, Father.