Saturday, July 22, 2017

Lessons from Pain


God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. -C.S. Lewis

The past month or so I have been on this journey. A journey of the Lord showing me that suffering and pain have their purpose in life. Generally, when we think of suffering and pain, we want to run the opposite direction. But the Lord has been showing me there are so many things He desires for me to learn in those moments.
Some of those things are:

See that last point, the one where He will do a work in my heart? In the past month, the Lord has allowed me to walk through some deep pain. It was some pain that I had to work through from my past. I wasn't sure what to do with it because for such a long time, I didn't allow people to hurt me. Or, a better way of saying it is, I just stuffed the pain somewhere deep inside and told myself I wouldn't feel it.

You see, earlier this year the Lord showed me that by stuffing my pain, I also was missing out on feeling the depths of the joy and happiness He desires for me to feel. He showed me how it was getting in the way of my drawing closer to Him and He wanted me to see the harm it was doing in my life. I asked the Lord to help me deal with the things that I hadn't allowed myself to feel. I had no idea where that would lead.

Fast forward to this past month. God allowed some painful memories to crop up from my past. My initial reaction to it was, I am not going to feel this or think about this. I am so thankful that the Lord didn't allow me to stay there. He reminded me of what I had asked Him to do earlier. I told Him that I don't know what to do with the pain. He gently showed me that I needed to forgive the source of the pain and that I needed to feel the pain. There were no shortcuts nor was it easy but I can tell you, IT IS WORTH IT!!

I saw through this time that you can try to stuff the pain down deep, ignore the pain, and even numb it but it WON'T go away. It will stay there, waiting for you to deal with it and feel it. And you know, yes, it hurt a lot to feel the pain and it definitely wasn't easy. But the Lord was WITH me the entire time (even though I will say I had to grapple with Him for allowing it in the first place). He also showed me that by allowing Him to work through the pain, it is ultimately for my good and HIS glory. He was using the pain to show me areas in my life that I needed to surrender to Him. He wants my whole heart, even the part that was/is hurting. He wants to heal and redeem that part of me and then use what I have gone through to bring honor to Him.

So my challenge to you is this. When the Lord brings you to a place of pain, allows suffering or hardship, allow Him to do the work in you that He wants to do. Don't fight it because that only prolongs the healing and redemption! It may not be easy and it most likely will be painful, but the reward in the end is a closer walk with Him and a heart that is more free to feel joy and happiness.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Devotion


Are there times that we live out our lives and worship superficially with no real desire to please God? Do we read His word and apply what we have learned? These are questions I have been asking myself. I was reading in Isaiah and these verses struck me:


Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. -Isaiah 1:10-15
The Jews were doing everything that was asked of them. You would think them, and no doubt they thought themselves, a very religious group of people. But yet they were far from being so because their hearts were empty of true devotion. They appeared before God but they did these things as duties and only to be seen by men. All their religious service did them no good, instead it was just repulsive and offensive. God not only didn't accept their religious service, He detested and abhorred them. It shows that sacrifice, without obedience is just an affront to God. 
Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. -Isaiah 1:16-20
God rejected the people's religious services because their services were not enough to atone for their sin. He didn't reject the people as hopeless but called them to forsake theirs sins and repent. Sin defiles the soul; We must repent of it and turn to God. We not only must put away that which is evil but walk away from anything that might pull us toward sinning again. The last verse tells us that we make the choice and God will judge according to our decision.

Only God and you know if your life is one truly devoted to Him. No one else can see into your heart and see what your true motives are. But living out a life of just going through the motions, is one that is very empty. A life truly devoted to God, one where everything you do has purpose and meaning, is a very fulfilled life! Which would your rather have? Are you willing to give up those things that will allow you to have a life truly devoted to the Father?

God desires for us to do the things He asks with hearts that are devoted to Him. If we are living our lives for Him out of anything but devotion to Him, it isn't pleasing to Him. A verse that I think sums it all up is Psalm 51:17: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. What will YOU chose?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Somethings to Think About


Here are two links that I have found to be very good reads. Gave me some things to think about and makes me examine my own life. I know I have thought about some of these things and Simon put some of my thoughts into words :)

On Double Standards and Idols - Simon Fry
Our Head Covering Applications - Simon Fry

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Change


Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. - Joshua 1:9

It has been quite a while since I last wrote. It was a very busy spring and summer getting ready for our wedding and preparing our house in VA. Now we are mostly settled into our house and getting used to married life. Which brings me to what I have been thinking about which is change and how we handle it.

Change is something that each person faces no matter who you are. Sometimes it is a big change like a move, a job change, marriage, and sometimes it is a small change like the kind of coffee your drink or what time you get up in the morning. My point is that big or small, change is always happening. We have a choice when faced with change, we can take it and move along or get all upset about the change that took place. The better choice is obviously to take what has been given to us and move along but that can be harder said than done. Sometimes getting used to and processing the change takes awhile but seeing what God has for you in the midst of that change is most important! He will use that change ultimately for His honor and glory and will use it to draw you closer to Him.

What I have found in the midst of many changes in the last year is that God IS present through each and every change and He is very willing to help me through it and stands by my side. I just need to be willing to surrender how I feel about it and be willing to accept the change while trusting that HE knows what is best. He knew that this change was coming; He also knew that I would need to rely on Him to handle it and it would draw me closer to Him. Oh sure, there are hard days but even the hardest of days are much easier with God by my side. 

I also have found that we need the hard days with the good days. How else would God be able to draw us closer to Him if we only had good days? And how else would we truly be able to be thankful for good days without a little bit of hard days in the mix? I truly have come to appreciate the days that aren't hard and be thankful for the hard days and what they all teach me. God is an awesome God and He does know exactly what we need!

So my challenge to you is, if you are facing a change and it looks hard and big, remember GOD is in this and He has a purpose for you. He will walk with you through this time and wants you to draw even closer to Him. Just lean on Him and trust in Him. He wants what is best for you and what will bring Him honor and glory!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Life



Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
-John 5:24


This past weekend we had communion at church and the weekend before that was Easter. Thinking about Easter and then having communion the Sunday after, really made me think a lot about what Christ did for me on the cross. But not only did He have to die, He also needed to rise again. By dying and rising again, He made new life and freedom from the bondage of sin a wonderful option for me! But before I can have access to new life and that freedom, I need to believe on Him and then follow His will for my life. The way may be tough and hard but the blessings and privileges far out way the trials

So my challenge to you is, are you choosing life? Are your following the pathway of Jesus? My hope is that you are because He is a wonderful Shepherd and He desires what is best for you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Importance of Words


Words....it is what we use to communicate and how we express ourselves. How do you use your words, for good or for bad? Is it even important how we use our words? It is so easy to speak without putting much thought into what we are saying. I have been thinking about the importance of our words, how we use them, and if our words are building others up or tearing others down.

-James 3:5

-James 3:8

If you look up how many times the Bible talks about our tongue and words, it warns us many times that our words can be used for good or evil and that the tongue can no man tame. I don't think we really realize the impact our idle words can have on others. Its amazing how some good words can make a huge impact on someone and at the same time a careless and hurtful words can be extremely hurtful and impact someone in a negative way.

So I guess what I am getting at is, are we using what we say for God's honor and glory or are we being careless with what we say? I know it is so easy to just talk without putting thought into what we say but if we put thought into our words, those around us will benefit. My challenge to you, think about what you say, how the words you are using sound to those around you. And use your words to build up those around you instead of tearing them down.

Death and life [are] in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
-Proverbs 18:21

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

True Love


Love...when you think of love, what comes to mind? The dictionary's definition is as follows:

love

1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, 
    as for parent, child, or friend

The primary meaning of the word "love" in Scripture is a "purposeful commitment to sacrificial action for another." In the Bible it is a fact that loving God is equated with obeying His Word. The two are inseparable.

Thinking of Valentine's Day and how much the focus is on love, I had to wonder which love is Valentine's Day promoting and I am leaning toward the dictionary's definition of love. The love that the dictionary describes is the love of the world and it is based on how I feel and it is a selfish type of love. The world's love is one based on getting something from someone else and thus for the world, love must be earned by making someone else feel good. Powerful emotions may come with love but it is the commitment of the will that makes true biblical love steadfast and unchanging even in the midst of troubles and trials.

We have a wonderful example of true love through Christ. He died while we were yet sinners.
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8). God loves the lost sinner, the one who is living in sin and rebellion toward Him. He loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us to pay our debt while we were yet sinning! It makes me so thankful that God loved me enough to send His only Son to die for me while I was yet a sinner, that if I believe on Him, I may be saved and have eternal life through Him!!

I love the way 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 illustrates love.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Remember that love is of God and in order for us to have true love, we need to look to Him, the source of true love! So may we love those around us with a sacrificial love and not a selfish love!! Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brokenness



The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 
-Psalm 51:17

What comes to your mind when you read this verse? What hit me when I read this verse this morning was that God's desire isn't for me to come to Him filled with myself and my own agenda. Instead, His desire is for me to come with Him with a heart of surrender, penitent of my sin and open to His will for my life. The broken and surrendered heart is only acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Though man despises broken things, God does not. He will not refuse it, reject it, or overlook it because His Son died on the cross to save broken sinners like you and I.

I can see in my own life that there are so many areas that He has shown me that I need to work on!! But God has been showing me that instead of looking at those areas as overwhelming, to view them as opportunities for Him to work in my life. And if I am open to Him and come to Him with a broken and contrite heart, He can ultimately use those areas to bring Him honor and glory. You know, ultimately, that is what He wants. It is for our lives to bring HIM honor and glory. Oh how easy it is to get wrapped up in myself, what self wants and what self's desires are, but God has a way of bringing my focus and attention back to Him and what truly matters. I am so thankful for the trials and troubles that draw my focus back to Him.

So my challenge to you is, that no matter where you are in your walk with the Lord or what you may be dealing with right now, God's ultimate desire for your life is for you to serve Him and to bring Him honor and glory!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Some Thoughts on the New Year


Its almost February and only now am I thinking about writing a blog post about the new year. Through out the month of January I have been thinking about this new year and the great possibility it holds. A new year means a fresh start and in so many ways the beginning of the year brings a time of reflection and thoughts of not only the future, but also the past.

My thoughts on the past have been that I am so thankful that God only allows and brings things into my life when He knows that I am ready for them and can handle them, but also will bring Him honor and glory. When I say ready for them, I mean, He has prepared me for it by the previous things He has placed before me and I know that He never gives us more than we can handle. Oh it may seem like more than we can handle at the time, but that is one of the blessings of serving a God that loves us and knows all things, He knows what we can handle even though it looks huge in our eyes. Last year was very amazing but also quite difficult in a lot of ways, but looking back I can see God's hand through out the entire year! Seeing how God worked through the situations He allowed, makes me so thankful I serve a wonderful God like Him who cares about me enough to bring hard things to refine me and draw me nearer to Him.

Then thinking on the future, though it is unknown, really brings no thoughts of worry or fear. Sure, I wonder what all will happen and all, but deep down inside I know that God has what is best in store for me, because He has proven in the past that He only allows those things into my life that are the best for me and bring Him honor and glory. I am excited to see how God will work in my life, as well as the lives of those around me this coming year. I have a feeling this year will be one full of great possibility, excitement and fun, some changes, new memories, new friends, and some growing but as long as God is in the midst of it all, I know that I have nothing to worry about!!

So what have your thoughts been about for this coming year? Does it look exciting or scary to you? I hope that though we don't know the future, that we remember that God is the one who holds the future and if we live our lives for Him, He will only bring into our lives, what is best for us and brings Him honor and glory.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 
-Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, December 26, 2014

Excellance


Excellence, something we prefer from the products that we purchase or receive as well as expect from the people around us. When I think of excellence, I think of something that is far better than everything around it, something that surpasses all other standards. What my thoughts have been on is, that though we expect excellence from the products and people around us, then how much more does God want excellence from us?

Living a life of excellence means living at your best, giving your all. When the day comes to stand before God and answer for all you have done, He will not just ask what you have done, but how you have done it. He will be specifically looking for excellence. Did you give God only the leftovers or did you give Him the best you could, even in the smallest tasks in life? You see, God wants you to rise to a higher standard, He wants excellence in all you do!

God's excellence is to serve as your model -Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things: (Isaiah 12:5). God wants excellence from us because we are a child, made in His image!

Paul wrote in Philippians about not yet attaining, nor being perfect but instead pressing toward the mark for a prize of the high calling.

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 3:12-14
I had to think, this is excellence. It isn't perfection, right here, right now, instead it is a calling to do all you can with what you all you have, right here, right now. Excellence is something that if you want to attain it, it requires constant pressing toward the mark and the calling to which God has called us! It requires effort from me, it doesn't just happen. But isn't that what the Christian walk is, effort and time. It requires me to be there and take action.
I have really thought a lot about this excellence this past week, then looking over my life and my walk with the Lord, I see that there are areas that I like to slide under the rug and think that God probably doesn't care about it to much if I don't do my best. But that is not the case. God wants me (and you) to do our best in everything and every part of our lives. No matter how small and unimportant it may seem, God cares and wants our best effort put forth.
So I challenge you to ask God, that He may show you as you look over your life, any areas that maybe you aren't putting forth the excellence that He would like to see in that particular area. It might not be easy or fun, but I promise, the reward is so worth it!
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men. -Colossians 3:23