Posts Tagged With: pain

What did Jesus Die For? YOU!

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Psalms 106:1-109:31
I am a joke to people everywhere;
    when they see me, they shake their heads in scorn.
Help me, O Lord my God!
    Save me because of your unfailing love. Psalms 109:25-26

Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever felt like people see you as a joke? It hurts doesn’t it; like a knife in your gut, a sword in your soul, it tears and wounds. And yet when we look at Simeon’s prophecy to Mary and Joseph about Jesus in Luke 2:34-35 we find that this is simply standard fare for someone who raises Jesus up: “Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
A sword will pierce your own soul too. Have you been there? Can you relate at all to what I’m putting out here? Having faith usually results in pain… but it doesn’t ever end there my friend!
In John 18 we find Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane preparing to face the horrors of the day ahead of Him. As the Roman soldiers are marching into the Garden we come to John 18:3-4, “So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” Jesus KNEW what was going to happen to Him. Now, my friends, let this sink in for a second. How often is it that we are apprehensive or react negatively because we are facing the unknown? Yet the unknown is unknown to God! He is an all knowing being. He knew what He was going up against and yet He chose to face it anyway, why?
While the pain was excruciating – both physical and spiritual, Jesus still had hope. He KNEW that this pain wouldn’t last forever. He KNEW that when it was finished, it would be FINISHED. That no longer would the pain of rejection be able to reach Him because, He would be received into His Father’s arms once more. He KNEW that the shouts of “Crucify Him!” would fade away into the wail of a woman’s cry “HE’S ALIVE!!!! MY GOD, MY GOD, HE IS ALIVE!!!”
Jesus was able to withstand the piercing of three nails and a sword because He knew it would be worth it… that YOU are worth it. You were worth it then and you’re worth it now. Jesus loves YOU so much that He’d rather die than spend eternity without you.
If you haven’t ever surrendered to His love for you before, or if it’s been a while, take the time right now to allow the love of Jesus to come and surround you like a comforter. Allow Him to cover you in a love that sacrifices everything just for YOU.

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I don’t know what pain you’ve experienced, but HE does. He knows and He wants to soothe that pain with His love for you right now. Let the pain go. Let Jesus take the pain from you. No matter what pain or shame you are enduring right now, you still have a hope that is set before you – eternity with someone who loves you enough to die for you in order to forgive all your sins that have separated you from Him. And when you accept that forgiveness, when you accept His gift of redemption you accept so much more than you could ever hope or imagine. You get Jesus, ALL of Jesus – the most wonderful person to ever walk the face of this earth, and under it and over it!

Categories: 365 Life, Psalms, Season 3, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

New Beginnings

Word of the DayExodus 5:1-9:12

“But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and moreover, I will not let Israel go.'” Exodus 5:2

The Israelites were on the cusp of something new, something wonderful and miraculous. They were about to witness things the LORD had never shown anyone before them. He was about to deliver them out of slavery in such a mighty and miraculous way that the enemies of the Israelites would fear them for GENERATIONS afterwards. Not because they feared the Israelites, but because they feared their GOD. God was about to do something for these people that the entire world is still talking about today!

In the story of the fall of Jericho, Rahab shares with the two spies how terrified everyone is of them,

“I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Seas before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you devoted to destruction. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the LORD your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.” Joshua 2:9-11

Even 40 years after these Israelites left Egypt everyone is trembling in their boots because the Israelites have their sights set on Jericho. And most of the people inside the “impenetrable” wall know that the God who is able to part the Red Sea and then the Jordan just so that His people don’t have to get their feet a little wet, well, an impenetrable wall probably isn’t too difficult for Him to penetrate.

But in today’s reading, none of that has happened yet. Today, we find the Israelites still dwelling in Egyptian slavery waiting to be rescued just like the LORD told them they would be. Yesterday found Moses at the burning bush getting his marching orders from I AM. Today we see him entering into the presence of Pharaoh who is believed to be a god by his own people. (That’s funny, in the matter of just a couple of weeks Moses has been in the presence of THE God and a “god”. Sorry, I just found that humorous enough to point out.) Anyway, an interesting and yet not altogether surprising thing happens when Moses tells Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh gets mad and tells him “No.” Shocking right?

If you were Pharaoh and some slave representative comes to you in the name of some God you’ve never heard before (because remember, up to Moses at the burning bush the Israelites didn’t even have a name for their God), and tells you that this “god” is commanding you to let all your slave labor go, do you really think you would do it? Of course not! You’d laugh in their face; which is exactly what Pharaoh did and more. He made the Israelites’ brick-making work harder by taking away their straw.

Here they were, Moses, their deliverer has come to save them and ends up making their work harder for them. “Thanks a lot Moe. Way to save us.”

My point is this. Many of us are on the cusp of something truly miraculous; a spectacular deliverance that the world has never seen before. But with that comes change. Change is uncomfortable. Like birthing a child, the pain will be temporary and worth it, but it will definitely be present.

The Israelites had to go out and find stubble for their bricks, their water turned to blood too, the frogs were in their beds, and the gnats were everywhere the Israelites were. These Israelites experienced the plagues right along with the Egyptians. Perhaps, the LORD did this for the purpose of testing and strengthening their faith in Him. It’s hard to say and God doesn’t really explain Himself on this one. But considering the week I’ve had this week, that’s what I think it was for.

I think He tells us what His plans are and then circumstances arise that fly in direct opposition to what He just told us. Will we believe what God has told us? Or will we believe what our circumstances are telling us? Will we stand firm in our faith that God is good? Or will we cave under the pressure of our circumstances?

A little while back I was “feeling the pressure” and was frustrated by what was going on around me. As I prayed. I don’t even remember what it was that I was praying, I only remember what God showed me. In a vision he showed me holding a little white mouse in my hand. I wasn’t holding it with my hand open palm up, but rather with my hand closed around it. The little head and ears were poking out the top of my hand near my thumb and its sweet little tail was sticking out the bottom by my pinkie. And ever so slightly my hand tightened around the mouse until it squeaked, letting me know that the pressure was too great, at which point I released the mouse.

It is out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. God was showing me in this illustration how He works our circumstances for our good. He uses our circumstances to increase the pressure surrounding us until we squeak. And we can then HEAR what is filling our own hearts. Remember, tests aren’t for God to know what’s in us, He already knows. But we don’t; therefore the tests are for US to discover what’s in our hearts. When we squeak, I mean, speak out in our circumstantial pain, we are able to hear our hearts speak out the true root of what is troubling us.

In the plagues of Egypt God was encountering each of the Egyptian gods. It was like He was walking along the shelf of Egyptian idols flicking each of them over as He went down the line.

He does the same thing in our lives! Hallelujah! Although we fall into idol (or idle) worship, God isn’t willing to allow us to stay in that place! He will knock that idol down taking away whatever it was that we were trusting in instead of Him.

Writing that I’m realizing that this last month has been a month where God knocked down my god of “predictability”. For the first month of summer I had a schedule (written out even) that I stuck to like glue. But then June turned into July and everything seemed to change. It was really only a couple of things that changed, but without that piece of paper telling me what to do at what time I felt lost and confused and frustrated. Then God dropped a bomb on me that things would be changing around here. Drastically. And I WASN’T happy about it. This last month has been me fighting with God about things changing. I didn’t want them to change, I wanted to keep doing what I had been doing, the way I had been doing it. Period. I didn’t want MORE work to do. My life had become predictable and I liked that. I knew what to expect and I knew what was expected of me. I was comfortable.

Then I was told to get a job, I haven’t had one in years. Next I was told to take on the Women’s Ministry Directorship, never done that before, I have no human training in theology, no certificates of completion to prove my qualification for the position, yet other women in the church that I will be leading do. This leaves me feeling terribly naked and vulnerable. Yet God says, “Trust Me”. (Yesterday’s post)

God just said to me, “How do you think Joseph felt when Pharaoh told him to lead the country? He’d never done THAT before either. But he managed with quite well with My help don’t you think?” “Yes, Lord.” (giggle)

This last month I have felt like that little mouse in the hand of the Master being squeezed until I squeaked. Not out of abuse or sheer meanness, but out of PURE LOVE. I was scared, which caused all kinds of reactions in me, but I didn’t know what it was I was scared of and why. Without the pressure I never would have squeaked out what was in my heart which allowed me to hear what I was feeling and made it possible for me to DEAL WITH IT. I can’t give something to God if I don’t know I have it. If I have a fear of failure, but never step out in faith giving me opportunity to fail then I would never be able to give my failures to God. (Huh, I just found out I have a fear of failure. Lord, it’s YOURS! Please take it!)

My friends, we DO stand on the cusp of something big and exciting today. I know I’m not the only one. Let’s step out in faith, having handed our fear of failure to the LORD our GOD. Sure, we may not get everything right the first time, but that’s OK. Just as long as we get back up and try again. After all, if you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.

Categories: 365 Life, Exodus, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sacrifice

1 Chronicles 20:1-24:31

“Then Ornan said to David, ‘Take it, and let my lord the king do what seems good to him. See, I give the oxen for burnt offerings and the threshing sledges for the wood and the wheat for a grain offering; I give it all.’ But King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the LORD what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.'” 1 Chronicles 21:23-24

Lord, I am so bewildered, befuddled, a little angry and just downright confused! You promised me this child of blessing, I believed you. And then I waited; nothing, no child. So I waited longer; nothing, no child. Sarah said take Haggar. So I did, that was a mistake. Then You came with Your two friends and spoke hope into Sarah’s womb, she laughed, we conceived, the child finally came! We’ve held this child of promise. We adored his laughter, his smile, and his childish tumblings. I love him more than my heart can admit. And now you’re telling me that I must sacrifice him?

Lord, I don’t understand. It just doesn’t make sense. You’ve asked me to kill the source of my tremendous joy. To give all that I have been promised. You gave me more than I could’ve ever hoped or imagined and now you’re asking for it all back? Why? What could you possibly need him for more than I do? He’s my son. He’s my legacy. He’s my great reward.

Abraham, I AM your great reward. I AM your legacy. I AM your Father and I know what is best. Trust Me. I love you.

Lord, I may not understand Your reasoning. I may not understand all the “whys”. But I do understand Your love. And I will take hope in Your love for me. Please allow me to take shelter under Your wings and allow me refuge from this storm of emotions tearing through my heart as I do my best to carry out this difficult task. You never said this job would be easy, just that it would all be worth it in the end.

I understand they’re called sacrifices for a reason and I will obey and choose to trust You with the end results. No matter how hard or how painful I choose to follow Your direction because at least then I have the reassurance that the pain has a purpose and a possible reward at the end. I choose not to “offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” (1 Chronicles 21:24)

Categories: 1 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Temporary Affliction=Permanent Reward

1 Chronicles 12:1-15:29

Oh my goodness how I have missed you my friends! It was a very interesting week, was it not? I think we had more technical glitches last week than ever before. There were several points where I said, “It would be so much easier if I were just posting myself.” But that’s not what God told me to do. He said to have other’s post for me.” And so while it was more work, I did it anyway.

At the beginning of this week “off” God posed me with a decision. “You choose. Neither answer is wrong. It’s your life; do you want to be a hobby writer or a career writer?” I chose, “Career writer”. “Then you need to start acting like one.” And for the next hour we went over schedule and borders (crossable and un-crossable). The first and firmest rule was that I had to treat it like a “real job” with office hours, open phone hours and specified times to work on the computer at my desk. But then came the tricky part. Helping those around me see it as a “real job” too. Because it is. My friends aren’t used to me having a schedule where I am unavailable to their phone calls. They’re used to me being able to sit for HOURS and talk. But if this writing thing is a career then I can’t do that like I used to. Because if I want to make money doing this (and I believe I can) then I’ve got to do it. God didn’t put this talent in this body for no reason. I’ve seen too many lives transformed from this pink pen of Grace to slack back and make it a hobby. Plus, honestly, while it would’ve been OK with God if I had chosen writing as a hobby, I think Satan would have been thrilled! This influenced me greatly in my decision.

 

Satan hates people reading in their Bibles because that’s where they meet Jesus. *Whispered aside* Satan doesn’t like Jesus very much. But more than that, Satan really hates when people have someone to explain that Bible to them. (Acts 8:26-40) He hates when people open themselves up to the Word of God to transform them and make them more like Christ. (Because remember, he hates Christ.) So when someone as bull-headed as me makes up her mind to help people understand the Word of God and bring them closer to God through something as simple as a blog and books. Well, Satan gets downright pissed off. And boy did I see that this week too! But honestly, it didn’t matter to me. You know why? Because I had made a choice to step into Enemy territory and fight a winning battle for as many souls as God will allow me.

The deepest desire of my heart is for YOU to know the love of Christ. I want you to experience how deep and wide, high and long His love for you is. I want you to experience your heart burning with the fire of His presence. I want you to experience the depth of complete transformation that is only possible through the knowledge of the Grace of God. I want you to know what it’s like to hold the hand of the man who can do all things and has promised to never leave you.

Yes. It’s hard to do the will of God sometimes. But it’s worth every second of fighting and hardship. Just imagine meeting someone in heaven you never met on earth and having them embrace you with a hug of gratitude because you unknowingly endured that hardship for the purpose of their salvation. They will stand there in heaven because you sacrificed just a little bit on earth. Wouldn’t that make it all worth it?

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (temporary), but the things that are unseen are eternal (permanent).” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Yes, it is an affliction. Yes, it is hard and a huge pain. But is the pain permanent? Will it last forever?

No.

Does that pain have a purpose?

Yes!

What is that purpose?

It is to “prepare you for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”

While the affliction feels heavy at the time. This word from God tells us the Truth. That affliction is light compared to the weight of the glory you will receive from bearing that affliction.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:38 “Whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.” We each have a cross to carry, financial hardship, death of a loved one, loss of a friendship, cancer, hospitalization, trouble at work, car break downs, lost keys, the list goes on and on. But each of those afflictions, though difficult and cumbersome to carry, are temporary and light.

In the next chapter of Matthew we find Jesus urging His followers to

“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (11:29-30)

A yoke is the rabbi’s teaching, this is why in verse 29 He follows “take My yoke upon you” with “and learn from Me”. The teaching of Jesus is as simple as any of them get – LOVE. And in Him alone our souls find true rest. The burden He places on our shoulders is LIGHT. We are called to be His light-bearers, torches of love to a dark and dying world. We are to be an ever-present help to others in times of trouble; Jesus’ hands and feet to the helpless and broken.

Christ carried the heavy cross so that we wouldn’t have to. (We wouldn’t have been able to if we tried anyway.) His lessons for us are easy and His burden upon us is light, it’s our future glory that is heavy.

It’s like Dory from Finding Nemo says, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

Just keep swimming my little fish, this temporary affliction will pass and all that will be left is your reward. “An eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison”.

Categories: 1 Chronicles, 365 Life, Writing Through the Bible in a Year | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Comfort: Day 5 Spiritual Stay-cation

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Last night my little baby girl Anna had an ear ache. The moment we pulled into the driveway from ballet pictures she started sobbing “my ear hurts”. And she didn’t stop whimpering about it until I put her to bed. Honestly, I figured it was the barometric pressure from the snow on it’s way and didn’t think too terribly much of her pain because I knew she was tired and really just needed to sleep. So I was encouraging her to push through her pain to get ready for bed. When she laid down her whimper turned more to tears and my heart was aching for her. I knew it hurt but there wasn’t really anything I could do for her. So I laid my hands on her little ears and prayed for her while I sang her favorite song “Jesus Loves Me”. I accidentally sang the first verse twice and by the time I got to the end of the second verse and was starting the third, she was in peaceful sleep. I lingered by her sleeping side, praying for her healing rest, staring into the still tear-stained face, that just moments ago was filled with pain and was now covered in peace. How blissful sleep can be.

It wasn’t even thirty minutes later that she started crying in her sleep. That’s when reality really started to sink in for me. She hadn’t been crying from fatigue and a little pain, she had been crying from real pain! My tough mom heart broke into a million pieces when it hit the floor. No longer aching for her it was crying out with her! I was desperate! How could I make her pain stop? I prayed with more sincerity “LORD! What can I do for her??? She’s really hurting!” His reply? “Nothing, she has to go through this.”

Her sleepy cries of pain eased momentarily and I scrambled to get ready for bed myself. I put pillows and a blanket on the couch and turned down all the lights in the living room so that when her cries rose again I could be there for her. While I couldn’t make the pain go away completely, I could hold her in her sleep, comfort her just by knowing I was enduring the pain with her. Making SURE she didn’t feel alone in her pain.

At about a quarter to nine, just as the make-shift bed on the couch was prepared, her tortured cries of pain started up again. (And I’m not exaggerating when I say tortured either, because that’s what it was, torture, for both of us.) I scurried into her room, where my own tear-filled eyes found her covers already askew from her flailing. My poor precious baby!!!!! I snatched her from her lonely bed and clung to her ever lengthening frame. Her toes, once upon a time only come to my breasts, now hanging down past my knees, swung gently back and forth as I carried her limp and exhausted body to our place of mutual rest and suffering for the night.

As we lay down belly to belly together, she snuggled her head into the familiar comfort of my chest, still sobbing, but maybe not quite as loudly as before. Sean came up behind me and just stood watching the two of us for a moment before he went out on his run. Huh, I didn’t think of it at the time, but he was possibly more tortured about all this than I was. I moved so quickly to comfort her myself that he never got a chance to even blink let alone move to help! There’s nothing like wanting to help someone and you can’t. You feel useless. (I’m sorry Beloved!) Seeing that everything was being done that could be, he turned around and went for his nightly run. A few minutes after he left Anna began writhing in pain, unconsciously kicking me and wailing. I held her tightly, letting her know “Mommy’s here” and softly praying over her head, and eventually the pain ebbed from her body, her muscles relaxed and she was at peace once again. After that her cries and writhing started lessening each time – Thank You God!

Around eleven Daddy came back into the living room. He gently touched my outside arm to wake me up and asked “Want me to take over?” His turn to help had finally arrived. He pulled back the blanket and gently lifted her from on top of me into his loving gentle arms. “She’s hot” he said, “I know” I answered. He situated himself in his recliner for the night as I headed off to our own luxuriously large bed all alone, well, with the cat.

As I snuggled myself down under the comforter I prayed for them both, that they would rest well and realized that this is precisely what Paul was talking about in 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. The God of all comfort. There are trials and pains that we just have to go through in life, for one reason or another. Things that God is using to ever so lovingly mold and shape us into the creation He wants us to be. And during those times He is desperate to comfort us, in any way that He can without ruining the purpose of the suffering. He hears our tortured cries and He starts preparing things to comfort us immediately. He moves into action immediately, He does not wait. He doesn’t even wait for us to ask Him for comfort, because many times we’re asleep to the fact that we even need it. Jesus lays His loving hand on our heads and prays for us and our complete healing. Not just the easing of the pain, but HEALING. And when we cry out, He lifts us up out of our lonely bed of suffering and moves us to a bigger bed prepared for mutual suffering. A place where He can hold us, soothe us, and pray over us all night long through our moaning, tears and fitful sleep of agony. And right at the eleventh hour, the Father comes along and tells Jesus it’s His turn now. And so the Father comes and lifts us from Jesus’ arms into His own and carries us to His throne (you gotta believe He’s got the BEST recliner in ALL of history!) where we lay with our ear pressed to His chest for the rest of the night until we wake up feeling strangely better and He asks us, “Are you ready to go back to your own bed now?” and we walk painlessly back to where we started the night. Healed and happier having slept through the whole thing… sort of.

I looked up the verse “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”, and looked up the Greek for the word “comforted” and I am so pleased with what I found! Parakaleo is the Greek word translated as “comforted” here and it’s Strong’s definition is (a) I send for, summon, invite, (b) I beseech, entreat, beg, (c) I exhort, admonish, (d) I comfort, encourage, console. Now I don’t know about you, but when I read that definition the thing that strikes me more than anything is the personal nature of the word. I send… I beseech… I exhort… I comfort, the person speaking the “parakaleo” is the one who is personally doing the action. They’re not talking about someone else performing the action for them, THEY are the one doing it. In Matthew 5:4 where we find this verse, it isn’t just anybody saying these words, it’s Jesus Himself. Jesus was telling His disciples, and us, that when we are comforted, HE is the one doing the comforting. He is the one who sent them your way. He is the one comforting you through that other person, being His hands and feet. He is the one holding you through that dark night. He is the one wiping all your tears away from your face and making it all better.

Isn’t our God AWESOME!?! How can you not love a God like that?

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12

“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove the disgrace of His people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25: 8-9

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thansgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon – from the Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the LORD directs His love, at night His song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?’ My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Psalm 23

Categories: The Crazy Mom Blog | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The Multi-facets of God’s Love

“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” 2 Peter 1:19

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” Revelations 22:16

Why do “bad” things happen to “good” people? While I’m certainly not proposing that I know the one true answer, mostly because I don’t believe there is only one answer; I am proposing a thought (or two or three) about it. So often when we see a strong Christian friend battling cancer or mourning the death of a spouse we cry out in anger at God for allowing this pain to befall our friend. “Why God? Why would a LOVING God allow a helpless infant to die? God How is that showing us love?” As a parent, I know that my children should NOT get everything that they want. If I were to give my kids a piece of candy every time they asked for one they’d be obese and diabetic with their mouths filled with cavities. No, as a mother I don’t want my children to experience pain, but I also know that if I were to wrap them in bubble wrap and never let them out of the house then they would never learn or grow, they’d never get stronger or make friendships that would last a lifetime. You know, there have even been times when I have intentionally set my children up to fail. Why? So that they will learn. Sometimes, showing someone that you love them requires bringing them pain; at times, a lot of it.

My husband kept a dirty little secret from me (adultery) for thirteen years, thinking that he was sparing me from the pain of knowing the truth. And I’ve got to be honest, when he did finally tell me the truth, it hurt… a lot. It hurt my pride, my self-esteem and my view of myself as a woman. The truth made me angrier than an old wet hen! But. That truth set us both free, because it wasn’t a secret holding us apart anymore. That truth means so much more to me than all the “I love you’s” he’s ever said to me up to that point. The fact that he was willing to tell me the truth, means that he trusts me and my love for him enough to know that he can tell me the truth; even if it might hurt my feelings for a time.

So often we like to think that if something in our lives hurts then it can not be from God. That God is really all warm fluffy like cotton candy and nothing else; that because He is love He doesn’t do anything to us that causes us pain or suffering, but that it’s only from the Enemy. As if when the Enemy is attacking us, God is off busy working with someone else at the moment and isn’t fully aware of what is happening to US. God has promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us, which means that in those times of suffering and pain, God HAS NOT abandoned us! He has NOT allowed the Enemy to have free reign over us, but rather that God has Satan on a SHORT leash and he is ONLY allowed to do to us what GOD is telling him to do. To accomplish a work in our lives for HIS good purposes. By believing that God is only a “warm fuzzy god”, is putting God in a box and not allowing Him to be who He is; God. As much as we would like to hold Him down in that box, we can’t, because that warm fuzzy god can’t send His Son to die on a cross.

As I have been STRUGGLING with these painful truths I have prayed begging God to help me understand His love in a way that I could explain it to others. Instantly God spoke it into being in my life, a picture of His love. God’s love is like a diamond, clear and pure and full of light. And if every person who has ever walked the face of this earth were to stand around this diamond and look at only one facet (side) of it there would still not be enough people to see all the ways God shows us His love. And it is our job to shout out to everyone else, what our side of God’s love looks like. For one it may be a green pasture at the moment. For another it may look like a rainy day today. For another it may look like the death of a child. Just because we see different sides of something and it looks different to each of us doesn’t mean we’re not looking at the same thing. Just like I can look at a quarter and be describing the head, and my friend can look at the same quarter and describe the tail and both of us think the other is dead wrong in our descriptions, the only thing we’re actually wrong about is our judgments of each other being wrong.

It’s the same with God. We each have a different relationship with God so, we each experience Him in completely different ways because we are all completely different people. No two of us have lived identical lives – even identical twins have differing lives. Because we all have different past experiences, training, etc we can experience the same God at the same time with another believer and still come out of the experience gleaning completely different things.

One of my beloved sisters in Christ lost a son when he was just a baby; everyone was devastated (naturally). During the time immediately afterward she had a conversation with a friend of hers who was not saved. She was bold and witnessed to her friend. Fast forward twenty-some years to a birthday party in my backyard where my neighbor and my friend are both there and know each other. (Which was a surprise to us all!) My neighbor mentions to me after the party that my friend is a saint! I told him, “I know that already but what makes you say that?” He said, “Right after she lost her son she had a conversation with my mom that changed her life. She chose to become a Christian because of that conversation and because she converted the rest of our family did too! Our whole family is saved today because of her! We’re talkin’ like thirty people here!”

Please, do not misunderstand me when I say this, the death of an infant is devastating to us. But, because of her vulnerable state and the fact that she was leaning so hard on the LORD at that point in her life she was able to allow God’s strength to shine through her weakness. His light shows up best in the dark! He used her to bring an ENTIRE FAMILY to Christ! And if her son hadn’t died she wouldn’t have been able to say the things that she said, with the heart attitude with which she said them. It would’ve been a completely different conversation. If they would have had it at all.

I believe that it is a huge part of the great commission, to go out and share with others what our own facet of God’s love looks like, what it feels like, how we experience it… even if it’s in pain. My friend shared her pain and look what happened with that! I have shared with you how I saw God’s love in the midst of the storm with my son’s teeth and how God told me that it was a blessing, period. In the moments when we were going through the blessing, it didn’t feel like a blessing. I had peace, and knew that God WAS most certainly with me, guiding me through it all step by step, but it was still hard and it still hurt. Once we got through it all and were able to step back and really view it from a greater distance we were able to see more depth to the situation and take joy in the victory.

When the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River into the Promised Land from their 40 years of wandering in the desert, they didn’t just settle right in. No, they had to fight. God told them that He was giving them this land that He promised them, that the people of the land were stronger and more numerous than they were, but they would “utterly destroy them” because God was with them. And the same is true for us today. We are fighting to take possession of the promises that God has made us. Health, prosperity, rest, all things that the enemy DOESN’T want us to have, all “cities” God has promised us. So we have to fight for those cities to claim them as our own. But do not be afraid; be strong and courageous because the LORD is with us! (Joshua 1:9) Although the Enemy is bigger and stronger than you, he will not prevail against you because God is on your side.

And if God is on your side, who can be against you? Because God is on your side, no weapon formed against you will prevail (Isaiah 54:16). Which means you will win EVERY battle, you will conquer every obstacle in your path between you and the promises of God; turning every battle into a blessing. In the thick of battle, it will feel like a battle… because it is. But hold onto the FACT that GOD IS WITH YOU! The LORD will fight for you, you need only to be still; be still and know that HE is God and He can handle it. Our battles are blessings, even when they don’t necessarily feel like blessings. But that’s because we’re in the thick of battle – getting our battle scars, mementos to help us REMEMBER the battle and everything we learned in it. (Like “fake teeth”)

Today God wants to show you something, He wants you to spend some time in prayer starting with:

Lord, I want to see Tamar’s facet of You today. Please take me back to the biggest battle I’ve ever had to fight and show me where You were in the whole thing.”

and then be still and listen to what He says. When I think back to the hardest moments in my life I realize how much I learned through them and I can see how God got bigger for me in each battle. How I became less, and He became more. If you’re fighting a battle today, think about this, the Morning star is out during the day, but we can’t see it’s light because it’s too bright. But in the black darkness of night it sparkles like a diamond in the sky.

Deuteronomy 7:1-2 When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations – the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you – and when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Exodus 14:13-14 Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.

Psalm 46:10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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