Archive | June 2012

In EVERYTHING give thanks

When trials and challenges come into our lives, we believers in Christ are often found complaining as if we are surprised that unpleasant things could be happening to us. I’m not referring to things that have come about as a direct result of sinful behavior or purposeful disregard. I’m referring to things that are often beyond our control. An example would be miscarrying or losing a child.  A cancer diagnosis etc.  Things that we ourselves have not brought about for the most part and have little to no control over.

Our first line of defence should be to go to God and seek His help. We also should get our church body to pray. Sometimes God chooses to perform a miracle and bring about perfect supernatural healing.  Most of us have known someone or of someone who has experienced this. Other times God allows us to go through the trial without supernatural healing or visual intervention. He is working no less on our behalf than if He had performed a physical miracle.

He knows our heart and knows the best way for us to grow. So than, should we have to walk through our trial or wait on our answer and not receive an instantaneous response with what attitude should we walk through it? .We can grumble and complain like others that don’t have the confidence of their Heavenly Father looking out for them, or we can do what the word of God tells us to do.  Put our trust in the one who created us and give thanks! Nowhere in the word does it say to give thanks in the good times and gripe in the difficult times. We are given very specific instructions that we need to be reminded of frequently…

Colossians 3:15 NIV15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL.

Can God’s word be any plainer than this?.. Phillipians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 NIV Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL.

Psalm 106:1 NIV Praise the Lord. Give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1Chronicles 23:30 NIV 30 They were also to stand every morning to THANK AND PRAISE the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Psalm 35:18 NIV 18 I will give you THANKS in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

And why should we always have an attitude of thankfulness and not grumble?   Because as Psalm 9;9,10 says, NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name TRUST IN YOU, for you, Lord,  HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU.

Grumbling and complaining never accomplishes anything helpful, in fact it may hinder our answer from God. It certainly hindered the Israelites when they were walking in the desert! (Exodus 16)  Before you open your mouth to complain, remember we have a Savior that was willing to lay down His life for us and provide a way for our salvation. We have MUCH to be thankful for! Not only did He die for us but He walks with us daily.  If you are walking in God’s will and He has permitted challenges in your life you can be sure He will see you through them.  In EVERYTHING give thanks!

Psalm 113:3 NIV 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

If you belong to Him remember…

Some of us have short memories.  Mine certainly has been getting shorter the last few years! 🙂 Maybe it was turning 50, maybe not but  there are times when I wish my memory was better.  I often head downstairs to get something and find myself standing there looking around and wondering what on earth I came down there for….I have found it necessary to make lists or use my blackberry calendar more often these days if I want to be sure I don’t forget something important. I’ve read several articles over the last few years and apparently memory loss can begin as young as 20 years.  I am referring to mild memory loss, not the dementia type.  I also have read that the more children a woman has carried, the more memory loss she will suffer. Something about hormones and I don’t really understand all the details.  I will claim both, I carried four babies and I am now over 50 so I have an excuse or so I will claim anyway!

There are some things I do not ever want to forget! Here are just a few of the awesome promises in the book of Romans that God has given to us that He intends for us to cling to and claim! They are worth hiding in our heart!

 Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.     

What a beautiful promise this is! “That in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  If you are a believer and have accepted Christ you have been called according to His purpose!  This means WHATEVER comes into your life God will work out for your good!  This offers a huge amount of comfort to us!  If we are believers and our serving him, nothing can touch us that He hasn’t allowed or that He will not work out for our good.

And secondly, Romans 8:38,39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have been bought with a price!  A price that is so precious that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! If we walk in faith we don’t have to live in fear of losing that relationship.  God has saved us and intends fully to keep us in His family!  His Son paid too high a price to let us go!

Next time you find yourself forgetting something, remind yourself of these two verses.  When we apply them daily our lives will be transformed!

Forget Me Nots

Our Great Physician

When we believers get sick, often we do the same thing non believers do.  We try and deal with our sickness with the medical profession alone. Though doctors, nurses and all the other workers in the medical field are very necessary, we have another resource that many of us neglect to consult. That would be the Great Physician. There have been many times in my life that I went and sought out medical attention before I even consulted God. God has been reminding me lately, through His word, that our first place to turn should be to Him. He not only desires us to come to Him in good times but also in times of difficulty or illness. My desire is that I will grow to the point where I will seek Him first before looking elsewhere.

Any time I have sought God for help He has never ignored my request.  Answers have come in many different ways but He has never left me without help when I have asked Him for it. NEVER. He promises to hear the prayers of His children. He may use medical professionals in our journey of healing or He may not. My desire is that I go to Him first and ask for His guidance and healing. How He chooses to bring that about is up to Him but I want to seek Him first not last. There is an awesome promise in James that we need to remember.

James 5:14-16 NIV James 5:14-16 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another,that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

What a beautiful promise!  My desire is to seek Him first and not as a last resort.

Exodus 23:25 NIV 25 Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you.

Psalm 103:2,3 NIV Praise the Lord, my soul and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.

1Peter 2:24 NIV 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

A Reliable Hope

Most of us have things we are waiting on in our lives. A circumstance we want to see resolved. A heart change in a loved one. A health issue we are going through and trusting God for. If we have committed our circumstance to God and have put our trust in Him we can rest assured He will not only see us through it but that as we go  through the circumstance we will grow. We serve a God that hears our prayers and is faithful to His own. We don’t have to fear while we wait on our answer.  We can rest assured that He will never allow anything to come into our lives that we cannot bear in Him.  Hebrews 10:13 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.

It isn’t blind faith that we have, it is real faith. The kind of faith a child has in a loving parent. They know that no matter what is going on around them, their parent will take care of them and do everything in their power to protect them. Our God is even more reliable than the best parent out there. We can even have joy as we go through our trials because  we know not only do we not go through them alone but that as it says in Romans 8:28 NIV 28  We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

So when storms come, and they will come we have reason to hope. Not blind hope but real hope. We can rest and put our faith in Him and know that the one that loved us enough to send His son to die for us will not leave us helpless or hopeless. His word is His promise to us and His word is  full of hope.

Psalm 71:14 NIV 14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Romans 15:13 NIV 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 31:24 NIV 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

Importance of Fellowship

There are so many things that keep us busy these days.   Jobs, family, volunteering and too many other things to list.  It doesn’t take too long before we can get bogged down with responsibilities. To keep on the right track and to keep joy in our lives we need to have a good prayer life and time spent in the word. These are two basics that keep our spiritual feet firmly on the ground. Along with these two things we also need fellowship. God didn’t create us to be islands. We need one another. We need the support of prayer and conversation from other believers. In the New Testament church, the apostles worked along side one another and encouraged each other as the need arose. This need hasn’t diminished but because many of us work outside the church the need is vital to have the support of believers to keep us walking right.

This past weekend we held our church picnic at our home and it was great to spend time having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no drama, no discord just a group of people that love God having a blast with one another. When we get to know each other better we are better equipped to pray and help one another.  We live in a world where many live and look out for themselves. In the church we need to be sure we don’t allow that to become our lifestyle.  God has called us all to serve.  If we get too bogged down we are not fit to help anyone. Having fellowship is vital. Whether it be a picnic, a potluck or a prayer meeting, we need one another.  It can help recharge our spiritual batteries and remind us we are not lone wolves but we are a body, a body that serves and encourages one another and that reaches out and serves our families, our communities and our world.

1Peter 4:9 NIV  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Galatians 5:13 NIV 1313 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Make time for fellowship.

Rise up and do something!

We live in a dog eat dog world. Many believe that in order to get ahead we have to climb our way to the top. Bashing others is common place if it means making ourselves look superior. The squeaky wheel is often the one that gets the attention therefore being loud and boisterous gets results. Reality tv shows abound with self absorbed, selfish people that brag about their dysfunctional lives and demand others give them the attention they feel they are due. It’s pretty crazy out there!

God did not create us to be legends in our own minds!  He created us to love and serve Him and to love and serve others.  Philip2:4ESV Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  We don’t have to look far to see needs all around us. Though we can’t fill every need or help everyone out there, we certainly can start in our own backyards.

Some of us have family, friends, acquaintances or co workers  that need our prayers. Intercession is something all of us can do and it is at the heart of bringing about change and help to others. It is helping in a way that man cannot help by calling on God and opening  the door for Him to begin to work. Perhaps if we do this first, rather than as a last resort when man’s ways fail we will begin to see positive changes and answers far quicker. Galatians 6:2 ESV Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

There are  many local charities that are already doing a great work helping others. Perhaps we can volunteer our time or our resources to help them out. For example, the Salvation Army has locations in most communities and they sure help others in very tangible ways. They provide food, clothing and other resources that many wouldn’t have without their help. Prov.19:17 ESV Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Perhaps if we have an ailing neighbour we could volunteer to make a meal or meals, cut their grass or help out with any other chore they may need assistance with. Babysitting is another way of helping out. In this tough economy many people have had to relocate from their hometowns to find work and therefore don’t have family around to help out when they really need a sitter.                          Luke 10:27 ESV And Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sometimes something as simple as opening a door for someone with a disability or with their arms full can make their day a little lighter.  A kind word can go a long way when someone if visibly upset.  There is no limit to ways we can reach out.  The only thing limiting us is often laziness.  James 2:13 ESV For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

I am committed to spending less time on the couch and more time praying and doing.  Time is short and there are many things that need to be done before Jesus returns. It’s time to rise up and do something!

Hebrews 13:16ESV Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Learning to help early in life. 🙂

We choose how we go through trials!

Recently there has been a flood of friends and family facing trials. Some are health concerns, some financial and others in relationship conflicts.  There is no way of going through this life journey without coming up against one if not more of these. Christians are not exempt of difficulties and trials.  Some of us in our early years in faith believed we would be protected by a spiritual bubble that would prevent difficult, hurtful things from knocking at our door.  This belief wasn’t based on anything scriptural but a naive belief that because we chose to serve God He would not allow anything “bad” to happen to us. Early death, sickness, financial hardships and all the other struggles out there would somehow pass us by. If we believed enough, these things would move on down the road and away from our doors.

This naive belief is based on our own lack of knowing God’s word and the words of Jesus to His followers.  God never promised that life would be sunshine and rainbows every day.  He never promised we would not struggle through difficulties.  He never promised we would not lose a loved one long before we thought it was their time to go. In fact Jesus warned us in John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

I personally have had to deal with some great losses in my life.  When we lost our son Daniel, at age 20 in a car accident I grieved daily for about 3 years before I could really accept he was gone.  Though he came to Christ as a young child and I knew I would see him again, I missed his smile, his crazy humour, his lovely face and his presence in the family! I still have days where I feel such deep grief over the fact that he won’t ever get to have a family, raise children and live out some of his dreams.  I did however, have to get to a place where I trusted that God had his reasons for taking him home. He may never reveal them to me but even that is now okay. He knows so much more than I can ever know about the future.  We can choose to grow bitter and angry and decide that because things didn’t go the way we expected them to go we will no longer walk with the Lord.  There are many people out there walking down that dark road.  Choosing that road will just lead to more discontent and bitterness.

When dark days come most of us will have a time where we pull inside ourselves, wallow in sadness and grief for a time but then comes the time for us to look to God.

Psalm40:1-3 NIV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I believe in counselling and it did help me a great deal to talk to a counselor while I was working through my grief after the loss of our son, but even the best counselor cannot bring about the heart deep healing that only Jesus can.  As we choose life, choose to move forward and allow God to heal those deep wounds we move out of our deep grief and into a place of acceptance and peace.  Throughout our journey trials will continue to come and with every trial we have the choice of how we will walk through it. We can look to God knowing the truth of Romans 8:28 NIV 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,”  or we can remain wallowing in our grief and bitterness.  I choose life!

I choose life!

Standing on God’s Promises

Most of us have been disappointed from time to time with people.  Sometimes  people will say one thing and do another. Perhaps someone has promised to do something for us or keep a confidence and they did not live up to their word.  I think everyone has gone through this experience at one time or another. I know I have. It leaves us feeling disappointed and at times discouraged with people in general. We like to be able to count on others and when they let us down we have to deal the consequences.

Thankfully, we have one who will never act against His promises.  God has promised so many things to His children in His word and we can take Him at His promises and hold Him to them. Unlike man, He doesn’t lie or change.  Heb.13:8 NIV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As His kids, we are so fortunate that there is so much available to us as we walk in His ways and in communion with Him. I want to mention just a few of the many promises we can stand on.  There are too many to list them all here but they can be found in our Bibles. Here are three that are life changing as we take Him at His word.

1John2:1,2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

There is guaranteed forgiveness for our sins for anyone who asks through Jesus Christ.  The verse doesn’t say maybe, or only for certain sins, or to those people who are nice!  It says “If ANYBODY does sin, we have an advocate (one who argues for a cause, supporter or defender, one that pleads on another’s behalf; an intercessor) with the Father-JESUS CHRIST, the righteous One.

Luke 11:13 NIV 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Anyone who is a believer and is walking on this planet must realize how much we need the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit we would not even be able to come to the Lord in the first place.  Without God’s Spirit equipping us we would not be able to carry out the work God has for us to accomplish here.  There would be no heart cry for the Saviour, no healing, no deliverance, no transformation in our hearts etc.. and all we need to do is ask!

Deut. 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 WOW!  Those are powerful words. Who else can we count on to NEVER leave us nor FORSAKE us? He is with us every moment of every day. We can bank on that.  No matter what the circumstance, what the trial or what the experience He is walking through it with us.

By soaking in, applying and standing on the absolute truth of the above three verses alone, our walk with God will grow more intimate and our love and forgiveness towards others will increase.

Malachi 1:11 NIV”For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.


Time for pulling spiritual weeds

I love to garden.  It is one of those things I do that I find very relaxing.  It is naturally more fun to plant, water and enjoy the fruits of my labour but there are times when the work of maintaining is much more difficult.  God reminded me this weekend how much my life is like that of my garden. If I want to enjoy the blessings of beautiful flowers or vegetables and fruits I have to get rid of all the weeds of sin.

When I came to Christ at a young age I tried to live a life that was in obedience.  I was very regimented and lived too much under the law and missed out on the true message of grace. I still felt I had to earn my salvation way deep down in the depths of my heart. Over time it became a huge struggle because the one thing that was really missing was the joy that God gives when we learn to rest in Him and in what Christ really did for us.  I was constantly trying to stay in God’s good graces, not realizing it is impossible to do so by my own efforts.  Eventually I burnt out somewhat and gave in to compromising as I didn’t feel I could keep up with all the demands I thought God was putting on me.  It was really demands that I put on myself trying to earn a feeling of belonging… Sadly I wasted a lot of years doing this.

This lead to compromised living.  Never turning away from God but also NOT living in obedience.. I began to think, what was the point when I could never really measure up? During those years I allowed a lot of weeds back into my garden.  Bad habits, bad attitudes, bad behaviours and selfishness. Over the last several months God has been showing me the various weeds I need to pull up! There are plenty and I am so grateful that He is a God of mercy and didn’t and won’t give up on me.

Psalm 103:8 NIV The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

 I am so glad He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love!  He longs for us to be in intimate fellowship with Him and though He loves us enough to accept us just as we are when we cry out to Him,  He also loves us enough to not leave us there!!  I can’t get back wasted years but I can be sure from this day on to serve Him out of love and not duty.  To accept His mercy and grace and not walk in condemnation.

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

So as I tend to my garden I am sure God will continually show me weeds that I need to uproot. It is not my favourite thing to do but it is necessary if I want to walk closer to Him.  Some weeds look like proper plants and it takes discernment from God to see that they actually are weeds. I know I have done or said things that at the time seemed harmless but in my quiet time with God, He has shown me that my heart was not right in doing or saying what I did and that I need to bring it before Him.  Some weeds look innocuous yet they have roots that go deep down into the soil of our hearts and if left, will strangle out the good surrounding plants. These spiritual weeds act like poison in our hearts and cause us to grow cold towards others or God if left unattended. I find that as God reveals these weeds in my life and as I begin to lay them at His feet and ask for change He is faithful and giving me the grace to change.  Not in my own strength but through the Spirit He humbles and strengthens me in His love.

As Christians, we never arrive until we meet face to face with Jesus.  Ours is a journey of growth. We will make mistakes, we will stumble, we will obtain war wounds but thankfully we have a Father that loves us and will help us get back on track as we seek Him. We have a Savior that died on our behalf so that we would have legal rights to come before God.  Not in our own merit but because of the price He paid.

John 3:16,17 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

The Father’s Heart

Many of us today have grown up with biological or step fathers that left a little to be desired.  Often due to their own woundings many fathers are not capable of being the kind of father their children really need. Those of us who grew up with a father that didn’t nurture and that was not trustworthy in many ways often develop a deep distrust for our Heavenly Father. The only father we ever had was not trustworthy so why would we trust our Heavenly Father?  When I became a Christian at 16 years of age, my longing was for a father that would hear me when I cried out to him.  God answered that cry!  He heard me and through the gift of faith, allowed me to grow in a deep relationship with Him.  Through His word, I began my journey of learning who He really is and how He really feels about me.

The first thing I learned was that when I am sincere in seeking Him and His will He always responds.  I have felt His presence when I have needed it most. In my darkest days of loss and sadness He has comforted me.  In my days of struggling with issues, He has sent the Comforter to encourage me.  Unlike earthly fathers, His love is never ending and limitless. Through His son, He has offered us a safe place and position that allows us to boldly come before His throne and make our requests known.  He loved us enough to offer up His precious son as a sacrifice so that all of us would be able to have an intimate relationship with Him.  That’s pure and undefiled love.

It’s not unusual to feel disappointment from time to time towards earthly fathers but it is an awesome thing to know that Father God will not disappoint us when we put our trust in Him.  If your earthly father has hurt or offended you in some way take that hurt to your Heavenly Father and lay it at His feet. Lay it down and forgive.  It will bring freedom. Holding onto your disappointments will just bring bitterness and wounding to your soul.  Turn it all over to God.  He will take those hurts and replace them with joy and freedom.

If you don’t have an earthly father, God will meet your needs.  As Psalm 68:5 says, He is a “Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling.”  Take Him at His word and then go show some love to your earthly father this Father’s Day!

1John3:1 NIV How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God.

Matt7:11 NIV If you, then though are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him.

Jer 31:3 NIV The Lord appeared to us in past saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.”

Hurry Up and Wait..

Most people today live a very hurried and busy lifestyle.  Many of us have full time jobs and multiple responsibilities outside our homes along with the many responsibilities of the home and family itself. Whether we are single, married, with or without children or grandparents wanting to be involved in the lives of our grandchildren we are busy people. On top of this some of us our involved in activities/committees etc. at our churches.  Life is very very busy.  When we need something we can go online, pick up a catalogue or drop into a store and purchase it.  When we need information it can be found quite simply by typing in a request on our keyboards or dropping into a library.

We have become accustomed to living fast and receiving fast. When it comes to our relationship with God it is not always so.  I am learning to hurry up and wait… There are times when I bring a need or a desire of my heart to the Lord and He answers it within a day or so. There are other times when He chooses not to.  He is all knowing and all seeing.  I am NOT.  He always answers our prayers correctly. Sometimes the answer is quite simply NO, other times it may not come for days, weeks or even years. How we spend our time waiting on our answer is critical.  I believe the Lord is pleased when we rest in knowing He has it all under control. Fretting and stressing while we wait does nothing to see our prayer answered any faster. Resting and trusting gives allowance for our faith to grow. Abiding in His word and His love while we wait allows us to grow even closer to the lover of our soul.  It does NOT come natural for me to rest and trust but I am learning that it really is the only way to respond. Recently God has put people in my life to remind me of this very fact. Our vision is so limited and we cannot possibly know one iota of a fraction of a percentage of what God does and therefore are really in no position to try and force God’s hand.

He loves us.  This is something we can bank on! He is faithful. Another absolute. Therefore when we find ourselves growing impatient and annoyed at not seeing our prayers or desires answered when WE WANT them answered it is time to trust, rest and abide in His word.  He will never disappoint!

Isaiah 40:31 ESV  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Psalm 37:34 ESV “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land; you will look on when the wicked are cut off.”

Psalm 62:5,6 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

The Poison Pill of Bitterness

I don’t think any one of us can go through life without being tempted to hang on to feelings of resentment and anger towards another. When I was younger I resented my Dad for being the ogre that he was during our childhood. He didn’t nurture he demanded.  He was very abusive towards my Mom and towards us kids.  Did it hurt? YES!   At the age of 10, my parents divorced.  For quite a few years I was both hurt and very angry about the whole situation.  Why did this happen to our family?

As a teenager I would often get upset and feel disappointment about the way things would turn out.  People would not always live up to my expectations.  NO surprise there as that would have been an impossible task.  Then when I married young and started to have a family I would often feel disappointed that we were having to struggle financially when others seemed to be doing very well.

There are many reasons or excuses that we can use to hold onto anger and bitterness.  The bottom line is not one of these excuses will help us deal with the poison that builds up in our hearts and minds when we do.  Bitterness is poison!  As long as we hold onto it and embrace it we will never move forward in our lives.  We will continually see everything and everyone through the tainted glasses of bitterness.  We in turn will poison those around us with our mouth and actions.

There is only ONE solution to bitterness and that is forgiveness.  Nothing else works!  As most of us know, seldom can we forgive in our own strength.  We keep resurrecting the memories of what has been done to us.  We must make a tangible effort to come before God and ask for forgiveness for carrying around this poison within us and ask Him to take it away.  It is at first, an act of will.  Feelings don’t have to be involved.  We do it because not only does Jesus say we must but also because He knows when we do it will free us!!!!

I love the quote, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die!”  This is so true.  Bitterness will keep us bound up in anger and hurt and until we release it to Jesus we will never move forward in ways God desires us to move.  Releasing it will bring FREEDOM!!

FREEDOM!

Heb.12:14,15″Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” 

Matt.6:14,15″For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

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Complain less…Pray MORE

I suffered anxiety for a lot of my early life.  It was something that started in my early years and it just always seemed to be there.  When anything stressful would happen I would begin to worry and fret.  The only positive really was it used to send me into a cleaning frenzy!! However, the downside was too great…It would affect my sleep, I would be very short with those around me and it would cause me to overreact to any little thing when my anxiety level was high.

As a result of this I would complain about what those around me either weren’t doing or doing that was making things more difficult. I would get incredibly disappointed with those closest to me about things that were very insignificant.  I would gripe and complain and really it never accomplished anything!  I have learned there is a better way.  When something happens that is uncomfortable or difficult, when someone comes into my life that is particularly challenging I tell God on them.  🙂  Even bringing the issue to Him helps to keep it in perspective.  Most people behave badly because they feel badly inside or they harbor bitterness.  It doesn’t justify it but it does make it more understandable.  I am grateful that we have a high priest that we can turn to that forgives us and accepts us  when we screw up.  That fact alone helps me to be able to forgive others.

Though most of us spend years trying, we will NEVER be able to change anyone.  It is through prayer and the moving of the Spirit that true change comes.  Change that results in deep heart change.  Next time you come across a situation or person that causes you to feel anxious, stop and pray.  Tell Jesus on them!

Philippians 4:6-7 
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“Those persons who know the deep peace of God, the unfathomable peace that passeth all understanding, are always men and women of much prayer.”~ R. A. Torrey

English: An anxious person

English: An anxious person (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No Battle, No Gain

It should come as no surprise to those of us who follow Christ that we will be presented with daily challenges.  These challenges can come in many forms.  There are life circumstances that we may face that are beyond our control, people we may encounter, health concerns etc.  If we were born on this Earth we WILL face battles in one form or another and at times from various forms at once!  Though they are never enjoyed, they are to be expected from time to time.

Without the battle there will be no growth.  That’s just the way it is.  Just as exercise increases our physical muscles, trials increase our spiritual muscles.  The key is in remaining obedient even when we would like to do anything but…  The victory is always sweet when we do so. Some battles are for a day, some for years and some still for decades but there is always something to be gained by each and every one.

Ephes 6:12 (KJV) 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If Jesus promised we would experience trials, we can be sure we will but  remember and claim, John 16:33 (KJV)
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Though our trials often  roll in like a storm cloud we are to take them to Jesus and stand firmlyon His word.  He will never disappoint!    2 Corin 10:4 (KJV) 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.

Resting in Christ

There comes a time in our Christian walk where we all must learn to rest…not rest as in take a holiday or lay around the house. Resting as a believer means to enter in and believe that we are complete in what Jesus has done for us.  We no longer need to continue to strive and  work for our favour with God.  We come to the point where we take God at His word and realize that there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation but that it is a free gift.  We will NEVER be able to earn it!  With that revelation comes a peace.  We will never be good enough in our own striving to live up to God’s expectations of us. We can however, come before Him as sons and daughters by receiving and applying what Christ did on the cross for each of us.

Along with this revelation comes a joy and a peace that striving can never accomplish.  Does the revelation of His rest  mean we do not need to walk in obedience or continue studying in the Word. NO! It does however stop us from focusing  so much on our own outward  goodness or works. Instead, we can focus on what an awesome, kind, merciful Saviour we have and that He loved us enough to pay the ultimate sacrifice for us.  In turn, out of this deep love for Him and what He has done for us, we will desire to serve Him! We will want to walk in obedience and close communion with Him.

What an awesome God we serve!

Philippians 4:6-7

New International Version ~6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Learning to lean..

There are so many times in the past I would find myself tied up in knots emotionally over worries of which I had no control.  These worries have come in many forms..sometimes relational, financial, in matters of health and on occasion even work related.  I used to feel that somehow by worrying about them it would help resolve the problem.  I would from time to time lay them at His feet and then shortly thereafter pick them back up again…

Lately God has been reminding me that as I walk in His ways, being obedient to His word and seeking His face I have every right to bring these “cares of the world” and lay them at His feet and leave them there! He not only will allow me to do so but that He wants me to lay my cares at His feet.  The creator of the Universe actually cares for His creation and longs to have a personal relationship with us.  Awesome!

Though I have gone through trials and tribulations throughout various times in my life He has never left me nor forsaken me. He has never let me go hungry or without shelter.  He has and will continue to take care of His own. I am grateful that I serve a God of love and mercy.  A God that forgives when I ask Him. A God that answers my prayers.

Next time you are tempted to pick those worries and burdens back up and throw them on your back, remember He is much more able to carry them and to answer your prayers in ways well beyond what you could do.

Psalm 37:25
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

He always provides in one way or another.