Friday, May 27, 2011

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13

I went “there.” Have you ever done that? Gone “there?” To that place where you allow fear and uncertainty to rule your thoughts, rather than truth and light?

It can be pretty easy to do. I was taking an inventory of the past few months and quickly started sliding down into that pit:
• Two, yes two, job losses. Essentially accounting for 80% of our family’s income.
• A flood inside the house that caused tremendous damage and months of repairs.
• Health issues.
• Big deal problems at school for the kids.
• Household things breaking and needing immediate, costly repairs.
• Rejections in the job hunt.

When I look at it in a list, it can begin to seem a little overwhelming. The challenge can seem too great to battle through.

Well, in my own strength, it is. As I was muddling around in my pit of “woe is me,” the Lord pressed into my heart, Psalm 65. Curious, I went seeking. It is a psalm of thanks. A perfect reminder of all the abundant blessings that God has generously provided.

He was removing my blinders and letting me see that all of these things are nothing when compared to His love and power. I had fallen into the trap of trying to do it all myself and He lovingly drew my perspective back to Him.

Today, I read Psalm 27 in quiet time. Like a post script in a letter, verse 13 captured my gaze. David’s confidence in the Lord allowed him to proclaim that even in the midst of a deep trial, he knew the Lord would see Him through. I needed to remember that as well.

I beat myself up a little because lately I haven’t spent the amount of time in prayer and Bible study that I would like. When I walked outside this morning thinking about this, the sun was breaking through the branches of a neighbor’s tree. Like warm, gentle hands on my face, the sunshine took hold. I knew I was in the presence of my Lord.

He loves us so much. He is right there in the middle of every trial and we are not supposed to face it alone. Turn to Him and let him in. It will make all the difference.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

“I love reading your blog,” she said. “But don’t get excited, you aren’t going to save me any faster.” Her words have burned in my spirit for days.

Accepting Christ as my Savior has changed my life in so many ways. The most important is knowing I will spend all eternity with Him in Heaven. The alternative is unthinkable. Anyone who has even had a glimpse at what hell is like could hardly prefer it, could they?

Another is the ability to live every day knowing that I am forgiven. If I had to spend time reliving the past, with my poor choices and blatant sinful disobedience, it might drive me crazy. Knowing my sins are forgiven and forgotten is extremely freeing. No longer do I have to wonder if they will be held against me one day. With Christ, I know they will not.

There is also a hope that is only in me because I have the comfort of the Holy Spirit living inside. The Bible calls it a peace that surpasses understanding. When troubles come, and they will come, I can rest in peace, knowing that I am being held with the hands that made the universe. What can come against me when I have that?

I pray all the time for my friends and family who are without Christ. I pray they will see His love and light through my life and the lives of others who are saved. I pray they will feel that tug in their heart to learn more. And, I pray they will respond to that tug, nudge, conviction with a decision to accept the gift of forgiveness and love that will completely transform their lives. They only need to accept the gift and have faith in Christ.

It seems so simple. It is a choice of faith. A decision of the heart. One with eternal implications. We are all going to die. When that happens, we will either spend eternity with God or apart from Him. His love for us is so great that He is willing to give us the desire of our hearts, even if that desire is eternity without Him. If we do not desire to accept His amazing gift of love through Jesus, He will honor the choice. The consequences of that choice should thoroughly be examined.

This passage from Acts says it about as plainly and simply as possible. There is only one who can save. His name is Jesus. I love my friend. And as much as I wish I could say or do something to help save her, only God can do that. God, and her heart. I pray that her heart is moved towards forgiveness and eternal life with Jesus. I pray that for all who are without.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Have you ever been doing something that you wholeheartedly know is the Lord’s will, only to find yourself feeling pangs of doubt, fear, or perhaps even jealousy or attack? It can make one wonder if they truly are doing God’s will. Let me assure you, you are.

Recently, I’ve experienced every one of these things. I know where God has put me and is using me for His purpose. But, sure enough, the attacks are coming. And, coming full on. When I surrendered everything to Him, He began to unveil avenues where I could be fruitful and glorify Him. One of those roads was in writing. People seemed genuinely blessed by some of the insights He has given and expressed through writing.

Even with this blessing, and the addition of a few doors of opportunity opening, I have experienced doubt and fear pretty regularly. And, lately, even bouts of jealousy and the feeling that I’m under attack.

Jealousy is ugly and I’ve had to confess it as the sin it is and beg Jesus to take it from me. I am genuinely excited about the opportunities that have come along for others, it’s just that nagging voice that whispers, why isn’t that you? Why them? I have had to stop and speak loudly to the enemy to back off.

The flip side to jealousy is doubt and fear. I’ve experienced that, also. When ideas don’t flow the way I hope or want, I can begin to wonder. When something I’ve prayed over time and time again doesn’t seem to change, I can begin to doubt and fear.

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul warns us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This is truly a fight that I cannot win on my own – nor was it ever intended that I attempt TO fight it on my own. Short of the armor of God, I am outnumbered, outwitted and destined to fail. However, WITH that armor and the mighty power that is only in the Lord, there is no battle I will lose.

The more we are in God’s will, the more the attacks will come. He’s got me right where He wants me and the enemy hates everything about it. My battles are far from over, but recognizing them for what they are helps take much of the leverage away. I can let go and let God.