Tag Archives: Stress

Our Reasonings Or God’s Secrets?

20 Jun

photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0There are differences in imaginations, reasonings and the secret things of God. Do you know the difference?

Dan 2:22-23   22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you. . .NIV

When adversity and/or great tribulation comes our way – suddenly and unexpected at times – our first reactions will speak loudly of what we believe about God and how much we trust Him.

2 Cor 10:3-5   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  NKJV

At times, circumstances arise for which we have no control and no knowledge of how to handle them or cope with them.  Our imaginations begin to run wild. We begin to let the events play over and over in our minds. We lose our composure and our emotions are completely unstable. Our peace goes out the window. Confusion sets in and we find it difficult to focus on any one thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful storm. The waves are high all around us, the water is rough and our boat is being tossed uncontrollably.  We have to do something, but what? This is where our reasoning comes in.

I found myself in similar circumstances recently.  I am a child of God. I serve Him and walk with Him daily.  I know His Word teaches me to keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Isa 26:33 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. NKJV

Keeping our minds stayed on God during trying times is a deliberate action on our part. It is not always an automatic response on our part.  Walking with God doesn’t come naturally to us, as does walking in the flesh. It always comes down to choice. It is never easy, as we determine what easy means. The difficulty lies in giving all of it to God. Easy to say, hard to do. The struggle within us is almost unbearable at times.  While God is telling us to be still and trust Him,  the turmoil within us is screaming for us to do something quickly!

Our faith and trust in God is tested in these life events.  As we walk with God, on a daily basis, constantly acknowledging Him and seeking Him, we being to be more aware of His presence. At times, we feel that He isn’t nearby, that He is far away and we are alone in our situation. The way we “feel” doesn’t determine the truth. Jesus IS the truth and He is THE WAY. What that means is HE is the one we focus on during these trying times. Only He can guide us to the answers we seek. As we begin to develop our relationship with Him and turn to Him in all things, from the smallest action to the most important, the faster we can  overcome our own reasonings and imaginations.

Ps 119:105-107  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. NIVP

119:108-109  108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.  NIV

Picture a lamp at your feet in the darkness. It lights up only a small portion of what is ahead of you. We can’t see what is ahead or around the corner. We can only see where the next step is. That is how to follow God daily; especially in the midst of trials and tribulations. We should grab our lamp and let God lead. Otherwise, we will stumble and fall in the darkness. Of course, we can get back up and stumble some more. Or, we can pick up God’s lamp (His Word, His guidance) and avoid the pitfalls.

God has the answers. He IS the solution. His timing is perfect. He knows the way we take.  He knows the pitfalls. Why not take His hand and “The Lamp” and let Him show us the way?

Merriam Webster’s Definition of “Reason” (ing)  

  1. a (1) :  the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :  intelligence (2) :  proper exercise of the mind (3) :  sanityb :  the sum of the intellectual powers

  2. 3archaic :  treatment that affords satisfaction

This is what faith is:

Heb 11:1  11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  NIV

As God’s children, we don’t live and walk by what we see. The circumstances can change. We can change our minds or make wrong decisions. God is the ONE who IS the Way.

When trials come (and they will)  God wants us to run to Him FIRST, not last. He alone knows what we should do. We can’t expect Him to bless our decisions if He is not in them.  He wants our love and our friendship.  Do we want it as much as He does? Or would we rather stumble around in the dark hoping we miss the pitfalls? He leaves the choice to us.

 

 

 

 

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We Are Becoming. . .

16 Jun

Yesterday at Church, God spoke to me through several statements made by the Pastor. One that gave me great comfort was that I am “becoming” – what God wants me to be. I was especially moved by that statement because for so much of my life I have felt as though I am not all God wants me to be. Sunday’s message jolted me out of a life-long belief that I am not doing enough to be all that God wants me to be! Of course not – I am becoming that person. It takes a lifetime. Wow! That is good news!

Sadly, some of us feel that we have arrived – meaning we have reached our destination. We feel we have earned the right to shut out everything that we don’t want to be bothered with. The truth is we never truly “arrive,” as the saying goes.

I’ve lived a good, long life, but I have not arrived. When I finish my work on this earth and depart for my life in eternity, I will have arrived in heaven. I will then still have eternity before me. I am becoming (growing, advancing, maturing). . .  I will never arrive! Awesome! I love that. What pressure it takes off me.

The majority of my life has been spent wanting to hurry up and get from point “A” to point “Z,” meaning – I didn’t enjoy a lot of the journey. I see more clearly now – it is about the journey – about becoming. I don’t have to get everything right all at one time. I get so frustrated with myself for not being all I should be (what I think I should be). God isn’t the one putting the pressure on me – I am the one putting the pressure on me! Jesus said:

  •  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NIV

I don’t want to use the fact that I am becoming as an excuse for being lax in the things I do. What I do want is to be a little kinder to myself and to remember Jesus told me clearly to come to Him to find the rest I need. He reminds me in Matthew 11 that He is gentle and humble in heart. He isn’t the one driving me and pusing me to the point of frustration and exhaustion. I am the one doing that. All He is asking of me is that I become the person He has destined me to be. I can do that with His help.

 

 

You May Have the Gift of Mercy If . . .

29 Jul

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (10)

Characteristics of the gift of MERCY (Part 2)

There are seven Spiritual Gifts mentioned in Romans:

Rom 12:3-8

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

  • They are able to sense genuine love – They can very quickly identify insincerity
  • They are vulnerable to deeper and more frequent hurts because of lack of love or rejection. John’s teachings and personal relationships illustrate that his primary focus was on love. He uses the word “love” more than any other disciple (Gospel of John; Epistles of John).
  • They seek deep friendships in which there is mutual commitment. John established a very close relationship with Christ and with Peter. He often refers to  himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved.”
  • They tend to react harshly when intimate friends are rejected. John and James asked Christ if they should call down fire from heaven and consume the Samaritans who rejected Christ (Luke 9:54.
  • They are more concerned about mental joy or distress than physical concerns. John wrote to give his readers “joy” – “fellowship” – “hope” – “confidence” – and to cast out “fear” and “torment” (I John 1:3, 4; 3:2, 4:18; 5:13-14)
  • They attract people who are having mental and emotional stress.  John’s deep understanding, love, and acceptance made it easy to understand why others would confide in him as Christ did during the last supper (John 13:23-26). Meeting physical needs proves love (I John 3:17)
  • They measure acceptance by physical closeness and quality time together.
    John sought out the closest place to Christ: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples (John 13:23). His need for closeness may have prompted his request to sit next to Christ in glory. (Mark 10:35-37)
  • They desire to remove the causes of hurts rather than look for benefits from them. John’s message was to get Christians to stop hating and hurting each other. (I John 3:11, 15)
  • They generally avoid decisions and firmness unless they will eliminate greater hurts. John was a follower until it came to denying Jesus; then was bold and decisive (Acts 4:13; 19-20)
  • They don’t keep score
  • They are attracted to outsiders – to show acceptance and kindness
  • They have lots of acquaintances and enjoy calling a lot of people friends
  • They empathize deeply with hurting people
  • They are compelled to provide some type of immediate aid to anyone who is hurting

In addition to what I have learned about Spiritual Gifts, I have also used material by the following:

  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritual Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice
  • David Francis

God Is Not Like Grandma, He’s Not Old Fashioned or Behind the Times!

7 Jun

Many of us don’t think much about the spiritual side of things. We believe we have our lives under control and we are ready for what comes our way. Conversely, we are experiencing more and more stress and frustration. We have been taught by the world around us that we need to be strong. We dare not let anyone see us as weak.

Perhaps our spiritual condition doesn’t seem like much of an issue. Some of us may even think that our spiritual lives are separate from our daily lives. Definitely not! We may try to keep it separate thinking it isn’t part of daily living. Besides, it’s not cool to be spiritual. Exactly the opposite is true. Our spiritual condition (our heart of hearts) is where our true character resides.

• Prov 16:9 “ In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” NIV

• Matt 15:18-20 “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart , and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.” NIV

The ways of God obviously are not the ways of man. If man had his way there would certainly be no suffering. It is imperative that we realize how much we need God every day with every step. We could not take another breath, or another step if He did not allow it. Whether we believe it to be true or not doesn’t matter. Our denial of God’s truth doesn’t invalidate it.

God is always with us, not just for our bedtime prayers, but as we get dressed, eat breakfast, drive to work, and in all else that we do. We can talk with Him at any time about any and every issue. It’s kind of like being at home with a loved one. We are busy in one room and they are busy in another. We know that we can call out to them at any time and they will answer. Only God is not in the other room, He is right with us – wherever we are.

Our conversations with God are not one way. He will speak to our hearts. He will take away our fears and direct us through our every concern, if we will allow Him to.

• John 10:26-27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” NIV

God has His own time-table. It most often does not agree with ours. He is not intimidated by our deadlines. Don’t think that just because He does not work like the high-speed internet that He is old-fashioned and out of date. To the contrary, His ways far exceed that. He created the universe out of nothing. He knew us before we were formed in our Mothers’ wombs. He can handle today’s technology. God is actually the one who gave knowledge to the creators of our technology. What? You think they did it on their own?

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new in the world. Technology was part of God’s plan from the beginning. Don’t think for a moment that we have moved on without Him. No, Friends, He is the one who made it all possible. He is not just our Grandma’s God. God’s miracles and ancient stories of the Bible didn’t stop when the Bible was made into a book with a cover. God is the reason we have progressed to where we are today.

• Eccl 1:9 “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” NIV

His ways are not outdated. He is the author and finisher or our faith and the reason that we are who we are. We need to recognize His authority. When we read the Scriptures we will find that events do not just happen on their own. God is the force behind them. He places people where He wants them and uses them according to His plan.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, still operates in our lives as it did in the lives of those ancient men and women of the Bible. They are not fictional like Winnie the Pooh or Alice in Wonderland. Rest assured you will not meet those characters in heaven one day. However; you will meet many of those ancient men and women of the Bible there. You will hear from their own lips of their awesome adventures.

God is just as real today as He was when all the events of the Bible took place. He walks with us, covers us like a shield. He goes before us, behind us, beside us. We cannot go anywhere that He is not there.

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