Christian Living · faith

The Greatest Victim

Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

I met a victim. Out of respect, I will be very vague.

This lady told me her hardships. And they were many. I have an empathic personality type. I feel things deeply and can sense where others around me are at. To my detriment…or perhaps just torture at times. I could sense her pain. It was so palpable. With utmost sensitivity, as I know abuse, trauma, and trials firsthand, I also sensed she was a “victim.” I didn’t know how to react at first.

You are not your mistakes nor are you defined by your struggles.

I just wanted to establish that first. We may experience mistreatment, but it doesn’t need to make us a victim per se. It doesn’t define us. But, at the same time, as this lady was talking to me I was thinking about what the Bible says. Yes, we’re more than conquerors per Romans 8:37. And of course Messiah (Yeshua/Jesus) is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords per Revelation 19:16. But He was also the greatest victim too. Think about that.

He was rejected and mistreated so many times. He was unfairly judged, slandered, abused, and murdered. Then there’s the disciples, prophets, and other believers who were rejected, abused, tortured, and killed too. I realize that there are wonderful promises of blessing in scripture. I believe poverty is a curse. However, this must be faced:

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted

Persecution will happen.

1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.

Trials will happen.

Luke 21:17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.

Being hated will happen.

Psalm 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Afflictions will happen.

Why?

We live in a fallen world. There’s a very real spiritual battle going on. But this too…

John 15:20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.

Bad stuff happens. Some experience it more than others, but all do-especially believers.

As this lady was talking I was conflicted. Because I have compassion, I felt her pain but realized as long as she defines herself by it she’ll never get better.

And I get it.

I’ve been there. Believe me. At some point you have to take the lemons and make the best lemonade you can with God’s help. We are judged by our faithfulness with what we’ve been given.

Today, I want to encourage you to look to the author and finisher of your faith, Jesus. He was a victim too. The greatest one. But He is not defined by it. You aren’t either. I know life is tough. You may have it worse than your neighbor. And you may not also. We don’t know all of what someone is going through and where they came from. Only God knows the entirety. If you remember nothing else I wrote in this blog, that’s OK as long as you receive this…

God loves you and what He says about you is what’s true. Your self worth doesn’t come from anything but Him. You won’t be whole until you get this.

I’m sorry you’re hurting. Abba is even more so. Jesus is a high priest who understands. Look to the greatest victim and see that He overcame and you can too.

Forward in faith.

Hebrews 4:16 ESV Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Isaiah 53:2-5 ESV For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Christian Living · faith

See His Image

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

I stumbled on an article about a photographer during the Holocaust. This man took over 40,000 photos, mostly of children, who would be killed in Auschwitz. For whatever reason, the Nazis liked to take jail-style pictures. When Allied forces were closing in and defeat was imminent, they tried to destroy evidence of their crimes. The photographer saved some negatives so history would see.

Soon after the war was over he tried to return to photography. But every flash of the camera brought another victim’s eyes of terror to mind. It was too haunting. Just too much.

The eyes reveal the soul.

I scrolled through some of the photos this man saved, capturing a snapshot in an absolutely horrific time in history. It’s difficult to do if you have any capacity for empathy. The eyes of the children are full of horror and pain. Every person was more than just the number they were assigned. Each boy and girl had a name. A favorite color. Preferred hobby. A family. Dreams. Hopes. A life. They were just as human as the ones who were stripping them of their humanity.

When I first saw this online I clicked out of it.

Too depressing. Nevermind.

I decided to go back. Why? Because, although we are too “think on these things” regarding what is true and lovely per Philippians 4:8, they were intended to be seen. That photographer saved these photos for a reason.

When we forget it, we repeat it.

Human nature doesn’t get more depraved and transparent than in war. There are those that take a stand, gently or boldly, to protest the evil. But, war sadly shows the ugliness of people when they are given tremendous power with no real accountability. Laws (fair and biblically based ones in particular) keep a society relatively civilized. When humanity is left godless and lawless, love grows cold and selfishness abounds.

The photo I included in this blog is a pile of glasses taken from the prisoners. Most of them were murdered or died of disease. Each pair were used by the eyes of someone to see. What did they see? Who were they? Only God knows.

As I’m writing this I am asking myself why I’m doing so. What am I trying to say? What should I say? How is the Ruach (Spirit) leading me here?

Take the time to really notice people.

Today, my encouragement to you is to really notice people. Look them in the eyes. Are they smiling but hurting inside? Do they seem brave but hide fear? This world is full of people with a story. Good stories. Bad stories. Their stories. And each one matters.

Some may look at the photo and see a pile of glasses. Similarly, as we live our lives and walk through crowds, some just see a sea of faces. But they are so much more. Each person is a soul, heading somewhere.

The greatest response I think someone can do to what I read and saw is this: remember that we are created in the image of God. Society wants us to see each other as accidents in a universe of chance. But we are so much more.

We do not live for ourselves. We are alive because God wills it. May we treat others with love and dignity, knowing we all will one day face the same Maker.

Revelation 21:1-4 ESV Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Christian Living · faith

400

Hebrews 10:23-24 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works

Today is my 400th blog. Actually, it is technically my 402nd as one was accidentally deleted and the other I chose to delete. Another I deleted but rewrote. But this is the 400th currently in my blog post list. It feels like a milestone. I’m not sure to what though. Perhaps it’s just a round, even number. In any case, a few initial thoughts are…

  • Do I really write that much? (I do)
  • Have I said anything meaningful that glorifies God?
  • Why am I doing this?

Why do I blog?

So many are blogging. I chose to enter the ocean of bloggers because of Hebrews 10:23-24. I desire to profess my hope and faith without wavering. God is faithful and this is my response to Him. Further, I desire to speak truth that will stir up others to love and good works. I want to make an impact (more properly said impression) and influence. The best way to do that is physically out and about in our world. My life doesn’t allow me to socialize and travel outside of the home as much as I’d like. So, I do what I can do. This is why you’re reading this right now.

This is also my “life verse”…

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound

There’s so many hurting people out there. It’s no different in churches. For much of my life I was one of them. I had deep wounds I carried around. I knew how to ache well. I didn’t realize that God wanted me healed and whole.

He wants us to be transparent and bring what we can to the table. That includes our giftings, talents, and who we are in personality. He redeems and refines us. He heals and restores. Tears down and rebuilds. As we move through life we meet others along the way who need something we have to give. And I want to faithfully give what I can.

400+

I don’t know how many more blogs I’ll write. But for as long as I do I pray that I faithfully say what the Spirit gives me. May those who need to hear the message see it and receive it.

Revelation, like healing, can’t be taught. It must be caught.

Today, I hope and pray that you will be diligent to seek God and share what He’s given you with others. Time is short. The harvest is many but the laborers are few.

Be a laborer. Make your days count. One day or day one? You decide.

Psalm 90:12 ESV So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Matthew 9:37-38 ESV Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Romans 12:4-8 ESV For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Christian Living · faith

Seeker, Avoider, Rejector

Jeremiah 26:8 And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die!

I have had an inner struggle, inner battle if you will, for a while. I know God has called me to communicate truth. All of us are on the journey of discovering what that is in life. God’s word is true. It’s rightly interpreting it that can take time. After all, I’m a 21st century “Gentile” woman (with Greek type thinking) processing words written in Hebrew thought.

But, I’ve learned a lesson fast.

Truth isn’t popular.

Scriptural truth, that is. Generic, worldly truth is fine. 2+2=4. Grass is green (when properly watered) and the sky is blue. Life is short. There’s bad in the world. But when it comes to how we are to perceive things and live our lives, that’s another ball game. The world’s mantra is to find “our truth” and walk that out. It’s relative to each person and how they believe and feel. It’s fluid. God’s truth is unchanging and, dare I say, rigid. It’s tough as nails to land on until we get out of the way. God’s truth isn’t about our comfort. Ouch.

His truth sets us free, but it’s not always a comfortable process.

Truth can hurt. A lot. It’s much easier to blame someone or something else than take a good, hard look at ourselves through the mirror of the Word.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

God’s word in essence shows us what we’re really made of. And it’s not good. We all fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23.) This cannot be demonstrated much better than in Jeremiah’s life.

I wouldn’t want to have been him. He had a hard message that was rejected. The people weren’t interested in truth. They didn’t want to give up their self centered, stubborn, rebellious ways. It was a satanic decree of “do as thou wilst.” And they sure did it well.

I’ve learned there are basically three types of people in life: the truth seeker, avoider, and rejector. One could argue the avoiders are rejectors in a passive sense. Some people seek and embrace truth. They are willing to humble themselves to learn and grow regardless of hardship or cost. Others out of fear (and masked pride) run from truth and those who speak it and live it. The mirror is too unpleasant to behold. The lie is prettier. Finally, there’s a group of folks that are in blatant pride and rebellion. They don’t want truth. Period. Deception is embraced. It’s all about living according to fleshly desires. No challenge is welcomed.

I’m still learning to discern the different types and recognize when truth is being rejected vs the delivery (when I speak and when others do.) The fact remains, truth isn’t often fun. Who wants to face the truth that they’re a hypocrite? Selfish? Prideful? Jealous? Bitter? Hateful? Enraged? Ignorant? Foolish? Bound?

Today, I want to challenge you to be a truth seeker and a truth communicator. Speak truth through your words and your actions. Live it out. Love God by obeying His commands, then love others. Realize there’s a cost and be willing to pay it. Remember…

Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Live to please the Creator. He’ll sort out the rest.

Jeremiah 26:8-15 ESV And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die! Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate, without inhabitant’?” And all the people gathered around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord.

When the officials of Judah heard these things, they came up from the king’s house to the house of the Lord and took their seat in the entry of the New Gate of the house of the Lord. Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death, because he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears.” Then Jeremiah spoke to all the officials and all the people, saying, “The Lord sent me to prophesy against this house and this city all the words you have heard.

Now therefore mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the Lord your God, and the Lord will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you. But as for me, behold, I am in your hands. Do with me as seems good and right to you. Only know for certain that if you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood upon yourselves and upon this city and its inhabitants, for in truth the Lord sent me to you to speak all these words in your ears.”

Christian Living · faith

Bearing Burdens, Not Issues

Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Ever heard this saying? If they can’t love you at your worst then they don’t deserve your best. I have many times. Many.

A meme with an exact or similar message has been shared what seems like countless times on social media. Each time I’d see it and think, “Yes! Absolutely. That person that wasn’t there for me doesn’t deserve me.” I felt empowered in some strange way. It was as if I was taking some sort of righteous relationship stance. And, of course we do have to give people some mercy.

We are called to bear one another’s burdens, not offenses or issues.

Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 13, Matthew 5 etc are not instructions to be a doormat. After all, bad company corrupts good character (see 1 Corinthians 15:33.) Light and darkness do not mix. There are some we are even instructed to shun, if it’s involving gross sin.

We cannot be a continuous jerk to those around us and expect to play the “love and forgiveness” card. Not regarding a relationship. We cannot live in blatant, unrepentant sin and expect others to just “love.” That isn’t scriptural.

My oldest son is low functioning autistic. His needs and behaviors are a huge stressor on my immediately family. My husband and I have battled depression and anxiety at times from it. There have been moments it has felt unbearable. People need people. We are supposed to be helping each other out as believers. Offering respite, a helping hand, prayer, or a shoulder to occasionally cry on is one thing. Expecting others to join in the depression struggle or take whatever lashing out we give is another.

Just because I’m struggling doesn’t mean those near me need to also.

This is something I’ve learned. Friends are not supposed to enable, they are supposed to support. If I’m not dealing with issues or sin I cannot expect others to simply keep on loving while in a relationship. There’s balance.

On another note, if somebody is mad at someone, it doesn’t mean I need to be also. If anything, we are to be peacemakers in a situation like that. We should be encouraging love, forgiveness, and reconciliation when possible. Yet how many take on another’s offense for the sake of being a good friend? It’s unscriptural.

Today, I want to challenge you in two ways. First, share burdens and ask for help when needed. But don’t expect those around you to struggle when you do. Yes, we weep when others weep. That doesn’t mean live in depression or encourage it because someone else is. It also doesn’t mean we drag another in our conflicts.

Second, use healthy boundaries. Know when you’re no longer supporting and just feeding the issue. There’s a difference between can’t and won’t. Support is helping someone who can’t, to can. Enabling is doing for someone else what they can and should do for themselves.

Love. Bear burdens, not issues.

Colossians 3:3-10, 12-15 ESV For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Christian Living · faith

Microwave People

Luke 17:17-18 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?”

When I saw the above picture online I couldn’t resist sharing it. At first it’s really funny. But then it hit me. This is how many people truly are. Last night I saw a great example of this.

The express healing.

I attended a revival meeting last night. Unusual for me in my life right now, I got there a little early. Just when the worship team was coming to start the service a couple sat by me. I could sense by body language and the Spirit that there were issues between them, together and respectively. About three minutes into the initial worship song the lady tapped me on my arm.

Does the speaker do healings?

I immediately sensed her anxiety and desperation.

Are you OK?

That was my response. She explained she gets muscle tremors and has anxiety issues. In addition, she found out she was pregnant with her first child. I told her that she is free to go up for prayer at any time as this minister is very approachable. However, prayer is usually done after worship and at the end of the service.

She seemed crushed.

Her boyfriend/husband left the sanctuary a couple of times. And she, due to a spirit of fear, was fidgeting. But I also sensed an impatience and irritation with having to wait. Sadly, right before there was an altar call for prayer, she left.

This situation brought the story of the ten lepers to mind in Luke 17. Long story short, all ten sought Jesus (Yeshua) for healing and received it. However, only one-a Samaritan-returned to thank Him. In response Jesus says this…

Luke 17:19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

I read a couple of commentaries on this passage and this one was striking for me.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers: Thy faith hath made thee whole.—The verb, elsewhere rendered, as in Luke 7:50, “hath saved thee,” is obviously used here so as to include both its higher and lower meanings. The nine had had sufficient faith for the restoration of the health of their body; his had gone further, and had given a new and purer life to his soul.

New and purer life to his soul.

Wow. This really struck deep in me. How many of us (myself included) want the gifts and blessings of God? Or we in general want something but for selfish, superficial motives? Like wanting a cake only to scrape off the icing, we seek the “microwave” answer. Something quick. Easy. Comfortable. Short term. We don’t want to actually get our skin in the game. We refuse to get wet, being satisfied with our toes touching the edge of the wave against the shore.

We don’t want it to be costly or inconvenient.

That one leper got a deeper revelation. He could receive the gift, or receive the gift and receive the giver. He is the Giver.

Today, I want to encourage you to seek God for who He is, not just what He does. We all have our needs and desires. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with going to Him in prayer about it. In fact, we should. Often. But the purpose of prayer is communication and relationship, not treating the Almighty like a Santa Claus.

I’m grieved for that woman who was struggling. I should have offered to pray with her. God hasn’t used me in healing in that way. But, I have the same Holy Spirit living in me. I regret I didn’t. However, at the same time, she didn’t receive (nor did the guy) because they wanted the gift, not the Giver.

God is interested in souls, ultimately. He doesn’t desire to heal or deliver someone so they can sin better. Perhaps that is what keeps some from receiving healing and deliverance.

Seek God to know Him more. When you put Him first, there’s a beautiful promise…

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Don’t be a microwave person. God isn’t in a hurry. Spend time in His presence. It’s worth it.

Luke 17:11-19 ESV On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”

And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Christian Living · faith

Sin Finds You Out

Numbers 32:23 But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

James 1:14-15 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The phrase I got in my spirit today was “sin baby.” I saw a picture of a woman who was pregnant, trying to hide her baby bump. For a few months, especially if it’s your first pregnancy, it’s rather easy. But, eventually, a woman starts showing. Her belly “pops” as some say. Her condition becomes obvious.

So is it spiritually speaking.

When I was a new believer in my teens, I attended a Pentecostal church. I was so new and ignorant to my new found faith. I didn’t know it then, but I’ve since learned the Holy Spirit speaks to me sometimes through discernment and words of knowledge.

An associate pastor that was well loved and one of the founding members used to really bother me. Everytime he’d speak I would feel uneasy. He seemed to say all of the right things. I really wanted to like him as his family was kind to me. And, he was a lefty like me. Yes, it’s a left handers thing.

But I had a continuous check in my spirit.

This man baptized me. Although there was peace and joy from that day, I couldn’t shake why it didn’t feel right. I left that church to attend another and, from there, I moved to Minnesota.

One day I got a call from a friend. She casually told me that the associate pastor was caught in an affair. He left his wife and I think seven children to pursue the adulterous relationship. This affair was hidden for a long time.

We can hide from people but we cannot hide from God.

I was shocked, but not. I remembered my uneasiness. That’s when I connected it. I don’t know what happened to him, but from what I’d heard last, he left the ministry. I hope he repented. Actually, I hope they both did. They hid it well. Eventually though (really in God’s mercy) the sin gets exposed.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Today, I want to ask you some loaded questions. Is there any sin you’re hiding from others? An addiction you’re ashamed of? A porn issue? Affair? Theft? Dishonesty? Lust? Coveting? Bitterness? Rage?

You can put on a great show, but God knows the condition of your heart. Sin eventually finds you out. Repent this moment.

Ultimately, you have a choice. You can bow your knee now or later*. But you will. When means everything.

*Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10.

Proverbs 13:9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Romans 6:23 ESV For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Hebrew 4:13 ESV And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Christian Living · faith

Getting What You Thought You Wanted

Numbers 11:19-20 You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”

Have you ever really wanted something? Intensely? Passionately? Perhaps wrongly? God put the concept of unanswered prayers (and answered prayers we regret) in my spirit.

Sometimes we want something or someone a lot. But, then we find out we didn’t (especially if we have to sin to obtain it.) Think Amnon raping Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13.) Or the people of Israel complaining for meat and getting quail “until it becomes loathsome” per Numbers 11:20. Then there’s Israel demanding a king and getting Saul (see 1 Samuel 8.) Adam and Eve. That fruit of knowledge isn’t that appetizing. And we’re all paying the price for it.

Sometimes getting what we want isn’t getting what we want.

There have been so many times in my life that I’ve desired something. I prayed earnestly that I’d marry a certain guy, birth the right children, have a preferred ministry position, receive a generous salary, stay a small dress size, live in the white picket fenced home etc etc. When I was younger I had it all laid out in my mind. My ideal life was mapped out in great detail.

Except one thing.

Nothing went according to plan.

When I was younger I flirted with this lesson. But, it didn’t stick with me until I was much older. In honesty-recently.

There was that one time in high school I had to have hair like Mariah Carey. The long, spiral curly version. It sort of looked OK at one stage. But basically, no. Just no. Oh that Cabbage Patch doll as a kid I desperately wanted but only played with for a few days. Looking back in hindsight, and at the present, I realize something.

God’s mercy and grace is shown in how He didn’t give me what I asked for. The times I got exactly what I wanted didn’t always turn out well.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

There are several examples in scripture of people getting what they asked for. Sometimes it turns out well, like Hannah having a son, Samuel. The folks who reached out to Jesus (Yeshua) for a miracle. Other times, as I listed above, not so much.

Abba can truly be trusted.

I know some of you have dreams and desires in your heart. You’re hurting because the wait has been so long. I know firsthand how difficult this is. But, God really does know best. There are details we cannot see that He can.

Today, I want to encourage you to trust God with your desires. As Psalm 37:4 says, when we delight in Him then He gives us the desires of our heart. Yes, it might be a different version. It may be in another season. We may have to wait. It might look nothing like we envisioned. But it will be good.

Getting what we want can be a curse. And getting what we don’t want can be…well…exactly what we really do. The Creator knows. Surrender to His plan.

2 Samuel 13:10-15 ESV Then Amnon said to Tamar, “Bring the food into the chamber, that I may eat from your hand.” And Tamar took the cakes she had made and brought them into the chamber to Amnon her brother. But when she brought them near him to eat, he took hold of her and said to her, “Come, lie with me, my sister.” She answered him, “No, my brother, do not violate me, for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this outrageous thing.

As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the outrageous fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.” But he would not listen to her, and being stronger than she, he violated her and lay with her. Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred, so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get up! Go!”

Numbers 11:18-20 ESV And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?”‘”

Christian Living · faith

It Matters

1 John 2:25 And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life.

I just found out last night that a Facebook friend, Vanessa, that I’ve known for a couple of years passed away. She had a rare form of breast cancer that spread rapidly. It was utterly gut wrenching to watch this young woman, with a loving husband and young children, physically fade. But what inspired me, and so many others, is how bright her spirit was. Her faith was strong and her heart was loving and giving. She loved YHVH with all of her being.

We never met in person. I don’t even remember who sent the friend request. But I appreciated the connection a lot. This morning, I’m thinking of the brevity of life, and what matters.

The little things are really big things.

There are so many out there that are lost and hurting. Some of us will get the-do I dare say or think it-privilege to see our departure on the horizon. But death can come suddenly. It doesn’t always give warning. I’ve experienced a lot of loss in my life and I can attest to this. Tomorrow isn’t promised.

So, I’m taking this circumstance, and Vanessa’s wonderful life, to challenge me. I am choosing to see God’s goodness whenever I can. I will call sin, sin. Eternity is on the line. I will love people with His love as best as I can. A love that died for us as we were but loves us too much to leave us as we are. He requires holiness. I will live it and encourage others to as well.

  • Show kindness
  • Be willing to get inconvenienced if really needed
  • Appreciate those in your life by saying and doing so
  • Tell them about Jesus (Yeshua)

Today, I’m challenging you and myself to not lose sight of eternity and what really matters. Each day is precious. I pray that we make the world a better place while we’re here, and impact those around us for the one to come.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.