Lord, Please Let Me Suffer!!
It is a great day to be called a Christian! One of my favorite passages is Eph 3:14-21. In v. 19 Paul prays for the church “to know (practically, through experience for ourselves) the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge (without experience)”
My thought today is I believe we only come to truly experience the love of Jesus when we are in a situation where we must call on him. In Phil 3:10 Paul says “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”.
This is a new and much higher and deeper level of faith for us to strive for. I am reluctant to even type what this means. The only way to truly experience the power that raised Jesus from the dead is to be in a situation where the only thing that can save you is to call on the power of God to save you. I am not there yet Bro. Paul, but I am in prayer that I will desire to say, “Lord please allow me to suffer so that I may have fellowship with Christ through my suffering”. WOW! My mind is blown. Hold on to yours today as we strive to please God today.
THE BEST LESSONS
Blessings to the Princesses of the kingdom of God,
The best lessons for me are the ones that God reveals specifically to me for me that are applied to just my situation. These lessons are impactful and life changing. Sometimes it is nothing new just something that hits home at the right moment for me. So here is my personal lesson from God this week:
In every situation that worries you or burdens you or causes any negative thinking, learn to pray for and seek a godly purpose in your struggle. For years I viewed a certain person’s judgmental, often negative view of others as a reason to resist this person. Then God brought to my mind the godly thought of, “I must be an example of how to overlook the faults of others and just love them. I must be the example of how to forgive often and love unconditionally. I must be the example of how to risk being hurt again and again and again in order to save the souls of others who we are quick to judge.
This new approach has brought peace to a long relationship filled with resistance to draw near due to this person’s attitudes. Now I can draw near knowing God has a spiritual purpose for this relationship to continue.
Hallelujah! Thank you Lord for love me enough to teach me
1 John 4:7-12
7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
It is very easy to say we love each other. But if our love does not look like God’s love we are not truly loving. God’s love is a willingness to sacrifice everything not because we are worthy but because he can do nothing less. When we love sacrificially God’s love is made complete in us. We must be willing to ignore and sacrifice our human feelings that get hurt, that judges if others are worthy of our love, and love, love, love each other until it hurts – that’s what God did.
PUT ON YOUR HELMET!
I Thessalonians 5:8
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.
A breastplate is a piece of armor intended to protect your heart because a shot to the heart will kill you. In the same way faith and love protects our spiritual heart from being killed. When those outside of Christ become bitter, angry, envious, covetous, suspicious, hateful, and every other negative attribute you can think of, we as Christians ought to be avoiding these negative attributes from killing our spirit by focusing on loving, loving, loving, loving. Our response to those who want to steal our joy is, “I love you”. Our response to those who hate us is, “I love you”. As the little boy in the Indiana Jones movie said, “Protect your heart”.
A helmet protects your head because damage to the head can also kill you. Hope of salvation is what protects our mind. When situations become devastatingly incomprehensible, remember our hope is in the promises of God not man. Our home is in heaven with the Lord not the earth that is not meant to last forever.
WHAT IS JOY?
James 1:2-4 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Joy is not a natural response in times of trouble. I don’t know anyone who says, “Yay, I’m losing my job today”. “Yay, we are being evicted”, “Yay my mother just had a heart attack”. But James tells us to have GREAT joy when troubles arise. This takes a lot of will power to turn your mind from the fear, anguish, sadness that it wants to focus on and consider this situation a joy. Some may say this is so impossible I will not even try! So what is Paul talking about? It is not saying that we must respond with joy when troubles come. Verse 3 says we must recognize that this trouble is an opportunity to exercise our faith, and exercising our faith ought to produce joy. The conclusion I see is that we have to change our definition of joy from “Everything is right in our world, to everything is right in our spirit”. WOW! We have a lot of work to do. May God bless you to find this joy on your journey
Dare to Be Different
Ex 33:16 How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
It is the presence of God within that sets God’s people apart from the rest of the world. As Christians we MUST be different from the world. This difference goes beyond being a morally good person. It means standing up for Godly principles when others stand on societal or personal principles. It means risking loss of comfort, friends, status etc in order to gain God’s blessings, grace, and mercy. The presence of good things in your life does not automatically mean blessings from God.
This Christian journey is quite interesting, exhilarating, bumpy, difficult, and joyous. The more I walk on this path that I have chosen for myself the more I realize it will always be all of the above adjectives. I am learning to accept the difficulties and bumps as normal and expected. If your journey has no bumps then you are probably on the wrong path. Therefore, the joy cannot come from a bumpless path, the joy comes from knowing I am not on this path all by myself but I have my sisters (and brothers) who understand and are walking the same path with me. The most joy comes from knowing God is watching and waiting and helping each of us every step of the way. Where ever you are in your journey I pray that you find comfort knowing you are not alone (even though sometimes it feels that way).
Time for God
Now that I am extremely busy with interning, school, family, and church, God has given me the opportunity to experience what many of you experience year in and year out. I am experiencing the struggle to keep God first. If we are not careful all of our other daily responsibilities will seem to push God further and further down the list of priorities. I am learning that I must fight to keep God in His rightful place in my life as the Head, number one, and the headliner of my life. I used to have the luxury of studying my Bible at length whenever I desired. Now, I must carve out time at lunch to get in some Word. I listen to sermons driving in to work, and I sing praises driving home. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray, and remind me to make a daily gratitude list (just because I get the reminder does not mean I always do it). Without these conscious efforts I fear I would not think of God at all until Sunday when it is time to worship again. With this frame of reference my insights from studying all seem to revolve around the fact that there are many acts throughout the day that give God glory. Today I read II Cor 9. Although this chapter speaks of financial giving, I thought any giving of self will receive the same blessings. The Bible says the more you give, the more God gives so that you can continue giving. I believe this applies to anything that you give. The more time you give, the more God seems to give you time to take care of your responsibilities. So take time out to show some love and concern to someone else. The more love you give, the more love seems to come back to you. So I encourage us all to continue looking for ways to give of self even with our busy schedules, and I believe God will continue blessing you with all that you need to continue blessing others.
My Grace is Sufficient for You
II Cor 12:9 My grace is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.
This got me wondering when do I see God’s power most in my life? What are my weaknesses that I know I need to rely on God’s power to overshadow my weakness? Here is my list:
1. Self-doubt – when I look to God’s power I am reassured that God loves me, He wants the best for me, and doubt in self does not mean doubt in God
2. Insensitivity to the feelings of others – taking this to God in prayer, God is bringing this issue to the forefront of my mind when it occurs so that I can make mid-course corrections
3. Overemotional – I am comforted knowing God is handling the situations that I am emotional about, and this brings me comfort
4. Fear of rejection when evangelizing – God’s power has always stepped in to make the rejection very polite and tolerable
This is something for us all to consider. You might be surprised, as I was, to recognize how God is compensating for your weaknesses – another reason to give Him praise. I would love to hear what you come up with
REAL WALK #4
What are we saying to ourselves that allows us to ignore the mission God has given us to; evangelize the world? How do we justify focusing more on what we want than on what He wants? First, I believe we convince ourselves that, “God understands”. This may be true, however, we should “understand” when our blessings dry up whether they be physical or spiritual. Second, we allow fear to stop us at every turn with thoughts like, “They go to their own church”, or, “I can tell they won’t be interested”. Both of these thoughts are from Satan who smiles whenever we turn away from the Holy Spirit who guides us and instead turns toward Satan who hinders us. Choose ye this day whom you will serve……. Joshua 24:15