(Mom went to be with the LORD before I made it home again Nov 18th, 2010. Her last words to me were that she loved me over and over. I miss her dearly, her legacy to me was to love and be good to people. She was even searching the Scriptures the last week of her life to LOVE the LORD with all her heart and do what she could for Him)
God help all of us who sit on spiritual backsides complaining life is hard. I reposted this article which was written waiting to catch my plane back to Dallas Tx, March 21, 2009, to remind me not to waste my life on what might have been. GOD is my life and I am thankful for each beautiful day in my life experiencing HIM.
Subtracting the distractions and excuses from out of your life that subtract from you, in other words asking yourself a real question; what radical change do I need to make in my life that will position me where I need to be in Christ with those I love?
I was in a hurry to get to the airport to make my flight so I could hurry up and see my Mom before she passes away. There was a traffic jam because two other drivers in an obvious hurry slammed into each other. I made my flight and the stress of the traffic jam was totally unnecessary. As a matter of fact the entire rush of the weekend was totally unnecessary. We are so connected in this world but have no real connections. We have created a surface culture that stretches us from one extreme to another never offering substance, quality, and real relationships. You may stop here and think that this article is offering little substance. Well hang on a few more sentences and see if you identify.
I was looking at my Mom in the hospital bed. Here was a woman who was once your typical five foot two eyes of blue. My mom was a beautiful woman and my dad was handsome and stunning. Seeing her now at age seventy two was very hard. I knew other women at her age that were in much better shape. She was struggling to breathe without a machine to aid her breathing. She was trying to hang on to life as best she could but the hope of life as she had known it was gone. There would be no more days of walking unaided, without an oxygen tank, or without giving out more energy than she had to give. There would be no more steak dinners, movies, or simple sitting outside in the sun.
Life had been subtracting from her days each and every time she took a labored breath the deficit became more alarmingly clear. Her arms were all bruised black and blue from veins blowing. A simple finger stick left her bleeding for over an hour. Her face was worn, tired, and merely stretching over her slight skeletal frame. It was hard to see. What I want to write about is my glimpse of the future. Growing old isn’t always kind to us. We get to the end of our days and pay in our bodies and minds for the days gone by. I hope and pray I learned from this preview that there are things that matter, chiefly among them living well. Serving the LORD with your life!
The Law of Subtraction is merely that we need to subtract things that subtract from us as much as possible in our lives. Things that interfere with our walk and purpose in life, Christ life. We live at a staggering pace and once in a while we get a glimpse of reality. When a loved one is on their death bed we can learn from them what matters in this life. I can tell you it isn’t bank accounts, living status, or job recognition. No one on their death bed wants to get up and go trade more stocks, or be promoted one more time, or have just that one bigger house.
People near death talk about life surprisingly. They talk about those they love, good memories of times that might have been hard but are good. They regret the subtractions in life but do not talk about those.
I want to talk about them. I don’t want to sweep them under the rug. Let’s get them out and be real and honest with them. We are way beyond hypocritical here because we all know we “pretend” all is well when really all is not well and we are not well. We continually monitor all areas of our life and determine what is necessary and what is ok to let slide. Letting our spiritual wholeness slide has severe consequences. If it didn’t I wouldn’t be sitting in an airport on standby 30 hours to go back to a place I do not feel welcome to work in a city 1000 miles from my family and friends.
How do we slide spiritually? For me it was first and foremost all my fault. There is no one to blame but me. Let me say that clearly. I know people do the best they can but we use the “best we can” excuse for stupid reasons sometimes.
“ Well, I was just doing the best I could and I don’t know what more I can do, if you wanted perfection you should know I am not perfect.” Ugh, horrible excuse. Really, we are doing the best we can? I firmly believe GOD loves us unconditionally, and that as His sheep he will see to it that this little lamb finds her way. God put a plan in place the trumps my best on any day. My best is like filthy rags.
Yet to just say, “I am doing the best I can,” when really I should be saying I am doing nothing is how we slide. Doing nothing is stupid, because doing nothing is exactly what it sounds like. DOING NOTHING.
People say things like, my heart is broken and I am waiting on God to heal me one day so I can feel again. I am just destroyed right now so I know God understands why I just can’t deal with this. I have said those words!!!! I really meant them when I said them but I was so very wrong to think that way. I didn’t understand a lot that I know now though. Really can you imagine God is sitting in heaven healing you while you do nothing? Of course He can, but that would be really irresponsible on His part because that is not what His heart is for healing. The whole point of healing is to restore. If we are to just sit and do nothing, why did God go to all the trouble to spell out clearly in His Word that He wants to have an active even interactive relationship with us on an intimate level? If God waved a magic wand to each problem and made it all better what would we do? I will tell you what we would do. We would put expectations on God that would eventually lead to our disposing of the need for a relationship with him and change it to an addiction to Him based on our fleshly desires. Every time the fire gets a little hot we will just ask for our magic wand fix and suspend the suffering. We would never really get to know God because we would have our magic wand to provide for all our needs. Oh a few of us would be grateful but most would get the problem solved and move on to the next thing. Thank GOD for suffering and refining.
I am so glad God says in His Word to cry out to Him and to seek Him. What in your life is keeping you from Him and needs to be subtracted. We face this life from the vantage of victory not defeat. GOD has spoken on this clearly.
Psalm 34:19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;
Proverbs 2:7 He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless
Psalm 5:12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 16:11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Psalm 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Isaiah 30:18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Colossians 4:5-6 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
Romans 8:28 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.
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 15:5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus,
2 Corinthians 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Phillipians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Phillipians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.
Reposted from 2008 in honor of all God has called son who have fallen in this world but still are loved by a Father whose love is perfect. A Father who ran down that long road to meet them and said my son has come home again! Happy Father’s day Sir.
When GOD ran to me. Click here to listen
Luke 15:11-24 A
11And he said, A certain man had two sons:
12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.
13And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
16And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
17And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
19And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.
20And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
22But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
This story has a very significant meaning in my life. I did pack up all I had and run from GOD. I didn’t live riotously but I did waste my substance. I spent all I had physically, emotionally, and spiritually and was left desolate. For a season I lived beneath the calling GOD had placed in my life at salvation, the calling we all have to be salt and light to the world. You all know what I am talking about. I am talking about the kind of living we do waiting on living to happen. The kind of self absorbed reckoning with our lives at the cost of being right with GOD.
Whatever is in your life that is distracting you or keeping you from dealing with your “swine trough” is a stronghold. That swine trough could be pride that keeps you from forgiving someone, it could be doing a “work for the LORD” that is nowhere near God’s plan for your life. It could be a trough of indecision or the game of “waiting on the LORD” Where did GOD say to wait on him and do nothing while waiting? I see myself so much in the statements above. This prodigal got to the point he felt he was no longer worthy to be called his father’s son. Have you ever said these words? God I am not even sure I am saved and I doubt I am your child because I am here in my pig trough belly aching when I could be at your table. WAKE UP folks we can’t do this long and not feel like swine and degenerate despots. We can’t run from a holy and just GOD and feel nothing or expect no conviction. When we neglect to face our issues we create a reality that very far from real. Human nature can justify almost any action but there is a clear and true standard that answers most of our questions in dealing with almost any situation. That standard is God’s Word. Our hearts are wicked and will deceive every chance they get.
Can you imagine the scene? I am going to paint this picture for you in modern times using a modern situation. Imagine a woman coming down a long road after being ravaged by divorce from a 20 year first marriage when she had served God with all that she knew how. Then to be followed by a precious second relationship that failed because of disobedience to God’s Word. Finally to move out of her comfort zone to total devastation in a city far away from all she knows and loves. She has done all she can do and knows to do to try to make it in this world. Her heart is broken and she doesn’t even feel worthy to be a daughter of such a Father. A Father who she thought at one time considered her worthy to be His child. In her mind she is thinking any closeness I can have to Him even to be His servant on the outside of the family is better than what I have sought in the pleasures in this world. She feels unlovable, rejected, and torn to pieces. She feels no hope out there where the prince of the world is Satan. Her heart divides her each choice she makes because she is not whole, healed, or able to decide what is right anymore.
Slowly she begins to read about her Father’s love, care, compassion, sacrifice, and understands that is where it all should rest. She doesn’t place her confidence in those who pull you into the swine trough any longer. She is remembering as David often did in the Psalms of God’s goodness even when people you love make terrible mistakes that hurt you. She begins to read her Father’s Words with passion seeking jewels of his grace, guidance, mercy, love, and understanding as well as righteousness. Her head lifts and she prays earnestly to the only hope she has in this life. Father, I have sinned, I have taken your grace and disgraced so much with my life with fear, doubt, and directing my own steps. Her prayer is a long road, but she is not left journeying that distance alone. When the Father sees her heart is broken HE begins to run to her. As each prayer she prays indicates her total surrender His steps pick up even faster. He takes her to his chest and shouts to those around to begin to celebrate. He clothes her with his clothes, not the clothes she was wearing in the world. Her prayer ends where it should have began, in the arms of GOD. He restores her to the status that she had before she fell. He restores her to the heir and daughter she was.
The point of this story is of course that I am that woman. The other more important point is that through prayer and God’s word I was able to stop being her and by HIS grace learn my Father’s heart for me by His Word. I know folks tell you all the time to read the Word. We think a few minutes on Sunday when the preacher gives a message is enough to last all week. I am telling you not reading the WORD and praying daily is spiritually going to starve you and make you weak for hard times. Life is hard but GOD is good and we will lose sight of that if we neglect knowing Him intimately by reading the WORD. Begin today to know the heart of GOD by reading HIS love to you in written form and accepting His love demonstrated to you in the Cross of Christ. Email me if you want to know more. Blessings 🙂
Life doesn’t collapse over minutes and we can get to the point we feel as if our life has been turned inside out. There are many in this life who are living that way and who have gotten so discouraged they are resigned to the coffin waiting on the nails. They don’t have to live this way but choose to. All who give up do it by either deception of or leading by the flesh, the world or the enemy. No one cognitively thinks, let me pattern myself to fail. The result of all storms will be one of two things, they will develop or destroy you. The primary purpose of the storm is to glorify God and reveal his character so that you can trust safely in Him to guide and mold you. Sadly, I have been myself and seen folks who sit by allowing the storm to drown them. I would be there still if it weren’t for the Word of God and the great Shepherding of the LORD. I am keenly aware these days that a relationship with God requires the same kind of effort one does in the world. I have to be attentive and purposeful in it to stay close to Him.
We get all turned inside out when we have knowledge of GOD that raises questions and not intimacy with GOD that answers those questions. When a storm comes just knowing about GOD does not lend itself to trusting GOD. I know God parted a Red Sea but that fact doesn’t give me hope in a storm when I am up against the wall. I know God spoke to Moses from a burning bush, but that doesn’t comfort me when I need to hear something in the storm. I know that God is sovereign but that doesn’t satisfy my heart when life fails and seems out of control.
Now, this might seem heresy but let me continue. Knowing what GOD did in the past does not guarantee me anything if I don’t know His character and by intimacy know He will not violate that character. The character attributes of God reveal not only who He is but also who I am in Him. What does God’s Word really mean to us if when we are tested we crash and burn? There’s no strength in that, no power, and certainly no glory for the LORD. Just accumilating facts is meaningless if I don’t know a holy and just God’s moral and divine attributes. God’s character is what sustains his promises. Who he is determines what he does. It’s like going on a honeymoon with facts about your spouse but not your spouse. Check out the book of Habakkuk for a glimpse of God’s character and our response to Him.
Create In Me a Clean Heart by Keith Green click here to listen.
I love the passage of Scripture that this song is based on. Psalms 51 I think verse 4 stands out to me. As I write and try to share my story I try to say things that are generally uplifting but there are times when I have to be real looking at myself. It would be easy to always let you see victory in my life but then if you looked beyond the praise you would see a person who is different than you read here in this blog. I am living in Christ victoriously but also like everyone, I sin. This is one of those hard post because it’s me just as I am behind the praise. I am seeking God’s will and was convicted about sin.
David had sinned with Bathsheba and it was pointed out to him. Psalms 51 was written after his adultery had been revealed. I watched the anatomy of his confession and see in this deep understanding of God’s character. The focus is not the adultery but the fact that any action that crosses the threshold of temptation to violate a holy, just, and merciful God is indeed sin.
I would love to say I never sin but that in of itself would be a sin. I would love to say nothing ever gets me down but again that would be a lie and you are getting the gist of what I am saying. I can’t justify my actions. I have recently been dealing with something and had come to a couple of realizations. I will only delve into one here. I am being tested. What I want to deal with in this post is my sin and God’s will. This particular time of sin happened several years ago. I can’t say at the time I didn’t know I was sinning, I did. I was surviving by rationalizing my actions. I am not going to go into what I did because it really doesn’t matter. Disobedience to God is disobedience to God. With sin it’s a most sizes fit all proposition. The bottom line is my sin was against a just, holy, God who has redeemed my soul. Because I did it willingly I did not feel Godly sorrow over it. I thought it was heinous that I couldn’t feel repentant. I was basing my life on what I was seeing around me at the time and a lot of people were naming the name of Christ doing the same thing. Does that negate my responsibility? IN NO WAY! I knew better, and I sinned anyway. I recently have had to deal with my transgression and seek the LORD to create a clean heart in me. I really want to love and serve my LORD with my whole heart. I can’t do that with a heart that is not clean and receptive to His leading. Whatever I cling to, whether it be sin, relationships, past or future fear, all of it gets in the way of His plan. I see my relationship to Him as the most powerful love of my life. Sinning against Him hurts me in many ways and He is clear about my sin in His Word. You would have to see where he brought me from to understand why the love of Christ constrains me. I want you to know that you have to deal with things to grow and heal. I had confessed other things to GOD since this sin but not this one. I think pride was part of it, and also denial. When I moved to Dallas, God orchestrated a lot of things in my life to heal me and draw me close to Him. How could a gal who loves the LORD so much do something so bad? How could I be digging into Scripture and prayer and not have told GOD I was sorry for my wrong doing. Why didn’t it bother me daily, why am I now dealing with something that happened years ago. I think it was that I had to see myself as sinful as I was and because of all the brokenness, I couldn’t see it and take care of it. I spent time in prayer seeking the LORD about another matter when it hit me head on. I had sins that had never been addressed. I spent today reflecting, repenting, and receiving forgiveness. Why would I write that here? For sure it’s humbling, but at the same time, there may be a reader who is struggling, who has something in their past that they think is so far past that it doesn’t matter. Maybe a lot has happened to them and their life is hard and they think that there is so much packed way down there is no hope. I don’t know what your story is, but I do know the answer is always to take these things to God. To me today it mattered. First when I realized it I saw myself in need of the only GOD who can forgive sin. I ran to Him. Secondly, it showed me how fragile my life is and how carelessly I can be with it and days can turn into years. Thirdly, and this is the one that brings tears, I am more free by the Truth of God’s WORD that says who I am in CHRIST as I face who I was. Freedom in CHRIST is priceless. It can’t be bought or sold. His Truth sets us free and reveals His character so that we can grow more like Him. .. Wretched sinner that I can be from grace to glory to glory. I love HIM! I am in awe that only HE can take us from disgrace to grace.
Psalms 51: 1Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
(my daughter sent this email to me and I hope it encourages all who might read here.) I read this again today … what a priceless treasure.
I kinda understand what you are going through there at work. It’s hard to live in a secular environment, be criticized for faith, and still remain positive.
I hope I can encourage you with what I have learned here.
I now feel like I understand what is meant by “The Truth shall make you free.” I go to classes where no one believes in absolute Truth. I find though that it is not discouraging or limiting. It is freeing in the sense that I know the Truth, and regardless of what people think of me or believe about me falsely, I am free in Christ. I am free to be able to hold my beliefs regardless of what society says. I can see clearly how postmodernism has become a prison for people because they are trapped in trying to explain the world and events without fully understanding the whole picture.
I know you may not be experiencing this as I am. However, I think some themes here are similar. I know that no matter what happens that I am secure in my faith and in my God. I have Truth on my side. I have God on my side. I have security regardless of what happens with the economy or school in knowing that He will take care of me. These facts give me confidence. I feel that there is no reason to be sad or worried or fearful. Those aren’t from God. Those are things that come to attack us and make us think that God isn’t in control or on our side. I can’t explain enough how good it is to know I serve a BIG God, not a tiny one, a dead one, a confused one; but a GREAT BIG GOD that is all-powerful, and all-knowing. It gives me confidence and that is where I draw my strength.
I understand its hard to keep going in the face of adversity, especially at work or school where our lives are literally lived. However, God wants you to know that he supports you and is “keeping” you in his perfect Grace. He is BIG and can handle whatever people may say to you or do to you. Just live for Him and in light of His grace. He will take care of the rest.
I could go on and on here because I really get it now, but I hope that in some small way you can feel encouraged knowing that others are going through the same types of struggles, you are not alone, and regardless of what people are around you God is always there. He identifies with us in a way that no one else does. He asked Saul on the road to Damascus why he was perscuting Him. God said “ME” meaning that when people speak wrongly against you or bring evil against you they are essentially doing it to Him. That, I believe more than anything demonstrates our identity in Him.
When life gets hard, remember Who’s you are!
What do you really know?
My journey recently took a rabbit trail that I am working through. I am so thrilled with where I am headed in the LORD and very content in being able to trust Him for hard times. LORD willing each day has new mercies for me. Yet sometimes those storm moments come when you really have to have a firm foundation or other shipwrecked people will cause you to shipwreck as well. I truly know that as much as I love the LORD at any time I can be tempted and not look for the escape, or I can be tested and not retreat to my faith in GOD.
This rabbit trail is about my observation and understanding though limited of what I see from my perspective happening in people I know and love and at times past in my own life.
It you read the account of Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14, you find that he called out to Jesus in the midst of sinking in the storm. Jesus came out to the men in the storm but the storm didn’t cease just because Jesus came out on the water. The storm was no big deal to our Lord to be honest. He could walk in a storm just as he could walk on calm seas. What a great side thought there that ties to Psalms 139. Where can we go that the LORD can’t be? What safer place to have Him show up than in a storm? As a master teacher I can see Jesus heart in this to reveal the Father to them. This was a teaching moment about our faith. Is our faith in what we know or in who we know? What they knew was that it was stormy, someone or something was walking on water, and they had left Jesus on the shore. Their faith should have been looking for Jesus in the storm but they were looking at themselves.
One would have to ask when Jesus came out in the storm to them, why did they questioned who He was. Had they seen that many spirits walking on water to fearfully ask if this was a spirit? I doubt it. I think the phenomenon here was that the storm had them so distracted that they forgot who they were just with. Has that ever happened to me in my life! I watch it happen to others as well Biblical characters, Elijah coming to mind right away. We know the great mighty power of God that can save our soul, create the world, and do many miracles in the Bible. It’s amazing that when our “storm” -circumstances get just powerful enough- we forget who we trusted and who lives within us. The object of our faith wanes to the noise of our situation because as great as knowledge when it is all that we have then we come up short having a foundation that is as shakable as our own human reasoning. Solomon wrote about the folly of just having knowledge without obedience.
They had to ask who was out there and when Jesus answered it was him, Peter immediately switched to his faith and said if it’s you let me come out there. For a moment Peter forgot about the storm because his eyes were properly focused on the Lord. He walked out to the Lord, but the minute he lost focus as the wind kicked up he began to sink. I think the pivotal moment with Peter is when he began to sink he called out to Jesus. Who indicated that his faith was little. Oh, that we would fully rest and trust in what GOD has said and done before us in His Word.
Truth that sets us free is based on the object of our faith being the truth. It’s based on trusting and gaining experience in that trust through real intimacy with Christ and practical application of the WORD of God. Not having that relationship causes us to become confused in the storm. Just having knowledge without experiencing God’s faithfulness expressed by His character revealed in His WORD always undermines our walk. We look out over the boisterous water with vision that is filtered by our circumstances and not our faith. That causes us to shrink back, look around and shipwreck. The trust we have in the true Word of God engages us and moves us when life doesn’t make sense or is as we had hoped for. True faith will cause us to be constrained by the LOVE of Christ. The book of Timothy talks about unfeigned faith and shipwreck. The anatomy of a shipwreck is not pretty. When we shipwreck basically what happens is we are in a holding pattern. We are not effective in the kingdom any longer except as a poor example. We leave people behind who looked to us for leadership and light. We miss opportunities. We also sometimes resign our self to the wreckage thinking there is no way out. That is disastrous but there is an even more severely ugly type of shipwreck where we have watched the storm so much, we think we are in right standing with the LORD even though we are sidelined because of disobedience. I am reminded of Saul and David, both thought GOD was going to deliver the other into their hands. Yet, only one was correct. Saul was shipwrecked but all the while thinking he was A-OK.
What do we really know? For me, I have had to learn to trust GOD above what I feel, how I am treated by others, and regardless of what people I love do. When a person decides to choose something that is in disobedience to GOD, I have to get out of the way and let that be God’s problem. When it’s me, I have to as Peter did, call out to the only one who can save me. If Peter did not call out would he had of drowned? I think spiritually he would have. It breaks my heart to watch people drown spiritually. When it’s me I always suffer loss. Father GOD, we love you and praise you for your wonderful gift of grace by faith. Increase our faith and thank you for being a GOD whose character reveals why our faith is not in vain. Help us see you clearly to avoid being shipwrecked or to enjoy the privilege when dashed on the rocks of seeing GOD work even more of Himself through us. In Jesus name amen .
Thanks to Erika for a missing piece in this post. YES! all that comes in to our lives that provides an opportunity to grow is a good thing. What a mighty GOD that works these things in His plan. I am humbled by Him.
Written March 2010.
Losing my Mom was very difficult. She suffered her last days on this earth but always trusted the LORD knew best to heal her or take her home. My last conversation with her was so emotional. I did not make it to her bedside before she passed. She knew she was dying and said how much she loved me over and over. She also said to be good to people and love the LORD. As I went to her home to try to get things together after her death I was overwhelmed by the amount of medication she had. I can’t imagine taking that much medication in one day. For as many pills as she took there was no real relief to her suffering because the pills only masked or numbed the symptoms. They did not heal her. While I was home I tried to do some things but had been having a nagging back ache for a few weeks. There were things at my own home back in SC that needed to be taken care of. I managed to overdo it and return to Dallas with very intense pain in my lower back. Long story short after nursing it through the holidays I saw an internist who sent me to an surgeon. I had some inflamation in my spinal column that was pushing on nerves really creating havoc with my concentration and lifestyle. I was prescribed several pain relievers of different types to bombarde the inflamation. They worked for a while but again only masking the pain and not healing me. Something in my spine was misaligned and the meds just kept me from feeling it. When something is spritutally misaligned no amount of emotional medication will heal that. We fool ourselves thinking we are ok when we are running and numbing.
In midst of the grief and physical pain I was challenged to a very deep level by someone from my past that I loved. I had been praying for them for over a year so their sudden appearance seemed to be an answer to prayer. Unfortunately some answers sometimes are not what we prayed for.
This morning I couldn’t sleep thinking about what I am seeing them go through. I thought of this medication scenario when I thought of them. Physical medication that heals nothing does bring momentary comfort and alleviate our pain and suffering. Emotional medication damages us rather than brings comfort. It doesn’t let God’s intention for suffering and testing heal. What do I mean by emotional medication? I mean surrounding your life with things that numb your accountability to GOD and that fills your hours with distractions that keep you from change and God’s will. We hear about major addictions people turn to in order not to feel or deal, drugs, sex, money, and power.
What I am talking about is much more subtle. It’s in our minds and hearts and we have to be careful what and who we expose ourselves to or allow ourselves to become in bondage to. There are two approaches to truth it is either believed and demonstrated by our actions and changes us or dismissed and fills us with knowledge that is useless unless we change. In other words the power of truth is the response to it.
We can be blinded while we are medicating ourselves and it takes more and more to stuff out the noise of our soul’s cry to be free. Jesus came to set the captives free. Isaiah 61. Luke 4. We are going to be tried and tested in this life and much of it is orchestrated to reveal our character and mold us into Christlikeness which frees us. I try to be real about that and my reality isn’t always pretty, I have experienced alot in 49 years.
It grieves my heart watching someone I love ruin their testimony, wander in circles in the wilderness thinking shamefully that it is their plight. People outside of me and my bias who are watching them see it and are saddened as well. When you are being medicated this way by artificial worldy pleasures and pursuits, it’s hard to see it in your life. Your symptoms can be so masked that you really think you are ok even Godly. I was there the first years after my divorce. No one could speak to me and change my heart and mind. I spent hours with people who were broken and medicating themselves with my brokeness. That makes this all the more hard to watch. I have been there.
I have also learned to purposefully take care of my relationship with Christ. I try to keep myself surrounded people who love God and sometimes we pray for and talk about situations and circumstances in our lives being the body fitly joined together. I need the accountability and truth in love they share and I do likewise with them. The biggest change in my life is digging into the WORD of GOD and developing a real intimacy with Him.
I was having such a conversation with a Christian friend who is an author that deals with the subject of wilderness experiences, brokeness, and depression and victorious living in Christ beyond them. I asked him a question based on his experience with folks who resign themselves to “a hard life” who were burnt and spent and this was his answer about their future. I thought it put into words what I hadn’t been able to so far. This is to me what an emotionally medicated person looks like.
“[They] will either enter the rest of Christ and the reality of Christ or live as a wilderness christian with a deeply broken heart wandering around going nowhere in circles” , “pitiful lives with Christ in them and all you see in flesh”
“like the desert a vague memory they will be as a witness, a piece of sand blown away in the wind forgotten that Christ lives in them” ,”You are welcomed into the kingdom but boy a poor example, just like the Israelites, resigned to self-imposed poverty in the desert, and there you will die as a Christian”
“[It’s] so simple, the same faith that saved you is the same faith you live as a Christian. Christ in us living thru us but so hard to grasp”
“Thats what happens to wilderness Christians, you lose focus on the heart and build your ego up – [ ] and put a Christian label on it or you get attracted back to Egypt and live in sin. Build your ego up and make your Christian life attractive on the outside, but the inside is as dry as the desert and as dead as bones.”
This conversation was the result of my heart grieving my loved ones loss. I hate to see them lose. I heard it and felt it in their last contact with me. I hadn’t seen it as clearly as before. The bottom line is as much as I desire things be different, I am not this persons mom and certainly not the Holy Spirit. I can’t fix people. If I could they would be in worse shape anyway because I am not GOD. I have to stand back and get out of God’s way. I also am accountable to guard my heart and walk so as not to let someone be a stumbling block to me. The last underlined sentence gripped my heart the most, I am sure we all have had seasons like this somewhere in our walk. What is the answer? The truth is we all face things that challenge our lives, we come to those storms and are either developed or destroyed. It all depends not on the truth we know but the truth we believe. Is CHRIST not only able to save but able as HIS Word says to “keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day?” Everyone has their pivotal moment when they have to either trust GOD or wander in the wilderness. Challenges reveal our substance and character and most importantly what we believe and base our faith on. GOD will let us choose. GOD is sovereign but it’s always our choice to obey.