Hateful Christians #sickofit

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In light of the horrible tragedy Rick and Kay Warren experienced this past weekend, I would like to say that I am shocked by some of the things being said by “Christians” on the internet.  But I’m not.

Appalled?  Yes.

Outraged?   Yes.

Angered?  Yes.

Shocked?  Not even remotely.

And that is also incredibly sad.

How it must grieve the heart of God when we dare to call ourselves by His Name, and then gleefully rip people to shreds instead of comforting and loving them.

It’s time for some of us “nice” Christians to get righteously angry.

If you can’t say anything comforting or helpful, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.

ESPECIALLY when you have NO IDEA what you are talking about.

Great blog posts this week from Beth Moore and Ann Voskamp say it much, much better than I can:

Sadness and Madness – Beth Moore

What Christians Need to Know About Mental Health – Ann Voskamp

 

An End in Sight | A New Beginning

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Over the past 10 months, I have been journaling my journey with God through divorce, heartbreak, and recovery on my blog.  I have learned a lot in the process, both about myself, my (soon-to-be) former spouse, my friends (both current and former), relationships in general, and – most importantly – my relationship with God.

In working through the initial aftermath, I was drawn to the book of Job, as well as these devotional books:

I felt like I could pick up any – if not all – of those books on a daily basis and hear God speaking directly to my heart.  And I blogged constantly as a way to get those truths inside of my own head and remind myself of who I was and who He was.

Since about the first of the year, however, I haven’t been blogging as often.  Lack of time has been one major factor.  But this morning I realized – as I was reading in a couple of the above devos – that I was no longer nodding my head and saying to myself “That is SO true. I believe that you can heal me like that.”  Instead, I was nodding my head and saying to myself “That is SO true.  THANK YOU for healing me like that.”

I need to look for some new reading material to reflect my newly discovered state of mind and spirit.

I’ve seen people who go through unwanted divorces that can NEVER get over it.  They walk around carrying guilt and shame – often laid on them by other “Christians” – and those things don’t belong to them.  The fact that the other party involved doesn’t own up to his part and his sin doesn’t mean that it’s my responsibility to do so for him.  Those things belong to him, and him alone.

It doesn’t mean that I was perfect or didn’t make mistakes, but I was willing to own up to those things and put in the effort needed to make a marriage work.  He wasn’t.  And that is, again, neither my fault nor my responsibility.

I will not allow the actions and sins of my former spouse to hold me captive or define who I am.  God defines me.  Period.

This past week – after almost a year – a court date was FINALLY set to finalize my divorce.  And that date is two days before what would have been my 17th wedding anniversary.  In roughly a couple hours on a Thursday morning, my marriage will end almost exactly 17 years to the day on which it began.

And I can unashamedly say that I. AM. OKAY. WITH. THAT.

Not because I ever wanted it, but because I know that God knew what was coming, and that He allowed it, and that it will – and has already been – ultimately for my good and His glory.  He will restore the years the locusts have eaten.  He does have plans to prosper me and not to harm me.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  And He has given me a glimpse of what can be.

I realize that I AM COMPLETELY READY FOR MY NEW BEGINNING.

In fact,  I can’t wait.  

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Sifted, Then Kneaded

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Jesus Calling – Sarah Young – October 20 – 22 (Emphasis mine.)

October 20

Lasting abundant life can be found in Me alone . . . . Let My Life shine through you, as you walk in the Light with Me.

Not in circumstances.  Not in people.  Not in money.  Not in anything this world has to offer.  Happiness, joy, abundant life – these things are found only in Him.

October 21

Ask my Spirit to increase your awareness of resentful feelings. Bring them boldly into the Light of My Presence, so that I can free you from them.

I’m so incredibly thankful that I can be real with Him.  He wants me to bring my junk to Him and stop carrying it around.  And, after years, I finally did.  It’s so sad to me now when I see people who refuse to let go of their junk.  He offers to take it from us, but we keep grasping onto it like with both hands like a hoarder afraid of losing a precious treasure.  And then we complain about who hard our lives are and how much we have suffered at the hands of others. Not letting go of junk leaves us full of anger, resentment, and self-pity.  Our junk doesn’t have to define us.   It doesn’t have to be who we are unless we LET it be who we are.  It’s JUNK.  Toss it and move on.

The ultimate solution to rebellious tendencies is submission to My authority over you. 

Jesus says, “Take MY yoke upon you.”  In order to do that, we have to take off whatever other yoke we are currently wearing.  And we all wear at least one.  Sometimes many, many more.  Past regrets.  Selfishness.  Anger.  Envy.  Bitterness.  Pride.  We can’t submit to Him if we are still letting something – or someone – else still lead us around by the nose.

The best response to losses or thwarted hope is praise: The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord. Remember that all good things – your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time – are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of My hand!

Amen.  But this is so much easier said than done.  I confess that, though I thought otherwise and deep down knew the day would eventually come, I was completely unprepared for what was taken away from me.  But I was prepared to hang on to Him.  He had been preparing me for “such a time as this” for years now.  I didn’t see it at the time.  But I can now as I look back.  And over the past few months, praising Him and worshiping Him and believing Him have brought healing in ways I never thought possible in the first initial moments of devastation.

October 22 – Entire entry.

No matter what your circumstances may be, you can find joy in My Presence.  On some days Joy is generously strewn along your life-path, glistening in the sunlight.  On days like that, being content is as simple as breathing the next breath or taking the next step.  Other days are overcast and gloomy; you feel the strain of the journey, which seems endless.  Dull gray rocks greet your gaze and cause your feet to ache.  Yet Joy is still attainable.  Search for it as for hidden treasure.

Begin by remembering that I have created this day; it is not a chance occurrence.  Recall that I am present with you whether you sense My Presence or not.  Then, start talking with Me about whatever is on your mind.  Rejoice in the fact that I understand you perfectly, and I know EXACTLY what you are experiencing.  As you continue communicating with Me, your mood will gradually lighten.  Awareness of My marvelous Companionship can infuse Joy into the grayest day.  (Psalm 21:6; Proverbs 2:4)

Praying God’s Word Day-By-Day – Beth Moore – (Emphasis mine.)

October 20

Lord, if You ever give Satan permission to sift me as wheat, I earnestly pray to be faithful to You and to emerge from the difficult season with a fresh ability to strengthen my brothers and sisters in Christ (Luke 22:31).

I have been sifted like wheat this year.  And not only sifted, but threshed, ground to a fine powder, and then sifted.  And I want for Him to be able to use this experience for His glory.  For that to happen, I have to be willing to put myself out there for people that need encouragement when going through similar trials.

October 21

Any kind of death is an invitation to resurrection life for a believer. Our Savior is the God of resurrection life.

We decide whether or not we accept the invitation.  We don’t have to.  We can choose to live in regret and defeat and focus on what has been lost – whether we are talking about a physical death, or the death of a relationship, dream, or hope.  God gives us free will.  We choose to either focus on Him and what He wants for our future, or we choose to focus on the past and what we can’t change.

Many people go through life wanting a chance for a fresh start.  A do-over.  The chance to be able to focus on what truly matters – to really live for God and work for His kingdom.  That is really all that truly matters.  That is our sole purpose for being here AT ALL.  I have been given that chance.  When faced with the choice to run toward God, deepen my relationship with Him, fully commit to His will, and receive all the blessing He has to offer me, how can I possibly long for the past when I was divided in my allegiance and had no depth in any relationship?

October 22 – Entire entry.

The deeper you and I are rooted in the unfailing love of God, the less we will sway when the winds of life blow harshly.

Father, You have warned me for my own good not to trust anything about my heart unless it is fully surrendered to You. My heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. I will never be able to understand it. You the Lord search the heart and examine the mind (Jeremiah 17:9-10).

Please help me to recognize that the primary target of deception is my heart. In other words, I must be careful not to trust feelings and emotions on their own. I must wear the breastplate of righteousness so that I will do the right thing even when I don’t feel the right thing.  In the meantime, I ask You, Lord, to knead the right kinds of feelings into my heart.

True!  TRUE!!  TRUE!!! TRUE!!!!  TRUE!!!!! 

If I could make this text blink in neon lights with sirens blaring in the background, I would.  Emotions lie.  I have seen it.  I have experienced it.  A heart not fully surrendered to God is a heart that will say “I’m just not happy. I think I need to be on my own.  I’m moving out.”  And then that heart will search for “happiness” in whatever the world dangles in front of it.

If you don’t love God, and know God, and guard your heart against deception, then you are like the man who built his house on the sand.  If you listen to your feelings and trust your emotions with no regard for the Word of God and His truths, then you will destroy your life, and possibly the lives of those around you.  And if you have claimed Christ and you still do this knowing better, then I would *really* not want to be you.

Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap, because the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit (Galatians 6:7-8).

I want my heart to be surrendered fully to Him so that I can stand firm when my emotions overwhelm me.  I want to know His Word so well that when I am experiencing anger or resentment or bitterness or hatred, I can speak His Word over those emotions and His Spirit can take back control and calm me.  His Word is living and active, and will knead my heart until it looks like His.  But I have to LET HIM IN.

And one final word of caution (courtesy of TobyMac) to all the other single women out there:  If you are dating or thinking about dating a guy, make sure his heart is fully surrendered to God, too.  If it isn’t, either get out now, or don’t go there to start with.  

Truth:  If he doesn’t love Jesus more than he loves himself, he will never be able to love YOU more than he loves himself.  

Always

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Jesus Calling – Sarah Young  (Emphasis mine.)

When you need comfort, I love to enfold you in My arms.  I enable you not only to feel comforted but also to be a channel through whom I comfort others.  Thus you are doubly blessed, because a living channel absorbs some of whatever flows through it.

My constant Companionship is the piece de resistance: the summit of salvation blessings.  No matter what losses you experience in your life, no one can take away this glorious gift.

(Psalm 34:4-6; Psalm 105:4; 2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Praying God’s Word Day-By-Day – Beth Moore – Entire entry. (Emphasis mine.)

Before we can even begin to give God’s love away, we’ve got to fully accept it and its power for ourselves.

Lord, I have the treasure of Your Holy Spirit in me, a simple jar of clay, to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from me (2 Cor. 4:7).  Lord, forgiving someone who has hurt me deeply is sometimes the way the power of the Holy Spirit is made most conspicuous in me.  Forgive through me, Jesus.  I am powerless without You.  Show what You can do through my vessel.  I offer myself to You for this authentic God-work.

Not by might nor by power, but by Your Spirit, Lord Almighty (Zech. 4:6), I will be able to forgive.  Your Word assures me that it is You who works in me to will and to act according to Your good purpose (Phil. 2:13).

I am grateful today that God can take any mess that we find ourselves in – whether of our own making or someone else’s – and use it for His glory and His kingdom if we let Him.  Being willing and able to be open with what I am going through has truly brought me tremendous blessings.  I have received comfort from people I never expected who have rallied around me.  I have met people who have become dear friends that I would never have met otherwise.  People who are REAL, who really live out their faith on a daily basis and don’t just talk about it once a week.

Being able to encourage and lift up others going through similar circumstances has given me a sense of purpose and brought some meaning to the inexplicable.  It has shown me that God has a plan for me even in this, and that He will use me if I am willing.  It has brought a sense of peace regarding the path I am now on.  That peace has helped in the process of forgiveness that I am going through regarding those who have hurt me so deeply.  And it is a process.  One that I am not sure will ever be truly complete until eternity.  But I am not living daily in anger, bitterness, and resentment.  Though I still experience moments of those emotions, they are moments, and do not define my life.

As I move toward discovering and embracing God’s will for my life, whatever that may end up being, I find it easier to accept that He has allowed, and to even focus on the many blessings that have come from it.  Because there are many.  And, honestly, if I were to make a list, the blessings would outnumber the disappointments.  I can’t change the past or the choices that others have made.  I can only keep my eyes on Him – the One who has told me to leave the past behind and follow Him ONLY.

But most of all, I can truly say with 100% certainty now that I am in love with my God.

I couldn’t say that before.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve been a believer for a long, long time.  And I’ve always loved God.  And I did all the things I was supposed to do, or at least I tried to.  But I wasn’t in love with Him.  I was never hungry for His Word and never wanted to truly chase after His will and His heart.

I read this post – Discovering the Absence of God – this morning, and Alistair describes my walk up to now perfectly and much more eloquently that I ever could.

But I have faced my inciting incident, and my moment of profound aloneless in suffering, and I discovered something HUGE.  Something radically life changing.

I wasn’t alone at all.

Everywhere I turned, He was showing Himself to me.

Showing His faithfulness.  Showing His strength.  Showing His compassion.  Showing His care and concern.  Showing His love.

Holding me up.  Holding me together.  Holding the pieces of my broken heart in His hands.

Enfolding me in His arms.

Mending my broken heart.

Showing that He. Sees.  Me.

Through circumstances.  Through friends, new and old.  Through complete strangers.

Always faithful.  Always trustworthy.  Always providing.  Always encouraging.  Always uplifting.  Always THERE.  

ALWAYS.

And I fell in love.

I’m crazy about my Jesus.

And He’s crazy about me.

Always has been.  

Always will be.

ALWAYS.

[youtube://youtu.be/yZB-9Z_FAfs]

Wholly and Fully

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Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day – Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

Any sacrifice we make in our quest for freedom will be wholly consumed and blessed by God.

Father, help me to clothe myself with the Lord Jesus Christ and not to think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Romans 12:1-2). I desperately need Your help to do this, Father! Teach me and help me!

Jesus Calling – Sarah Young 

Trust Me enough to let things happen without striving to predict or control them.  Relax, and refresh yourself in the Light of My everlasting Love. . . When you project yourself into the future, rehearsing what you will do or say, you are seeking to be self-sufficient: to be adequate without My help. . .

The alternative is to live fully in the present, depending on Me each moment. Rather than fearing your inadequacy, rejoice in My abundant supply. Train your mind to seek My help continually, even when you feel competent to handle something by yourself. Don’t divide your life into things you can do by yourself and things that require My help. Instead, learn to rely on Me in every situation. This discipline will enable you to enjoy life more and to face each day confidently.

God Gets It – Coffee with God – October 9th

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So thankful that God gave us His Word, especially the psalms, to show us that He created our emotions and He validates them.  Then He experienced them firsthand when He became one of us.  He understands the pain of betrayal and abandonment because He has experienced those things, too.  So glad that He offers a safe place to vent the ugly.

Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day – Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

If you’ve been rejected by someone you love, you’ll agree few injuries are more excruciating.  But God will not forsake you.

Merciful, compassionate God, even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.  But Lord, have mercy on me; raise me up.

Empower me to live a life pleasing to You, and my enemy will not be able to triumph over me.  Lord, as a New Testament believer, uphold me in Your integrity instead of my own and set me in Your presence forever (Psalm 41:9-12).

One of us can rout a thousand, because You, the Lord our God, fights for us, just as You promised.  Faithful God, help me to be very careful to love You, the Lord my God (Joshua 23:10-11).

Jesus Calling – Sarah Young 

My Strength – Coffee with God – September 30th

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Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day – Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

God has carefully and graciously allowed some of my fears to come true so I would discover I would NOT disintegrate. – Beth Moore

You, Christ, were despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  You were like one from whom men hide their faces.  You were despised, and we did not esteem You (Isa. 53:3).  You know EXACTLY how I feel, Lord.  I put my trust in You.

Jesus Calling – Sarah Young (emphasis mine)

I am perpetually with you, taking care of You.  That is the most important face of your existence.  I am not limited by time or space; My Presence with you is a forever-promise.  You need not fear the future, for I am already there. . . . Your future is in my hands; I release it to you day by day, moment by moment.  Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.

Holding on to Faith – Coffee with God – September 20th & 21st

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Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day – Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

September 20th

We don’t achieve victory once, then never have to bother with it again.  Desiring to be godly is the work of a lifetime. – Beth Moore

O Father, help me to fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience.  Please don’t let me be like some who have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.  (1 Timothy 1:18-19).

September 21st

We can’t believe God in our day-to-day challenges if we are not presently and actively in His Word. – Beth Moore

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My Deliverer – Coffee with God – September 18th

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Praying God’s Word Day-by-Day – Beth Moore (emphasis mine)

The reason most of our belief systems aren’t working is because they are big on systems and small on belief. – Beth Moore

Praise be to the Lord, to God my Savior, who daily bear my burdens.  My God is a God who saves – (Ps. 68:17, 19)

I have put the devil on alert.  He may make my life very difficult but he cannot make me quit, for I am one of God’s dear children. – Beth Moore

You, Father, are my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge, who subdues people under me (Ps. 144:2).

You alone are my rock and my salvation; You are my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and my honor depend on You; You are my mighty rock, my refuge (Ps. 62:6-7).

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Being Content in the Waiting – Coffee with God – September 11th

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Jesus Calling – Sarah Young  – entire entry because it is THAT important a message (emphasis mine)

Rejoice in Me always! No matter what is going on, you can rejoice in your Love-relationship with Me. This is the secret of being content in all circumstances. So many people dream of the day when they will finally be happy: when they are out of debt, when their children are out of trouble, when they have more leisure time, and so on.  While they daydream, their moments are trickling into the ground like precious balm spilling wastefully from overturned bottles.

Fantasizing about future happiness will never bring fulfillment, because fantasy is unreality. Even though I am invisible, I am far more Real than the world you see around you. My reality is eternal and unchanging. Bring your moments to Me and I will fill them with vibrant Joy.  Now is the time to receive My Presence

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