"One of the most effective life messages you have is birthed out of your deepest hurt. That which causes you pain, shame, and embarrassment - the part of your "journey" that you want left untold - will become the very tool God uses to powerfully heal others."
As Jesus spoke to the
multitude of people, He said things that didn’t make sense to their natural
mind.Much of it sounded quite bizarre;
leading some to think that He was a crazy man.At the conclusion of His talk, the Bible says:
“From this time many of His
disciples turned back and no longer followed Him."Do you also want to go
away?" Jesus asked the Twelve.Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the
words of eternal life.”
Notice that Peter doesn’t stop
there, but goes on to say, “Also we have come to BELIEVE and KNOW
that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”(John 6:66-69)
When we come to the
realization that Jesus IS who He says He is, we can fully trust Him
when He tells us something or directs us in a way that doesn’t make sense to
us.We can trust Him even when the
multitude mocks and when those who once followed Him walk away.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher
than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah
TRUST HIM!And trust that
His plans for you ARE good! (Jeremiah 29:11) :)
Seasons in our life have purpose and will only be productive if we work along with them... Every season has an end, but we can't rush it along and make it happen in our timing and in our way. Running out in shorts in the dead of winter doesn't change the season! We have to trust and cooperate with the ONE who is working for our good even in the hardest of circumstances. “He makes everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
When we wear shorts in the winter, we suffer the pain of freezing. Wearing a snowsuit in the summer, we face the agony of overheating. When we force ourselves into a season that is over, we suffer pain because God is no longer in that season. He is a NOW God... He heals the pain of the past, but He doesn't dwell there. Don't try thrusting yourself into the next season either. The current one is preparing you for it :)
Most of the Psalms were written during wilderness times; the Epistles, in prison. We can take comfort in knowing that when we are in the fire, God is about to use us in a mighty way.
"About Midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God..." In their darkest hour, they didn't forget God nor grow angry with Him. They knew from Whom their help came from and they knew their freedom was in their praise.
The rest of that Scripture states, "And the other prisoners were listening to them." Others are watching us as we endure life's storms.
"Suddenly there was an earthquake that shook the foundations of the jail. All the doors immediately flew open, and everyone's chains came off. "
May we be like Paul and Silas, confident that God will never forsake us even in the toughest of times. Our continual worship of Him will invoke His presence into our lives. Not only will it bring our freedom, but an open door to share the Gospel message to those who have watched our calm endurance.
(Acts 16:25-26, Philippians 4:4-7, 1 Peter 2:9, Hebrews 13:15)
"Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
It's an amazing concept that whatever we do to others, good or bad, we are doing to Jesus Himself. Verbal confession of our love for God is not a true measure of our relationship with Him.Our level of love and commitment are equivalent in how we treat others!
Are we kind or sharp tongued? Do we use our words to build up or tear down? Do we take time to listen to others or do we tune them out if we deem it irrelevant? Do we lay down our agenda to help or do we find that doing for others is an interruption to our lives? Do we have a cheerful heart when we serve or do we grumble and complain when it’s not accompanied with recognition? Are we quick to give when there is a need or do we hoard what we have?Do we understand that God blessed us in order to get His blessing to others or do we see it as our hard work and accomplishments for only us to enjoy? Are we selfless or selfish?
The Scriptures are clear that God takes an account of everything - down to EVERY idle word we speak! Is our day filled with encouraging words?We have only so much time in a day; only so many breaths before our lives on earth are over.What are we doing with them?How are we using our numbered breaths that we are so fortunate to still have?
We are expected to exercise self control even when we are offended or irritated by another's actions. Why? Because we have to, in order to be effective lights for Jesus in a dark world. We ultimately misrepresent and bring shame to His name when we choose unkindness and mistreatment of others. It's the love of God that leads men to repentance. If we can't love others with God's love, we cannot reach them for Christ.
I think it’s also important to remember, this doesn’t just apply to how we interact with our neighbors, co-workers, fellow church goers, or family we see on occasion.If we have any dose of self-control at all, that can be fairly simple.For those who are closest to us, it may not be as easy. However, the reality that how we treat them is how we are treating Jesus is still the same.The way we treat those living under the same roof affects them greatly.Our homes should be a safe haven of edification and peace.A place where our children, when they are grown, can look back and say, “That is my goal for my family.”Don’t create a life for them that leaves them with years of unraveling what childhood did to them.We as parents will give account one day for this.Did our actions draw our children to the hands of the Father or did their embittered spirits cause them to resist Him?We have to remember, our actions bring the reactions in our children, not our words.If our words and actions line up, this is healthy soil for our children to thrive.If we are telling them to love God and love others and our actions are not so, our actions trump our words.Woe to us who would cause them to stumble. Very scary thought, really. "After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love You.” “Then feed My lambs,” Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love You.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.”Jesus said, “Then feed My sheep."
Our actions mirror our hearts.Is there enough evidence in how we treat others to convict us of being true lovers of Jesus? Jesus is asking us the same thing, "Do you love Me?"
(Matthew 25:31-45, Matthew 12:36, Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 9:42, Genesis 12:1-3, 2 Cor. 9:8-12, 1 Cor. 13, Prov. 12:25, Prov. 19:17, Prov. 25:11, Eph. 4:32)
What is one thing that we
rarely see in ourselves, but it is clearly seen by others?
It takes a really hard
look and a sincere asking of God to shine a light on it (just like He had to do
with Paul on the Road to Damascus). It's a painful experience falling off of a
"high horse" and being blinded by the very light that frees us, but
the outcome far outweighs the temporal pain because...
Pride is a repellant for
a healthy relationship. Its very presence shuts those around us down. It sprays
out unspoken venom that says "You're inadequate and will never measure up to
my perfection. Your opinion does not matter. You will always be a little lower
than me. Don’t oppose my thoughts or I will reject or withhold from you.”
Prideful people won't
admit it, but they don't want to hear about someone else's success. It repulses
them. They choke on seeing anyone else succeed or possibly stand out brighter
than themselves. They can frequently talk about themselves and their
accomplishments but if someone else does "they are too into
themselves." When sharing about yourself or another person, one with pride
often will overtake the conversation by "one-upping" or somehow turning the conversation back to themselves where the
initial subject matter somehow vanishes. When others fail or struggle, pride is relentless and does not hold back its spear of judgement.
Prideful people belittle,
argue, always have an opposing argument (not allowing others the right to their
own opinions without snide remarks or looks of disgust), cause dissensions,
make light of other's pain, lack compassion, struggle with sincere apologies,
always an excuse for their wrongdoing, and silence is a rare act. (1Timothy
6:4, Proverbs 11:12)
Let's see what the Bible
1. It is an abomination to God; will not go unpunished (Proverbs
9. Clean in their own
eyes, but not God's (Proverbs 30:12)
10. Become fools (Romans
For the sake of your
reading time, I will stop there, but the Scriptures are seemingly endless on
the subject. Fact of the matter is, if we don't pay close attention and deal
with the pride in our lives, God will. Rather than having the very One we need
on our side, we place ourselves on His opposing team. Remember Lucifer? He was
cast out of God's presence because of what? His pride. God resists the proud. I
don't know about you, but I do not want Him pushing me but rather pulling me to
unteachable bubble we are encompassed in will ultimately kill everything around
us. The very one we exalted above others and their feelings will be all we are
left with (Proverbs 12:9). It's scriptural and it's no joking matter. Better to
humble ourselves than to be humbled by God. (Luke 14:11)
Father, our pride keeps us from hearing You. It keeps us from
learning. It keeps us from healthy relationships. It shuts others out. It
causes us to ignore the needs of others and become calloused to their
pains.It blinds us from seeing others
as You do. It makes us zero in on their wrongdoings and have a “they deserve it”
mentality. We fail to realize that we too deserve nothing in and of
ourselves, but because of Your mercy, you have blessed us anyway.
We choose today to humble ourselves, to compare ourselves to
Your perfection rather than to the accomplishments or lack thereof of
others.We want a true change in our
hearts, Lord… not a false humility where we get in the “ditch” and go the other
direction with a “Woe is me. I’m a worthless sinner.” We know that is not Your
will either. We can be confident in You and what You do through us as long as
it is never at the expense of hurting others or making light of what You are
doing in them as well. We need Your help, Lord. We submit to Your ways and ask
You to reveal to us when pride rears its ugly head. We want it completely
eradicated from our lives in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
"A person of humility willfully washes the feet of those who
chose the muddy path – remembering that they too have been washed." ~ets
Burdened by life's challenges. Overwhelmed by surrounding pressures. Moments of anxiety convincing you that "down" is the only direction your life will spiral...
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10 This Scripture, so simple and yet so difficult. It's hard for us to wrap our minds around surrendering what appears insurmountable to someone else. Our worry gives us a twisted sense of control and we can't fathom victory in our lives apart from our own efforts. I mean after all this is BIG stuff we're faced with, but all of the stress and loss of sleep isn't quite working for us, is it?
Part of the literal translation is "to let drop, let go, cease from striving, release." We need to drop our hands from fruitless, fleshly efforts, let go of the worry that torments our minds, tune out the other voices, and just release it to Him. KNOWING that He is God takes the pressure off of our shoulders to be in control, and allows Him to take over supernaturally. We need to get ourselves out of the way; lay back in His arms and know He's got this taken care of; that He only wants what's best for His child.
Yes, the giants in our life are big, but our Daddy is bigger!