Walking in Humility

walkinhumility…”God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all you anxiety on him because he cares for you.
(1 Peter 5: 5b-7)

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”Proverbs 11:2

As I read these verses once again I see something different, especially in light of what C.J. Mahaney writes in his book Humility: True Greatness When we humble ourselves each morning by casting our cares on the Lord,we will start the day free of care. The humble are genuinely care free. I’ve discovered how true that is about myself and my soul. Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I’m experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God.”

I am to walk in humility.

Peter says “humble yourself under God’s mighty hand.” Wouldn’t that stand to reason then that I need to accept what God gives me? Even the pain I’m presently experiencing? After all, my current struggles have not caught God by surprise. He ordained them.

Often when hard circumstances come I ask why? Why me? Why this? I search for an answer. Could it not be in order to HUMBLE me? There is always a reason God allows painful circumstances in my life. Could it be to teach me to be totally dependent on Him?  Could the hard things be to teach me “…to need him, and in the end to give glory to Him with an ever deepening appreciation for the mighty hand of God” ?(Mahaney)

I do not need to know the path ahead in order to trust Him. If I walk in humble dependence in His purposes wouldn’t it be possible then to walk with joy no matter where the path ahead may lead?

What if I could come to the point that I can acknowledged my complete lack of ability to control anything in my life and then accept what ever the hand of God brings me? If I could recognize my total dependence on God. Then walk daily in that dependence, allowing God to have free access to my life.

How can I get to a place of joyful humility? I think beyond our admitting our dependence on God we need to have an attitude of humility. I need to purposefully remind myself each morning that God will take care of me. He has a plan and a reason for everything that comes my way. I need not worry or e anxious about my life. I need to trust Him each moment with my life regardless of what happens. Then in the afternoon I need to remind myself again …and again. It’s a constant act of placing myself in the mighty hands of God and then TRUSTING He WILL take care of me. I need to trust Him with every detail of my life knowing that He knows the number of my days and He desires my good in all things.

No, it’s not easy. I do not mean to make it sound easy. We so often want to see the road ahead first then we will trust. But then, that is not trust is it? We need to have the faith of a child that places her hand in the hand of her Father and just walks along with Him not matter how scary the road looks. That child knows she can trust her Father.

Oh God I do desire to get to that place where I can be free of worry about the road ahead . To  be completely dependent on you. Father, forgive me of my pride that says “I know better”. Forgive me for thinking that somehow by worrying that I am going to have answers to fix my problems. God help me to be TOTALLY dependent on you this day…this moment. Help me to walk in true humility where I do not need all the answers to life’s circumstances, I do not need to see the road ahead. Help me to trust in Your goodness to me. Help me to walk in the joy of Your purposes regardless of what the road entails. Amen.

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When I am Weak, He Is Strong

I wrote the below post in 2012 on Quiet Reflections and it’s received almost 20,000 hits so I thought I would repost it here. It’s a message that I often need reminding of and I am sure we all do. I currently find myself in a place, due to a concussion, unable to concentrate, read, or bare loud sounds or bright lights so I am clinging to these truths anew. For my Savior is strong when I am weak.

Have you ever had those days when you are just tired?Tired of fighting the flesh? Tired of trying to be who you are suppose to be? Tired of fighting the lies of the enemy?Tired of fighting wrong emotions and feelings?

It’s where I have been for a couple days now. My emotions are just all over the place. Sometimes I can allow my feelings, thoughts and life seem like a tangled mess.

And try as I might I just can’t seem to untangle the mess of emotions. It’s exhausting trying to sort out what I am suppose to feel, what is normal, what is not.

kittenmessI am suppose to be a big girl and have all this figured out. Right? Or is that another lie? Am I suppose to ask for help? But who do I ask? Who would understand? Who would really be available to sit and listen? And NOT think I was totally losing it! Who could I talk to that would know it’s just a moment. They would give me grace and allow me a few minutes to talk out loud and then I’ll be fine.

Currently, the lies in my head say I have no one. No one that is but Jesus. (I do KNOW deep in my heart that this is another lie. Our emotions often DO lie to us!) But still I wonder, shouldn’t Jesus be enough? I mean, He IS enough. He IS all I need. He’s the only one I am suppose to really need. Right?

Why then does this place feel like a place of such loneliness? Is this yet another lie? Another attempt of the enemy to try and wedge discontent between me and my God? To create a distance between me and those God has placed in my life to journey with?

It all makes me tired and it’s exhausting….and I just want to go home. To my Father.

I am tired of the enemies constant knocking on the door of my mind.

Then it hits me…

The selfishness of the flesh that cries out to be noticed, to be fed. Yes I am weary of the constant onslaught of what seems like the constant battles of my mind. Wrong thinking. Emotions that want to be given into. Emotions that cry out to be felt. But they are lies that FEEL like truth.

I am weary because for this moment I have forgotten. I have forgotten truth. The truth that I know, believe and trust in.

I do not fight alone.

I have forgotten to be diligent about putting on the armor of God so that I can fight against the powers of this dark world. The evil forces of this world do not let up, they desire to destroy me.

I have forgotten that I need to stand firm with the belt of truth buckled tightly around my waist. Never should I be without it.

I have forgotten that I am to take my shield of faith up daily against the flaming arrows of the evil one.

I have forgotten that I do not fight alone but in the power of the Lord and in His mighty power.

I have forgotten that when I am weak HE IS strong. I can run to Him and find rest, even in the midst of my struggles.

Paul reminds the Ephesians in chapter 6 that they are in a battle. They are to be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. He tells them that in order to take a stand against the devils schemes they need the armor of God. They need to stand firm, be alert, and always praying.

I need the armor of God. I need to pray. I need to stand strong in His mighty power.

And then in Paul’s final sentences he tells the Ephesians that he is going to send Tychicus so that they might be encouraged. Don’t you love it?

Paul reminds them that yes, they ARE to stand firm, they ARE to wear the armor of God, they ARE to be alert and pray BUT he knows they also need the encouragement of others.

We need our brothers and sisters who can come along and encourage us when we become battle weary. To strengthen us and pray with and for us.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:9-10

Oh precious Father, thank you for these words of reminder. Thank you for helping me through this moment. Father forgive me for my forgetfulness and selfishness. Help me to lean on You and allow You to bring other’s into my life to encourage me. Help me to remember I don’t always have to be strong, have it all together or be perfect. For in my weaknesses You can show Your strength, Your power and Your grace.

(Note: I actually wrote this weeks ago and never posted it. But I want to be transparent, knowing that we all have the same crazy emotions at times. But we must not stay there and allow the enemy or our flesh to take us to a place that causes us to sink further into a pit. We must run to the Word of truth, Pray, and seek out one another for encouragement when we just can’t seem to hear the truth on our own. So if you find yourself currently in a pit you can’t get of feel free to email me!)

A Thankful list for Thanksgiving

TENDER – He is tender and compassionate toward us.

stockvault-grungy-vintage-paper133316He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.(Ps 103:4)

The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. (Ps 103:13)

God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus. (Phil 1:8)

HEAVEN – It’s our Home!!

For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down when we die and leave these bodies we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands. (2Co 5:1)

For this world is not our home; we are looking forward to our city in heaven, which is yet to come. (Heb 13:14)

AMAZING – a word that describes all that God does!

Then everyone will stand in awe, proclaiming the mighty acts of God, realizing all the amazing things he does.(Ps 64:9)

How amazing are the deeds of the LORD! All who delight in him should ponder them. (Ps 111:2)

Yes, the LORD has done amazing things for us! What joy!(Ps 126:3)

NAILS – It is His nail pierced hands that show what He did for us.

Then they nailed him to the cross… (Mark 15:24a)

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. (Gal 5:24)

So this is the point: The law no longer holds you in its power, because you died to its power when you died with Christ on the cross. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, you can produce good fruit, that is, good deeds for God. (Rom 7:4)

KING – He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

For at the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of kings and Lord of lords. (1Tim 6:15)

On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords. (Rev 19:16)

FAITHFULNESS – God showed His faithfulness through Jesus Christ.

So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father. (John 1:14)

For the law was given through Moses; God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17)

UNITED– We have been united with Christ.

Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was.(Rom 6:5)

And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have been made like him. (Gal 3:27)

LOVE – He loves us!!

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul.(Ps 31:7)

Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! (Ps 63:3)

Others died that you might live. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you. (Is 43:4)

 

Verses are quoted from the New Living Translation

Come to Jesus

I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD. How blessed is the man who has made the LORD his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.Psalms 40:1-5

Praise-06-782013_thumb.jpgOh Father I know that I have not always been patient in this process of healing. But you have heard my cries, and in your own time you have continued to work through the “all things” and set my feet on the Rock! You have helped me climb out of the pit, and you’ve dragged me out of the miry clay.

Jesus I praise you!

I worship Your name, for you have rescued those who are brokenhearted. You have healed the broken, the wounded and the hurting. I will trust in You and not fear. I will not give the enemy any more power over my thoughts. I will no longer believe his lies, for now I know truth. Oh God the works that you have performed in my heart are truly amazing. You’ve reached down, held me in your arms, healed my brokenness…nothing compares to Your healing touch!

I praise You with a new song!

My dear precious sisters Jesus can heal all your brokenness. He came to set you free from the bondage of your past hurts.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners. Is 61:1

He will rebuild that which was ruined. He will repair that which was broken. He will restore that which has been desolate for generations.

Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations. (Is 61:4)

My precious sisters – Come to Jesus for healing….

Seasons of Change

 

seasonsChange. It’s apart of life. Change comes whether we desire it or not. There are times we long for it, and yet other times we beg for things to stay the same.

Change can bring heartache, but it can also bring joy.

As I reflect over the last 50 plus years I recount all the seasons of change in my life.

There have been times of Spring when my life seemed to be a time of awakening. A sense of newness. Freshness. I love spring when things that once seemed dead begin to come to life again.

Times of Summer when there was much joy, sunshine and laughter. A time of soaking in all the blessing in my life. The blessings of creating memories with family and friends.

Then there have been times things seemed to begin to die. In the dying I could see such beautiful colors of my life. I think the seasons of autumn are times of great change. Hard changes. Beautiful changes. Those changes that need to be in order to grow.

Nothing though is as hard as the seasons in my life that were dead, cold and bitter. Winter is always the hardest. With very little sunshine, warmth or visible signs of life. These are the times I have felt I would just die. Times when it seemed I was forgotten, alone and left for dead inside.

But what I didn’t know during much of the time spent in winter is that inside, deep inside, everything was growing, changing and preparing to break forth into something new. Something beautiful.

The seasons of our lives come and go. Each one brings changes. As I look back I realize I have survived many changes. I have endured many seasons.

As I sit before the Lord today and reflect over my life I am fully aware that change is coming. Again. The beauty of it is that every season before hand has prepared me for the season I am about to enter. God never takes us through a change without preparing us before hand.

I feel it, God is working and the season is about to change. I wonder, what season we are about to enter? I wonder where we are going? What is God doing?

I have been living through winter and unlike the seasons of the earth life seasons do not always follow a certain order. So I don’t know what season is coming but it matters not, for as I look back I KNOW, that God is always there working in me, changing me, molding me, refining me to be more like Him.

What about you? Think back over the seasons of your life. Do you see God in each of them? Do you see the changes He created? Can you rejoice in each season of change? Even the winters?

Our God is good in all things. He is good to us, His children. When we look for the blessings in each season we also find great joy.

Can I Have Joy in Trials?

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I remember a time when I had questions about having joy. How can one have joy in the hard things in life? How do you walk through life with great joy regardless of your circumstances. I didn’t understand. There are those that tried to explain it to me, but my mind seemed blind to understanding.

ID-10091345_thumb.jpgI would always ask “how does one have joy when a father dies and leaves his 24 year old wife with 3 babies under the age of five? Where is the joy of watching your mother try to destroy herself? Or a child being abused? How can you have joy as you watch a father beat your mother? Or watching a child rebel? How can you have joy when a husband looses his job?” So many questions.

Many of the answers I received to my questions were along the line of “it’s because sin is in the world “ “you just have to get beyond those things, forget them and move on” forgive those who hurt you”. I remember some saying that “I needed to forgive God”

Really? As if God has ever done anything that needed to be forgiven! Where is that in scripture? It’s sad to recall all the well meaning answers and advice that is not based on truth, or bits and pieces of truth. So what is the answer to having joy under trials, temptations, distress, stress and so on?

Here is what I have learned. This is what I know. While I have nothing new to say I have realized that often I forget what the past has taught me. I need to be reminded. Maybe you need the reminder too.

What we fail to understand  is that it is impossible to have joy in your suffering. There is nothing joyful about suffering, pain, sorrow, distresses or tribulations. We was try to find joy IN our current circumstances. The object of our joy is all wrong. Nothing about the tribulation or suffering itself can produce joy.

I CAN NOT produce joy on my own. Oh I can put on a happy face, look all bubbly on the outside and TRY to look joyful. But that is not joy and it WILL NOT last.

The object of my joy must be God, and God alone. God, a covenant keeping God and Father in Christ. I need to look to the God of my salvation. I need to remember that He is Christ, the One who pardons iniquity, transgression, and sin.

He, GOD, is the object of my joy.

Joy can never be produced by me or by my circumstances. Joy is the product of the Spirit and it lies in the spiritual. Now, so there is no misunderstanding, I am not talking about the joy I felt on my wedding day or the day a child is born or something good happened. I am addressing the joy I am to have that is mentioned in James 1:2 when it says,  “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,”

What I am talking about is that deep sense of joy knowing that no matter what comes your way you KNOW you will walk through it. You know that it will not destroy you. We can have joy because our focus is not us (ME) at all. Our focus is God.

During trials and suffering we are to look to Him and what we know He is going to do. He is a covenant keeping God and I know that He does not seek to destroy us but seeks to grow and mature us into His image. We must focus on that truth and trust Him.

We can also have joy in trials when we consider who God is. He is a covenant God, the Father of great mercy, the God of all comfort and salvation, who pardoned our sins, clothes us with the robes of righteousness and garments of salvation, and accepts us in Christ. When I choose to focus on the character of God and be mindful of truth I can have great joy and gladness. In Christ there is always a reason for joy because of His person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice.

God is not asking us to be joyful that we are suffering. He is asking us to be joyful in knowing that He is testing our faith in order to produce endurance. We need to allow God to grow us with all joy. He assures us that when our endurance is fully developed we will be strong in character and ready for whatever God has planned.

Joy is a product of the Spirit of God not our circumstances.

Photo courtesy of magerymajestic, at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Hope in the Midst of the Storm

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” James 1:2-3

Trials, tribulations, suffering, pain, sorrow. These are circumstances no one especially considers a joy to walk through. Even if we know that it’s a time of testing our faith or building endurance who wants to face suffering? I don’t know too many who would raise their hands, jump up and down and shout, “I DO!”

exultintrib.jpg

Yet the reality is it will come to each of us. Perhaps you find yourself in the midst of a storm today. Perhaps you feel that you are about to be drowned in your circumstances and you are wondering, “how am I suppose to consider it all joy”?

Today I saw something new in God’s word. Well it was new to me. I am reading through, and studying Romans and this morning I was struck by Romans 4:16 through 5:5. I must have read it ten times before I saw it, but there it was in 5:3, “we also exult in our tribulations,.”

Exult means to “show or feel elation or jubilation”. Seriously? Is it even possible to be jubilate over our tribulations? But how?

I believe our answer is seen in the surrounding verses, but I am still fleshing this out so walk with me through this. Romans 4 speaks of Abraham, his trial, his sorrow was that his wife was barren. But Abraham had hope. His hope came in the promise of God who promised that he would be the father of many nations. Abraham didn’t understand how God was going to do it since he and Sarah were old and beyond child bearing years. Abraham even tried taking matters into his own hands by producing an heir through Sarah’s servant, but that was not God’s plan. (see Gen 16 & 17)

So Abraham came to the point where he put His hope in God. Abraham’s faith grew to the point that he was “fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform.” (Rom 4:21)

Abrahams place of suffering, his sorrow grew his faith to where he could hope in what God would do. Abraham didn’t see the end results or even the next step and yet he could give God the glory because he had faith that the God who promised would also deliver that which He promised.

Abraham came to the place in his suffering where he could exult because he trusted in the One who would fulfill the promise.

So what about us? What do we hope in when the storm threatens to overwhelm us? Our hope is in our Lord Jesus Christ. We can exult in the hope of the glory of God knowing that He will deliver us through the storm. But in the mean time Christ will use the storm to build your endurance, and strengthen your character.

When we place our hope in Christ Jesus He will not disappoint. This same Jesus who died for us, while we were helpless sinners and His enemy, saving us from the wrath of God. This Jesus reconciled us to God and left us with the Holy Spirit who now pours out Gods love upon us so that we might have hope in the midst of suffering. (Rom 5:6-11)

So let us remember when we are facing trials to put our hope in the One who does not disappoint. Know that God will give you grace to stand, He will strength your faith, He will build your endurance and your character.

I know this is often easier said than done. When the waves wash over us and we are choking on the water about to go under for what feels like the last time and all we can think about is “I am going to die” it’s hard to have hope. But sweet sister can I encourage you to throw your hand out and cry out to Jesus. Stop thrashing around trying to save yourself. Stop trying to find a way out of the storm and just place your faith in the One who will not let you drown.

Whatever your storms might be I pray that you are able to reach out in unwavering faith and rest assured that the God who has promised to deliver you is also able to perform it.

Photo courtesy of Evgeni Dinev at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/