I was listening to Christmas music the other night and a song came on the radio by Amy Grant called “I Need a Silent Night.” I have heard this song before, but this year it… More
When I was involved in Young Life back in high school and college, we would perform random acts of kindness when we were on our way out to camp or ski trips. We might clean up our tables for the waiter or waitress or pick up trash or give extravagant compliments or cheer for people. You know, just outrageous things that would bring a smile to a complete stranger. It was so much fun to see the reactions on people’s faces!
Last year at Christmas time, I really wanted to do a random act of kindness. So I brainstormed with my friends AJ, Debbie and Jo and we came up with the idea of walking around downtown Newburgh with coffee and donuts. Jo owns a local coffee shop, so she supplied the coffee and we bought the donuts. AJ also thought it would be funny if I dressed up in a Chewbacca costume as I walked around town, so I did. (I love a challenge!) I invited my daughter Leah to join us and away we went! It was so much fun going around town giving out coffee and donuts. The reactions were priceless.
Everyone can show kindness in smaller ways. You can compliment others. You could give up your seat for someone who needs it more than you do. You can open the door for someone who is struggling. You can say, “Thank you” or “Have a nice day!” or say something else that would brighten someone’s day. The point is, the world seems to be a better place when people show each other kindness.
God has also been reminding me lately that He shows me kindness in many different ways. One of the ways He shows me kindness is giving me His comfort. When I think of the word comfort, my mind goes to someone wrapping their arms around me and telling me everything is going to be ok. One of the actual definitions of comfort is “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress.” Hugs seem to be a good way to show someone you care.
When I was growing up, hugs weren’t a part of my culture — performance was. So, I was very deficient in knowing what it felt like to be consoled by physical touch. Because my environment was so performance oriented, I really struggled with believing that God wanted to comfort me. That concept was completely foreign to me because I was rarely consoled as a child. I thought I was on my own. So as the years went by, I became very self-reliant emotionally. I didn’t know that God wanted to help me with my burdens. I was oblivious to that fact. I thought I had to be a good soldier and suck it up and deal with everything all on my own.
I am much better now, but I still struggle at times to get my brain to understand that my God is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3 He is present in my suffering, so I don’t have to “handle” it on my own. I still forget that point because I was conditioned to think I was on my own for so many years. But, I have a Heavenly Father who is compassionate and He actually wants to give me comfort.
One of the reasons why I struggled for so long was because one of my Dad’s favorite sayings was, “Pain doesn’t hurt.” So, I denied and hid my pain because it wasn’t supposed to hurt. (No wonder I was screwed up!) NEWS FLASH—PAIN DOES HURT! I shoved years and years of pain inside me because I thought I had to.
Kelly Minter explains what the greek word for compassion means. “The Greek word is oiktirmos and is used only five times in the New Testament. It means ”Bowels in which compassion resides, a heart of compassion, emotions, longings, manifestations of pity” or the inward parts. When we look at the definition of this word, we get a strong sense of feeling. According to Scripture, I want you to hear today that the Lord feels for you.”
THE LORD FEELS FOR US! Let that soak in for a minute. That aspect of God is so important for us to know. If I would have known that long ago, it would have saved me feeling like I had to handle everything on my own. (And a lot of money on counseling!) I didn’t realize that I had God to turn to for comfort until I was in my forties! That might sound crazy to you, but it’s true. My brain couldn’t see that side of God because I was so screwed up!
When there is suffering, He is there to comfort us. You will not have one without the other because suffering and comfort go hand in hand. And—He not only comforts me—but He uses my suffering so I can comfort others. 2 Corinthians 1:4 So, I have been able to relate to all kinds of different things because of my suffering. God has used my suffering in other people’s lives and I find great joy in that fact. I want God to use my suffering to help others and for His glory!
So—if you are suffering—let me tell you that God will comfort you—if you let Him. The reason why I say, “If you let Him,” is the fact that it is a two way street. There have been times when I have been in so much pain or been so angry or inconsolable that I didn’t want to be comforted. I wasn’t able to receive comfort from God or anyone else for that matter. Pain and anger have a way of messing with our minds because they misconstrue our thinking. That’s why we need to be very careful when we are suffering to focus on truth and keep our hearts open to God’s comfort. We need to allow Him to console us.
Kelly Minter states, “When we traverse through difficulty, it’s often hard to see outside of our pain. But we find great purpose in our suffering when we realize our experiences will serve as unique comforts to others going through similar trials.” That means that my pain and your pain has purpose. There is purpose in our suffering!
I don’t know about you, but that truth makes my suffering worthwhile. All my pain, abuse, anxiety, depression and struggles have a purpose in my life and also enable me to help others. I am going to be honest and say that I don’t like suffering. I don’t like to be in pain. I don’t like it at all! But—when I look back at all that has happened—I am able to see what God has done for me and in me. He has taught me so much and changed me. I wouldn’t be who I am without the suffering. (I know. I wish there was an easier way!)
Everywhere I look today, I see suffering. No one is exempt from it. But, I can’t think of a better person to turn to than my Lord and Savior. He is always there to give me what I need. He truly is the God of all comfort and the Father of compassion. I can’t live my life without Him and I really don’t want to handle things on my own any more. It’s just too hard to be self-reliant—and it’s exhausting!
So, let’s give each other hugs! Let’s go the extra mile and say something nice to someone. Pay things forward. Do random acts of kindness. Go out there and look for ways to make someone’s day. Pray for one another. You never know what kind of impact your kindness will have on someone. Kindness gets me more than almost anything else does. I actually cry when I witness it. (I just can’t help myself!) I’m the one who cries when people win on game shows. I’m also the one who cries during the Hallmark commercials. I just want everyone to be nice to each other for goodness sakes! (RANT OVER!)
I always think of this saying when it comes to being kind. “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.” That’s what my Momma taught me. Until next time friends…..
Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
There is a scene from the movie Freaky Friday that cracks me up every time I watch it. Jamie Lee Curtis is the Mom and Lindsay Lohan is the daughter. As Jamie Lee drops her daughter off for school, she yells out the window of the car door, “Make good choices!” You can see the horror in Lindsay’s face while her fellow classmates nearby hear those words. After watching that movie, my daughters will tell you that I used to love to say those words to them when I dropped them off at school. (Oh yes, I did!)
Every day we live on this earth we make choices. We choose to wake up at a certain time every day. We choose to wear certain clothes, eat certain foods, exercise or not exercise. Basically all day long—every single day—we make choices. The best choice I ever made was to give my heart and my life to Christ. After I made that choice, my life didn’t instantly change. My home environment was still terrible and I still had many issues in my life. But I knew–the only way I was going to be able to survive– was Jesus. And I was right! (Sometimes that happens!)
Here is the thing–we all have problems and issues. There isn’t one person I know who doesn’t have struggles. We can all say that we have experienced good and bad things in our lives. What we need to learn is how to handle those issues and problems. Now, I haven’t been perfect in how I have handled my issues. I have made many mistakes. I have overreacted a lot! But, I think if we could just pause– pray– and think before we react, it might be extremely helpful in all areas of our lives. We need to be willing to admit that we need help and guidance with these issues. And, we just might need to invite God to help us! (Ya think?)
Let me share what Louie Giglio says. “There is no God like Him in this world. He is the God of mercy, kindness, grace, compassion, and love. He is the God who does not hold our sins against us. God is just—and He’s also the Justifier. God both offers His Son as a substitute and a sacrifice so that then He can be just, but then God also justifies all of us who went wrong. No other god is going to do that. No other god is going to enter humanity. No other god will humble Himself and come to earth to be born a baby because He loves us so much. But the God who is the God alone in the heavens will do that.” (Can I get a “Hallelujah?”)
For years, I didn’t believe that I had freedom. I didn’t think I was worthy enough to be set free. I believed so many lies about myself. But, then my eyes slowly (let me emphasize slowly) started to open to the freedom that comes with my salvation. For years, I let my mind go down the wrong road and believe lies! I let Satan win. (I’m about to get fired up here!)
Friends, listen to me!!! Don’t fall for the lies! Don’t listen to them! Run as fast as you can to get away from them. Let me share something Louie says about David when he was getting ready to meet Goliath. “David was motivated by something far greater that compelled him to take action — and we’re invited to climb into this same headspace right now. What motivated David was that this giant was cursing the God of the army of Israel. David said, “Oh, whoa. Wait a minute, Goliath. All that other stuff you’re saying. Maybe. But when you start talking about my God, then we’re not tolerating that today. You’re going to stop taunting my God right here and now and you’re going down. In fact, you must go down because God’s glory is what we’re all about.”
In this world today, that is the headspace all of us need to be in. We need to be saying those words all day—every day and we need to be aware that the enemy wants us to fail. Because God has done so much for us, we simply can’t tolerate Satan discrediting Him any more. Yes, we have problems. Yes, we have issues. God never promised us there wouldn’t be. But, He did promise us He would be right there with us the whole time giving us what we need to deal with them.
If you are anything like me, I have allowed the stupid mistakes I have made in my life define me. I have let them whisper in my ear that I would never change, or I would never be able to handle certain things, or there was no hope, or I was going to lose my mind. I listened to those lies far too long. My mistakes are in the past and that is where they need to stay. I have confessed them and asked God to take them and make something beautiful out of them for His glory and for my good. He promises to do that for us!
Every day there are so many things coming at us that are simply lies. It is becoming harder and harder to discern the truth. We used to be able to rely on the news to tell us the truth, but we can’t any more. We used to be able to rely on people to tell the truth, but sadly people prefer to lie. There are lies all around us. But because God is holy He cannot lie. He is our source of truth. Whether we like what He says or not, we can rely on Him to tell us the truth.
We can’t blame our mistakes on anyone else but ourselves. We need to say, “Yes, I screwed up. Yes, I shouldn’t have said that or done that. It was my fault.” (How often do we hear that today?) “I am sorry” is also a forgotten saying. Claim what you have done and then ask for forgiveness from God and others. Make the choice to change the way you handle things. God will help you! I have asked the Lord to change me in so many areas of my life because I saw the way I was simply wasn’t healthy. We need to be willing to look at ourselves and ask God to change us.
Just imagine what this world would look like if people would quit pointing the finger at others and sit down and look at themselves in the mirror for a change. It’s so much easier to see someone else’s mistakes than our own. But, we all make mistakes and we need to realize that we have a God who can forgive us and make something beautiful out of the messes we make. And, He actually wants to do that for us!
I hope my words are encouraging you to keep moving forward one day at a time. I pray that you will choose to follow Him and allow Him to work in your life. I want to leave you with some words from Louie Giglio. “But a victor has emerged in our story and He is sitting with you right now. His name is Jesus, and He takes down the giants and announces freedom for us all. He sees the stain and the pain you have endured. He knows the “less” you have grown accustomed to and is still committed to leading you into His best. Jesus isn’t asking you to try harder. He isn’t asking you to make everything new on your own. He is simply asking you to see Him—to see the work He has done for you and to believe again that He can raise any of us from the ashes of defeat. Jesus is inviting us to set our attention on Him and to rest in His grace. Follow Him in this moment with your next step. And keep on doing that step after step today. If you do, His glory will ultimately result.”
I want to tell you that I have seen Him work in my life. He has made something beautiful out of the messes that I have made. He will continue to bring beauty from my ashes of defeat. Help us Lord to keep our eyes fixed on you and rest in your grace. Amen! Until next time dear friends….
Joshua 24:15 “But if you have no desire to worship the Lord, choose today whom you will worship, whether it be the gods whom your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living. But I and my family will worship the Lord.”
Many of you know that I have been involved in a ministry called Young Life since I was in high school. There are so many things about this ministry that I love, but my favorite thing is hands down being at Young Life camp. I pretty much love everything about camp. But the one event that stood out to me last year was banquet night. They took all the tables that were in the dining hall— put them outside— and made a really long table for the kids to sit at for the evening meal. As I sat there and watched them interact with each other, my eyes filled with tears. I got to witness kids from diverse backgrounds, different states and schools and socio-economic levels, sit down and share a meal. I witnessed fellowship going on between everyone seated at that table. And I imagined God— sitting there —listening and smiling—while lives were being changed.
There is something about sharing a meal or a cup of coffee that breaks down barriers. God obviously knows this to be true. He created fellowship so we could help one another and be there for one another. Jesus spent many meals with His disciples teaching and sharing life with them. He was giving them the teaching they were going to need after He was gone. Jesus knew the importance of sitting at His table.
I was recently reading the 23rd Psalm in Goliath Must Fall by Louie Giglio. It says in the first part of verse 5, “You prepare a place for me in the presence of my enemies.” I have seen this verse and read it many times, but it has new meaning for me now. This verse states that God is promising to provide everything you and I need to be in the presence of our enemies. Louie says, “Right in the midst of the fray, in full view of the things that are threatening us, our Shepherd spreads a table of provision for us. It’s a table for two. One seat for you and one seat for the God who is for you.” (Isn’t that amazing???)
So, let’s take a look at what it really means to sit at a table with our enemies. Now, most of us wouldn’t choose to sit at any table with an enemy. We want to avoid them like the plague. But, let’s be real. Most of us have had to share a meal with people we don’t like or want to be with. I know that I have endured many of those meals. I have seen food thrown during dinner by someone who was very angry. (For real!)
Usually when I find myself in a stressful situation with an enemy, I want out!!!!! My first response is, “Lord, get me out of here!! I don’t want the table of provision! Get me to the nearest exit please!” (I am so glad He is patient with me!) When I calm down and realize that I’m not going anywhere because God wants me there, I need to realize that He is giving me the provisions that I need to handle that person or that situation. It’s a promise that He is preparing a place for me to in the presence of that enemy.
Now, here is the other thing that I have done way too many times. I am having a nice meal at my table and without realizing it, I have invited the Enemy to have dinner with me. The talk at the table has turned to gossip, or anger or cutting someone down and I have just given in to the Enemy’s lies. I start feeling the panic welling up in me and realize that I have invited a killer to sit in my midst. That might sound dramatic to some of you, but it is true because the Enemy is out to destroy me and you. He loves it when we tear each other down. Satan is thrilled with what is going on in the world today. He loves the hate, the evil, the dissension, the strife, the brokenness, the self-harm, the doubts, the division, etc.– and we are playing right into his hands!
So, what can we do about this Enemy? First, of all we need to pray and be aware of him. You can’t go around in denial that he exists. Second, don’t give him a seat at your table. DO NOT LET HIM COME NEAR YOUR TABLE!!! You have every right to tell him to get away! If your issue is spending too much money, ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of your need and ask Him to help you stop before you start. If you overeat, ask the Lord to make you aware of what makes you want to put certain things in your mouth. If you have a problem talking about others or saying unkind things, pause before you speak and pray about what is going to come out of your mouth. I realize we are human and we are going to make mistakes, but we need to be aware of the Enemy and what he is tempting us to say or do.
The Devil is sneaky. He tells lies. He wants you to fail. He wants to isolate you. He wants you to live in defeat. I have let him sit at my table way too many times. And to be perfectly honest, I didn’t even realize what was going on because I wasn’t aware of his schemes until I was already into something I didn’t want to be in. My heart was broken and my mind couldn’t think straight so I fell for his lies. Louie Giglio states, “Our hearts are genuinely broken, and in our pain we often don’t respond all too well to logic and we become subject to the lies of the Enemy sitting in our midst.” (This so so true!)
Here’s the thing, God has our back! He knows exactly what is going on. I know that there are a lot of things going on that are pure evil. Satan is out there causing as much trouble and confusion as he possibly can! He is the enemy, not God. When I look at all the horrible things that are happening in our world today, it is easy for me to be afraid. But I know someone who can handle everything that is happening and I need to run to Him and pray for His help!
It is also very easy to think that everything is out of control in our lives. We think that there is no way out. But let me tell you right now, that I wouldn’t be here if there wasn’t a way out. My way out has been God and His mighty power in my life. I have gone through some pretty horrible things and I am stronger because of my Savior. God can redeem any situation in your life. He is the Good Shepherd and He does take care of His sheep.
We need to go to God daily and admit we need His help. We need to ask Him to show us the areas of our lives where the Enemy is tempting us to be deceived by his lies. I struggled with my view of God for so many years because of my father and now I finally see that God isn’t looking to control me like a puppet master. He wants to lead me to what truly satisfies. He knows that the things of this earth don’t satisfy me. He is my satisfaction.
Dear friends, please listen to me. We are in a war! The Enemy wants to take everything we have. We just can’t let him. We need to stand up to him. We need to tell him to go away. Don’t let him near your table! Life is short. God is big! He is on our side! We are on the winning team! (Don’t forget that!) Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire in the end. But until then, he is going to try to take as many people with him that he can. Don’t be one of those people! Stand firm! Pray! Turn to the Good Shepherd and let Him lead you towards the life you are meant to live on this earth. I am so passionate about this because I was deceived for so many years. I allowed the Enemy to lead me down too many destructive roads. So, he is going down in my life and I want that for you too! Trust God to lead you and guide you. He is goodness and light. I want Jesus at my table — not the Enemy — so I can listen and learn from Him.
Let me say one more thing. I was just looking for a verse to end with, and this statement that I had written on a 3×5 card just fell out of a binder that I keep scripture in. (Not a coincidence!) You aren’t going to believe what it says! (God is so cool!) This is from Beth Moore’s Esther study. “No matter what life — or Satan himself — hands us, the favor of God has on His children causes that “lot” to tumble out on the table in such a way that, instead of destruction, the child will discover that her portion turned into destiny one trusting step at a time. When all is said and done, she will see that the portion God assigned her was good. Right. Rich. Full of purpose.” (Amen!)
Until next time…
Every time I sit down to write, I ask the Lord what He would like for me to say. Sometimes I have an idea and other times I don’t. Yesterday, I was reading a lot of people’s opinions (some not so nice) on what the Pittsburgh Steelers did — or should I say — didn’t do during the national anthem. Everyone has an opinion and that is okay. We live in America and people have the right to their opinions, but my mind immediately went to “What Would Jesus Do? You know that saying used to be very popular. There were wristbands, t-shirts, keychains, etc. with that written on it. It’s a shame that we have strayed from thinking those words.
So, I started thinking about how people reacted to Jesus when He walked on the earth. There were those who loved Him. There were those who hated Him. There were those who were indifferent to Him. I am sure there were many who hadn’t decided yet what they thought of Him. His own people didn’t know what to think about Him. The Jewish leaders had their law and the way they did things and they didn’t want Jesus to tell them they were doing it wrong. They thought they were right. They liked the way things were and they didn’t want Jesus to tell them they were wrong. (Doesn’t that ring true for all of us?)
But, here is the cool thing about Jesus. He knew how to handle difficult people. And the reason why He knew how to handle people and each situation was the fact that He prayed. Luke 5:16 He spent every morning with His Father praying. The words that came out of His mouth are written down in the Bible so we will know how to react to people in our lives. He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Matt. 5:44 That is a foreign concept in our culture today because everyone wants their opinion to be heard. (Not saying that’s a bad thing) But the fact is our opinions don’t really matter. God’s word is what matters because He is the one who tells us how we are supposed to live our lives. When the emotions are high, how many of us can say that we stop and pray for those who are yelling at us or accusing us. (This is very hard to do!) But, what if we prayed in advance every morning for the Lord to help us react to the difficult situations that we come into contact with each day? What if we asked the Lord to help us react to those difficult people in our lives? We would probably see Him perform a change in us and maybe even in them.
Let me tell you right now, I am reminding myself of these truths while I am speaking them to you. We all need to be reminded of God’s truth. If you are a Christian and you love the Lord, then we must follow what He tells us to do. He made us and He knows what is best for us. He knows exactly how things need to be done. If we would just pause and ask Him to help us deal with the things that are coming at us in life, we would be so much better off. Let me quote what Priscilla Shirer says. “Prayer is the mechanism that brings down the power of heaven into your experience.” And then she states, “I believe I can say it as bluntly as this: Unless prayer is a vital and thriving part of your life, you will never achieve spiritual victory.” (OUCH and AMEN!) Lord, help us to come to you first before we start each day so we can have spiritual victory in our lives!
Everyone that we come into contact with in our lives is coming from their own set of issues and problems. So when people react, they are coming from a different place than we are. Now I am not making excuses for anyone that responds in an abusive manner, I am just saying that their heart and mind is in a different place than mine. I react differently to certain issues than my husband does because of my past. There have been times I have wanted to behave and have behaved in a very un-christlike manner. (I know that is hard to believe. Haha! My family can tell you that!) But the bottom line is, we are called to respond like Christ. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” 1 Peter 3: 9 Friends, I don’t know about you, but I want to inherit a blessing. I also want to encourage you to go ahead and read all of 1 Peter 3.
Whether we like it or not, we are commanded to love one another and we are also commanded to forgive one another. I know that there are people out there that are extremely hard to love and forgive. I know how hard it is to do this and I can’t do it in my own power. I have to have God’s help! There are many times I have prayed through gritted teeth and asked for divine intervention with certain people and situations.
The bottom line is Satan is the enemy and he is doing everything he can to stir the pot! If we aren’t careful, we will fall into his scheming ways. There have been so many times in my life I didn’t even realize that I had allowed Satan to get a foothold on me. That is why it is so important that I pray and spend time with the Lord. Satan is after us and he will do what he can to stir up discord, strife and division within us and around us. He knows just where to attack us and we need to be ready to fight back. That is also why we need to know the word of God and we need friends and family praying for us.
I know more than anyone how hard it is to hear things about myself that I don’t really want to hear. I have learned that I need to listen and then go to the Lord and figure out what the truth is. In order to be spiritually healthy, I need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and ask for wisdom. My heart needs to be right when I go to Him and I need to ask for forgiveness of my sins. I need to be willing to admit that I have been wrong. (That’s hard too!)
The only way we are going to overcome sin in our lives is to cooperate with God. He knows us better than anyone else does. He loves us more than anyone else does. He also is the only one who can truly change us. Whatever sin we are facing, we have the God of the Universe on our side. He can and will do whatever is necessary to help us, but we have to cooperate with Him. (Not always easy for me. There is usually some wrestling going on before I cry “Uncle!”) But, when I finally cooperate, He takes the sin and turns it into something beautiful and I am changed.
There are certain things in my life that I never want to have anything to do with ever again! But there are other things, that I daily need God’s help with. I need to be willing to see them as sin and bring them before the Lord. I need to be willing to follow God’s instructions whether I like it or not!
We simply cannot allow our feelings, our own understanding or our past experiences be our truth because it is not accurate. For example, I have felt most of my life that I was worthless. Is that accurate? No! My father’s abuse left me feeling helpless. Am I helpless? No! You see what I am saying? Each thing that has happened to me or I have seen has been tainted by living in a sinful world. Satan knows this, so he has spent my whole life and yours trying to get us to believe his lies. We have been deceived friends! He is compelling us to react in ungodliness because He wants us to feel defeated. Am I defeated? No! I will never be defeated! Psalm 62:2
I am sick and tired of seeing Satan get his way! We need to stop allowing him any room in our lives. Just say “No!” to him. Tell him to get away from you. You have the God of the Universe on your side and He is way more powerful! God is actually for you not against you. We need to be willing to let God’s light shine on our perceptions. “What we need is a spotlight that pierces the darkness and lays bare all his evil schemes, systems, and illusions. The truth of God’s Word is that light!” Shirer
So, I am asking you (and me) to go before the Lord every morning and ask Him to help you live your day in His power and His truth. Go to Him and ask Him to help you with your words and help you deal with the difficult people in your life. Respond in a manner that brings Him glory! Ask Him to shine the light on your sin and confess it to Him. Ask Him to give you the courage you need to walk away from a bad relationship, or an addiction, or self-harm or yell at someone! Ask Him how you should be living your life. He will not fail you. I love you dear friends. Now, let’s go kick Satan’s butt!
Isaiah 30:20 “But your Teacher will not hide Himself any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher, and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.” Until next time……
I have been painting furniture for several years. I actually started when I was in my twenties and still love to do it today. I love taking an old piece of furniture that looks like a hopeless cause and turn it into something beautiful. The other day while I was painting, I was praying about several things and I had a revelation. As much as I enjoy working on furniture, God also enjoys working on me and my problems. You see, a lot of times when I go to God with my issues, I feel like I am bothering Him—especially when it is the same thing over and over again. But, that just isn’t true! I have a God that is actually waiting for me to come to Him so He can help me because He wants to show me His glory!
I will even go a step further and say that the Lord is delighted when I come to Him. Psalm 149:4 (I like to picture a big smile on His face.) And, He actually takes pleasure in meeting my needs. I have also been learning that God can do so much more than I ask or imagine. He wants to do more than my brain can comprehend. I have had issues in my life that have just about killed me. My anxiety, depression, panic attacks, abuse from my father and others, brother’s suicide, etc. I could go on, but there is something I want to share with you that I am learning about God. I think Priscilla Shirer says it best. “Yes, God in His providence has ascribed deep value to you and to me. And yes, our lives do matter. Our concerns do affect Him. He has chosen by His great mercy to elevate us to a height of dignity and significance.” I don’t know about you, but I have struggled with feeling significant and having dignity. The fact that the God of the Universe thinks I am significant is sometimes hard for me to grasp.
She goes on to say, “But let’s be crystal clear about things—ultimately, our lives are all and completely about Him. We exist for His fame. We are examples of His patience and long-suffering. We bear witness to what His love is like and can do. We honor His name with our living, breathing presence. We’re here for Him. We’re here for His pleasure. For His praise and His glory.”
Here’s the deal. God is telling me and He is telling you that He wants to be involved in our lives. When I don’t ask Him to help me, I am missing out on actively participating in what He is doing for my good and for His glory. Of course He is God and He can help me anyway, but the thing is—He is a relational God and He wants me to come to Him and ask for His help. My first reaction needs to be to go to Him in prayer instead of calling or texting a friend. He wants to be the first one in my life that I turn to because He is able to help me. So, God first, then phone or text a friend. (I feel like I am on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”)
Now, this next part that I am going to share is the absolute best part of having a relationship with God. I love it when I read something and it makes me look at Him in a different light. Priscilla Shirer states, “But just imagine—little old us and our little old needs— being commissioned by Almighty God for the purpose of giving tribute to His power. That’s strong. It changes the whole color scheme. This problem that used to clash with everything, stick out like a sore thumb—it was all you could see. But when you turn your head a certain way now and change your perspective a bit, while it’s still very noticeable, it looks like it might hold some promise here. It’s a glory maker, not just a troublemaker.”
I don’t know about you but I am encouraged to change my perspective by that statement. My issues are glory makers not just troublemakers. When I look at them that way, it kind of calms me down. It makes me want to sit back and watch and wait on God instead of getting bent out of shape. You see, my brain has been conditioned to get upset at myself and at God when my troubles keep bothering me. But now, if I can just calm down and get the right perspective about those issues, then I can sit back and wait for God to work in me and in my issues.
It’s kind of like watching a super hero go to work. When God gets involved, He is going to get Him some glory! He is going to wield His sword and shield and go to battle for us. He is going to use His power to fight for us. The problems or issues we have are going to be dealt with by Him. He is on our side and He won’t quit until His job is done. He really is the only One who is equipped to fight the battle and He knows exactly what to do.
I have my own personal super hero. I just want to lay everything at His feet and say, “Go get ‘em God! You do what you need to do. I need to quit telling You what to do and let you do it your way because your way is far better than mine. Go way above and beyond what I can even imagine. I still have a hard time conceiving the fact that you love doing things for me. Thank you for your goodness, your patience, your love, your work and your forgiveness. Thank you that each day is a new day in your eyes. You don’t keep a record of my wrongs. You just want me to look to you for help. You want me to come to you with my issues. You are ready to work on my behalf so you can show me your glory!”
Life is not about me. I am not supposed to get the glory. I will take the compliment, but it is God who gets the glory in me. He gets the credit for telling a very frightened woman 18 years ago that He was going to take her on a journey to freedom. And when I began that journey, He told me He was going to use it for His glory. I had no idea what that meant at the time and I certainly had no idea that I would be writing a blog. He has taken me through some very dark times and He has loved me every step of the way. He has taught me so much! He has been working on my behalf every single day even when I didn’t ask Him to. There have been many days that I didn’t want to live, but He has gotten me through those days and I am so glad He has or I would have missed out on so much. He is truly everything to me.
Yesterday, I celebrated 58 years on this earth. I am a testimony to what God can do in a person. Honestly, all the horrible things that have happened in my life have drawn me closer to Him. Now, I am also going to admit that I have had several conversations with Him over what He has allowed. I have been angry, hurt, defiant, and I have had a ton of questions. (I am kind of a rebel, but in a good way!) But, I know deep down inside that He is God and I am not. He is also good. He is large and in charge and I need to trust Him. I also need to remind myself that my problems are going to bring Him glory! Hallelujah! (Or as Madea says, “Halleluyer!” I don’t really know how to spell that one!)
I would like to leave you with one more gem from Priscilla. “What a miracle that we can trust in God’s ability, that we can sit or stand in this place and be part of what He’s doing all over the place, that we can stretch out our faith, and even our need, and give Him the honor, the glory—the tribute—He deserves. Forever and ever. To all generations. Amen.” We praise you Lord! Until next time…….