What will you do?
Will you hold back?
If you get into the habit of doing something physically, you will do it every time you are tested until you break the habit through sheer determination. And the same is true spiritually. Again and again you will come right up to what Jesus wants, but every time you will turn back at the true point of testing, until you are determined to abandon yourself to God in total surrender…
Jesus Christ demands the same unrestrained, adventurous spirit in those who have placed their trust in Him that the natural man exhibits. If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile, there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. Once you obey, you will immediately find that what He says is as solidly consistent as common sense.
By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ’s statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God.
Trust completely in God, and when He brings you to a new opportunity of adventure, offering it to you, see that you take it. We act like pagans in a crisis— only one out of an entire crowd is daring enough to invest his faith in the character of God.
~Oswald Chambers (Utmost for His Highest)
I steal a moment in the prayer closet.
More than I crave anything else today, I crave communion with my heavenly daddy. I begin to write, paraphrase really, Psalm 119: 81-170:
I am worn out waiting but I put my hope in your Word;
My eyes are straining to see your promises come true;
As pressure and stress bear down, I find joy in your commands.
When will you comfort me?
There are deep pits to trap me; but your word is my constant guide and I know everything serves your plans.
Your commands give me life…I am yours.
You are my shield, my refuge; please do not let me be crushed.
I will lift up my cup of salvation…
I will lift it high so that I may catch a drop of your grace… grace that spills forth against your palm and forever sets me free.
Suddenly, my prayer closet moment is interrupted by a tiny whimper from downstairs. I put down my tear-stained, heavily-written-in-Bible and survey the damage.
“What’s wrong?” I ask.
In her little girl voice she says, “Mama my leg hurts and I can’t stand up.”
I cup her face and bend down to listen.
Her muttered words tucked in between lowly cries.
I place my hands underneath her tiny arms and set her on her feet.
Her knee bends and the shrill sharpens, “It still hurts!”
So I carry her.
I carry her like a wounded lamb into the den.
I lay her on the couch. Things seem to improve and tears subside.
My own knees buckle as I am overwhelmed by God’s presence. He nudges my heart in a way it hasn’t been nudged in a while.
I listen close and he impresses this on my heart:
“I know your voice and you know mine. I hear you crying out to me and I bend down to listen. I see your trouble and I come to you. I will wipe your tears. I will pick you up when you stumble; carry you when your wounds are too great. I see you walking along the path of my commands and I love you. I am on your side and I will protect you. Sometimes you wander away like a little lost sheep, but don’t worry… I will always come and find you.”
My own tears of joy stream as I pen these words. My cup of salvation overflows with joy that comes from KNOWING Christ died for me and a LONGING to give my whole heart, my whole life back to serving Him.
The joy that comes from hearing His small voice reassure me at the exact moment her small voice cries out for me.
I think you’ll agree with me… we are weak in our own skin. Because of this we tend to get easily taken in by the multitude of negatives in life…
Worry targets us and literally runs us down to the ground.
Discouragement seeps in like a slow leak and before we know it we are drowning in it.
Doubt dangles itself before us tempting and threatening all that we believe is true in our hearts.
And, Fear allusively edges itself in around the corners of our mind… wraps its bar-like fingers around us and holds us captive.
Yet, we are told over and over as believers in Jesus that we should not worry, that we should ignore discouraging thoughts, that if we doubt or fall prey to fear than we are not trusting Christ.
But, I object.
To continue reading head on over to Encourage24/7 where I am guest posting today!
A couple of days ago, I received an email from a precious woman. She is struggling with God’s love for her. She is struggling with darkness and a lack of God’s presence. Therefore, I felt compelled to write this post especially for her, as I am a woman just like her.
* * * * * * * *
I remember when it happened years ago.
Words whispered in the dark, beyond listening ears.
Cold words stuck like glue until I believed they were true.
Abuse from this relationship, indescribable.
Words tossed about, unimaginable.
But I walked away from God. I made mistakes. I tripped over my own sin and plummeted into darkness because his lies spoke louder than God’s love.
I believed a lie about God. I believed a lie about me.
Did God even love me?
If He did, I didn’t feel it.
God’s love seemed like a distant child-hood memory. His warmth, detached. His hand removed. Or that’s how it seemed.
One day a friend spoke truth, the piercing kind…
“You say, ‘I feel like this, I feel like that.’ Maybe replace the “feel” with “know,” she explained.
And so it is with God.
Sometimes We Don’t Feel God’s Presence but we know He loves us. We know this because the Bible tells us.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,” Psalm 23:6.
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,” Ephesians 2:19.
“I love those who love me and those who seek me will find me,” Proverbs 8:17.
“If anyone serves me, let him hear me. For where I am there my servant will be also. If anyone serves me, Him my Father will honor,” John 12:26.
“My heart has heard you say Come and talk with me! My heart responds, Lord I am coming,” Psalm 27:8.
“I have written your name on the palm of my hand” (Isaiah 49:16); “I will never forget you, would I forget a nursing child? Never!” “He will call me by name because I am His!” (Isaiah 43:1).
Years later, I hide these verses in my heart.
So when I don’t feel God, I know He’s there.
By doing this, I allow emotion to piggy-back on truth instead of emotion dragging truth through the mud.
When the Disconnect Happens I Ask Myself a Series of Questions.
Am I in regular study of God’s Word?
Am I confessing all un-repented sin?
Am I praying and listening for God’s voice daily?
Am I intentional about sharing the Gospel, making disciples?
Am I fasting from things that stand in the way of my relationship with Christ?
Am I standing in awe of the cross?
The Answer to Knowing God’s True Feelings is found in the Message of the Cross.
Jesus walked out of heaven and announced his love for us. He lived a life we could never live. He died a death we deserved to die. He incurred the wrath of God against sin, rose from the dead to put God’s life back inside of us. If that doesn’t show radical, scandalous love, I don’t know what does!
So if today finds you feeling disconnected from God, plug into His Word ~ step into His light ~pick up your cross ~ and follow hard after Him. And keep doing it because obedience is pleasing to God.
I don’t have all the answers.
But I am a woman who has been in a dark place too.
I am a woman who has believed the worst about herself.
I am also a woman who believes God’s Word ~ a woman who believes what God thinks about me ~ a woman who fights for her joy when there is none ~ a woman who rejects the Devils ploy to make her doubt God~ a woman who has learned (the hard way) to walk daily with her Savior so she can recognize His voice…so she knows what to do and where to go.
God didn’t promise this life would be easy or that following Him would be either. What he did promise was He would be with us, never leaving, never forsaking.
Last weekend we went to minister to people at the Castaway Motel. I have a very special friend who lives in apartment 4. We’ve known each other for almost a year and his conversation never disappoints. The first time we met, I knocked on his door to share the gospel and offer a bag of groceries.
“Knockety, knock, knock…”
My fist interrupted as he swings open the door.
“Yes?” He says in good ol’ fashion inquiry.
And conversatin’ ensues.
We begin to discuss creation.
Yes ma’am, deep thoughts for an early summer afternoon.
I politely challenge his theology, if that’s what we’re calling it. Then, as he challenges me…he flings a necklace up over his collar. There suspended on a silver rope chain wobbles a satanic pentagram. Shock stops strategic words.
I blurt out, “Ummmm, does that mean you are not going to pray with me right now?” He scratches his head with a smirk and looks as lost as last year’s Easter eggs!
All he could do?
Laugh, giggle, and point at the stay-at-home-flip-flop-wearing-mama trying to share Jesus with the likes of him.
“Warlock, my darling,’” he condescends.
“That’s what I am.” Of course my high-speed mouth didn’t stop chattering and I prayed for us anyway.
We’ve been friends ever since. You can always find us in the parking lot talking about Jesus and resurrection and repentin’.
Yes sir he believes there is a Jesus and possibly even a resurrected one. But when I press, and I do, I can’t help but think he believes like the demons do. The Bible says even the demons believe Jesus was the crucified and resurrected Son of God. What makes him any different?
He’s probably not really a warlock and he’s probably not a demon either.
But long ago Paul tells Roman Christians that to believe in the saving resurrection of Christ from the dead is to confess the sovereign lordship of Jesus over their lives. It’s more than intellect. It’s more than cheap words rolling over a tongue. It’s about Jesus being Lord.
The warlock tells me repetitiously he knows the Bible. But if Paul were here today, he’d say belief in Jesus for salvation involves far more than intellectual assent. We can all profess belief in Jesus publically but still not possess him personally. Only those who know Christ relationally and are obedient to His commands will enter his kingdom.
That’s why I’m here in this parking lot serving, even when sometimes I don’t feel like it. That’s why I’m weaving gospel threads into every conversation… because I care…about his eternity.
As we gather up our tables and such, I tell him I will pray for him.
He likes to get my goat so he puts up with me. “Okay,” he says.
Hand perched on one hip I say, I am praying you come face to face with Jesus and that he reaches into the depths of your heart, gives you the spirit of revelation, and saves your soul from the clutches of sin. I’m just sayin’!
He walks away with his BBQ sandwich in disbelief. I walk away with my crusty crock-pot in belief that prayer is both powerful and effective.
I’ll let you know what God does….