Come to Him…

22 04 2010

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]” –Matthew 11:28

“Many people today are stressed out beyond anything a human being was ever meant to endure. Every person is very different, uniquely created by G-d’s design. What is complicated for one may be simple for another. Don’t compare yourself with other people. But when faced with a problem or difficult circumstance you must ask yourself, ‘what would Jesus have me to in this situation? How would He handle it?’

Jesus was not stressed out or burned out. He was not controlled by circumstances or the demands of other people. In John 14:6, Jesus said, ‘I am the Way.’ His way is the right way—the way that will lead you into righteousness, peace, and joy. Jesus prayed that His enjoyment would fill your soul, and it will when you learn to take His approach to life and its many different challenges.”

-Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right”

It can be so hard to live in this world and not stress out. We are so busy. We are so performance minded and defined by what we do. Whether you are graduating college, looking for a job, or wherever else you might be—that pressure to fulfill societal expectation will be following you. I must admit that I’ve struggled with my own concept of adulthood and success and not feeling like I measure up to even my own standards. Christ is the only one that I know that truly does accept us and love us based upon who He is and who we are and not based on what we can do. He sees you and wants to walk with you at all times—when you feel successful and peaceful and when you feel foolish and dreamless. Keep walking with Him. He’s in all our details and His dreams for us are beyond comprehension.

Getting excited about what’s to come,

Mere





Strong Fortress

13 04 2010

“I will say of the L-rd, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my G-d; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!…You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor of the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.”

-Psalm 91:2, 5-6

“You need to remember you are ready for anything through Christ who infuses inner strength into you. Paul prayed for the Church at Ephesus to be strengthened with all might and power in the inner man (see Ephesians 3:16). He knew if they stayed strong inwardly, they would be able to handle whatever came against them.

When you trust G-d, you don’t have to be afraid of the devil’s sudden surprises that stalk you. He is your strong fortress. No matter what may come against you, you will not be defeated.”

(Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right”)

I think that an important detail here is who is the refuge. We acknowledge Him as our Savior and Covering and then He’s the one dealing with our fears and silencing them. It’s not about us getting over our fears; it’s the L-rd extinguishing them. I think the “you shall not” is a declaration over us and not an order. If we are committed to the L-rd that doesn’t always mean dear will completely be non-existent, it means that He will start making the anxiety disappear in the light of Him. That’s why I love the song that says: “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” The more He reveals Himself and we come to trust in who He is, the less sense our fears will make. Some of my fears from the past seem completely ridiculous because G-d has liberated me by showing me more and more of Him. I used to fear death a whole lot and have terrible nightmares. Now, I don’t lie awake in fear about it. Certainly, I have fears that are still in my life, but the L-rd is at work.

Don’t feel like a terrible child of G-d (because you are absolutely normal) when you have fear, just know that G-d loves you and is ready to start working out the fear one day at a time.

By faith and hope,

Mere





It would have been enough…but God…

4 04 2010

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Phil. 2:12-13

This past few months have been among the roughest in my walk. I have gone astay so far that I did not know if returning was even an option. It was not for lack of trying; I tried to resist temptation constantly and failed. And, in my weakness, darkness filled my heart. A sense of loss, fear and death filled my soul.

Amidst all this turmoil, Phil. 2:12-13 arose over and over. I knew that I was on to something, but I did not know what. I was greatly trying to work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Yet, the harder I struggled, the more I failed and despaired. My faith wavered and even my desires turned almost fully away. But the ache in my chest grew.

I hated myself and condemned myself and even spoke death over myself. The question of whether or not I have fallen from grace had surfaced over and over. So fear began to become a way of life. I saw the fruit of division, lust, and anger growing in my life.

I got down on my knees and cried out. I told God that I don’t even have the words to express the weight on my chest. I admitted what I have done and told Him honestly that I knew better. I lacked even the will to do good– and that unless He moved in, I would continue on my path.

I confessed that I lacked trust in Christ and I have not been living in or receiving his forgiveness. I asked for that forgiveness and I asked for the grace to receive it. I needed God to put faith in me and the will to even stop habitual sin. I have never been this broken.

I began to see the sin in my life and it’s ramifications. Just how wrong and gross it had become. I hated it. But I still knew that I would not stop unless god delivered me—I tried, I failed, and I lost hope.
Then the scripture Rom. 5:6 came to my mind “6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”

Then Phil. 2:12-13 came back to mind, and it finally dawned on me. That I have only been living the first part of the verse. I began to grasp that the second part of that verse fulfilled the first—that the verse was more like an if/then verse. Once we try to live righteously with fear and trembling–we will realize that we are powerless. Then we are able to accept that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

You see, in Rom. 7 Paul had this struggle with sin and cried in despair that he found himself doing what he hated and was trapped. He cries out “24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?”

And the answer—“ 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” he continues further in Chapter 8 “32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” and he talks about God’s steadfast love.

When it comes to weakness in faith, we realize that it is God who is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). Even our faith (if it can be called ours) to trust in Christ comes from him! He does not want to give us strength. Instead, he himself wants to be our strength. He did not want us to merely find salvation, but he wanted to become our salvation.

It would have been enough for God to send His law. It would have been enough for him to speak to us through His prophets. It would have been enough when he parted the Red Sea. It would have been enough when He sent His Son for our sins. He not only did all these things, but he gives the grace and faith we required for receiving the sacrifice.

But isn’t that just like God! He is the righteous judge, on one hand, that demands the death penalty for sin and the loving father, on the other hand, who pays the penalty himself! He gave his son—how much more will He give you the faith you need?

If you find yourself in despair, and you don’t even think you posses the will to turn from temptation. If you feel you have blown it and you cannot come back from the pit…You are right! You cannot turn on your own. You need the grace (which means the power of God) to move in you. Go before him right now and call to him…I dare you.

Remember that there was a man who came to Jesus and said “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). And that was enough. Jesus was more than willing to make up the difference.
He promises that he will never turn away from a broken person (Ps.51:17 + Is. 57:15+ Matt. 12:20). And God ain’t no liar!

The point is that salvation is from the Lord and it is not by might, nor by strength. It is by his spirit. With man, it is impossible but with God, all things are possible.

Now, “The LORD bless you
and keep you;
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
Num. 6:22-27

Amen and Amen,
Luke





Freedom from the Pit

23 03 2010

“I waited patiently and expectantly for the L-rd; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up out of a horrible pit…and set my feet upon a rock.” –Psalm 40:1-2

“When the Bible speaks of “the pit,” I always think of the depths of depression. David spoke of feeling as though he were in a pit, calling out to the L-rd to rescue him and set his feet on solid ground.

Nobody wants to be in the pit of depression. Satan takes advantage of your situation by reminding you of painful memories.

When you are depressed, the devil’s goal is to make you miserable and hopeless you will never rise up and cause him any problems or to fulfill the call of G-d on your life.

So if you’re struggling in a pit that keeps you from being all G-d wants you to be, cry out to the L-rd and allow Him to draw you out of the pit and set you free. G-d has a great life planned for you, don’t let satan steal it through depression.” (Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right”)

Waiting patiently and expectantly sticks out when I read that scripture. “Patiently” reminds me that G-d and I don’t run on the same schedule. I get tired of situations far before it’s G-d’s timing to move me out. I think G-d gives us the waiting time so both of us can see how my patience and faith play out. Will I trust Him when I don’t see the movement? We need to see our reaction and we need to see our faith lacking because then we will learn to trust G-d’s timing and hand. “Expectantly” is vital because it reflects on our view of G-d. If we truly believe in G-d’s love and goodness, we will be expectant about His intervention and blessing. I start freaking out when I let myself forget who G-d is and what is track record is like. It’s so easy when you are not in a waiting time to tell others to wait patiently and trust, but the real testament is when you are in that season yourself—If you are struggling in the “just wait on G-d” phase, I’m right there with you. Some days, this is really tough and I just want to give up, but keep pressing on with me. We are all on this journey together. The L-rd will bring us through and it will be beautiful.

By faith and hope,

Mere





Are You Lovable?

19 03 2010

“G-d shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.” –Romans 5:8

“When you read the title on this page—Are You Lovable?—you may have immediately thought, “No, I’m not!” I would have probably responded the same way before I came to understand the true nature of G-d’s love and His reason for loving me.

How can G-d love you as imperfect as you are? He loves you because He wants to. It pleases Him. G-d loves you because that is in His nature. G-d is love (see 1 John 4:8). If He were otherwise, He wouldn’t be who He is.

G-d may not always love everything you do, but He does love you. His love is unconditional—it is based on Him, not you.” (Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right”)

G-d’s love is so individualized. I think that’s one of the things that amazes me the most about Him. It’s easy enough for us to say ‘Jesus loves you’ or ‘G-d loves all of us.’ Both of these statements are true, but they don’t connect the divine mystery of His intimate love for you personally. I saw a magnet that I kind of like even though its cheesy: “Sure, G-d loves you, but I’m His favorite.” I think somehow we are all G-d’s favorites—He can somehow have multiple favorites, but without making us feel like we are having to share Him or His affection. G-d is crazy about you. He sees you and His banner over you is love. He looks at you and sees the potential. He believes in the work that He is doing in you. He looks at you, even when you are failing, and He sees Christ’s covering over you. How awesome is that! Phil 2:12-13 encourages us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it’s the L-rd that works in you, both to will and to do.” The important message to us is that the L-rd is going to do it. Not only does He have the will, He also is making the way. It’s not about what you can do; He loves you and He will bring it all into fruition. I think we can say all day long that G-d loves us, but the proof of our belief manifests in our actions. Are you living like you believe that the G-d of the universe is madly in love with you and is on your team? He wants to see you walking in your potential. He’s got big dreams for you. Get excited! This love truly should do what 1 John 4:18—“perfect love casts out fear…” He is for you. He loves you and the best part is that it has nothing to do with how you perform.

By faith and hope,
mere





Have an Attitude of Faith

17 03 2010

“Faith is the assurance…of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see.”

-Hebrews 11:1

“Faith can be described in many ways, but a very simple way to look at faith—even to examine whether or not you are operating in it—is to say that “faith has an attitude.”

Hebrews 4 says that those who have believed G-d—those who have an attitude of faith—enter His rest and cease from the weariness and pain of human labors.

The attitude of faith does not worry, fret, or have anxiety concerning tomorrow, because faith understands that wherever it needs to go, even into the unknowns of the future, Jesus has already been there.

Remember, He is the Alpha and the Omega. Not only is He the Beginning and the End, He is everything in between. So have an attitude of faith as you pray today, placing your trust completely in the one who was, who is, and who is to come.” (Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right)

Would our faith really be faith if we were not required to have faith? This may seem obvious or like a tongue twister, but I think it’s a legitimate thought. Why are we surprised by circumstances that don’t make sense to us? Why are we whiny and upset when G-d gives us a scenario that requires us to actually have faith? When it comes down to it, I must confess that I’m a fair weather friend of G-d. In the good times, we are great, but when times get tough, I’m whining to Him. Praise the L-rd for His grace! I think I would have gotten tired of my whining if I was Him. I think we have a choice in this. Joyce brought up that there was an attitude of faith. We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can make a choice to have the right attitude. This is really hard, but I feel a strange sense of joy because I’m in a time that is requiring a lot of faith because the reassurance is not there based upon circumstances or human logic. I think knowing that G-d has something good in mind after the challenges pass brings me the most reassurance. All I can say is what I’m trying to do—don’t try to figure out what the L-rd is doing; just get excited about what He is doing and keep your eyes open to the subtle changes He may be bringing. The L-rd is our defense and He is all the proof we truly need.

By faith and hope,

Mere





Don’t Fret–Rejoice!

13 03 2010

“Rejoice in the L-rd always…again I say, Rejoice!…Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in…everything by prayer and petition,…with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to G-d.”

–Phil 4:4, 6

“Twice in this passage the apostle Paul tells us to rejoice. He urges us not to fret or have any anxiety about anything but to pray and give thanks to G-d in everything—not after everything is over.

If you wait until everything is perfect before rejoicing and giving thanks you won’t have much fun. Learning to enjoy life even in the midst of trying circumstances is one way to develop spiritual maturity.

Live in the fullness of the joy of the L-rd by finding something to be glad about besides your current circumstances. You must learn to derive your happiness and joy from the L-rd who lives inside you.

Decide you will not fret or have anxiety about anything but will give thanks and praise to G-d, rejoicing in Him always.”

(Joyce Meyer, “Ending Your Day Right”)

I think the biggest mistake we can make is to assume that just because we can’t see how G-d is working that nothing is happening. It’s so easy to fall into this and that is exactly what satan wants us to do. If he can make us feel stuck or ignored, we will spiral into fear, depression, and hopelessness. Every time you choose to believe the truth about G-d’s love and His activity, the lies and doubts as to G-d not coming through will seem more and more ridiculous. He cares about you. He’s in every detail of your life—He either causes it or allows it to happen. He cares for your good more than you do. In my experience, the best way to banish the lies and feelings of hopelessness is to be grateful in the small things…no matter how small the blessing may be, like the fact that you were able to have a Poptart for breakfast or the flowers in your yard were in bloom this morning or the dryer only ate one sock today…Start looking for the little things and the greater things will come in His time.

By faith and hope,

Mere