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

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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