I can say the scriptures from memory. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” “God works all things together for good for those that love Him and are called according to His purposes.” I can recite the scriptures word for word…but do I really believe them?
Perhaps God allows difficult circumstances or people in my life to cause me to depend upon Him and to reveal areas in my life…where I’m not walking in faith.
What does it mean in my everyday life that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me? How will that change what I think about my circumstances? If I really trust in the Lord with all my heart how will that change how I will choose to respond to people or situations that are difficult?
When I’m treated wrongly by people that are just plain stinky…every part of me wants to do a smack down…verbally or even physically. But there is that still small voice within me that says, “Susan, be quite and don’t respond. Trust Me. I see what’s going on and I will direct you…draw close and follow Me.”
It’s there in the middle that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to have an eternal vision. To know and to trust that God is at work in my circumstances…even though it’s not evident at the moment. That’s where I have to walk by faith, not by sight.
Perhaps He is doing a work in me…sifting me to remove something that is sinful, displeasing or dishonorable. Perhaps…He is causing to me look to Him and depend on Him even more. Perhaps He will use me, when I respond in obedience, to work in the lives of those that don’t yet know Him.
Am I willing to endure difficult circumstance without knowing exactly what God is doing or when He will bring relief? Isn’t that part of “trusting in the Lord with all my heart”? I can trust God…even in the storms because I know that God is good…all the time. Even when I’m hurting or troubled…He is good.
In myself I have such limited vision…but when I look through the eyes of faith…I can trust God.
When I start believing that “God works all things together for good for those that love Him”, then I can trust Him in all circumstances…including when wrong is done to me.
One of the most freeing things that I can do in the middle of difficult circumstances…when I have been truly wronged is to pray. Not only pray for God to deliver me…but to pray for the persons who are sinning against me. Not that God will bonk them upside the head…but to pray for what they are facing in their lives. Pray for their salvation. Pray for them to have a conscience that is tender and sensitive towards God and yielded unto Him…that God will plow the tough and rocky soil of their hard heart and plant the seed of the Gospel message. That it will come to fruition according to God’s perfect timing.
Time and time again…God has been faithful to work in various relationships when I have trusted Him and forgiven my enemy. It seems there is no better way to get rid of an enemy than to make them a friend…and God has done that in my life.
So today…when I’m facing difficult people or troubling circumstances…and part of me wants to scream for God to deliver me…if I can just remember the past…remember what God has done…how He’s faithfully brought me through…then I am freed up to pray for those who despitefully use me.
How about you….do you really believe?
It wasn’t exhaustion and fatigue at the end of each day, nor reluctantly dragging myself out of bed each morning that helped me to realize that I need to slow down. It was a conversation with a friend.
She asked how I was doing and I explained that life was busy, that I was involved with this Bible study and that one…and it was like juggling balls to figure out which homework that I should work on today. I concluded the conversation with, “It’s pick your poison.”
Pick your poison!!! Good golly how in the world did I get to the point where Bible study became like picking my poison? Actually I didn’t even see it, until my husband Chris pointed it out to me after he heard our conversation.
That’s when I realized that while both Bible studies that I was involved with were good and worthy…that I was involved in too much. I wasn’t giving either one the attention that it deserved. I wasn’t spending the time I needed to diligently study God’s word….and let it get in me and penetrate my heart and soul and change me.
Instead, both Bible studies became more like a completing a checklist …I read the books and scripture, answered the questions and memorized the verses and got to check off my little box. Frequently I found myself irritated…annoyed by the author not getting to the point quickly enough so I could get on to the next assignment and exasperated by my husband wanting me to fix dinner and eat at the table together. Somehow I don’t think that’s what God has in mind when I study His word.
I got to check off a box, but I didn’t get to meet with the King of kings and Lord of lords. I didn’t come before the throne of grace and spend time and delight in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In examining my actions, heart and attitude, I realized that I needed to slow down. Slow down and do one thing well rather than two, three or more things poorly. So I made the decision to drop out of one study. It was a great study…I enjoyed the Bible study, the people and the leaders. I would greatly miss them. But I needed to fulfill my commitment to my first Bible study group.
Isn’t it just like the enemy to take something that is good and right and distort it…make it about self effort and accomplishments, instead of loving the Lord with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. My sin nature is reflected in the desire to look good before man rather than hunger and thirst to God more through the study of His word.
In Hebrews 4:12 we learn that the “word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and is piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
In my busyness, I dull the sharp blade of the word of God. It barely touches much less penetrates my heart and mind, and does not divide my soul and spirit. I wonder is it intentional so that I don’t have to examine myself in the light of God’s word…so that I don’t have to yield to the Master?
Tomorrow at church, we are having a women’s function so we can see what studies will be available for the fall. I need to listen to the Lord…and choose what He would have me do. Will it be a Precepts study through our church or at another church, will it be Bible Study Fellowship’s new study in Isaiah, will it be with Community Bible Study or a small group women’s study through church?
While I’ve loved working in one of the small group studies for the past year and a half…I greatly miss a more in depth and challenging study. In reading and studying God’s word directly I hear from God clearly. While I love Bible studies from the gifted women teachers…it seems I’m hearing God’s word through the filter of another person. Don’t get me wrong…I have many CD’s and studies from many teachers…but there is nothing like studying God word in depth and hearing God for myself.
I wish I could say that I’m disciplined enough to study in depth on my own…but truth be told I’m not. That’s why I need to choose a good study that will encourage me and help me to diligently study God’s word.
Do I submit to the Lordship of Christ in my life?
How does that effect my thoughts, words and actions?
Is my will conformed to His?
How does that look in any given day?
Do I recognize that I am a slave to Christ?
Do I recognize that Jesus Christ bought me off slave market of sin…that I belong to Him?
Do I serve Him and submit to Him out of love and gratitude?
Am I conformed to God’s will, my will or the worlds?
Does Christ’s Lordship in my life effect what I read and listen to?
Does it dictate how I spend my money and time?
Am I living for myself of for Christ?
Am I filled with the fullness of God or with myself?
Do I seek to glorify God with my life?
Is there any area of my life that is off limits to God?
Is there any area of my life that shouldn’t be brought into submission to God’s will?
Is my disobedience to God evidence of my lack of trust in Him, reflective of my lack of a true knowledge of God?
Most folks like to receive a good joke or stay informed on current events…but if you are reading this list and recognize some of the signs…you may be a spammer:
- When your family and friend’s email system automatically flags your emails as junk.
- When the majority of emails that you send are forwarded from someone else.
- When you don’t bother to read who receive the same email as you did and you forward it on to your mailing list, including recipients who receive the same email as you.
- When you can’t remember the last personal email you sent.
- When the majority of recipients just delete your email because they don’t have time or inclination to open it, much less read it.
- When you don’t bother to investigate if the claims in an email are true before you forward it. (Snoops.com or Truthorfiction.com)
- When you don’t bother examine the content of the email you are forwarding to see if it’s in keeping with your moral or Christian values or the values of the recipients.
- When your friends get a new email address and don’t tell you what it is.
- When your friends have set up an email rule to automatically send your emails to trash.
- When half the emails that your friends receive are from you.
- When your friends delete your emails from their in-box and the capacity goes down by 25% or more.
- When your friends nickname you “Spammer”.
- If your friends email you this blog post with a note to take heed.
- When you are reading this list and wonder if it’s about you.
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
2 Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
3 Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
4 Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
5 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
6 He also established them forever and ever;
He made a decree which shall not pass away.
7 Praise the LORD from the earth,
You great sea creatures and all the depths;
8 Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
9 Mountains and all hills;
Fruitful trees and all cedars;
10 Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and flying fowl;
11 Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
12 Both young men and maidens;
Old men and children.
13 Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above the earth and heaven.
14 And He has exalted the horn of His people,
The praise of all His saints—
Of the children of Israel,
A people near to Him.
If I really believed that God hears my prayers would that change how I prayed? If I really believed that God cares and that He answers prayers…how would I pray? If I was confident that God is who the Bible says He is and can do what He says He can do…what would I pray for?
The first thing that comes to mind is that I would pray more often.
I would pray about everything.
I would pray with boldness and confidence.
I would be more faithful in prayer for family, friend, strangers and even my enemies.
I would pray with a sense of peace and assurance that my heavenly Father hears me.
I would pray more personally.
I could hardly wait to pray…to run to the throne of my Abba Father who cares for me.
I would pray with trust and know that no matter what, God is doing a good work in the situation and my character.
I would be certain that His “No” is because he is working out a greater good.
My prayers would have an eternal vision…not only looking for answers this side of heaven.
I would care less about what people thought about me and more about what my heavenly Father has to say.
I would desire to have more time with my Abba Father.
I would be excited to share with others the wonderful news about the Gospel message so that they too can be saved and have their sin debt paid in full by Jesus Christ.
I wouldn’t give a hoot or holler what unbeliever or doubters had to day…because I would believe God.
When attacked by the enemy…I would run to the throne of grace.
I would desire to be sanctified, set apart so that nothing would interfere with my prayer life and relationship with God.
I would pray more fervently.
Salvation, salvation, salvation would be my primary prayer because I know that God desires that no one would perish but all would come to repentance…and there is nothing more important in life.
I would have the joy of the Lord even during the hard times.
I wouldn’t try to get through life and difficult circumstances on my own strength.
Do you ever wonder how you can share the Gospel message with family and friends? How do you tell them that just like you and me, they are sinners and unless they repent and believe on Jesus Christ that they will go to hell? Like a doctor who has a cure for cancer is obligated to share that information, Christians have the cure for sin and have been commanded to share the Gospel message with unbelievers.
I encourage you to listen to the message Hell’s Best Kept Secret. You can go to the above link and listen to Ray Comfort’s message on Hell’s Best Kept Secret
. You can listen on-line or download to your computer or MP3 player.
O rebellious and fallen one
I have a deliciously bad report
About the saints who are the apple of our Enemy’s eye
While they will never join us in hell
We are able to render them powerless to an unbelieving world
They stand in their pews and sing loudly
About the wonder working power of the blood of the Lamb
They pray that God will forgive their trespasses
As they forgive those who trespass against them
All the while they hold on to unforgiveness in their heart
I especially relish their unforgiveness towards another saint
They read their scriptures
Assured that God remembers their sins no more
Yet they have a tally sheet of the sins committed against them
Their memories are like a steal trap
Their Father in heaven has put their sins
As far as the east is from the west
But they hold offenses close to their heart
Ponder them daily to justify their disobedience
My favorite is the saint who thinks they have forgiven
Yet refuses to fellowship with one whom they will spend eternity with
God tells His saints
That the world will know they are Christians by their love
God reminds them if they love Him
They will obey His commandments
Yet somehow the sin of unforgiveness
Slips under the radar
The command to forgive
Is easily pushed aside as they nurse an old wound
As such…unforgiveness is a marvelous tool
To render the saints witness ineffective
Well I’m off now…back to work
As I seek to steal their joy and peace
Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 11, 2010
Recently I got to thinking about pride. It seems to be a common area of vulnerability for all of us, great and small, both famous or those who are unknown.
The Bible is replete with warnings about pride and its consequences.
It’s so easy to see the sin of pride in others…and blind to the pride within me.
How easy it is to believe my own press clippings.
How tempting it is to incline my ear to hear the praises of men.
How easy it is to take credit for accomplishments, skills, talents or abilities.
When I fail to recognize God’s hand and remember that everything I have is a gift from Him…I am on the road to a prideful, haughty spirit.
When I surround myself with those who agree with my self assessment about how good I am…I am playing into the hands of the enemy.
When I fail to give God thanks and praise…I am robbing Him of His glory.
When I have a prideful spirit, I am replacing God in my life with a god of my own making…namely myself.
Pride wins when I care more about myself than others.
When I’m filled with pride, I’m more concerned about how I look than about obeying God.
When pride is the motivating factor in my life…I am never more like the devil.
When I fill my heart and mind with the word of God…I have a proper perspective on who I am.
When I seek to know God more and love Him with all my heart, mind, soul and strength…pride is driven away.
When I’d rather boast about Jesus Christ and Him crucified and seek to glorify Him…then I am yielded to God.
If Jesus were not fully God then He would be a sinner born in inequity and not the Messiah.
If Jesus were not fully Man then He could not be my Kinsman Redeemer.
If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then I am dead in my sins and judgment awaits me.
Do I pray with praise and thanksgiving to my Father in heaven for who He is, for what my Savior Jesus Christ has accomplished and for the Holy Spirit who dwells within me?
Do I pray in reverence because I am coming before God who is holy?
Do I pray clothed in the righteousness of Christ?
Do I pray with confidence because I know that God is gracious, merciful and loving?
Do I pray and receive comfort in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father interceding for me?
Do I pray with trust that I have a relationship with my heavenly Father and that He hears me?
Do I pray to my Abba Father before I go to man and talk about my problems?
Do I pray with conviction knowing the uncompromising truth in God’s word?
Do I pray instead of giving way to anxious thoughts?
Do I pray with patience trusting God and His time frame and His plan?
Do I pray for others rather than yielding to the temptation of gossip?
Do I pray and bring to my Father…what concerns me today?
Do I pray, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?
Do I pray knowing that the Holy Spirit intercedes on my behalf with groans that my words cannot express?
Do I pray for God’s will and not my own?
Do I pray that God will change me before He changes my situation?
Do I pray for God to bless my enemies?
Do I pray knowing that salvation is a work of God, not of me?
Do I pray that God will change my heart?
Do I pray that I will be conformed to God’s will?
Do I pray knowing that it is time invested wisely, not wasted?
Do I pray with faithfulness for those whom I promised to pray for?
Do I pray knowing that God works through and answers the prayers of His saints?
Do I pray confessing and repenting of my sins?
Do I pray knowing that God is well able to handle ANYTHING that concerns me?
Do I pray for others before I pray for myself?
Do I pray?
If feel a distance
I know from Your word
You will never leave
Nor forsake me
Can’t I feel Your presence
Is there sin in my life
Have I failed to obey You
Put other gods before You
Do I have a haughty spirit
I feel as if I’m in a fog
Somewhere beyond the misty clouds
You are there
Like the sun
Piercing through a fog bank
I long to feel Your presence
By Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 4, 2010
Do you ever go through times…where you just don’t feel God’s presence?
That’s what I’ve been feeling for a little over a week and I’m not sure why? I know with absolute confidence that God is with me. He has promised to never leave nor forsake me. To quote the Psalmist, “If I make my bed in hell, Thou art there.”
While I wait to feel God’s presence once again, I examine myself…to see if there is anything in my thoughts, attitude or actions that are sinful and displeasing to the Lord. Something that has caused a break in fellowship. At times like this…I so long for and desire His presence. He is my life and my joy.