Do I Really Believe?

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?

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Pick Your Poison

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. 
 

Watered Down Gospel

It’s a watered down gospel
Fit for the consumer

Methodology replaces theology
Polls determine what message is preached

Truth is couched in entertainment
To make it more palatable

The offense of the cross
Has strategically been removed

No mention of sin
Nor the need for repentance

Biblical faith is abandoned
In exchange for having ears tickled

Emotions are stirred
But lives are not transformed

Large numbers the reflection of God’s blessing
Popularity the measure of success

Focused on the breadth of ministry
They have forsaken the depth

by Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 26, 2010   

Of No Consequence

Irrelevant
Inconsequential
Of no eternal value

Distraction
Dissipation
Entertained by nothing that matters

Insignificant
Trivial
Time wasted on the unimportant

Squandered
Misused
On that which is of no consequence
 
Susan Bunts Wachtel
August 25, 2010


It’s so easy to waste time and pay attention on that which holds no value.  How important it is for us to be mindful that one day we will give an account for every thought, word and deed.  Am I approaching each day with eternal vision…or walking by sight focused only on today?

The Lordship of Christ

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?

How to know if you are a Spammer

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.

 

Praise Him


Psalm 148

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.