Archives For Frustration

The Quiet Canvas

October 22, 2013 — 2 Comments

Image Credit Madison Wright

fairyjar1The simple act of being quiet before the Lord is a discipline that should be visited often. Quietness is a blank canvas before the Lord. In quietness, God makes faint undertones of color building to a masterpiece for His glory. He is the artist; you are the canvas.

My daughter Madison is an artist. She has work hanging all over her room. Each work tells a story-a story that was in her heart at the time. I’ve had the honor of seeing most of her work come to life over the days; weeks and months she would work on them.

Sometimes, I didn’t have a clue what the painting was until almost the very end. I would have to wait, and then once she put the finally brush strokes to the canvas the work would come alive and completely reveal itself. At other times, I could tell from the beginning what the work was and so in that case, the joy would come in watching her layer the colors making them burst off the canvas.

Quietness is where God works. Let Him paint. Let Him layer. Let Him choose the colors. Your part is to choose quietness. He waits for you. He has a grand idea for using you.

Quietness.

scar

I have a scar on the palm side of my left hand, near the base of my thumb. I once had an accident while hunting and cut it open. The only thing I had on hand in the woods was some crazy clue I had in my bag. I poured that into the cut and pinched my skin together to stop the bleeding and to close up the injury.

I finished my hunt, returned to my truck for the drive home. Everything seemed fine until I grab hold of the steering wheel. I felt a shock go through my whole body followed by pain I can’t even begin to describe. I looked at my cut and couldn’t see anything, but I knew something was not right.

Over the next couple of days,  I kept hitting my injury on random objects and every time the pain would just grow worse. A shock of pain would course through my body and almost bring me to my knees.  I would look at my wound and to the naked eye it seemed to be healing just fine. However, it wasn’t fine. There was a major problem.

I went to the doctor, and he informed me that I did a excellent job with my homemade superglue stitching, but with a pause in his speech and funny smile on his face, He informed me I had made one big mistake.  I had left a never exposed and that was the reason I was feeling so much pain. He would have to open  my injury and take care of it.

He did a great job. He took care of the exposed nerve, and the pain went away. However, for some strange reason, whenever I rub my finger across the scar it tingles and has a numb feeling. It feels weird. It shoots a numb feeling down the length of my thumb.

So, what’s the lesson? What’s the devotion? Scar will be imposed upon us in this life that you can be sure of. Some scars are self-inflicted while other scars are inflicted upon us by friends and strangers. Either way, the scars remain and although the hurt often fades away, numbness and tingling seem to remain.  Some scars in this life simply have odd, yet funny memories attached to them, much like the one I just shared with you.

However, other scars are painful in a very intrusive and controlling way. There are scars attached to injustices and evil that was conveyed upon you. You are not alone. Jesus experienced that kind of scaring also. He was beating and placed upon a cross. Nails were driven  in his hands and feet. He was stabbed in the side, and blood and water flowed. He took the scars for you and I.

You are not alone. He stands with you. His scars point to the day pain and tears will be no more. When I look at my scars on my body I surely have memories. Some of the memories are not bad while others haunt me, especially the scars of my soul. However, I see the future. I embrace the future. How about you?

Jesus came and stood among the disciples. He spoke to them, Peace be with you as he showed them his hands and his side.

Power-of-a-WhisperImage Credit

Have you ever felt numb emotionally and spiritually? I’m sure you have. Maybe even today you find yourself in just such a place. You don’t have any feelings because they seem to be gone. The effect of sadness and depression over the many closed doors in your life have slowly cut off your faith blood supply, and you feel only numbness.

Numbness! That place in your faith life where you want to completely give up, but you know you can’t, and you know you won’t. Numbness is the part of walking by faith that personally haunts me the most. Maybe you know the feeling I’m referring to?

You are doing everything right and still all the doors in your life seem to close with a dull rudeness. You break out your faith check list to make sure you are walking pleasing to the Lord and sure enough everything for the most part seems to be right on track. Why then is every door closing, and yet for everyone else around you, the doors seem to not even have a close option?

Numbness will take you to the place of Elijah. Elijah had just witnessed an incredible miracle in his life. He witnessed God move on Mount Carmel in such a way that human involvement couldn’t be credited with any part of it. Yet, not long after the open door miracle, we see him whining that he’s all alone as a follower of God. He is numb! He is in the perfect storm.

Numbness led him to isolation but even in the isolation God was there. Numbness can’t push God away from you. He is commanded to get up and eat and to his surprise food and water have been supplied for him. Numbness can’t cut you off from your needs being supplied.

Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before GOD. GOD will pass by.” We are informed that a hurricane type wind passed through the mountains and shattered the rocks, but God wasn’t in the wind. Then after the wind there came an earthquake, but God wasn’t found in it either. Next, fire came, and God was not found in the fire. Finally, a whisper! God was in the whisper.

Numbness can’t be blown away. Numbness can’t be shattered away. Numbness can’t be shaken away. Numbness can’t be burnt away. However, numbness can be whispered away.

The whisper always comes. The whisper always comes. I’m waiting on my whisper. It will come!  How about you?

river

There are 365 days in a year. I’ve never tried, but I would be willing to bet, if I placed the word happy on each day of a calendar when I finished the day happy, there would be less happy days than not. If it were one big wall calendar, you could back away from it to get the whole view, and it would look like a hopeless sight. However, that’s not the way I would see it as a Christ follower.

As a Christ follower my goal is not happiness. My inheritance is joy. Joy is not even a goal. Joy is a gift. I don’t have to fight for it. I don’t have to earn it. The Spirit of God living on the inside of me gives Joy. Now, back up from the same calendar and take another look and you would see the word joy on every day.

Happiness is an emotion. I enjoy experiencing happiness, but it’s not life giving. Joy, on the other hand, is a bi-product of the Holy Spirit. Joy arrives each day on the wings of mercy and walks with me through the ups and down of everyday life. When I walk with joy, happiness often merges along side of me for a while, and it’s nice, but when happiness leaves I don’t grieve because joy is always there.

Joy can’t leave because it’s a gift of God. Weeping might endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.  If happiness is your goal there are many things you can do that brings it to you temporary. However, once that experience is over, happiness runs off and begs for you to wear yourself out chasing it again.

You never have to chase joy. Joy is part of the DNA that was given to you when the Spirit of God came to live inside of you. You are a temple of God, and His temple is a temple full of Joy. At times, you might sing a song of unhappiness, but underneath the unhappiness is a river of Joy that can’t be explained or shut off. It just is! Enjoy your joy and you are enjoying God Himself.

Galatians 5:22-23

EmptyhandsImage Credit

Is it just me or is there anyone else that worries about not worrying about what God may or may not do? When I’m under pressure, I tend to overlook for answers in my own strength.

At times,  it manifest in running every scenario that could happen, or should happen to the point I can’t even sleep well at night. Time and time again living my faith in this manner proves to be a big waste of…well…FAITH.

After all the time wasted searching in my own power, I always end up with nothing! Then it happens. God reminds me that I can’t do anything with NOTHING but He can do anything and everything with NOTHING.

Suddenly, deep in my heart I can feel a groaning of the Spirit of God praying for me the perfect will of God and then it happens; peace consumes me. Sometimes, when you stop looking, and you stop trying to figure it all out, God moves for His glory in your life.

The searcher of hearts is always looking and listening for the groaning of the Spirit inside our hearts. God is always having conversations and communion in our hearts. When there are no more words to pray, the Spirit of God intercedes with groanings at the intersection of ruin and misery within the Christ Follower.

You must share in God’s sufferings to share in His glory. However, suffering when complete gives way to a beautiful witness of His glory and that is enough. God uses suffering, emptiness and troubled times of unanswered prayers to build His character in us, conforming us to Christ, and prepare us for final glory when heaven and earth become one.

You might not get what you thought you needed, but you will get what brings Him the most glory. Sometimes it takes getting nothing to get everything.

Romans 8:26-30 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for uswith groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Choose Image_0

I’m not good with emptiness, but God is great with emptiness. Emptiness often becomes God’s greatest creative place in your life and mine.

Joseph was found in an empty well in Genesis 37:24 because of the envy of his brothers; yet eventually through the sovereign determination of God is made prime minister, second in the land of Egypt.

Emptiness doesn’t have to be a negative situation or a negative emotion when you know God is truly sovereign in your life. In fact, the greatest place to see the true message of what God can do with “empty” things is to ponder the empty tomb of Christ. The empty tomb is not a message of defeat and hopelessness. The empty tomb speaks to all of us, “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:18

Maybe today you are feeling empty. Maybe today the future doesn’t seem so hopeful for you. Maybe today you can’t see past the moment of pain at all. Instead, You find yourself  hearing the negative and defeating voice of emptiness, and not the life giving voice emptiness has under the command of God.

You need to choose which voice you are going to listen to. Choose the negative and defeating voice and you will reap what that path leads to. Choose the life giving voice of emptiness and you will reap what that path leads to. If you are jobless today, if you are broken today by stress that is almost unbearable, if you are in the middle of family drama that is endless, there is hope for you. Your emptiness is a gift if you listen to the right voice.

Emptiness is a crisis, but in every crisis there is an opportunity for God to show off for His own glory. If you truly believe that God is sovereign, then you must believe that God has a plan and purpose in and through your emptiness. You can’t ever forget that God always shows up to demonstrate His glory in His perfect timing. God can work wonders beyond your dreams!

Which voice will you choose? Will you choose the negative and defeating voice, or the life giving voice of God? I think we both know which is correct. Now choose wisely.

Overlooked No More!

April 26, 2013 — 2 Comments

Jesus And Woman At Well1

Have you ever felt overlooked? Have you ever been overlooked? The answer to both questions are probably a resounding, “Yes.’ In John Chapter 4, Jesus meets a woman at the well and takes away her feeling of being overlooked.

She wasn’t overlooked because she didn’t have others around her; she was surround by people in her village, but she still felt alone. It’s been said, “Being lonely isn’t having no one around you, it’s the feeling that there is no one around you who cares.

She was undergoing feelings of being unwanted; which is poverty unto itself. The women of the town was ostracizing her. The tale-tale sign was the time of the day that she went to draw water from the well.

Sure, she had some bad choices happening in her life, but don’t we all? We find out soon enough that she had experienced 5 husbands in her life, and the one she was living with at the moment wasn’t her husband. Jesus said to her, “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband…” Her choices in life, right or wrong (I think wrong) caused her to be overlooked.

However, the great news was God hadn’t overlooked her. In fact, He was led of prayer to go to the very spot she was going to be that day. Her life was about to intersect with the one who never overlooks anyone.

The day before life was dark and depressing. This day, the day she met Christ, changed her forever. Jesus shared with her about the true water of life that would transform her. Jesus didn’t overlook her but gave her life and true love. He rescued her.

She now belonged to someone greater than herself. She would soon come to understand; as it has been said, “Who you are is rooted in whose you are.’ She could now drop all the unnecessary baggage in her life. She was now under the power of Jesus’ watchful eye.

It was now impossible for her to ever be truly overlooked again. God is always mindful of you, therefore, you can’t be overlooked with Him in your life.

When it seems you are being overlooked; instead of getting down about it, cheer up! You just might be getting ready to run into Jesus and have a day changing (life changing) event.

 

suffering-suffering-for-blog

Acts 5:40-42 ESV

And when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It has been said, “God doesn’t simply want us to feel good. He wants us to be good. And very often the road to being good involves not feeling good.”

In John 16:33 Jesus said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We are promised tribulation. We are promised suffering. Suffering can be embraced as a wind of advancement or suffering can be embraced as a wind of retreat. The choice is yours to make. If you choose to retreat, then you will need no armor. If you choose to advance through it, then God has the power you need to do so.

In Acts 5 Peter and the apostles suffering pressed them forward and not backwards

1. They were beaten and charged to not speak in the name of Jesus anymore (A wounding of the flesh and a wounding of the spirit)

2. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name

3. They daily taught in the temple and from house to house, preaching Jesus

They could live through suffering because they had a view that looked higher than the suffering right in front of them. Suffering becomes beautiful when you look up, around and down and realize you are following Jesus.

The eyes of suffering see clearer when they look forward at the kingdom to come, instead of backwards at the suffering it takes to get there.

Out of the Darkness

Out of the dark forbidding soil The pure white lilies grow.

Out of the black and murky clouds, Descends the stainless snow.

Out of the crawling earth-bound worm A butterfly is born. Out of the somber shrouded night, Behold! A golden morn!

Out of the pain and stress of life, The peace of God pours down.

Out of the nails — the spear — the cross, Redemption — and a crown!

Author Unknown.

tomorrow

Tomorrow is not even here yet, and I can feel it overreaching into today. Don’t get me wrong; I know there must be planning for the future but when that future overreaches it’s authority and steals the joy and progress of God in my life today, it’s not spiritually healthy.

Let’s  face it; you need strength to carry out the work of today. When you allow tomorrow to put its hands into today, it loves to grab strength and run away with it. In other words, it loves to empty today of its strength leaving you with a dismissed heart to work hard on today’s work.

I challenge you today to not let the future disturb you. Walk in the power and strength that God has given you for today. Tomorrow, He is able to do it all again for you. According to the scriptures, He is the God of yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful in the present moment of your life.

It’s okay to think about tomorrow. It’s okay to organize a little for tomorrow. However, it’s not okay to allow tomorrow to become the governor that gets in the way of the LORD of today in your life which is Jesus- working in and through you.

Matthew 6:34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

trust

Letting God into your problems is different from letting God watch your problems. Letting Him into your problems means you allow God to have control of what you are trying to run. On the other hand, letting God watch your problems is an insult to the work of the cross. He endured the cross so that you might be free in Him.

Psalm 46:10 says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” (NASB) You and I fight against God when we try to control and win against the problems of our lives. It can’t be both ways with God when it comes to the subject of control. You can’t control and surrender control at the same time.  Either you are in control, or God is in control. One works to bring Him glory, and the other points to our own pride as the answer.

In order to have peace, the surrendering of your problems must be laid at the feet of Jesus. You must stop striving by taking your hands off the proverbial wheel of control. You long for peace and rest but you will never experience either until you give your problems to the Prince of Peace.

God loves to speak to His children, “The battle is not yours; it’s mine. You don’t have to fight in it.” You need to take the discouragement, the tiredness and the fatigue that comes along with carrying all the troubles and realize that it doesn’t depend on you. God is calling to you over and over to let Him  take control. Bless God today by giving Him the gift of your rubbish.

Turning your rubbish over to God means you must trust Him. When you don’t understand, or life seems unfair and makes remarkably little sense at all, that is a definite signpost pointing you to turn it all over to Jesus. Don’t be the person who says they trust God, but when trouble hits they run it through their own filter first. Remove the filter and let God be God in your life.

Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”