Archives For Feeling

Only God

July 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

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You Lord give longing for the eternal. Only you can satisfy. Forgive me for looking anywhere else for completeness and joy. Soul-satisfaction can only be found in you-the creator of all things.

You walk with me moment by moment. There is never an instant you are not near. Your endless road of Grace amazes me continually. Every hunger of my life leads to you for sustenance.  My soul and heart is restless without you.

I hold fast to your promise spoken long ago,  “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” You are all-sufficient. My soul smiles and I campaign forward.

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Only God can transform a bad life situation, but His first desire is to transform you through your surrendered dependence upon Him alone.

Twenty years had gone by, and the day Jacob has been dreading is now upon him. He is about to run into his brother Esau. God has asked Jacob to return, and the last time Jacob saw his brother Esau, Esau wanted to kill him.

God is at work in Jacob’s life, but at this point Jacob is to afraid to just trust in God’s plan, so he comes up with a plan of healing himself. He is convinced that he can boost his odds of a successful meeting with his brother by the power of self-sufficiency. However, God has a different plan.

God’s desire it to transform Jacob by freeing him from self-sufficiency. God is looking for surrender and not Jacob’s plans. God is looking for complete surrendered dependence. C.S. Lewis once said, “Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self.” God is looking to help Jacob find his real self that is found only in the surrendering of everything to God.

Try as we might, we can’t heal ourselves the way God can heal us. Self-Sufficiency must give way to surrendered dependency on God. In other words, you can’t be fully His until you are fully given over to Him. God has Jacob right where He wants him. Jacob has no recourse left but to rely on God, and that’s a perfect place to be.

In Genesis 32:24-31 Jacob is alone and wrestles with God until the breaking of the day. It’s not so much a physical confrontation as it is a spiritual battle where God is trying to give Jacob a new freedom. After a long match, God touches the hip socket of Jacob and Jacob is left in a position of utter and absolute brokenness and dependence before God.

Jacob declares,  he will not let go until he gets God’s blessing. Up to this time Jacob’s biggest weakness was not trusting God completely and trying to micromanage every step of his life. Verse 27 God answers Jacob by giving him the blessing of a name change.

A name change is a character change. A name change is a direction change. A name change is a purpose change. God changes his name from Jacob to Israel. God’s purpose for Israel has always been that they would bring the whole world to God himself. In one beautiful moment, Jacob’s plans are turned over to God and replaced with God’s purpose.

Jacob calls the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered. From that day forward,  he walked with a limp and a smile. He was now free because of surrender. How about you today? Are you free? Are you trusting God or trusting your plans?

Abraham had to lay down Isaac and trust God. Jacob had to lay down self-sufficiency and trust God. What do you need to lie down before God? It’s tempting to put off what you need to surrender. However, self-sufficiency, non-surrender and avoidance never brings healing.

Only God can transform a bad life situation, but His first desire is to transform you. God doesn’t want your plans He wants you.

Here the message, Surrendered Dependency Upon Him

Problems-of-Faith

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.”

Suffering can be embraced as a wind of advancement OR Suffering can be embraced as a wind of retreat

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

  • They were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus anymore
  • They Rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name
  • 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, down and around and realize you are following Jesus.

Godthere

I’m convinced that nothing in the hands of God can fall apart. He is the creator and controller of all things. His sovereignty can’t be thwarted. Now, I must confess. There have been times in my life, those first three sentences seemed like a cruel joke. I’ve had things appear to fall apart and fall to the floor of my life. I would say to myself, “How can things this bad happen to me- a follower of the Christ?”

I’m not sure how to answer that question perfectly, nor am I convinced I even need an answer for trouble finding me. I’m just sure God has not lost control. Ephesians 1:11 says, “…He works all things according to the purpose of His will….”

I find comfort by looking back on the last days of Jesus. Everything in the Gospel’s read like His life was out of control. His friends forsook him. He was attacked by loneliness. Those in power falsely tried him. He was physically and emotionally abused and tortured. He was crucified. All of this took place, and He was innocent.

No events in the life of Christ were beyond God’s authority. From a human view, they seem random; they seem like bad luck, or a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, that’s just not the case. God was in control at all times. Likewise, none of the events of our lives are out of God’s control when bad things are happening to us. You must not relate bad things happening to you as proof God is not there. He is the God that is never absent in your life.

Yes, “Bad things” happen to the lives of those who follow Christ. However, He has promised to always be with us. He is mightier than anything that comes against you. Psalm 93:4 says, “Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea–the LORD on high is mighty.” Yes, we live in a world where bad things still happen, but have hope, for God is at work in your life to accomplish His plans in and through you.

Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

jesus-betrayed-by-a-friend

Psalm 55:12-15 (ESV)
12 For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. 13 But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. 14 We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng. 15 Let death steal over them; let them go down to Sheol alive; for evil is in their dwelling place and in their heart

When a person helps heal a wound in your life you are thankful, and rightfully so.  They were there for you in your moment of greatest need. However, what happens when that same person reopens the wound by partnering with the very one that caused the wound in the first place?

When that happens it’s called, talking out of both sides of their mouth. It simply means to say different things to different people about the same subject. Betrayal hurts no matter what you call it.

Many things in life hurt and can be difficult to handle, but when a friend throws you under the bus, it’s a pain of a special category. Betrayal brings many negative emotions to the surface of your heart, and it hurts tremendously.

In our text, the psalmist uses some strong language in verse 15 that I’m not sure how to fully process, nor interrupt in a way that makes perfect senses to me. However, it’s real language and shows the depth of the pain he was feeling.

Getting rid of negative emotions can be a battle all by it’s self, and the last thing you need to do is add another battle to the battle that is already raging in your heart. I suggest you take a cue from Jesus himself and walk in the power of extreme forgiveness. I once heard it said that forgiveness means to “let go.” Letting go can be done in spite of your emotions.

Forgiveness is the only way to move beyond betrayal. When a friend betrays you, you can seek revenge and feed your negative emotions if you choose, but it’s only a prison you are building for yourself.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let me say it again. Forgiveness is the only way to move beyond betrayal.

Matthew 18:21-22(ESV)
21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 

stop_complaining

Complaining feels like the right thing to do, when my world is falling apart. Complaining makes me feel like I’m fighting against injustice in my life. Complaining is something I falsely think I can control and direct in any direction that makes me feel a little better.

What about you? How do you view complaining? Do you like it? Does it feel good to complain when your world is not lining up the way you expected?

We like to complain because it seems to get the discontentment that is on the inside of us out. However, complaining is just downright wrong to do, and it changes nothing.

Complaining will never change the problem or problems you are facing. In fact, complaining most often causes more problems. Complaining spreads discontentment through your spirit faster than anything else I know.

The most devastating fruit of complaining is it keeps me from obeying God’s word and trusting Him with all of my life. When you complain, you reach into the hand of God and take little bits and pieces that you think should be changed the way you see it and not the way God see’s it.

In Philippians 2:14 we are instructed to “Do all things without grumbling…”

Notice the two words, ‘all things.’ That certainly sums it up! We are not to complain because God is in control of our lives. When we complain it is a form of non-trust in God’s working in and through our lives. When we complain, it is disobedience and unbelief. Worst of all, Complaining  gives place to the enemy to work stronger in your life.

So, what is the answer? What must we do?

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 gives us the answer and what to do. It tells us, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

For more on Complaining and some practical steps, see this post.

trusting

Life is beautiful because it’s a gift of God, but at times life seems to run completely out of control. We run into things and things run into us. We can’t fix it; we can’t get out of it, or even around it. We can’t get over it or under it. As desperate as we might try…we can’t even heal it. The refuge of our humanity reveals just how thin and useless it really is.

It’s in those times that you come to understand that God is the only true refuge that you can trust. You know deep in your heart that you must immerse yourself completely in His presence. It’s in those times that you must embrace His lordship in your life like never before. You must remind yourself that goodness and mercy surrounds you because He has promised it.

A.W. Tozer once said, “What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely as they know they must at the last day.”

In the last day,  we will stand in completely trust of His judgment and final rescuing of our whole lives. However, we can stand that strong and confident right now! We don’t have to wait until the last day. We can trust Him right now…today.

Trusting in God doesn’t come naturally. Learning to trust in God is as I heard one pastor put it, “a spiritual crisis of the will.” It’s in times of spiritual crisis we must allow our faith to truly wake-up and live in spite of all the war of doubt that is raging in our hearts.

Allow me to close with a couple of Psalms, and an unknown quote for you to meditate on.

Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”

Psalm 37:5 “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.”

“God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

dontlike

In a perfect world, every person you know would like you. However, this is not a perfect world as of yet. You can be the kindest and most compassionate person in the world, and yet there will be people that just don’t get you. There will be people that just don’t like you at all.

Right now, I bet you can see them with your minds eye. They don’t like you and it is just driving you crazy. It doesn’t occupy all of your thought life, but it pops up from time to time, just enough to keep you just off center in your walk with Christ.

Don’t misunderstand me, there might be a legitimate reason someone doesn’t like you very much. I’ve found in my life when that happens, it’s a excellent time to take an inventory and see if there is any truth there. If I think they are correct in their opinion of me, I take it as a chance to make some changes.

On the other hand, I know that no matter what I do, everyone is not going to like me, and the reality of the matter is, not everyone is going to like you.  The other person may have a low self-image, or they might be just insecure, and something about you just draws out the worst in them. The key is to not allow what they think of you to own you, or control you, or to fill you with questions about your worth.

Deep inside you want them to like you and that okay to want, but when you try to get people to like you; it most often leads to more frustration. You must remind yourself, that you can never please everyone. The focus needs to be taken off trying to please them.

The fact is, when you try and get the other person to like you…you are waste valuable friendship time with those who do like you. I often will find myself thinking way too much about someone who I know doesn’t like me, and when that happens, I’ve learned a little secret. My secret is to stop thinking about them, and start thinking and praying righteous thoughts over a friend that does like me.

Don’t misunderstand. I also pray for those who don’t like me, but I don’t have to purse them to my own detriment.

Allow me to give you a few tips to help you navigate people that don’t like you.

1. Don’t over focus on people that don’t like you (focus on positive relationships in your life)

2. Don’t treat those who don’t like you the same way they treat you (Kind of a Jesus thing)

3. Set a positive boundary in your life (You can only control you-not them)

4. Make a list of what bothers you about the other person (Then throw it away)

5. Forgive them (It’s the greatest thing you can do for you, and for them)

Remember Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

doubt

If you have ever had a friend, or a family member doubt the faith, you know how disheartening that can be. It cuts your very soul. In some cases, your friend or family member simply doubts something in the bible, but in other cases, they may even depart from the faith altogether. It hurts to see this happen, and it give rise to many emotions inside of you. In fact, many of those emotions, if not submitted to the Lord, can damage the one doubting, if unleashed on them improperly by you.

Here, are some things to do when doubt has captured your friend or family member.

1. Keep your emotions on the altar

Take all your angry feelings, and leave them on the altar of God. He can handle your pain better than you can. Worship Him until the feelings of hurt, anger, and betrayal slip away.

2. Trust that God is still asking questions through them

Even John the Baptist doubted at one point in his life, and sent word asking if Jesus was really the one. Once He heard the right answer, he was unchained from doubt, and moved on in His faith. All great men and women of God have doubted at some point in their walk with Christ.

3. When they become unfaithful, God doesn’t

2 Timothy 2:13 tells us, “if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” God is faithful and will continue to work in their lives, even when they have stopped moving forward with God. You must remember, God loves your friend or family member more than you ever can.

4. God can move mountains

What is impossible for man is never impossible for God. He can move doubt over the cliff in their life in a moment of time. Mighty to Save by Hillsong says this,
Savior
He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Forever
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave

5. Finally, my favorite verse that many forget about.

MERCY! Jude 1:22 tells us, “22 And have mercy on those who doubt;” You must never forget that mercy wins over judgment. When you want to give judgement to the one you love…GIVE MERCY

God bless you
Pastor Steve

prayer-on-my-knees4
What could God accomplish through your life, if He had all of you?

That question will one day be answered by hearing God say, “Well done good and faithful servant”, or by Him showing you what could have been.

I honestly don’t think you want to live a ‘could have been life’ for God. I truly believe you want to give all of yourself to God.

The Cry Of God’s Heart Is To Have All Of You. When the people of God would place a burnt offering on the altar in the Old Testament, they didn’t leave half the animal off the altar. All of it was placed on the altar. Otherwise, it wasn’t an offering. All of the animal had to be sacrificed. Your life is the same. God wants all of you, not just part of you.

God can’t be fully personal with you, and you can’t be fully human, until He has all of you. In Genesis when God created Adam and Eve, he called everything good. At that moment, Adam and Eve had access to God that was fully personal, and they were fully human, the way God has intended. After the choice to sin, they lost some of what they fully had.

When I was growing up I use to play at one of my friends houses, and we always had a great time. There were lots to do there. We often would play inside his home, which was big, and had plenty of rooms to mess around in. However, there was one room we were not allowed to play in. His mom would all ways warn us not to go in there. It was beautiful. The furniture was immaculate and the colors in the room where warm and inviting. His mom even raked the carpet with one of those carpet rakes. You could tell if someone walked across the room because it would leave footprints. All we could do was look at the room.

I wonder! Are there times we do the same thing to God? He wants all of us, and we give Him all our rooms but one. We know He can look into the room, but we simple won’t allow Him to go into the room. We remind Him that he has access to 90% of the rooms in our hearts…can He not just be happy with that?

Ask yourself today…Does God have Lordship over your entire life, or does he only have limited access to your life? What one room do you not allow Him to go into?

Read this passage today, and pay attention to what is really going on. This man is looking for more rules to enter the Kingdom of God, but God is wanting all of his rooms instead. God is wanting him to turn his character over to Him.

Mark 10:17-22
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” possessions.21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great

Notice: “You lack one thing”

He had one room He needed to give God access to. What is your one room? We all have one. Whatever it is that you are holding back from God, I ask you today to give it all to Him.

Remember, God can’t be fully personal with you, and you can’t be fully human, until He has all of you.

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