Originally posted July 2010. Edited April 2, 2014
For those who’ve read some recent posts, you’ve been reading how the Lord has been leading us through some trials. This is a continuation of sorts, but what God showed me the morning of July 3rd, 2010 has me in complete awe and wonder and His mercy & grace in our lives.
Years ago, I felt our lives as Christians were just too easy. I know that the Bible says:
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12
I kept feeling that I must be a failure as a Christian because we weren’t under persecution. We had gone through a hefty bout 13 years ago with attacks on our family and me personally, and an occasional upheaval through the years. They just seemed like nothing compared to what I saw other Christians going through. Don’t get me wrong! I really DO NOT relish going through persecution, but I felt that the Lord must think my faith is so weak, that I couldn’t handle much. These were feelings I was putting on myself. It was not the Lord’s doing.
What I was failing to see is that the Bible doesn’t say we will have persecution ALL the time, just that we will. I was also failing to see that, as the Potter, He was molding and shaping me/our family into what He wants for us in His timing, not ours.
“If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” 2 Timothy 2:21
“But now, O Lord , thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8
As I go over our current trials, and yes, I will call them persecution as we are being attacked for Christ’s sake, I can see back through the years all the things I thought were so little, yet each and every one was meant to mold and shape us/me into Christians that could handle what we are going through now.
I’ll use an example from my husband’s (dh) work to try and get the point across. There have been many individuals at his work who have tried to cause him trouble over the years, but one by one, he has watched as they’ve come and gone, yet he is still there. One man in particular was so difficult to work with and untrustworthy that no one wanted to work with him. He took particular relish in attacking my husbad, yet my dh never went after him. Well, as I’ve heard many times, when a person’s testimony is good, fling all the mud you want, but it won’t stick! And it didnt’! God removed that man in His timing, not my dh’s. As dh and I discussed this and the mud-slinging on our family happening in another area of our lives, something dawned on me and I expressed it to him: “If you had not gone through all the attacks by “so and so” over the years, would you be able to handle what is happening now?” He said, “Probably not.”
That is when I truly began to see the bigger picture. God had been faithfully shaping and molding us through small but frequent, and bigger but less frequent trials throughout our entire lives. I just wasn’t seeing it! I could relay other instances, but I want God to get the glory here! He did it! Not us! God gave the grace! God gave the mercy & care to see us through so that He would get the deserved glory!
And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Colossians 1:18
What a wondrous God we serve! He counted us worthy to suffer for Him, and He has NEVER left us alone, and He has left us precious reminders for whe our hearts are lying to us and blinding us to His great purpose for our lives.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord , thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” Jeremiah 29:11
“Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it.” Psalm 109:26
“A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” Psalm 23
What can I do but speak or sing of His mercy & grace!
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 89:1
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Philippians 2:16
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. Revelation 4:11
I’ve heard over and over that we are either entering into, in the midst of, or coming out of tribulations and troubles, and the Scriptures concur: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: Isaiah 43:2-3a
Yes, we are going to go through hard times. God said, “When”, not “If”. So this being the case, there is a particular mindset needed as a child of God to accept it and let God’s perfect plan be worked out. It is one thing to say that, but another to live it. This is a huge struggle for me. Over and over again, I catch myself trying to sort & work things out according to my thoughts & ways, but they are not God’s thoughts or God’s ways:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9
This does not mean we sit back and do nothing. We MUST seek the Lord and His will to make sure we are doing what He wants us to do. If I spent more time doing this then “working things out my way”, I’d be at peace more often than not, rather than the other way around.
The key to peace is not in the situation. It has always been – and always will be – in who we think on:
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3
When my thoughts are focused on the Lord, who He is and all that He has done and is doing for me, there is no brain power left to have a “pity party.”
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7a
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23
My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. Luke 1:46-47
In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalms 94:19
Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established. Proverbs 16:3
Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. Isaiah 38:17
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Hebrews 10:17
God may not change our situation, but He can change our hearts so we have His peace as we go through it.
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (ie. cause them to stumble) Psalms 119:165
Doing God’s will may not always feel the best, but it is always the right thing to do.
Our family has felt this more this last 8 months or so more than at any other time. Although we know we are following God’s will, the consequences are that people our family cares about are getting hurt, and that tears us apart.
I started this devotional a few days ago, but the pain of having hurt others was still too fresh to focus. As I read it now, I am reminded of David, one of the greatest kings of Israel. He had been following God’s will in destroying some of Israel’s enemies, only to come back to his city and find it ransacked and the women & children taken captive. Needless to say, the people who had followed him were not too please:
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:6
Regardless of we must do as Christians to stay in God’s will, someone may get hurt. Of course it’s going to hurt us and can even be “distressing”, but David’s solution is certainly the right one: “…David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”
When our focus remains on the Lord, the hurt of hurting others may still be there, but we can be encouraged as we know God is working out His plans, not ours:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6
My life verse still remains Hebrews 12:2
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb: 12:2
With Canada Day (July 1st) having just passed, and Independance Day (July 4th) for the USA tomorrow, I began to think about the birth of these two nations. They began as Christian nations, but have generally degraded into nations that only have a vague semblance to Christ. Worse than that, there is little difference between the world and many who claim the name of Christ.
The Bible talks about this happening to the world in the last days.
2Timothy 3:1 ¶ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
It is vital that each and every one who is a blood-bought, born-again, child of the living God, daily make a conscience decision to follow the Saviour who gave all for us. Like the Apostle Paul who spoke of submission to Christ, we must also say: “…I die daily. 1 Corinthians 15:31
Titus 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
The above texts may seem to have little to do with the title of this devotional, but they were meant as a reminder. Although the hour in which we live becomes consistently more wicked, the peace and assurance that can only come from God can remain steadfast in the simple knowledge of our redemption! Our God has not changed!
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8
Titus2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
I Stand Redeemed!
Pet Peaves… we all have them, and they can be VERY frustrating.
Over the years, I realized what really makes something a “Pet Peave” is MY attitude towards what that person is doing, or not doing. Usually, it is something that causes inconvenience to me. It’s not typically sin on the other person’s part, but my attitude can become sin, so I’ve tried to figure out how to deal with my attitude in this area.
In order to avoid sin on my part, this is my solution: I look at the “flip-side”.
Here’s an illustration I have heard, but has NO pertinence to me.
Example: “Doesn’t my husband know I can’t stand picking up his stinky socks!!!!”
Flip-side: “No, he probably doesn’t even think about it. He’s so burnt out from putting up with the world all day that when he makes it to the bed, he’s not thinking about his socks, stinky or otherwise. He’s so tired he may even barely manage to get them off.
Solution: “In honour, preferring one another….. ” Cut him some slack and just pick them up. Praise the Lord you have a husband, stinky socks and all.
I’m not saying you couldn’t nicely ask him to pick them up himself, but it really isn’t a big deal. It’s just an incovenience to you.
Changing our attitudes towards “Pet Peaves” is critical so as not to have them become sin to us. If they have become sin, then of course that should be privately confessed to the Lord, but why let it go that far.
I hope this will be a help in conquering those “Pet Peaves”.
Oh, I should also point out that I have NOT arrived! I can’t always see the flip-side, and I fall, but I’m trying.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-13
We’ve all had “one of THOSE days”, and it just seemed like this last week was one of them. Ugh….4 major items breaking in one day, or within a couple days of eachother; children sick; major migraine; but it all came to a head on Tuesday.
As I mentioned in the last post, my Pfaff serger was giving me enough grief that I wanted to pitch it out the window. This happened on Friday, and I wanted to bring it to the repair shop on Saturday, but I was in bed most of the day with a migraine, and not too sparky the rest of the day.
Well, come Monday, Lowell brings it in to the shop on his way to work, but then he calls me to let me know it might not be ready till Wednesday. Not good since I have a big job of serging waiting for Okanagan Slipcovers.
So now we are in to Tuesday and I go to pick up our computer’s external drive which was being swapped out under warranty, but we’d been waiting for this for 3 months. I had files on three different computers, including website and business files, and it would take to long to move them around by burning CD’s. It was important I get it done as I have lots of work to perform relating to those files. Well, I get to the computer shop and it’s not ready (this is the third time we’ve tried to pick it up)….wait….for an extra hour, take it home, and it doesn’t work! I go back to the shop, it works there, but then won’t work at home!!!! Take it to piano with my laptop, and it still doesn’t work! Ugh….again.
I do other computer work while Cynthia and Abigail have their piano lesson.
We get into the van to leave, and it won’t start!!!! Long story, but it has done this to me 6 times over the winter, 3 of which have been at the piano teacher’s house. Praise the Lord, she didn’t have a student at that time, so she boosts the van and we go to drop it off at the repari shop and meet Lowell, then drive him to work. He picks up the “fixed” serger on the way in to meet us. That was a big help!
The girls and I drop Lowell off at work, go to Costco, and at this point my right thigh starts to really hurt. I have no idea why. We are only in Costco a half hour, but by the time we leave, I can hardly walk. We make it home, and I almost have to drag myself up the stairs as it feels like someone is trying to rip my leg off. Not fun.
After a while, I manage to get to the sewing room and have a look at the serger. I can’t believe what I see.The sample that the shop stitched looked horrible! I run the machine and it does exactly what one of the reasons were for bringing it in: it unthreads itself! I spend five minutes rethreading the machine and adjust the tensions so it looks the way it should. I then walk up the stairs only using one leg, as the other one was too painful to move, then I rest for the remainder of the evening.
I had had enough!!!! Or had I?
The truth is, although all these things were annoying, it just wasn’t that bad. I consider what happened inconveniences, not catastrophes. I purposely wrote this story in such a manner that it looked like I was overwhelmed, but I was not. I have so much to be thankful for!
Everything that happened, happened to “things”, not what was really important, like my family.
I’m so thankful the Lord helped me keep my perspective. I know of several families that are in a REAL mess right now. One man’s wife was in the hospital last week and the docs didn’t know if she was going to make it; another man’s wife is divorcing him; another man’s daughter has been missing for a week; I know of wives who’ve left their husbands over adultery or for him molesting the children. Now there’s items we could perhaps consider to be overwhelming, yet then again I many precious promises:
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:27-28
I don’t deserve the least of His mercies, yet He blesses me abundantly!
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think… Ephesians 3:20
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (Note that God didn’t say all things would BE good, but rather “work together FOR good…”
and one of my most favorite verses:
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23
I have nothing to whine about! God is good all the time!
Part III of a 3 Part Series – Wake Up and Smell God’s Flowers!
Here are some general points that I hope will help each one of us to keep our focus right and seeing what we should.
Keep your sin confessed– daily â more if you need to!
Psalms 66:18Â If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer.
Keep on your Spiritual knees – âPray without ceasing.â?1 Thessalonians 5:17
Keep studying and meditating on the Word of God â Simply reading it is not sufficient! We are commandedÂ to study, memorized, hide in our heart, meditate upon the Word of God. Our Pastor uses the illustration of a cow chewing their cud all day long. This seems apt as we should not only ingest the Word of God, but continue to allow it to work on us and in us throughout the day.Â
Joshua 1:8Â This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
2 Timothy 3:15Â And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
This is a side note, but did you know that kings of Israel were supposed to write out their own copy of the Books of Moses and to read therein daily? (Deut. 17:18-19)
Have a good read in Deut. chapter 11 for some wonderful instruction on dealing with God’s Word.
Keep a journal of what you gleaned. -Â I suggest that you make a journal of what you gleaned in your Bible reading that day. That is how many of my devotionals and lessons started. Even if you don’t make something more out of it, reading it again now and then will be a great blessing and help and it may open your eyes to more wondrous things in the Scriptures.
Keep avoiding the evil and seeking the good:
James 4:17Â Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 Thessalonians 5:22Â Abstain from all appearance of evil.
1 Peter 3:11Â Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
Proverbs 4:14-15Â Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
Psalms 34:10Â The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want (lack) any good thing.
Psalms 34:14Â Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Amos 5:14Â Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
Keep dying daily and putting on the âarmour of God:
1 Corinthians 15:31Â … I die daily.
11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Let us not only âseek wisdom and pursue itâ? but rather seek and keep our eyes and hearts fixed on the only one who can win our battles! Not so He will fight our battles, but because He owns us and we owe Him everything!
Psalms 119:18Â Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
Psalm 57:7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
Psalm 108:1 O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.
Psalm 112:7 He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.
1 Corinthians 6:20Â For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.