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God is faithful.
God is true.
God will never let you down.
Take heart today, let faith arise
If you don’t get that He loves you, if you don’t understand that He has an affectionate love for you, then on those days where you struggle, on those days when the Accuser or your own voice calls you worthless, calls you a screw up, calls you a failure, calls you unlovely, when you don’t understand that He loves you and that love is built upon Christ and not you, then I don’t know that you’ll ever really run towards Him.
~ Matt Chandler
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
the timing of God can sometimes be hard. sometimes i struggle to remember that He has perfect timing and that i can trust Him, even when i don’t understand what is going on. if i was mary or martha or Lazarus i am not sure what my comprehension level would look like… would i have peace? would i be pacing? would i be demanding a miracle, or confident in the love and grace of God towards me? would i be assured of the greater plans and purposes in my suffering?
in the midst of suffering and confusion and difficulties God is with me and for me. He has a plan and a purpose. He is at work. I am never abandoned. I am never alone. I am never drifting.
“Note Jesus’ perspective….Heavens perspective and ours are often miles apart….we are calling things dead when they are sleeping.” Charlotte Gambill
Sometimes the purpose of our suffering, of our difficulty is to reveal God to those around us.
and you know… are we just sunshine christians? just following God in the good times and putting Him at arm lengths when He doesnt act the way we think He should?
We have to be confident in the character of God" Sy Rogers
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. 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
God is bigger than we can imagine. He breathed out the stars. He knows the path of the lightening. He knows how many hairs you have on your head and how many hairs you have on your toes. He fashioned the mountains and knows the path of the lightening. Unfathomable greatness.
And because of that and those omnis – He knows all and sees all and is out of time – He has perspective that we as finite beings don’t have.
God’s ways are higher. His wisdom is higher. His perception is higher. His love is higher. And because we can’t grasp it all, God sometimes seems mysterious and unpredictable.
But what we can know, even though the mysteriousness and even though the unpredictability is what He has revealed to us – we can trust and be confident in those things He has put out there in black and white about who He is.
You see one of the things you can stake your life on and that never changes is that God is good.
All the time.
God is good. In every action and in every day and in every moment God is good.
even this situation above with Lazarus.
It’s okay to feel a little mad and a lot confused. Our God is big enough to handle our honest feelings. But don’t let your feelings lead you away from God or away from His truth. Press into Him. Praise Him. And put yourself in the company of truth. As you stay with God in these ways, you will become ready to receive His answer when it comes. lysa terkeurst
* message from this morning @ The River, 27 January 2013
This morning we’re going to look at faith and life of the Shunnamite woman. She was the woman who made a room for Elisha, she made space for the presence of God and was rewarded with a child.
And the child grew. One day that he went out to his father and he said “My head, my head!”
They brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, shut the door, and went out. Then she called to her husband, and said, “Please send me one of the young men and one of the donkeys, that I may run to the man of God and come back.”
So he said, “What is going on?”
And she said, “It is well”
So it was, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to his servant Gehazi, “Look, the Shunammite woman! Please run now to meet her, and say to her, ‘Is it well with you? Is it well with your husband? Is it well with the child?’”
And she answered, “It is well.” Now when she came to the man of God at the hill, she caught him by the feet…
Verse 32: When Elisha came into the house, there was the child, lying dead on his bed. He went in, shut the door behind the two of them, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up and lay on the child, and put his mouth on his mouth, his eyes on his eyes, and his hands on his hands; and he stretched himself out on the child, and the flesh of the child became warm. He returned and walked back and forth in the house, and again went up and stretched himself out on him; then the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi and said, “Call this Shunammite woman.” So he called her. And when she came in to him, he said, “Pick up your son.” So she went in, fell at his feet, and bowed to the ground; then she picked up her son and went out. 2 Kings 4:18-37
Today I want to talk about being prepared for THAT moment. That moment when the wheels fall off. That moment when we’re disappointed, grieving, struggling. Because often that is the moment we need to be prepared for. You see we live in the middle – Jesus has came and died on the cross to reconcile us to God, He has won the victory and reigns – BUT we await His return and the manifestation of His Kingdom on earth… We live in the middle. In a broken world. A fallen world.
We love those highlight reels and gold star moments where we’ve reached the mountain top and we’ve won prom queen and we’ve made the faith hall of fame… and we rejoice in those and they deserve claps and happy dancing… but life isn’t just mountain tops and successes… feel like I should break into a miley cyrus song here… it’s the climb…
You might be facing health issues. Relationship crisises. Financial problems.
You might be feeling discouraged and overwhelmed by past mistakes or feel that the future is so unknown that even captian kirk would be daunted.
I want to be sensitive – because life is life. I don’t want to trivialise anyone’s experience. Filled with joy and grief. Gain and loss. Some losses are so private and personal and painful that we can’t wrap words around them. You may feel that you’ve fallen so hard that there is no recovery.
I am hoping today that you’ll be encouraged that you’re not alone and that God has a plan, even in this.
I have 3 points that can help us in the crisis time to not only survive but to thrive through it.
God may put us through a trial that seems beyond what we can handle
but never beyond what he can handle.
- prepare emotionally
- prepare spiritually
- prepare your perspective
God loves us too much to take us through the short cut. He knows we might see what’s required and go back to where we started. So sometimes He takes us on a detour. Jon Acuff
sometimes God answers with an instant YES.
take for example, on monday, our MM team prayed for a specific distraction related incident before our yesterday session. and God answered, instantly, that morning. without us having to say anything or intervene in the situation. resolved.
sometimes God answers with a NO.
why would God say no?
because He is our loving Father and He knows the big picture and the best way.
sometimes God answers with a WAIT
in the waiting we must wrestle with the disappointment of the moment that God didn’t and doesn’t answer a prayer a specific way and according to our agenda
waiting and managing our disappointment – we might cry out STINK at first – but that first response be just a moment, not a location we camp out at, putting our comfy at home pants on, not determining our life’s perspective or spiritual status – must lead to trust
as the answer unfolds we, with hindsight, can more accurately see the big picture
IN EVERY YES AND IN EVERY NO AND IN EVERY WAIT WE MUST HAVE AN UNDERLYING BELIEF BENEATH IN IT ALL THAT GOD IS GOOD!
David stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hills of the Desert of Ziph. Day after day Saul searched for him, but God did not give David into his hands. 1 Samuel 23:14
from the promise of kingship to the day David got the crown on his head he was in leadership training. the wilderness may be tough and rough but it is where some of our greatest life lessons are learned. it is the university of life. many great people in the bible had some wilderness time before they were promoted to a position of power and responsibility. abraham. moses. joseph. jacob. job. john. jesus.
don’t underestimate or despise the wilderness season in your life.
It is essential that we “get” is that sometimes great time can pass between the call and the living that call. During this time God is shaping us and forming us and dealing with the crud within us. He is renewing our mind and making us into a vessel of honour (2 Tim 2:20-21)
Take for example Saul and David.
Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else. 1 Samuel 9:2
They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” 1 Samuel 10:23-24
When Saul was chosen king he was the most handsome and stand out guy in the nation. He had all the gifts and talents and personality. Samuel anointed him and he immediately began ruling as king of all of Israel. Yet he ended up failing as king and turning away from God.
“While king saul was truly the best man Israel had to offer when they demanded a king, his heart had not been groomed through testing before he assumed the throne. As king, saul was entrusted with a measure of anointing to lead the armies of Israel to victory and shepherd the people. Yet without the strength of character that only comes by winning private battles, these public victories exposed the previously hidden weakness of saul’s heart towards God. That weakness, combined with his growing appetite for favour of man, led him to bring glory to himself and disobey the Lord.” Bill Johnson – Strengthen Yourself In The Lord
David however was anointed and then spent about 14 years in “training”. In those training years he endured more difficulty, persecution and rejection that many of us face in a lifetime. He probably didn’t expect it to take so long for him to be king. God didn’t want another king saul and so took His time to mould David into a king and man after His own heart.
the wilderness always reminds me of this quote:
“But it does cost something to be a real Christian, according to the standard of the Bible. There are enemies to be overcome, battles to be fought, sacrifices to be made, an Egypt to be forsaken, a wilderness to be passed through, a cross to be carried, a race to be run. Conversion is not putting a man in an armchair and taking him easily to heaven. It is the beginning of a mighty conflict, in which it costs much to win the victory. Hence arises the unspeakable importance of “counting the cost.” ~ J.C. Ryle, Holiness
the wilderness is a place of preparation in our lives, a place of transformation. a place where we are reliant on God and trusting Him.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire— may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:6-7
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
it may be a place of delay – the delay between the call and the living the call, the delay between the promise and the position. delay has the capacity to bring up things that are hiding in our hearts that will restrict and sabotage us. better out NOW than later! delay reveals sin and brings it up to deal with now. delay is a time of preparation.
There are lessons to be learned in the process, in the wilderness. Lessons about ourselves, lessons about how to work with others, lessons about how to relate to God.
God will open the right doors at the right time.
“Its not about knowing who holds the right keys but its about knowing the KEEPER of the keys”– Peter Robertson.
God can promote us at the right time. But I also believe He will also hold us back if we are not surrendered and transformed. God is full of grace but He is also holy. He uses flawed human beings but that doesn’t excuse compromise and a heart that isn’t fully leaning to God… God wants us to be intentionally following Him not intentionally following our own self and self desires.
The great things God will do through you are going to grow in the soil of persistence, prayer, obedience and sacrifice. That means there will be plenty of plowing and pruning. That’s the way living things grow, whether you’re talking about vegetables or vision. The process is a time of strengthening. The process is the place where you lay down your pride and learn to rely totally on God. Most importantly, the process is the way we grow to know God. And that’s really the whole point. Steven Furtick
David’s time of wilderness prepared him to be king, the most renown king in all of israel’s history, and most importantly, a man after God’s heart.
I closed my eyes and whispered, “Are you here God? Hold me. Breathe courage into my weak will. Help me.”
And in that moment I realized all that God ever wants from me is to want Him. Love Him. Acknowledge Him.
In the midst of struggles. In the midst of my victories. “God, I love you. I don’t love this situation. But I love you. Therefore, I have everything I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and walk through until I get to the other side of this.”
One step at a time. With the full assurance God is okay with me even when I’m not okay with me.
“If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow – to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to hold fast to Him – then the Lord will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you.” (Deuteronomy 11:22-23)
I love how the Scriptures say, “hold fast” to the Lord. The dark funk makes me want to hold slow. Make God the last thing I try when I’m stumbling and falling. But if I close my eyes and simply whisper, “God…” at the utterance of His name He “dispossess” things trying to possess me.
Then I can see this is a season. This isn’t how it’s going to be forever. Though my circumstances may not change today, my outlook surely can. And if my mind can rise above, my heart gets unstuck.
i want to grasp every moment with purpose, grace and hope
sometimes life grasps us and we find ourselves in unforeseen situations that can devastate and shake us to the core
sometimes the never ending pile of washing grasps us and overwhelms us
sometimes the pressure of performing and perfection grasps us and threatens to overshadow who we really are
this week two of my friend’s kids have been in hospital, one for an emergency and one for tests
this week i had another of my specialist appts to find out what i’m allergic too and what is causing my significant health issues
this week my parents had two major *things* going on
this week Jesus is with us, always
He never sleeps, He never averts His gaze from us, He never lets go
so i grasp tight onto His reality and His presence
i grasp on with hope and grace, living out hope and grace to those around me
aware that all of my life has purpose, the good days and the bad days, in the shine and the rain
and that His promise is that in all things He will work out for good
in everything, He is with me
life with either grasp me and control me
or i will grasp life and live it for the glory of God
More than needing schedules and productivity, this week will need a Saviour and prayer. God’s not asking me to produce– He’s asking me to pray. God’s not asking me to climb ladders — He’s asking me to kneel and let go. Right there at the mirror, right at the beginning, the week begins to unfurl in slow, in hope. And that’s what I whisper into the mirror: His grace will be more than just sufficient — His grace is guaranteed to actually save. Time, me, the week, all redeemed and miracles happen in mirrors and to people we know. When we know Christ, we always know how things are going to go — always for our good and always for His glory. @ A Holy Experience
in my weakness, i grasp
in my strength, i grasp
#FiveMinuteFriday free write time! <—click to tweet this!
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
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