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Proverbs 3:11 “my child don’t turn away or become bitter when the Lord corrects you. The Lord corrects everyone he loves, just as parents correct their children.”
Why do I correct my kids: so they…
Grow up safe
Grow up as contributors
Grow up into fulfillment and happiness
Grow up secure
Grow up and “fit in”
Grow up and make friends
Grow up and make a positive impression
Grow up with opportunities
Grow up to succeed
Correcting trains us into the right direction. It isn’t about punishment or things like that it is about training human beings. Correcting kids is about them managing their emotions and desires and wants and how they express themselves.
Likewise God corrects us because he loves us. He loves us even more than I love my kids.
When God corrects us don’t turn away or reject him and his lessons and correction. Learn. Embrace. Experience. Be humble. Pray. Draw near to him. Seek him. Don’t become bitter – but better, as the saying goes. Grow as a human. Grow as a child of God. Be more faithful. Be more like Jesus. Draw near to God. Be soft and not hard. Yield, don’t resist. Be willing, not willful. Have hope. Be teachable.
this song always encourages me. it always reminds me that God is with me. no matter what i face. no matter what road i walk down. God is with me.
“You must be patient in all the suffering that God sends you. If your love for hte Lord is pure, you will love Him as much on Calvary as on Mt Tabor. The Lord Jseus loved His Father on Mt Tabor where He was transfigured, but He loved Him no less on Calvary where He was crucified. Surely then, you should love the Lord as much on Calvary, for it was there that he made the greatest display of His love.
You must learn to love the cross. He who does not love the cross does not love the things of God. (see matthew 16:23) It is impossible for you to truly love the Lord without loving the cross. The believer who loves the cross finds that even the bitterest things that come his way are sweet. The Bible says “To the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” (Proverbs 27:7b)
How much do you desire to hunger after God. You will hunger after God and find Him, in the same proportion that you hunger after the cross.
Here is a true spiritual principal that the Lord will not deny: God gives us the cross, and then the cross gives us God.”
Jeanne Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place
Humans are fickle creatures. We are kind to those who are kind to us. We love those who love us. We shun those who shun us.
We can often utalize those fallen human traits in our relationship with God. If God is nice to us we will return the “favour” with devotion and worship. If God seems to be disaplining us we turn our nose up and turn away…
Does this seem right???
We should, as Madam Guyon encourages us, instead love God ALL the time, during the mountain top seasons and the desert seasons. We should love God as He showers on us blessings – and we should love God as He washes all the crud out of our lives. Transformation is not an easy process. Often it is accompained by painful circumstances and situations that try us and refine us. It is not all joy and transfiguration. It is a process of denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Jesus.
We should in these times embrace God all the more.
Our desire is to know God right… to be in relationship with Him… right? Right. Therefore let us be nt fickle in our devotion, but hungry for God and embracing His ways.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways, says Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.
God is good. He works all things together for GOOD for His purposes and plans. His plans and purposes towards us are good. We can trust Him. No matter what. We can trust Him. He loves us.
Judges 3:1-2 “The Lord had another reason for letting those enemies stay. The Israelites needed to learn how to fight in war, just as their ancestors had done. Each new generation would have to learn by fighting.”
To me this is profound. God enabled Israel’s enemies to stay in the land so that they would learn to fight. I see this as a picture of our lives and our faith. We are in a war against our own flesh, and against satan and against the world. We too must be equipped and prepared to stand and fight, to not back down but to resist and overcome. We learn little in times of ease, in fact we can become more complacent. In times of war and struggle we press in and we learn. We learn to fight and to trust God and his Word. We fight the good fight of faith, overcoming fear with faith, worry with peace, hopelessness with hope. We overcome win with obedience and self with surrender. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Satan seeks to kill, steal and destroy and he wages his war in the lives of the lost, blinding them to the truth of the good news of salvation in Christ. We wage a war with God in bringing the good news to the blind that they may see and know salvation. We must know how to fight and press in and pray and trust God. Satan wages his war in the lives of Christians to try and get us to doubt God and his power and his love. To sin and rob us of our peace and our devotion to God. To make our love cold that we stop praying and worshipping and serving him. Our weapons are not swords or guns but spiritual and prayerful. We are learning as we live. The enemies that remain in our lives may be sin or sickness or situations that cause pain and frustration. Look at them as opportunities to mature and grown and learn how to fight. We learn to overcome.
God will eventually test you in all areas of your life, but He will not let your trials become greater than you can bear. Let God use trails to help you grow. Do not try to measure your progress, your strength, or what God is doing. His work is not less efficient because what He is doing is invisible. God does not transform you on a bed of light, life and grace. His transformation is done on the cross in darkness, poverty and death. Francis Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place
I think what strikes me most about this is the call to NOT BE DISCOURAGED that rings behind the words.
Growing as a Christian can sometimes be hard. We think we should be “past” this, and are surprised we still react with anger/fear/insecurity/envy/pride etc.
We can struggle against the work of God to refine us and make as us pure gold.
Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold, but God tries the hearts.
The work of God in our hearts is in secret. He uses all types of situations good and bad to shape us. He uses all types of people to give us life experiences that will form the character of His Son Jesus within our hearts. He roots out our secret desires (sins…) and plants good things instead. He forms new habits and new characteristics that resemble Jesus.
This all takes time.
We have a lifetime ahead of us.
Most of us (ME) want it done NOW… we want to be perfect NOW… but experience and life lessons take time to LIVE and learn… I love how Romans 5 in my bible says the word EXPERIENCE instead of preservence or endurance. Life is lived in experience. If you breathe you are experiencing. If you are experiencing you are been shaped by God.
Romans 5:3-4 And not only this, but we glory in afflictions also, knowing that afflictions work out patience, and patience works out experience, and experience works out hope.
We can have hope that God “knows what he is doing”. He knows us inside and out, how many hairs we have on our head and how many hairs we have on our toes. We can rest completely in the security that even though we face hard times and are refined in the FIRE that God is with us and working in our lives. Hard times are NOT in vain, they have a purpose. Good times are not in vain, they have a purpose. Trust God in good times and hard times, and pray and let Him have His way. Surrender and let him work his beauty through your life. Ask Him to shape and mould. Do not be discouraged. God is changing you! He is the Creator of the Universe, God Almighty. His love is everlasting and his mercy stretches our sins from the east to the west, just as the arms of His perfect Son stretched on the cross for our salvation.
Do not be discouraged. Take courage in the knowledge that God is a good God, all the time He is good.
“What do you say to God when you are under the work of the cross? You need not say a lot to Him, or even think of Him much. He sees your suffering and your willingness to submit. With people you love you do not need to say continually “I love you with all of my heart.” Even if you do not think about how much you love Him, you sill love God every bit as much. True love is deep down in the spirit – simple, peaceful and silent.
Slowly you will learn that all the troubles in your life – your job, your health, your inward failings – are really cures to the poison of your old nature.”
By Francis Fenelon, in100 days in the secret place
I can relate to this passage from Fenelon. I got to a point in my life where all I could say to God and about God was “Jesus loves me – this I know.” No other words could convey how I felt about what was happening in my life.
I was married 2 years. Had a newborn. Had eczema from sole to scalp and everywhere in between. Slept 45minutes at a time, then would wake, and in total slept 3-4 hours a night. I was chronically sleep deprived and reacting to my environment allergy wise. It was a miserable time. I felt terrible and tired all the time.
Yet I knew God was at work in my life. Doing what – I still don’t know. But I knew he was doing something and that was all that mattered. I didn’t have any great spiritual wisdom or revelation. I was in physical pain. I was in emotional pain. I was in spiritual pain. I knew that Jesus loved me though, because the Bible told me so and I stood on that. I wasn’t fancy. I wasn’t feeling like an overcomer. But I was holding onto Jesus.
The time passed. It is a season in my life. I cant say I want to go back there… and even hesitantly I say I embrace the work of God… but I do, because I love my Lord.
Its good to know that he sees us and understands how we are in suffering. He sees the bad hair day we wouldn’t want anyone else to see. He sees the deep rooted fears and angst, more than the brave face we could put on. He sees your faith and your commitment to Him, even if there are times we yell and grumble. He knows our heart. He knows our love.
He will not abandon us or forsake us. He is with us. Through the fire and the flood God walks with us.
Great faith is the product of great fights. Great testimonies are the outcome of great tests. Great triumphs can only come out of great trials.
There is a fine line when talking about testing and trials in some christian groups. Some want to point the blame for all hard times and bad hair days solely at God. Others give all credit to the devil. Others discount any spiritual activity and think that life is just life.
Some think that to attribute suffering to God is to deny his goodness and greatness.
Others will say it makes God plain cruel and sadistic.
My own experience is that God is great and good and almighty and knows all and sees all.
Which means he also sees the hidden intention of my heart and the sin that seeks to overcome me. He sees my wounds and my pain and my fears and my doubts.
He has called me to love him, know him, serve him, call him father.
And as a father he desires my best and his best.
There is a greater plan for my life than for me to just exist and breathe.
Life is more than breathing.
And in the spirit of that i believe that our trials and testings are sometimes gifts from God to transform us and shape us and draw us closer to him and to learn more about him and his ways and to grow more mature and more christlike.
Its called refinement. As gold is refined in the fire so we are refined in the fire of life. Sometimes life just happens. Sometimes the devil comes with his firey darts to shake us. Sometimes God refines us. With in the fire and the flood Jesus is with us. We are never alone or forsaken and we are never tested beyond what we can endure. And God is with us.
There is a purpose and a plan. Sometimes it does good to remember that and to take all the good and the bad and the ugly and to live it to the maximum taking full advantage of what God may be saying in that time….
In the hard times hold onto the promises and light of God. Go to Him who gives us rest and calls us to draw near and cast our cares upon him. Sometimes i think the hard times are harder because we are not doing that. We are trying to walk alone in the fire and flood instead of relying upon God who gives us peace and renews our strength. We forget we are spiritual creatures and children of God. We forget God is our refuge and that we hide in him. We forget to learn.
Its not so much about giving credit where credit is due but in all things giving glory to God who is able to work all things in our lives for his glory and purpose. He sees all and knows all and only on the other side of eternity may we understand the road we have walked on and the greater purpose of our trials and testing.
Again, rest in God, cast your cares upon him, find your peace in him. He is with you.
“In all your journey as a believer, you will have two categories of spiritual experiences. One is tender, delightful and loving. The other can be quite obscure, dry, dark and desolate. God gives us this first one to gain us; he gives us the second to purify us.
First He deals with you as if you were only a child. Then he begins to deal with you as though you were a strong man. In the first there is a great deal of your Christian experience tied to that which you can sense outwardly. But the other category of Christian experience calls for a believer to no longer mind the outward senses. Rather he must know warfare against his own passions, and attain to a will that is in complete agreement and concert with the Lord…. This is the proper occupation of us all.
Dry spells are the instrument of God, for your good. Yes, it is true in such times, your five senses have been deprived and all outward progress of outward piety ends. Know this; In such times you are either going to leave off prayer and perhaps even a large part of your Christian walk, or you will be drive to a comfort which has nothing to do with the outward senses.
There is always a veil that comes to us in relationship to times of dryness; it is a time when we do not know what he is doing. If we always knew what his working was (as he works on our outward man and works in our inward man) we would become very presumptuous…”
Molinos from 100 Days In The Secret Place
In these dry places we learn to persevere and to draw near to God despite how we feel and what we sense. In this time God is still at work, even more so I would think, as he develops strength of character and hunger for him. We also learn to pray in new ways, to seek after God in new ways and to in that action to hold onto our faith and beliefs. We may even find our beliefs and faith changing as things that are built on works and feelings and comfortability fall away. We may find that we do know in our deepest parts that God does love me and knows me and forgives me – despite all our failings and unworthyness. In a dry spell the greatest watering and growth can occur.
The dry place is not a time to give up. It is a time to hold on. It is a time to not let go of those “disciplines” that we practice. By the way those disciplines we do, bible reading and prayer and going to church must be actions of relationship or they become ritual. They must be actions of love and discovering who God is and what he does rather than form and just doing. We must read the bible to discover the author and creator – to know The Word, not just the words.
2 Timothy 2:20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Refining and shaping occurs so that we are more like Jesus in heart and character. This is so we are more effective in service for God. I do believe we are all cracked pots containing the great treasure of God, himself, the Holy Spirit, who works through us and in us and that our brokenness only serves to demonstrate how great and graceful and compassionate God is.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
1 Corinthians 4:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
Trials and refinement don’t sit well in our 21st century western way of thinking. We have our microwaves, popcorn makers, dvds, im, etc etc etc… the work of God takes a lifetime and there are seasons that take time. The work of God is precious and good and right. God is working a miracle in your life. In my life. I am a miracle. I am a demonstration and ambassador for him. I have faith in his ways and his working in my life and I will believe. I will press on, towards the great prize of knowing him and making him known.
Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Philippians 3:14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.