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2 years ago I needed glasses.  It’s that thing that happens when you turn 40.  I couldn’t read the Netflix suggestions and if someone waved to me across church I’d be completely unable to tell you who it was.

When I went to pick my glasses up the optometrist got me to stand near the back of the shop and look out across the road.  I could see there was a café… some people…. Parked cars… then I had to put my glasses on.

Well.  The song I can see clearly now was sooooo true.  The café had words on it, signs.  The people had faces.  The faces had freckles!  It felt like a miracle.  Everything was in high definition!

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The heart is capable of responding to things the mind can’t yet perceive. Bill Johnson

Faith isn’t passive – and sometimes it contends against the mind and flesh and lies – it  smacks up against the lie of the enemy, the lie of the world that doesn’t even believe that God is real, and the lie of our flesh.  It contends for the promises of God.

Faith sometimes inst understood in our mind – our mind tries to rationalize it away (Martha – but, he stinkith – in regards to Lazarus been buried in the tomb for 4 days and Jesus command to roll the stone away!) but faith is RIGHT.

We need to renew our mind and align it with the truth of God in the Word, and then hold to it. 

As we renew our mind it gets easier in some manner to discern the direction and leading of God because we know His heart and His ways and His promises. 

Faith refuses the lie and believes the truth and promise of God.

 

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  Romans 12:2

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.  2 Corinthians 1:20

Faith overcomes fear.  It punches fear in the face!  Fear looks but faith jumps! 

Faith overrides the mind and its fears and what ifs and buts! 

It acts and just does. 

It believes that God is bigger than the circumstances and that His promises are sure.  It believes that nothing is impossible for God.  With God all things are possible.  With God all the promises are YES in Christ Jesus!

 

which voice are we going to listen to?

the doubting voice of fear?

the old nature that died?

Or are we going to believe God who has proven Himself sure and true and right and all powerful – Creator of the universe, who breathed out the stars and has all the power and is the first and the last and who was and is and is to come?

 

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

“Come To God often just to sit in His presence and renew yourself. Nothing is as important as lowliness of heart and detachment from our own opinion and will.” Fenelon in 100 days in the secret place

I lay in bed last night thinking about this segment of my devotional book. Often when we are going through a hard time sitting down to pray and read the bible and talk to God is soooo the last thing we want to do or do full stop. We can get angry with God – when will this stop? Why wont you intervine? Pleeeese God come? You know… all of those things are valid. David was a big stomp ya feet say how he really felt kind of guy. His psalms are filled with WOE IS ME and emotions that I read as angry and depressed (its all in the tone of voice…) but then he also gets it in perspective and remembers God and His ways and that gives him peace and strength to carry on.

Psalm 73:16-17 When I thought deeply in order to understand this, it was painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.

In this Psalm David is going through a really hard time on all fronts. His understanding came when he went and spent time with God. Likewise for us – we may look at our circumstances and go “da wah?” and throw our hands up in despair. We need to remember to come and sit and pray and read the Bible. Sometimes just even putting on a good worship CD can bring us into the presence of God.

Hebrews 4:16 Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Psalm 23:1-6 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah forever.

We may not get any answers from God. We may come away from a prayer time with no firm understanding. But we need to UNDERSTAND that God is God and God is good and loves us and is at work in our lives, to work ALL things for good for His glory and purposes. Your hard times may give you the experience that is able to help others.

2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

The value of spending time with God is that we hear His voice, we can feel His presence –we can remind ourselves of WHO he is and draw closer, knowing that as we draw near to Him he draws near to us. Even if God is silent the time is not a waste. It is relationship building. It can bring comfort when we drop the walls. It changes us…

Life is life isn’t it. There is the good, the bad and the ugly. We have moments of pure joy and also circumstances that threaten to wrench our hearts out. That is life. If you’re breathing you know this.

As Christians I believe that we live our lives as demonstrations of God’s love and grace. In the good, the bad and the ugly. We face battles. And yet in this battle time God is with us and for us and calls us to overcome. He gives us hope and peace, no matter what we face. In these battle times he calls us to keep our eyes on him, to hold to faith in Him, and to overcome.

Isaiah 60:1-4 says “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Jehovah has risen on you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Jehovah shall rise on you, and His glory shall be seen on you. And the nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning. Lift up your eyes all around, and see. All of them gather themselves; they come to you.”

“Isaiah challenges me every time I read what he wrote: He said that we are to arise from the depression in which circumstances have kept us – rise to a new life. In face we are supposed to shine! He said that darkness is covering the earth (boy, isn’t that the truth?), but that the glory of our God will be visible in you and me so that people who are hurting can come to us for answers.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

2 Corinthians 1:4 says “He comforting us in all our trouble, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in every trouble, through the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” And this is something I totally subscribe to. God comforts us in our battles and hard times so we in turn can demonstrate God to them, giving hope and comfort and the Gospel.

We can often feel that life’s hard times knock us about and discredit us. We can feel like we are damaged because of the things we face. Disqualified because we are in a hard time.

”Once when my husband visited an antique coin dealer the owner told him that most people make the mistake of cleaning all of their old coins before bringing them to sell. They think that if the coins are clean they will be more valuable. They are wrong. Rather than calling the black stuff on old coins “tarnish” we should call it “being toned”. Toning actually makes them worth MORE.

So, if you’re feeling tarnished, I would like to suggest that we are merely toned – and thus growing in value. The battle you are in is toning you. It can be your ceiling in life or a stepping-stone to your future.

Your choice.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

Let me repeat that. In a way we are not responsible for the battles we face. We don’t choose cancer or illness. We often have no choice in a job loss, financial issues, relationship difficulties (though we contribute perhaps…). We are however responsible for how we respond and react. Are we reacting in a “shinning” way – are we holding onto hope with God, do we trust Him that he will be with us??? or do we want to go to the bottom of the garden and eat worms? I’m serious! The battles we face can shape and transform us in positive ways if we allow it to. The life experiences we gain can make us more compassionate, stronger, more faith-filled, more faithful, more wise. Or they can make us grumpy and bitter. Our choice.

In Warrior Chicks Holly Wagner shares the powerful life testimony of Ernest Shackleton – who from 1914 to 1916 survived the wreck of their ship in the crushing Antarctic ice. They were shipwrecked 1,200 miles away from the nearest people – in 1914 – with all the limitations of the technology. No communication. No cell phones. No sat phones. No rescue beacons. No hope of rescue from the outside. If they were to survive it was their choice. Their ship began to be broken up by the crushing ice and they had to trek out – on the ice – in the cold – to be rescued. They survived, most of them, and did it with style. One of the reasons for the success of their self rescue was that Ernest Shackleton was remarkable man who refused to let this battle destroy them… He remembered and celebrated birthdays. They sang. They performed skits.

”Ernest was not blind to the challenge before them – he just knew that if they were going to survive, he had not only to rise, to have joy, but also to give it away. It was more than a feeling. It was a decision.”

Warrior Chicks by Holly Wagner

We are called to be light to those around us. People ARE watching. Lets show them, lets demonstrate how God works and upholds us. People need answers, they have questions. All of us face battles. All of us have circumstances beyond our control. Life happens. We make a choice in how to react. We can feel the pain and grieve and be worried and all those normal responses… but in this we must shine. We don’t paint happy faces on – we must be authentic. God can use pain and shine through that. He DOES use hard times. We can be assured that he is with us. we can be assured he sees us and knows the pressure. We can be confident that he loves us. we are not just flesh and blood – not “just human” – we are children of God and are his ambassadors and witnesses here on earth – in the good, the bad ad the ugly… It isn’t about being real but about having faith in our Father God… Faith is demonstrated in our actions… Arise and shine, remember for such a time as this you were called and live. Remember those around you need to know the hope you have… and remember Romans 8:37-39 “But in all these things we more than conquer through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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