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”Simply trust God. If you come to Him, He will give you all that you need to serve Him. You really need to believe that God keeps His word. The more you trust Him, the more He will be able to give you. If you were lost in an uncrossable desert, bread would fall from heaven for you alone.
Fear nothing but to fail God. And do not even fear that so much that you let it upset you. Learn to live with your failures, and bear with the failures of your neighbours. Do you know what would be best for you? Stop trying to appear so mentally and spiritually perfect to God and man. There is a lot of refined selfishness and complacency in not allowing your faults to be revealed. Be simple with God. Live day by day, not in your own strength but by completely surrendering to God.”
Fenelon from 100 Days in the Secret Place
I found this piece of writing to be saturated with faith. From beginning to full stop it resonates faith faith faith. Total dependence upon God and His provision, love, grace – everything we need.
The bible DOES say “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you” – referring to the things mentioned previously in the biblical passage – clothing, food, basic necessities.
What is seeking God look like? Judah Smith in a recent podcast i listened to said its as simple as drawing close to God. Not just in a 1/2 hour devotional time, or on Sunday at church, but throughout your day, your life. That God is God and that awareness that He is with you and near you. Including Him in your day.
Dedicated time to God is important. Jesus drew Himself away to pray and seek God. Its where you learn to hear His voice, know His heart.
There is something you get in the secret place that you can get no where else. Do everything you can to establish a secret history with Jesus. ~ Banning Liebscher
The sentence by Fenelon – “If you were lost in an uncrossable desert, bread would fall from heaven for you alone” is so unwavering and relentless in its faith.
It at first made me blink and think – is that really so???
Elijah the prophet was fed by ravens who brought him meat and bread for breakfast and tea. The widow’s flour bin and oil jar never ran out in the drought. The crowd were fed with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread.
So – was that a specific time moment – then, and this is now?
God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.
Was it just for special “bible people” but not for ordinary folk like me…? God is no respecter of persons.
So therefore I am going to conclude that God is my provider. And I will trust Him.
What is the uncrossable desert?
It can be a real place… but it can also be whatever impossible looking situation we face. Illness. Money. Jobs. Relationships. At that point of need God is there and ABLE to meet you. At that place of need Jesus is there to fill you and sustain you and help you.
“Refined selfishness” – now that is a label! We think we have it covered so often… Really we’re just better at putting the makeup on… When we live honestly before God and with our family and friends God is able to work through us more and more – He can shine through our weaknesses. We are all cracked pots filled with the treasure of God. When we cover the cracks the light cant shine through. We must be vulnerable and real, as it allows the presence and grace of God to work through us. People need us to be real. Our neighbours need us to be real. Not so they see our flaws, but so they see the Jesus we lean on and believe in. So they can receive grace too.
God desires to do impossible things through improbable people to show His unlimited grace to those who will believe.
Will you trust Him today?
”My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways. Proverbs 23:26
What does it mean to give your whole heart to God? To give your whole heart to God is to have all the energy of your soul always centered on Him.
It is in this way we are conformed to His will.
Sometimes our soul is very easily turned to outward, physical things; it is very easy to become distracted to the Lord, your Centre.
How far we turn away from Him will depend on how much we yield to the distraction and how far we allow ourself to be drawn away to surface things. In like manner, the means we use to return to God will depend on how far we have turned from Him.
As soon as you notice ourselves straying from the Lord, we should deliberately turn our attention within to the living God. Return at once to that place where we really belong: in Him. “
Madam Guyon from 100 Days in the Secret Place
Now I must confess this passage is part of a bigger picture… it must be read in the understanding of the grace and salvation of God, that it is NOT by works we are saved or our own effort but by the free gift of God. We cannot work ourselves close to God. We cannot earn or repay salvation. We cannot force intimacy with God by effort of will. We cannot manufacture anything.
So in saying that, almost a disclaimer, I say that with our will, strength, emotion and heart – with all of who we are – we must turn and keep turning towards God.
We can choose to stay faithful.
We can choose to be obedient loving children.
We can choose to listen to God.
Or we can choose to be faithless, sinful, disobedient kids who turn away from their loving Father and what we know is right.
Lets not pretend here… we know when we are sinning most times. We know we are making a choice to disobey God. We know we are making a choice to give in to ourselves.
We need to at those times choose to turn to God, to humble ourselves and repent, and His grace and His power that helps us stay faithful, that makes the way of escape from temptation, that is our deliverance.
Being obedient faithful Christians is a choice we make. It is a conscious decision we make each time we get out of bed in a way.
Each decision and action should be tempered with the consciousness of who we are and WHO we follow. Each decision is a choice to live in His Kingdom, not our own. The war rages between kingdoms, between self and seeking first the Kingdom of God.
We can become easily distracted and turn away from God. But we can easily turn back and find grace and mercy from God. His arms are ever open and willing.
We can make conscious choices to do things that will stir our hearts affection for God:
- bible reading
- journaling / personal devotions
- attending church and connecting with a house group
- having coffee with friends and talking about God
- reading books about God
Let us draw near to Him and He will draw near to us.
God never makes you suffer unnecessarily. He intends for your suffering to heal and purify you. The hand of God hurts as little as it can.
Do not waste your suffering. Let suffering accomplish what God wants it to in your life. Never get so hard that you suffer for no reason and for no purpose. Paul says, “God loves a cheerful giver.” How much He must love those who cheerfully give themselves to His dealings.
Francis Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith works patience. But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. James 1:2-4
Fenelon in this passage from 100 Days In The Secret Place goes on to talk about how anxiety can sometimes be a resistance of the work of God in our lives. “The yoke that God gives is easy to bear if you accept it without struggling to escape.” He encourages us to count it all joy – and not just to give verbal assertion to that but to really count it as JOY – real joy – not a response filled with fear and anxiety – but an authentic joy and peace that we are in the hand of God.
How do we do this?
In real life suffering and the outworking of the refinement by God is not mostly pleasant.
It is painful and emotional. It may be physical illnesses or hardship. It involves change and loss.
What the joy can be defined as is I think is the constant trust and constant mental choice to keep our eyes fixed on our God – a mindfulness - remembering (remember = stirring our hearts to faith) WHO He is and how wonderful and how He is near and good and great and merciful and faithful and the good things He has done and is doing and will do in our lives.
The joy is stirred when we remind ourselves of the promises of God – we feel less alone and less anxious because we know God is at work and that is a good thing.
It is as David does in 1 Samuel 30 – he STRENGTHENS himself in the Lord and that powers him up to continue to press on.
We count what we experience as BENEFITIAL perhaps is a better way of looking at it, and so we try to keep our attitude full of faith, full of hope and full of “God is great” instead of the negativity of looking down at our feet, at the circumstance and the emotions that arise.
We stand tall despite the storm raging around us, confident that Jesus is with us.
I’m not talking about “faking it to you make it” but about monitoring our thoughts to respond in the right heart… (2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, pulling down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought into the obedience of Christ;)
God is at work in us transforming us and shaping us.
Surrendering to God rather than fighting makes the process somewhat easier… we’re not trying to swim against the current then. Emotions are fine. It is fine to be emotional – as people that is “the way we work.” Manage the emotions – not at the expense of being real, but manage them so that instead of spiralling into despair we continue to press on with confidence and faith, instead of isolating ourselves we continue to comfort others as God comforts us.
Remember – God is good. His mercy endures forever. His love is everlasting. His grace covers all. He knows us. He loves us. He has plans and purposes for us. He is creative. He likes us. He is near. He hears us. He speaks to us. He nurtures us. He guides us. God is good…
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 quote by francis fenelon 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. In a way we’re like an onion… as Shrek would say… with many layers… and it takes time and experiences to remove those layers as we grow.
“When a man sets out of a journey to a great city, every step he takes is voluntary; he does not need to say, “I wish to go to the great city, I wish to go to the great city.” That first step is an indication of his intention. He journeys without saying it, but he cannot journey without intending it.” Molinos from 100 Days in the Secret Place
This resonates within me. I often say that “God you know my heart.” Not in the cliché excuse-ladden way that that phrase can be used but meaning – God, you know who I am, my desire is for you, and I want to do your will… every step God I want to honour you and love you and obey you, even though my circumstances and my actions may fall flat…” There are times when we look at our life and think that it doesn’t reflect our heart desire. There are times when the circumstances don’t seem to make sense in regard to the end result we dream for. Remember, who is the author of our faith and our life. God. Who has written all the days of our lives before they occur? God. Even in the daily circumstances and occupations we do God is at work to transform and use us. There is not one day when God’s loving hand is upon us. No day is wasted in the grand plan of God.
God knows how many hairs we have on our head, and how many hairs we have on our toes. He watches over us and cares for us. His thoughts towards are more numerous than the grains on all the beaches on the earth.
Life is a journey. Becoming a better mother is a journey. Becoming a better wife is a journey. Becoming a better preacher, communicator, writer, editor is a journey. Becoming a better human is a journey.
Let us set our eyes upon God and walk forward. God orders the steps of his children. His Word guides our feet. Let us be people who consider the end destination and determine to follow God as He leads, and live the journey.
A journey begins with one step. One step towards the destination. As long as we are moving we are moving forward towards the goal.
Paul puts it this way… I press on towards the goal, i don’t look back but i forget the past and i look forwards towards the prize ahead of me. i press on. i step.
it takes faith to step forward and press on. it takes faith to obey. have faith in God, have faith in the one who formed you and has a plan and purpose for you. have faith in the one who loves you with an everlasting love, who has your name written on the palm of his hand.
It is the nature of each of us to be rather base, proud, ambitious, full of a great deal of appetite, judgments, rationalizations and opinions. If something does not come into our lives to humiliate us then surely all these things will undo us.
You must believe in the fineness of the Divine mercy… even when that mercy humbles, afflicts and tries you. Even if these times are caused by the devil, you are nonetheless in the sovereign hand of God, and these things will turn out for your gain and your spiritual profit.”
Molinos from 100 Days in the Secret Place
We are all ratbags.
We all make mistakes and have flaws and fragility written into our personality.
Be it pride or insecurity. Selfishness or envy. Fear or doubt.
We all have things in our lives that need the hand of God to work on or else left to our own fleshly desires we could be distracted away into sin, and undo ourselves.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1
God works on us to make us more like His Son, and thus more effective in His service. As we are more and more refined we should thus have less and less to detract from the glory of God and knowing Him and walking with Him. Our desire for service should be more pure. Our hearing more clearer. This may seem naive… There is always till the day we die issues and sinful desires that God is working. We should always be learning and always be being transformed.
We must continue to surrender to Him, deny ourselves, keep our eyes on God and make conscious choices to obey God and be a godly person.
In the misdt of whatever we face we must have a constant trust in God. W
We must remember that he is indeed Good and Merciful and Wise and Loving.
We must remember that in all things God is at work and is working to outwork them for good for the purposes and glory of God.
We must remember he walks through the valley of the shadow of death with us, as well as the flame and fire and the hard times.
We must know that God is good so we are content in his presence. we must know that God is gracious so that we can find peace in his presence while everything else feels like it is in turmoil.
We must know that God is loving so that we will find refuge and shelter in His arms.
These truths will hold us on course when the going gets tough. These truths will encourage us to remain faithful when difficulties arise. These truths will comfort our heart and grow our faith.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23
it is the graciousness of God that he refines us.
it is the graciousness of God that he disciplines us.
it is for the sake of his church and his lost and his plan (and our call and our families and our friends!) that we are not left broken and ugly and sinful and selfish. it is the nature of all of us to be rather base, proud, ambitious, full of a great deal of appetite, judgments, rationalizations and opinions. If something does not come into our lives to “humiliate us then surely all these things will undo us.”
that something is the Lord God, who loves us and transforms us. he uses the fire of testing and trial. he uses the flood of life to wash us and transform us. but he is with us in the whole process. transformation and discipline and change isnt usually easy. but worth it.
God is the one who begins a work in our lives, redeeming us and making us righteous and holy and new and clean. He will continue to take that inward work from the inside out. He makes broken ugly hearts, motivated by selfishness and sin and ambition and pride and fear and anger, into beautiful hearts motivated by love and grace and hope and joy.
You must believe in the fineness of the Divine mercy… even when that mercy humbles, afflicts and tries you. Even if these times are caused by the devil, you are nonetheless in the sovereign hand of God, and these things will turn out for your gain and your spiritual profit.
“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 whether we feel like it or not.
the challenge for us to to be still and know God, to be still from our own efforts and to recognise who God is – the one who loves us and cares for us and is at work and is also refining us. he is our strong tower, our refuge, our Father. he cares for us so much. he is with us.
when we stop and take time to pray and read the Word we are fixing our eyes upon him, not upon the cirucmstances of our life and not upon the hard times. we fix our eyes on the rock that is greater than us, greater than all things. we build our faith.
there is one key aspect of prayer that we sometimes forget, esp if we are going through the flood and fire. that is to listen. to listen to what God is saying IN that time. God is with us, he promises to walk with us in the flame and flood and though we feel scorched and drowned we are not. we need to be encouraged by God. just a glimpse of him makes it all worth it. makes life do-able. just a glimpse of him gives us hope.
keep coming and pressing in untill you get that glimpse and that hope. dont give up. dont stop for a minute and then give up because “God didnt come right then.” sometimes part of the challenge of a hard time is that we need to persist and press in and seek God and not give up. the Word of God is truth and right. we need to trust it and live by it and have faith in it.
we need to be like the woman who had the issue of blood who did not give up on her miracle because of the circumstances. did you know that because of Levitical Law that she was unclean and had to live in isolation and that everyone she touched was also made unclean. she was not allowed to be near people let alone in a crowd! but she had heard about Jesus and his power and said to herself, encouraging herself, building faith in herself, if only i touch his cloak i will be healed. she went into the crowd. and she touched Jesus. she graspedthe edge of his cloadk and was healed by the power of God. She did not allow her circumstances to limit her. she pressed through.
in our own lives we face obstacles and hard times. have faith that God can use them to shape your character and conform you into the image of Jesus.
know also that he loves you and that as you draw near to him he DOES draw near to you.
be encouraged that he is with you as he promises in isaiah 43:1-2
have faith in God.
dont give up.
God’s way accomplishes His purpose quicker than anything you could think of. God is able to seek out and destroy the roots of self-love. God is able to seek out and destroy the roots of self-love. You, on your own, could never find those hidden roots. God can see the entrie path of self-love within your heart. Let Him attack self-love at its strongest point. Pray for strengtth and faith enough to trust yourself completely to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfetion… Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place
So what is so wrong with self love you may ask? Perhaps we need to define it more. We need to look at it in the context that Fenelon is talking about above. Self love isnt about regarding ourselves well or looking after ourselves. It is about selfishness and me me me.
I think it is because sin has a root in selfishness – its all about “me” and what i can get and is “good” for me and protects ME. it puts me before God and others. i make choices that are sinful to make me happy or “safe”. Self love as Fenelon describes it leads to sin. It doesnt listen to God and doesnt obey God. It runs away from God and does its own thing. We can see its effects everywhere in the world. Greed. Hate. Prejudce. Murder. Rape. Abuse. Fear. Loneliness. Sorrow.
Galatians 5:13 says we are “called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love.”
Galatians 5:16-21 instructs us to “let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.”
Our self-love is often fighting against the best/pure actions that glorify God. It is putting God first and surrendering to him, allowing him to shape us into the character and heart of Jesus.
God is shaping us to conform to the character and heart of Jesus. ( Romans 8:28-30 )
He is calling us and MAKING us holy – not only in spirit/soul but in EXPRESSION and DEMONSTRATION – in outworking that holiness in REAL LIFE… its not just a spiritual thing but a real life expression of how we interact in teh real world…
God knows how to deal with the sinfulness in our lvies. Apart from Jesus’ death on the cross which paid for our sin, God also knows how to deal with the sin we STILL do – he exposes teh causes and works on our character, drawing us to him… He brings us continually to the cross, where we find forgiveness daily/minute-ly, bringing us to His throne of grace…
David prays often for God to teach Him to walk a life pleasing to Him…
4 Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; 5 guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,
6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts [a] ; you teach [b] me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. and my hope is in you all day long.
We must remember that God is our loving Father and he corrects and teachs us because he loves us and for his glory… Job says “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures, but his hands also heal.” (Job 5:17-18) Surrender to that teaching will make the road easier, only by our attitude working with God instead of against it. Working with God to shape us goes against self love often. Self love often trys to preserve us from hurt and change, but change is a good thing that often comes through hurts and experience. These experiences which may be painful teach us hope and peace and faith.
Romans 5:3-4 says “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (NIV)
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” (NLT)
Francis Fenelon says, “pray for strength and faith enough to trust yourself compeletly to God. Follow Him simply wherever He may lead you and you will not have to think up big plans to bring about your perfection.”
We often think of ways that we can WORK on ourselves, give more, do more, go to church more – t hat might make it look like we are working on our heart character… but may feed the self-love more. God knows the perfect road to “perfection” for each of us. It involves death, fire and flames. But He has promised to be with us THROUGH the fire and flames ( Isaiah 43:2). God knows the limits of our strength to resist tempataion and gives us strategies to succeed in the midst of hard times, ( 1 Corinthians 10:13) so that we form character and holiness… not fall and fail. As Fenelon says we need to pray for strength and faith in the God who loves us and leads us.
I hope you are encouraged. It is never easy to examine ourselves or expose ourselves, even to God. It is never easy to surrender to him – giving him a free reign to shape us and transform us. God is gentle and he knows us. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. His love is everlasting. He gives us peace. He walks with us. He gives us mercy and grace.
You cannot give place to the world, to your passions or your laziness. Words are not enough to claim the kingdom of God. It takes strength and courage and violence. You must violently resist the tides of the world. Violently give up all that holds you back from God. Violently turn your will over to God to do His will alone. This violence is what I pray you will come to know, for how else will you know anything of the life of the Lord Jesus? Fenelon from 100 days in the secret place
The violence that Francis Fenelon is talking about in this above quote is not about arrogant rough hit and punch violence. it is not the voilence we see on tv or read about in the news. it is not filled with swearing or expressed with fists. It is the passionate pursuit of ones goals – in our case – the Kingdom of God. With force and decision and resolve we must resist the desires of the flesh and hold onto the course before us – the narrow path of holiness and surrender. It takes guts to follow Christ. Jesus himself said:
Matthew 16:24-25 If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, and whoever desires to lose his life for My sake shall find it.
Sometimes following Jesus isnt all happiness and roses… it is loneliness and suffering, discipline and sacrifice. There are times when God works on our character that just arent pleasant… when we feel like we are walking through the fire and flame, and feel like we are walking those paths alone. God seems distant and prayers unanswered.
i was watching Rob Bell’s Nooma dvd NOISE today and i was again stirred by Elijah meeting with God on the mountain top – not Mt Carmel, but a forgotten, hidden mountain where he had run away too. he had run away from his ministry and the people and the opposition – he was running away from life. While on the mountain there was an earthquake, a mighty wind, a raging fire – but God was NOT in the fire or the wind or the earthquake. he was not in the loud demonstration. he was in the small quiet voice… Rob Bell pointed out that this really means SILENCE. God was in the silence. God is in teh silence we face in our lives, when he seems far away he is so near. do we hold on and hear him and find him or do we continue to run?
Take hope in the words of the Bible, that say that God IS with us through the fire and the flame (Isaiah 43) and that He does hear our prayers always.
1Peter 1:6-7 in which you greatly rejoice, yet a little while, if need be, grieving in manifold temptations; so that the trial of your faith (being much more precious than that of gold that perishes, but being proven through fire) might be found to praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Our faith is regarded as being much more precious than gold to God. It does go through the fire of refinement as we are shaped into the character of Jesus.
We must be committed to following God, to allowing His way in our lives and to walking one step at a time forward. We must be committed to making God-decisions, not just good ones, and to rejecting the things we must reject. No one ever said it would be easy, just worth it. Eternally. we must press on, as Paul said.
Do not add to the cross in your life by becoming so busy that you have no time to sit quietly before God. Do not resist what God brings into your life. Be willing to suffer if that is what is needed. Over-activity and stubbornness will only increase your anguish. God prepares a cross for you that you must embrace without thought of self-preservation. The cross is painful. Accept the cross and you will find peace even in the middle of turmoil. Fenelon – from 100 days in the secret place
In this modern age busy busy busyness is one of those things we just accept. Busy traffic. Busy lives. Busy schedules. Yet we have dishwashers. Microwaves. Even OVENS are much faster and more efficient than the technology of Fenelon who warned against busyness shutting out God… or he rather that when we are busy we “forget” to make time for God.
God brings things in our lives to shape us and change us. His purpose is to make us like Jesus. ( Romans 8:28-30 ) His purpose is to use us as ambassadors ( 2 Corinthians 5:20 ) to reflect His own glory ( 2 Corinthians 3:18
But most of us are selfish creatures living by our own agenda, giving God a slot on Sunday morning. God wants us to know him all week and to be used by Him all week.
He wants to shape us and transform us. We are renewed and changed by the transforming power of the Word of God which challenges our thoughts and actions, changing our minds and attitudes and flowing into the way we act. ( Romans 12:1-2 )
We are changed through the experiences we go through. Experiences that are hard teach us to have hope and faith in God and strengthen us. They are HARD to experience but they outwork good and glorious things in our lives. ( Romans 5:2-5 ) The hard times shape our character to look more like Jesus.
Often we find ourselves hitting the same wall over and over again. Look up – is it a mountain? Are we like the israelites going round and round the mountain again and again due to their unbelief and stubbornness? Lets be people of FAITH and HOPE and in whatever experience let us look up and see GOD and trust Him and let him work JOY and LOVE and the heart of Jesus into our lives.
Embrace the work of God. It sounds contray to what we could do in a hard time – stamp our feet and moan. And that response is okay, when followed by a “BUT I WILL WORSHIP AND TRUST YOU” – david was a stomp ya feet and moan kind of guy in the psalms, but he then would remember WHO God is and worship him and surrender to the work of God in his life.