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In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
~2 Peter 2:3 NIV~
It’s amazing how people can look at surface of something and decide without questioning or learning more about the situation that there is no room for forgiveness or mercy. In this world that is so full of brokenness, it is inevitable that at some point in our lives we may do something that isn’t right. In some cases, we may completely screw up our lives and the lives of everyone around us. But the healing power of Christ says that change is possible. That broken vessels can be made new and that those who have been through trials can rise from those ashes even stronger and in many cases well-armed and well-suited for ministry that will glorify the Most High God. When we can’t see that or when we refuse to acknowledge this kind of change, it probably means that we have not yet developed the capacity to deal with our own problems and faults and possibly, that we blame God for not fixing things for us.
Even after all this time, I’m still amazed that the very people who are the most hateful, bitter, angry, and hurtful to others will hang on to their condemnation of others for dear life as though it somehow justifies their being unforgiving and destructive. Tearing down someone who has allowed God to heal them or who is trying to receive that grace only makes you look like a jerk. And it is the most effective way to show that the biggest problem lies in you. Not only are you hurting others, you are basically telling God that you don’t believe He is who He says He is or that He can do what He says He will do. When we fail to acknowledge God’s work in those around us, we fail to believe that He can do a good work in us. And if we can’t believe that, we can’t say that we have faith in God at all. You can’t half-believe in His power…you have to know that He is the Almighty God and that His power will triumph over anything that stands to harm you. And you can’t just call on Him when you need His stamp of approval on what you’ve already done. Even if it seems like what you’re doing is right, if you didn’t trust Him or you went against what He told you, then you haven’t done the right thing. And it will eventually show.
When I am going through a trial, as it seems I often am, the hardest thing for me to do is to trust in Him completely and without trying to do things on my own. I know that He has a plan for me, and I have faith in His ability to fix what is broken. That doesn’t make it any easier to watch things fall apart. But, the hope that all will be made right and the knowledge that if He has brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it are what sustain me. When I feel like the whole world is against me, I know that I can look to God for guidance and that He will bring me rest. His words will show me where I need to be and what I need to do. And though an army may encamp against me, I am confident that God is on my side.
The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devourme, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
~Psalm 27:1-3 NIV~
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”~Psalm 42:4 (NIV)~This has been a very challenging time. As I look back over the last several weeks and the time I have spent in utter despair over one issue or another, I see that there was something I forgot to do in all of it that would have helped me immensely. I forgot to remember the victories He has given me. There was a time when I made a conscious effort to journal and write down the events of each day; the good, the bad and the ugly. For whatever reason, I seem to have stopped doing that. When I pray each day, I do write down verses and thoughts that come into my head as I’m praying, but it isn’t the same as doing a full recap of the things that went your way on a given day. It isn’t the same as giving praise for what He has done for you at the end of a day that could have been filled with defeat.There was a time when I could think back to the things that God has brought me through and be inspired by the very idea that He would have taken the time to rescue someone like me from a very dangerous place. Why is it that the farther we get from that rescue, the harder it is for us to remember just how grateful we ought to be to be free? Time and distance from the danger don’t make it any less dangerous. And our continued absence from it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible for us to fall back into the pit. The only thing that keeps us from going back to a life that isn’t protected by God’s love is our unwillingness to acknowledge Him in all we do. If we are going about our daily lives without giving Him a second thought, there is nothing to guarantee that we won’t end up right back in the mud and the mire.Not the most inspiring speech I’ve ever given; I realize this. But over the past week I’ve see the same idea presented in a variety of ways; the idea that we cannot out-sin God’s ability to forgive us. It has given me reason to sit back and consider where I might have been taking advantage of this. I certainly don’t mean to take God’s love and mercy for granted, but there have been times where I’m sure that I wasn’t doing everything that I could do to fully receive the blessings that God was trying to give me. There have been times when I wasn’t even sure that I wanted them, yet I continued on and He continues to bless me in one way or another. Why does He do this? What is He trying to show me? And a better question still, why haven’t I gotten the message yet?I don’t know where He is leading me, but I know that I’ve been clinging to my present circumstance the way a young child hangs on his mother’s leg when he doesn’t want to be left at school. There is so much I could gain by moving forward, but I fear the unknown and in doing so, I am not trusting the God who has brought me out of situations that were far more scary than the future I could step into now. I know that I’m better armed, I’m better focused, and I’m well able to do what God has set me here to do. I know this in my head, but my heart and soul haven’t decided to agree yet. So, I pray that He will give me a word that will make it absolutely clear that it’s time to break free and step into the cloud. This life will be over too soon and I don’t want to reach the end of it and say that I had more fear of doing His will than of living outside it. Especially when doing His will involves nothing more than loving Him and accepting His love for me.“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”~Deuteronomy 10:12 NKJV~