30 Days of Gratitude – Day 18

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Today I’m grateful for my thorns in the flesh.  There have been times that I  wish they weren’t there but they keeps me dependent on God and that is where I want to stay.

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If these thorns are the only way that I will continue to rely on God and not myself and not to become prideful, then I say, “Praise God for them!”

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m no super woman I still have times when I scream and cry to God, “Why me?” “Can’t You take these things from me?”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  –  2 Cor. 12:9

This verse is such a comfort to me, it means I don’t have to attempt to do it on my power that God is waiting to show His power through me.  What a blessing.

So thank you Lord for what You have seen fit to give me and I will do my best to be grateful for all that You give me blessings and thorns.  I know all are for Your glory and for my benefit.  Just as a loving Father does for His child.

Joy – A Fellow Sojourner & A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

How Do You Look At The Details Of Your Life?

I love this from Beth Moore in her, “Breaking Free: Day by Day” devotional, this was found on 8/29:

We have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.  –   2 Corinthians 4:7

Here is my personal check list of Scriptures and evaluations that I seek to apply to my life on a regular basis.

  • Is my most important consideration in every undertaking whether or not God could be glorified? (1 Cor. 10:31)
  • Do I desire God’s glory or my own? (John 8:50,54)
  • In my service to others, is my sincere hope that they will somehow see God in me? (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
  • When I am going through hardships, do I turn to God and try to cooperate with Him so He can use them for my good and for His glory? (1 Pet. 4:12-13).

These really got me thinking about the motives behind what I do on a daily basis.  Do I follow the four bullet points that Beth talks about or am I more concerned about myself.  To be honest I’d say it is not as good as I would like it to be.

I want to be used by God not just sit on the sidelines and watch while others have all the fun.  I want others to see God in me.  As a matter of fact that is what I want them to be consumed by God when they look at me.

I want my hardships to be used for my good and for His glory.  That is one of my ultimate goals.  It is my ultimate work goal.  I want to encourage people as much as possible that no matter what it is that they have gone through, our God is greater and He will bring you through to the other side and you will be the better for it.

If I had known nearly 25 years ago what I know now: 1. I never would have believed it possible.  2. It would have saved me a ton of misery if I could have wrapped my mind around it.  Nearly 25 years ago I had made my first of too many to count attempts at suicide.  Now I know that that is not an option for me.  I have better coping skills with the illnesses of Bi-polar and General Anxiety Disorder.  Unless I’m sick I keep my appointments with my doctors and am very strict with myself about taking meds.  I’m getting better about keeping to a stringent sleep schedule, although at times I fail.

Whatever your Achilles heel is, it is my strong belief that you too can live a victorious life, are you going through a ugly divorce?  Allow God to teach you and bring you through.  There are always lessons to be learned no matter what it is that we are going through.  Dealing with issues of abuse?  God can help you there too.  He can help to show you that you’re not the one to blame and that in due time with healing forgiveness can be given for your benefit but that takes time so don’t feel bad if you’re not ready yet.  Going through a loss.  God is the Great Comforter and He longs to comfort you in a way that no human can be.  Once He has comforted you, you will have a more intimate relationship with Him than ever before.

The list could go on and on but it is my fervent hope that you get the idea and whatever you are dealing with the Holy Spirit has already brought it to mind and how He would like to be there for you if you would just trust Him and release yourself to Him.  He is called the Comforter for a reason.  Allow Him to do what He is here to do.

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Life’s Roller Coaster

Sitting in an emergency room waiting for a friend who is sick and in pain to find some relief.

I feel so helpless as she lays there in tears, throwing up.  I pray the doctor comes soon but is that really adequate for all she’s going through? My mind goes back to other hospital trips when not much was offered.  “Lord, please let them find the source of pain and be able to fix it!” “Father she has no insurance and no income today please provide for her and stop this constant pain.”

So many different people in pain here, “Lord, help them all!”

Thank You Lord she sleeps! Sweet slumber eases her pain.  Thank You Lord for the pain medication.

This is truly humbling Lord, there is absolutely nothing I can do.  My job is done for the time being, I brought her here, she sleeps and I sit and wait for the doctor and his results. “Lord, please let him have some positive answer as to how to stop this for her.

This is the uncomfortable part of life’s roller coaster the not so much the fun part.  May be for you that’s the time when the coaster is chugging up the high incline and your nerves are at a peak in anticipation of the drop to come.

May be there is just no part of the roller coaster that you like.  May be you have avoided them all your life terrified of them.  I hear you, life can be terrifying as well.  Those of us that like control, like myself have to face the fact that with life there is no control and that is a very uncomfortable place to be.  But if we give God the control and allow ourselves to let go and let God we may just find that we can start to tolerate roller coasters driven by God.

May be flying free is freeing for you and the fun part but the slow chug chug chug up to the pinnacle just before the drop is the anxiety riddling part.  That’s how it is for me.  Once I’ve given in to the dips and loops and inclines the anxiety of the beginning of the ride is overrun by laughter and enjoyment.  Now in our life those uncomfortable times of the roller coaster, the chug for the next set of dips or the dips themselves are not times of laughter and enjoyment but they can be times of peace.  If we turn to God at all times in our life.  Whether we find ourselves in hospitals with friends, or worshiping at church,  when we yield ourselves to God, He will give us the peace we desire.

Notice something about roller coasters?  You are never in them by yourself.  Just as my friend had me with her in the hospital we both had someone else there that is there for us all the time.  God never leaves you in the roller coaster alone.  If you invite Him into your life He is there all the way.  Never will He desert you.  You never have to feel alone again.  Just ask Him into your heart, repent of your sins, and accept what Jesus Christ did on the cross for you.

Just as I release to the roller coaster, if we will release to God’s perfect will for us, our journey on the roller coaster will be to our benefit.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  –  Jeremiah 29:11-13

The Lord has plans for you and for me.  Those plans are to prosper and not to harm.  Please don’t get me wrong here, I truly believe prosper is a relative term.  Meaning that whatever is in God’s will for you to do He will cause it to prosper.  That doesn’t mean that you will necessarily become monetarily rich.  I have been doing my best to live out God’s will in my life and I am the last person you would define with worldly wealth.  But I am rich in things the world knows nothing about.  I have a faith stronger now than it has ever been.  I know no matter what that my God will take care of me.

God has brought me through much and I feel confident that I am able to handle things that once during my life would have overwhelmed me.  And I am able to listen to my Father’s voice and to head His instruction so that I might go the way He wants me to, which is for my benefit.

God wants to bless us but He also wants all of us.  In Jeremiah He promises that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart.  Our God is a jealous God and there is no room for anyone but Him to fill that whole in your soul.  He wants to be the love of your life.  Before your spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend/or addiction.  God wants all of you and then from the fullness of God can you give to others or overcome your addictions.

God’s Boundless Love

No matter what the enemy might try and tell me God reminds me that I am worthy of His love.  As an infant is worthy of their mother or father’s love, so am I.  Neither of us have done anything to deserve it nor are either of us capable of doing anything to deserve it.  It is simply because we are and that our parents or Parent’s love is overflowing with love at the sight of us.

It is nothing that I can explain or comprehend it is a gift that I must trust and accept and have faith in.

Sometimes I feel so unworthy I have problems understanding God’s Boundless Love for me.  Then I read His Word and I put my trust in Him and I realize I am worthy because Christ’s blood makes me worthy.

Yet as I read His Word I find jewels that show me that He loved me even before I came to Him.  How boundless is that?

How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.  – Psalm 36:7

This verse in Psalm was written long before God came down as man.  And look there is no partiality in it.  Both high and low among men find refuge.  He is so loving that He takes all types.  No one is too good or too bad for Him.  He loves all equally.  Now that’s boundless love.

He said: “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven or on earth – you who keep you covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. ”  – 2 Chronicles 6:14

and said, “O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or earth below–you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way.”  – 1 Kings 8:23

Both of these counts are part of Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple.  These verses reveal again God’s faithfulness in His love towards Israel but they also add our part,  “continue wholeheartedly in your way.”  Does that mean that God does not love sinners?  Heavens no!  We are all sinners.  What it does mean is that He expects us to do our best not to sin and when we do by serving Him wholeheartedly, we come to Him when we sin and ask forgiveness. Back then it meant a guilt offering, now it means repentance and change and the blood that was shed by animals is the blood that was shed by Christ.  He is now our guilt offering.

And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”  – Deuteronomy 9:12-13

Here we see the Lord asking His people to love Him and serve Him with all their heart and all their soul.  God is into relationships.  He is offering all of Himself to us no barriers. All we need do is ask.  Ask Him for wisdom and it is ours.  He wants to give it to us.  For knowledge, He says yes. He even tells us in His Word to ask for such things.

Yet, out of love like any parent He may not tell us everything.  He may be silent when you want to hear from Him.  It’s not that He doesn’t care.  It’s that He does care.  To love someone enough to be quiet when silence is needed is love in deed.

I wonder if it is as difficult for Him as it is for earthly parents to give that tough love?  The love that we all need from time to time, but hate getting.  I wonder if it breaks His heart too?

The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.  It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere.  Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.  – Deuteronomy 13:3b-4

These verses in Deuteronomy show another side of God’s love.  He tests us to see if we will serve Him and Him only.  This may sound strange to you to call this a side of God’s love, but it is only one who cares for you that would care if you are following what he says and commands.

The absentee parent won’t check up on you or anything and won’t give you any guidelines.  The loving parent will give you guidelines for your best interest and will watch you to make sure that you are following those guidelines.  That is a parent who truly loves you.

I had a friend who had parents that didn’t pay attention to her or give her the love that she desired.  She started starting fires in dumpsters and calling the fire department so they would put them out.  It wasn’t until a loving pastor took her under his wing and started giving her very severe guidelines that she felt loved and accepted and stopped her very unsafe behavior.

God wants to spare us of unsafe behavior so He has given us commands to follow for our benefit.  Like any child we will most likely test those boundaries but hopefully after testing come back to God in a humble spirit and ask forgiveness for not obeying Him.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the God of heaven.  His love endures forever.  – Psalm 136:1, 26

Each verse in Psalm 136 states a different quality about God to give thanks for and at the end of each one it says, “His love endures forever.”  How comforting that is.  Not just for a lifetime or 100 years or even 1000 years but forever.  That’s infinity past, the present and infinity future.  I don’t know about you but that gives me a sense of security.

Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God.  You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.  – Luke 11:42

Here Jesus is letting the Pharisees and all within hearing distance know that their works weren’t enough.  They had neglected justice and the love of God.  He made it clear that although they had tithed this in itself was not enough.  They lacked justice and love of God.  Without these two things how could they say they were truly following God.  Love if anything is just.  They were supposed to be leading the people to God yet they were not following God themselves, this is what made Jesus so mad.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  – Romans 8:28

Here Paul writes to the Romans that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.  Now this again shows that we have a part in this love relationship.  He has amazing and boundless love for us and is looking for us to love Him back.  When we do love Him then God works all things for our good.

We may not see or understand the good at the time that it is happening, but good doesn’t mean joyful or happy.  What God is talking about here is, He will work all things out to our benefit.  Even if we may never in this life understand what the benefit is.  He loves us enough to make the tough decisions.  And like some parents have to make tough decisions for the benefit of their children so does God.

The main benefit is that we become more like Christ.  That is God’s goal. He loves us enough not to let us stay the same or stagnate.  He wants to see His children grow.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  – Romans 8:38-39

Now this is the most comforting of all the verses.  There is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Now if that isn’t boundless love I don’t know what is?   Death can’t.  Life and all it’s trials can’t.  Demons can’t, sorry Satan try as you may you can’t.  Angels can’t.  The past and all those old tapes running through your head, they can’t separate you from the love of God.  The present and all it’s worries or concerns – it can’t.  The future and all of the unknown, it can’t.  No matter how high or low it can’t.  Nothing else in all creation, nothing you can imagine or dream of, can separate you from the love of God.  Now if that doesn’t give you a sense of security in Christ Jesus our Lord, nothing will.

God loves you and me more than anything else that He has ever created.  Why else would He send His One and Only Son to come down to earth, to die on the cross for our sins?  To be raised from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father so He could make petition for us.  Telling the Father, “Dad that one’s mine I died for him/her.”  And the Father saying, “Welcome my child into my house of rest.”

We needed reconciliation and God loved us enough to provide that for us in the guilt offering of His own Son.  Who is now our High Priest.  That is boundless love.  He didn’t abandon us because of sin.  He provided us a way back to Him.  That is what God’s love is unconditional, forgiving, boundless love.  Thank You God!

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!