God’s Greater than I

No big news here is it.  Or is it?  Are you like me finding yourself trying to do things on your own volition?  I’ve learned that when I do that I’m putting myself in the place of God with my pride and effectively saying that, “I’m great enough for this I don’t need You God.”  How foolish can I be?  There is nothing that isn’t something that God is intimately interested in.  He wants all of our lives and everything that is going on in our lives.  That’s how intimate He desires to be with us.

If you are married or have been you know how that spouse wants to know you in order to understand and know how best to help you with any of your quirks.  Well God is a gentleman and although He is God and knows already He won’t force Himself in where He hasn’t been invited.

When we fill ourself up with “I”, we lessen the room for God in our lives.  The room that He desires so much.

I found this photo on Facebook and it really inspired me.

It makes me think that possibly I should have titled this piece “God’s Greater than i”.  Using the “i” in referring to myself gives me the impression that i’m not so important and reminds me that someone else far greater than myself has my best interest at heart and He is the one that should be capitalized and given the prominence.

What does “He>i” really me?  To me, i must get out of God’s way in the plans He has for my life.  i must decrease as He increases in me.  In turning all the hidden places into His loving hands, i am humbling myself and decreasing and allowing God full reign in my life which is how it should be.

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

Although, this in context is regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh, I believe the statement from God to be true of the weaknesses that we may be fearful of letting  go and letting God take care of them.  Again a matter of pride.  Although it seems like fear and believe me I’d rather believe it was fear than an area of pride in my life but the thing behind the fear is pride.

Let me explain.  When we are fearful to turn our finances over to God or our children over to God or our spouse over to God or our job over to God or an addiction over to God, whatever it might be that we are fearful of, what is it that we are really saying?  I’m fearful because I can’t control these things and that scares me.  Now let’s look a little deeper into that fear logic says that, if we are fearful of something that is out of our control to turn it over to the one who is in control of everything would 1. Be the logical thing to do and 2. Would ease our spirits of the fear.  If these two things are true why don’t we do this?  Pride.  That hateful word.  We are not always logical beings and although it would be best for us to turn it over and let God have it, we hold on to it as if some how, sometime, some way, we will be able to fix it on our own.  Do you see the pride behind the fear now?  Even in our fearfulness we want to do it all on our own.

Perhaps you are riddled with guilt behind your fear that there is no way God could help you because you are so guilty.  Can I let you in on a secret?  You too have fallen victim to pride.  Who are you that what you have done is so bad that Christ cannot forgive you?  You must be someone special because Christ died and rose from the dead once and for all for the sins of all.

I think this says it all when it comes to pride and sin.

So here’s an idea, why don’t we stop the devil in his tracks and not allow him to trick us with this false pride anymore?  Why don’t we confess our sin of pride to the Lord and then ask Him what area of your life does He need entry in?  I’ve been doing this for a while and I can assure you He will let you know where He needs entrance.  Try and think of this as an exciting new adventure that you are taking with your lover for that is truly what you are doing with the lover of your soul.  I can attest that your relationship with the Lord will be a rich blessing and far more intimate than ever before.

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.

Turning it Over To God

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Let go and let God”, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Well at least not for me.  I don’t know about you but I find myself putting things at the foot of the cross and then moments, hours or days later picking them up again and holding on to them for dear life.

Recently God has been dealing with me on this part of my walk with Him.  When I take things back from Him I’m showing a lack of trust on my part.  I’m in effect telling God, “I’m sorry but, I don’t think that You are capable of taking care of these problems.  I think I’ll just keep them to myself and try and deal with them on my own.”  Did you hear that?  It’s more than a matter of trust it’s a matter of pride. Who do I think that I am that I can do a better job on any part of any of my problems?  This is definitely an area of sin in my life and the sooner I can rid myself of this pride and humble myself and turn things back over to God’s care the better off I’ll be.

I can see how the forbidden fruit might have looked so attractive to Eve and Adam.  Once I give something to God, it is His, it is not mine to take back.  That makes me an Indian giver.  If you want to think in childlike terms.  If you want to think in adult terms, if it now belongs to God, it makes me a thief.  Not a very pleasant thought, but true all the same.

The enemy would like us to make light of this “indiscretion”, but try as he might he can’t change the fact that sin is sin.  God is merciful with us and gracious, but that doesn’t mean we take advantage.

I have been struggling with turning some things over to God and some I’ve turned over and left there others I’ve returned to steal back and others I’m to scarred to even turn over in the first place.  It’s not that I’m afraid that He’ll make me become a missionary and go to some awful far off place.  That may be preferable to what I’m truly afraid of.  I’m afraid of opening pandora’s box of my past and dealing with the things that my mind has so conveniently forgotten.  I’m afraid that He’ll push me past my ability to cope.  I’m afraid that if I open this area of my life to Him completely that I may just completely fall apart.

So instead of trusting in His love and wisdom and perfect will for my life and compassion and long suffering.  I eat to stuff the feelings I fear to deal with, and to stuff the memories I don’t want to remember.  While I in all my futility attempt to hide from Him, God waits for me to come to Him to ease my burden.  I know this with my head but the journey to my heart is taking much longer than I would hope.

The spirit is willing to be obedient but the flesh is so weak, so fearful, so proud.  Lord, I ask You to help me with my weak, fearful and prideful flesh and any brother or sister out there that are struggling the same way or similar to me.  I know that You want all of us not just part of us, so this prayer is in Your will.  So with confidence we come before you and thank You in advance for answering this prayer.  Amen!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Struggle with Self-esteem?

I don’t know how many of you struggle with not feeling good enough, but it has been a thorn in my side for my entire life.  It was almost a stumbling block between me and salvation.  I didn’t think that there was anyway that God could possibly forgive me!  My poor self image and my awareness of my sinful nature was so before me that for some reason I thought that God would accept Hitler before me.

Now no at the age of 13 I had not caused the death of anyone or tried to take over the world, but all the same I felt so unworthy that I was certain that no one even God could possibly forgive me for my sin.  It took a long time to realize that it wasn’t a matter of worth that got me into the kingdom of heaven, but a matter of grace.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.   –  Titus 2:11

The passage that really settled it for me and gave me assurance of not only my salvation but my position in Christ is Ephesians 2:1-10

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work is those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature an following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What comforted me about this passage is many things and I’d like to break it down for you.  First of all, as I’ve already mentioned I was keenly aware of my sinfulness, which made me feel totally unworthy of anything God could have for me.  In Ephesians 2:1-3 it talks about our sins and how we were dead in our transgressions and how all of us lived this way as by nature objects of wrath.  When I read that I thought this Book gets me.  This is exactly how I feel.

Then came verses 4 & 5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”  I could hardly believe my eyes, God loved me and not only that he had rich mercy on me.  Though I was dead in my transgressions God chose to make me alive in Christ.  By grace I was saved.  What a generous God.  It was almost more than my eyes could take in.  My heart was pounding with joy as it is now reliving it.

As if He knew that I needed the added message of what my position  was to help me with my self worth, He goes on to tell me that He/God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, amazing.

So that we don’t get it wrong we are reminded that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  This keeps me in the right frame of mind humble because I know that I need God for everything.

Then the writer does us the wonderful blessing of letting us know what God’s purpose for us is. Verse 10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Isn’t it wonderful we know what we are here for to do good works that God has already prepared for us.  That means we need to keep in communication with Him so that we don’t miss out on our purpose.  Since He has planned them out in advance it would be foolish to just go around and do any good work that might not be the one He is wanting you or I to do.  Open communication is crucial for us to know what it is that we are to be doing to stay in God’s will.  Anything else is pride.

Lord thank You for Your Word and for Your will and plans.  Forgive me for my times of pride when I’ve charged off and done things on my own will whether I thought they were for You or not, I was sinful not to come toYou first.  I ask you to forgive me of the sin of my pride and help me to turn to You first.  In the sweet name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Dating Blessed

I can’t say that my dating experience is all that huge but I can tell the difference between dating blessed and dating unblessed.

When I was dating my ex-husband, sure he took me out to nice places and some expensive dinners.  But my ex and I got physical fast and all to soon that was all the relationship was about.  I of course thought that I was getting love, when all he was getting was his physical needs met.

Not to say that my current boyfriend hasn’t taken me out to some very nice places, but we can be just as happy no where special just talking.

I was not staying within the laws of God and this caused me great guilt for my sin.  I knew better and as a Christian felt awful that I was breaking God’s commandment to stay pure.

I saw red flags in the relationship but since we had done the act I believed that in God’s eyes we were man and wife already so I better go through with it.  We had already made ourselves one flesh now it was time to just make it official.  It was a very unhappy and unblessed marriage the main reason is God was never truly invited into the relationship.  My ex had no leadership in this area and later in our marriage had no desire to have anything to do with God or anyone that had anything to do with Him.  Obviously I couldn’t stay in that environment.

I do not wish a divorce on anyone but now that my dating is blessed by God.  I would highly encourage you to invite God into your dating relationship.  If both of you are not willing to do that, that should be a warning sign of things to come.

Let me speak to the woman out there for just a moment.  You want a man that will lead you in all things but most importantly in spiritual matters.  I’m very fortunate because that is what I have now.  We pray together and praise God together.  We are looking into what verse to work on memorizing and looking at starting a Bible study together.  These are the type of qualities we all should be looking for in a husband.  Not that your man has to lead you in spiritual matters the exact same way that mine does, but you should be looking and praying for a man of God if you are dating and want God’s best for you.

This time my dating is different.  We are taking things slowly and this includes holding hands except for when we pray together.  We have had no need as of yet to have the physical boundary talk because we have done nothing other than hug. But when that time comes I know my limits and am ready to stand true to what God has shown me is all I can do.  Which by the world’s standards is not much.

Women be still give him the opportunity to lead and bless you by being the man of God of your dreams and then you too will be dating blessed.

A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Happy Father’s Day

As we honor our earthly Fathers for all the wonderful things they have done for us.  Maybe he would blow bubbles with you.  Perhaps your’s like mine would take you out on outings as a kid that was code for once the shopping was done we were going to Thrifty’s for ice cream.  May be he played ball with you and taught you all about sports.  Perhaps he would swing with you.  Maybe he had many business trips but would always bring home a gift for you to remind you that he had been thinking of you the whole time.

Or perhaps your dad was absent or worse yet abusive with either his words or deeds or both.  You may have nothing but bad memories of your father and the idea of celebrating this day is more than you can handle.

Perhaps your like me and your father is no longer a live and this day is just a reminder of what you are missing.

May I encourage you that we can honor a Father that loves like no other!  He is there for the hurting and wants to ease your burden.

I know there are a thousand questions for those of us who have been abused and/or witnessed abuse that we could ask our Heavenly Father, “Why would you allow that to happen to me?”

All I know is His ways are higher than mine and His thoughts higher than mine.  I’ve come to a point that there are things that I will not understand this side of heaven.  I’m alright with that.  There is so much that He has done for me that I can trust in His love and honor Him this Father’s Day as the awesome Father that He is!

Please take a step of faith with me and no matter what kind of earthly father you have and honor our Heavenly Father.  For He is at work, working all things for our good.  That is something we can praise Him for and there is oh so much more.  His grace, mercy, love, righteousness, justice, majesty and glory.  He offers that grace to all who will accept it, and merciful on those who call on Him.  He lives to love us.  Where would the world be if He weren’t righteous?  His majesty humbles us and puts us in right standing with Him.  His glory is to shine through us to bring others to Him.  What more could you ask of a Father.

How about one that keeps track of every tear ever cried and hurts that you hurt.  He wants to take that hurt away.  And replace it with His love and forgiveness.  Two very powerful attributes.

He wants to fill the emptiness that human fallible fathers could not fill.  That is why He wants us to turn to Him so strongly.

While you’re honoring your earthly father take some time today to consider honoring your Heavenly Father.  If that means giving your life to Him because you have yet to do that then ask forgiveness for your sins, thank Him for what Christ did on the cross for you and decide that you are going to live differently from now on.  Get into the Word of God so that you know how to live, and find a growing church body to be a part of.  If that means recommitting your life to God so be it.  Get in right standing with Him and do all you can to not fall away again.  If you are in good standing with God praise Him for all that He has done for you and all that you may have taken for granted.

Have a blessed Father’s Day!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Remember What?

Have you ever found yourself in a place of gratitude where you feel like thanking God for His forgiveness?  Have you started listing sins for which your grateful that He has forgiven you for?  I know that I have in the past and it wasn’t until today’s devotion that I realized that He had no idea about what I was talking about.

Am I saying that God has a memory problem?  Heavens no!  What I am saying that our awesome God chooses to not remember.

I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12 RSV

Think about that the God of the universe chooses to not remember our sins!  What a wonderful gift!  Once we’ve asked forgiveness it is done over with, finished!  Never to be mentioned or seen or heard of again!

He didn’t have to do that but that is His grace in action.  He loves us enough to offer us the grace of forgetting.  Not forgetfulness, because that isn’t a gift that’s a defect.  No His grace is the act of forgetting.  A choice He makes each time we ask forgiveness for a sin.  Now that’s a loving God and Father.

Our own fathers may have been great dads but this grace of the act of forgetting our sins is something that didn’t happen.  It’s not their fault it didn’t happen, it’s not human nature to choose to forget.

In fact it’s something that we normally don’t even choose to do for ourselves even after we’ve asked forgiveness of our sins.  If God can forgive and forget shouldn’t we?

Let’s take this a step at a time.  Do you find yourself asking forgiveness for the same sin over again and again?  I’m not talking about doing the same sin.  I mean the exact same sin as if you weren’t forgiven the first time you were asked.  If you are, stop your unbelief and trust God at his word.

I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.  1 John 2:12

His name is Jesus. Once you’ve accepted what Christ did on the cross for you, asked forgiveness for your sins, you are His child.  As His child you can see in the above verse that your sins are forgiven.  It doesn’t say that you need to ask again and again. Once is sufficient.  Only when we’ve sinned again do we then need to repent or ask forgiveness again.  Then do our best to live a godly or righteous life.

Now about forgetting, we remember them so that we can learn from them and not repeat them.  That doesn’t give us the right to beat ourselves  up over them.  It is of no benefit and only harms us.  We must forgive ourselves !  Learn from our errors and don’t perpetuate them by beating ourselves  up over them.  The only one that pleases is Satan.  Surely it is not our goal to please the enemy.

As the Bible says don’t give the enemy a foothold.  I know in context it is talking about anger but isn’t that a part of beating ourself up over sin?  Aren’t we angry with yourself?  We need to cut ourselves  a little slack.  We are human, we are not God.  That means that we are going to sin from time to time.  The important thing is that the moment we become aware of the sin, we ask forgiveness of it, and do our best not to repeat it.

We have an awesome God who loves us enough not only to forgive us but to forget as well.  That is something to praise Him for!

Joy – A Woman After God’s Own Heart!

Who Does God Want?

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For a long time I felt too bad to be accepted by God.  Surely He would rather have anyone on the face of the earth rather than me.  I never realized at the time that I was being prideful.  Thinking that I was so bad that the God of the universe could not accept me.  In my sick mind I even thought that He’d accept Hitler before me.

That is not how God works however.  He doesn’t take the deserving.  If He only took the deserving, no one would be accepted because no one is deserving.  The tinniest of sins is still sin and God can not look on the sin for He is a holy God.  Holiness can have nothing to do with unholiness.

What He is looking for is someone humbled by the realization that their sin makes them undeserving of God’s grace.  He is also looking for someone who will admit that sin and ask for forgiveness for that sin, by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Once I understood that Jesus actually came for sinners and loved sinners, I came to the decision of turning my life over for last time to God.  It had been my pattern in the past to go to every alter call that I heard but since I never felt worthy, I never felt saved.

Salvation has nothing to do with feelings and has everything to do with the action of accepting what Jesus did on the cross, turning away from your sin and trusting God for your salvation.

If people think they have no need for God, they are suffering from the same thing I was, pride.  When people think that  they don’t need God, they misunderstand what God is all about.  As mentioned before God is Holy and He can not look on unholiness.  No matter how good a person may think they are they have missed the mark or sinned, which is what missing the mark means.  There is not a person on this earth that is perfect.  There was one once, His name was Jesus Christ.  He lived, died, and rose from the dead to pay the penalty of our sins.

So who does God want?  He wants all sinners to come to Him.  Since everyone sins that includes everyone.  His love is that big.  His compassion, grace and mercy that amazing and inclusive.