My life this week: When you think you trust God, but then you show you really don't fully trust Him.

Yep...I was feeling that today. My pain has been my constant companion for 10 years. My trust in God about my pain hasn't waned at all. But then last week I was hit with a very difficult, different trial that I wasn't ready for. You would think after walking with the Lord for 16 years and going through the pain I have gone through that I would be rock solid in my trusting God. I have become so complacent in my faith.
Yes I believed God was there.
Yes I trusted Him.

But then a new trial comes barrelling in with no notice. What? How could I deal with this too?

Oh no. I just kept thinking, "It's too much."

I had a lump on my throat and a very heavy heart.

But God's plan for me was and is always good. This didn't feel good though!

Ahh...the light goes on...
What do feelings have to do with God's goodness?
When I feel angry or sad does that mean God is not good?
No, my feelings don't tell me anything except that I am fallen. They actually lead me astray more times than I can count.

These two verses “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26a) and “The heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9a) are so good to point us away from listening to our thoughts.

Think of the last time you had strong negative emotions...
Did it lead you to love God more?
Desire His Word?
Seek Him?

So we are getting somewhere...
John.16:33 says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

 Our emotions (since we are sinful) can draw us away from God. We aren't believing God when He says we can truly have peace even when life gets crazy scary. Why? We fall into believing we are losing control and if we just get a handle on this issue we will be back to normal... But God never promises that. We are NOT in control. But God has overcome this world and He loves us! Imagine if we kept our eyes focused completely on Him even in the very, very hard times.

Picture a runner at the start line, seeing the endpoint 100 meters away. He has worked for years perfecting his start, his endurance, his end. He has kept his eyes on the finish. If he was distracted in any way he would not win the race.

 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. Do your best to come to me soon." 
 ~2 Tim 4:7-9

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

~Isaiah 26:3

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."
~Col 3:2

Are you resting in God's promises?
All I can say is I'm with you. I doubt. I cry. I fear.

But I'm glad God doesn't leave me there. Even in my week of despair that things would never change, God was keeping His eyes on me, loving me through it. He was there and He still is.

I'm thankful for this new trial. God has strengthen me through it in a way I couldn't be taught any other way.

If you are going through a really difficult time don't think God is far from you. Believe His Word. He is closer than a brother. Thank Him for the trial. What an awesome God we serve.

The very short, terribly hard walk to paradise

Imagine for a moment that you are a mile away from Paradise:

 No more pain, no more suffering, and pleasures forever more! But you have no way to get there except walking barefoot on sharp, jagged rocks. 
"It's only a mile," you tell yourself! "I can deal with the pain." 
So you start walking. Your eyes keep looking down as you wince at each painful step. But then it occurs to you...
"If I keep my eyes fixed on Paradise I will be able to get there, happily!"
Yes it will be a painful mile, but, OH the joy of getting there!

It seems like in our own life, a "hand-breath,"  we think we have such a long time before we arrive Home. We painstakingly complain each day of trivial things that don't go our way. Our eyes are so focused on the here and now, the little idiosyncrasies that bother us, the pain that afflicts us, the people that hurt us.

But, we have a great hope! This hope is in the One true God who awaits us, at home.
You are one mile from there dear friend, a "hand-breath" away and we will be there, with our heavenly Father who awaits us with arms wide open.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
  1 John 3:1a 

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

 Philippians 3:20

He delights in calling us His children. That in itself should make us praise Him! We are His! He has prepared a place for us and we need to keep our fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Don't let this world hold you down through its deception. No, run to Him, focus on Him, love Him!

Amen and Amen

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people,and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
 And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also He said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
 Revelation 21:1-6 

Don't let anxiety or fear consume you

One of the strangest struggles I have dealt with on this pain journey has been fear and anxiety. It's not because I don't think I should have to deal with them, but because God allows them to draw me to Him. Yes! Anxiety and fear are great gifts! You see, when I am afraid or start to feel anxious that my pain will be with me for the long haul, or I am tempted to dwell on the fear of pain getting worse over time I turn that fear into praise. God's word is so helpful for when fear grips us.

I absolutely love Psalm 73:26 

Are you in God's word daily? If not you are missing a huge blessing.
This pain you and I have consumes our thoughts and lives, but it doesn't have to!

Read Isaiah 41:10 with me-

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand!

Those words are dear to my heart. I know God is close to me, tenderly taking care of me. When He tells us not to fear we can trust Him.

Who are you trusting today? Still trying to do this pain thing by yourself? Surrender the control you think you have and find comfort from the Lord who loves you! Meditate on these verses today and watch Him work! Your fear and anxiety will leave when you decide God is all you need and that He is fully in control.

Thank Him!

Hungering For God

I came across these verses as I was reading a few days ago and they completely stopped me in my tracks! Yes I have read them before but this time- WOW- I got so much from them and I hope in a few minutes, you too will be blessed by them. We read in Deuteronomy that Moses is recalling what God did in the wilderness for His people. He says-

"Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but... on every word that come from the mouth of the LORD."

Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Moses starts out with the word-Remember...

Oh how hard it is to remember back on what the Lord has done for us when we were in pain yesterday, two months ago, 7 years ago, etc!  
It's easy to forget how good He is to us. 

But here Moses says to remember. Just that word alone should be enough for them to relive all that God did for them in the desert. 

And it should be enough for us to say, 

"Thank you Lord for all you have done for me! Help me to stop wallowing in my self pity and today, just remember your goodness and all you've brought me through!"

Then Moses says that the Lord led them for 40 years in the wilderness. I the only one taking a big gulp right now? Remember (lol there is that word again!) when you were in preschool and you had to hold the person's hand in front of you as the teacher led you all to lunch or the library? I tend to picture this like that (although I am sure they weren't holding hands). But I do see that they had no ability to go out on their own and live. They were in the wilderness


And this life that you are living right now, pain and all, is where God wants you, so that you will trust Him as He leads you. 

Are you beginning to see why I love these two verses? 

They weren't out there for a few days relying completely on God for food, shelter, water, shoes, clothes, etc...We are talking 40 years!
I'm not even 40 years old. That would mean for all of my life I would have been in a dry, hot desert not knowing where my next meal would come from or where we will pick up and move to tomorrow morning at dawn. These people were totally, 100% relying on God for everything. But...they weren't doing it very well.

God had a purpose for all those years. 
I bet the people cried out daily, 

"Why Lord, why do I need to go through this even one more day. I get it! You are in control. Now can we please have a place to stay?" 

But God was at work, humbling their stubborn and unrepentant hearts. Just as He is today.

He did this... this leading, this wandering to test their hearts. The outer appearance means nothing! God is more interested in our motives. He never tempts us, no that's the devils job. But our Lord tests us! This should be sobering news. Our hearts are full of wickedness and deceit even though we tell ourselves we are good.
I'm sure the Israelites felt the same, sadly.  They may have even said, 

"But God, I'm good! I keep the commandments and all so why can't you just take us to the Promised Land already?"

We do the same thing. We think we are good! We think God owes us! How foolish we can be! Of course they couldn't keep the commandments (maybe outwardly) but God knew their hearts and He knows ours as well!

Our Pain, our suffering- God is using it to humble us and to draw us to Himself.  

Each day out in the wilderness, God provided for them, but 

only for that day

God was lovingly guiding His people and feeding and clothing them but they didn't see it like that. We do the same thing!

"God why do I have to suffer in this way?" All the while He is taking care of you and using your pain for a reason!

"He will never leave you or forsake you!" Praise Him for this. 
Deuteronomy 31:6b

Then God tells them a profound truth. Incline your ear to hear:

  " does not live on bread alone but... on every word that come from the mouth of the LORD."

These are the same words Jesus used in His wilderness.

you see, bread is, well, a staple of most people's diets. We eat to survive, but this sentence completely throws that out the window. God sustains us! God! Not bread! Hunger for Him! For Righteousness!

It is His will in our lives that matter. He has chosen for you and I to suffer! And because of that, we need to look to Him for everything

You will find that when you do look to Him for everything, your focus becomes a little more clear. 

He has the answers!
He holds our future! 
And...It's all for His glory and our good.

So let's return to my new, favorite word:



Our Treasure

Our health cannot be our treasure! If our hope is in getting better or getting over this we need to change our focus. The Lord needs to be our treasure!
When we are going through pain of any kind our first inclination is to pray, "Lord get me out of this! Heal me! Take this pain away!"
But God lovingly may re-directs our focus...
When I was diagnosed 10 years ago with Trigeminal Neuralgia I was not going to accept defeat as I saw it! My dreams of getting my Master's degree and having a family and just enjoying life were all that mattered. I couldn't see how pain would become the means that God used to take my focus off of this world and all that allured me, to a life of constant pain but closeness with my Lord and with His people.
He promised me He would never leave me or forsake me. (Deut 31:6b)
He promised me that He was working out all things for His glory and my good. (Rom 8:28)
He promised me that His grace is sufficient for me and that His power is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor 12:9)
I started to believe He had something way better for me than health.
If we count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus as our Lord, we will have everything we will need for this life and the life to come. (Phil 3:7)
Don't let your treasure be found where moth and rust destroy: in things, in people, in titles, in power, in all things of this world. Let your treasure be in Christ alone. Stop feasting on this world. You will be too full for the things of the Lord.
Feast on Him!
In your pain,
in your weakness,
trust Him!
He is doing amazing, beautiful things in your life.

I Don't have time for this pain!

Before you get frustrated that your pain has interrupted your life, remember, God has a purpose:
IN your pain
THROUGH your pain

In John 11 we hear the story of a much needed response from Jesus.

BUT, He delayed because His purpose was much bigger than His friends thought.

Take a look-

'Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany,a the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.
So the sisters sent word to him, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.”
When Jesus heard this he said,
"This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” (WOW)
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.
So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.'

Jesus didn't rush there to save him... 

His purpose was to wait, and let Lazarus suffer and die...
To save more people through what He was about to do. Praise Jesus that He doesn't always say yes in that moment to our pleas for help. His plan is
BIGGER and BETTER than we could ever imagine. His delays are never a waste.


Suffering without murmuring

Nothing, I repeat, Nothing 
magnifies the excellency of the might and mercy of God 
like suffering for Him 
without murmuring against Him.

I know, it's so easy to do...
Suffering, itself seems to
say, "Hey, I'm not ok and I want to complain!"
But it doesn't make it right.
God has allowed this suffering in your life today. 
What will you do with it?

Are you complaining 
to God about your pain?
Or are you using your time to worship and thank Him?

We can use the time God has given us
to praise Him and help others
see and delight in the Lord
Our God!

He has given this PAIN to you today.
Don't waste it!

Psalm 145

Great Is the Lord

 A Song of Praise. Of David.

I will extol you, my God and King,
    and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you
    and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
    and his greatness is unsearchable.
 One generation shall commend your works to another,
    and shall declare your mighty acts. On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
    and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
    and I will declare your greatness. They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
    and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.The Lord is good to all,
    and his mercy is over all that he has made.
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
    and all your saints shall bless you! They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
    and tell of your power, to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
    and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and your dominion endures throughout all generations.
[The Lord is faithful in all his words
    and kind in all his works.]The Lord upholds all who are falling
    and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you,
    and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand;
    you satisfy the desire of every living thing.The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and kind in all his works. The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him;
    he also hears their cry and saves them. The Lord preserves all who love him,
    but all the wicked he will destroy.
 My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord,
    and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.


God bless you!

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