Thoughts, Truth

Take it to Heart

It’s sad when you have to visit your own blog to remember the last time you posted. This year has been one long battle of the mind. In some of my previous blogs I have written about the loss of our baby girl in July 2013. Well, in January 2014 we found out we were expecting again and I am ecstatic to announce that our little Sophia Hope joined our family on September 5th.


God truly will redeem any situation. I can say that because He has done it time and time again in my life. I said last year was a battle because, as anyone who has been pregnant after a loss can tell you, it is hard to keep your mind from going to “that” place. That’s why it is so important to have the word of God hidden in your heart. Our best example in this life is Jesus. He came and lived this life as an ordinary man walking in the power of God. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, what did he use as his weapon? When Satan taunted him, he responded with God’s word. In Matthew 4:9-11 “Satan said, ‘All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Away from me Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’ Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Side note: It’s interesting to note that Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world. How could Satan offer that if he didn’t have it to give? The earth was under the sway of the wicked one, thanks to Adam, until Jesus bought it back with his death and resurrection.) It is written. If Jesus overcame by the word of God, and His life was meant to be an example for us, then that should be our first line of defense when the fiery darts of the enemy start rushing toward us. It’s called a sword for a reason, use it. But a skilled swordsman doesn’t just whack at things. He learns every aspect of his craft and hits what he aims for. It’s important for us to not just read the Bible. We must know it.

Thoughts, Truth

Bent, Not Broken

This week marks my 16th week of pregnancy. Little Bean is growing right on schedule for his or her September 11th due date. I have found it hard through this pregnancy not to think back to last summer when at 16 weeks we found out the little girl we were expecting had died a week before. So I reminisce, not to grieve, but to wonder at how God has brought us through. Closer. Stronger. More sure of God’s promises and plan than ever.

I find my self pondering on the shepherd boy and future king David—when his father sent him with food for his brothers who were on the front line of battle. As David approached to greet his brothers he heard Goliath—who for 40 days had been berating the Israelite army. As the mocking of the Philistine giant fell on David’s ears, an indignation filled him. In 1 Samuel 17:26 he asked the question, “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” We should be just as indignant when anything or anyone seeks to exalt themselves over the word and the promise of the Lord. The Israelites were the army of the Lord, the chosen people. We, however, are literally the children of the one true King. We have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. When Jesus died and rose again He was seated at the right hand of God the Father. Ephesians 2:6 tells us that God “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand, stand therefore…” (Ephesians 6:13-14 NKJV) When we stand against an enemy, we stand in His righteousness and authority. There is nothing, absolutely nothing—be it sickness, disease, poverty, addiction, depression, or anything else—that has the right to defy us if we dwell in the secret place mentioned in Psalm 91. When David stood he used what he had and trusted God do the rest. Ephesians 6:10 tell us “to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” When we stand—we stand on what God has already done. He has already provided our healing, our provision, our deliverance, our redemption. So we stand, trusting that God has already provided anything and everything we have need of through the shed blood of His Son, Jesus. So, what do we have? We have the promises of God sure and steadfast. He has never and will never fail. So we we stand—bending but never breaking.

Truth

Identity Crisis

Let me start by saying that God is not the devil. I know what you’re thinking… Duh, I know that! But do you really? I have a feeling that if God could go through an identity crisis He certainly would when people attribute the works of the devil to Him. Jesus said in John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Steal. Kill. Destroy. Those are the works of an enemy that is out for our very souls. Jesus is the life giver. If sickness comes, be it a cancer diagnosis or a common cold—that comes not from God but from the enemy. If loss comes, through death or failed relationships—again, that is the enemy. Poverty? Lack? Yep, you guessed it. That stinking, lying devil.

It’s amazing how many people can blame God for the terrible things that happen. This past July I was pregnant with a little girl we named Isabel. I should have been due this December but something unthinkable happened. At my 17th week the doctor could not find a heartbeat. As I went through that whole awful experience, never once did I think that God caused it. God is the giver of all good things. James 1:17 tells us that “every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” Not only does every good and perfect gift come from Him but He has no variation. Which means He never changes. He has been good, He is good, and He always will be good.

There is no scenario that would ever exist in which I as a parent would inflict harm or pain on my children to teach them a lesson. But somehow people get it into their heads that God does that very thing. In Matthew 7:11 Jesus says, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” If I were to paraphrase it would go something like this: if you who are fallible and imperfect can treat your kids well and desire the best for them, how much more would I, your Heavenly Father want for you!

Now can God use the trials and pain to make us and mold us? Can He take the shattered and broken pieces of our lives and make something beautiful out of them? Absolutely. But does He cause them? Absolutely not. We live in a fallen world. A world in which, contrary to popular belief, God is not in control. I will explore that thought in a future blog. But in a nutshell. If He were truly in control He sure is making a mess of things. He put man in authority down here and Adam handed his authority over to satan. Jesus had to go to the cross to win that authority back for us.

So next time you walk through a hardship or temptation, instead of using your mouth to blame God. Use it to declare His word over your life. God intended us to take authority over our situation. He has put all things under our feet.

Thoughts

Condemnation vs. Conviction

I think these days many people confuse condemnation with conviction. Condemnation points only to a problem, giving no answer. Conviction shows you the problem with the answer. Condemnation points only to our failures. Conviction says, “You made a mistake. You failed. Let me show you how to overcome.”

“A father disciplines those He loves…” I think I remember reading that somewhere. Conviction, like discipline doesn’t necessarily feel good but it is necessary. If neither of these existed we would have a bunch of spoiled, worthless, weak people walking around. I shudder to think of the child who is left to his own devices. I can’t number the times my mom and dad “convicted” me. Most of the time I got mad. Then after cooling off I realized they were right.

God is our Father, He certainly has the right to speak into our lives. Pastors are the authority God has placed over us on this earth, they should be able to speak into our lives. Other Christians should be free to do the same. Its what the Word of God instructs us to do, not to condemn, but to convict. When someone says something to us, instead of going into “offense” mode, why can’t we just turn the mirror on ourselves and see if there’s anything there that needs changing? If not, fine… but odds are there will be something that needs work. I have yet to find a perfect person. I have yet to find someone who has all the answers. Its time that we start acting like the grown ups that we are instead of little children. Hmmm…  I think I read that somewhere too. Oh yeah, and can we quit assuming the worst about people? Sometimes, however misguided, they can have our best interest at heart.