Tag Archives: faithless

Do You Know What he REALLY Wants?

Your enemy…the enemy doesn’t want to kill you.  He doesn’t want you to die.

He relishes your pain.  He enjoys your suffering and lashing out at God.  He loves to hear you complain.  His desire is for you to wish death upon yourself.  Even more than that, he longs for you to be despondent, miserable, depressed and despairing.

Why?

When you’re miserable you’re quiet.  There’s no praise, no prayer resulting in no power – because you don’t feel like there’s any point in praying! You’ve played perfectly into his hands.  Quiet and distant is the first of many plans he has for you.  Will you fall for it?

He longs to render us ineffective and uncaring about anything except our own misery.

Why?

When we’re depressed and totally consumed by unfavorable circumstances we’ve no energy to lift anyone else up.  I mean, why would we?  We can’t do anything for ourselves, why would we even attempt to help someone else?

The enemy knows where our source of power is; WHO our source of power is and he knows when we feel cheated, mistreated, broken down and low down, the first place we’re likely to turn is away from our Father.  That’s what he’s after – his ultimate goal is to get us to turn from God.

He wants us to live like we’re dead with no joy, no faith and a bushel of doubt.  Don’t tell anyone about what God has done for us – because it’s discounted considering all the suffering and hardship we’ve endured…that’s what the enemy wants.  Joyless, bitter, disgruntled, dissatisfied believers so nobody wants the Jesus we have.  Nobody wants to listen, much less come to church.  His ultimate goal (since he can’t have our soul) is to render us useless for God.  He can kill our joy, make us doubt our faith ultimately causing us to have no effect or impact in the world around us.

No, the enemy doesn’t want us dead…he wants to live like we’re dead.

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Witness Protection Program

Close your eyes and think of the most unthinkable thing you’ve been through.  Remember it.  Feel it.  Got it?

Tell me why it happened.  Can you? You never saw it coming, right? Never in a million years would you have even conceived the thought that it may happen…but it did.

I know from experience God can use anything – ANYTHING for His good.  After all, if we’ve professed our loyalty to Him it’s ultimately His goodness and character that are at stake – not just our reputations, feelings or plans.  Ultimately it’s His love for His child that you and those around you will see.  It isn’t always pretty or comfortable and certainly it’s not what we expect as His beloved!  We expect wonderful, good things – we’ve somehow convinced ourselves bad things shouldn’t happen to us because we’re His!

What if we changed our focus to try to see through the pain in a godly perspective?  What if what we’ve been through or going through has very little to do with us?  What if God CHOSE you to suffer just so you can show the lost ones around you that no matter what He’s good? He’s faithful?  He won’t abandon us when we’ve messed up, fallen short or been devastated by events we had nothing to do with?  What if there’s someone in our lives who needs to see someone they love and admire handle things with faith in Him when everything else has been torn away?

We’re called to be witnesses – not just to the corners of the world but right in our neighborhoods!  That’s our Jerusalem; that’s as real as it gets.  When we dare to swallow our pride, to stop worrying how we’ll be thought of or talked about and live out our faith, God will bless us. He’s the ultimate witness protection program – you’re being used to show Him and share Him with someone else.  If He allowed it to happen, how can there not be good come from it?

Maybe we’ve been selected to suffer for His glory. If so, we can believe He will protect, comfort and heal us all the way through it.  Do we dare trust Him that much?

 

“You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He.” Isaiah 43:10

Shattered and Scattered

John 16:32

The disciples had witnessed many miraculous things and received powerful teaching from The Supreme Teacher. They believed He was the Son of God, the Redeemer and the promised Messiah.  If anyone asked them they were quick to tell who He was, but now He was telling them He was going away – going back to The Father.  Jesus was telling them that in a short while, they would scatter and leave Him alone.  They didn’t believe Him.

How could they leave Him?  How could He leave them? The thought of it sounded crazy but it happened.

Don’t we do the same thing?

We have preconceived notions of God and how He’s going to bless us and work things out in our lives.  That’s as real as our faith is to that point.  That’s what we’re taught and we believe God (and Jesus) are who they say they are and we live based on our faith as we know it.

What if the unthinkable happens, though, do we still believe?  What if your child gets sick, you lose your job, you lose everything you have, your spouse dies.  When God allows you to be shattered, will you still choose to love God and trust Him or will you “scatter”?

Although I have been blessed with my heart’s desire and am physically living in it, it hasn’t been easy or even pleasant at times.  My perception of “trust”…of even who I thought God was and certainly how He would see to me have totally disintegrated.  Shattered, I became scattered and my God – I thought – had failed me.

I think God allows extremes to take us to the “next level” – if we choose to go.  We don’t have to.  Many have abandoned their faith in God when He allows extremes.  When we’re smashed with something we don’t see coming, we’re rattled, and perhaps for a moment, knocked off our foundation.

Many times, all we can do is believe in Him and choose NOT to believe what we feel and see.  I’ve said that many times.  In brokenness and despair when everything around is distorted and we’re shattered to our core, ready to cut and run (or lay down and die) – we’re at a crossroad of giving in or going on.  Will we choose to still trust Him?  Will we muster the strength to take one more step with Him?

The disciples did scatter when Jesus was arrested but something made them remain in the distance to see what happened.  They saw Him tortured, watched Him die and His body be buried. They gathered together in their grief only to see Him return to them more alive than He had ever been.  The first thing He said to them was “PEACE”.

During the shattered times, if we choose to hang on through what we go through He will do the same for us.  He’ll bring us back together, repair our shattered hearts and seal in us a much stronger faith…if we only believe.  He’s done that for me in ways I can’t begin to tell you.  He’ll do the same for you if you’ll hold on just a bit longer.

It’s Him!

It had been three days since their Messiah was crucified. Knowing nothing would ever be the same after their time with Him, the only thing they knew to do was go from there.  So walking down the road to Emmaus, two of His followers were trying to make sense of it all, replaying the events that brought them to that dusty road.

All of a sudden, another joins them.  “Hey guys, what are you talking about?” They look at him like He’s from another planet “Really.  You must have been in a cave if you don’t know what’s happened!” They indulge His questions telling them their reason to hope had been crucified which must’ve been hard.  Knowing something happened then saying it out loud kind of rushes reality in and makes it real.

The Stranger starts reciting scriptures and asked them “All that had to happen didn’t it? I mean that’s what Scripture says, right?”  Then He proceeds to tell them every prophecy related to Messiah.  They still didn’t get it.

The Bible says they were prevented from seeing and I’d say grief and despair played a part, too.  In our lives, tragedies happen and even though we know the truth(s) of God’s word, we forget.  We’re sometimes too consumed with how we’re feeling to let reality touch us.  We’re too busy trying to understand the course of events to allow truth to penetrate our broken hearts and distorted minds.

The Stranger prepares to go His own way but they ask Him to stay the night with them so He agrees.  Once in their home, they are dining and He picks up the bread and breaks it and all of a sudden, the ones who walked with him see.  It’s Him!

Perhaps it was the way He held the bread that brought back the memory of their last supper together… “This is My body…” and helped them to see Him.  Perhaps when he took the bread they saw the scars on his wrists from the nails that had pinned Him to the cross.  Jesus really was alive and He was with them.  Sorrow turned to jubilation and comfort and joy invaded the house.  It’s Him!

They were so lost in their sadness on the road, I doubt they would have believed Him had He told them who He was while they were walking.  We get that way too, don’t we?  We get so consumed we don’t even look for Him let alone believe He’s with us through it.

When everything is falling apart and grief has snagged you, look for Jesus.  Expect Him.  Remember how He’s gotten you through and know…it’s Him!

Luke 24:13-21

 

Barren No More

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It’s been a wet and dreary winter. Temperatures dropped well below freezing several times.  Looking at the landscape of my beautiful mountains at times all I saw was gray and dark.  Thank God winter is just a season.

This season has taken its toll. You’ve been through it.  You’ve lost what you didn’t think you would and hurt like you’ve never hurt.  Some things were ripped from your ever-trying-to-hold-on hands and some you let go of. You’re tired and beat up, perhaps feeling like you have nothing else to give.  Maybe you’re asking yourself why fight to survive anymore if after as hard as you’ve tried the result is the barrenness and nakedness you’re now feeling.

Coming out of an extremely hard season myself, I know what that feels like.  I also know that what I’ve lost pales in comparison to what I’ve gained.  For a while though, I felt like a dead person walking.  I couldn’t feel anything and didn’t care about anything…I just wanted it to stop.

Barren.  Stripped.  Gutted.  What do we do when we find ourselves in such a whipped condition?  This, in my mind, is one of the many “works” of salvation…the most important one and I’m finding it occurs often.  This is where we decide if we believe that God really (in every respect of the word) is who He says He is to us, personally.  If He is, then something good will come from the destruction; if He isn’t then it was all for nothing.

Dare we believe after all this?  Dare we find comfort deep within ourselves from a God who allowed such devastating things to happen?  What else can we do?  We can allow ourselves to be bitter, despondent and depressed or we can muster up the strength to take a step into our tomorrow.

I took this picture this morning.  This tree branch was ugly and naked just yesterday; now look at it.  Just because they have buds on them doesn’t guarantee they won’t get broken or a frost won’t come.  Just because we dare believe and walk in absolute faith doesn’t mean things won’t get testy from time to time.

We’re not barren just because we’ve been through something traumatic but it sure feels that way.  Maybe we just needed to get cleaned out and gain a new perspective on things, on what’s really important.  God doesn’t allow tests and trials to show HIM something – He allows them to show US something – what kind of faith we really have and who we really are.

What you need to survive is in Him and if He’s in you, then all you need to go on is, too.  Will you bloom today or will you wither?  The choice is always yours.