Contentment. It is not an easy state to stay in. We are not content about our food; wrong brand of milk. Wrong flavor of chips. We are not content about the weather; too windy, cold, or hot. Our house is too little, too cluttery, or too dirty. Our kids are too loud, don’t listen and are too whiny.
Our husbands… Oh we won’t go there! lol
The socks left on the floor…
The hammer left on the kitchen table.
We can complain about a lot of things. Every day. Or we can be content with what we have.
The cold windy day, because it blows the leaves out of our yard. The small house that doesn’t take long to clean. The kids that are healthy enough to drive us bonkers with their noise.
There is always something to be thankful and content about.
There is one thing that the Spirit keeps asking me if I’m content with… the hard stuff.
Those hard things that keep bringing me to my knees. The things that keep me running to Christ. My weaknesses. The thorn in my flesh. The person that I forgive again and again. The HARD stuff that I face each day.
Am I content with that hard stuff in my life?
Not content, as is I want to stay STUCK where I am. No, not that at all, but rather content with the way those hard things have affected me. If you are like me, you have been beaten, stepped on, wrinkled, torn, to some degree. Yet, the hard things I’ve been through have taught me something; they have formed me into who I am today. I have become a different person because of the junk I’ve had to go through.
Am I content with that? Am I content with the fact that I had to go through hard stuff in order to more fully become the person God has planned for me to be?
Recently a pastor showed a crisp, clean, brand new $100 bill. The pastor went on to crumple, step on, and tear the $100 bill. Then he showed us the bill. He asked how much it was worth now. It looked like it was years older; yet the value was still $100.
He said that we were all once that crisp dollar bill; yet, for many of us, life has crumpled, beaten, stepped on, wrinkled, and torn us. He asked, do those things make us worthless? Though we are crumpled, beaten, stepped on, wrinkled, torn… Under all those hurts that have happened in our life, we still have the same value. Because of Christ.
Through Christ we are made into a brand new creation. Those things that crumpled us, tore us, and the times we were stepped on… those hard things… Things that Satan might be still plaguing us with today…
- have made us into the person we have become.
- have brought us to the place where we can help someone else.
- cause us rely on Christ more.
Paul said in perfectly in 2 Corinthians 12:
So, to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul asked for that hard thorn to be taken from him. Then he realized that because this thorn was still there, it reminded him how much he needed Jesus. WITHOUT Jesus, He could do NOTHING.
That thorn that we wish would leave; it is what brings us to our knees.
That hard stuff; it is where we can see Christ’s strength!
Through the hurts that we have, we can see the power of Christ.
His grace is all we need. We can be content in that.
We have a lot of sisters at our house. Four to be exact. And that is just the right amount to produce a lot of fun sister activity. Unfortunately, it also produces a lot of not-so-fun sister activities; fighting, tattling, bossing, comparing, complaining, telling someone how to do it the ‘right way’…my list could go on and on and on. How easy it is to lose sight of our purpose as sisters.
When it happens over and over and over again…I get tired! It hurts me to see them hurting each other’s feelings. It makes me sad how they treat each other.
The girls know what I’m going to say before I even say it. I’ve said it over and over. I repeat it daily. Sometimes hourly.
“Sisters are for encouraging”
Sisters are not for:
- …fighting with.
- …tattling on.
- …bossing around…Mom is the boss.
- …comparing with. Life will NOT be fair. Everyone is better at something.
- …complaining about.
- …telling you how to do it their way.
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11
Our true purpose
Encourage one another. Build each other up.
That is the purpose of a sister.
Let’s go a step further. I’m talking about earthly sisters here. Those blood sisters. Yet, as I repeat this sentence over to my girls I hear the Holy Spirit whisper, “what about your sisters in faith?”
How should we treat our sisters in Christ? What is the purpose for that kind of a sister?
The answer is astoundingly the same.
Sisters are for encouraging.
We don’t need to fight with a sister of Jesus.
Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14
We don’t need to run and tattle when a sister is doing something we don’t approve of!
And make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands.
1 Thessalonians 4:11
We don’t need to boss a sister in Christ around.
They have the Holy Spirit to prod and guide into what they should be doing. We are NOT their boss.
When the spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. John 16:13
Sisters are NOT for comparing with.
OUCH. Life is not fair. Really, we wouldn’t want it to be. Our talents are not the same as our sisters. Our calling is not the same as that of ANYONE else. So we must not compare with our sisters.
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others.
Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand, so that we can preach the gospel in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory.
But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
2 Corinthians 10:12-18
Sisters are not for complaining about. Or complaining to, for that matter.
Do everything without complaining and arguing Philippians 2:14
Sisters are not there for telling you how to do something… Exactly their own way. Again, that is the Holy’ Spirit’s job.
Jesus said in John 16:12-15 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
Sisters are for encouraging.
Whether we are blood sisters or sisters in Christ. We must not try to take over the Holy Spirit’s job. Or boss them around like a lord over them. No, friends, let’s encourage one another and build each other up!
This is the purpose of a sister: encouragement.
Friends, let’s go be encouragers!!
Every day we notice all the little things our people do. We encourage our spouses. We cheer for our little people. Every day we hope that what we do has deep and lasting meaning to those we love.
Yet as moms, what about us? Do we still need a word of encouragement? Do we need someone to clap for us?
Being a mom is hard work! It’s tempting to lose hope that what we do is of any significance.
We make it on time to appointments. We carry in all four library bags. We pay the late fees. We call the insurance company. We pay the bills. We pack the lunches. We make supper, well, if cereal is considered supper; we made it. We pick up the milk. We pick up the coats off the floor, again.
And as we tuck the kids into bed with kisses and go out to the finally quiet kitchen, does anyone notice?
Maybe our children said a thank you throughout the day…maybe not.
Maybe our husbands notice the house was picked up…maybe he had a rough day and didn’t notice. Maybe a parent stopped in and gave us a compliment…maybe we don’t have parents close.
There just might be a chance that no one noticed and no one clapped for us moms today. Let’s face it…it just might happen.
I’m just going to say it out loud… I NEED someone to notice me.
I need someone to cheer me on! Yet many times, clapping just doesn’t come.
Searching for clapping
When I need encouragement, I find myself with one of these two reactions…
- I go to others and search for their attention.
- I go to God for His Truth.
When I go to others, I generally go looking for something to do. Something to do, so that when I am done, people will notice and clap.
I sign up to be on that one extra committee. People pass out compliments to people on committees.
I look for reactions from social media, I post something on Facebook to get attention. Perhaps I’ll be sure to use only the most awesome pictures on Instagram.
I may even use a combination of social media and things I do…hello, Pinterest. Anyone can find the cutest idea on Pinterest and use it at the big event. This would considered a two-for-one clap. 😉
Now, don’t get me wrong, Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends. Instagram is an awesome way to see what is up in someone else’s life. And Pinterest is, well…inspiring to say the least. It can help us create memories and happy smiles. Neither is wrong. That is NOT my point here.
My point is: I can not go to these places to get love, affirmation, or ‘clapping’.
Why? Why not?
Let me tell you why. This attention and this clapping… it lasts for just one minute.
Then, I have to hop on the next committee and get some more “atta girls”. I have to find the next awesome thing to post or the next gorgeous centerpiece to find and create from Pinterest.
It only lasts a minute. Maybe a day. Maybe a week if I’m lucky. Yet, it never fills me up for long. Believe me, I know! I may have tried it a time or two!
Let’s be honest though. Sometimes this crazy hopping from one thing to the next is really at my family’s great expense.
Friends, I’ve found another option: God!
God doesn’t need us to be on any committees. God doesn’t care how many pixels our Instagram picture is. He doesn’t care how many likes we get on Facebook. God sees our heart! He can give us the confidence we need to go on.
Wait, there’s more! God, He is truthful. We may forget, but sometimes those voices out there don’t always tell us the truth. God is truthful. He may tell us we need to change something or that we need to get rid of some sin in our life. He may be giving us a “Standing Ovation”. He tells us the truth. We can take His kind words to heart.
He sees all the little things we do in love. Those little things we do for our children. Those things no one else seems to notice. He sees when we set aside the book are reading to be with our husband. He sees when we do the laundry even when we would rather just rest. He sees us clear off the kitchen counter for the fourth time today.
The God who sees it all is always available. We can run to Him for a word of affirmation. He is our Hope. Our significance is found in Him. He is always ready to give us a pat on the back. He notices and cares about us. Even if no one else is clapping.
What do you do when no one claps for you? What do you do when no one notices all you have done? Where do you go to find someone to clap for you? Run to the Father, friends, and know that you’re loved.
I had gone thru many of the steps of forgiveness. And just still couldn’t let go. Just still couldn’t find closure to the matter.
I had always heard you must forgive or you won’t be forgiven. But it just didn’t resonate with me. It was just all too vague or something. It didn’t tug at my heart strings.
I remember the day, it was the Sunday before my 30th birthday. I took some quiet time after church. I heard God saying…
- “Ok, Trudie, did this person do you wrong?” Yes, for sure, is the answer.
- “Did this person hurt you?” Yes.
- “Did this person ruin your life?” Yep!
- “Does this person OWE you?” Yes.
Yes, yes, and yes. This person certainly owed me. I had given up so much of my life for this person’s control and agenda. Things that should not have been asked of a young girl.
Yes, the resounding answer to all those questions was yes.
I pictured myself standing before my God as the judge. The person that had hurt me was on trial and was found guilty. The punishment was, well, anything really. I think I pictured money. Say $100,000. This person owed it to me. God as the judge was admitting that, yes, the person was guilty. And He was ready to hand out the sentence.
But then Jesus walked in.
He said, “I will take the place. I will pay it all. I too, know that this was the guilty person. But I want to pay her punishment.” He handed me the money to pay the debt that was owed.
The choice was now mine. I needed to decide if I would accept the gift. Jesus was freely handing me everything the person owed me.
If I took the money, the person would be able to walk out of the courtroom free. I could not hold a grudge. I could not call another trial. If I accepted His payment, I had to let go of the right to get even.
Finally, I realized this was the way it was. Real life. Not a made-up courtroom scenario.
Jesus had paid it all on the cross. Years ago. For the sins against me. He had paid that person’s debt. He DIED on the cross so that that person would be free from the bondage they owed me.
He only asks me to accept his free gift of repayment.
When Satan comes back and he wants me to hold on to that debt. Daily, when he brings memories back and words that were spoken. Daily, when he wants me to pick that hurt back up. I have to go back to the court room. Jesus is still standing there with a receipt of payment. Signed and dated. March 1st, 2013.
Sometimes a new hurt comes; I find myself back in the courtroom. I know as soon as a sentence is made, Jesus will be walking in ready to pay the debt. He is always ready to pay all that this person owes.
He is able.
You know, I’ve missed out on a lot because of this debt owed to me. Yet, as time goes on, I’m realizing that not only is Jesus willing to pay the debt, but He also wants to fill the holes that were left. He wants to restore me completely. He wants to make good the wrong done to me. He wants to change this story of hurt into a story of complete joy.
He is not just into paying the debt, but into restoring me completely. Refining me into pure gold, tried by fire through this.
He is Able. But I have to accept it.
I have to focus on the good that this situation has brought in my life. I have to focus on the things, people, and circumstances that this very situation has brought. I need to look at the place where I would have been, and the place where I am now. And in that, I find that Jesus was able. Jesus is still able to provide payment for what this person owes me. In a FAR greater way than any person ever could. More than any punishment could have repaid, the debt is restored.
Jesus is able. Every day I have a question to answer. . . Will I let Him?
You have the same option this very day… Who are you standing on the other side of the wittness stand from? Who do you need to forgive? Jesus is walking into the courtroom. Will you let Him pay what is owed to you? Will you accept His free gift? He can restore your debt! Will you let Him?
If you’ve read much of my writing this year, you know it’s been one of “those” years. There is a lot that has happened — a lot to lift to the Father in prayer. Good and bad.
One of the things that this year has contained is medical bills. Various times for various reasons. Our health insurance is a sharing ministry. It is very, very excellent. We love it. We send our bills in and 2-3 months later we get reimbursed. People send us checks. Along with the check they sometimes send a note.
Most of the time these believers say they are praying for us. Praying for complete healing or for God peace during times of illness. Sometimes they tell us stories of their own experiences with a similar illness or injury.
This time, months after the doctor and hospital visits. Weeks after the symptoms were over. We began getting the checks. And with it prayers of people who loved God.
It was months laters, so we had healed from the injuries weeks prior. We had gotten over our illnesses. But our hearts were burdened. Our wallets very thin. And our stress was quite high.
Our van was on its last leg, but we had fixed it anyway because we didn’t have money to replace it. That van was then totaled. We were in an accident involving a semi truck. The vehicle that caused the accident ran. Meaning no one else’s insurance was going to be paying this bill.
Things were looking pretty dim. Yet God knew all that and He had a plan. When we got home with our van there were notes waiting for us. People writing that they were praying for us. People sending love and financial help.
Every couple days there were more letters. More checks. More prayers sent our way.
Some said they were praying for our healing. Some said they were praying for us to have peace. But some said “Praying for FULL financial provision.”
These people didn’t know us. These people had NO idea. At all. They didn’t know we were down to our last dollars in our emergency fund. They had no idea that we needed a van. They had no idea. Yet, just at the right time, right when we needed it, people were praying.
God used that rough time of ER visits, doctor appointments, treatments, and more ER visits, for a way bigger purpose. God knew we were going to be needing those prayers months later. He knew we would need the notes of encouragement to fill our mailbox right that week.
These precious people prayed for us. They thought it was for our health. But oh, oh it was more than all that.
Friends, sometimes things look bleak. Sometimes we don’t know how to even form a prayer for ourself.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26 NIV
It’s in those times when the prayers of others can help to carry us through.
In our case, this time, people were praying and they didn’t know the whole story. Sometimes we need to share the whole story with someone. We need to open up with our struggle, our need for prayer. We need to let others carry us to the Lord in prayer.
That is not natural for me. I don’t like to share my struggles. I don’t like to be a pain or annoying to anyone. I’m not the first to ask others for prayers. Yet, I’m learning I need to ask. I need to be open and share my need for prayers.
A couple weeks ago, Satan was really attacking me. Attacking me with lies, doubts and fears. I opened up to these verses.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should. Ephesians 6:18-20
Against my normal tendency, I texted a couple people and asked them to pray for me. With the power of their prayers, I was able to take the next step on a big project.
There is power in prayer, my friends.
Maybe you are the one that needs prayers today… I would love to utter a prayer on your behalf. Leave me a comment here, or email me.
I was very excited when I saw this month’s topic: God’s Provision. My husband and I have been on a journey of learning about God’s provision in a whole new way. This year has been one of ‘those’ years. One in which we have sure questioned God’s Provision. One in which we have wondered what God was doing. We have wondered why He was not providing like we thought He would.
So as I looked ahead to writing this article, I was excited to share with you the complete story. I thought it surely would all be solved by the end of this month. But, friends, we are still in the middle of the story. We still haven’t seen the ending to these situations we’ve found ourself in. We still have not seen God’s provision come yet.
. . . . Or have we?
Throughout this whole seven-month saga in our life, outwardly, it may seem like God is not providing for us. But, oh WOW! There are many things that our God has provided! Things that go beyond human eye sight. Things that go way deeper than the physical needs we have. Things beyond the very large decisions that weigh on our minds.
In His goodness, He has provided:
Preparation. Though some things can never be prepared for, we have felt prepared. God’s Spirit quietly prepared us to unclasp our hands to the things that rot and decay. God’s great provision!
Teaching. Great lessons, that can only be taught thru life’s hard times. We are being gently taught by God’s Word. God’s great provision!
Wisdom. We are wiser than we were a year ago. Certainly. Not that making any decision is any easier than it would have been a year ago. It might even be harder. Yet all the things God has taught us this year have prepared us to make the big decisions we are facing now. God’s great provision!
Peace. Throughout this whole year, though circumstances are less than ideal, we have felt peace. Peace in the midst of the storm. God’s great provision!
So, friend, if you also find yourself in need of God’s great provision, look around. He shows up everywhere. He may not look like what you think provision looks like. It may not be a physical provision. Yet, His Word, His grace, His peace, His preparation, His teaching. The lessons learned. Are all a part of our God’s great provision.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NLT
He sees the big picture. He sees the emotional and mental provision that we need. More so than all of that, He sees the spiritual provision we need. He knows what we need to go thru in order to come out refined as gold tried in the fire. As clay, molded and shaped, ready for what the Master has for us to do.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8 NIV
We are not thru it yet. I don’t know how much longer we have before we can tell the whole story. For now, the story we can tell is that God provides. More than we think. And while he is providing, He is shaping us into the couple, the family, the person, He wants us to be. And because of that, we can praise God for His amazing provision.
During my morning quiet time recently, I read this in my devotional:
“The way to walk thru demanding days is to grip my hand tightly and stay in close communication with me. Let your thoughts and spoken words be richly flavored with trust and thankfulness. Regardless of the day’s problems, and I will keep you in perfect peace as you stay close to me.” Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young, June 4th.
That really hit me. God can keep us in perfect peace as we stay close to Him.
How do we stay close to our Heavenly Father?
This key to staying close to Him is found through a relationship with our God.
Thinking about our relationship with God reminds me of my girls and their relationship with my husband. I’ve overheard my girls say, “Daddy wouldn’t like that,” or, “Let’s get this cleaned up before daddy gets home,” or “Daddy is going to be excited.”
Knowing how their daddy thinks sure helps to make the house more peaceful. When they know what he thinks about something, and then go and do it. Wow! How peaceful it is!
We had a situation like this just last night. The girls had played with their cousins for hours and hours. Then it was supper time and the house was still a disaster. After supper daddy said everyone could either help clean up or sit on a chair and watch the others clean up. They knew he meant business. They heard him. They knew what he expected. They went and did it. Then they peacefully enjoyed a treat together, once the house was in order.
How about with our Heavenly Father? Do we search His mind? Do we know what He is saying to us? Do we hear the words He’s speaking to us? Do we listen? Do we know what He expects of us?
Going a step further, as a dad provides for his young children, do we have that same faith that our father will provide for us? Our girls have seen my hubby go to work to provide for us over and over and over. They don’t ever let on that they worry about having enough or ever worry that he will stop providIng. We shouldn’t either. We should remember the past times our Father has provided for us and trust that He won’t stop.
Yet how does this look in real life? How do we know the mind of God? How do we know that He will continue to provide for us? How do we learn more about what our Father thinks? And what He expects of us?
The key is relationship. We must have a relationship with him.
I could fill a book with how important relationship is. (Actually, I have filled a book…you can grab a free copy on my website!) Yet, I could go on and on about this relationship topic. Because, I was doing this whole relationship thing wrong. Friends, I had a religion. Not a relationship. I had it all wrong. It wasn’t until hard, hard things came into my life. I finally ran to God in desperation. Then I found what having a relationship meant.
I hope you don’t to have to experience hard things before finding a relationship with Jesus. I pray you can find that connection with Him. I hope that you can hear and see Him. I hope that you can know Him and have a relationship with your Heavenly Father. We only get to this place of relationship with hard work.
My young girls recently said, “God never talks to me”. Their comment made me realize this is something we learn. This is a skill we need to practice. Then, in turn, it is something we need to teach our children.
Have you seen a blade of grass? Or seen a sunset? Like, really, looked at it? Then, you have seen God.
Have you read the Bible… like, really, read the Bible? Then, you have heard the voice of God.
We need to stop and see God. We need to stop and listen to God. We need to focus on nurturing our relationship with God. Then we can have that perfect peace our hearts long for.
The topic of practicing humility has been on my heart for a year. Maybe more. What does it look like to be humble?
I used to think it meant to be a farmer. Really, I did. No joke.
I know that is very wrong. A farmer can be a very proud person. Just as any of us non- farmers can be humble.
Let me tell you what I thought farmers, a.k.a. humble people, were. I believed being humble meant staying quiet. Humble meant just blending in. I thought humble was doing what everyone else had always done. Humble meant stuffing any feelings of wanting to stick out. Humble meant doing things the way we had always done them (whether you knew why or not.)
My struggle with this is real.
I am one that likes to stay in the corners and not say much. A year ago God called me to do some drastic things. Me, the little stay-in-the-corner gal. The gal scared stiff of conflict and of going against the grain. Me, scared of rejection and terrified of sticking my neck out in vulnerable places. That was me. Then He called me to do scary things. Things different from anything anyone else around me was doing. It brought up conflict. There were (and still are) people that don’t like what I do. Through it all, He showed me I needed to keep on. He showed me this was my purpose. This is what I was born for.
But, I looked back at what humble meant in my mind; I wasn’t matching it by any stretch of the imagination.
I was in turmoil. I wasn’t being anything I thought humble was. Yet! I knew I was doing what God had called me to do. So I went on a search.
Jesus is, of course, the best place to go to study the character, of, well, the character of anything… Including humility. So that’s where I started…
Did Jesus avoid conflict?
Did Jesus try to blend in with the people of the day? the religious leaders of the day?
Did He always do things the way they always had?
No, no, and defiantly no.
He challenged the leaders. He didn’t run from conflict. He didn’t blend in with the people of the day. I don’t remember him EVER doing a sacrifice. Ever. And that is how people always had done religion.
But was He humble? YES!
So what does it mean to be humble? Jesus wasn’t looking like what I thought humble would look like. Especially the farmer part. Lol. I went on more of a search. How could He do all these things and still remain humble? What does being humble REALLY look like?
As I thought some more, I realized Jesus knew:
He knew Who He was.
He knew What His purpose was
He knew Why He was here.
He knew to Whom He belonged.
And even though He had power, even though He was God, in the form of Man… He knew that His power was from God.
So I think. If I could keep my focus on the answers to those very statements, I could truly have humility.
If I know who I am.
If I know what my purpose is.
If I know why I am here.
If I know to Whom I belong.
And when I am given power or strength to do any good thing… If I truly understand where my strength comes from.
If I could truly wrap myself around those answers.
It may start with that last one. If I could realize where my strength comes from. If I would realize how Holy God is. I think I would be able to finally get it right.
So that, my friends, has been something I’ve been pondering.
How holy God is
For me, I need to practice intentionally stopping. Stop and look for God’s holiness.
Have I been outside lately? Have I seen God’s handiwork EVERYWHERE. The animals, the plants, the flowers, every leaf, each bird. He is HOLY! He is more amazing then I can ever comprehend.
Have I looked at a child lately? How their bodies heal from the scrapes and bruises they get. How they are able to digest food. Without anything we do for them. How they grow taller without any preparation or thought on our part. He is HOLY! More amazing than I can ever comprehend.
What about our bodies? How they all work together, heart beating, our liver making just the right amounts of bile, our lungs breathing. Do we even comprehend it all? YET, it is right in front of us. Right inside us. Often, we don’t even realize how our bodies are working for us until it stops doing what it is supposed to. (Until it needs some additional help in order to heal.) Do I realize how amazing God really is?
A challenge for you (and me) is to stop and be still. To be intentional about taking time to look for the ways we can see God’s huge greatness. Remember that He is Holy! When we realize how Holy He is, when we practice humility, then we can answer the other questions…
Who am I? Why am I here? What is my purpose? To whom do I belong? Where does my strength come from?
What about you, my friend; do you know the answers to those questions? I’d love to hear your answers!
Do you ever find yourself doubting? Do you ever find yourself asking if God is with you? Do you ever just want proof? Just want to be told again that yes, Jesus is the Christ and He is with you?
So did people in the Bible. Have you read Matthew 11? This account is such a comfort for me. Not only does it affirm that others have doubts, but it gives me something to do when when I find myself with doubts.
Let’s read it.
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Matthew 11:1-6
So from prison John sent His disciples to talk to Jesus. He wanted to know, was Jesus really the ONE! He need proof one more time! He wanted to hear it one more time!
I wonder how long John wrestled with this question in his mind before he sent to Jesus? I wonder how long he ran the doubt thru his mind? Good thing for him that he didn’t wait any longer. Soon after this incident, the Bible tells us John was beheaded.
I’m glad he asked his question before it was too late.
Why do you think John was doubting?
I wonder if John heard news from the outside world, as he sat there in prison? I wonder if He heard that Jesus ate with sinners. I wonder if He heard that Jesus didn’t fast. Later in the same chapter, we read the differences between Jesus and John.
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Matthew 11:18 & 19
I wonder if John heard about those things? I wonder if that made him doubt more. I wonder if John thought the Savior of the world would look different than what He did. I wonder if John questioned Jesus in his mind; thinking ‘Why does God let His Jesus do those things, and look at me… I had to eat locus and wild honey. I stayed in the desert. Jesus he gets invited to all kinds of other people’s houses, I just stayed in the desert. And he eats! Why, He even picked corn on Sunday and ate it!’
Why do you think John needed proof?
Do you think John thought it was unfair? Do you think the differences between him and Jesus added to his doubt? Do you think John questioned him because He was SO different than himself?
Do you think John thought it was unfair? He was stuck in prison. What about Jesus? Jesus was out walking about free. John was stuck in prison just because he told the truth. How fair is that? Do you think John wondered if Jesus was preaching the truth?
John went in search of the Truth
At any rate. He wondered. He doubted. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was really the one.
What did Jesus answer to John’s question of doubt? He said, (and I’m paraphrasing) “Go back and tell John what you see. The blind are seeing, the lame walk, the lepers are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised alive, and the good news is told to the poor.”
John must have needed a reminder. Needed to remember the many things Jesus was doing around him. He must have needed a faith boost.
Yet Jesus didn’t stop with just showing John the Truth.
Then Jesus added, “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Why did Jesus add that?
In other words Jesus was saying “John, you will be blessed if you do not stumble on this Truth. John, you will be blessed if you are not suspicious of me. You will be blessed if you do not lose faith in me.”
John also needed a reminder of the blessing that would come if he kept believing.
What about us?
What about us, my friends? Do you ever need reminded of what great things God is doing around you?
Do you ever need reminded that we will be blessed. We will be in heaven if we will just believe that Christ is the one!
At times I look at the circumstances around me and just plain old DOUBT! I wonder if God is going to take care of us. I worry about the future. I worry about what path to go down. I wonder if God sees the people around me still in their blindness or their deafness. I still see people sick. Spiritually or physically.
I have to admit some times I doubt God’s power. I may even question if what I believe is really enough.
Faith. I need to go to Jesus for a Faith boost.
I need to stop worrying. Go to Jesus. Just as John did. I need to ask Jesus to remind me again. To open my eyes to the many miracles He is performing around me.
I need that same reminder John got. I need reminded to not be offended by Jesus. To not doubt Jesus. I need reminded to keep believing and be blessed.
Friend, do you need a Faith boost?
I encourage you, go look back at the past year, or years. How has God provided for you? In the little things, and in the big things? Start a “God is Able” notebook. Write those times where you SAW God provide. Write down the things you worry about today. Put it in there. In a couple weeks, maybe even a month look back at your notebook. How did God provide? I guarantee remembering and looking back will be definite faith boost!
Do you ever look at the mountain in front of you and say… “It’s too much, Lord! I can’t do this! This is just too hard!”
What do we do with these mountains that are too big for us to climb? How do we find strength to take that first step? Are we able to find joy in the mountain?
I believe God gives us too much for a reason.
Someone at church recently put it in such simple words, I just have to share what he said. He said, “Yes, God gives us things that are too hard for us. But nothing is too hard for HIM!”
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Isaiah 41:10
And that is the key, my friends.
God gives us too much for us to handle on our own strength… so that HE can come and do what we don’t have strength to do.
He wants the credit for our miracles. He wants us to lean on Him; he wants to be our hero! He wants us to realize that we have a great need for him. He wants us to realize that HE IS OUR STRENGTH! It is not anything we do on our own. It is HIM!
He wants us to look back and realize that it was He that carried us.
I had this very experience last year. God gave me too much for me to handle. He called me to do some pretty crazy things, all in about a six-month time span. Most of them came with just a few days notice. A website in three days, a book in ten days, a women’s conference in eight days. . .
I had nothing to do but to lean on Him. I had nothing to do but to let Him carry me.
And now… I look back, knowing it was impossible to do on my own. Impossible for any homeschool mom anywhere to accomplish in such a short time.
I look back knowing that it was HIM; it was all done with His strength. It was nothing of my own.
Friend, God gives us too much for us to bear so that He can remind us that our strength is found in Him!
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. James 1:2-7
He’s got this!
As we look to future mountains we have to climb, we can have joy knowing He has been faithful in the past.
As we take that first step, we can have joy knowing He will surely carry us when the climb gets to be too much.
And as we come back down the other side of a big trial test or mountains… We can look back and remember ….
He is able, for He is our strength!
Joy is knowing that Jesus is your strength.