when trusting God has to be enough
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

When Trusting God Has To Be Enough

There are times in life where trusting God is difficult, because we do not always understand what God is doing. There is a part in every one of us that recognizes what it is to see justice, and that part of us sometimes causes us to be angry when we see that someone is getting away with something that we know is not right or not fair. Sometimes we can get frustrated with God when we see the innocent suffering, or when we see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

Richard Wurmbrand, in his book, “100 Prison Meditations” tells of a Hebrew legend about Moses sitting near a well at one time, meditating. A man, walking past, stopped to drink from the well and, as he did, his money belt fell into the sand. This man left, unaware of his loss. A little while later, a second man passed by the well. He saw the money belt and took it, and walked off without being noticed. Later on, yet a third man stopped to get a drink from the well and laid down to take a rest.

Now the first man, realizing that he lost his money belt, thought he may have left it at the well. So he returned there, after the second man who took it was long gone, and the third man was now there, asleep. The first man demanded his money back from this third man, who knew nothing about the money at all.

A fight broke out, with the first man accusing the third man of stealing his money, and eventually, with the first man killing the third man because he thought the guy was a thief, while the second man, who really was the thief, was now long gone.

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the devil wants you dead
FAITH INSPIRATION, Revival

The Devil Wants You Dead

The Devil Wants You Dead. And God does, too. They just want it for different reasons.

The devil wants you dead because he hates you and wants to destroy you. He hates that God loves you and that God wants you to reflect His glory in the earth and for you to be a part of God’s plan. Simply put, God loves you and the devil hates what God loves.

God wants you dead, too. He wants to crucify your old man so he can bring out of  you a reflection of the saviour, allowing you to walk into what His desire is for you. It’s what His desire really has been for all of humankind, even since before the fall – that we would walk with Him, and Him with us, able to enjoy each other’s company.

We Need To See Ourselves As God Sees Us

God is desperately looking for friends with whom he can share his heart. He wants to spend time with us. That self-will you hold on to – all that stuff where you don’t really believe Him when He says, “do this,” or “don’t do that,” is killing you, a little at a time. And the guilt, shame and self-loathing it causes you creates a barrier between you and God.

The devil loves that stuff. But God wants to crucify that sin nature and that self-will so we can enjoy spending our time with him. He wants to free us from guilt about the past, anxiety about the future, and feelings of inadequacy. But to get there, you have to “die.”

Don’t be limited by only seeing the failures of your past

You think you’ve messed up? Maybe you have. Maybe you have really messed up. But do you realize that not one, but two people denied Christ? As Kris Vallotton says, one hung himself; the other ended up being the head of the church.

The point is that there are many people in the bible who had failures in their lives. But those failures don’t have to define you; they don’t have to mark the limits of who you can become in Christ. King David had great moral failures in his life, but David was known as a man after God’s own heart.

The devil has a clever way of messing us up and keeping us locked in patterns of self destruction. It’s one of the ways he tries to kill us. When you’re struggling with your choices, and you’re wrestling with a temptation, he tells you before you do it that it’s not that big a deal. But after you’ve given into it, he uses the guilt to shame you into thinking you’ll never change. When you’ve fallen, you feel guilty. You make plans to do better. But when you fall into the same patterns, you convince yourself you can never change. Or you measure your “success” by how well you’ve done since the last time you fell. Until you fail again. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Don’t focus on that. That’s from the devil and he’s just trying to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

There is a part of us that wants to offer our own sacrifices to atone for our own sins. We can get into a trap where we believe that if we can just demonstrate that we’ve done enough “obedience” to outweigh our disobedience, then we can take ourselves seriously and somehow believe were are then worthy of the grace of God.

But that is a subtle form of pride. And that’s from the devil, and he’s just trying to kill you.

Peter’s remorse ran deep. For three days and nights after he denied Jesus, he had to live with who he really was. Jesus told him who he was. Peter thought that even if everyone else denied Jesus, he would stand firm. But Jesus told him he was very weak and that he would not be nearly as strong as he thought he was. We have to see who we really are. But we can’t stay there; that is only part of the story. Peter also had a promise from Jesus, in that Jesus told Peter He prayed for him:

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.(Luke 22:31-32)

The moral of the story is that you need to learn to “die to self” before you’re dead. To live is Christ, to die is gain (Phil 1:21). “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). “He who keeps his life will lose it; he who loses his life for my sake will keep it” (Mark 8:35).

God does not see you merely in light of your past; he sees you also through the lens of eternity future, through the lens of your destiny. And so, as you learn to die to yourself, do it quickly. See yourself from your position in Christ.

Your bad decisions are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones

The difference has to do with pride; if you insist on seeing yourself as good enough, you will see a failure as “uncharacteristic” of you; it is a subtle trap from the devil, where he entices you to keep “trying” until you can see that you get it right. Your ratio of success and failure becomes the whole measure you use to determine your worth before God. But it’s still about you.

And focusing on YOU all the time is a trap of the devil. And the devil wants to kill you. Focus on Jesus.

If you simply acknowledge that you are not good enough, but you acknowledge that you need Jesus to do it in you, he will. The beautiful irony is that recognizing you are not “good enough” positions you to receive His grace. And when you surrender to Him, then He is able to see you as both beautiful and “good enough” – because it is his grace that is sufficient to cover your sins.

But this is the trick

The trick of the devil is that whether you spend time being proud of how Christlike you are, or spend time being humiliated by how sinful you are, you’re still spending your time focusing on you. Constantly beating yourself up about how you’ve failed again and that you’ll never change is a subtle form of pride (if you can hear that). Because it’s still about looking at you.

Just look at Jesus. Focus on Jesus. God wants you to learn to enjoy spending time with Jesus, focusing on his faithfulness, his love for you, his sufficiency for you. And as you spend time with Jesus, in prayer, in meditating in the word of God, He changes you. Jesus said, “if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you can ask for anything you wish and it will be granted” (John 15:7).

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:18)

It’s that as we spend time with him, we just naturally become like him. And as we spend time with him, becoming like him, the things He wants become the things we want. And then it becomes the Father’s good pleasure to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32), because you and God want the same things. And His greatest desire for you is that you fulfill your primary destiny of being conformed to the image of Jesus. As you spend time with him, you enter into an awareness of having been crucified with Christ and raised again from the dead. And you fall in love with that condition. And then, as you do, you bear the fruit that will last.

Agree with God – quickly – that you must die.

If you agree with God that your old man needs to die so that the life of Jesus can transform you into a new creation, then you’re in the safest place you can be. It is there that you learn to live as a dead man, brought back from the dead.

And the devil can’t hurt you when you walk in that. And, pardon the pun… but that just kills him.

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the greatest thing God wants
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

The Greatest Thing God Wants

Francis Frangipane speaks (in an interview during a podcast) of a time where he was so down in his life, so discouraged at the way his life was going. He was raising 5 children and a foster child, discouraged that he wasn’t sensing a clear direction for his place in life or where God wanted him to be. He was depressed about how he felt like a failure, and like he didn’t have any idea
about his true purpose in life.

One day, in desperation, he was crying out to God, hungering for God to speak to him and to show him what God wanted of him. God spoke to him, in that moment, very clearly, and said, simply, “love me where you are at now.”

Francis was taken aback by that; he was wanting something more specific from God about what he should do with his life. But God simply confirmed to him that the greatest thing God wanted from his life was that he love God with all his heart.

Rick Joyner talks about a time he took a road trip to spend some time with God, trying to discern what God’s purpose was for his life. And God spoke to him, and told him a powerful truth:
“It’s easy for me to find workers; what I’m looking for is friends.”

He hath shown thee, o man, what is good,
and what the Lord requires of thee –
but to do justly,
to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

Yes, God delights in using you. But He COULD do it without you. He just chooses not to. He wants YOU to enjoy the journey as He works through you. But His ultimate purpose in working through you is not to get “stuff” done. His ultimate purpose in working through you is so that you can enjoy the journey with Him, being amazed at what He does, as you get to watch and to participate.

God’s greatest desire is to conform you to his holiness so that He and you can enjoy each other’s company. He doesn’t want your gifts, your talents or your service nearly as much as He wants to enjoy your company.

Draw near to Him, and let Him change you so that you and He can enjoy spending time together.

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Be still and know
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Being Still Before The Lord

Being “Still” Is Not Doing Nothing

Being still before the Lord is not inactivity. It is refined activity. Being still is choosing to “do nothing,” but not with the idea of merely shutting your brain off and disengaging to relax or unwind; it is a purposeful disengaging from all the “busyness” of life that distracts you, so that you can be more mindful of the presence of the Lord.

And this is not about coming to God with an agenda. This is not waiting on the Lord to “get” something from Him. It is being still in His presence, allowing Him to set the agenda, simply because you recognize that, above whatever else God may do in you and through you, He has chosen to “settle in” with you – He has chosen to “tabernacle” with you – to set up His tent in your heart, so to speak (as in John 1:14) and to reside with you, very much because – wait for it – he enjoys your company.

Being Still Before The Lord Is Letting GOD Set The Conversation

Being still before the Lord is allowing Him to “set the agenda.” It is allowing God the chance to decide what the two of you will talk about. And if His agenda is simply that He wants to enjoy being with you, that should be a good enough reason for you to make time to be still before Him, in His presence – so He can enjoy your company as you enjoy HIS company.

I hesitate to make too much of this, because I think the mistake that can be made in reading what I’m saying here is that I’m saying it’s really all about you. It’s not.

But there was the line in the movie “The Color Purple“…

Listen, God love everything you love – and a mess of stuff you don’t. But more than anything else, God love admiration.

You saying God vain? I ast.

Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing.

You see, as we spend time in God’s presence, we are changed from glory to glory into His likeness. And His ultimate goal for you is that when you finally finish growing up, you will look just like Him – clean, pure, holy and able to enjoy being in His presence, free from guilt about the past, from anxieties about the future, from feelings of inadequacy, simply being able to be who he has made you to be, before Him, as He is, the two of you enjoying each other’s company.

God’s Purpose Is To Make You Like Him

There may be times when you are still before Him and He will give you a mandate, or set you on a mission or give you a task. But always keep in mind that any task He gives you, as far as it concerns you, is ultimately so that you can more completely be conformed to His image. He doesn’t need you to do “stuff.” He wants you to do stuff, because as you obey Him and as he uses you, you get to enjoy more of who He is.

Learn to spend time with God, simply enjoying being in his presence, letting Him lead you into whatever conversations He wants to have with you, in His word, by His spirit.

As Rick Joyner says, it’s easy for God to find workers. What He is really looking for are friends.

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resting in God
FAITH INSPIRATION, Inspiration

Resting In God As A Pathway To Peace

There is peace to be found in the chaos

Sometimes, in the business of life, it is all so easy to be overwhelmed by the circumstances of life. It’s not so bad sometimes; but when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, it is so easy to spin on the problems.

Sometimes, circumstances can be daunting; people can be truly annoying and difficult to deal with. We, as Christians, are to be about our Father’s business; but we also have our own agendas and interests. Not many of us live a life where we can say, “And you should follow me, just as I follow Christ.” And so it is natural that there will be conflict in this world.

But if we are honest with ourselves, much of our trouble and discontentment in life comes out of our cares and our worries – concerns about the future, or how we will be received by others. We worry at times about our health and our families. We worry about our future and how we will provide for ourselves when we are old and gray. We worry about what this world will be like for the future of our children.

We know in our heads that we are to trust God in all things.

But actually doing it is not always so easy.

When Jesus was meeting with his disciples in the upper room, shortly before his crucifixion, he said to his disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” Now when we are struggling with our overwhelming circumstances, we could be tempted to blow off this kind of suggestion by a well-meaning friend. But in the context, we need to remember that Jesus was saying this to comfort the disciples, even as he himself was aware that he was headed for the cross. Though you may be tempted to discount words like this from a friend because you think they don’t know how you feel, remember Jesus spoke this while he was under a cloud of a very difficult season in his life.

Most people are familiar with the “Serenity Prayer,” a prayer authored by Reinhold Niebuhr:

O God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

The courage to change what can be changed,

and the wisdom to know the one from the other.

In our more sober moments, this makes sense to us. Sometimes, in our moments of extreme frustration, we might be tempted to utter a different variation of that prayer:

O God, give me the serenity to accept what cannot be changed,

The courage to change what can be changed,

and the wisdom to know where to hide the bodies of the people I have to kill because they tick me off.

But the real power behind the prayer is the understanding that can be found in the complete prayer…

God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

There are days that will be good; enjoy them. There will be days that will be full of woe. Do not despise them, or the circumstances that bring the feelings. Recognize in these moments that God is not to be blamed; He is to be trusted as He walks with you through the storm. As you praise Him through the storm, he “causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them..

The circumstances might be consequences of your own making – perhaps they come because you didn’t listen to him when he warned you not to get into a situation. They may be consequences of someone else’s making. When David sent Uriah into battle and told his men to leave Uriah on the battlefield all alone (2nd Samuel, chapter 11) it seems reasonable that Uriah might well have wondered if God truly loved him, leaving him there to be abandoned. And sometimes, time and chance happen to us all. When a tsunami hits, the righteous and the unrighteous are all hit by the wave.

Beyond a point, there is paralysis in analysis. When your circumstances are overwhelming, praise Him in the storm. Ask Him to show you if there is something you need to do differently, or if you need merely to stand steadfast, and like Moses said before the parting of the sea, “behold the salvation of the Lord.” (Exodus 14:13-14) God gives wisdom to all who ask of him and are not double-minded. (James 1)

Our God inhabits the praises of His people. And when He delights to manifest His presence to you as you reach out to him in praise, the circumstances fade in the glory of the presence of the Lord.

When our circumstances seem to big to us, we need to understand that our circumstances are not so big at all; we merely need to praise our God until He shows Himself so much larger than the circumstances.

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