Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...

Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trading Fake Smiles for Authentic Relationships

How are you?  I'm fine, how are you?  Ah, the standard greeting society offers us and we respond back with.  I wonder how truthful we are when we reply each time?  Don't you just wish that you could say how you are "REALLY" feeling sometimes?  Authenticity should be a way of life for the Christian woman.  There are places and times for getting into conversations with people concerning your life struggles, but if we are never truthful how can we expect others to notice what we might need? 

Exuding joy in the midst of trials is not the same thing as pretending everything is fine when it's not!  Perseverance and testing usually doesn't produce a smile on our face.  Everything is usually NOT fine.  However, we can still have joy because our joy doesn't come from our circumstances.  Joy comes from our salvation.  The testing of our faith is something all believers go through.  It's meant to refine, develop, and strengthen us.  Now, there are times when you are meant to share your heart only with God.  But, we are never encouraged to walk through life alone.

Sometimes we need an encourager to build up our courage again.  Sometimes we need a teacher to share the truth about God's character.  Other times we need a helper to provide a meal.  Some days we need a prayer warrior to help us battle the enemy.  You see, we need the body of Christ.  When you act independently, you are hurting yourself and the body of Christ because you are not functioning properly.

When you are going through times of testing, be honest with those you are in community with...  Let the help you carry the burden and pray for you.  When you don't, pride creeps in and pride comes before a fall.

James: 1-2

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." 

Today, press on so that you will be mature and complete in Christ!  God will comfort and help you through His Holy Spirit and the body of Christ...if you let Him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

My God Speaks To Me In My Affliction

How many times have you said to yourself or heard other people say "where is God when I am suffering"?  You know that place.  It's that place where you find yourself with the inability to come up with solutions.  You are afraid of what might happen next.  You are hurting emotionally, spiritually, and possibly physically.   Friends and family have appeared to have abandoned you and you are alone...or are you?  Could it be that you are exactly in position to best "hear from God"?  In the stillness of our affliction, He is where He has always been...on the throne.  He promised to NEVER leave you or forsake you!  It's funny, actually it's you and I that have moved away from Him when we feel abandoned.

Oh, how precious the moments are when you are in that quiet place alone with the Father pouring out your heart before Him.  Do you ever just feel inclined to turn to the Psalms?  Isn't it encouraging to hear the heart pleas from David being authentic before the Lord?  What is even more amazing is that in the midst of his suffering, praise and thanksgiving stream out of his pain.  How?  Could it be that God spoke to him in his affliction?

Maybe David was reminded of the true character of God.  One thing is prominent, he "knew" his God.  David walked closely with Him and was called a "man after God's own heart."  He knew the truth of Scripture.  He put His hope in God.  When David sinned, sooner or later, confession was on his lips.

So, I ask YOU today, does God "speak" to you in your affliction?  You may not hear an "audible" voice, but the Word tells us that He does speak to us.  The question is -- are you listening?

Jeremiah 36:15

"But those who suffer He delivers in their suffering;
       He speaks to them in their affliction." 

Press on knowing that He does speak in and through your suffering and affliction.  I am praying that He will deliver you from you suffering, but with a greater sense of knowing Him better, renewing your awareness that sharing in the suffering with Christ will bring you to a whole new level in your walk with Him.