Talk Yourself Out of Lies

I was recently praying to the Lord about my future-my desires, my heartaches, my deeps hope that only He and I know about. After expressing them to Him, I ended with “not my will, but yours be done” and I started to cry. I cried because I was scared that God’s will looks very different than what I hoped for my life. I cried because I feared God’s will would be difficult and painful and possibly opposite of me getting what I want so badly.

And then I stopped myself, and asked God to search my heart.

I was quietly speaking and believing lies to myself. My tears said: “My desire is for my comfort and happiness. If God is good and loves me deeply, then He should go after that for me because I know what’s best for me. But I fear that God is not good and his love for me not deep enough to care about my heartache or my pains. He might, in fact, PURPOSEFULLY make it difficult or opposite if what I want”.  That’s what my heart believed in that moment!

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit who resides in me fought those lies with truth from Scripture. I then thought:

“…YOU God, are the ultimate joy, prize, and satisfaction (Ps. 16:11). Getting ____________ is NOT what will “make or break” my life-KNOWING AND LOVING YOU will. If I seek you-I WILL find you (Matt. 7:7), and in finding you, getting to know how amazing you are will be ABOVE and beyond all I could imagine (Eph. 3:20). And you’ve already promised me you’ll be here-you’ll never leave me (Heb. 13:5). You’ll not stop loving me, and everything you do is good and right (Rom. 8:28-19). Your will is PERFECT! (Ps. 18:30) You’ll fulfill and satisfy me, direct me, and give me EVERYTHING I need (Phil. 4:19)”.

This is the Word of the Lord; thanks be to God.

One of my burdens right now in life is singleness. Maybe yours is a wayward child, or a jobless future, or an unloving spouse. As you run to God with your desires for the future, remember to combat any lies that sneak into your heart. Any doubts that creeps in that tells you God isn’t good, or isn’t working-need to be immediately fought with truth from Scripture and a reminder of the eternity to come. I ended my prayer like this:

“Oh dear Father. Please help me not to get tangled up in lies and distracted by thoughts about a possible (but not guaranteed) future marriage. Because I AM guaranteed a wedding and a groom-a PERFECT one-Christ in glory. I have salvation! Forgiveness of sins! I am your daughter! Knowing, believing, and clinging to THAT truth will propel me through all seasons of doubt, loneliness, rejection, or whatever else. Because even if you see fit to allow me to endure suffering through singleness for the rest of my life-I’ll choose to believe that you always give what is best for me. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTH IT. YOU WILL SATISFY.”

“There are no disappointments to those who wills are buried in the will of God.” Frederick William Faber

When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head. ~ Charles Spurgeon: When you go through a trial, the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head. ~ Charles Spurgeon

Just Finished Exodus

As I explain in a previous post about Genesis– as I read through the Bible I am going to stop and reflect at the end of each book, and write about what that book tells me about God. A couple of days ago I (finally!) finished Exodus and here are my thoughts:

In Genesis the main character, God made a promise that he would make a “great nation” out of this small group of Hebrew nobodies. Unfortunately, this next story opens up with those people (the Israelites) being in slavery for 400 years to the greatest super power of the world at that time-Egypt. 

Yikes!

They need a HERO! They need a fearless and strong rescuer to swoop in and save the oppressed people. GOD is the HERO of this story! There is also a trusty sidekick-Moses! He was definitely a very unlikely sidekick, but ended up becoming a good friend of our Hero:) 

At the perfect time, the Superhero and His sidekick, with wit and agility, even when it seems absolutely IMPOSSIBLE-set the people free! And it’s amazing! And you, as the reader, are SO PUMPED for what just happened. But just like in many other superhero movies (spider-man/batman) the people rescued don’t always trust or even like the hero-but are instead hostile/opposed to Him! 

During the second half of Exodus, it’s kind of crazy, God “reveals” more that he is not merely a superhero and a rescuer…he is actually so much more than that…he is a HOLY GOD.And that holiness is MINDBOGGLING. Holy means “set apart” and He is sooooo incredibly different and perfect and awesome. He is JUST and punishes sin, but He also is LOVING and forgiving and delights in restoration. God makes it clear in this book that he REMEMBERS and FULFILLS all of His promises. And get this, despite his HOLINESS and their MISTRUST AND STUPIDITY, he want to reside with them. 

(insert jaw drop)

He is the incredible creator of the universe! He is the rescuer, sustainer, provider, epitome of perfection, goodness, grace, justice, mercy, and knowledge! And he wants to LIVE with the Israelites? The people who so quickly turned their backs on him? The ones who doubted his faithfulness? Who doubted his power? Who denied his uniqueness? Who ignored his rules? Who forgot his grace? THAT’s who he chooses to reside with? 

Yep.

A sinful, evil people will live with a perfect, holy God. And the book ends with this cliff hanger of a question: How on earth is THAT going to work out?

Just Finished Genesis

I’m reading through the Bible (not in a year, that stresses me out!) and I just finished the book of Genesis. Before moving on to Exodus, I wanted to take a little bit of time and reflect on what I had just read. Sometimes I forget that the Bible is a book, one big story, and not just a collage of randomness. So I took a little time one evening and imagined someone asking me, over a cup of delicious coffee, about the book I was reading. I just finished the first “chapter” and they ask-What is it about? Who is/are the main characters? What do you think is going to happen next?

I journaled a (messy) response to that question.

Well, the main character is God. He made everything, and has a special place in his heart for humanity (and if we are honest-the humanity we see in this first chapter is pretty unpleasant at times). I’ve learned that he is benevolent and caring and incredibly brilliant. He provides and protects, and somehow even uses evil things that happen miraculously for good. He is merciful and righteous and promises HUGE gifts to some ordinary people. Buuuuut…he is also very serious about right behavior. It’s confusing…sometimes I expect him to respond to evil in a drastic way and he doesn’t. They lie or kill and he doesn’t punish them.  Yet other times I expect he’ll let that evil slide (it was just one bite!), and he does not. I haven’t quite got him figured out yet-but hey, it’s only the first chapter, and I’m guessing he is going to be complicated.

When they blatantly disrespect God, and ungratefully ignore his rules by listening to and obeying the Serpent, he responds with punishments for each party involved. Part of the serpents punishment is that one day, one of the woman’s descendants is going to fatally wound him by “striking his head”. So I think that might be a huge plot line in this book-figuring out which descendant is going to defeat the serpent. How is He going to do that? What will it look like? At this point-it could be anything! 

Also, God is all-powerful and in control of absolutely everything that happens. But it often times doesn’t feel like it. But then you keep seeing how he is always up to something!

So the other big thing so far is that God makes a deal with this (seemingly nobody) guy named Abraham. Oh that’s another thing-I know God is the main character, but normally you have a few other main characters as well! I often think while reading that some of these different people that are introduced into the story could be a major player-but then they die. And it’s no big deal! Ha! Even Adam-the very first character introduced after God…it’s just like “then he died” and moves on! It’s very different than the other stories I’ve read. Don’t know quite what that means. Anyway, sorry about the tangent. God promises Abraham 4 things:

  1. A land to live in
  2. A whole lot of descendants
  3. Success/blessings
  4. That the whole world would be blessed because of someone in his family.

He repeats these promises to him over and over again, and also to his descendants. It’s Abraham, Isaac, and then Jacob (aka: Israel). They, as a whole, end up being known as the “sons of Israel”. At the end of the first chapter (Genesis) it seems to me that all the promises have been fulfilled. Abraham had land, descendants, blessing, and I think the whole world was blessed by his descendant, Joseph-who, after a pretty crummy life, ended up saving all the nations of the world from a famine due to a dream interpretation given to him by God. But it didn’t say that that was the fulfillment of the promise. I feel like it was such a big deal-like they should have/would have said something about it…so maybe that’ wasn’t the fulfillment? Maybe there’s something more? I’m not sure-after all, I’m only at the beginning of the story. We’ll see what the next part of the story holds!  

Needing Reminders of Truth

(Myrtle Tree)

This week especially I needed to be reminded of a few things.  I needed to be reminded of the greatness and the goodness of the God that I serve.  I needed to be reminded of His glorious attributes and the magnificent gift of Salvation, and of His love for His children. I needed to be reminded of Truth.

So here is some truth found in Isaiah:

“Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters;
And you who have no money come, buy and eat.
Come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without cost.
“Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And delight yourself in abundance.
“Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
“Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
A leader and commander for the peoples.
“Behold, you will call a nation you do not know,
And a nation which knows you not will run to you,
Because of the Lord your God, even the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
And let him return to the Lord,
And He will have compassion on him,
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,
declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return there without watering the earth
And making it bear and sprout,
And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty,
Without accomplishing what I desire,
And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

12 “For you will go out with joy
And be led forth with peace;
The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you,
And all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

13 “Instead of the thorn bush (that which is temporary and is burned with fire in other parts of Scripture) the cypress  (an evergreen) will come up, And instead of the nettle (that awful stuff that makes your skin burn) the myrtle (it has beautiful pink flowers!) will come up,
And [e]it will be a [f]memorial to the Lord,
For an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”

Then, Charles Spurgeon reminded me of a few more things I needed to hear:

This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with my blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside my glory and became a man for thee; I gave up my life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. I will help thee.'”

O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here–thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

And lastly, Job 42 reminded me of a proper response to God’s matchless majesty:

Then Job answered the Lord and said,

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.”

Praise the LORD for His patience with us as we foolishly forget and question His power and graciousness.  What a blessing to have Scipture in our own language that we can read and receive absolute truth and nourishment for our souls.

I hope this reminder was as encouraging to you as it was to me!