A Childlike Faith

A child-like faith is what God calls us to. He said it, we do it. He commands, we obey. Trusting in the Lord is active. If  I trust in Him, I pray, I act, I serve, I love. If I trust in Him, I do all those things and more. So much more.

What God has called us to do, God enables us to do. What God desires us to do, we can do. Through Him.

It might be hard, perhaps it is overwhelming, no doubt there will be obstacles but faith persists. Trust does. Belief acts. Time and time again, belief has acted.

Trust in the Lord has climbed mountains.

Faith in God has moved mountains.

Belief in the Lord has caused mountains to disappear.

I want mountains to disappear.

There is so much work to be done. So many people who need to hear the precious name of Jesus. So many churches that need the whole Gospel, churches that have been limping along on a partial gospel for far too long. So many widows, orphans, hurting, scared, broken people needing Christ, needing His saving power, needing His love. So many families to strengthen. So many prayers to be prayed. So many dying every single day without Christ. So many people that I love are so lost. So many, so very lost.

There’s so much repenting to do.

Me. I need to repent. I haven’t trusted, believed, obeyed or acted enough. I haven’t had faith enough. I haven’t trusted in the Lord to move enough mountains.

Have you?

Lord, help us.

Praying for Air

Things pile up, one on top of another, until it feels as if you will drown. Do you know that feeling? I do, oh, so well. God is good even when we struggle for air. Even when things pile up as they will, God is faithful.

He doesn’t always solve our problems.

He doesn’t always change our situation.

But He’s always good. He’s always faithful.

Always.

Sometimes we might have to remind ourselves of this. Sometimes every single thing goes wrong and nothing seems to go right and it feels as if you will drown.

Right now, I feel as if I am drowning.

So much has happened. So many things have gone wrong. On top of it all, our two old vehicles broke down and had to be repaired. Not once but several times. The repairs took money we didn’t have away from bills we were already struggling to pay while still leaving more to pay. Right now, we’re somewhere north of $2,000.00 in the hole with no earthly hope of finding it by the date it has to be found by. If it were only that…. But money problems are only one small part of a very much larger problem. Today, I’m struggling for air.

But, somehow, God always provides air. Not necessarily the air we want, not always the air we hope for, but definitely the air we need.

We only have to ask, to trust, to believe.

So I’m praying for air. I’m begging the Lord of everything for the air we so desperately need, not as I see fit but as He sees fit. My prayers aren’t just for us but for others also. There are so many who are struggling. So I pray for them. If you are struggling, I’m praying for you, too.

Get ready to breath.

Tribulations, difficulties, and disappointments (via Grace Gems)

(Letters of John Newton)

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is!” 1 John 3:2

Let us not be greatly discouraged at the many tribulations, difficulties, and disappointments which lie in the path which leads to glory–seeing that our Lord has foretold us of them, has made a suitable provision for every case we can meet with, and is Himself always near to those who call upon Him in His almighty strength–as a sure refuge, and a never-failing, ever-present help in every time of trouble!

Note likewise, that He Himself was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief for our sakes. He drank off the full cup of unmixed wrath for us–shall we then refuse to taste of the cup of affliction at His appointment, especially when His wisdom and love prepare it for us, and proportion every circumstance to our strength? He puts it into our hands, not in anger but in tender mercy–to do us good, to bring us near to Himself; and He sweetens every bitter draught, with those comforts which none but He can give!

The time is short, the world is passing away, all its cares and all its vanities will soon be at an end! Yet a little while, and “we shall see Him as He is!” Every veil shall be taken away–every seeming frown be removed from His face–and every tear wiped away from ours! We shall also be like Him!

Going Home

Psalms 46: 1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.”

When we wonder around with our days all aflutter, where do we go when we’re tired and just need to rest? Busy this, busy that. Busy here, busy there. Can we find our way back to a place of peace?

When in the midst of so many trials, so many floods that threaten to overwhelm us, where do our minds come to rest when it all gets to be too much?

Do you have a place of quiet rest, a place of safety amidst the storms of life where your mind can be at ease? Oh, how you need one.

There is one, you know. There’s a place where our minds can rest and never have to worry again; a place of ease and comfort that is so grand, so strong, that no matter what storms are blowing or how rough they are, we can be at peace. Our Home is attained by grace through faith because of the death of Jesus Christ. Our Home has a name: He is El Shaddai (Almighty God), Jehovah Jireh (the Lord Who sees and provides), Jehovah Rohi (the Lord my Shepherd). He is our hiding place (Psalms 32: 7, “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble….”), our help and our shield (Psalms 32: 20, “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield.”), our refuge (Psalms 9: 9, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”) and our comfort (2 Corinthians 1: 3, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;”) The one whose mind is stayed on Him will be at peace (Isaiah 26: 3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trustest in thee.”).

Grace is the road. Faith is the destination. Repentance is the key. Then, no matter how hard the winds blow, no matter how bad the storm, it can’t cause us to fear. When our minds rest on the Truth that is God, He will keep our hearts in perfect peace. Just as He promised.

Lepers in the Kingdom of God

2 Corinthians 1: 3, 4, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Sometimes God shows His people extraordinary difficulties. His loving hand carefully chooses the burdens that are ours to bear, gently lays them on our shoulders and then, standing by our side, watches, guards and protects us. And, though we know He is there, at times it feels as if we will be broken from the weight. We falter, we fail and, often, we complain, but God, in His Sovereignty, rights us, focuses us and lays the burden squarely back on our bruised and weakened shoulders. Sometimes being broken is the point and so, guided and guarded by God, break we do. At other times, we stagger and right ourselves only to stagger again. Grace alone upholds us.

Sadly, ofttimes, when God bestows His gift of extraordinary difficulties, other Christ-followers react in shock and turn from us, flee from us, ignore our burdens. At those times, added to our burden of pain, fear, poverty, illness, abandonment, abuse or a thousand other difficulties, we now have to bear the burden of human aloneness. It is as if we, who suffer under God’s own care as directed by His hand, are lepers in the Kingdom of God. As such we often share the same fate, abandonment, as do lepers in the more physical, earthly, realm. And yet we are told in Holy Scripture that we are to “weep with those who weep” just as much as we “rejoice with those who rejoice”. It seems as if, for most, it is far, far easier to do one than the other.

A common approach to ministering to those in distress, especially distress that has a less-than-physical cause, is to lay the blame for a fellow Christian’s pain fully back on them. Like Job’s questionable friends, we accuse, castigate and condemn without ever stopping to think that we might be wrong in our accusations. Or, if we are perhaps a bit more loving in our approach, we tell the suffering one that “time will help you to get over it” or that “things really aren’t as bad as they seem” (ignoring the fact that they very well may be worse than we can hope to imagine): if they’ve been abused, we tell them that the other person “didn’t mean it”, or that they’ve “misunderstood”; if they’ve suffered great losses of the heart and of the mind, we tell them “the sun will still come up tomorrow” or “it could be worse, you know” or “if only you’d been better, done better, had more faith, this wouldn’t have happened”, or, in some other sorry way, mitigate their pain, their sorrow, their loss.

I, like most, have known quite a few difficulties in my life but, as with everything, all is of grace and, by God’s mercy, they’ve been tailored just for me. Still, at times, I feel the need to share, to seek prayers, to find comfort in the words, the companionship, of a fellow Christian traveler. Over the last few years, that’s where I’ve lived as the difficulties multiplied and one part of my life, and then another, and another, gave way. And, though in some ways, rebuilding has begun, in others, life continues to give way.  God in His graciousness, has, over the last year, seen fit to give me a very few select travelers who not only understand but in some way share an intimate knowledge of my burdens for they’ve oft suffered in many of the same ways and, more importantly, who know the value of trusting God in difficulties and taking what we’ve learned and becoming comforters. Many times we’ve been able to comfort each other. For these precious few I daily thank God.

But besides these precious ones, when I’ve tried to share my pain with fellow Christians or, sadly even with leaders within the church, when I’ve dared to ask for prayers or guidance, when I’ve tried to explain my sorrows or sought to unburden myself (at those times when I can carry the burdens no longer), I’ve known the additional pain of being stared at in doubt, misunderstanding, even anger and confusion. All before the one I’d prayerfully turned to blanches and changes the subject, makes accusations, explains away my pain, or, more commonly, silently ignores the fact that I ever turned to them to begin with. As it is and has been with me so it is with many who suffer.

Are we really called by God to cast sorrow upon original sorrow by castigating and accusing those who are already wounded? Do we honor our Lord by ignoring their suffering, by changing the subject, denigrating their pain, refusing to listen? Do we bestow grace by walking away? Do we show Christ-likeness by refusing to try to understand simply because we don’t want to? Are we so callous as to allow our misunderstanding to cause us to fail to seek the truth and, through our failing, perhaps even become a pawn in the hand of Satan, an instrument used by him to pour salt into a fellow Christian’s open, bleeding, wounds? All of this in the Name of our precious Lord? Sadly, from my experiences and those of many I have known, these responses are often the norm.

To say we believe God is one thing. To live as if we believe is quite another. Let us, when God pours out His grace in the form of pain and difficulties, lean on Him, take His succor and, from our experiences, learn to become comforters so that we may respond to those who weep and mourn in a way that shows we live what we say we believe.  When confronted by life’s wounded, pray we remember that the Lord has taught us, in Matthew 25: 40, “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.