Monthly Archives: September 2019

The web of rejection!

Rejection came at the beginning.   We all know what it means to be rejected but do we recognize the consequences of deep seeded rejection? Do we understand that rejection thwarts our walk with God by moving us to jump in front of Jesus to save ourselves while rejecting God and others?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,  but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:1-6 MSG*

The enemy is in the business of sowing rejection among God’s people. Why? Because in accomplishing the sowing, the enemy establishes the beginning of our rejection of God. Once we begin “”doubting” what God has told us, we begin the downward spiral of fearing God’s rejection, rejecting ourselves, and rejecting others. When this happens, we find ourselves in a pit spending all our time trying to escape from the spider web of rejection being spun in our minds and lives.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Genesis 3:7-12 MSG*

When we reject God, we begin to hide from him because we think He is rejecting us. We think because of our behavior, we need to protect ourselves by hiding. Once we start to hide, we begin rejecting ourselves for our perceived unforgivable failures and rejecting others before they can reject us. It’s a nasty web of destruction.

The end result is our feeble attempts to control everything from morning to night, from demanding perfection of ourselves to demanding it in others, from managing our own “problems” to managing other’s situations before they impact us. Our actions spiral out of control, leaving us feeling empty and alone.

That’s what the enemy would like us to think. When we think this, we are ineffective in our walk with the Lord. But the truth is “God will never leave us nor forsake us.” Deut 4:31; Hebrews 13:5. NLT

The solution is Prayer. Sitting with God and letting him know of our failure in believing his Word and His love for us, repenting for hating ourselves and in turn showing our contempt for His creation; repenting of lying and deception, manipulation and control and all that flowed from our acts of fear; repenting of rejecting others and the hurt that rippled from that rejection; asking God to forgive us for rejecting Him and for our pride and rebellion in thinking we could solve our own problems without Him. And while we sit with God in prayer, we need to ask and call forth healing and acceptance of His love for us – and His guidance for our new path in this day – a path of love and peace towards God, ourselves and others.

Remember . . . Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. . . . Psalm 121:1-2 ESV

*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Jumping in Front of Jesus!

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. Job 13:15 NKJV

We do not know why bad things happen. We can surmise that it is because the person did something “wrong” and therefore bear the consequence of their sin. That may sometimes be true. However, the story of Job debunks the theory that someone’s suffering is always linked to their actions.

God allowed Satan to have his way with Job – through the destruction of his family, his possessions, and his health. Satan used “friends” to try to convince Job to focus on his own sin and God’s punishment of him for that sin. But they were wrong.

In the process, Job suffered deeply. God waited. Job reached the conclusion that God expected from him. As he addresses his friends who are offering “their” analysis of his suffering, Job says, “Because, even if he killed me, I’d keep on hoping. I’d defend my innocence to the very end. Just wait, this is going to work out for the best – my salvation!” Job 13:15 MSG

 In the end, God dealt with Satan, deepened Job’s faith in Him and debunked a widespread notion that suffering is always linked to a person’s sin.  God knew that Job was His. He knew Job would not lose faith. Through Job’s pain the rest of us have God’s assurance that even when it does not seem like He is with us, He will never leave us or forsake us.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8 NIV

So let us remember when supporting others in times of trouble that we do not know what we do not know. Sometimes we are called to listen, pray and not offer advice. Sometimes we are called to listen, pray and offer advice. But it is a rare instance when we have a clear directive from God to tell someone else what “to do” in their situation.

As we walk hand in hand with our Savior, let us remember whose hand we hold. Don’t jump in front of Jesus. When we do, we lose hold of His Hand.  Our jump to “manage” another person’s situation may just block that person from seeing the Teacher and experiencing the freedom that comes from trusting Him.

self management or God Management?

When we manage situations and people, we run the risk of complicating already complicated situations. Take a look at Haman’s reaction to a failure to show him respect.

When Haman saw for himself that Mordecai didn’t bow down and kneel before him, he was outraged. Meanwhile, having learned that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman hated to waste his fury on just one Jew; he looked for a way to eliminate not just Mordecai but all Jews throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes. Esther 3:5-6 MSG*

Haman allowed anger and hate to control his response – He managed the situation by using his position and power – going to the King to cause the elimination of all the Jewish people in the Kingdom.   He was going to get revenge!

As the story continues, the king discovers that Mordecai had exposed a plot to assassinate him and was never thanked. He asks Haman for his advice on how to properly honor a person who has delighted the king. Haman, thinking the king is talking about him, tells the king to robe the person in the king’s robe and parade him around town on horseback.

As Haman soon finds out, the king is talking about Mordecai and Haman is ordered to carry out the honoring process. When he completes leading Mordecai around, Haman flees to his home to tell his wife and friends the grave turn of events.

While they were still talking, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman off to the dinner that Esther had prepared.

So the king and Haman went to dinner with Queen Esther. At this second dinner, while they were drinking wine the king again asked, “Queen Esther, what would you like? Half of my kingdom! Just ask and it’s yours.”

Queen Esther answered, “If I have found favor in your eyes, O King, and if it please the king, give me my life, and give my people their lives.

 “We’ve been sold, I and my people, to be destroyed—sold to be massacred, eliminated. If we had just been sold off into slavery, I wouldn’t even have brought it up; our troubles wouldn’t have been worth bothering the king over.”

King Xerxes exploded, “Who? Where is he? This is monstrous!”

“An enemy. An adversary. This evil Haman,” said Esther.

Esther 6:14-7:6 MSG*

What drives us to react with control to perceived wrongs or actual harm done by another? Why do we plot and plan to seek revenge? Is it fear? Is it our need to control our circumstances – the fear that God can’t handle actual or perceived “wrongs”.

“Control” is not all bad – some people are blessed with vision to see what a situation is and strive to make it better. But for most of us, “control” is a reaction and a sign of fear. It is a sign that we do not trust the situation to be righted except by our intervention. In other words, we rely on our own strength and fail to turn to God or trust that God is in control.

Maybe today, we will be given a situation wherein we are “wronged” or our loved one is “wronged”. Maybe it is a situation we have been in time and time again and have no idea how to handle it.   Maybe it is time to get out of our own way and let God have His way. We have choices – we can manage and manipulate the situation or we can allow God to work it out. Which one will we choose? Self–management or God management?

*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Do you trust God with the Truth?

They said to him, “Just who are you anyway?”

Jesus said, “What I’ve said from the start. I have so many things to say that concern you, judgments to make that affect you, but if you don’t accept the trustworthiness of the One who commanded my words and acts, none of it matters. That is who you are questioning—not me but the One who sent me.” John 8:25-26  MSG*

Do we accept the trustworthiness of God? In our words and acts, do we actually trust that God will use the “truth” that we speak to move in other people’s lives?

Many of us are struggling with breakdowns in relationships with family, friends and co-workers. We have become frustrated – ready to walk away. But as we look at our situation, have we trusted God to work through the truth? Have we actually explained the problem to the person? Have we offered the truth?

Maybe we don’t think it is our place or our duty. Maybe it is easier to not tell them and just stay away or pretend we are too busy when they call. Confrontation is never easy. Maybe in the past we have complimented them on the behavior which is now out of control. Maybe we have told them “white” lies to get out of telling them the full truth. Maybe in our prayer we have not been led to reveal the truth.

God commands us not to lie about our neighbors. Exodus 20:16. Throughout His Word, from Genesis to Revelations, we are told not to lie and are given warnings concerning liars. Yet, we all lie or have lied in our past.

Remember, Jesus told the truth – even when no one believed him – even when it was hard to explain – even when he knew the consequences might be difficult. Jesus trusted that God would take what had been spoken and use it for His Glory.

 They still didn’t get it, didn’t realize that he was referring to the Father. So Jesus tried again. “When you raise up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am—that I’m not making this up, but speaking only what the Father taught me. The One who sent me stays with me. He doesn’t abandon me. He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him.”

When he put it in these terms, many people decided to believe.

Then Jesus turned to the Jews who had claimed to believe in him. “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”  John 8:27-32  MSG*

So what if we each spoke the truth. How amazed would we be to see God work in our relationships and circumstances? What would God do with the truth we spoke?

He would heal. He would spark new life into our relationships. He would stir up love. The truth is God works mighty wonders through Truth. The big question is can we trust Him with the Truth, knowing He does all things for our good.

*Scripture quotations marked MSG are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

I will rescue you

Where are you? What are you doing? Are you in a slump – unable to pray, unable to worship, surrounded by people who don’t know God, isolated and alone, wondering why you are where you are?

Remember what others have done who have gone before you.

Even though they were afraid of what their non Israelite neighbors might do, they went ahead anyway and set up the Altar on its foundations . . . Ezra 3:3 MSG

 These Israelites being spoken of in the Book of Ezra were a people who had been attacked by Nebuchadnezzar, kidnapped, dispersed to other lands, beaten down and enslaved for 70 years. They were bruised and scared but hopeful because God had called them back to their homeland. The first thing they did upon returning to Jerusalem was to build an altar “on its foundation”.

Remember . . . start where your foundation is. Don’t jack hammer out the past – it happened; it scarred; it shaped; it sharpened; it chiseled and . . . it can be used to bring glory to God. It is part of who you are. Those experiences and scars can be transformed by God into something of great significance.

AND REMEMBER . . .

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
You are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you

There is no distance
That can not be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter 
I’ll be your armor 

I hear you whisper underneath your breath
I hear your SOS, your SOS

I will send out an army
To find you in the middle of the darkest night
It’s true
I will rescue you
I will never stop marching
To reach you in the middle of the hardest fight 
It’s true
I will rescue you 

Rescue. Publishing: © 2018 See You At The Pub & CentricSongs (SESAC) / So Essential Tunes & Fellow Ships Music (SESAC) / Flychild Publishing & So Essential Tunes (SESAC) Writer(s): Lauren Daigle, Jason Ingram and Paul Mabury

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