How can truth set us free?

Ephesians 1:3-9 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance to his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ. More

Trials and Joy

Re-posted from InTouch, by Dr. Charles Stanley, September 16, 2014

My pastor is currently preaching from the book of James and Dr. Stanley’s message today is a perfect reminder that through out our lives we all suffer under a variety of difficult trials and hardships. But, if we consider that those times of suffering can be used as a catalyst to help us be mindful that the Lord uses them to mold us into what His desire is for our lives, they’re so much easier to bear.

Trials and Joy

James 1:2-4,12

“Consider it all joy . . . when you encounter various trials” (James 1:2)—what a preposterous statement! How can that make sense when joy and trials don’t fit together? But James is presenting a divine vantage point, not a human one. There are some surprising benefits in suffering, which aren’t easy to discern.

First of all, we need to understand that these verses are not telling us to be happy in our pain, but rather to rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering. The word consider is an accounting term that means “to evaluate.” When we look at hardships from God’s perspective and place the proper value on them, we can rejoice in the beneficial outcome, even while experiencing pain. Humanly speaking, trials hurt; but from the Lord’s point of view, they help.

The only way to rejoice during trials is to understand what God wants them to accomplish. Regardless of the difficulty’s source, we can know that the Lord wants to use it to test our faith and thereby produce endurance and spiritual maturity. In every trial, He has hidden a precious character gem, but whether we receive it depends upon our response. Those who want to be transformed into the image of Christ can rejoice in the many benefits that accompany suffering.

How about you? Does your hunger to know the Lord and be transformed by Him exceed your dread of suffering? None of us want to experience pain, but since it’s an unavoidable reality in this fallen world, why not respond in a way that produces eternal benefit? Let’s not waste our suffering.

Book Launch Invitation & two reader comments…

 

Made New Book Launch flyer

…I laughed, I cried, my heart and soul ached for all that you went through and I felt boundless joy reading about how your relationship with Christ has evolved and is continuing to grow daily. When you asked questions, you asked the hard questions that require soul searching for answers. Thank you for doing that as I don’t think we ask enough hard questions in this present age. Thank you so much for obeying God and telling your story. This book has the potential to help so many people who are hurting because of choices they have made. ~ Patty

I spent the weekend with you and your friend, Judy!! What a journey – what courage – what a faithful God to bring you to this place!! It has given me such insight into who you are and how God has brought you here – for such a time as this. I found myself in parts of your story – the me I had forgotten even existed. Your journey was a tough one, but look at the victory!! Amazing grace, no doubt about it. ~ Cathy

Voices

A parental voice from my childhood repeats, like a broken record. “You’re nobody!” or, “You’ll never be anything!”

I answer, “Don’t listen Child of the King! God knows who I am.”

I’m reminded of the scripture verse in 1 Corinthians 2:12.

I’ve have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that I may understand what God has freely given to me. And, verse 15, “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgement:
For, in verse 16, God’s Word says “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But, I have the mind of Christ.”

Take that, evil one! Flee from me! My mind belongs to the One who created me.

God’s Purpose or Mine?

Four boxes of Made New ~ A Hippie Chick’s Journey of Forgiveness arrived via UPS yesterday and this morning they’re sitting in my basement, seemingly staring back at me each time I walk by. I find myself struggling with overwhelming feelings of despair, and how God will open the right doors to share their message. 

Last Sunday, a godly man from church told Pete and I how important it would be to pray over them before we even thought about opening the first box. So, Pete and I lay hands on the stack and specifically prayed, thanking God for the perseverance to witness this accomplishment in our lives, as well as what He will do in lives we’ll never know anything about. 

Despite my anxieties, the Lord had some reassuring words to impart to my soul from my devotional, My Utmost for His Highest. This message reminded me of exactly what my heart and weary soul needed. 

A quote from the words of Oswald Chambers,

We tend to think that if Jesus Christ compels us to do something and we are obedient to Him, He will lead us to great success. We should never have the thought that our dreams of success are God’s purpose for us. In fact, His purpose may be exactly the opposite. We have the idea that God is leading us toward a particular end or a desired goal, but He is not. The question of whether or not we arrive at a particular goal is of little importance, and reaching it becomes merely an episode along the way. What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself. 

What is my vision of God’s purpose for me? Whatever it may be, His purpose is for me to depend on Him and on His power now. If I can stay calm, faithful, and unconfused while in the middle of the turmoil of life, the goal of the purpose of God is being accomplished in me. God is not working toward a particular finish-His purpose is the process itself. What He desires for me is that I see “Him walking on the sea” with no shore, no success, nor goal in sight, but simply having the absolute certainty that everything is all right because I see “Him walking on the sea” (Mark 6:49) It is the process, not the outcome, that is glorifying to God. 

God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not sometime in the future. We have nothing to do with what will follow our obedience, and we are wrong to concern ourselves with it. What people call preparation, God sees the goal itself. 

God’s purpose is to enable me to see that He can walk on the storms of my life right now. If we have a further goal in mind, we are not paying enough attention to the present time. However, if we realize that moment-by-moment obedience is the goal, then each moment as it comes is precious. 

Writing Made New ~ A Hippie Chick’s Journey has been God-inspired indeed. Yet, the purpose of this book isn’t about my goals, but about what God wants to accomplish, while I trust Him for the outcome and His desire for my life! 

Where can I go from your Spirit?

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Psalm 139: 7-10

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.

Rockhound State Park and Spring Canyon, New Mexico.

It was our second day of vacation and the middle of May. Dry, arid, windy, sun-scorched cacti for far as the eye could see. Nothing alive could grow here, could it?

Dried up ground, covered with a rainbow of colored rocks. Hunting for a treasure – a perfect turquoise stone. Turquoise wasn’t found, but beautiful green and red treasures instead, brought to life with a few drops of moisture applied. To remember this day I’ll take some home for my shade garden.

Animals were scarce, except for several enormous black ravens, catching the high winds rushing into the canyon, in hunt of something to eat. Surely, rattlesnakes and lizards slithered for cover.

It wasn’t hard to imagine how anything or anyone could live in such a harsh and deserted land.

Tall rock formations and deserted caves, rocky crags, some with what seemed like a type of arid moss, chartreuse in color.

Is that a cross in the side of a magnificent rock? It is! I see you Jesus, even in the middle of nowhere.

No matter where I go, YOU are there. Your love and faithfulness fill my soul anew every morning.

Thank you for the bountiful and beautiful reminders of your perfect love.

God Speaks…if we’re willing to listen!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting a few believers who are able to proclaim that they knew when the Lord revealed his purpose for their life. Without a doubt, I’m completely aware of when He revealed what His purpose was for my life.
Over the past several years I felt an inward tug to somehow share what the Lord did, and is still doing, with my life and with our hurting world. I didn’t know if I would be conscious of how God would orchestrate it, or if I would even be aware of any of the details surrounding it.
October 30, 2011, my husband and I enjoyed the last morning of a whirlwind four-week trip through California, Oregon, and Washington. We planned to visit a newly planted church where old friends were attending, but, for some unknown reason, that particular morning we felt more compelled to stay inside our cozy cottage snuggled together on the sofa watching In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley.
Dr. Stanley’s forty-minute message centered on our lives being used for the glory of God. He ended his sermon with a question that radically changed my life, “One day you will stand before the Lord your God. All-knowing God will look you eye to eye and heart to heart, and ask, “What did you do with the life that has brought glory and honor to me?” He’ll continue, “What did you do with the spiritual gifts I so generously gave to you, my child? Who did you tell the Good News of the gospel, possibly leading another precious soul to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? What will be your answer when He asks that all-important and soul- searching question?”
Suddenly, I heard God’s voice, the words pounding deep in my heart, loud and clear. “Have I not blessed you with a firsthand knowledge of my forgiveness, by my grace and mercy? I’m sending you to tell others about the forgiveness I offer to each one of my children. And that it is I alone who can and do forgive your past, present, and future sins!”
Wow! It was as if I had been hit with a two-by-four! I immediately knew the answer. A loud, reverberating, voice inside of me screamed out, “Write this book, telling others about events of my life and how today I’m able to see that my Lord was with me along every step of my journey. Talk about how deep my pain was, including the answer to the essential question for someone who has been abused, ‘How do I possibly forgive the person, especially somebody who abused me so deeply?’
Throughout the last few years, I’ve discovered that I can truly trust what God’s word promises to those who call him Savior; namely, that Jesus does love his children unconditionally. He knows that we’re sinners in need of His mercy and grace, and without him, we’re lost.
Following Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19: 26: Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!”
Most of us have heard the poem, Footprints, when a child of God asks, “God, why, during the hardest and most difficult times of my life and during my most painful experiences are there only one set of footprints, and not two?” God lovingly answered, “Because, that’s when I carried you.”
Go back to those years with me as I recollect a tragic, heart-wrenching journey, as well as many celebratory moments, when I was Made New.

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