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Thursday, September 22, 2016

When Others Disappoint You...

     You hear it in your conversations with your friends.  You start noticing it on social media.  Things have changed.  Or, at least, your perception of them has changed.

     They are no longer as they once were.  Maybe they have become more rigid in their demeanor.  Perhaps you have noticed them growing lax in standards they once held more strictly...That you both held in common.  You notice the way they "let their hair down;" in ways you never would have expected from them.  You see places they frequent, that you would never (at this time in your life, at least) attend.  You see them wear things that create concern to well up within you.

     You see that doctrines that they once defended, have been denounced by them.  You discover them visiting other churches, (vastly different than their previous one), that greatly astonish you.  You find that they give ear to other doctrines, which disturbs you.  It all disturbs you, frankly.

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     You are let down.  It hurts.  You even are angry, though you keep that to yourself... For the most part.  It is burdensome to you.

How have you been handling your burdens?

Are they getting the best of you?

May I kindly offer some encouragement, and advice?

     First, I want to preface this matter by saying, whenever we see absolutely irrefutable sin being committed by a professing sibling in Christ, it very well ought to bother us.  We are family.  Family is to watch over each other, seeking the benefit of every member.  "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Philippians 2:4

     Yet, even when we see blatant sin occurring in the lives of our fellow saints, what is the usual response?  Is it prayerfulness, or indignation?  Is it a concern for their spiritual well-being:  knowing that though to be chastened of the Lord is surety of His parental ownership of them, but it is very unpleasant?  Are you concerned for the effects upon other believers these sins may have?  Are you concerned for the Heavenly Father's name being blasphemed by their behavior?

     Are we sharing these things with our Lord?  Do we trust that He will fix the matter, if they indeed are His child?  Do we believe He has the power to overcome the sin that is so easily besetting them?

     If we have talked to Him about it, have you also approached your sinning sibling?  Have you cast the beam out of your own eye, whereby you may effectually aid your brother or sister in removing their speck? Matthew 7:1-5  Have you prepared your heart and mind, so that you become neither puffed up against them, or unaware of the danger of falling into the same sins as they have fallen?  Galatians 6:1-2

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     If you can honestly say that your heart and mind is right, that you have approached everything according to the will of the Lord, yet, the one for whom you are burdened has rejected correction, then, keep praying.  Really, that is all, and one of the most important things, you can do.  Depending on the matter, there may be other steps required, as seen in Matthew 18, or in 1 Corinthians 5.  

     As I see it, the primary way in which any of us can deal with disappointments, is praying to God.  He knows us, so well.  He knows if our hearts are right, or askew.  He knows how to mend, heal, guide, correct... For whichever party, or both, that needs it.

     Also, we need to avoid belittling the one (s) who has disappointed us.  I am reminding myself, here.  It is easy to think less of someone, when they do wrong in our sight. Remember, though, we are all but flesh; you may have, or will be, a disappointment to someone, someday.  How do you want to be treated, if and when that time comes for you? "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets." Matthew 7:12

     How we treat each other, is a mark of our belonging to Christ, John 13:34-35.  We never ought to approve sin, Isaiah 5:20.  Yet, sin is a reality, in this life.  How we handle those inevitable disappointments, shows our Christian maturity and love.

     What, though, if it is not sin?  That, my dear sisters, is a topic for another day...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

REALLY Trusting God

     It is easy to take things for granted, is it not?  How often do we find ourselves assuming everything will continue as it currently is?  It is not until some trial comes, that we start realizing our shortcomings in these areas.

     When troubles come, it is natural to be fretful.  We worry about how to get out of our uncomfortable position.  Looking for the solution is usually our foremost thought.

     I speak from experience.  Recently, I have been enduring postpartum issues.  For those who have experienced the health woes accompanying the hormonal shifts postpartum, may understand me when I say:  it is not for wimps.

     However, I am a wimp.  I admit it.  I am a weaker vessel, just as the Lord says in the Bible.  I find no shame in accepting this fact; rather, there is much relief in not trying to portray myself as anything other than what I am.

     Thus, my weakness.  I had no control over my body.  It would not function like I wanted:  which would be perfectly.  Yet, that day will not come, until the Lord comes. 

     Resting, light/moderate exercise, and proper eating were the doctor's orders, literally.  Oh, and to know I was not crazy...And, to stop obsessing over my situation.

     It was hard, though!  Did they not understand?  Yes.  Did they not care?  Yes.  He even prayed for my family and me! 

     I, ultimately, and most necessarily, needed to trust God.  Moment by moment became my motto.  There is an hymn along those lines, that became a great source of comfort to me.

     I knew that my body needed rest.  I needed help.  I needed to lean upon others, just to help me get through regular, menial tasks.  I was on the receiving end of service, and it was uncomfortable.

     I had, as so many do, grown accustomed to "doing it myself." To allow someone to assist me, showed my vulnerability:  that I was weak, and could not do it all, myself.  However, that is exactly what God wanted me to acknowledge. 

     Dear jumped into action.  He served our family in ways that, normally, I did.  He saw my needs, and by God's grace, sought to meet it.  He did it all, without a fuss.  The vows:  "...In sickness and in health, for rich or for poor..." took on a whole new depth.

     Others, who knew, offered their services.  One, in particular, was just a phone call away... Many phone calls, to be exact!  She had gone through very similar circumstances.  Knowing I had someone so close at hand; who knew exactly what I was enduring; and, when I was struggling to make it through the next few minutes, was a Godsend.

     I was so full of care and unrest.  Though Dear, and others, were quick and consistent to point me to Christ, I had to be the one to rest in Him.  They could not rest for me.  However, they did intercede in prayer, for me.

     It was a daily, and many times moment by moment, task.  Hormones, stress, fear, satanic attacks, all played a part in me not casting my cares upon my Saviour.  God, His love, His word, and prayer, were all  instrumental in me leaving my burdens with Him.

     I had to rest in GodI was not ever really in controlEvery breath I take, every beat of my heart, is because God allows it to happenCould I not trust Him to get me through this difficulty?...Even if it would not go the way I wantedWas I willing to die to selfWas I willing to release my grip on my dreams, my hopes, my desires, and submit to whatever God wanted to do with/through me?

     That was the predominant battle, for me.  Yes, the physical issues were no small matter, and were quite unpleasant.  However, like anything, there is always something from which one may learn in any given situation.  For me, since I had much time to muse upon my lot, I sought to see whatever it was I needed to learn during this time.

     Relationships that had been estranged, were mended.  Put into a position of great physical weakness, I began to see other areas wherein I was weak.  So, using this as an opportunity to make things right, that is exactly what I, and Dear, endeavored to do.

     Learning to submit to God's will for my life, even if it meant suffering in ways I never would have chosen, was a big lesson for me.  It is, daily.  This time in my life, though, made such a large impact in my very soul, that I do not think I will soon  forget it (that is my prayer!). 

     As I started seeing healing take place (by the way, it is still a process I am undergoing, but, it is much easier, so far), I started picking up in my daily tasks.  What I took for granted:  washing dishes, doing the laundry, cleaning the floors, cooking, etc...I found myself thanking God for the ability to do them. 

     I could not just jump right back in, though.  It was gradual.  Yet, for each time I was able to once again run the vacuum, or put away our clothes, I was grateful.  I was grateful for our provisions that necessitated my stewardship of them.  I was grateful for the family I have that needed my care.
     Ultimately, I was, and still am, grateful for God being my strength.  I cannot even fathom trying to manage these troubles, without Him!  It causes me to shudder at the very thought!

     My encouragement to my sisters in the Lord would be:  trust Him.  I mean, really trust Him.  Especially when things are not going your way.

     I cannot say what that trust would look like, for you.  Each person, each situation, is obviously different.  I may experience a different trial, and trusting Him will look different than this go 'round.  However, I know I have gained strengths from this time, that will equip me for today, and tomorrow.  The same is for you, if you allow God to have His way with you.

     A verse of Scripture that was of great comfort to me, that I would like to share with you:

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.  Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Quick "Hello!"

     I thought it would be nice to quickly come on here and say "Hello!"  I know I have been quiet over here, for a little while, (though, I am still active on my Facebook page...So, if you would like to stay in touch, please come say "Hello!" yourself!).  I do not know how frequent I will be back to my blog, but, it is a desire of mine to get back "in action."

     You may be wondering why so quiet over here?  Well, I have been dealing with some normal motherhood issues.  So, taking care of my family and myself has been of a larger priority these days.  I appreciate all those who have been, and would graciously continue to, keep me and my family in prayers.

     I hope everyone's summer has been nice!  I know I have been grateful for a lovely summer!  Lots of blue skies, chirping birds, ever-loving-to-learn child, a hard-working husband, here-and-there thunderstorms, and fresh fruit, to name a few! 

     I also have been noticeably growing in the Lord; noticeably, I say, because I actually am noticing some of the growth!  Ahh, let patience have her perfect work in you...Do not necessarily pray for patience; but, when trials come to perfect patience in you...Just lean on the Lord, and let patience do its work. 

And with that note, I will bid you adieu!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

"A God Who's For Us," By Charles Lawson

     Maybe it is due to the nature of my life these days.   Maybe it will always affect me thus.  However, I do not recall having a message so minister to my soul this morning:  I just kept sobbing.  I could listen to it, every day.

     Those who know me intimately well, may understand why this message so touched my soul.  Yet, I know that I am certainly not the only one to be benefited by such a blessed sermon!  I also know it may minister to another, in a completely different fashion.  Well, here it is, for your great benefit:

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