A Season of Thankfulness: Day 13 – Our Comforter

Photo Credits: quotesgram.com

Photo Credits: quotesgram.com

Psalms 31:13a

“For I hear what so many are saying, the terrifying news that comes from every direction.”

Psalm 147:3

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Psalm 30:5

“For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one’s life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning.”

On days like this when news of terror is filling the airwaves and in moments of fear, uncertainty and heartbreak, we who are in Christ have this hope: our living God is our faithful Comforter.

The rain falls on the good and the bad; all will see troubles on this earth, but it is often at the worst moments when we are closest to God.  The accusations and attack of the enemy encircle us, trying to defeat us, but if we will press in and seek God, we crucify the flesh and find ourselves at a higher place with Jesus.

Like Job, who had counselors who knew all of the religiously correct phrases, we, too, will need to go past the surface of psychology, positive thinking or religiosity offered by the world around us to arrive in Jesus’ arms and the sweetest comfort known.

True comfort does not mean having our own way.  It is a place of rest, trusting in our sovereign Father and peace in His promise to take our greatest sorrows and turn them into a place of healing, instead.  It is weeping in His presence and laying our burden at His feet, knowing that He counts every tear and that everything matters to Him.

Perhaps the greatest comfort is that Jesus chose to walk among us not just so we could understand and know Him, but so He could identify with our suffering and we could have confidence to come to Him who patiently endured the most severe suffering for us.

Lord, please ease the pain of those in shock and horror now and draw them to You – the only sure source of comfort at all times.  You are our refuge, our Healer, our living Hope.  May you be the One we run to above and instead of all else.

Thoughtful Thursday: The Strong Woman

Photo Credits: a-wayinthewilderness.blogspot.com

Photo Credits: a-wayinthewilderness.blogspot.com

Proverbs 31:25-31

25 “She is clothed with strength and honor, and she can laugh at the time to come.  26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, and loving instruction is on her tongue.  27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  28 Her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also praises her: 29 “Many daughters have done valiantly, but you surpass them all!” 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD will be praised. 31 Give her credit for what she has accomplished, and let her works praise her in the city gates.” 

Everywhere we turn today – the media, our culture – is spitting out (seemed an appropriate term to use) images of what is deemed beautiful in a woman.  Discipling a throng of wannabe stars, girls flock to the perspective endorsed and propogated by our world as if it brings life – as if it were true that their worth was tied to their outside appearance or beauty.

The temporary pleasure brought about by the pursuit of praise from man lingers momentarily only to give birth to shame. Visible in the teen girls who dare to flaunt and show what they consider to be their charms, or by grown women who still have not seen their true worth, sadly their fashion exposes their nakedness instead.  True beauty is long forgotten by a culture that does not fear God, nor have time to in the flurry of being relevant to whomever the “powers that be” are.

But not every knee has bowed.  Women indeed have a position of significance and a place in this culture that is one of the most profound and impactful positions of all.  The hand that rocks the cradle, that dares to invest her life’s work in the next generation in the fear of the LORD – this is the hand of strength.  Serving her family in seemingly pointless tasks, she is laying a foundation of righteousness in a lost world.

Not concerned with being “cool” or following the latest fad, the wise woman invests her life in God’s calling.  A student of the Word, her first clothing of the day that she prizes more than trying to look “hot” in some new style is delighting in God’s Word.  This relationship with the LORD guides her in every aspect of her life and she is not shaken when the storm comes.

Young women, you are the future.  Don’t allow yourself to be molded by a surface view of who you really are in Christ.  You are a woman of substance.  You are not defined by man’s praise or the lack of it.  Your beauty lies in Christ alone.

Older women, don’t let another moment pass you by without utilizing the influence God has given for the glory of God in those around you.   Don’t allow fear to hold you back from being what you were destined and called to be – a handmaiden of the LORD – placed exactly where He has you, to nurture those around You with His Word.

This woman of virtue defined in Proverbs is a collective description that gives us hope.  This strength from on high is available to all who will be still to seek the Giver of everything we need to be godly women.

We were not meant to be subjects kept for the pleasure of men.  Wise, godly men need a godly counterpart to walk beside them, not beneath them.  We were meant to provide instruction and guidance and should not allow culture or society to displace us in this regard.  Our household depends upon it, and our faithfulness in regard to seeking God and influencing our household with His hope and love has an eternal impact that no one can ever take away.

Lord, thank You for the calling You have given every daughter of Yours.  You delight in us and made us for Your glory. Help us to yield to Your will and to walk in purity, radiating Christ to this desperate world around us.

Mundane Monday: A Watchman’s Joy

Ezekiel 4:4-6

“Also for your part lie on your left side and place the iniquity of the house of Israel on it. For the number of days you lie on your side you will bear their iniquity. 5 I have determined that the number of the years of their iniquity are to be the number of days for you–390 days. So bear the iniquity of the house of Israel. 6 When you have completed these days, then lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the iniquity of the house of Judah 40 days–I have assigned one day for each year.”

Colossians 3:13

“Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if someone happens to have a complaint against anyone else. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also forgive others.”

Galatians 6:2

“Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

Matthew 18:33

“Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?”

This image of Ezekiel, a watchman for Israel, lying on his left side for 390 days then on his right side for 40 additional days, eating exactly 8 ounces of food each day is tortuous.  Even moreso when we consider that he did not deserve such treatment.  It does not make sense to us, but the purposes of God are higher than our own.

We do not like to be inconvenienced in today’s culture.  Our flesh recoils at the idea of suffering for our own actions and the ensuing consequences, but to do so for someone else?  Not something eagerly desired.  Even a child will cry out “not fair” or “it was not my fault” when blamed for an action he did not commit.  This makes sense to us – no one should have to receive unfair judgment.  Still God’s righteous laws demand payment for our unrighteousness.

Ezekiel was a watchman appointed by God Almighty.  He was a covering for the Israelites.  The blood was on his head if he did not warn them, and by suffering symbolically, he, more than anyone, would have a zeal to warn His fellow people after catching a glimpse of what was to come.

This heart for God’s people and for the lost sheep is the very heart of Christ, who willingly chose to bear the iniquity of those who were unable to bear it themselves.  In fact, it was for the “joy” set before Him that He endured the cross.  Wow. Jesus had an unspeakable joy that his actions would deliver the entire world from the grip of sin and the sting of death.

At the height of suffering I have lamented for self, miserable that I have had to bear consequences for another’s actions, but Christ thought of us.  He chose rejection and suffering – I did not.  This revelation reveals the selflessness of Christ and our need to follow in His steps – serving others and considering them above ourselves.  Humbling and freeing at the same time.  We cannot accomplish this on our own, but we can ask God to open our eyes and to work in our stubborn hearts.

He is still calling servants today to be watchmen for His people.   It might be uncomfortable or inconvenient – forcing us to lay down our idol of comfort, but like Ezekiel, God needs humble servants willing to roll up their sleeves and bear iniquities on their knees for others still today.  No, we cannot wipe away the sins of others, but we can stand in the gap, pray and warn people of the devastation of sin.  When the sting of sin’s aftermath and its stigma is fresh in someone’s life, we can stand with them and guide them to God’s Word and the faithful forgiveness and love of Jesus.

Encouragement in the face of a fallen world might be the very catalyst to turn one from repeating the same sin or serve as an example for another to abstain from walking that path of sin at all.  The voice of truth might not be welcome today when absolute truth seems nonexistent, but more than ever the world needs to hear this voice of God’s people, uniting to be watchmen for the glory of God.  The temporary cost might be more than we want to pay, but the rewards are eternal.

Lord, forgive us for being lulled into complacency.  Help us to care for those around us as you do and to be faithful in the calling of watchmen for You.

Worshipful Wednesday: The Impact of a Righteous Foundation

Photo Credits: jimbomkamp.com

Photo Credits:
jimbomkamp.com

Psalm 89:14

“Equity and justice are the foundation of Your throne.  Loyal love and faithfulness characterize Your rule.  15 How blessed are the people who worship You!  O Lord, they experience Your favor.  16 They rejoice in Your name all day long, and are vindicated by Your justice.”

Isaiah 16:5

“In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it– one from the house of David– one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.”

Proverbs 16:12

“Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness.”

Psalm 9:7 

“The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.”

Proverbs 25:5

“Remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.”

Isaiah 41:10

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”


A king or ruler in this world system is not often characterized by being gracious, loving and faithful.  In fact, their predominant traits are based more in pride, power and politics.  Godless leaders in our age seek to subjugate their people by both the laws they impose and the freedoms they allow.  But our King chooses instead to embrace and exhibit perfect humility, mercy and justice toward His people.  While we are ultimately His creation and slaves, He calls us His children and cares for us and grants us access to His throne room.

It seems that the key to success in this world is all wrapped around clawing our way to the top, usually by dishonest means or political ploys.  Yet any position on this earth is merely temporal and the influence of our rule will perish, unless righteousness is at its foundation.

Unlike the politicians of this world, our King keeps all of His promises and not one of His promises are evil.  A man might gain popularity for His promises to provide for the people’s flesh, giving them laws that permit a sinful lifestyle, but a righteous leader knows that laws based in unrighteousness will ultimately destroy his people and his nation.

Any leader on the face of this earth who is worthy of esteem will bow his knee before God and seek to be His servant first. So, we, too, have that same responsibility.  Whatever our positions of leadership, we have an opportunity to embody a worldly philosophy, seeking popularity with man or to seek the favor of our God.

We might not be kings or queens, presidents or even administrators, but we can pray for those in positions of power.  God has placed us in an area of influence and leadership somewhere in our lives, too.  Perhaps the greatest role of leadership on this earth is not seen as that.  As parents, we set boundaries for our children that are based in righteousness or we allow the pressures of this world to dictate our leadership.

Parents are undermined by government and this culture, but not by God.  We need to rise up and be faithful, for God is seeking godly offspring to affect the next generation.  Much like a political figure who is watchful over his affairs, we need to constantly be on guard for wickedness and worldliness that seek to enter our home, but we also need to be demonstrating the right path daily.

The tricky thing about leadership is that is is not just telling people what to do, but showing them.  If my children see me seeking the face of God, that has a much more far reaching impact than just preaching at them.  Parenting is one of the toughest positions of leadership.  We must correct our children in love, knowing that they might not understand.  But if we are not faithful to discipline and watch over their souls, we are loving self more than them and not following the example of our Savior who led like a Shepherd.

Any position of leadership in this world is all about God and not us, all for His glory and purposes.  Every position will one day end, but the affects of how we lead can have an eternal impact.  Praise God that we have a sure foundation in Him.  He is holy, righteous and no uncertainty exists in His reign.  Wow.  May we apply His style of leadership to our lives and rest in the confidence that while the kingdoms in this world will all fall, we worship a God whose throne is established for all eternity.

Lord, thank You for showing us how to live, love and lead.  You are so Holy and we fall so very short, but please enable us to lead where You have called us to.  Help us to influence those in leadership above us in righteousness, by prayer and action.  Thank You, God, for the security we have in You, our Righteous King.

Worshipful Wednesday: Lessons from the Past

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Psalm 78:2-7

2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past.  3 What we have heard and learned–that which our ancestors have told us– 4 we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5 He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.  7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.  8 They would not be like their ancestors– a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Romans 1:25-27, 32

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

We are living in a historical time – the “un-Christianizing” of our country.  Well, truly this has been ongoing since the beginning of time in every culture; the fight by mankind to suppress the presence of God from our midst.

Leaders of our culture can make laws to justify the demands of their flesh, remove memorials that testify to God’s commandments, but they cannot remove them from our hearts.  His laws are written in our consciences, convincing our souls of what is wrong and right.

All of time testifies to those in the present – beckoning us to not allow the lessons learned by those who have gone before us to be lost.

If today we wonder if it is permissible to practice homosexuality, we have Sodom and Gomorrah to look to as a reminder from God.  If we wonder whether it is alright to pursue racial superiority and denounce another race, we have Hitler’s example of evil extermination and Jesus’ example of righteousness in the New Testament – talking with a Samaritan woman – shameful in that day to those who demeaned that people group and gender.  If we think we have the right to slaughter innocent children, we need only to look at the examples of wicked rulers who did the same to innocent infants and ask ourselves if this is right in the eyes of God.

The Word of God is our mirror and all of history testifies to His sovereignty and wisdom in the precepts and laws He gave to free us.  Boundaries and limits were set to bless us, but man, tempted by the enemy to pridefully think he knew better, supplanted God’s truth and replaced it with lies.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.

Worship God today that He uses the past, adorned with mistakes and triumphs – to instruct us.  We can look to cultures in the past and see what transpired when they denied God’s existence and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator.  We can also see the blessing of God upon those who chose to walk uprightly and established righteous laws for their people.

Whether we were left a legacy of faith or of wickedness in our personal lives to emulate, each day His mercies are new for us to consider how we might spur one another on toward godliness.  We must prove faithful to pass the torch of righteousness to those who come behind us.

God’s purposes are interwoven throughout man’s sins and obedience.  Praise God that we can look to the past not just for our sins and failures, but to be inspired to walk uprightly by the many examples of the faithful who did not bow their knee to the false gods of this world.

Lord, You are so awesome – outside of time and yet you care and are watchful over each of our moments.  Help our nation to fear You and to establish once again a righteous foundation for Your glory.

Worshipful Wednesday: Lessons from the Past

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Photo Credit: cover of book edited by Jon Quinn & Warren Berkley

Psalm 78:2-7

2 I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past.  3 What we have heard and learned–that which our ancestors have told us– 4 we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. 5 He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, 6 so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them.  7 Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands.  8 They would not be like their ancestors– a stubborn and rebellious generation, whose hearts were not loyal to God, whose spirits were not faithful to him.

Romans 1:25-27, 32

25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.  26 For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 27 and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.  32 Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

We are living in a historical time – the “un-Christianizing” of our country.  Well, truly this has been ongoing since the beginning of time in every culture; the fight by mankind to suppress the presence of God from our midst.

Leaders of our culture can make laws to justify the demands of their flesh, remove memorials that testify to God’s commandments, but they cannot remove them from our hearts.  His laws are written in our consciences, convincing our souls of what is wrong and right.

All of time testifies to those in the present – beckoning us to not allow the lessons learned by those who have gone before us be lost.

If today we wonder if it is permissible to practice homosexuality, we have Sodom and Gomorrah to look to as a reminder from God.  If we wonder whether it is alright to pursue racial superiority and denounce another race, we have Hitler’s example of evil extermination and Jesus’ example of righteousness in the New Testament – talking with a Samaritan woman – shameful in that day to those who demeaned that people group and gender.  If we think we have the right to slaughter innocent children, we need only to look at the examples of wicked rulers who did the same to innocent infants and ask ourselves if this is right in the eyes of God.

The Word of God is our mirror and all of history testifies to His sovereignty and wisdom in the precepts and laws He gave to free us.  Boundaries and limits were set to bless us, but man, tempted by the enemy to pridefully think he knew better, supplanted God’s truth and replaced it with lies.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.

Worship God today that He uses the past, adorned with mistakes and triumphs – to instruct us.  We can look to cultures in the past and see what transpired when they denied God’s existence and worshiped the creation instead of the Creator.  We can also see the blessing of God upon those who chose to walk uprightly and established righteous laws for their people.

Whether we were left a legacy of faith or of wickedness in our personal lives to emulate, each day His mercies are new for us to consider how we might spur one another on toward godliness.  We must prove faithful to pass the torch of righteousness to those who come behind us.

God’s purposes are interwoven throughout man’s sins and obedience.  Praise God that we can look to the past not just for our sins and failures, but to be inspired to walk uprightly by the many examples of the faithful who did not bow their knee to the false gods of this world.

Lord, You are so awesome – outside of time and yet you care and are watchful over each of our moments.  Help our nation to fear You and to establish once again a righteous foundation for Your glory.

Truthful Tuesday: Blessed to Bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Sam 5:12

“David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that he had elevated his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.”

2 Sam 7:8, 18-22

“So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the LORD of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you leader of my people Israel.  18 King David went in, sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point?  19 And you didn’t stop there, O LORD God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O LORD God?   20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O LORD God!   21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant.  22  Therefore you are great, O LORD God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true!”

Overcome by God’s goodness, David poured out his heart in a moment of beautiful abandon.  He recognized God’s blessings and realized that he was not worthy.  His response was so beautiful – worship in action.  He dedicated to God fully what was given to Him, ruled in humility and righteousness, showing favor and honoring even his former enemy’s crippled son, Mephibosheth.  Ultimately, he saw that God’s blessing was not for Him, but for God’s people, Israel.

He was wealthy and in the highest position of the land, but he chose to identify with and respect the lowly.  Sounds a lot like his Heavenly Father.  Demonstrating kindness and mercy, God honored David further, providing protection, favor and victory everywhere he went.

It’s a funny thing about blessing.  When we give away what we are given, we receive even more because we cannot out give God.  Do we perceive all that He has done for us?  Probably impossible to do so, but contemplate for a minute the gift of life and what He has given us.  Once we begin to see a glimpse of what He has bestowed upon us physically and spiritually, the key is not only in recognizing all of the blessings in our lives, but in not expecting them.

David had already learned the lesson that God was Holy and although He loves us, we should not take for granted His favor and become casual with His requirements.  The ark of God was not a trinket to be handled and God’s presence not something to be casual with, either.

What we have was not ours in the first place, but hanging onto those blessings is where idolatry can slip in if we let it. Each blessing, once acknowledged, becomes even more when it is surrendered back to God to be used how He sees fit.  Along with David, we have an opportunity to see that what we are given is not about us at all, but about those who God brings along our path.

David knew all too well what hardship was, which also produced a sincere gratitude for the tremendous blessings God brought about.  When we remember what we were when He called us, that makes us all the more grateful for each blessing He has bestowed; a beautiful offering given back to the One Who gave it to us in the first place.

Mundane Monday: Our Witness in Every Day Life

Exodus 18:9, 11

“Jethro rejoiced because of all the good that the LORD had done for Israel, whom he had delivered from the hand of Egypt.  11 Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods, for in the thing in which they dealt proudly against them he has destroyed them.”

1 Peter 2:12

“And maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.”

Ephesians 5:15-16

“Therefore be very careful how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

1 Timothy 4:16

“Be conscientious about how you live and what you teach. Persevere in this, because by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.”

To hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” is what we long to hear at the conclusion of our lives, but carrying out a consistent walk with God is our utmost challenge on this earth.

There are moments in which we see God use us and we are consumed with pleasing Him.  We wish that those mountaintop experiences would live on forever, but real character is formed in the chasm of everyday monotony.  Will we be faithful to rise and seek Him?  To focus our lives for His glory, willing and ready to share His Word in every situation?

Movies are popular entertainment today in part because for those moments we imagine ourselves to be like the character – the hero in some devastating circumstance.  But once the story is over, we must live our stories and they often pale in comparison to the excitement that was exhibited on the big screen.  The character traits exhibited by actors are often supernatural – somehow their physical strength or their insight is more than those around them.  They never seem to have to contend with the reality of life’s less thrilling moments.

The Bible is filled with the most amazing stories on earth, but unlike many movies today, the stories in the Bible are relatable.  Characters exemplify lives full of excitement and tortuous routine.  Even Moses, who after being used for a miraculous deed by God to save all of God’s people, found himself at an all day desk job – an occupation of discerning people’s affairs.  But his father-in-law surrendered his own soul to Heaven when he saw Moses’ faithfulness and God’s activity in his life in the large and small details of His life.

The godly cloud of witnesses who have gone before us did not have posh, comfortable positions.  They dealt with often cruel, arduous conditions that appeared meaningless until generations that followed had their example to look up to.

Our flesh is impatient and being consistent, careful and conscientious as the Scriptures above urge us to be, are not desirable at first glance.  We want things to come easily and tasks to be completed, but the daunting “to do” list is never fully quelled.  The frustration from a sense of always being behind the eight ball is part of the longing in our souls for Heaven.

When we feel powerless, tossed to and fro by the circumstances of life washing over us like a huge wave, it is in those moments that we can catch a glimpse of His glory and witness to those around us.  Remembering what Christ endured and the fruit of His suffering helps us to put our own situation in perspective.

Finding meaning and purpose in the highs and the lows appears futile until we begin to see the fruit over time.  Looking to our future reward can spur us on to continue on the path of righteousness in all aspects of our lives.  Surprisingly, the small details in life are often the ones that leave the biggest impact on those who come behind us.  The “boring” aspects of life have meaning, too, if we recognize that all we do on this earth is for His glory.

Lord, nothing is meaningless in You.  Help us to have a heart for those around us rather than focusing on our own needs when life appears dull or stressful.  May we bear witness of Your faithfulness to meet our every need, large or small, and may many come to know You.

Thoughtful Thursday: A Woman’s Worth

Photo Credits: entiregospel.com

Photo Credits:
entiregospel.com

Deuteronomy 22:5

“A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.”

Genesis 1:27

“God created humankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.”

Psalm 68:11

“The Lord speaks; many, many women spread the good news.”

This is a controversial topic today, but the Holy Spirit urges me on and my heart aches for the stolen identity of women in the eyes of this world. We are raised to believe we should look a certain way or that our worth is defined by our beauty.  But God sees us as His daughters, cherished and beloved, nurturers of His children, perpetuating to others the relationship we can have with our covenant God.

While history has often displayed women as being weak and certain cultures do not believe it is correct to grant the same rights to women, God has consistently given value to women and revealed Himself to them in profound ways. It was to women that He first appeared after He rose from the dead, and women are also interwoven into His genealogy alongside men.

This weary world minimizes people based on their gender, race or creed then glorifies another for being ‘free” enough to change their gender and attempt to erase the boundaries that God set in place.  It is a confused world that thinks it can take what God made and change its identity.  A man who is “empowered” to choose to be the “weaker” gender is deceived.  He was not made to be anyone other than who God made him to be.  Women are once again denigrated when a man can become a woman just by changing his parts.  No, that is not a woman at all.  He is not a hero, either.  He is a man still loved by God, but he will never truly be a woman.

Women were also not born to be men.  We do not need to feel inferior that our roles are different – God intended it to be so.  Being a wife and mother have been holy vocations and callings from God.  It is a role I was made for and I would not dream of handing that role over to anyone else.  No man could fill that role, nor could I fill a man’s role. They are each unique and bring God glory.

The greatest calling a woman or man could have is to be a mouthpiece for God.  No matter what gender God made us to be, we were made for His glory.  Our worth is found in Christ alone, not in society’s definition of us.  Instead of lamenting whatever aspect of who we are that is deemed to be less than another, we should rejoice that we are each uniquely made – like no other – and He delights in each one of us just the way we are.

Lord, thank You for your wisdom in creating each one of us.  Help us to be what you made us to be and to live solely for Your glory.

Thoughtful Thursday: Enigmatic Justice

Job 40:8

“Would you indeed annul my justice?  Would you declare me guilty so that you might be right?”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s folly subverts his way, and his heart rages against the LORD.”

Job 1:22

“Through all this Job did not sin or blame God for doing anything wrong.”

“It’s not fair!” is the cry of many today who believe they deserve more than their current lot or did not deserve a particular circumstance.  Innate within each of us is a sense of justice and equality, right and wrong.  When we try to explain what is seemingly unjust to our hurting souls, seared consciences can form in the chasm of bitterness.

We expect that we would receive the upper hand in life, especially if we have chosen to walk uprightly.  That seems just in our eyes.  Likewise, we all tend to side with God when someone has purposefully sinned and reaped the results of those choices.  There is also a sense of injustice that rises up in all of us when we believe we have witnessed something biased or unfair.

This longing is eternal – it is aching for true justice and righteousness.  God placed that longing within each of us and the imperfection around us is a catalyst to long for him.  If this world were perfect, it would be Heaven.  The promises of God are our hope when justice is not our reality.

But what happens when A plus B does not equal C?  Is it truly unjust when we sow righteousness and reap harm?  What is justice?  Our definition of justice is pure when we remove concern for self.  A righteous God would be just to destroy us all, for we transgressed against His law and were enemies of His.  That is justice.  But once we have received blessings in this life, we begin to feel entitled and forget what we really deserve.

Job was an amazing man of God.  Sure, he had flaws like we all do, but he did not blame God for the traumatic events that unfolded in one day.  Stripped of his children and suffering physically, he did not understand, but in the end He knew that God was Holy and when He caught a glimpse of how awesome God was, he was overcome.

I confess that when I have endured severe suffering I have wondered if God has forgotten me.  Until I looked into His perfect word and saw the character of God, then I understood.  God loves us so deeply and difficulties in this world do not take away from that unconditional love one bit.  While we do not value or esteem pain, we do not see our need of it, either.  God uses the injustices of this world for good, to reveal and remove sin.

The most insidious injustice today – people slaughtered for believing in God – is the hardest for me to understand.  I want God to come and rescue each one, to defend and show Himself strong.  I want the enemy vanquished.  That seems just. But God is long suffering that none would perish eternally.  Though it seems God is silent, in the end, all evil will be judged.

The free will which God has given man does not mean God is an absentee deity.  He longs to be gracious to us and be our Healer.  We want to be with God, removed from all suffering, but He wants to use us to bring His grace and salvation to those around us.

When this world’s injustice threatens to steal our joy, we can turn to God’s promises and run to Him.  We, the vile, can enter into the presence of our Holy God – not justice at all.  When things do not make sense to us, God is able to give us a glimpse of His glory and suddenly what concerned us is lost in the greatness of our God.  Suddenly wanting to be favored before, we are changed to servants to be used how He sees fit.

Lord, thank You so much for covering our sins and not giving us what we really deserve.  Help us to grant mercy to others, as well, and seek Your glory in the midst of injustice and in times of undeserved favor.