Real Hope and Deliverance

Shelter

2 Timothy 4:16-17

“At my first defense no one appeared in my support; instead they all deserted me – may they not be held accountable for it.  17 But the LORD stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message would be fully proclaimed for all the gentiles to hear.  And so I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.”

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants–I will vindicate them,” says the LORD.”

Lamentations 3:58

“You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life.”

Today’s blog is one that brings me some pain to think upon.  Even though I stand on the other side of great angst and suffering and have seen God’s amazing deliverance, reflecting on the horror of being dragged to court relentlessly is something I would rather not do.  Guess there is still some need for healing there.  But in my heart, I am driven by a passion that maybe these words today might offer up some hope to someone in a similar circumstance, or bring healing and confidence that God is indeed our Savior and will never fail us in our time of need.  So may this blog be an offering to my God and a healing balm to those who need it.

The pain of being falsely accused and the terror of my children being harmed is still very real to me.  The truth did not seem to matter and twisted words seared my soul.  Disbelief that one who once was my partner would manipulate and cajole to get his way still is difficult to fathom.  Betrayal by one who professed to be a believer.  How?  Why?  Where was God in all of this?  Right by my side.  How could He allow even a moment of this horror into my life?  Why would He allow the innocent to be condemned in place of the guilty?  So many questions, terror on every side, and yet my soul still hoped in God.  It seemed that the court system was in favor of the violator, but I knew God’s word was true and every man a liar.  Perplexed and crushed, but not destroyed.

Joseph probably wondered how God was going to achieve the promise and prophesy etched in his mind, yet he, too, trusted in God’s sovereignty.  At times when it seems all of life is against you and friends dissipate to avoid your drama, it feels like your life will be ruined forever.  But God.  He is using even the hideous things that we want to avoid to both bring Him glory and to transform our character. Why must such a painful tool be used?  Sometimes we cannot be truly changed with gentle persuasion.  A harsher tool can accomplish beautiful things despite the potential harm it seemingly brings.  More importantly, Why is it painful?

No one would say it was a pleasurable experience to discover betrayal and then have the tables turned on you, but why?  Because at the very heart of that experience is the death of what we knew.  The death of comfort, too.  Innocence is gone and replaced with disillusionment, heartache and shock.  Not pleasurable feelings or emotions at all.  Our very nature craves pleasure and peace.  But can the soul be steadied and at rest when all around it is turbulence and pain?  Yes.  The amazing revelation that pleasure and comfort are not to be worshiped, not to be pursued as an end in and of themselves is liberation.  The lesson is not that we want to become a masochist and crave discomfort, but that we learn to be content and wade out the storm in Christ.  Bathing in His word and looking to Him for deliverance, we discover that our goal was never supposed to be the American dream or our definition of utopia, but obedience and glory for Christ through our lives.

Perhaps a painful trial delivered us from clinging to a person or a circumstance instead of to Christ, as our salvation.  Or maybe it opened up our eyes to see the pain all around us that before we had thought of as things “that happened to other people”.  Ironically, the hated scorn and stigma in our lives can become the very thing the LORD wants to use in our lives to bring others as well as ourselves closer to Him.  It still hurts to recall the former suffering, but I can now see what beauty it has formed in my life and in others.  Although God delivered me mightily, the hurt from the experience is a scar that reminds me what is really important – being completely absorbed in Christ in whatever path He has me to travel.

If you are suffering now, I know no words can remove that pain, except the word of God, and strength is given to those who run to the living God for shelter.  Sometimes it is not until we have been shaken to the very core of your being that we can understand the purpose of its presence.  If we worship Him only for the good things He gives, we miss some of the greatest moments of fellowship with Christ – identifying with Him in suffering.  We cannot outrun the pain, but we can run to Him and His grace is sufficient for those found in Him.  This is what real hope and deliverance are – not avoidance, but strength and grace to walk through whatever this life brings.  My deliverance wasn’t when I finally had the victory in court, but rather when I was broken and desperate and had nothing else to hope in but Him.  Amen.

Thank You, Lord, for the pain and the joys You have allowed into my life.  You are truly good all the time and I worship You for your sovereignty and faithfulness!  I love You, LORD!

Worshipful Wednesday: The Real Golden Rule

Photo Credits monkeysocietyblog.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
monkeysocietyblog.blogspot.com

Psalm 111:7-10 His acts are characterized by faithfulness and justice; all his precepts are reliable.  8 they are forever firm, and should be faithfully and properly carried out.  9 He delivered His people; He ordained that His covenant be observed forever.  His name is Holy and Awesome.  10 To obey the LORD is the fundamental principle for wise living; all who carry out His precepts acquire good moral insight.  He will receive praise forever.

Our society has many anecdotes for how we ought to live.  We are told that the golden rule –  treating another person as you want him to treat you – is the main principle to live by.  This is a biblical principle – “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” But here in the Psalms we see a very simple rule, given by God: obey Him! So simple, and yet difficult to carry out.

The constant battle with the flesh can make us want to give up, to become deceived that this principle of always walking in wisdom is impossible.  It is in the obedience of God’s precepts, however, that our eyes become opened and we can see.  Herein is the mystery: we cannot gain this insight by just merely assenting or believing in God’s precepts – we understand by doing it.

And what are we choosing to obey?  Not principles or fads that change depending on what we feel, or upon humanistic ideals, no – it is on the reliable precepts of God Almighty.  It is based upon the One Who has never failed – never sinned – the Perfect One, Who truly knows the best path we should take. He is trustworthy and faithful and His principles last forever.  We can know this by His past deeds, by His Word and His promises for the future! Go with God today.  Go with His revealed Word and obey what He has revealed to you.  Continue to seek Him and discover what other principles He has set for His people – not to confine you – but to establish healthy boundaries that will set you free and be a blessing to you.  Walking in wisdom with our God is truly the most joyful life one can have.

Lord, I love You!  How wise and Holy and awesome You are!  Your precepts are life and I thank You for them!  Help us to live for You and to walk in wisdom to bring You glory and to reach this lost world!

Would I Lie to You? (The deceitfulness of sin)

The-Power-of-Sin

Hebrews 3:13
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.

I was inducting my youngest son into the biblical symbolism in the movie “Lord of the Rings”, when suddenly he casually said, “Mom, why do they want the ring if it does that to them?” How wise beyond his years, and yet he did not fully comprehend his own question. What if we saw sin as it really was, undressed and not sensationalized? What if we knew the effects of cherishing something so vile? What if we recognized sin in our lives instead of rationalizing it away? But sin is deceitful.

The ring represents sin, which will destroy us unless we do so first. Frodo, the protagonist of the film was not able to destroy it, either. But God sovereignly used someone who intended evil (Gollum) for good and only He, God alone, could destroy sin and its power.

Sin tantalizes its victims with the hope of gaining power, and yet instead subdues and destroys the owner. Oh, but sin looks so attractive and is so often concealed. We do not recognize it in every day life and its destructive power. It is laced with frosting, while underneath is a deadly cake.

So how do we avoid falling victim to sin’s seduction? The Word of God and prayer. We are blind and cannot see, lest the Lord opens our eyes. The Word of God is a mirror and reveals our hearts, if we seek truth via an exegetical study versus an eisegetical approach. In another words, we cannot approach God’s word trying to make our ideas fit randomly into Scripture taken out of context.

We also need one another. As a mother, I see worldliness creeping into our churches and our homes. Giving in or doing nothing is doing something – permitting sin to weave its way into our hearts. We need to be accountable to one another in an age of intense social media and we have to take a stand against sin and be different in an day where sin is praised and bragged about. Talking about the temptations and being aware of them can be a great step toward being free from sin’s entrapment.

Lord, help us to be aware of sin in our lives and to surrender to you instead of the sin. Give us strength to persevere and abstain from that which destroys our soul.