Day 12: Facing Memories Through a Biblical Lens

Copy of Copy of Copy of Salvation (1).png

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

God still wants to take that place of pain and redeem it into a living testimony rather than a dead memory that comes back to haunt us with sorrow.

Scripture of the Day:

Isaiah 40:31

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

In the wake of all of life’s experiences, there are reminders that pop up from time to time. Memories jarred from a song that is heard, a familiar smell, a place, a name . . .sometimes at the most inopportune times.

When we try to  move forward in our lives and the past keeps resurfacing, our newly formed hope can feel fragile. Past memories threaten to steal the lessons we have learned and imprison us back into the state we were in that we never wanted to encounter again. But God.

Sometimes it feels like the LORD purposely has us face again and again things we would rather forget. It can feel cruel and tortuous. But God loves us too much to allow us to stay trapped in a place where we only feel safe if we block out any hint of our former pain.

When we are reminded of past mistakes or burdens, He whispers hope and a different perspective. The accusations from yesterday are changed in His presence and understood to be His grace, instead. Failures are seen as vehicles that brought us to see our need of God rather than to separate us from Him.

At times it is necessary to remove ourselves from abusive relationships or situations that really aren’t healthy for us. But God still wants to take that place of pain and redeem it into a living testimony rather than a dead memory that comes back to haunt us with sorrow. When we are overcome with our past, finding Scriptures to infuse with what we falsely believed opens our eyes and helps us to process memories in light of God’s never-ending hope.

Viewing the past through His lens – His Word – helps us to make sense of life’s messes. The past may never be something we understand, but we can come to a place of peace as we see God’s purposes in it. And His purposes are always good, always higher than we could ever imagine.

God is a Redeemer of all things. Former things have passed away, but in the corner of our minds He wants to take that piece of our hope that was ripped apart and restore it. Until we let go of the past, we cannot grab a hold of the new hope that the present offers.

The past cannot keep us, the present is evaporating, but our future hope is certain. Looking ahead, we are informed by the past enough to see that the God who brought us through it can also guide us through whatever life brings. As we look over the landscape of life, we will see how He weaves it all together into a beautiful masterpiece – both the rugged and the beautiful pieces forming a vessel perfected for the LORD’s glory.

Lord, thank You for making a highway in the wilderness, a place of rest for us when we are weary and lost. No matter what the past says, You already know the end.

This song by Casting Crowns really says it well. Already There. Trust God with your past and the future. None of it is wasted.

Worshipful Wednesday: Fickle Emotions & Delighting in God!

Photo Credits jedipastorken.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
jedipastorken.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Psalm 21:6

“For you grant him lasting blessingsyou give him great joy by allowing him into your presence.”

Jeremiah 9:23-24

23 “The Lord says, “Wise people should not boast that they are wisePowerful people should not boast that they are powerful. Rich people should not boast that they are rich. 24 If people want to boast, they should boast about thisThey should boast that they understand and know me. They should boast that they know and understand that I, the Lord, act out of faithfulness, fairness, and justice in the earth and that I desire people to do these things,” says the Lord.”

Psalm 16:11

11 You lead me in the path of life; I experience absolute joy in your presenceyou always give me sheer delight.

We tend to be a fickle bunch.  Enamored by people with fame, as if they are superhuman, we can neglect the obviously greatest gift right in front of us.  Human affection can fade over time.  The once charming quirks can become stale annoyances, to those who have forgotten to cherish the gift in the relationships that God has given.  The love that was once so ardent can lose its joy and be replaced with dutiful care, if it is not guarded, nourished and recognized.

So it is with our relationship with God.  We forget how amazing He is and trade His majesty for counterfeits that were never meant to bring lasting joy.  Reflecting on what we have delighted in formerly can help to stir the praise that God is so worthy of and also serve in our human relationships, as well.  Gratitude for all that God does for us daily is another catalyst for genuine love, admiration and delight.

God made us – ok, this is an obvious one, but do we thank Him daily for our mere presence?  Life is an astounding gift and the fact that He made us each unique in His image, all for His glory ought to amaze us.  Every little detail that went into making each one of us is so far beyond human intellect could ever design.  But He went beyond that and bore all of our sins, too.  What kind of God would provide such loving care and thoughtfulness?

The Psalmist experienced absolute (complete) joy in God’s presence.  I want that kind of life in my relationship with God ALL the time.  Just like we need to invest in our earthly relationships to derive more fulfillment, more time with God is where we become closer.  Contemplating all he has done and His perfect, Holy character helps develop worship that is due Him.  Maybe now is a good time to do so.

What kind of God is He?  Holy, long-suffering, merciful, kind, all-knowing, our Healer, our Redeemer, our Savior, forgiving, loving, the God Who sees and hears, who chose us in Him before the foundations of all the earth!  Oh, and the one who made every aspect of the creation that surrounds us.  My heart is stirred this morning to consider that just to be allowed into His presence is enough, but then He fills us with insight and wisdom and unconditionally loves us.  I am overwhelmed by a God like that.

Lord, help us to quiet the noise all around us and reflect on Your beauty.  You are more than I could ever describe or give adequate worth to.  May we pause and glorify You throughout the day in each moment.  Thank you that we can come to You!

Preparations for the New Year Begin with the Mind

Romans 12:2

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”

“Just Do It”, the famous Nike slogan is a manifesto to exert our will and make the necessary change to better health.  The problem is, our flesh is strong and often our wills are weak, and we fall short of our goals.  Recognizing that the source of our struggle and of our motivation is in our minds can be the key to victorious planning and living.

It is on my heart to take the days leading up to 2015 and lay a foundation for the inevitable resolutions and plans that are being formed.  How will we use our time in the coming year?  What goals will we set?  What changes do we need to make spiritually, emotionally, physically, or in our relationships?  Since we cannot control circumstances or those around us, let us begin with ourselves.

God is so merciful to give us new days, new seasons and new years.  Another year approaching is an opportunity to take inventory from the past year and take an honest assessment of what went well and what needs to change.  Of course changes are not easy to make and habits not easily undone or formed.  The insanity of it all is that year after year we can try to make some of the same changes and fall short each time.  Does that mean we should cease attempting to change?  No.  The battle lies in the mind.

Beginning with the One who was perfect in how He lived and fulfilled His plan is a great place to start.  The only truly sane mind is that of Christ’s.  Basking our minds in His word is the first step toward a godly perspective in our lives.  Our minds infused with God’s word helps us to see clearly and to rid ourselves of obstacles which impede our progress.  Christ quoted Scripture when He was tempted, demonstrating how the Word of God is our source of strength in time of need.  Perhaps we need to put God’s Word in front of us when being oppressed and lay down the mental baggage that has been plaguing us.

If only it were as simple as knowing and understanding God’s Word to be able to accomplish our plans.  Our minds become cluttered with many things.  Being aware of the distractions is a first step, but overcoming them is another.  Others around us can either help us achieve our goals or impede them.  Mental turmoil via manipulation, guilt, expectations or controlling can wield a devastating blow to being inspired to live the abundant life that God has called us to, but it does not have to.  The choice is ours.  Do we believe that?  We do not have to be held hostage by another person’s perception of us – just God’s view of us matters.

It will take a significant amount of effort to form plans and fulfill them, but as we submit them to God we find that He gives our plans back to us altered.  It is not about us, after all.  Those things I wish I could change about myself I leave in the Master’s hands and surrender to Him to make the changes.  In dependence and trust I yield to His ways and take each day, each breath, each moment as another opportunity to invest for God’s glory.  My plans might lay in ruins if they were of the flesh, but if they are for and by Him, they will last forever.

LORD, help us to seek You and the plans You have for our lives in the coming year and to walk in obedience and discipline to Your Word.  May we not grow discouraged but focus on your truth and know that ultimately, it is Your work in our lives, not us, and You will complete the work You have begun in us.  Amen.